Tuesday, September 30, 2008

eid mubarak! May you all have a blessed and relaxing eid.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

"nostalgia was their crack cocaine" - mohsin hamid's the relunctant fundamentalist.

so i went to philly this weekend, to spend time with the familia. and then on saturday, we went for taraweeh prayers at a school converted into a mosque. one of the biggest islamic schools of the country. after a long time, i felt quite spiritual and connected to God. I think the fact that you follow along with the words during prayer really makes a difference. your mind doesnt wander and for that moment you understand. anyways, being the new kid in the mosque, my sister warned me of the stares and the glances and the 'casual' inquiries by the aunties "woh kaun thi" ( insert the song woh kaun thi). my sister and her friend have devised a seeminly innoncently devious plan when they are accosted the next day with questions about me to dodge it with a kaun aunty, humnei tau kisi ko dekha nahin, koi bhin nahin tha. Muhahahah.

anyway, after maghrib prayers we headed to the iftari area and ended up randomnly sitting with people from the interfaith program. people from other faiths, who sometimes fast for a day in ramadan, and come to an iftari and maghrib prayer, observe and learn about islam. needless to say, i felt the most comfortable among them, far more so than with my muslim peers and random muslim aunties. topics of discussion were , the presidential debate, how obama is actually a muslim (not), deep literary references to harry potter (thanks to my sister's wit), math, professors boring students, kids who are scared of santa claus look alikes and how being a quant is no more the in thing
whereas with my muslim peers its mostly restricted to a. am i married? b. how old am i? c. and then my siblings age and because they are married, do they have kids?. ok, seriously WHY do you care, you probably will never see me again, why do you care? my brother in law thinks its just a mindset and its the equivalent to asking an unknown kid their age. for the record, i have done that. i have asked the standard questions that one asks a kid, what age, what grade are you in, what is your name, whats your brother's name. But, I have asked a lot more questions that that too.

so on the bus back, i reread the relunctant fundamentalist. i tend to reread a lot of my books, like i rewatch a lot of crap movies. everytime i reread i find something new in it. somehow there is so much i can identify with it. the confusion, the fitting in then not fitting in, the what-do-i-really-want-from-this situation, the suddenly scary moments where you just dont care.

anyways, i momentarily put the book back in my bag, when i had to transfer to the train station. at the train stop, i was shifting my duffel bag on one arm and trying to take out the book from my handbag, when just like that from a scene they show in movies, the duffel bag falls, not beside me, but on the train tracks. The train platform is so much higher than the train tracks and there is no way I can reach for it without actually jumping down to get it and possibly getting a high voltage shock. and even if i did jump down, and survived the voltage shock, how do i get back up again? For a moment im shocked coz I cant believe that this has happened. I curse myself for standing so close to the edge and Im even going "shit shit shit". outloud. A small crowd starts gathering around my area, everyone including me is watching my duffel bag like its going to miraculously airlift itself from the tracks. Finally some guy breaks the silence and is like you will have to ask the station head. And Im like great so much for reaching home in 2.5 hours. the usual why do these things happen to me, whats the most i can lose few clothes? thankfully it wasnt my handbag (the bright side of things), there are rats that scurry around the tracks, i have to do the equivlent of lysoling my bag, blah blah.

I tell the lady at the station counter, while trying to be the i-cant-believe-this-happened-i-really-dont-know-how-it-did. someone then starts yelling "miss miss someone retrieved your bag". i think i gave my brightest 100 watt smile then. and thanked the lady at the station counter and the lady who gave me this news and i see the train coming as well (less people will be staring at the dumb girl who dropped her bag on the train tracks once im on the train). i run towards the platform, and reach just as the train has pulled over the station. the lady who initially gave me the good news, goes this guy retrieved your bag. i look at him to thank him, but he has already disappeared into the crowd and i only now see the back of his head for a split second. I take my bag, wondering who he was, and board the train.

hah. ok i kid, the last part is just a scene for my potential movie. what actually happened, an alternate ending if you will, is some guy retrieved my bag with his huge umbrealla, this is the last time, i will crib about rain, all hail rain. And I thanked the good samaritan.

today's word of advice : dont stand close to the edge of the train platform.


