Happiness for Sale! At a retail store near you

Every year during the holiday season all of us are spammed with advertisements galore about discounts, sales and offers at different retail stores. And it can intimidate the strongest among us who don’t usually cave into peer pressure.

Movie stars constantly endorse utilities and other appliances. Do you really think sharukh khan drives ani10? Think about it.

I have always wondered why companies like Amazon, Walmart or Reliance have this sudden found empathy to promote human values among its customers. And in my own naïve way I have observed that those evil marketers have finally got to us.

The day after these festivals everyone always wondered what we received as gifts and what we gave to others? It becomes almost like a parade where we flaunt our wealth. Our affection towards each other seems so tangible that we can measure it in dollars!

Allow me to relive how our family usually spent Diwali and I am sure a parallel narrative exists for the readers in the form of Christmas, Hanukkah or Eid.

Our parents would plan our trips to our ancestral village, which we would refer to it as “town” to our friends as we are secretly ashamed of our bucolic upbringing. All our relatives would gather there and would spend the day together.

The womenfolk would be in charge of cooking delicacies, some of which would take the whole night to prepare. The men would be in charge of purchasing clothing and fireworks. Men looked forward to interviews of actresses and women relished debates on the telly which made fun about the plight of husbands. Through which they thought they scored a silent victory.

The topic of the debate would be something like: “Who is harder to satisfy during the festival season? Is it the Husband or is it the Wife?

Man 1: Do you know what my wife wanted for this Diwali, an expensive silk Sari worth Rs.3000. Does she think money grows on trees? How am I supposed to afford that!

Man 2: I know these women have no idea how hard we work. My wife wants a gold necklace for 5000Rs, it is ridiculous.

*Sanity Check*

Let us do some basic economics here. A housewife toils for 365 days a week approximately 15 hours a day.

365 * 15 = 5475 hours a year, and suppose the husband caves in and buys her that Rs. 5000 necklace it would equate to 5000/5475 = 1.095 Rs/hr. Who knew women were such gold diggers. Gosh!

*******************************Back to Diwali**************************************

I didn’t appreciate the efforts they would put into it as I thought I was obliged to it as a participant. But now as a mature adult (debatable, I know) I don’t celebrate any of these as I am too cool for that desi stuff. And as my grandmother passed away this year there were no celebrations in my family back in India.

My grandma would slave away in the kitchen for the whole day preparing a complex range of delicacies. And if you happened to be a greedy little fat fuck like me, they better be ready to cook a second batch. She would make sure to reserve a good part of the food prepared to give it away to the needy. She always made sure that we grandchildren give it to them so that we directly earn the goodwill of the poor.

She would then attempt to educate us about the meaning of the festival on our way to the temple which we always would ignore. She was overarching glue that held our huge family together under one roof. We wouldn’t return until the next festival and would only occasionally call her to check up on our health. And every year she would put in the same kind of superhuman effort to keep us happy.

Contrast this to a hypothetical uncle returning from the middle-east. He would get us chocolates and toys and we would worship him for a couple of days while completely ignoring our grandmother. I mean he barely put any effort into his gift right? But why should that diminish the effort of our grandmother?

I think this was my origin for instant gratification. I can defend by saying that as a kid I didn’t know any better. But am I behaving any different as I got older?

Instead of spending the time with my parents on the day of the occasion, I substitute this responsibility by buying them an Ipad. Instead of cooking an elaborate meal for them, I could take them to an expensive restaurant. I mean, I could marry a submissive wife and ask her to do all this for me. But you know who finds girls like that these days? All this “equality”, “empowerment” and  modern “education” has robbed them off all the culture they are supposed to have.

We work hard the whole year, bicker about our companies as soul sucking satans and suddenly become huge fans of them as they give out bonuses!

And we how do we spend our bonus money given to us by corporate gods ?

  1. Useless item we don’t have.
  2. Useless item we don’t need.

For eg: Buying a DSLR and a trip to a hill station. Where instead of spending our time embracing nature we will spend our time on getting the right shot the fucking bee which flies over a stupid sun flower. If I had a dollar for every pretty picture someone on my friends list took during their family holiday. I would be left with a dollar.

