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Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

Relevant Experience Junkie

In conspiracy theories, humor, true enlightenment, Wage Slaves, work life balance on July 20, 2017 at 19:41
In the end we are all just chasing experiences. Experiences that crystallize into memories and add to the narrative that somehow convinces you everyday that life is worth getting out of bed for. Getting high is an experience, so is attending a comedy show. Some are deemed legal by the ruling majority, some are sneered upon and others are punishable by law. We are all dealers then separated only by the sensibilities of the owners of the country.
dude-the-big-lebowski
Money is just a common language that facilitates the scores. But some people get high on just the money, too many people if we go by the distribution of wealth in the world or rather the lack of distribution. All that money locked up in nameless offshore accounts and tasteless jewellery. Such a travesty. All the highs you could buy with that money, it would take you to the Milky Way and back. But it lays with a man who is happy just knowing that he can buy a lifetime’s worth of experiences with it but is still busy hoarding more money. May be does not know what he wants, what truly gets him high. So he goes for the next best thing, making others believe that he has bought happiness itself, with warranty.
But hoarding is the opposite of happiness. Money, clothes, social hierarchy and job designations, hoarded for an eventual cosmic audit that will never happen. Energy always dissipates. You either buy illusions of control or you let go and enjoy the free-fall. But first you must find your drug and let it consume you. Metaphorically of course. Physical abuse is just a waste of protoplasm. And the system can’t let you waft away so easily. Who will pay all those taxes?
– Punit Pania

Late Shift Blues

In Artist, freelancing, Office humor, Organisation, SlavesInc, vitamin d deficiency, Wage Slaves, work life balance, work stress on June 8, 2017 at 20:13
‘You again?’ he said. You could have said the exact same thing but you stick to the more traditional, ‘Hi.’
This must be the seventh time you have ran into the man on the last train home. You vaguely remember him in the audience at one of your dos. You don’t recall ever asking his name and it has not hampered your acquaintance for lack of a better word.
Train Kandivali
You fill him in on all that has been happening in your little version of rebellion. He listens with amusement but that is about it. Then you ask him about his…work. Not that there is much excitement he can share about the ERP offshoring project that is gainfully employing him. Then you try silence for a while and it catches on. Till it’s time for you to say goodbye at your destination. The empty rake takes the man home only to repeat the cycle again tomorrow. He didn’t seem sad but he didn’t look hopeful either. A version of you in a parallel universe. It was a rather Fight Club moment, like meeting your spirit animal.
There is something about late night shifts that brings about contemplation even in the most wound up of automatons. May be it is the moonlight, the relative coolness or just the silence. The sweepers on the platform, the rickshaw drivers waiting for a last ride home or just an excuse to call it a day and you on your post-gig high seem to share an unspoken camaraderie, a loose brotherhood of odd-jobers. Going through the motions of their respective mime acts. Like you were in a video for a blues song together.
New York Workers

PhotoShop always was a latent need of the market.

Some days you see your ex-colleagues on the other side of the tracks, on the right side of market sentiment and the wrong side of traffic. Their belts struggling to contain their impending cardiac episodes and the compartment barely containing the class struggle. As you wave at them from your empty compartment going upstream, the success is almost cinematic in contrast. But it’s not the end, it never is. There is always a higher plane to abdicate to. And unfortunately life is a series of sequels no one asked for.
Rat Race.jpg
Man is a creature of habit. All creatures are. Meaning can always be retrofitted. From training troops to telecallers, most mission calls are euphemisms at best. Lies we decide to believe collectively to make life bearable. One should always be weary of replacing one drudgery with another.
Slice of Life Dexter
Small talk about traffic, weather and elections is just static filling the emptiness of your years. You can choose to wake up or sleepwalk through the rest of your life, no one will notice either way. But at least pick the shift that feels most defiant.
– Punit Pania