Friday, September 26, 2008

itna nei poocha, kei mera khud sawal hai (so many asked, that now i have a question.)

so its 3:33 am. weird that im awake. but more weird that i noticed the exact time. but i did sleep at 7:30 pm so that kind of explains why im waiting for it to be 6, rather than being grateful for three more glorious hours of beauty sleep. also its begun to rain and it will probably rain all of tommorow. correction, all of today. having lived most of my life in a deserty, summery, humidy region i wait for the rains impatiently, even though others think its gloomy - i actually love it. but after having lived here for three years at a stretch, i understand why the weather has a major affect on people, and the novelty of arriving drenched at work is starting to wear off. =)
just finished watching an episode on grey's anatomy. its not the first time ive felt like blogging after watching grey's anatomy. i know, terribly cliched. but it just makes me think. theres a line in on eof the episodes, where 'christina yang', a surgical resident, goes something on the lines of - there are no friends here, no teams everyone is looking out for themselves. i love this line. coz i think it is so true. there really are no friends. when i started working here i was very much sold to the naive idea, that i will make superb friends at work. friends, that one day will become best friends, who i will probably open partnerships with someday. friends who i can trust blindly. my bubble, like the financial bubble, has been close to bursting. sure, you are cordial with each other and are polite. but theres this undercurrent of competitiveness which tires me out. this constant of others proving to you, how smart they are, testing you on how smart you are. seriously, i get it - you are smarter than me, i dont deny that, in fact i appreciate that you are smarter - but proclaiming that to the world is just not cool. its just mean. usurping other's projects, taking it personally that someone took your project, letting in purposely through forced conversations on how you helped someone do something small, something tinier than small - not cool, taking things for granted, taking people from granted. being sarcastic for no reason. being too sensitive. thinking too much and not just being who you are. being a wannabee. being someone who likes to show off how popular they are. being someone who likes to point out of how others deem you as popular. not cool. being someone who keeps track of hos many brownie points you are being allocated by your manager. being anything but yourself. being only yourself without caring about others feelings.
but what troubles me more, other than the above. is the fact that i find myself changing too and adjusting to this. and sometimes behaving like the above. and i dont like it. case in point: someone asks me to work on something on the last moment. i have to work till 2 am to finish it - but im pissed that i was told on the last moment. normally, i would let it slide, but when that someone makes a comment that i was up late - and more of a sarcastic like so you were showing off kind of tone- i comeback with a i knew about it only on the last moment. and the person come backs with the "i told you in the morning" and i come back with a "yea but i had some other stuff to finish as well". i normally would never come back it. i would berate myself, for not thinking ahead, coz i could have thought ahead. it is end of month, i could have thought of doing it myself, irrespective of whether it was needed. i have always truly believed in competing against yourself, if ive done a bad job its not coz everyone else has done a better job than me. its coz ive done a bad job.
but i took it personally and i comebacked. and that bugs me.
it bugs me, that im not the best i can be. it bugs me, that i find myself comparing. and just staying within the lines, lest it offends someone, lest i look like im showing off, lest i make a fool of myself. it bugs me, that im resorting to cop outs. i dont like it. theres a line in some movie, i know i get all my lines from entertainment, that if you become a doctor, be the best doctor that you can be , if you become a grass cutter become the best grass cutter you can be. whatever you do, be the best at it. dont be mediocre. at my grad school dinner speech, one of my favouritest professors, said dont be average in what you do, make a difference. and dont do it for the three f's. fame fortune and family.
do it for yourself. and if you cant do it for yourself, just dont do it.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

today..you were far away..and i..did not ask you why.

this week, has been a tiptoeing week for all. its like you are but a card admist the pyramid of cards, and you can just watch sympathetically as pyramids of cards just come crashing down. and you feverently hope, that its not your pyramid which is next. there is no arrogance among anyone, it really could happen to anybody. considering banking culture, hell any culture, where someone tries something and it makes money and then thereforth begins the whole copycat syndrome where banks try to initiate the same product or lure those pple who started it all into their domains. its more widespread than anyone can think. key is to remain afloat though. if someone is losing money, someone on the other side is gaining. lehman brothers considered one of the most pretigious companies to work for, their whole recruiting scene is not based on fluff and how articulate and engaging you are. the year i graduated, they just picked the first 4 rankers from Columbia University. That was it. That's all you needed, intelligence.

