Rebeccus Farcis

Rebeccus Farcis means "Have Fun", in err.. the yet to be discovered Martian.

A Himalayan Intoxication – Part 2

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“If only people looked more at the mountains, they would realize how truly insignificant they are.” – With sincere apologies to Bill Watterson and his philosopher character, Calvin.

It all started the same way. A little known airport in a remote corner in the country. A long drive on dilapidated roads along the Sindhu/Jhelum Teesta, and a few pairs of enchanted eyes captivated by the mountains. The Himalayas beckoned the self again; and, as always, they can mesmerise you, anywhere.

I can perhaps write an epic on how we trekked, how we camped or how we stared at the stars that adorned the night sky. I can also perhaps write another epic on how we snuggled into the tents come nightfall, or how we all crammed into a tent, tea cups in hand and chatted all afternoon. I can also perhaps write an epic on how gifted Parth is, or how a certain Shweta could match him note for note. I can definitely write an epic on how lively the locals can get; the kitchen staff and yak-men, given an opportunity.

But, I won’t.

I can also perhaps write an epic on how we waded through thick jungles; how we walked through dense canopy and slimy slush; just how we slept with leeches and centipedes. I can also write on how we hopped over slippery stones, or how we crossed gushing streams; how we fought hunger and sleep, just so that we could see the first sunrays reflect off the Kanchenjunga. I can also write on how we walked in 3 feet of snow, or under an energy sapping sunlight; just how we walked through bitter cold (-12 C) under a starlit sky in the dead of the night. How we saw the sun set over the mountains, or how we thanked him for appearing from within the clouds. I could write on how the icy streams and cold winds would freeze us; how the lack of oxygen hallucinated us, or how we walked on thin ice, quite literally.

But, I won’t.

Then what will I write about? The people.

This trek was all about the people. My comrades in arms – brothers Shreesha and Shashanka. Praveen sir, Doctor and their team, who at 45, have to be the youngest youngsters one can meet. Abhijeet, Tapolina and Adrish, Saurabh and his Bongs; and the charming triumvirate of Shraddha, Tejaswi and Padmaja. The slightly acerbic but delightfully sweet Shweta. From Bir Kumar, whose footsteps we followed (again, literally, on thin ice), to matching footsteps with the colossal Mr. Hauser (a different post on him to follow). From the trance of Vasudha, to the effervescence of the crew. It sure was a set of passionate people, for who passion never dies. Not even when you are 52, or when you perform half a dozen open heart cardiac surgeries a day, every day.

Words, mes amis, can express my indebtness to this group only so much. These past few days spent travelling with you, ladies and gentlemen, to me, has been a privilege. Thank you!

Written by Srinivas

October 9, 2014 at 3:43 pm

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Should. Have. Been. South Africa.

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Imagine. The Board of Control for Tennis in Switzerland (BCTS) convenes a hasty meeting. Two days later they send out an official invite to 3 gentlemen tennis professionals – Paragon Srichappalan, Suryadev Devvarman and Kim Il Sung. The letter reads:

Dear Gentlemen,

Greetings from BCTS!

As you are all aware, our God, His Royal Highness Sir Roger Robert Federer has decided to retire (finally!).

We intend to offer Him a gala valediction. Hence, we invite you to play  the ATP Nike-Gillette-Credit Suisse-Rolex Mens Open tournament from 3 Aug 2031 to 8 Aug 2031. Of course He will win the tournament. We have scheduled the tournament such that He bids his farewell the day He turns 50. May the Force be with Him.

In honour of His services to the Swiss Confederation, millions of poor kids around the world, the game of tennis, UNICEF and humanity in general, the Swiss Government proposes to award Him the Nobel Peace. On the same day, the Swiss Army will also award Him the Victorinox Cross, the highest gallantry award of the Swiss Confederation. 

The BCTS doesn’t expect you to survive 2 sets in any of the matches. Of course, it goes without saying that you will be paid a bomb to play this tournament. To top it all, the ball girls will his Ms. Myla Rose Federer and Ms. Charlene Riva Federer, His twin daughters.

To reiterate, you are invited to play this tournament. Please don’t consider yourself lambs for slaughter (although you are). We only wish to give Him a grand farewell. May the Force be with Him.

Yours’ lovingly,

N. Venkateshwaran (call me Venky mama)

Chairman – Switzerland Cements Incorporated, Board of Control for Tennis in Switzerland (BCTS)

The best swansongs are not scripted by the board. The best swansongs are written. By yourself. Sampras will be remembered as the man who last won the US Open; at home, against Agassi.  Steve Waugh will be remembered as the man who escorted Australia to safety against a Sachin 200 and a rampaging Kumble. Murali as the man who foxed a dreamlike Sehwag (and a clueless Ojha) to win it for Sri Lanka. Warne was the man who scripted a 5-0 Ashes win. McGrath the same. Gavaskar as the man who signed off with a magnum opus 96 on a minefield against Pakistan. And more. 

A failure in the last series makes a legend no less a legend. Don Bradman’s last innings made him no less a mortal. Rahul Dravid – Laxman  were no less mortals either after their Australian struggles.

Sachin’s last Test century was against a train wrecking Hulk, Dale Steyn. An innings of a different caliber; an innings of heavenly class. He can do that again. Thank God it still remains so. For a silly bigoted one-upmanship against a certain Haroon Lorgat, and all the arrogance associated with too much of ill-earned money, and some silly politics, Sachin Tendulkar was awarded a West Indies.  

74 against Steyn vs. 74 against Shane Shillingford. You choose!

I have nothing against Tendulkar. Nor Federer, for that matter. Only sheer respect. But yes, I have unadulterated anger with the BCCI. For plenty of reasons, not this alone.

It should have been South Africa. It should have been South Africa. And in the middle of this hullabaloo over Tendulkar’s retirement, we somehow pardon Srinivasan. Too easily!

Written by Srinivas

November 17, 2013 at 6:23 am

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The Wedding Season

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Meteorological trends of a typical Indian year could be classified as thus: Summer season, and depending on where you are and if you are lucky enough, monsoon and winter seasons. There exists no spring, we’ve cut down all trees to see any more of it. Sandwiched between them lies what we often-hate-mostly-love-but-just-can’t-ignore wedding season.

There are different types of weddings.

1. The most convenient of weddings is the one that pops up on your Facebook wall: “XYZ is now married to ABC”. You say “Congrats, wish you both a happy married life”, click on “Unfollow Post” and conveniently forget it. One fine day you meet the same person at a cinema, spouse in tow, get that shock of life and exclaim, “Eh? You married? Never knew man!”.
2. They would’ve casually dropped a BCC note on your mail. You would attend that wedding if you were in town. Alas, you stay 800km away. No!
3. They would have dropped a note on your inbox. You ignored. They took the pains to go around the world to find you. They would have called your mom, your grandmom, your friend, your girlfriend, your former girlfriend, your pet dog, your pet baby python; all to find your current contact and address, just to invite you to their wedding. As it happens, its your appraisal season and you wouldn’t move out of office, night or day.
4. The close friends. You book your tickets 3 months in advance. You inform your manager even earlier, lest she reject your leave application.
5. Your family wedding. Tables turned, you go inviting people and pray that a few of them turn up.
6. The sixth type: Your own. Wedding. The author, at the time of writing hasn’t experienced this, nor has any intentions of experiencing this in the near future. Hence, in the interest of greater global good and world peace, we ignore this part.

Having classified them, I must tell you I’m no great a fan of weddings. Why?
1. I’ve never been able to dress appropriately for any wedding. Or, for that matter, anywhere else, but that’s a different case.
2. You aren’t allowed to go home without having posed for a snap with the groom and the bride. So you stand there not knowing whether to smile or not. If yes, whether to bare your teeth or not. Again, if bare your teeth, by how much. And while you are looking into the skies trying to determine the best pose, that photographer would have snapped you twice already and not exactly politely asked you to make way for that elderly couple next in line, struggling to carry their really huge present.
3. Presents. While we’re at it, how does one determine what you are supposed to gift the couple? Not carrying one is way too SheldonCooper-ian and socially frowned upon. Flower bouquets I thought were the safest option. But this last wedding I attended, the whole darned town had no bouquet. Just miles and miles of jasmine flowers. I’m told you can’t gift a real long garland of jasmine. That’s reserved for the bride and the groom, to gift each other.
4. Feasting. For someone with the build and diet of a Passeridae sparrow, feasting brings no cheer. And everyone in these weddings who intends to make you big and fat overnight, only look so demon-ish.

Hate it or like it, this is the season. Every day you see at least one of your buddies drop from the not-exactly-sworn fraternity of bachelorhood. And attending these weddings, is so much more fun, because you get to meet them. Its the company, silly.

P.S. Ok, 12000km away, one bright sunny Sunday morning, why does my dazed mind bring such thoughts up? Rajat marries the next weekend, and unfortunately I’m missing it. Thus crash my grand plans of visiting Delhi, thus crash my plans of meeting the good old folks, thus crash my plans of seeing a true big fat Delhi wedding.

P.P.S. Vishnu gets married the following weekend. And I’m invited. 🙂

Written by Srinivas

May 7, 2013 at 12:33 am

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Good Boy, Bad Boy

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There is this one small category of people that I proudly claim I belong to. The group might call itself whatever it is, but the rest of the world generally acknowledges them as ‘good boys’. Since I was a 2-footer to the vertical distance I’ve covered now, have always persisted in being recognized as one.

Successful as I’ve been for this long, the litmus test for this time-tested truth arrived not very long ago. This gentleman friend of mine, for reasons best known to nobody, decided to tie that famous knot in some remote Trichy. Now it takes a small bit of an effort to get there from Mumbai – one flies down to Bengaluru and its an overnight bus journey thereafter. Once one has yawned through the reception and has had his good fill of the food, one plans the return. Take the road to Bengaluru, then fly down to Mumbai.

Simple! Not really.

One travels all night in that ruddy bus. Early next morning, one runs down straight to the Bengaluru airport. In the airport, noticing that one is hungry, one wishes to breakfast, the precondition to which includes that one has to brush one’s teeth.

Its in such moments that cataclysm happens.

There I was engrossed in glistening my teeth in that washroom when a small kid, some 4 years old, arrived with his dad, the dad continuously ingraining in the child good manners.

‘Son, you are a good boy, you should wash your hands.’

The kid, of all things, found this guy with toothbrush sticking out of my mouth, the most interesting thing. Curiosity kicked in:

“Papa, even I want to brush my teeth.”
“No son, you have already brushed your teeth at home.”
“No papa, I still want to brush my teeth.”
“No son, good boys always brush their teeth at home before they leave.”

Now came the obvious reference.

“But papa, he is brushing here in the airport.”
“Son, he is a bad boy. Don’t follow him. Now lets go.”

So much for having been a good boy.

P.S. There were plans to shave too. Shelved! 

Written by Srinivas

January 21, 2013 at 4:34 pm

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The joy of first rain

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I work on what is effectively a 10th floor office. The ones they build in the cities, with glass curtain walls, transparent enough for someone inside to see the world beyond the glass doors.

One bitter truth about Mumbai is the poverty. Slums hound the city. As you land in Mumbai, one look through the windows suggests so. I presume Mukesh Ambani, from the terrace of his new house, would see the Arabian sea on one side, slums on the other. I’m no different.

The first rain is always a welcome pleasure. Appears better from the tenth floor, with a coffee in hand. I was doing precisely that, this one fine afternoon. Somewhere down below, the eyes spot two kids dancing on the road. No more than 4 feet tall, naked, drenched in the rain. Dancing. Dancing, jumping, hands waving in the air, face towards the sky, raindrops splashing across their face.  I cannot hear them, I cannot see their faces, I cannot see their expressions. Only their joy is contagious – can feel it.

They live in that tin shed. That tin shed might have boiled them all summer, the rain brings them no respite – that place is sure to flood, their roof is sure to leak. The past was no good, the future looks no better. Just that, as a kid is that you are oblivious to all these things.

First rains are dangerous. They are dirty. You might fall sick, you might catch a cold! Bah! Sometimes, your love in life, is well beyond your reason! Just dance, in the rain!

Written by Srinivas

June 8, 2012 at 5:21 am

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Learnings from 2 years of MBA

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This follows my earlier post Learnings from 1 year of MBA.

