Monday, February 18, 2013

Confessions of an ITwallah - Party Time!!

Today is D-day, the auspicious occasion when it's a Friday and also annual company event. There is an air of excitement on every floor decorated to its core. Chhagan is excited as he is going to get some corporate excellence for cost reduction in project SDLC award (as he has saved on bonus amount to be distributed amongst his team members by ensuring low ratings), Maddy is excited as he can see a lot of chicks draped in hot dresses, made up from head to toe, and not just that but even an average looking girl is going to ensure every inch of her limited beauty is flaunted, Rashmi is excited that she will get to wear her highly expensive and to an extent revealing party outfit which she has reserved to use as her last weapon to seek Sumit's attention. And me, well speaking of me, nothing gets me excited more than the idea of getting FREE drinks, drinks of all expensive foreign brands, drinks that the meager number of peanuts I get at the end of the month do not allow me to buy myself. To my luck, today doesn't have any major task to be delivered, those annoying and probing client calls get cancelled and we sail smoothly to the party venue.

As the DJ starts playing loud and obnoxious music and dance floor is declared open, Maddy gets hyper and he tries to intrude a group of hot girls, just to find himself deserted in a few seconds, Rashmi is full on with makeup and her revealing dress and her eyes fixed on every move of Sumit. Every time she tries to get close to Sumit, she finds him giving her a cold shoulder and turning to that hot chick of our floor who is looking way hotter today.I am constantly looking at the bar and eagerly waiting for it to be open so much so that  I might not have waited for my first salary this much. And, finally the moment arrives, no sooner does the bar tender appears, he looks to me like an angel and I literally attack with several other carnivores like me, but this time I prove to be better than others,

"One large whisky with ice and soda",  I  love being a James Bond while ordering drinks and also love it when that bar tender calls me a 'Sir', it feels like someone's tickling me when I hear it.

I get surprised to see myself joined by Maddy carrying a large glass of Vodka.

"So, Hero, din't get any partner to dance with?" I ask sheepishly
"All these girls are morons, they like half dudes and half nuts and not real men like me..", he replies aggravatingly and for next two minutes or so, I hear some authentic North Indian abuses involving lot of sister and mother words.

It's only my second peg and already it seems as if it's hitting me hard. This doesn't happen with me usually. When I say this to Maddy who's already beyond everything, he suspects that these bloody bar tender has mixed some cheap local brand and that's why we are finding it hard. So, he heads straight to bar and starts abusing the bar tender, he being a wise man, pours some more Vodka and Whisky for us respectively and we gleefully accept it and head to snacks counter to get even with alcoholic effect.

As we are walking, we see some HR guy calling up people and dividing them in groups for making them play some foolishly and forcefully funny game .Such games which are favorites among girls, I strongly believe are management tactics to distract people and save some money on drinks. The only thing we understand that he has divided a group of people in some teams and given them some numbers and has asked people to come up with special characteristics of their team members. We find it hard to understand anything further and anyway I strongly believe that HR is the most inefficient and incompetent department in any organisation, so I decide not even give a damn to it and head to snacks counter.

As I am busy in choosing from snacks plates, someone pats me from behind. I look back and get surprised to see that same HR guy.

"Hey, which team are you from? ", he asks courteously. Ohh, you son of a bitch I think, you are really fake.
"Testing team." I answer innocently.
He smiles lamely, "No, not that one, the team no. 1 and no.2 in our game"
"Ohh, is it? I am sorry bro, I am completely on high, so you better buzz off from me.", I am very blunt when drunk.

"Ohh, ok. " he becomes ultra defensive and backs off.

Maddy can't control his giant laughter at this.

"Bloody chu**** HR guy", I spit out the venom.

A nondescript girl who's overly excited in playing that foolish game approaches Maddy and asks him
"Hi, please tell me one special thing about you."

Maddy observes her carefully, then gives her a look as if he's looking at a house lizard and laughs out and answers
"Madam, I don't like to be bothered while drinking hahahaha"

She gets scared and disappears into crowd.

I am sitting on the couch with my fourth peg and fried chicken thigh. Rashmi comes in and sits next to me. Sad is the only word written all over her face. She's constantly looking at Sumit who's dancing with that hot chick and getting cozy in between. It seems as if Rashmi can start weeping any moment. I wink at Maddy and start singing Ghulaam Ali's ghazal in my unbearable voice. Rashmi ignores for a while, then gets up and disappears into the crowd.

Meanwhile, Maddy is looking for Chhagan as he wants to get even with him for this year's appraisal, but he can't find him anywhere. Looks like, Chhagan is in luck today as last year he had faced brunt of my anger, I don't clearly remember though what all words I had said.

We decide to have dinner. Maddy is the ahead of me in the queue. He picks one white napkin and and tries to wear it over the chest. While he fails to do so, the man behind the tandoor counter says softly

"Sir, that's not a napkin, it's a roomali roti."
"Ohh, is it? no problem."

Maddy keeps it in the plate and continues filling his plate with everything that's laid on every counter. My plate also doesn't look different from Maddy's. We stuff ourselves with all kinds of meat and vegetable curries, various rotis, naans and chapatis, pulavs and biryanis as if we haven't eaten for last six months. Our mothers will be proud today seeing how their respective sons have eaten their plates clean.

We decide to leave now. We go to washroom to empty our bladders. we hear lot of strange noises there.

"Look at these faggots", Maddy points out.

Some guys are puking it out. Just as Maddy says this, and he too vomits it huge.

He then says..

