Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Rare Tuesday Evening

It was quite a surreal experience today. There was some all-day event of our company held at a prestigious hotel in the heart of the city. Fortunately it didn't last for one whole day and I had the privilege of being back home when “suraj chachu” was still around. Now, after working for over a year in a company which requires me to travel close to 4 hours a day, the only time when I get a glimpse of this golden ball of fire is either when it says “hi” in the morning or “bye” in the evening. It will be a really beautiful sight filling the whole sky with its deep orange glow. Sometimes when the work gets very hectic, I miss even these.

When I got down from cab and walked towards home, I immediately realized that this was exactly the time when we used to come back home from school. My mind raced back to those primary school days – I used to walk back home everyday after school. Sometimes I would have friends for company and most of the times it would be my brother and sister. We used have long discussions about what our teachers had told us in school, how we had lost either a pencil or an eraser that day, how we would finish our homework and then play, etc . If I walked back with my brother, I used to hold his hand because mom had told me to. Although he never ran around, it was like a big responsibility to me then. (BTW, he looked cute in an uniform). We used to have other topics such as which chocolate mom would get us, what nice food she would prepare for us and how we both would play on terrace that evening (and end up in a fight hitting each other).

When I thought of those days, my mind was filled with some unexplainable emotion. Those were really the golden days with no worries and work pressures. I wished I could be a school going kid again while all the time aware of the fact that it would only be a fantasy and could not happen for real. I watched the some kids arguing about why India would win today’s T20 match against SL and how one of the boys who had just now got a Tata Sky Connection in his house would watch the match after finishing his homework.

I felt happy that I had been given a chance to come home soon and experience all these nice things. I was thankful to my employers for that as well as one more good news that was announced today. It seemed so long ago that I used to stay back almost everyday to finish the task that was assigned to me. I used to grumble everyday about having too much work, not speak to anyone properly, didn’t have time for anything and was too much frustrated then. Life had come a full circle from there. Now I have finished those hectic tasks, taken holidays, rested and feeling good about everything. I realized it is all interwoven in a delicate cycle. When we get to the bottom of it, we always complain and grumble as if there were no good days; When we are at the top, we rejoice and celebrate as if we never fall down. It was today’s experience that made me feel that mere grumbling will not lead to any happiness in life. We need to always look at life with a positive and balanced perspective. Let us all learn from our very own “suraj chachu” and “chanda maama” that after every hard, sunny and toiling day, there will always be a relaxing, cool night and that after every dark and scary night, there will always be a bright and dazzling pleasant day

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Hai Guarantee?

There is a flashy but equally scary word that we hear today in almost every sphere of life – ‘Recession’. Be it the luxurious five star hotels, the expensive airlines, the automobile manufacturers or the real estate developers, every one is facing a downturn in their businesses that were once thriving like honey bees in a flower garden. Its not just these luxury segments though – even the service industry like the banks, the software sector, the call centers, the textiles and garments, small scale industries – everything in sight has been gobbled up by the ever hungry recession. No wonder then that it has not even spared my already receding hairline ;)

Coming to the more serious matters, I personally feel something like this was definitely bound to happen. Not that I expected it or wanted it to happen so badly. But at this juncture, I am just reminded about a small scenario that happened during my college days:

It was during the end of our penultimate year of engineering and the placement season had just begun. All of my friends including me were filling up our details at a big register kept at the placement office. The placement cell of our college (supposedly the third best in the state) had hung up a huge board inside the newly furnished office indicating the number of students who had been placed year upon year. Apart from the few years in 1999-2001, courtesy the dotcom crash, the percentage was almost 100 every year. Naturally we were all thrilled and happy. Going by the industry demand, there was no way we were going to miss the cent percent record that year.

Our college used to charge some money as placement fees for each offer that a student got. Most of my friends had a problem with that. I asked them, “Isn’t it a good thing that we are all getting employement? What is wrong if we pay a small part of that as fees?” But they dint think so. “These days, if you join an engineering college and score decently, employment is guaranteed. Since we are in one of the best colleges, it is just how much you get as your starting salary that matters. These authorities just want to make money out of us. Look at other colleges. There are no placement fees. Then why are we the only ones paying for it? Placement is not a favor – as students of a reputed institute, it is our right

So those were the times then. The season started in july and within a week, almost everyone in our batch were placed in reputed companies. Even then, there was discontent and disappointment in most of us. Just a job was not enough. Students had to make sure that their package was the highest in the college and studied day in and day out to get placed. In other colleges, there used to be instances where the students carried offer letter of one company to the interview of other company and bargained for a better salary. I had once asked a friend of mine, “So now that you are placed in xyz and have the best package among all of us, arent you happy?”. He replied,”Yes I am. But my ultimate target is company abc. I will use xyz for two years to get experience and then jump to abc! You see, theirs is the best pacakge available right now”

How quickly have things changed since then. Getting an engineering seat no longer means that you have secured a job. Not even the prestigious IITs can assure you a job right now. Students don’t bargain for jobs neither do they complain about colleges charging fees for placement. Students just want a job. Both abc and xyz and many companies in between have now bitten the dust. There are many more getting bankrupt almost daily. It is a scary world out there.

If there is one thing that this recession has taught the youth of today, it is just that life does not come in packages. What goes up has to definitely come down sooner or later. Nothing is guaranteed in life. The enginereing seat, the high paying job, the luxury apartment, the costly sedan, the platinum credit card - you have to earn each one of this slowly and with hard work. Not everyone becomes a millionaire by 30 and starts living in palaces. Most of the youth of today have just seen the good things in life and have had it easy – naturally they are drawn to mindless consumerism and unrestrained spending. They just want to have everything in sight whether it is of use to them or not. Atleast this slowdown has made everyone of us realize the true value of things.

Ultimately what matters in life is what we learn out of it. What matters in life is how our learnings and how well we adapt to the situation – be it happy or sad. This recession has taught us some nice lessons till date and there might be more to come. The situation is going to be tough. But let us face these tough times with renewed enthusiasm and work hard to find a way out of it. I am sure when these dark days end, there will be jolly days again. Wish we see them soon :)