1. Grades were better in the first year. Engineering was competent. 10th and 12th were world class, and that’s how you ended up in this MBA in the first place.
2. Every third guy you bump into has a PPI/PPO.
3. You boast of your PPO proudly and realize that the girl you are flirting with has no clue what you are talking of.
4. You look at your friends messing around with a 99.7 %ile and the associated calls, and wonder what the fuss is all about. ‘College interviews eh? Placement interviews, my boy, placement interviews, take them, and you’ll know what the real thing is!’.
5. Somehow, every year, the economy keeps getting worse. Blame it on Greece or the UPA, market somehow never recovers, there never are any jobs anywhere the historic worst invariably coincides with the year you sit for placements.
6. One is very familiar with the geography, the topography, the history, the demographics (Russians, Americans, Israelis et al) of Goa.
7. Every alternate person you know has had a an exchange program with some very difficult to pronounce or remember European University, has travelled 19 countries. FB albums are proof enough.
8. The remaining folks, unfortunate enough to stay put in college tend to be reported flirting simultaneously with 2 French, 1 American (the exchange ones) and 4 Indian girls (the other college ones you met at some college fest) that season. During the same period you were surfing the French beaches, stuck on a long distance AT&T India specific monthly plan with your 1 Indian girl.
9. A Facebook survey would indicate that half your seniors’ profiles reflects ‘Married’, ‘Engaged’, ‘In a relationship’. Worryingly, you realize you are a senior too.
10. Some time in the early first year, you could come across a few teetotaller vegetarians in the campus. You now realize that a sizeable chunk of the world subscribes to the antipodean values.
11. Everyone is a consultant. You now add  ‘consultant’ to ‘strategic’ as the most abused word.
12. Your laptop had a power backup of 5 hours. It now serves you a royal 15 min. Of course, you’ve got no intention of changing the battery. Three months into the future, your employer will give you a laptop, why bother paying for this.
13. The mess invariably serves the crappiest food this world has seen. It was a tad better in the first year.
14. You are now familiar with every waiter in every restaurant in a radius of 10km. Beyond this boundary, the familiarity is limited to the manager.
15. You weighed 10kg lesser when you joined the college. You only wonder where it all went wrong.

Written by Srinivas

February 14, 2012 at 4:42 am

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Learnings from 1 year of MBA

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1. You don’t learn anything new, except that chaos they call statistics (rhymes with sadistics), and probably a little of economics.
2. The fact that your college has a prerequisite that only engineers can apply notwithstanding, all your classmates, the other section guys, your seniors, your super seniors, the professors, the attendants, the mess waiters, the security folks – ALL, tend to be engineers.
3. First there is God (the same ones you prayed fervently to during you CAT results days), then there is cricket, very next in the list comes Microsoft Excel.
4. Your certificates count. As a dear friend* once put it, ‘Had I known that I would do a MBA, I’d have stored all my certificates, starting from the day I won my first fancy dress competition in LKG’.
5. Karma weighs heavily, especially the bad Karma. Your summer placements largely depend on how good you ‘were’ – in the past. An ongoing research with your favorite professor (whom you’ve been hounding everyday for a weekend project, just so that you could decorate your otherwise pale CV), on something as glorious and Nobel-Economics-worthy as ‘The wisdom of inclusion of former Telecom Ministers in the Anti-Corruption Lokpal Bill Formulation Committee’ gives you no great a shortlist. Someone who gold medalled his Lunglei district in the 12th standard Mizoram Education Board examinations runs away with the best offer. Past counts. Present hardly does.
6. The body clock changes. You proudly step over the Indian Standard Time, sleep at US time, wake up by Japan time and slog through the Indian Standard AND Greenwich Mean Time – everyday.
7. You find it alright to call random people up at an ungodly 2am, only to find you father shout back – “WHAT are you calling me for, at 2 midnight?”
8. You start considering the folks at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs god. Placecommers come next. Only Sachin Tendulkar perhaps, above both of them.
9. Your English improves. Only so far as the jargons are concerned. You begin to abuse that simple English word – ‘strategic’ a little too much.
10. Somehow, MBA makes you slumberous. Insomniacs in their past life (read IT and such assorted professionals) tend to sleep the most.
11. The world populace can be categorized into two – freshers and work ex folks. Doesn’t really matter which category you belong to, you always look down upon the other.
12. Wherever you go, you love to flaunt your college t-shirt. Trains, hometown, some other college fest, beach, trek…
13. Black t-shirt and blue denims work everywhere – classes, travel, rock show, pubs, wedding, social service, funeral….
14. You believe you are sensationally smart for having Ctrl C- Ctrl V’ed 70% of your assignment from Wikipedia. Soon you realize, you aren’t so smart after all, the entire batch has done the same.
15. Last, but not the least, your ppt making skills improve significantly – at a CDGR (Compounded DAILY growth rate) of 1000%.

P.S.
1. *Thanks Mainak Kanjilal aka Mac – I’ve quoted your FB wall post.
2. I understand this would be a little beyond comprehension for someone beyond the B-school fraternity. Sorry mates, for this one time.

Written by Srinivas

April 19, 2011 at 11:06 am

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