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Memories of Unemployment May 31, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in comics, F&B, Food, india, Media, Personal, Politics, Random, T.V, Thoughts, World, Writing.
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I am without a job in more than a year. Yesterday was the last day. A bunch of 4 people paid for my lunch; gave a short speech and presented me with 2 Oxford books. I was touched and will remember it always.

More than 1 year is a long time. 14 months in a television production house to be precise. So what do I miss? The obvious is the bunch of 4 people who paid for my meal etc. There are a few others too.

The first cup of coffee made by Ramu, our head pantry guy. When he joined the office still had nothing. So they used to make the worst coffee in the world, similar to prisons all over the world, I guess. And then came the Coffee Day machine. We thought our days of torture are over. But it was not so.

Ramu and others are illiterate; they know Hindi but who cares about Hindi, not the Coffee Day instruction manual for sure. Again quite a few of the pantry guys hail from Bihar and U.P – the pantry is on the 1st floor, a stylish wooden staircase leading up. There are on good days 40 to 50 people working. The pantry strength is 5 at best. Mine was an open office, for the free flow and mingling of diverse creative juices. Well…

40-50 people having 2 or 3 cups of tea or coffee per hour, breakfast, other knick knacks before lunch hits them; receiving orders, serving them, washing dishes, in the meantime the coffee / tea orders still attacking them, again the hunger pangs of afternoon and evening as they keep traveling up and down, down and up, balancing food and beverage. They work hard and don’t get salaries on time and have to send money back home and are threatened by political parties and their goons.

Coming back…so he as a rookie had initial problems; the mixing was not right. The coffee and I both probably hated him.

But over the months Ramu figured out exactly how I liked my morning cuppa of cappuccino – strong with the sugar on the lesser side. The right mix of bitter and sweet. A good wake up call after the hateful journey to Saki Naka.

I don’t know if he will miss me but…making good coffee is an art.

The Cafeteria is another place that I will miss. Our bunch sometimes 5 leading upwards to 10 on good days…and I was the only guy!!! Most of them non-vegetarians and a couple of us veggies. Many a time one couldn’t eat to one’s hearts content, the food falling short. But it was fun as most good meals are; lots of talk, gossip, some creative talk and sometimes silence; the hunger making us focus only on food.

The Conference Room. Not the most popular of choices but it is for me for a number of reasons. Made great friends, had interesting discussions, ideating sessions and it was one place that gave me silence. I hated the open office settings. Many a show was thought, debated and presented. That was the womb.

My chair and computer. The desktop was on a long table that belonged in the dining room of a faux-castle. For the first 12 months we had the worst chairs in the world and it is being kind to the chairs; ergonomic, physiological, construction disasters. In the initial days I had Linux OS. Good, stable machine but not very good to make power point presentations. I was too used to windows. Finally windows was granted to me and I sat there almost forever; people wondering what I did.

And I will miss my desktop display.

the jouney


Calvin & Hobbes December 19, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in Calvin and Hobbes, Comic strip, comics, Entertainment, india, World.
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Am pasting a link…http://progressiveboink.com/archive/calvinhobbes.htm

for people who love the strip.

Hail The Comic July 4, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in calvin, comics, jamshedpur, the telegraph.
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Nowadays I directly flips to the Comics section. Not the front page for the News Headlines, not Page 3 and not the sports either. So Comics it is. Back in Jamshedpur (that’s where I am from, an eastern steel city in India) we used to read The Telegraph. It had an interesting comic section. Blondie, Beau Peep, The Wizard of Id, Hagar the Horrible, Peanuts and something I liked immensely – The Lockhorns, the old husband and wife pair who for our entertainment routinely hated each other.

And then there was Calvin and Hobbes. The others help too but C&H are the team. Calivin’s hyperactivism is best left unanalyzed. He is the mind – of a kid or a grown up man or woman, an insecure 21st century person, a world citizen suffering from all imaginable fears with hopes of an innocent wide-eyed dream.

These comics make us suddenly see the banal, the everyday, sometimes via the fantastic also but mostly with our daily insecurities, fallings, hopes and fears. They interpret our world for ourselves, make us intimate with our own personae because so busy we are with forgetting ourselves. We are surrounded by screeching traffic and miles of traffic jam and suddenly 4 frames of a comic can make us innocent and human. We stop and forget and access our humor. And the world laughs with us unknown to us.

And then as it lapses we start thinking about the hurt, the pain, the grief and how to inflict it on somebody else who might be reading the comic section stuck in a traffic jam.