Monday, March 26, 2007

Can you please write it and give me...

Recently, I have realized the power and effectiveness of the statement "Can you please write it and give me"..

Let me explain...

I have registered for the BSNL broad band connection nine months back and have not got it yet. So I went to customer care, and asked the lady behind the counter about the status, and she very casually asked me to go to some RTNagar exchange and find out.

"Why cant you do it?" I asked..

"Nopes we dont have any person here who is responsible for the internet connections" she said

"Can you please write it and give me?" I said , "Please write that a customer has come to enquire for net connection and I cant help but ask him to go to some other place"

"No I cant do that", She said

"Why not?" I asked

"Because I am not responsible for the net connections" she said.

"Ok in that case, please write and give me that Customer Care is not responsible for net connections, for this kind of things customers are required to go exchange and find out", I persisted, "See, I dont want to complain, but just I want to figure out where I have to go for what"

Thats it, she started calling some numbers, gave my details, retrieved the information and told me.

Never mind what the information was, but I got some answer, and I avoided running to someother place.

This is the third time that I have employed this technique, First at the railway reservation and second at ICICI, and this time here.

I guess it works because people are afraid to give in writing, because they know that it is their responsibility and they are just running away from it. So if you persist, they would solve the problem for you.

Please use this freely, you dont have to be rude and all. Be nice and very straight. Trust me it works....


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My First Job...

The sanskrit exam had just ended, and it was the last exam of 10th class and I was feeling very happy. Finally had finished school, and probably would go in to college. From time I had started watching movies, and seeing all the heros having so much fun in college I always wanted tobe in college.

But at the same time somethings were troubling me. The community in which I grew up, there was a rule that everyone does business. Other career options were unheard of. All my friends were planning to go with their fathers/elder brothers to their own shop/business and learn to work. But sadly my father worked in the bank, and he did not have business. So I was kind of stranded. So I wanted to find out what I wanted to do in life. Vivek, one other friend of mine had same problem. So united in our problem with the anxiety of uncertain future, we thought that we should start finding a job for ourselves.

We looked up in papers and found this particular sales agency which wanted sales executives. Next day we ended up in this sales agency. I dont even remember the name of it right now, the only thing that I remember is that the owner of the sales agency (as was murmured to us by the other guys who had come there), was a young man of 25, and he had started it when he was our age, and he had reached a level where he was earning lakhs of rupess per month. WoW.

There was supposed to be interview as well, and first one for us in our lives. Both vivek and me were nervous, vivek had even tried reading up all the maths and all. But we just cleared the interview, he did not ask anything. He only explained that we were supposed to do door to door selling. He explained how we could sell more and more and keep multiplying our return. He was so casual and looked so cool. Instantly he became our hero, and we wanted to be like him. He was so smart and a great man. We were wondering why his name had never figured in papers. All of sudden felt that we had found our career option.

Next morning we were supposed to go there at 8 and start the work. We had decided that we were not going to tell our parents, because they may stop us from doing this. We would tell them later, we were sure that if we were able to earn enough money, then they would feel proud.

Morning, and we were handed 10 packets of dining table mats. Each packet was to be sold at 100 rupees, and 10 rupees was my earnings from the same. We were even made to wear the tie. And we were asked to memorize something to the effect.. "Maam, we are from DontRememberTheName company and we have this ....".

May, Gujju land and tie, but somehow these things did not seem to bother us, we were just thinking that this was the thing to get into. We were just looking at this as a great opportunity to become rich. We would sell lot of dining table mats, and make loads ofmoney. Even 10 sets sold would give us 100 rupess, which did seem lot of money. It just meant selling one set an hour, which did not look difficult. Further still everyday the item seemed to change, dining mats one day, dining set other day, books on third day and so on. It looked so exciting. We had even decided that after some days we would carry different items, so that we could sell one or the other.

So out we went, we figured out a locality that we had to go and we started. Went from house to house, we had a little tough time in figuring out most of the times weather the lady washing clothes outside was the kaamwali or the house owner. But we kept on. Sometimes lecturing only to realize that we were talking to kaamwali, but then we would start again.

