Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Face value

I have this peculiar habit of scanning faces, the pretty and the not-so pretty ones too, in public places. Not only looking at the faces, but as to what they are doing, and thinking on what they might be thinking. I assume everyone does that, but instead of generalizing I will say that it is my habit. So at the lunch table in the cafeteria one day when the discussions veered off to how incompetent the project manager is I preferred to look past the table occupants and spotted a face amongst others. I knew I had seen him before somewhere and that too before joining this company, but I was not able to register where. I do boast that I have a good memory of recollecting faces and at the same time I regret that my memory of remembering names is very weak. So I wondered that if I smile at the familiar face either he would recognize me with my name and I would be fumbling remembering his name (which happens most of the times) or I would smile and he would be like why is this guy smiling at me when I don’t know him (which also happens many times). So I did not smile or wave at him, but still was thinking where I had seen that guy. Then while leaving the cafeteria we were about to cross each other and I saw that he was looking at me with a similar where-have-I-seen you look. I smiled weakly and he said, “Sharma?” The face-recollecter narcissist in me poked fun at me again that the guy standing in front not only recognized my face but was also remembering my name. After some small talk we left for our offices. He also was not able to remember where we had met, but later it struck me (by the way he addressed my surname) that we were in the same tuition class 11 years back. Had it been only his voice or full name instead of his face, I don’t think I would have recognized him.

This power of (or dependency on) the face came out strongly in the project I completed recently. We had about 200 team members working from different locations and different companies, over different time zones. Out of these 200 around I had met only 8-10 people who were from the floor opposite to mine. While talking to the remaining ones during the conference calls I used to imagine their faces. I used to associate known faces to these unknown people based on their voices, names, locations and my imagination over the last 10 months. The problem was when the known people used to meet me and I started calling them by the names of the unknown faces since I had mapped their faces to the names I was talking to the entire day. Last week my onshore counterpart sent a few photographs of a party the team there had attended. On the call I asked him where he was standing in the photograph; the picture I had in my head was completely the opposite of him. Now when I talk to him after that day I am not able to co-relate the real face with that voice as I am used to the mental image I had created over these many months. Among the blogger friends I have so far imagined I had told Sayesha that before visiting her travel blog where she had posted her photograph I always thought her to be like the actress Sandhya Mridul. I have still not heard Sayesha’s voice so associating her with the actress is a different story altogether, but even today the first image that comes to my mind when I read her blog is of the actress and then her real face.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tumbling down the rabbit hole

I analyze each passing year, though never reach to/make any decisions to change the flow of anything. I have been too lazy if you want to say so or too much of a believer of destiny that I have let the water find its own course even if there are obstacles that need to be overcome instead of meandering around. Yesterday one of the team members (from another company) sent me an appreciation on completion of the project. He stated that I had maintained a cool head even when there were many issues and he liked the fact that instead of going for escalations I had handled the issues on my own with a good rapport with the whole team. I had replied to him that I was not a person who liked the idea of escalations and preferred the policy that things do go bad, but they turn out to be good eventually. After replying I sat back for a moment and pondered as to this ‘appreciation’ can as well be ‘criticism’ that I had not followed the rules laid out and had not done what all others do, i.e., escalate to the higher management. Well I didn’t, and I am really not sure if it was good or bad. I lost my passport last month and all colleagues have been more stressed on the incident than me. Everyone stills keeps asking me how come I am calm on losing an important document. I am not boasting here because I am not actually that cool headed. I assume I was the cool headed guy say 5-6 years back when friends had nicknamed me chameleon as I could slip superficially into any desired mood, mostly to pull a prank on someone and no one was able to figure out what is going on in my head. Now they do, and I hate it. I don’t like that someone can peep into my mind now, which I had successfully blocked so many years.

I have been observing that I lose my cool more now than the Sudeep who was 5-6 years back. It was not an over the night transformation, but over the years this change has taken place. Earlier when someone used to jump a traffic signal I used to shake my head and call him by a flop actor’s name (most preferred was Uday Chopra). Now when some idiot does the same thing I shout at him stopping only after throwing a few abuses. I seriously think I might end up beating the shit out of someone on the road these days. Sample this incident which happened 2 years ago. I was at a small kiosk outside the company premises for buying a soft drink which a colleague wanted. The vendor handed me over the bottle and I gave him 25 bucks for the bottle priced at 23. I waited for a minute for him to hand me the change, but on asking he refused stating that the price is 25. I showed him the printed price and demanded the 2 rupees which he flatly refused again under the pretext of refrigeration charges. If this had occurred 4 years back I would have convinced myself that the poor fellow needs the small amount more than me. But I was almost short of exchanging blows with him. It was not just the 2 rupees I was fighting for, but the way he was looting everyone. Had it not been the colleague who was waiting for the soft drink, I would have not bought the bottle and even enacted the Dombivli Fast scene in which the lead actor batters the shop facing a similar incident. I don’t remember having any nightmares earlier. I could just pick up someone known/unknown (even the blogger buddies) before closing my eyes and then in the dreams we would be jogging on a hill to reach a fort or be on a safari ride. Now the people in the dreams hurt each other, mentally and physically. I dislike the violence and the gory deaths, even if they are not real.

Like MJ said in the movie, everybody needs help sometimes, Peter, even Spider-Man. I am waiting for help from someone, and it could be you, a divine intervention or it could be me as well. This time I am not going to let the water flow in the direction it wishes to, but will make sure to get it back on the earlier course. I am going to climb out of the rabbit hole and you will love the old Sudeep again. It is a promise.

Monday, May 09, 2011


Last week someone jumped up two places in my top 10 persons to-be-killed list.