Hot, Flat and Shrouded

In global warming, Interpersonal, Wage Slaves, work stress on May 3, 2017 at 06:00
There are 8.5 billion of us crawling the planet and sucking it dry. Each one of us brought up to think he/she/it is unique and has a destiny drafted and approved by the executive editor upstairs. It’s a miracle we haven’t killed each other to extinction yet. And this miracle is called money.
 Going Going Gone
Money is the pursuit of violence by other means. The largest and longest running simulation in the history of the world. It keeps us occupied to the point of obsession and blindness. The few who master the game; 1% to be precise, watch us gladiators from the perch of their fiscal leverage.
 Money counting
Blood sports are wasteful and short-lived. Institutionalized competition is the stuff GDPs are built on. The modern economy is a well-oiled noise-free machine with the unfortunate side-effect of carbon emissions. Largely civilized, channeling all the collateral damage into the slowly maturing mutual fund of global warming instead. Private Profit – Planetary debt.
Polar 1
Between 16° and 28° lies the cold war between two rival camps of office employees with widely differing body chemistry, political leanings and thermodynamics. There are the tropical Eskimos who travel through melting heat and enter the office is a sweater and muffler. Who shudder at anything below the ambient temperature of 24°. Who are convinced they were born in the wrong hemisphere. And there is you and your neighbor Sameer who enter the office looking like chimps with your arms hanging out with the discomfort of the sweaty crescents under your arms. You do not believe you were born in the wrong hemisphere because we are all going to die anyway. But the Eskimos regard you as Vulcans. You are not sure if calling someone an Eskimo is considered racist in today’s world. But they don’t have internet so they can’t outrage. And they might also be leading happier lives. But to ensure your rant ages well, you call them just Moes instead.
 Cold giphy.gif
More than the numbers, the Moes also have a moral lead on your camp. It seems feeling cold draws more sympathy​ than sweating like a pig. Cheif Guests are often awarded shawls because intellectuals feel more cold than proles and they don’t even tire of shuddering at the ills of society. In winters animals hibernate in a Zen-like state. But an animal in heat only produces more animals.
You have employed all techniques from rationing AC usage to stealthily using the AC remote only coming short of bribing the office boy. But the Moes’ ring leader trumps all your efforts. Samantha has always looked frail, now with her summer shawl collection, she looks like a hermit on chemo. And when she tries to balance herself on a chair to guide the flaps of the AC away from her cubicle with the aid of a foot ruler, she gets enough sympathy to last her a week. It seems her doctor has prescribed that the blast of the AC should be at an angle of exactly 176° away from her head.
Each summer is only going to be more biting but Moes’ bodies refuse to adapt to their God-given latitudes. It seems the Vulcans are going to have to retreat. Until one fateful day, the thought of buying yourself out of this predicament occurs to you. A thought so noble in its simplicity you are almost ashamed it didn’t occur to you earlier. Sameer’s girlfriend calls you one day proving that a. She exists and b. You still have the capacity of being a friend. She asks for suggestions for Sameer’s birthday present. And the words ‘USB Fan’ just drop out of the ozone-depleted sky into your lap.
 LED-USB-Fan-Clock
The Vulcans and the Moes’ co-existed in an armistice after that proving once again that the only answer to consumption is more consumption…till there is no ground left to stand on. Then we can all go medieval. It would be the perfect ending.
– Punit Pania

