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Wednesday, 29 May 2013


Before I fell in love with Coffee, Cricket, Music or my Wife, I fell in love with Cinema. This I can say with conviction though it is based on hearsay.  I have been informed through reliable sources i.e., my mother that my tryst with the world of motion pictures started well before I had control over either my motion or my motions. The story of my first visit to the dank and darkened Cinema is oft repeated and oft quoted episode in the family circles and will find prominent place in my autobiography as and when it is written. To give you a peep into the same, I am supposed to have let everyone in the cinema know how much I appreciate this medium. So much enthusiasm that a feeding bottle thrust into my mouth could not keep me quiet. I am also informed that my debut movie was called ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ and my father was banished from the hall due to my enthusiasm and managed to only see the tail and the trunk of the lead artist of the film, an elephant aka Ramu because that is all he could see from the keyhole outside the hall screening the film.

Ever since then, the world of make believe has had an impact on me like no other, including education. My real and reel life were so intermingled that I wore Rajesh Khanna’s Guru shirts, sported Amitabh Bachchan’s kaan chanpa hair cut, Kamal Hassan’s moustache, Govinda’s green-shirt-yellow-trousers ensemble, even a hint of Ramarajan’s lipstick. The only thing I could not master was that flip-to-the-lip-cigarette a la Super Star Rajnikanth. I fell in love like Rishi Kapoor, nursed my broken heart like Dilip Kumar, smiled divinely like Uttam Kumar, cried like Sivaji Ganesan, danced like Jumping Jack  Jeetendra , laughed like Gabbar Singh and fought like…………, no, NO fighting. Not with the two-packs structure I possessed like Dhanush! I even refuse going to temples because Bhagwan Krishna doesn't have even a fleeting resemblance to N T Rama Rao.  

I have often been badgered on my down market tastes by either the hoi polloi, Starbucks swigging South ‘Bohmbaye’ types who swear by Hollywood or the bearded Jholawalas who over gallons of watery liquids in Indian coffee Houses interrupted by measured drags of  Charminar or Beedi at the rate of one puff every 38 seconds dissected that ‘the past, the present, the future’ scene in a Mrinal Sen’s Black & White “A” film. A for Awards film I mean branded 'New Wave Cinema' by mainstream media. I am not the kind who would like to be seen within a mile’s distance of ‘A’ films. Sorry to disappoint you Ritwik Ghataks, Satyajit Rays, Shyam Benegals, Adoor Gopalakrishnans, G.Aravindans etc. I refuse to sit in a cinema to watch your classics which require me to read film reviews to understand how noble your motives were, how eloquent your frames were and how you have pushed the envelope of world Cinema. I am not a banner boy of Hollywood either.  I refuse to see those Hollywood comedies as my handicap of not being an EMT (English Medium Types you dummkopf) does not permit me to understand those heavily accented dialogues. I refuse to see the Hollywood rom-coms also. How can you have a romantic film without at least one love song every 3 reels. I concede grudgingly that I don’t mind the Jurassic Parks, the Godzillas, the Anacondas, the King Kongs provided the lead characters i.e., the Dinos, Lizards, Snakes, Chimps etc speak in Hindi, Tamil or Telugu. Who cares about minor details like DNAs or radiation etc as long as they gobble up people every few scenes, destroy vehicles, massacre Manhattan  and reduce it to a rubble, which I must agree is pretty fun. But only if they are dubbed in……