As I read on various message boards about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and lehman's shares plumetting and people losing years of investment and are super anxious. some even write they dont know how to face their families after they have lost huge amount of money. Which makes me ask, how different is the stock market from gambling your money away. I know this seems a much too harsh question to ask, since the probabilities of gambling and losing is much higher than the probabilities of losing in the stock market.

The Fed stepped in and bailed out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Immediately people felt a lot more confident, some agitated since they know that taxpayers will eventually bear the brunt. The Fed is being pressurized to help out Lehman too. Again there are lot of comments for and against this. If the Fed helps Lehman too, it will be the case of not if, but who's next? And then the whole argument, this is corporate America, if your car company goes bust, the Fed does not step in to clean your mess. Why does it do it for banks? Coz they are related? If the Fed doesn't help Lehman and asks the big banks to help, which it currently seems to be doing,
someone will try to buy it out - but catastrophic issues can be foreseen with that too, who is to say who currently is strong enough to do so?

My sympathy lies with employees and investors of these firms. People who are unsure whether they will have a job/portfolio worth nothing tommorow. Management will make these decisions and will pocket tons of money, as severence pay, compensation, etc. And will even find high profile jobs in other companies after everything goes bust. But the regular employees will suffer and along with them the investors. The two biggest problems are lack of knowledge and panic. Both are extremely powerful and can ruin even the most solid of firms.


Monday, September 01, 2008

coming home

this labor day i ventured out to the west coast, LA to be precise for four days. as part of a change, and secretly for a feeling the waters kind of thing, to be part of something that would cater to my nomadic existence. one thing i learnt after this vacation, ok well two things, is that i consider new york city now home, perhaps not yet home home but still some kind of home and the second thing how life is not always about work. sometimes its ok to slow down and watch the ships sail away.
so other than doing the typically touristic things, hollywood highland, not seeing any celebrities, standing in line for jimmy kimmel tickets and not getting them [ being approximately the fourth from the point of cutoff - yes kids, not everything in hollywood has a happy ending =0) a classic case of haath ko aya par mun na laga ], santa monica boulevard (yep famous from the Sheryl Crow song), a comedy club (started and ended badly-perhpas its just me and my lack of understanding american wit and humor, or maybe its just them haha), eating self cooked food at a japanese restaurant cooked in a pot (what will pple think of next, its only time they cut out the middle man and have us go to a ginormous fridges in restaurants and get out our food and put it on plate and then sit down to eat with each other). However, that being said I did enjoy it, there is a certain intimacy in sitting down with perfect strangers on a round table, each having their own tangential conversations. but my favourite had to be the universal studios tour (im a kid by heart. ok scratch that. overgrown kid by heart). growing up, i have always shyed away from the typical adrenalin pumping simply awesome scream till your lungs cant breathe roller coaster rides. what a shame. so i decided this time, if people a quarter of my height (yep i am that tall, alrite fine im mildly exaggerating) are going on these rides, how bad can it be. and seriously most of the rides were fun, quite a few heart flip flops, stomach flip flops but before you realize it its over. that and my eyes were firmly shut for 3/4 of the time. next time, will try again with one eye open. =)
now for some sad news, i lost my camera. ironically for someone who is not very camera friendly both in front or behind, i made the effort of actually charging my camera and bringing it with me every day but the last day all because i dont want to forget. the mind is such that it only stores the most happiest moments or the most saddest moments, and not the just happy moments which really are worth remembering too. so more than the actual camera being lost, im more sad about my photos and my remembering that i was here in LA.
so now i do the next best thing- i blog. hopefully when i come back and read this it will remind me of my west experience.


  © Blogger templates Psi by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP