March 26th, 2017

The Stench.0

Dark side. Everyone has it. Or at least I think everyone has it, because I have one. It makes it more acceptable… tolerable, if you know its not only you, if you think everyone has that darkness element about him/her. The trouble is, I do not know for a fact if everyone carries the curse. Everyday, I get to interact with at least one person, who puts my whole premise to justify my own dark side in doubt.

Now, I have been a professional salesperson for almost half a decade now, and over time you learn to tell if the guy across the table took in a good first impression of you. You do that, trying to make a good first impression on new people, for half a day everyday, you end up learning a whole lot about people and their reactions. If you are allowed to stay a sales person for long enough, which almost always only happens if you left a good first impression on more than half the people you tried to make an impression on, you start looking at a different person in the mirror. This is the stage where the first signs of narcissism make an appearance. Its a downhill ride from there – fast, fun and possibly fatal. At the end of this ride, what remains is sales, what is dead is the person.

Do not get me wrong. This is not one of those tirades against the poor sales people. Most people subscribe to that stereotype of a conniving, fast-talking, not-to-be-trusted, unscrupulous second hand car salesman. It is not about salespeople as generally understood by the term. I know it is a cliche`, but it is also a fact, we are all salespeople, selling ourselves, our images, our self-portraits. Its about people, like yours untruly, who lose sight of who they are, and start believing their own lies about themselves – lies they have been telling others, so these others like them. You see, once you start believing those lies, you stop looking at the rot prevalent in you, because you are too busy admiring the beauty of your self portrait.

Then one find morning you are taken by surprise by the stench that emanates from one of your own comments. There comes a time when you are appalled by the crudity and ugliness of one of your own actions. One fine morning, the smokescreen you had erected is shattered, and you find yourself staring in disbelief at an ugly soul laid bare, a soul that you had come to believe was beautiful and fragrant. Its not as if you were not aware of its presence, its just that you had never thought you would come face to face with it ever again.

Your smirk, that hallmark of arrogant self-righteousness, is wiped off in a fraction of a second. The ugly soul sniggers, baring its fangs. You recoil, and you run. But there is nowhere to run to. It is inside you, and it is with you. But you run, and you run, until nausea takes over, and you bend over and you throw up. The ugly soul sniggers on, and the stench hits you one again. As the line between conscious and unconscious blurs, you see that ugly soul take up that brush and paint you another smokescreen. It leads you to believe that it was your strength of character that led you through the labyrinth of yourself to help you discover your own ugliness. You buy into that lie wholesale, because you need to. Soon enough you have taken up another brush and you are painting that self portrait more skillfully than the last time. Soon enough, that smokescreen, your portrait is complete.

There comes the morning after then, the morning you wake up and look at your smug self in the mirror, and hum a happy tune. Your transformation is complete. You have made the biggest sale of your life. You have sold yourself on that idea, and made a repeat customer out of yourself. The crucial metamorphosis of the “salesperson” into just “Sales” is complete, the person is dead, and what remains is the stench.

Coori – First impressions, tomato salan, and the last red note.0

I blog today, because I must.

I have been too afraid of blogging about Coori without being in the right frame of mind, without feeling energetic and nostalgic enough, and without having time enough on my hands. You see, he is that dear to me, that khabti moron. I write about my friends because this is my way of sharing some of my most prized possessions with you. I also write about them because if I did not, I would not have anything else to write about. These friends have defined chapters in my life, such has been their contribution to messing things up for me. Nonetheless, my life is apparently the only subject I seem to have better command on than any other mortal does, though there are those who would disagree with that too – my mother for one, and if I am to blog without bringing into question the source as well as the authenticity of my update, I had better stick to my own life.

Incidentally, I have just the one life – the same one which has its chapters defined by my friends. My alter egos, the siblings, make the headings, while I am the one constant on every page – the footnote in italics.