**************************** Back to Festivals ***************************

I love stories and I am sure most of us do. I think of festivals as a story through generations which have a simple yet unoriginal meaning. Like be good to people, bury your differences and love the people around you irrespective of their attributes, spend some time to introspect etc…. But I don’t see how throwing money at such occasions adds value to it.

Since when did Christmas and Diwali become an occasion for those who could afford it? When we parade around in our expensive gifts do we care to think about unfortunate? I mean how about the urchins and how much it would break their hearts to know that their parents would never be affordable to throw a spectacle like we get.

When I came to US my parents feared that I would forget what the festivals mean to us as Indians. That we would take up Christmas and thanksgiving instead of Pongal or Diwali or Ganesh Chaturthi. But if we treat festivities as an excuse to spend money then it is just like a robe. Christmas is no different than Diwali but it is just dressed differently.

My only worry is that I would slowly forget those stories and morals which underlined the spirit of festivals. I am worried that I wouldn’t put effort into making people happy, if at least for a day like my grandma used to do. But there is always next year!

Happy Holidays 🙂

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The myth buster’s guide to Marriage

This post is dedicated to my best friend, my bro who just got married!

I almost cringe at the prospect of using the word Marriage for the title of this blog. So I turned 26 ceremoniously a few months ago and it has dawned on me that people are headed to the next phase of their life.

I personally would like to think of myself as a trivial man with humble needs. I have always chased things that I need rather than what I want, so far this simple tenet has served me well and I am unwilling to shrug this off.

I have used the following space to articulate and think out loud the merits of the institution of marriage.

Almost all calls with my parents end on an awkward note where they hint about getting me married. And the hilarious part is when they try to sell it to me. I think their honest hardworking career has fostered them to gain a lot of skills, but sales aren’t among them. I feel they are confident in my lack of ability to find a girl for myself which is sweet and also profoundly sad at the same time. So here is a sample of their sales pitch

“Son, we are really glad that you are doing well. You are surrounded by friends, you get to travel a lot have a good job and having so much fun. But it’s now time to get serious.”

That’s the worst sales pitch ever. I don’t think they can sell parole to a convict who is facing a death penalty, with that pitch. I wanted to write this article for a long time. But I think this is a good time, most of my good friends have got married and have suffered a social death. Their social activity comprises of sharing insufferable pictures of each other at eventful places such as the mall, parking lot, temples, restaurants, movie theater, beach, work and practically every place which bans nudity.

Arranged marriage or love marriage? I really don’t know how this is even a question. My answer is, “If it ends in a marriage, does it even matter? Hah, I know I am quite the romantic. *blushes*

I am aware of statistics which say “Arranged Marriages” last longer. I think it is partially skewed. In arranged marriages you are necessarily married to each other’s family. So most “arranged marriages” last longer because they are designed to. If you think breaking up with one person sucks, try 200. We Indians are so uncomfortable seeking a resolution that we will try to see the relationship or the people involved die, rather than mitigate.

At least in India there is a notion that divorce should be permitted only in extreme cases of violence, harassment and abuse.

It is lost on me that in my society, two perfectly decent people would not be allowed to go their separate ways if they can’t find happiness without being judged or hated.  And this is a question that every quintessential couple faces. And the most clichéd answer is “Love cum arranged marriage”. You see you cannot concede either of them because society is perverted.  So for a groom

Arranged marriage:  Society goes “Lucky him, it must be the dowry”.

Love marriage: Society goes “Must’ve knocked her up”.

Work Life Balance: Work life balance is by far, my favorite oxymoron. And I can prove it to you. I hope you love numbers

All the hours spent in a week

Number of hours in a week: 168

Number of hours spent working, avg: 50

Number of hours for recreation such as gym, going for a run, reading etc..: 10

Number of hours spent on commute: 6

Sleep: 42

Time spent socializing with other equally boring couples in activities such as dinner, movies or spiritual recreation: 10

Time spent doing chores, because I believe in equality. LOL: 10

Total time left to spend with wife: 40

Guys get it easy. The above list is crazier if you’re a woman.