I am the quintessential MasalaMan as you have rightly guessed. Fan of the largest film Industry in the World, Indian Cinema; Bollywood, Kollywood, Mollywood, Sandalwood, Tollywood and Tollywood no bar. No, not an editing error. You read it right. The Telugu and Bengali filmdom sport the same woody nomenclature. Plus some more who have not yet been fortunate enough to have the honour of a wood thrust on them, Bhojpuri, Assamese, Marathi industries comes to mind. The kind of films which are not only loved through the length and breadth of this country and the Diaspora but increasingly native audiences ranging from the Arabs to the residents of the first world countries. The Films which even as we speak,  are enhancing India’s Soft Power from the multiplexes in Americas and Europe to the touring talkies of Ethiopia and Papua New Guinea. From lost in a Kumbh mela, separated at birth twins, three brothers paying a tribute to Indian Secularism, love triangles, rich-girl-poor guy love affair or its alternate rich-guy-poor-girl love affair, Manoj Kumar led East or West India is the best  or saving the Motherland from umpteen ‘foreign hands’ like Karuppu MGR ‘Captain’ Vijaykanth, I lap up everything. Show me one Hollywood film which has a hero who can jump 4000 feet vertically upwards and kick a villain bang on his head which appears magically on every floor of a building without setting foot on terra firma? Can a Hollywood musical put out miraculously the appearance of 300+ junior artists who can dance with absolute synchronization without as much as breaking a sweat? Can a Hollywood hunk single handedly kill a fully grown crocodile with a single punch? Our original super hero HanuMan can in one stroke reduce all your Super, Bat, Spider Men to a nobody. Daara Singhji da jawaab nahi! The Hulk is nothing more than a Dharam Paaji on steroids. Even your curry westerns are tasteless without our “mehbooba o mehbooba”. While we have not yet graduated to saving the world, Ra.One ki kasam, we are getting there.

So before you say anything derogatory about this dream world of mine……..........Mind It!

PS: MasalaMan2 is at planning stage. Scripting will start if this receives overwhelming response at Box-Office like 50 RTs on Twitter, 25 Likes on Facebook and anything over 0* from @taran_adarsh! 

Thursday, 23 May 2013



My daughter came home running one evening, rang the door bell a million times in a second and continued yelling as if there has been a fire in the neighbourhood. I was startled and jumped and unlocked the door. There stood my child shivering like a leaf during a strong gale wind. Before I could even enquire as to what happened, “Amma engey?” she shouted. (Where is Mother?) Since my wife had gone out on an errand, I enquired as to what was wrong. “Amma illaya?” (Isn’t Mother home?) She blurted and ran straight into her room and bolted it from inside. Shocked, I was shell shocked! Any amount of knocking, cajoling, kicking in anger could not induce her to open the door. I was totally dumb stuck to say the least and stood there for a few minutes outside her door like a loyal poodle completely blank. “Ammava koopidu, Ammava koopidu!” (Call mother, call mother!) was the only sounds I heard her make amidst a series of sobs and sighs. That jolted me out of my utter indecision. A few anxious phone calls later my Wife arrived. The door opened and “Appava pochullu, Appava pochollu” (Send Father away!) was the only thing I could hear before I was bolted out of the room again. Every possible thought flashed in my mind. What for gossake had I done to hurt my child so much that she would not tell me what has upset her and take the extreme step of barring me from entering  her room. Think as much as I may, I couldn’t remember any such incident. I couldn’t even remotely imagine hurting my child! For wasn’t I her best friend?

A few minutes later the door opened, my wife stepped out with a mixture of concern and caution in her eyes. Our daughter had ‘grown up’! ‘Beti badi ho gayee hain!’. My daughter had had her first menstrual periods. News! And I just didn’t know how to react. I mean how is a father supposed to react to such an information? Never ever had I read an article or seen a movie which captured a father in such a scenario. Should I be delighted or horrified? Should I laugh, giggle, maintain silence or mourn? Anxious and confused is what I was to be honest.

The subsequent events proved that the above paragraphs ware just the trailer of the larger film to follow. My wife was confused too but maybe to a slightly lesser degree. She knew what to do for our daughter but was equally clueless as to what to do about our daughter. A SOS to my Parents we decided, was the best course of action. And then all hell broke loose. “Inform all the relatives about the ‘good news’, call the vadhiyar and fix a good day for shobhanam, hire a mandapam, organize a huge luncheon, what will the mama aathu seer be?, buy jewellery, is there a caterer who can serve ‘puttu?’’ In short let us celebrate! To say this left us further confused would be an understatement. The next terrifying thought was what would our relatives say? Knowing them the likely responses would be “Congratulations, so the girl is all ready for marriage haan?” one would say. “Ask her to be very careful now, avo vayasukku vandhutta” would warn another. “Bad timing, the gold prices are very high now” would be yet another.

