Lazy Sunday Morning, Atif and a Book…
I really love Sundays. Not that it makes a huge difference in my adrift lifestyle but I guess some psychological notion works behind the feeling. However, there is a small problem… well, not actually small but with a huge brunt, and that is, my mum also shares the same feeling and eagerly waits for this very day while making several mental notes through out the week for the chores to be thrown in between me and my beautiful Sunday. 

Today as well, I was about to be kicked out from my shelter if I didn’t clean it up, so with a heavy heart I abandoned the TV and reached to the messy corner, originally labeled as my room. While hustling and tussling with the piles of old papers, I found an old, almost torn book and as I opened it, it drifted me to the old days… memories, so deeply rooted in me that I can never forget them. Atif was playing “Meri Kahani” on the music system and I was like floating in the moments from my past, my surroundings, my whole life. 

When mum n dad got married in 70’s, dad used to get 400 bucks as salary. Same with mum but still they did what I can’t even imagine this day. They made this house, brought us up with best of the facilities among all kids in our age group, saved for the life coming up and did whatever we can think of in a middle class family. When they built the home, immediately after the marriage, they were in such a debt that mum couldn’t even buy a new dress for next 2 years. Today, I earn more than that per hour but whenever me and my brother speak on phone, the favorite phrase about our present situation is “Hand to Mouth”. The value of money has changed for sure but more than that, its our mentality that has changed. 

I still remember when I was around 9 years old, dad bought me a yellow ball and somehow I left that in open sun and wrecked it. I think the cost was 8 or 10 bucks but with such an embarrassment and fear (coz I thought I have made a big loss and probably it was, considering their salary of that time) I asked dad, if I can get a new one and instead of getting angry, he was like.. sure my son!! Today I can’t remember when I thought twice before spending 100 bucks, on an useless item but when I look at dad, he still tries to save 10 bucks where he can, for example carrying the water from home instead of buying a Bisleri. How I wish, I could have even 50% of his good practices in life.  

When we were kids, Samurai Video Game was the most happening thing and I so wanted to have one for myself but I always knew I can’t, coz more than affordability it was about the needs. That was my wish, not need and I convinced myself that some day when I will earn, I will buy the best of the game station available in market. Needless to say, I can buy any damn gaming console today but I don’t. When I think about the reasons, I guess its coz I can easily buy it any given day and that is why it has lost its charm. As a human being only those things attract us which we can’t have. At that time, we had to wait even for the small things but after getting them it used to be such a feeling that I can’t express in words. Today, buying some thing no more makes a difference, probably coz I no more long for it. 

When the first phone was installed in our home, I was in such euphoria for several days, while telling the number rather boasting to any person who came across my way. Today, I guess its more than 5 numbers alone in my name but then what?. My first mobile handset was a used Samsung R220 B&W and after buying, I didn’t sleep properly for several nights coz I used to dream about it all the time, trying to play with it whenever I could. Today we have around 30 handsets (thanks to my profession, where we need them for testing) and all of them are the dream phones, one can have, but I don’t think I even look at it again after buying. 

My first (and last) girl friend and me used to talk about all this for hours. We didn’t have any money but what we had was far more important than that, and that was time and happiness. There were promises to buy her new jeans or a jacket or a watch when I will have some money. We used to roam around in market, highways (on my old Kinetic Scooter) while thinking about our future. Sit together on the floor of my room, just too happy by having each other itself, weaving small dreams about the life coming up. Whenever I could get some money, some of the promises used to be fulfilled but that was not very frequent. Needless to say, things are different now and not that perilous on financial front but what I don’t have now is time, happiness and above all… her. 

I think this is some thing where I will never get short on words and keep on writing for the ages and pages but better hold myself, or plan a part 2 of the post. By now you must be wondering what that book was… It was my first bank pass book. I opened that account in my early teens and the transactions were ranging in 50 to 500 bucks but every transaction had a story associated with it. To say, that I miss those times will be an understatement but what I can say very confidently is, any given day I will be ready to exchange my present with that past.


All in the name of work…
I am not sure how many of you have attended a typical north Indian wedding (salt in the wound, if it’s a large family) but if you had, then you must have perceived that the biggest charm for uncles and aunties and other overactive senior citizens, to attend the wedding is to update their very own personal encyclopedia and who’s who database with latest happenings in the family. And then of course exchange notes to reconfirm the newest discoveries.

Some of the evergreen hot-shot topics for the discussions are – 

- Why one’s son or daughter is not getting married and then with a remarkable combination of pain and worried expressions – tch, tch, (don’t know how to spell that sound, hope you get the idea) this is what happens if you don’t control the children in time, they don’t listen to you like this. 
- Why ‘a’ and his wife is not thinking of a baby, its already been 2-3 years to their marriage.
- Why ‘b’ and his wife is not thinking about 2nd baby, its already been 2-3 years to the first one.
- What kind of jewellery, attire one is wearing and on the basis of that, how they are doing on financial front.
- Who is spending how much of time on cell phone and then how many affairs he/she is having
- Current employment status for one’s son/daughter and what are the latest figures in pay checks. Quite obviously, when they take this much pain whilst coming to this point, comparison among them is warranted and they have to discuss who is doing best among all. 

Luckily I get an escape from most of the points as those are not applicable in my case but employment/work is some thing which I can’t avoid. Fly on the ointment comes in when its almost impossible to explain 60+ people, what exactly I do. Earlier, I used to make efforts to elucidate them but then I realized its kind of wrestling with pig in mud so now I nod in whatever they say. Hence different people have different ideas on my profession and still it is one of the biggest mysteries in our family. 

A typical conversation is like 

He- so what are you doing these days.. 
Me – umm, we develop software 
He – and what does that mean?
He – without even waiting for me to reply oh, I got it, you know, the 4th son of my sister-in-law’s daughter-in-law’s uncle is also in the same profession. He does this accounting work for various shopkeepers.. you do the same thing na.. 
Me – with a broad smile… you got it..  

Same thing happened in the recent wedding, I attended…

He – so what exactly do you do?
Me – we develop software for mobile phones
He – oh gotcha… you install those ring tones, wallpapers etc. in phones.
Me – mmm, actually more than that, suppose you need to have some software in your phone, we develop that.
He – puzzled.. fetches an ancient Nokia 3310, duly covered in lamination, from his pocket. Do you have some thing for this?
Me – oh, not for such advanced phones actually.. we work for simpler ones.. like Blackberries, Iphones etc. 
He – err.. black.. what?
Me – never mind.. 

Then my savior came in picture and shooed the earlier one away with “leave the poor chap alone.. This is altogether new generation uncle, you wont understand this..”

Then focusing on me

He – you know how these old people are.. they won’t understand how fast time is moving.. this is some thing only we people can think of
Me – hmm
He – the other day I was telling some one about your business and how fast this industry is going with MMS etc.

Now it was my turn for puzzled expressions..

He - oh BTW, do you have some latest MMS which you can transfer to my phone. Some thing really hot.. 
Me – tearing my hair… 

Cheers !!