August 04, 2008

An Anniversary

Around three months back there was an anniversary of sorts. Now those of you who know me, I have no capability of remembering any dates. I don’t remember birthdays or anniversaries of friends or family. Not that I am proud of it, it’s just that I don’t remember. Now some people have issues with numbers, some with faces, I have the same with dates. The last dates I remembered were of course the history dates you had to remember for ICSE. I remember deadlines and have nightmares about them but thankfully I don’t have yearly repeated deadlines, at least not yet. :)

Anyway, a friend suddenly reminded me today that I had completed a year of working as a professional three months back. Well, he was surprised and so was I. Imagine surviving all those doomsday predictions and actually going through one whole year. I guess I love what I do to get the bread on the table. And that has been the only trick so far. In loving my work I guess I have been luckier than most. I just hope it remains the same. I have met some amazing people, have worked with a variety of bosses and have had a roller coaster of a time. It’s not that I do not have my frustrations. The bigger an organization gets the higher levels of bureaucracy comes in. Escalation becomes the key to getting any job done. There are processes and formats to follow. A manufacturer in some shady workshop churns out products at half your cost as your legal requirements ensure that consumer safety is not compromised.

The nightmarish case studies about organizational behaviour comes alive almost everyday. I guess it’s in human nature to pass the buck. In an interesting example in The Tipping Point, Gladwell had described that we are much more prone to help others if we know we are the only ones who can help. If there are more than one of us, we tend to pass the buck, hoping someone else will take the responsibility. The pattern changes if you are the boss though. Then the fight happens as to who can be the fastest in getting the information on the table. And then there’s the ‘cc’ culture. You begin to ‘cc’ everyone on the mail, starting from the sales team to the scientist in the R&D lab, from an insignificant cog like me to the CEO of the organization. It’s so irritating. And finally there’s the ‘why’ gang. If I ever become a professor, I will fail anyone who does not ask ‘why’ in my class. But thank God, I am a docile creation of his. If I had an anger quotient even 10% of Dharam Paji or Sunny Paji, I would have been in dire trouble for sitting on people who ask ‘why’ as the first attempt at sliming out of a request. It’s not that I am against why. I ask why every 2 minutes. It’s just that I don’t ask why when people ask me to pass on a napkin at the lunch table.

If you have been reading my blog, you’d have perhaps noticed that I never mention what I do for a living except for passing references. This blog is a universe away from my day to day work and I intend to keep it that way. Every day my life is full of excel sheets, presentations, videos of consumer interviews and such ‘uninteresting’ stuff. Now even in my spare time, I have to write about the same issues, the remaining sanity in my head will bid adieu. But since this is an anniversary post, I must say something. Well, in very unromantic terms I am a salesman. I sell everything from soaps to soups. Now how does it matter if I work for SNDU (Sabun, Nakhun and Datun Unlimited) or for some better known FMCG or Consumer Durables Firm? However, if I were to write a romantic ballad on my work, I would perhaps say my entire work is dedicated to understanding one person – you.

I guess I stand somewhere between the two extremes.

One year back when I had made this decision to join the firm I am with presently, I was amongst the minority in my business school in terms of my choice of career. But then, egged on by friends who stood by me, making the right decisions of following one’s heart never seemed difficult. Well, it wasn’t a cakewalk either and it felt bad when friends ended up on the opposite side of the fencing match. To be frank, few of us who were closest to each other are most relieved even after one year that we are not experiencing a face off in the market, at least for now. And if one day, I have to fight some of my best friends in the market, I know we will all do it and fight tooth and nail, but fight like honourable men and women. Yeah, I am proud of the batch I graduated with. The Marketing fanatics of IIMB 2007 have been one of the best lots of people I have ever met in my life.

Last one year has taken away a lot of things. I do not speak as often to people who matter to me. I do not seem to find time to just sit and do nothing. On a Sunday like today, I’d rather wake up late than go cold calling to people’s homes. My once enviable music collection has now stagnated with a year old expiry date. I miss the intellectual, theoretical debates late into the night in Athicas which often turned theatrical if you were too sleepy. I miss staying in a house or at least a hostel. Sometimes guest houses and hotels seem to be upsetting. (In a completely unconnected aside, my latest caretaker was the caretaker in the house of my ex-CEO. Though he is a thorough professional, I am sure he considers it a demotion to come to our guest house.)

Somewhere down the line, I realized that I was living weekend to weekend. But then soon I understood that you are what you make yourself to be. It was a conscious decision to never touch the internet on weekends after I left Bihar. And I have tried to stay true to that. Monday mornings are a nightmare but then you gain some you lose some. For example, instead of going and listening to Ranbindrasangeet today morning in Mumbai (which I missed due to miscommunication), I celebrated this post working on a presentation, watching India win and to top it all of, finally watch Prabhuji’s son debut in Bollywood as Jimmy.

And so come inflation or not continue to buy soaps and soups and I might just be able to survive for another year. Thinking beyond that is too long term :)


Archana Ramana said...

Banjo! I watched mimoh's truly incomparable debut too, with three others in a hall of 200, with the 196 other seats empty :)

Anonymous said...

Yus. I agree completely that students who do not ask 'Why?' in class should be failed.

Though, on the other hand, if CP of any kind was to decide passing/failing, I would still be in first term.

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@ Archana - I bow to thee

@ Hil - There's a difference between CP and doubts and queries. You make the Globe God ashamed of you :) and yet you are the All rounder so we bow to you :)

And why is hil station blocked?

Sap said...

something has changed and something remains the same. i like it.

Anonymous said...

congrats! thats inspiration for some :)

venkat said...


Just done with reading all your posts.. They are amazing...Waiting for more!!


Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

@ Venkat - Thanks :) Will definitely try