Inflation and the Myth of Satisfaction

In Motivation, Salary, work life balance on April 20, 2017 at 17:05
The really premium stores are the ones where you can’t even make out what they are actually selling. It is difficult to tell what’s on offer, the crockery, the antique toy cars or the staff’s mime act.
Kama-Ayurveda-Store
Italian decor, Indian prints and African drum music because…why not? You can’t tell if the staff has an accent or they are struggling with queer product descriptions they have been made to memorize. You can’t tell if the look on their face is irony or a perpetual shrapnel up their ass.
Kama-Store
And they are always empty. You could either feel like you are one of the chosen few or you stumbled in mistakenly. Either way, you have never felt so out of place since the time your Mom left you alone with Grandma and her Poker Club friends.
The price tags have detached themselves not only from the inherent value of the product but from gravity itself. And yet it feels impolite to walk out without a purchase but not to price a scarf at 5695 bucks in the first place!
It’s only numbers afterall. In a world of rival religions and vicarious recreation, numbers are the only real thing and they rule everything we do.
Your salary, your BMI, your EMI, your credit limit and your per capita GDP. All numbers; manifested in the struggle you call a life. The jumble of neurons you call a consciousness. And competing hormonal levels you call a personality.
And somewhere down the line we decided that they should all move upwards, double digits, year on year, more chaos, more dollars, more entropy, less sleep, no stopping. A death spiral of consumption, diminishing returns on investment and the myth of satisfaction that always lies beyond your salary bracket.
Clooney Boat
But you don’t know when to give up. You never do. Make do with the MRP bars and save for the birthday bash. Wait for the online sales and splurge in Diwali. Scratching, clawing and ducking into another financial year of accounting obscurity.
Sure there are alternatives and different trends but the shop selling detox depends on the shop selling liquor. And the only right answer to any question is: More!
When the last tree has been cut down
More and more till the last beach is turned into a carnival and the last forest is strip-mined into a grave. The centrifugal force of consumption is so great that only the blessed few with resolve can resist and that too only within the sanctuary of their minds. For the rest, life will be at best a blurr of alarm clocks, plastic pop songs and credit card due date reminders all held together by a constant primordial anxiety to belong, never really getting there but never realising freedom can be as simple as turning the WiFi off!
Don’t you give up, nah-nah-nah
I won’t give up, nah-nah-nah…
– Punit Pania

One Page CV

In Communication, creativity, curriculum vitae, cv, humor, Interview on March 21, 2017 at 18:26
After your blood test your CV is the most telling document on how you have lived your life.
You have been starring at it for ten minutes now and even the cursor seems reluctant to blink. It’s all there, bad decisions, regrets, denials, stress injuries and battle scars, all there in black and white. Neatly tucked into two pages.
CV
But it seems like a lot. And not in the least because you want to save paper. But you feel two pages is too pompous for the train wreck you call a career.
Freshers are all over the place with their 4 objectives, 6 strength areas and 11 hobbies. No one really cares coz as a fresher you are a commodity. But with age comes clarity. This clarity can either be liberating in the infinite possibilities free will presents or debilitating in the inevitable mediocrity most of us statistically end up in.
Internship
You have managed to find yourself in the middle of these two extremes once again. Juggling ambition and realism is a loosing battle. The least you can do is be benign about it.
So you start throwing all the excess baggage overboard. Some of it is quite embarrassing; high school competition certificates and ‘basic computer skills’ need to RIP with the 90s. Fluency in secondary and regional languages is redundant in the 140 character world. And hobbies…Where do you even start with those condolences? You have only really gone hiking once and even that trip was cut short after you sprained your ankle at the base camp itself. Your guitar strings broke from rust. And you hate driving so much that you prefer commuting in cattle class over haggling for parking spots. It’s down to sketching, reading and blogs now. And even these hobbies are on life support.
Getting Paid
And they always will be till you keep calling them hobbies. Always looked down upon as guilty pleasures. As an artist the desire to perform always exceeds the desire to get paid. For some reason, businessmen do not suffer from such afflictions. Or may be you are looking at the world upside down. You have to give it to your present and future employers though, they made making money their hobby. And now their visiting card is itself their CV. Till you can do the same, one page is enough to sell your slavery.
Visiting Card
– Punit Pania