"Don't worry bro, it happens some time due to acidity.And, I am going to drop you home, no worries."

I nod without much resistance. I sit behind him on his heavy bike. The engine roars, and next thing I understand is that I am in front of my home.

"Good Night Chaitanya bhai. See you tomorrow."
I thank him and he sets of with a speed of Jet.

Before going home, I find a local paanwaala's shop, stuff my mouth with aromatic beetle leaves, go home. My mom complains about how late it is. However drunk I am, I make it a point to take full care that my mom doesn't realise it. I say, I am very tired and literally fall into bed and it's all dark. My mom keeps whining about something and the next thing I remember is I am waiting for my bus next morning on the bus stop with a few other losers around...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

एक विमान हरवलेलं...


झी मराठीवर दर शुक्रवारी रात्री साडेनऊ वाजता मधली सुट्टी नावाचा एक छान कार्यक्रम असतो. सलील कुलकर्णी अँकरींग करतो. वेगवेगळ्या गावांतील शाळांमध्ये जावून तिथल्या विद्यार्थ्यांशी एक सुंदर संवाद साधायचा असे ह्या कार्यक्रमाचे स्वरूप आहे. एरवी तो सलील त्याच्या रिअ‍ॅलिटी शोज मधल्या भाषणांनी कधी कधी डोक्यात जातो, पण हा शो मात्र मला मनापासून आवडतो.तर,ह्या आठवड्याच्या भागात, सांगली जवळच्या एका खेडयातील जिल्हा परिषदेच्या शाळेत शो होता. सलील चा नेहमीप्रमाणे मुलांशी संवाद सुरू होता. त्याने मुलांना एक प्रश्न विचारला की, तुम्ही सगळे तर लहान गावात राहता, तुम्हाला कधी मोठ्या शहराचे, तिथल्या गोष्टींचे आकर्षण वाटते का? वाटते तर कशाचे वाटते? तेव्हा एका गोड लहान मुलीने तितकेच गोड उत्तर दिले की मला ना मुंबईचा समुद्र खूप खूप आवडतो आणि तिला फक्त एकदा समुद्र बघायला मुंबईला जायचंय.
माझ्या तोंडून लगेच वाह निघून गेला. त्या निरागस मुलीची इच्छा सुध्दा तितकीच निरागस होती. तिला ना मोठमोठ्या बिल्डींग्स चं आकर्षण होतं, ना मॉल्स चं ना मल्टीप्लेक्स चं, ना मॅक्डोनल्ड्स ना पिझा हट चं. तिची स्वप्नं अशीच निरागस राहावीत असंच मात्र मला राहून राहून वाटत होतं.
त्या लहान मुलीने मला चांगलंच अंतर्मुख केलं. तो साधेपणा, तो निरागसपणा कुठेतरी एका कोपर्‍यात बंद करून ठेवलाय आपण. लहानपणी मला असंच टांग्याचं, रेल्वेच्या शिट्टीचं, नदीवरच्या पूलाचं ,त्या पूलाखालून संथपणे वाहणार्‍या कृष्णेचं, गावातल्या लहान मोठ्या वाड्यांचं, आकाशात मधूनच दिसणार्‍या विमानाचं प्रचंड आकर्षण होतं. कधी लांब विमान दिसलं की त्याचा अगदी ठिपका होवून जाईपर्यंत मी जणू त्याचा पाठलाग करत असल्या सारखा पळत जायचो. आज सुध्दा मी पळतच आहे, मीच नाही तर माझ्यासारखे बरेच जण पळताहेत, पण ते ठिपका झालेलं विमान केव्हाच हरवलंय आणि सगळेच जण केवळ दुसरा पळतोय, मग मी सुध्दा पळणार आहे असं म्हणतात आणि पळतात, पण कशाच्या मागे हे मात्र कुणालाच माहित नाही. असं ऊर फुटेस्तोवर आपण धावत राहतो आणि दूर कुठेतरी कोपर्‍यावर आयुष्य आपल्याला खुणावत राहते. मग त्या कोपर्‍यावर आपण बरंच काही सोडून दिलेलं असतं, तिथे असते गल्लीतली हाफ पिच क्रिकेट मॅच, आजीच्या हातचं गरम गरम थालीपीठ, पु.लं ची हसवत हसवत नकळत डोळ्यांत पाणी आणणारी कॅसेट, मित्रांबरोबर करायचा राहून गेलेला तोरणा-राजगडचा ट्रेक, मैत्रिणीसोबत पाहायचा राहून गेलेला सिनेमा, बायकोसाठी आणायचा विसरलेला गजरा, मुलाच्या शाळेतला मिस केलेला गॅदरिंग चा कार्यक्रम असं काही अन् बरंच काही. हातात काहीतरी अनामिक, गूढ पकडण्यासाठी जीवाचा आटापिटा करायचा आणि तोपर्यंत आयुष्यच हातातून कधी निसटून जातं हे समजतच नाही. म्हणूनच मला वाटतं की कधी कधी उगाच काहीतरी लिहायचंच म्हणून पाटी गिचमिड अक्षरांच्या वेड्या वाकड्या डिझाईन्स नी भरवून टाकण्या पेक्षा ती तशीच स्व्च्छ आणि कोरीच ठेवायला काय हरकत आहे.
असो, माझ्या मनातलं ते ठिपका होणारं विमान जसं हरवून गेलं तसा त्या गोड मुलीच्या मनातला, स्वप्नातला अथांग समुद्र कधीच हरवू नये हीच ईश्वरचरणी प्रार्थना..