Hisaab-e-dostaan dar-e-dil, is a farsi quotation, which Yousufi had used to articulate what can never be completely said – a thank you to a friend for his friendship. I am afraid of opening this hisaab, and then not finding the words to introduce my friends to you. Coori is just one of them. There are so many others, some already mentioned and some not yet, but let this post not become an index now.

Coori’s reputation, as I have explained, had preceded him. It was a long time, however, before I actually got to meet him. It was a strange meeting. Mari had taken me along to meet Lala, whom I had met once before, and who was put up with Coori. I don’t seem to recall where exactly this meeting had taken place – what I do recollect is that Lala had all his belongings tied up in a bundle or two, and was perched atop those bundles. Lala was all of five and a half feet tall, and because of his frail frame, looked little more than five. The only thing that belied his age were his sturdy, strong hands that left your palm a little compressed after every handshake.

Mari had had a little something to discuss with Lala, which is why he had stopped there for a few minutes. We did get out in a few minutes, but I don’t clearly remember if he ever got down to discussing his agenda with Lala. I do remember Coori and I getting into the “heading” of a discussion, because that was all it could be called, and parting with mutual respect and disdain for each other. The former is understandable, the latter needs explaining. It had a lot to do with appearances and first impressions. Months later, we were to exchange notes, and find that following were the impressions we had left on each other:

Coori’s impressions of me: Scrawny, and awkwardly dressed in a chequered shirt that hung loosely from his shoulders that made a nice coat-hanger. 24” flapper jeans atop saleem shahi khussas. Oblong, bony face hidden beneath a pair of extra large round glasses, and whiskers disguised as a stubble/beard. Patronizing Mummy-Daddy dufus, puts on an accent when interjecting unnecessary English words, hence subject to inferiority complex and low self esteem, and most probably speaks bad urdu (This coming from a pathan from Mardan – I almost killed him!). Might know a thing or two about Tauheed. Needs tweaking, but will do for now.

My impressions of Coori: Arrogant pathan Mulla (The skin under the beard had till then never been subjected to a razor). Ignorant too. Clad in Shalwar Qameez and khaidi – ain’t getting past semester 2/BBA. (He was already in his final semester by then, maintaining a 3.8 CGPA), looks like being in a business school’s gone to his head – either that or he was trying too hard to impress me with his management/marketing terminology, bet Meigs and Meigs gives him the creeps, should pass on M.A. Ghani to him and watch him squirm under debit/credit compulsions. Good Urdu for a pathan, and impressive enough English for a Mardan School product. Might know a thing or two about Tauheed. Needs a lot of work, but will do for now.

Coori had the focus of an elephant. There’s nothing to prove that elephants have great focus, but then there is nothing to suggest on the contrary either. I am just assuming their focus is as good as their memory is rumoured to be. I need the elephant allegory because Coori also had the memory of an elephant.

Take, for example, the case when I had brought home my first semester books. He was in his last semester then, and was keenly interested in what curriculum PCBA was following as against his TIU curriculum. Turns out PCBA had chosen Keegan’s book on Principles of Marketing, while he had studied Kotler’s at TIU. His curiosity piqued, he requested to borrow the book for 22 days, the number of chapters in Keegan’s book. I got him a copy, and he returned it to me after 22 days, with comments at the end of each chapter. His logic was simple. It took him two hours a day max to finish a chapter, and he could spare a couple of hours from his final semester preparation in the quest for superior and complete knowledge. He could be a geek like that. He could also argue in favor of TIU with any PCBA student after that, just because they had not recommended Kotler’s book, and just because he had studied the two of them, and could tell for a fact that Kotler’s selection of words in his 20 odd chapters was better.

There was also the time sometime before this when someone told him that the Khans were ruling Bollywood. He was not really into bollywood movies, but he knew a thing or two about Aamir Khan and Salman Khan – enough to disagree and argue that they were not such great actors after all. It was then that he found out that there was a third Khan too, and we are talking about ’96 here, by which time Shahrukh Khan had been around for almost three or four years. He was quite surprised, and excused himself from that discussion.