Being Polite is the Slowest Way to Die

In Communication, Organisation, work life balance, work stress on March 5, 2017 at 15:39
‘Being polite is the slowest way to die!’ you had heard in a motivational workshop. But that was for sales guys.
Now you are in an air-conditioned office where interactions can be more hostile but language always has to be civil to the point of flippancy. Words like help start losing weight and assume a life of their own. And some words are hunted to extinction. Like the sweet and simple No.
Image may contain: 1 person, standing
No is decisive, firm and has gravitas. No doesn’t wait for regret to seep in, No moves on, No has a life. Which is why it has no space left in corporate life. ‘I’ll get back to you’ has taken its place in perpetuity. Because with enough euphemisms, we will all be immortal one day.
And in the midst of this nihilism you have ended up saying yes to another stinker of a project. Coz it came in the garb of help. Help; a word so versatile it can never go extinct. It’s scale is quantum but it’s demeanor is benign. You can keep helping blind old ladies cross the road remembering that Jesus too once helped us by taking one for the team.
Image result for jesus brb
As you now type away into the wee hours of the evening instead of being home with your family of online subscriptions, you begin to wonder is it that difficult to say no? You wonder how all the succesful VPs and up-and-comers get through the muck of life and come out clean and gleaming. You wonder how people can get away by simply saying ‘I need your help’ instead of ‘I know you hate doing it but there is no way I am going to do this myself so we are in this together now’?
Image result for shawn michaels suck it
But it is difficult to say No. Increasingly so, in the minefield of power structures, dotted line reporting and 360° appraisals. And beyond the niceties and tea parties, No has to come from a very real place deep inside your hollowed conscience, beneath all the layers of conditioning and anxiety. Do it when you are ready, when there is no looking back and there is no regret. Life in the wild can be brutal but life in climate control is excruciating.
– Punit Pania

Friends, Family and People You May Know…

In Boss, Head Slave, Hiearchy on February 3, 2017 at 02:19
Sometimes you wonder if beneath all the layers of niceties and formalities does a real person exist or did he go into a coma a long time ago. May be your colleagues think the same way about you. But you don’t want to let the line between friends, acquaintances and co-workers blur. You don’t mind being called old-fashioned but having three real friends is better than having a hundred and seventy ‘people you may know’.
And so you resist. You resist Friday drinkathons by getting all your bitching done during coffee breaks. You resist the annual sports day by feigning hernia. And you resist adding your colleagues on Facebook by not remembering your password. But for how long? Between auto logins and your company’s official ‘fan page’ your online profile is ironically more relevant than your flesh-and-blood self and will outlive it too. The thought of willing your online avatars to your heirs seems disturbing only if you plan to start a family.
Image result for spiderman desk
However most people still do. And they plan the expansion of their clan around their appointments, promotions and transfers completing the circle of modern day slavery. Adding them as friends can be pretty disturbing. Specially the tenured uncles whom you have only seen behind their respective desks. You are not even sure if they have legs! The ones who wear the same blue-striped shirt which is 2 sizes too big; every day of the week. May be they wear different equally forgettable formals every day and your brain has decided to store just one default image of these humanoids to save precious RAM. Or may be they have 5 exactly same shirts so they only have to wash and iron once over the weekend. You would like to believe the later. But on Facebook, Mr. Bhatavdekar is a different person. He has two kids, he wears t-shirts and on weekends, he almost manages to look happy! In some cases the contrast is so dramatic you think he either has an evil twin or he is himself a serial killer!
Image result for linda mcmahon wwe
On recent unavoidable social treks, you have run into the mythical creature known simply as the boss’ wife. She seems normal enough but you have your doubts. She could not have survived Head Slave for over five years without even being compensated with gratuity and still be a nice person. And soon enough, she proves you right. Between comments on your casual dressing and suggestions on how you should start yoga, she went from the boss’ bride to Cinderella’s step-mother pretty quickly. Perhaps by some extended logic, she may feel like the entire office’s mother-in-law. And it gives a whole new meaning to the term dotted-line reporting.
You want to tell her that having a kid does give you a passport into the comfortably fat zone and definitely does not exempt you from atherosclerosis but you can’t, not before updating your CV. And not when HS is there himself tag-teaming on you while you are down. The only thing more annoying than a cute couple is a power couple because they don’t even pretend to be nice.
Stone Cold Stunner Linda McMahon
One would think in the class-less global economy nearing automation, there would be no clans and no extended chains of power. But only the era changes, appropriation always remains a matter of might. And if by chance an honest man like yourself should make enemies, then…
Image result for your enemies godfather quote
– Punit Pania

Bachelor of Commerce

In humor, SlavesInc, work life balance on January 4, 2017 at 17:46
‘I can’t afford one more baby,’ you say instinctively as the collections start for Govind’s second child’s first gift.
Ideally Govind should have been saying it. Perhaps he did but after it was too late, because the script demanded it.
Everyone is running their own story based on their myths, their favourite band’s lyrics and the last movie they saw. So are you. But while the Lone Ranger, the hopeless romantic and unrequited love are celebrated on celluloid, 9 to 5 bets its money on conformity and predictability.
Bachelors are the new Social outcasts and unlike the Wild West, you don’t even have a Sheriff’s badge in your defense let alone a sidearm. And there too many occasions on which you wish you had a gun, from Baby showers to BringYourSpouseToWorkDay.
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Bachelors have fewer rights than Syrian refugees on Thanksgiving Day in Oklahoma. Need to show that expat from Barcelona around? Someone’s got to stay back in office to ensure the file transfer is complete? Someone needs to represent us at the conference on Sunday? Who you gonna call?
– The Bachelor.
What hurts more than not having a life is the general assumption that you don’t have one. And how is ‘You don’t have a family to go to home to’ still a valid argument? It’s 2016, the only lasting family anyone has is their collection of now defunct smartphones.
Image result for bachelor funny
Buying into the societal concept of legal marriage seems to be like getting a Presidential level AmEx Platinum Card. The privileges are many and ridiculous. How could you not want this lifetime membership?
Any contract that is permanent gives you the qualms. And the budgets for these baby shower gifts keep inflating every quarter. With more people chipping in and more Chinese kids working in factories around the clock; before you know it you are buying a baby carriage with a jet pack and a drone mode for stealth bombing…all for a kid who has not even taken its first breath of polluted air yet.
Image result for baby showers funny
But Bachelors have to play their part, everyone does. Kingdoms are built on division of labour where the King gets to be the biggest asshole the land has ever seen and everyone else gets to clean up after him. At least now you get to pay your taxes to the ruling class and go home and cry in peace.
– Punit Pania

Freelance Warrior

In Big Brother, Blogging, SlavesInc, Technology, Wage Slaves, work life balance on January 2, 2017 at 18:45
It is easy to fall into the ‘Pen is mightier than the sword’ wordplay. But one man’s knight is another man’s mercenary.
In a post-modern WiFi inundated world, knights are often slouched behind desks following up on their pizza home delivery. Nature is inherently violent and only the fittest survive. But what is fit is changing and physical violence is now translated into the language of money and economics.
Image result for american psycho gif
Most of us visualize life as this long epic battle for which we are fighting, suffering and sacrificing everyday so that day one day we will reach Graceland. The Big Payoff, the Big Promotion, the Big Offshore posting – which may or may not come and if it does it may or may not seem worth the life force spent in chasing it. One would think it would be hard to sell this world view. But it’s not because the scriptures themselves prescribe daily drudgery in lieu of otherworldly salvation. And we have all bought into Jehovah’s stock-options that will not mature in this space-time continuum.
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The ads selling you fizzy drinks and fitness bands, your employer’s mission and vision statements and the condolences you offer yourself every night before setting the alarm again – all adding to a loosely bound narrative that keeps you in a trance you call a life.
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You do a have choice though, increasingly so. A choice of sitting it out, hitting the eject button on the rat race, watching the circus from the sidelines. Live a little bit of Graceland everyday, happiness in small daily installments. Mutual funds are always subject to market risks but Ponzi schemes are only subject to your ignorance.
Freelancer, rebel, outcast or just social slacker, at least you have the freedom to own your mistakes. That’s better than being an extra in someone else’s Forbes dream.
– Punit Pania