And then it stuck us! Our child! Our sweet little child was suddenly pushed to the background while we were contemplating about what to do and how to respond to the society, debating on how to manage the celebration, agonizing on the various feedback, suggestions of family and well wishers that will pour in. If we were this confused, what would our daughter be going through? In our selfish anxiety to be seen doing it the right way, we had completely forgotten about the main character of the story. What is she thinking? What are her feelings right now? Is she happy? Is she thrilled, scared, annoyed, angry, ashamed? How is she taking it? And how would she take whatever that seems to be in store for her? How will she react on being made to go through the above celebrations? That bath in water mixed with turmeric powder. Her public exhibition sitting atop a peacock shaped throne?  What will be her response? Dilemma, dilemma, for her and for us with no solution in sight.

 Sleep they say clears the cobwebs. In our hour of confusion laced with a tingling sense of subdued excitement, we decided to sleep it over. With the early morning rays dawned upon us the refreshing clarity of what to do next. Clarity that had refused to manifest the whole of last evening. No, my daughter has not ‘grown up’ overnight. A few droplets of blood does not mean her world has changed, she has changed. Nature had blessed her with a biological make up for being the female of the species and nature was just doing its job. Once the clarity struck, the future course of action to be taken was surprisingly simple. We would speak to our child, frankly, openly, calmly. Tell her what she already knows, what she had anyway studied in her science books, explain to her on how to use a sanitary towel, remove the stigma, the embarrassment, the shame attached to such events and live a normal, normal life. Normal. Such a small, mundane, everyday word, with so much significance. Nature made her a girl, biological metamorphosis just another stepping stone, time will make her a woman, a fine woman we believe. And till that happens, we will not steal her childhood; she will do all that she did before ‘those four days’ notwithstanding. And we will continue to be what we were, we are, her best friends! The relatives and society in the meanwhile can stay out of this!


Glossary :

Vadhyar : Priest
Shobhanam : Ausipicious Ceremony
Mandapam: Ceremonial Hall/Auditorium
Mama aathu seer: Gifts from Maternal uncle (as is the practice)
Puttu: A variety of sweet.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Good Boyz Finish First!

Good Boyz finish first! Well, well my cynical friends, go right ahead, don’t suppress your laughter! I knew the derision that will be directed at me and the ridicule expressed even as I wrote the first words. And I don’t blame you. Why , just why should one believe in such an old fashioned principle which is so far removed from the reality that confronts us every day? Corruption, rapes, murders, robbery, scams, adulteration, the list is endless. This is not unique to our society and our country. Indira Gandhi once famously remarked that “corruption is a global phenomenon” when allegation after allegation of malpractices hit her government. The time one feels has stood still, only the lead characters have traded place. It wouldn’t be beyond you if you took the statement with a table spoon full of salt! The other important aspect of note is while the issues are universal, in India our justice delivery mechanism is so slow or flawed and at times influenced by the mighty, moneyed and powerful that one feels so whenever such high sounding wisdom is spouted. I don’t blame you. But as I said, Good Boyz finish first.

Good news doesn’t sell. Good news is like a film division documentary. Good news is found in the propaganda advertisements of various Govts. Haven’t we heard all this and more? But then old fashion though it may sound and seem in this kaliyuga, good triumphs, always does. The problem is we have programmed our minds to look at the negativity. A black (evil) spot on a blank milk white paper (Good) stands out doesn’t it? Doesn’t mean that the entire paper is evil. In fact it is just the opposite! The exception. There is good everywhere too if we dared or cared to look. Still not convinced?

Let me point you out the instance of Good Boyz finish first. It has been right in front of your eyes. For our passionate countrymen it has been top of our mind too. Yes! I mean the IPL! You either loved it or hated it but you couldn’t just ignore it. From TV screens to newspaper headlines. From chatrooms to water cooler meetings. IPL has for the past seventy odd days dominated every conversation. And now that the winner has been declared, you have still not noticed it enough to celebrate the winners. No! You read it right! I am not referring to the past editions. I speak about IPL 6. Confused? Well you just proved my words right. The good boyz have come first again, only you have not noticed it!

 I of course refer to the ‘Fairplay Award’ won yet again by the Chennai Super Kings, their fourth such achievement in six editions of this high decibel, exciting and as expected often controversial tournament. Led by the astute Captain Thala M S Dhoni, dubbed “captain Cool”, the team has displayed excellent cricketing skills and have done this while maintaining the spirit of the game and the decorum a tournament with such huge following spread across all sections and spectrum of the multitude that has been dancing to ‘dil jumping jhapaang’ for the past two month demands. Consistency has marked this bunch of players from varied background but moulded into a selection of 'play hard but play fair' cricketers, season after season.

And the defending champions? Another team lead by another Player who epitomizes the word ‘gentleman’ in the description of the sport we love, the ‘gentleman’s Game’! Rahul Sharad Dravid, possibly the most universally loved cricketer of this generation, across every continent where the game is played and followed and more so in India. I am convinced the respect bordering on love for him transcends beyond his cricketing skills, as there have been many in the past who have matched and many are likely in the future to match his cricketing achievements. But a combination of impeccable behavior, his ability to inculcate the same into his bunch of talented cricketers and the understated authority has rubbed on to the Rajasthan Royals, winners last year and a close third this year. The goodwill that the Royals and their Captain command is so overwhelming that the supposed scandalous behavior of some of the players in this team doesn’t as much as scratch the surface of the squeaky clean reputation of The Wall and his bunch of hard working cricketers. And does it surprise anyone that the two champions are also in with a chance to triumph in the other competition this year, winning the tournament itself?

Irrespective of how things go from here in the playoffs, for me the Good Boyz have already won. I hope the two teams clash in the finals of IPL 6 too. May the better among the Good Boyz win!
I hope my friend Redwan Kabir @Redwaannn, from Amaar Shonar Bangla is happy! 

Thursday, 16 May 2013



I LOVE YOU! You know I love you. And I never tire of declaring my love for you again and again, as many times as possible. If given a choice I would sing ‘bhajanai of these three magic words every minute, every second for you. For I don’t want an iota of doubt in your or for that matter anyone’s mind about this fact, no ambiguity at all that you are my love.

Remember the time when we first met ? Eons ago? I do. Vividly. I think I was barely out of the school uniform and the wisdom tooth was not even in its infancy. Or so it feels now. And I didn’t know or care to know if you felt like a cradle snatcher. I remember my first sight of you. Equally vividly. Cupid struck! Manmadhan ambu hit bullseye. It was love at first sight and lust at first sight, nothing more and nothing less. And You? My God! What a sight you were. Your dusky complexion, almost bordering on black, which seduced me instantly. Not for me the gori-gori fair n lovely milky white kind. And I think you sensed it too, that very instant. Your figure. Flowing lissomely like a river post a torrential rain. Exuding the fiery halo of the lava from a freshly erupted volcano. Your touch. Warm and welcoming, hot and inviting at the same time. Your smell as you came near. No perfume, no flowers, no aroma, no manmade concoction could match it however much the Shellys and Tagores may try and make me believe otherwise. Natural some said and if so, nature had reserved the very best for you.

From loving you to becoming your slave was but one swift journey. I remember the day when I moved out, in freedom and you moved in with me. Free to love you, beyond spying eyes, beyond stern looks of disapproval and well beyond the well intentioned but terribly annoying and futile words of wisdom which would try to wean me away from you.  How were they to know what you meant to me? My love for you, taller than the tallest mountain, deeper than the deepest ocean. How were they to know your soothing touch which woke me up? A simple touch with which you would steal me away from the sleep which had usurped my attention. The feeling of bliss when I put my arms around you, gingerly first, gradually into a tight hug. And then the first kiss of the day! A peck, a much tighter one and finally a full mouthed deep deep passionate kiss. Again and again. Enough to drive everything away from my conscious, set my mind afire, body reacting to the sheer pleasure of the magic that you weaved on me, hungry heart consumed with desire. A few minutes were all that it took you to reduce me to putty in your hands. And then enlightenment! Mind and body filled with the peace, content, energy and enthusiasm unknown before. Totally satisfied.

The childlike eagerness, the glee I felt as I made my way back home. Knowing you would be waiting equally eagerly to ring me in with a warm embrace. One look at you and I would perk up in a giffy, the tired dog up and running, on his way to welcome the night pregnant with possibilities that lay ahead. Your love, your affection, the attention and I was a new man, rejuvenated, reborn. The headaches and  the hearthaches, the appointments and the disappointments , the frustrations and the outrage, the hard fought wins and the confidence pricking failures, the close shaves, the day of misery fades away into oblivion by the time I am through with you and the world feels not so bad a place after all. Thats you! My peace of mind, my moksha, my nirvana, my holy grail, my elixir of life!

I would be lying if I said that between seeing you and seeing you again you were removed from my conscious. It would be a blatant lie. During boring client presentations, mundane meetings, tasteless luncheons, hectic running around from point to point like a lost ant, never never were you away from my thoughts. It was your memories which made it all tolerable, bearable. If only I could take you along with me, every day, everywhere.

I LOVE YOU! You know I love you. And I never tire of declaring my love for you again and again, as many times as possible. Let there not be an iota of doubt in your or for that matter anyone’s mind about this fact, no ambiguity at all that you are my love. My one and only love. The greatest of God’s creation:

 My cup of strong filter coffee!


PS: The story doesn’t apply to Bangalore where even small ‘Darshinis’ serve awesome filter coffee. Very very relevant to the rest of India where one has to hunt down Annapoornas or Saravana Bhavans for a sip of this necter!

Friday, 10 May 2013


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oooohahahahahahahahahahahaha! (cough,cough)!

Please pardon me! I know this is not a civil way to start a conversation. I mean with a laughter which threatens to overshoot the decibel levels prescribed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for fire crackers. But then I just could not hold back given the hilarious scenario drawn out by this sweet little ignorant friend of mine. I am sorry, it should be Boss of mine. Here is a ready refresher for you!
Confessions first. No, I was not interested in becoming an Engineer or a Doctor and I didn’t even pretend trying to be one. No I was not keen on an MBA degree and attain the cushy comforts of an AC cabin either. I became what I wanted to, a Salesman. Not to be confused with sales managers, country heads et el who dish out high sounding discourse delivered in lyrical English. I wanted to be the crux of the wheel, the nuts and bolts of a successful sales team which delivered results. The dirty your hands brigade which is in the forefront of a market war. The driver, the accelerator on which depend the entire future of a product, service or the company. The real meaningful work. Not for me the hours spent on ‘XL’ sheets and conjuring up imaginary data. Not for me the frequent bouts with power points to dispense fundas which have no bearing on the market place. I wanted the ‘high’ of putting an entry barrier to competition, convert their customers, switch their consumers, create a network of loyal partners impossible to breach, improve and retain market share or minimize the loss of it. In short I wanted to be the man of action and not just the “Boardroomla punch dialogue” kind of MBAs. Not for me the perils of blood pressure because you are sitting helpless in an AC cabin far away from the front depending on someone else to deliver for you. Not for me the ulcers and indigestion because should you fail, you lose your entire standing among superiors, peers and subordinates. Not for me the fear of a pink slip as there are always millions of openings for a ’25 years expert in field work’ as against the lonely on top kind of positions. To be the kinds who like mosquitoes, cockroaches and Mallus can survive anything.  In a nutshell a soldier who would rather die fighting, win or lose than a General wearing meaningless medals or signing surrender document.

I would be lying if these were the only motivation for me to become a Salesman. Look at the perks I enjoy. My day starts at 11 AM with a visit to the tea kadai patented by us salesman in the market place. Notes are exchanged with salesman of various other companies who in their ignorance start early and come to the joint to report ‘market situation’ and more often than not do my portion of the selling.(I am regularly in a position to make ‘offers’ to salesmen of small 2/2, garage sized ‘local’ companies you see!) A few more rounds of tea, masala vadai and market gossip later, I break to Annachi Mess for my favorite ‘meen’ curry lunch. Depending on the weather an early trek homewards for a couple of hours of siesta is often indulged in. Or another visit to the tea kadai for hot bajjis. Once a week I take a detour to the distributors office, collect all the data of sales done by ‘me’, prepare the report, ‘patao’ the distributor into signing a sales order and walk into the  ‘AC Cabin’ for my weekly dose of ‘blood pressure, ulcers and piles’. The session might last between one to three hours depending on the dates. They are longer during the month ends for obvious reasons. All ‘hot air’ is silently tolerated, defended when possible or deftly redirected when not so. Should the same go beyond tolerable limits, “Business is bad Sir, if you don’t believe me why don’t you come to the market and see for yourself” cools down the temperature. (These AC cabinwallas get out of it only to go home!) Not for me the promotions which I have been regularly rejecting. A much-in-demand man, who every time I get an offer from the competition, cajole my company into giving me a raise. And now I hold the honour of the highest paid salesman in the company! Why wouldn’t I take the promotion you ask? Read further.

ON DUTY is a phrase perfected by our clan of Salesmen.  Marriage to attend? On duty! School fees of children to be paid or the monthly PTM? On duty! Queue up for tickets for the latest Super Star movie to be watched? On duty! Dravid is batting now? On duty!  Dhoni will be batting next? On duty! From bus pass to bike repair, from a visit to Marina to even babysitting. We don’t take time off. We are ON DUTY! In fact the quip doing the rounds is that we salesman should be added to the list of services under ESMA like Police, Hospitals, Fire Service etc! We are always on duty.

 AND the pleasure of frequently ‘bossing’ over these freshly graduated ‘suit-boot-tie’ type MBAs is priceless! No money and definitely no Master card can buy this pinnacle of pleasure. Sheer Nirvana! I call them boss but they know who actually is! Nothing matches the ecstasy of showing them their place, breaking them in, making their bones as the expression is. As you would have guessed, I delight in ‘training’ them. I don’t have AC cabins, company cars, company credit cards, the works and neither do I crave for these as long as I get a regular dose of this tail wagging the dog. The ultimate aphrodisiac.

To reiterate, I am happy, in fact proud of what I am, a Salesman! And why do I get this funny feeling that many of you would like to join me!
Thanks @Rfed1! Your ‘Boss’ has been a real help!

Friday, 3 May 2013

What's the target?

“I thought you would become an Engineer or a Doctor but……….!”

The above lines spoken by my dear dear Mother pierced my heart every time I thought of it. I mean it almost gave me a feeling that I am just another of those failures in life almost at par with a repulsive slug! A wastrel whose existence in this world has no meaning. Someone who has missed the bus in this birth and might as well await the inevitable demise and hopefully do better in the next life by living up to the career path chosen for me by her .i.e,”become an Engineer or a Doctor”. Who would have the guts to argue with her that everyone in the world does not become an Engineer or a Doctor. I mean that is like wanting seven Sundays a week or eleven Sachin Tendulkars in the Indian cricket team.

Not that I didn’t try to live up to her ambition. I too burned the midnight oil, mugged up the heavyweight books, religiously attended post school tuition and took my annual pilgrimage to the ‘JEE’ with utter devotion, all for her. I mean, just for her! But then the results told me what I always knew. I was not cut out to be a either an Engineer or a doctor. You can say, the script of ‘3 Idiots’ was written well before Chetan Bhagat or Raju Hirani even dreamt about it! Finally my Mom resigned to my fate and permitted me to do that MBA, Sales & Marketing which I always wanted to do! All you Engineers/Doctors, soon to be engineers/ doctors or hope to be engineers/ doctors, may kindly stop giggling. An MBA degree is no joke mates. Especially when you compete with some of the brightest minds in the country who couldn’t become Engineers or Doctors and those who did end up becoming Engineers and Doctors! To cut the flash back short and come to the present immediately, yes I did manage to pass out and yes I did manage to land a plum assignment with an MNC in the Sales department.

Once into the rat race, I suddenly realized that a few lakhs as fees and a few years of slogging over books doesn’t take you beyond the patronizing smile of a ‘25 years expert’ in ‘field work’ who is assigned to break you in. A loser in life who could neither live up to his Mom’s dictate nor lug books to a business school. I was put through the grind of unlearning the “A/c cabin ka gyaan” and make my bones in the ‘market’ just like the newest shooter in the underworld did. A few months of grind later, the eventual happened. I got an offer from the competition on much better terms and designation. And Lo! I finally experienced what they teach you in Business schools, competition is the best thing to happen to us. And I also learnt that you should like your organization but love your career. The simple guru mantra to take the elevator rather than the staircase to the Air conditioned cabin with a Secretary, driver, ‘personal’ peon was upon me in a flash. So too were an unlimited expenses and entertainment budget, membership to frequent flyer programme , company car, company credit card, cheque signing authority, the works I mean.

To say I was lucky is only part of the story. Getting the above perks was not easy but it didn’t stretch me too much either. But keeping these was another story altogether. With every floor that I rose, so did my waistline, every success added to my daily intake of tablets for Blood Pressure, every high gave my ulcers a more severe jolt. Targets, targets, targets, every month, every day, hour, minute. Oh the pressure of it! A living hell till it is done, not once, not twice but every time.  Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and yet another back up plan if the above plans didn’t work. Pesky customers who behaved like they were the Queen bestowing the OBC on me every time they placed an order.  Customers, whose cheques bounced with the inevitable finality of Indian openers failing on bouncier tracks. Stock holders with hundred shares and thought their wish should be my command. Sundry consultants who at the drop of a hat were summoned to give me lectures on ‘Target orientation’. “A business without target is like a game of soccer without goal posts” being the most quoted gospel.

And then I learnt what they don’t teach you in business schools. Competition is not good for you! Every time you think you have a winner of a product or a service, the competition either came with a cheaper me-too or a better offer. You expanded the network, they followed suit. You programmed a “never before, never again” scheme only to be duplicated across the terrain before you could take the same National. Small 2/2, garage sale sized ‘local’ companies with no baggage, no overheads, no ‘heavy’ National team and a Country Head, fleet footed, with ears to the ground chipping away at your market share.  New entrant MNCs with a war chest to push you off the pedestal. Pressure, pressure, so much of it that a last ball six to win a T20 match seems a walk in the park in comparison. Social life became a zilch, family life zero, marriages were given a miss, hobbies and interests were mere words that you quoted in your bio, friends group consisted of fellow journeymen chasing the imaginary growth percentages over rounds of Bloody Mary. Millions of different ways were invented to ask only one question, “How much more, to meet this month’s sales plan?” Airports, railway stations, bus stands and national highways became your permanent address……………………………………………

Then one day the bubble burst! It had to! And I saw light! I will not go through this pain again. I will not let the life be consumed by these meaningless and never ending targets. I will not get into the vicious cycle of going around in circles to stay where you are. And I told this straight, no holds barred, without any emotion or hesitation:

“I hope you will become an Engineer or a Doctor, Son!”