A grand total of 40 hours! So, good luck trying to make her feel like a Queen; be a responsible husband and raising a happy and healthy family. Oh also try to build a house, tend to the never ending family members from both sides, raise children. If he is a boy, make sure he is engineer. If she is a girl, make sure she is an engineer. Fund their college and then help them get married and be pretty darn successful at it. Oh by the way, make sure you are HAPPY while doing it.

Matching expectations: People feel that people with similar needs make a better couple. There are so many traits that act as deal breakers. For example, a groom might be a perfect match except the fact that the girls family expects a teetotaler. My parents pitched a girl for me who seemed pretty agreeable. But under “Music” she listed Falguni Pathak, so yeah that’s a strict no-no for me.

And something that people always ignore is sexual appetite.  That should be a huge factor but is always never discussed. Now I am using the term sexual in a very non sexual manner, like a botanist. Because when you date, you have sex. When you’re married you have intercourse. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a very responsible word to me. And often responsibilities aren’t fun. Nobody has ever blown the party whistle and screamed words like “Hey guys, lets crank up the volume, get drunk and be RESPONSIBLE”

Guys are always trigger-happy, while with women it’s more of a methodical approach. For guys we would be up for it in an instant, a girl just have to give us the hint and even if we are stuck on I-75 we would floor the silly Prius for you and reach home ASAP.

But for women, the process is more measured. They prefer treating them with attention, love, respect and all the adjectives you would find on a hallmark card. I am not a sexist; I am merely outlining the differences in approach towards a Darwinian act.

 Every matrimonial site ever: You see I have never been a huge fan of meeting people online. But once you are cruising towards your late 20’s your parents are  in a panic mode. It starts with it would be nice if my kid gets married to OMG PLZZZ someone marry my baby. The indian matrimonial sites reeks of parental influence. Most of the profiles are either tied to education, wealth, caste or culture. Nobody describes anything about what their personality is like.

I thought it would be a fantastic idea if such sites were designed like Amazon.com which would have user reviews. Where people would share review the families based on their experiences. Something like even though the groom’s father is Jain, I once saw him outside Steak and Shake.

My parents started sending me pictures of attractive women, I was surprised at how good of a wing man my dad could be. Then it struck me, the horror!

My dad uses Internet explorer as the basic browser whose home screen is set to Bing!

Happiness and loneliness: Most people marry of happiness; we grow up on stories where we are told if we behave good we will get a good wife or a husband who would make us happier. The flaw in this approach is lack of accountability. If I am getting into a relationship, I need to be sure of what I can contribute towards it. Are there qualities in me that would make the other person happier? Am I mature enough for that (I know it is a rhetorical question). Happiness is only true when shared and in order to share we must be prepared to give.

Loneliness: I think being alone and feeling lonely are completely different from each other.A major trigger towards getting married is the fear of ending up lonely. And I can assure you that it is morbidly terrifying to be left alone. Our society never accepts people who are lonely; they are either cast as greedy or gloomy. But in order to embrace happiness, one must like them. And you can only learn about yourself by embracing solitude. If you don’t like anything about you, it is ridiculous to expect others to.

We should realize that happiness is merely a state of mind; it is like those happy pit stops at the coffee shops while being on a road trip. One has to work towards it and it will last only for a while, but the mere pursuit makes the effort worthwhile. And if you can find someone who shares your view of happiness, then it is safe to say that you are going to have fun!

This post is dedicated to you bro! Good luck on your marriage.

Graduation Speech

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I know that this is a graduation season and there are a lot of people are quite happy about it. Most of Indians I know are excited as this is one of the few times you get to take a picture with white people in the background, which means “You’ve made it” back at home.

So I wanted to write a graduation speech. I am not sure if I envision myself to be famous enough to commemorate a graduation ceremony. As it is, I feel I have achieved more than any man with my looks and intellect possibly could. So here goes nothing…

The Speech

Hello batch of 20xx. Congratulations on your graduation (Unless you did an MBA from IIPM. Then you’re fucked. Proper fucked).

*Side note: Begins speech by thanking people who are important but you couldn’t possibly care about.

I’m sure most of you can’t wait to get out of this stadium to be with your loved ones and celebrate your success. I promise I won’t beat the cliched horse to death. I request twenty minutes of your time. And I have made sure that there is enough security at the gates, so you really don’t have much choice.

I don’t have anything inspirational about me unlike many of you. I got pretty much whatever I wanted and couldn’t complain about how my life was going. I was and am ordinary. And now I want to address those students who are ordinary. Just like me.

So to all the ordinary lads and lasses out there, you might feel that since you’re ordinary these clichéd speeches don’t work for you. You don’t see yourself changing the world or realizing your dream which in many cases might cease to exist. I am going to attempt to prove it wrong. My speech is about 5 big things that you are going to face after you have graduated.

Career: It is comparatively easy to get a job. But it takes a lot of grit and passion to get to your dream job. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when in you are in the commencement ceremony and when the speaker adorns your ego with words like #Dreams #Success #Changing the world. You know what? It is a sham.

You are more than likely to find a decent job which will pay your bills. You will soon realize that your work requires none of the skills you learned at school but will realize that “job satisfaction” is a hoax. You will work hard to impress your boss and then grow tired of it.

You shall slowly realize that people who don’t work as hard as you are getting ahead of you and you are running into a dead wall. You will doubt your worth often and feel like slamming your coffee against the coffee machine after the road rage you went through en route to work. And if you pick up a self-help book by Deepak Chopra, you know you’re going downhill. I have one advice for you

Mastery : Let me tell you how the world works. You are what you can do. As long as you can get the job done you will survive. Nothing else matters. Nobody but nobody (except maybe your mother) gives a flying fuck about what you are as a person. People have needs and as long as you fulfill them you can coast along. Look at any job description, you are not there to exchange pleasantries, build relationships or if you’re black contribute to diversity. You are hired to fulfill the needs of the company and as long as you do meet it. You will survive. And if you get good at it, you will still have other companies who would want to hire you. Not because they like you. But because they NEED you.

Tyler Durden was wrong. You ARE your job. You ARE the contents of your wallet. Society determines you by what you do and not who you are. Imagine you are at any social event. Some person comes up to you to have a chat. The rest of the conversation depends on what you do for a living. This is the microcosm of the society we live in.

Dreams:

We are encouraged to dream when we are kids but we are constantly brought up in way that we don’t realize it. When you dream you don’t really have boundaries. But when you feel mortal and look around you, there is only so much you can achieve. I am risking my reputation here, but you know what? It is OKAY to give up on your dreams.

For one simple reason, we evolve. Just like our dreams. It is not the end of the tunnel if you can’t achieve your goal. But you are not a failure. Yes, days will be longer and nights will be shorter. It is OKAY to give up and it is better for the economy too. 10% of American debt is on student loans. Creativity is an unforgiving business because of the latent uncertainties. But trust me, no one wipes their tears when they collect their paycheck which feeds their needs and vices alike.

Relationships:

In one of the episodes of my all-time favorite shows “Californication”. The character “Lew Ashby ” remarks to Hank moody that “In the end it is all about her”. Finding someone to share your life is one activity that will define the rest of your personal life. The definition of love should subjective lest should you fail and embarrass yourself chasing the dream girl/guy as promised by some sitcom/movie. Those being said, never marry someone without whom you cannot be happy. It will end in an abusive relationship. For you.

I will now cater the next few lines to my male friends who are still single. A lot of you have gone through your entire college life without sharing your feelings to your girl. You guys make the dreadful mistake that the only way to win a girl over is by impressing her with your good demeanor. You assume that there are two steps to the process

Step 1: Become her friend. Earn her trust be nice and kind to her and always be on your best behavior. And hope that one day she realizes that you are the guy for her.

There is no step 2, you think it would mean getting the girl. But you may not. You know why? Because SURPRISE you’ve been friend zoned. And you will only realize it when she walks away with a douchebag or at least who you think is a douchebag. And you will ask yourself, I held her so high in my regard. I put her priorities over me, even then, why doesn’t she like me? Think about it logically, if you put someone on a pedestal the only way they can look at you is downwards.

Whenever you see a pretty girl with another guy you will immediately arrive to a conclusion where you put the guy on a pedestal compared to you. He got her because he has a fancy job. He won her over because he is good looking etc…

Such excuses make you miserable. Being miserable is easy. Happiness takes *effort

Never doubt yourself ever. At the same time don’t go overboard to be good. Not being a pretentious prick doesn’t mean you’re eligible for the women of your dreams. Or in other words being a nice guy doesn’t qualify you for the love of your life. Women want men, not boys with emotions. Women want men who would change the world. The world wants men who will change it. I am sorry to disappoint any feminists in the audience.

Failure: It is very likely you will face failure in your life with unpredictable frequency. Some of you will be divorced, fired from your job and undergo other things that doesn’t bode well with the spirit of this occasion. And when you are defeated the whole world would scare you. You might want to curl into a fetal position and stare at the wall.

I think our greatest fear about the universe is not that it is dangerous but  that it is indifferent. Remember, However dark the abyss, we must individually stoke our own fire.

So what should you do when you fail? This is the biggest lesson that education teaches you.

Confidence and Grit

Dear men and women, we have seen civilizations built upon education, hard work and determination. If you read about it a career seems far less daunting. You have gained many valuable tools for survival in this great institution and I hope you use it to your behest.

I can promise you that these skills and tools won’t ensure you a safe journey and you shall not emerge unscathed. But at the end you will look back and relish at this awesome realm of time we call existence.

Cheers!

1- http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-truths-that-will-make-you-better-person/

Virtue of Selfishness

For those who can identify the title, it is derived from Ayn Rand’s pocket sized book. I admit that I had an Ayn Rand fan boy phase during my definitive years. After I read fountainhead, I realized that if I continued to foster my character based on her caricatures I would either become a full blown asshole or worse a Wall Street banker.

P.S: A note to the readers who don’t know me, I am not a Wall Street banker.

I was consistently impressed by her sheer genius of objectivizing everything. Every emotion had an objective reasoning behind it and the faster you identify it the easier life becomes for you. They say that the key to solving most of the problems is realizing that there is one.

Most of my blogs have a structure where I draw out examples from my school days. It wasn’t a fancy one where they would teach you music appreciation, arts or high level programming. However it was incredibly competitive. Students made conscious decisions about who they chose to hang out with. The nerdy ones were in a group as they thought they could gain from group study sessions.

The socially gifted hanged out together as being in the center of a circle of friends assuaged their egos. And even the lonelier and weird ones hung out together to protest the conformity. And I identified with each group in one way or other. But because I didn’t find them mutually exclusive, I was a misfit.

Our society wants us to become considerate individuals but reality paints a disappointing picture. We are taught that at a very young age that everything out there is all about competition and winning. From getting a good degree, to a job to even a spouse it is all about how to get the best for you. And In USA they take it to another extreme where they don’t embrace failure. Everyone gets a medal for running a race, which I think is the other extreme. Learning that it is okay to fail at something is one lesson which I wish I had learned at a young age.

I hail from a common middle class family, I would be considered successful if I was rich rather than happy. I personally don’t have a very high regard for wealth. I am a trifle uncomfortable when one’s achievement is solely measured by their bank balance. Don’t get me wrong I am not a hippy and I do have hedonistic aspirations to gain material wealth. But at the same time I realize that, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my success if I wasn’t happy.

So I practiced being indifferent. There was so much misery around me that I knew if I kept attaching myself to the things around me, I would be part of the malarkey. Here is where logic came to rescue, I stopped empathizing and looked at problems with an outlook to solve them. I have a huge tiff with the word “Feel”. I really found it to be redundant, if I look at a kid who has a scraped knee; I would rather give him first aid than feel sorry for him. So this attitude helped me tremendously as it helped me coast through irritable company.

We are taught to be competitive and that one shouldn’t trust others easily. Is it because a lot of us are victims of trust abuse? Or is pathological distrust considered as a sign of maturity?

Indifference taught me how to cope with loneliness. I would not empathize with myself or become depressed when I was lonely. I looked at it as a problem which I could solve. To give a very personal example a year ago I spent what I would recall as a very depressing birthday.

I was inches away from being fired at my GRA due to a misunderstanding, I was unemployed and going through a terrible break up. I was feeling pathetic; I decided to get some Chinese food along the way. On my way I saw a homeless guy. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I did want to do something. So I gave away my dinner to him. He didn’t thank or smile at me. He took it and dived in.

When I came back home I felt a lot better about myself. The takeaway is that I didn’t help the guy because he was hungry. I helped him in an attempt to see if it would make me feel any better and it did. This had a profound impact on me. There is nothing wrong in having a motive behind anything and everything you do. As long as you don’t achieve what you want, you will always be unhappy. Think of selfishness as an insurance policy to protect your dreams.

Unconditional love is the biggest lie that we have out there. As literally unconditional is a condition by itself. So when you have such an objective outlook towards life, it is very efficient but life certainly loses color and spontaneity. I can’t recall the last time I felt outraged or tremendously happy. Life has been a succession of platitudes.

During the past year or so I have been at the receiving end of unbelievable generosity. I’ve been continuously invited to so many dinners, friendly get together where people who I have barely met treat me as a part of family. Friends have shared their deepest insecurities with me to get closure. People who I’ve left behind, string comfort laden words to inquire about my well-being.

Even for a guy as cynical as me, it tugs my heartstrings to be subject of such love and respect.

I ceased to be emotionally bonded with people as I find emotions and relationships as double edged swords. When I was in love things were tremendously strenuous. There were rapid troughs and heights in emotions which defied reasoning.  I think it’s this emotional instability which gave birth to the cliched phrase “I don’t want anything serious right now”. The fear of being hurt has reached endemic proportions.

I don’t see people my age fall in love as easily as they used to just a few years ago. We have this small mental checklist which we try to map to people who we feel we like. If it matches move ahead if not maybe they are not the right one’s for you. Since when did love become a grocery list of requirements? Yes, we are collectively much more successful than we ever thought before. But if it comes at the cost of neutralizing one’s ability to love fearlessly is it really worth it?

I am in a limbo of whether to let go of my selfishness which has been a great servant to me to tread into such melancholic depth.The question is, is selfishness a virtue worth protecting?

Am I socially stupid?

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Facebook tells me that I now have 890 friends. That is a lot! So as a social experiment, I am trying to see if that count is reduced after people read the following blog. And thanks to the new Graph Search, my social experience on web is going to suck even more. So in order to protest I have written the following piece.

During the past one month, I have been able to spend more time over things that I liked to do. And one such activity is culture spotting. Culture spotting is the activity where an individual with a preposterous ego monitors people around him/her for their amusement.

Exhibit A: Me.

But if you observe in real life, many people are obnoxious to tolerate. Most of them are miserable with their career, education, debt, marriage, pollution and what not. Hence I felt it is inexcusable to make fun of them as it is not a level playing ground to anyone.

But with the advent of social media, we can allow ourselves to put our pretty foot forwards and appear more approachable and amicable out on the web. Also it is an excellent tool to establish our intellectual authority.

So in this case I observed some of the most stupid things that people do on Social media, in this case Facebook and I am attempting to note them below for our mutual amusement.

  1. Photography: I don’t understand why most IIM’s (Indian IT Male’s) are suddenly into photography majority of my friends own a DSLR and they take really shitty pictures. Having a DSLR and taking trashy pictures is like owning an orchestra and playing Niki Minaj.

Here are a few tips that might enhance the probability of your social acceptance:

  • Never name your album “Random piczzz/clicks” or “My Experimentation with Photography”. – You just purchased an electronic device worth 500$ or more. There is nothing random or experimental about it.
  • There is nothing extraordinary about a high definition picture of a flower, with a bee buzzing around. I am old school as I think Photography is more about Context than Clarity.
  • Never upload pictures of kids without their parents’ permission. Internet is rife with child abuse, you don’t want to enable that. Trust me.
  • If you take a mirror shot of yourself with a DSLR camera, do realize that you share your I.Q with a door knob.
  • Use your discretion while uploading albums. Don’t upload the same picture with different filters. It is intellectually offensive.
  • If you are a shitty photographer and still have the temerity to add a watermark signature on your picture. Just realize that you are making your imbecility official.

Birthdays: This is a phenomenon mostly observed in girls or women. They usually hyperventilate over their birthdays with statuses like “OMG, I am so excited for my birthday”, “Just 3 weeks before my birthday”, “I am going to go to a dance club for my birthday”. So ladies, a couple of facts for you:

    1. Earth revolves around Sun, so you are bound to have at least one birthday. Every year.
    2. Birthdays are no achievement unless you’re ailing from a life threatening disease. I am 25 and the only thing I had to do; to achieve this was to make sure I look on both sides of the road before crossing.

I personally believe Birthdays are private events and a time to celebrate and remember the good times with your friends while reeling from the kicks to your scrotum in the name of birthday bumps.

Language overload: Lingual affluence is a strong indicator of one’s intelligence. Most Indians  speak, write or read more than 3 languages. But I don’t understand how people add Hinglish (Hindi + English) or Tanglish (Tamil + English) in the “Languages they speak” section. It sounds more like a Jewish dessert than a language

Vacation: If you don’t know already, these German scientists have made this official. Uploading your holiday pictures makes your friends jealous. On Facebook, depression will be mocked and happiness shall be envied upon. Tells a great deal about our society doesn’t it? Don’t embrace the ugly truth but at least resist to avoid it 🙂

Chat log: Again, it is mostly girls who commit this social blunder. Some of them share their chat logs as pictures with their friends to often show people around them that they are hilarious. Repeat after me, you shall never share your chat logs and you are the only person who thinks you’re funny.

Acknowledging Insecurity: At the risk of sounding sexist, this gaffe is once again committed primarily by women who are insecure about their looks.  This can be understood by observing how people react to compliments. Say there is a girl x, who has a pretty picture. Now naturally it would get attention and people would complement and comment her on the picture. They generally fall into 3 types:

    1. Various versions of “You look hot babe :* ”- Primarily women, mostly overweight.
    2. The more neutral and subdued comment: “Great picture”
    3. Indirect compliments with deplorable humor such as : “Awsm pictrr, credits to photographer Lolxx”

And the girl now can react in following ways which may or may not exhibit her desperation

  1. Reply by saying a polite thank you: Desperation level =0
  2. Like everyone’s compliment: Desperation level =1
  3. Thank everyone Individually for their compliment: Desperation level = infinity

After reading the above points you might wonder, what makes you the judge? Do you think you’re smarter than me? Am I proud of what I just wrote?Allow me to answer in the negative. I am not smart nor am I an intellectual. I am just another cynical tool with a connection to the internet who is allergic to dolts.

The Dots Do Connect…

I came to USA to get a masters degree in Computer Information Systems from GSU. And my My visa interview at Mumbai went like this:

Interviewer: So why do you want to get a master’s degree?

ME:

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When it comes to job hunt people often demonize it by saying that its wild life out there and you can trust no one. In my own naive way, I have always believed that there is good in everyone of us.

Ok, I was just kidding. But in all sincerity I believe that there is no such thing as a rat race and we all can be successful at the same time. The following post is about the travails I went through during my days of job hunt.

One of the earliest things I realized about education and job search is that it is a very interactive procedure. Especially as an MIS/CIS student who swears by the pledge “I don’t want to do coding because I am tired of it”. The excuse naively obfuscates the reality which is an inherent inability to code rather than reluctance.

I never shy away from coding as it remains the Holy Grail that I think I try too hard to achieve. It is not my core competency to be a programmer and I have come to accept that. During my first semester at GSU, I joined a networking fraternity. I was blown away by the social complexity that was out there. There were so many equally bright students vying for the same job. And the ferocity of their intention was very visible.

The fraternity opened doors to recruiters who would showcase their company and talk about their working culture and at the same time identify candidates who fit the bill and begin to track them. By the time I realized this, my first semester came to an end and I was in no way closer to my job hunt.

Tips: 1) Networking is not sucking up, it is a chance for the employers to know you better. Put your best step forward

2) Reach out to the recruiters via linkedin and add them after thanking them for their time. Being pro active is everything when it comes to a job hunt.