I remember we were in the last days of the month, and almost all of us were broke, which actually had little to do with what days of the month we were in. After the initial three-four days of wealth, and absolute wealth at that, we managment students used to spend the rest of the month waiting for the next month’s allowance to arrive from home. It did not matter, whose money arrived first. As soon as it did, the reciever promptly paid off his debts to the rest of the roommates, so that everyone was left with equally less amount to spend until the next guy’s money arrived.

Such was the need for us to be taught some management, and such was our zeal to experiment with radical management theories of our own. Lala’s tomato-salan/curry was a product of those days of poverty, all it took to make were a few tomatoes, which were not very expensive. The tandoor-wala used to give us rotis on credit, and TIU was just next door. I was the only guy, who had to go to PCBA which was not that close, but the van took you there, if the bike did not have petrol enough.

It was in one of those days of utter collective poverty that Coori had heard about this new actor on the block, who was a pathan originally from Peshawar, and was supposed to be pretty good. He had gone missing for the day, and when we returned home, we found him lying in front of a TV and VCR. We were delighted. We did not have a VCR in our room, and if he had been able to rent it, that meant we would be watching some movies during the night, and eating well, because it looked like Coori’s money had arrived. There were still a few days to go before the end of the month, and we had all hit rock bottom in our finances. His money could not have come at a better time.

You guessed it, dear readers, the money had not arrived. Coori had rented out the VCR, and all of Shahrukh Khan’s movies released till that date, with the last red note of the room. We could have killed him then and there, but he was quick to point towards two bags full of tomatoes lying in the corner. So, he stayed up the night to finish all the movies, and by the morning had arrived at the decision that SK was actually a great actor, and deserving of any prizes and awards he won, including Coori’s last 100 rupees, and two good trousers.

Turns out, in one of the movies SK had done an acrobat act to land on his knees such that his trousers were torn at the knees on impact. Coori was much impressed with the stunt, and had been trying it since the morning. The results were successful, two out of his five trousers had obliged, and were now succumbing to their fate in a corner. Coori’s knees kept him away from the library for a couple of weeks – the library was on the second floor, and there were no elevators in the college.

As for the rest of us, we were pretty happy with the way things had turned out. For one thing, we had hoped that Coori without the library would not be as potent and ambitious in his disagreements, and secondly there was the faint hope that perhaps the painful knees will help cure Coori’s dementia.

Our joy was short-lived. Coori was able to employ a junior to bring him books and magazines from the library, and with the detergent maximization incident was able to defend the Khabti title bestowed upon him by his peers.

Coming up sometime in the future – Coori and the detergent maximization project!

Why I have not been able to update….an indepth and boring study.0

This beats my previous worst, doesn’t it? The last time around I had not updated this long, ever since I became a blogistani citizen, was perhaps in the initial days, when I was learning the ropes. It was not as if I had run out of topics to blog about. Coori alone warrants another update or two, and frankly the intention had been to inundate knicqland with updates with Cooriisms. Not to mention the fact that UAE had been host to a blogger family everybody loves to love, and yours truly had been afforded the honor of hosting the family for about an hour, before being hosted for a SCRUMPTIOUS dinner at the groom’s, and there was much to blog about, once the news of the wedding were announced.

However, two things happened simultaneously which led to an absolute lull in blogging activity in knicqland. I started work at the new place, where I was working before I had joined the old soodkhor company. Now, those who have been subjected to the intimate details of what went on, or to put it more precisely, what never went on in my soodkhor company job, will remember that there used to be little to do, and much not to do in that job. Whatever little there was to be done, never did get done because, lets put it this way, I was less than the diligent and ideal employee it takes to get a job done within two months after the deadline has passed.

Having spent all of sixteen months in that place I had somewhat forgotten the pace at which work is done in this new company of mine where I used to work before I had joined my old company. I do not know about you, dear readers, but I am having a lot of trouble introducing this new company of mine, where I used to work before I had joined that old company of mine, as that new company of mine where I used to work before I had joined that old company of mine. Perhaps, if I were an American, I could have found an acronym to define this new company….of mine, which probably would have gone something like this – NCOMWIUTWBIHJTOCOM, but hey lets face it, such an acronym is a bigger pain than that the sentence it attempts to abbreviate. What do we do? Why don’t we just refer to them as the Finance Company and the Shipping Company?