I remember one particular house we went, were after the intial lecture of introduction, the lady asked us to wait. We were hoping that she had gone to take money, but instead she got in her hand a similar packet of dining mats, and they looked spoiled and badly damaged, "I had bought it last week from similar guys like you and now in one wash it has got spoilt, please take this and give the money back". Ooops...not knowing what to do, both vivek and me broke off in a run, and ran away from her house as fast as we could. Did not stop until we reached the next street. I still dont know why we did that, but I guess we were afraid. Afraid that she would snatch a good packet from us. We did not want to get in to 100 rupees loss. 100 rupees was loads of money at that time. We stood at the corner of the road discussing about how we are going to deal with this situation. Wondering if we were cheating people. Wondering if the lady would have send her son to follow us.

We started again after sometime, but somehow the rosiness of the whole business had disappeared. We were begining to feel tired. And started wondering why could we not go back home and watch DDLJ.

At the end of day we had sold three packets, made thirty rupees. The owner of that company, our Hero of the morning, (I say hero of the morning, because somehow in the evening things did not look same, we started doubting him, his success) told us that we had done great, and tomorrow we should sell more.

From next day onwards we never went there. I guess that I decided salesmanship was not the right career for me. I dont even remember what I did for rest of the vacation. I guess spend it with TV, cycling here and there, and so on. Wonder what I did with those fifteen rupees (that was my share).

But I still think about that day. That image of me and vivek with mats in hands and the face of that lady are still fresh. I guess I learnt the importance of money that day, learned to respect my parets for taking care of all my needs and pocket money.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sales conference with Jeans-Tshirt ??

I never understood why is that blazer with leather shoes and a suit is formal, whereas a tshirt-jeans is not formal. I keep wondering who defined all those things. Why is it that when people are expected to go for seminars, they are supposed to wear these so called formal clothes. I think if I ever become a CEO, I would go in jeans and tshirt, or may be a kurta. As long as I am neatly dressed, I dont think it should be of concern to anyone.

Same goes with eating as well. Have never been able to realize the fun of eating with knife and fork. Have found it more cumbersome then useful. I mean nothing wrong with that, but eating with hand should also be equally good. I guess it should be left to individual choice.

I remember the first time I had gone to Montreal-Canada on account of office work, I got a nice yummy chicken leg piece for dinner with a pizza. I could manage pizza with knife and spoon, but simply could not figure out how was I supposed to eat the chicken piece with fork and a knife. I told my host that in most of India, we would rather eat it with hand, and then I ate it as I would nomally would by holding it in one hand and nibbling at it. Actually that did trigger off a nice conversation, about India, and how things are the way they are and so on, which in turn actually did help me a lot in later days. Now actually when I recall that day which is still so fresh in memory (because that was my first time abroad), I was wearing bright red Kurta that day. That facinated my host to no end. And the conversations kept becoming more and more interesting, as the days went by, starting from food, to clothing to marriage and to basically everything. The best part of all this was that, this fellow took me for one full day trip of Montreal just before I was about to leave, the trip started from harbour, to church, to shopping, to dinner and finally ending up at a disc. (would blog some other day about that). Wonder if I would have even been able to strike a conversation with host, and subsequent friendship, had I been busy trying to look like one of him, trying to be so-called formal and ceasing to be myself.

Coming back, why do we still follow the tradition of wearing ties and learning to eat with spoons and forks and knives? In some companies they even give the training for the same. Wonder how many people wear tie by choice rather than by compulsion. I dont know why cant we be ourselves. I also hate the gowns that they give us in convocation, we have pay something for renting that. I dont know why. I guess it would still be very nice if everyone could come neatly dressed. Ok..I guess uniformity is required, because it gives a very pretty picture, but then it could be kurta-pygama as well, which I guess everyone would have one at home, and which would be useful later as well.

Imagine May, 45 degrees, small dusty road, a bank on side, and poor employees forced to wear a tie. It is ridicolous! This is not orginated in my brain, this is what happened to one of my fathers friend, where the bank he worked for all of sudden imposed this dress code for ties.

I guess we should all be allowed to be ourselves.

By ourselves, I dont mean Indian, or Gujju, or Hindu, or corporate or anything. Just someone whom we call "Me" "myself"

Friday, March 09, 2007

Down Memory Lane.... Ek Anek Aur Ekta

This is a cliche kind of post, but I am sure that this is going to ring some bells inside you. I used to absolutely love this video as a kid, infact I still love it. In my old office I used to have this video on my PC, and people used to gather along my cubicle and we used to watch it, but I stupidly lost it, today remembered and found it on You Tube. Njoy

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Crazy and Embarassing

That was the time when I was new to Bangalore. Just one year in to the IT job, and my life was mostly like everyone else, Brigade road roaming, KFC eating and Rex movie watching. But at the time of the story I had acquired something new, a girl friend. For the first time in life I was bitten by the love bug, you may say it is a little late, but I was a goody-goody boy in college, parachute oil in hair putting type, and the only pleasure known to me at that time were playing cricket and solving cryptography puzzles from "The code Book" (Simon Singh) and as such our college was never known for any fairer sex. So here I was in a totally different world. I found myself moving away from the late night discussions about "Brief History of time", and found myself sending lot of smses, and engaging myslef in late night calls which lasted for hours. I did not have a bike then, and further still I did not know how to drive one. But sensing the necessity of such a skill I borrowed a bike from one of my friends, not a Pulsar not even a splendour, but it was boxer, Bajaj Boxer. But I guess it did not matter at that time. I spend couple of days learning it.

On the day in question, I found myslef, on boxer with this newly acquired friend of mine. She did not know that I was a novice at biking, and I guess I drove brilliantly for a "two day experienced biker", and she could not guess it, until it was the time to drop her back after full day of doing somethings none of which I remember right now. But I do remember clearly as I was dropping her, around about 8 in the evening, it was already dark. She was off my bike, and after bye, and holding hands, and discussing when to meet next, to another bye and another shake hands, I was ready to go. There was this feeling of having accomplished something. But Ooops krrrr, krrrr, krrrr, krrrr,.....five kicks and the bike would not start. Some more kicks but the engine refused to start. I was getting little tensed. Such a situations had never been presented to me before. With racing mind I thought I would put the bike on stand, and try, but no... i had a better idea, (atleast at that time I though it was brilliant) I reasoned that the bike would have got cold and now given that it had already taken my 20 kicks it should start soon. So to save my man-li-ness pride, I just turned the petrol key, to off and on again. I did this because I wanted my friend to believe that petrol was off, am sure she would not paid much attentions to what I did with the key. So with renewed confidence and smile on my face, murmuring "Arey petrol was not on", I started, one... two...three... ten. It would simply not start. Now I was in soup.

I was feeling very embarassed and irritated. All the while this girl was standing there, looking little amused. I had never used bike for long, neither had I any knowledge about the failure points in a bike, not did I have any idea where to check the oil and all such things. Minutes later I found myslef walking with girl, dragging the bike, searching for some mechanic. Shops were already closing, and my house was not very near, I could not stay at this girls place also, because her aunty would have killed me, with all the thoughs racing we were walking down. I did not want to talk, I wished that the girl had left me alone, but according to her she was being a good friend, trying to sort out my problem, and I was getting irritated and wondering what kind of impression this girl would have formed of me, fear was lurking inside me that this might be the last time that girl would go with me.

But, then came the God send rescuer, a man who was walking away briskly, saw us two kiddos dragging the and came to our help. I handed him the bike feeling pretty sure that he would not be able to start it. But bang, first kick and the bike started. I was like you can understand very embarassed and very red. Then he pointed his hand to a small switch near the right handle of the bike, which was supposed to be the on-off button. The button was in off position and he simply put it on. You may ask how come it went in to off position, even I asked the same question to myself then, and I still dont know how that happened.