I understand that a job hunt is a laborious procedure and it is O.K. to be discreet about it. Some are superstitious that if they reveal they have an interview, they will fail it. The other reason is you don’t want to be a douche who yaps about interviews where your friends struggle.

The only upbeat thing about spring semester was that I was selected to become a VISA leader for fall 2012. I really undervalued the opportunity at that time as an internship was the bigger challenge.

But looking back the desperation was the negative factor. It sapped out all energy I had in me and it was difficult to digest that your friends already have a job and you are still unable to even land an interview. I realized that I was capable of jealousy too, but I didn’t want it to affect me. So in order to escape from masochism, I was reluctant to go to parties and get together. I would disable all notifications on Facebook in order to prevent me from going into a shell.

But I never gave up; I worked for about a month for a small start-up pro-bono learning open source technology. They didn’t offer me any compensation and also broke communication for some reason as the company went under. I approached professors for pro bono work and got one to build a system using share point but that work won’t begin until November and I remained to be restless.

I attended host of networking events, curbed my spending habits to stay afloat. I played soccer every weekend and in times of tumult that was my only solace. I took two classes in summer, one during May mester which lasted for a month and other during June-July. I have always been a pragmatic kid and was never under financial duress, ever. But the spending habits of your friends do rub on when you realize that you can’t afford to join them. It is humiliating but I found humor in it which helped me preserve my sanity.

Then came august and I was becoming more confident. I had 3 interview calls, two of them went well and VISA leader program was just about to start. It was one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever had. From being a willing social outcast to be recognized on the streets, it was an uplifting experience. I am very grateful to that special group of friends I made who made me feel this way.

I became chums with some great people all over the world; I went out to parties with them. Played soccer, got back into shape (From round to not-so-round). And call it comeuppance for the efforts; I got an internship by 3rd week of August!

I had already taken up two GRA’s and 3 classes and an internship on top of it was insane. Many of my friends advised me to drop one of them so that I don’t go bonkers. Meanwhile the career fair was approaching and I had to ready myself for another grueling session.

My grades in one of the subject did take a hit as I got a humiliating B+ in one of the tests. But it was bound to happen. Remember I said I got interview offers from 2 companies, I got a job offer from one of them by the time I was interviewing with the other J So I was confident/cocky about it.

The second company was the one I was targeting all year around. And guess what happens on the D-Day?

I show up 20 minutes late to the 30 minute interview due to some mix up. I have a good chat with my interviewer who seemed to be impressed by my candor and lack of nerves. I was mentally shitting bricks, but I didn’t let that surface.

I followed up that brief interview with a 30 minute phone conversation and voila, I struck gold twice. I got the call for the final round.

THE DOTS…

I have immense respect for Steve Jobs as a person than an entrepreneur. And those who know me how much I abhor Apple products. But in his great speech, he mentioned about how a person should follow their calling instead of chickening out. But the trick is to find your calling. Following were my career choices

Ice cream vendor, Railway pilot, Astronaut- Kindergarten to Mid school

Scientist, Photographer for Playboy magazine and physiotherapist for Brazil’s women’s beach volleyball team – High school

Journalist, Sound Engineer- Undergraduate

Technical Consultant, Business Analyst, Analyst, Documentation specialist, Window cleaner, Pet walker, Free mason, will-work-for-beer-money: In various times of desperation from January- July 2012

About the dots:

I started this blog to while away my time when I was working in Saudi Arabia to get attention and express myself. And I wanted to prove a point to myself that people apart from my mom also think that I am funny.

I got my internship after they saw my experience with word press. I got a full time offer from the consultants as they believed I could communicate my ideas with conviction to the clients and be solid academically as they learned about my VISA leader experience.

My interview with the partner entailed me describing how much I love Football (Soccer) and why it is important to root for one team. I gave her a passionate 5 minute speech of how much I yearn to see Arsenal play at the Emirates.

My idea of happy hours during school and under graduate was to be able to spend time at the library when other kids won’t be around. All those hours in the afternoon spent among dusty bookshelves and under a fan (60 rpm/second) didn’t go to waste. These are the things that I loved doing without any expectations or burden.

Trust me, the dots do connect. Believe in yourself and March ahead comrades! Good luck for your job hunt.