Come to think of it, why not use acronyms for the two of them? Wonder why does it take me so long to figure out the simple things, which wouldn’t be so bad if I could figure out the complex things in no time, but as things stand today I take longer to figure out the simple things than I do not figuring out the complex things. Oh, well… so, FC and SC it is. Just so everyone is clear, SC is where I have started work now, but where I used to work before I had joined FC.

Now that we no longer have to waste all that time referring to SC and FC in twenty words, perhaps I can tell you how joining SC has interfered with my blogging routine. For starters, I can hardly make time in the office to even look at a blog, mine or anyone else’s. Updating from there is just not an option, while it was a compulsion in FC. You see there was only so much time you could spend gossiping, making tea, back biting, and talking to Jalali Baba. You had to do something constructive, and blogging was the automatic answer. On the contrary, I remember there used to be times during my previous stint with SC when some of my colleagues and I would wonder if there were enough hours in a day to just finish the jobs on hand. Its slightly better now, in that we do not stay back until after midnight writing reports and catching up on official correspondence. The operative word here is ‘slightly’. I haven’t got into the emailing routine yet, but I am trying to get back in the work-for-at-least-8-hours-a-day routine.

That is, however, not my excuse for not having updated. The excuse is that SC is located about 8-10 kilometers further down the road, which during the rush hour traffic can mean an extra 40 minutes on the road at times. The trouble is by the time you cover those 10 kms, everyone else also manages to join the party, so the same distance that it used to take you half an hour to cover in the past, when you had a head start on the rest of Charlies, takes you about 45 minutes now.

Cumulatively, it adds up to over an hour of driving in that bumper-to-bumper traffic coming back home, which would still be fine if home were a clean place with no clothes sprawled all around the place, or dishes stacked up (plate+glass+saucepan+tea mug)in the sink from the previous night, or an unmade bed. As luck would have it, home is not such a place. It has the clothes strategically placed on the various items of furniture for convenience, it has that sink overflowing with the afore mentioned kitchen items, and it presents a general picture of a place ravaged by a twister.

You see wifey and kids are in the land of the pure to attend a wedding. The date of the wedding coincided with my joining SC, and it meant two things:

  • I could not join the wedding.
  • The family would, thereby leaving me to my own devices, or to put it more aptly, my own vices.

My vices include a deep aversion to waking up early, or being anywhere on time. Overtime, wifey and I have worked out strategy that ensures that if I have to wake up early to get to work, I do so. It involves her waking up much earlier, and then toiling hard in waking me up. Her tactics can range from just pulling the blankets away to smothering me with pillows. Often enough the blanket trick does not work, nor does sprinkle-cold-water-in-his-face, and it boils down to smothering me so I have to wake up for dear life. I used to think she was cruel, but after having lived with me for just the last two weeks I have realized that she is perhaps the most patient soul I have known. I would kill me, if I had to wake me up.

I mean it has taken two alarm clocks working in tandem with the mobile alarm and the telephone alarm, all working on snooze mode, to get me out of bed by 6:00. The alarms start at 5:00, and this when I have been going to bed really early so that I can wake up early. No more staying up till 2:00 a.m. and all. Lights out by 11:00 p.m. has been the strategy, and it has still been perilously close to failure. 6:00 a.m. by the way is still late if i have to get to work by 8:00 a.m., but I make up for lost time on blackey.

However, therein lies the problem. With no one there to smother me out of bed every morning, I must get to bed early, and going to bed early means I cannot update.

How have I managed to update today at this late/early hour? No, the family is not back yet. Its just that I don’t have work on Saturdays, and I have had time to catch up on sleep through out Friday.

There. I have clarified now, why I have not been able to update for this long. Time to continue on Cooriisms, but…*yawns*…

….maybe, tomorrow.

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