By the time the girl was laughing like mad, I was wondering what that man might be thinking about me, I wished that he was not from the same colony, I did not want to see him again. I wished he had never come and that I would have passed on the problem to some thing going bad in bike. But anyways, I took the bike and dropped my friend (girl) home, I did not switch off the bike, because I did not want to take any risk, and this time did not even go through the cylcle of bye...talking...... bye, just one small bye and I was off.

Today whenever I am with this friend of mine and we see a boxer, we both laugh like crazy, and remember that day, when the boxer would not start.

Excerpt from the dairy..

Now coming back to the present state, the most embarassing thing that I have done in recent past is to burn a white board marker with the soldering Iron. Being a very experienced hardware engineer, I guess that is something which I am not supposed to do. (I think it is ok to leak this information here, and that it would not affect my future career, since my resume does not mention Goli anywhere)

Another crazy thing that I did some days back was when I came to office very early and I did not have the keys. This happens quite often in our office, because we dont have a security guard. And no one was expected to come in another hour. Thankfully I had a my guitar, So I sat on my office steps facing the road and started playing, "knocking on heavens door", people came, saw and went. But I did not care. I wish I had a "katora" with me that day. I guess I would have made enough money for atleast a "set dosa" in the evening.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Company called Elina

I am on 55th post, and I never blogged about my company... so I thought that it is a good idea to blog about the place where I work...

My company
Elina(sounds very weird name, actually we picked it up from and it means intelligence in some european langauge) ... started 18 months back, makes networking hardware. I am not going to bore you with all the technical jazz. In simple terms we make those boxes(solutions) with which you can interconnect all your offices(stores) ... for example if food world has 500 stores in india, and they want to have a centralized management, they can put our box at each of their location and thats it... I am not going to go more tech, any other tech you can get on website and ofcourse you can ping me.

I have been lucky enough to get job in startups. As soon as I graduated I worked in Tejas Networks.... that company rocks...I mean rocks in terms of company culture. Ofcourse everyone thinks that his company rocks, but I guess in small company you have that feeling of ownership which makes if very different.

You may ask, why did I leave tejas, yups after sometime your mind yearns to do something different. And that different thing happened to be Elina.
Elina is another extenstions of tejas, I mean another product company from India (but we dont compete tejas, we are totally in different domains)

Great things about startups... is that you can play music on speakers all day long, I love playing radio indigo, and torture everyone to listen to music which I want to listen... and food from the caterer is good because the number of people is less..... the fights... the temper running strong in board room over some important decisions..... designing and choosing your office.....frustration of coming to office on weekend to finish some work, only to realize that you dont have the keys because we could not as yet afford a security...thrill of first sales......seeing the first product installed at customer location... despair of fear that we might have to close down ...some days I have driven back home thinking that I have completely screwed up decision of joining this place..... and days like today i am totally escatatic and am thinking that we are going to conquer the world...I get so depressed sometimes that my first sales meet has not yet resulted in a order (still not happened :( )... and get so excited whenever I get a new lead to chase someone...Got galis from one customer because I did not call him when he wanted me too....Trying to design a Tshirt for my company...There was a time when there was no water in our new office, and everyone was trying to figure out the nearest sulab....crazy AC.... in IIM office (our office was in IIM incubation) once we had water coming in through the ventillation windows, and all of us left work and were engaged in rescue effort of sticking papers, plastics, and whatever was available....

I have had a chance of putting hands in everything starting from hardware, software, manufacturing, customer installation, marketing and now desperately trying to do some sales. I absolutely love the faith that my team puts in me to do stuff, which I have never done before. Somethings I have done well, have screwed up some things. Sheer number of different things which I can do makes everyday very different.

Till now ELINA is doing quite well, and hope that we would fly someday soon...

By the way if you ever go for a haircut at Limelite (@brigade road, jaynagar, 100feet road, vithalmalaya road, koramangala in bangalore)... you can peek down at the reception desk, just below the world space radio, is our box, purple color small and cute.

Cheers... and Happy holi