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Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Hobbies and Jobbies

In Blogging, Monday, Motivation, Office humor, SlavesInc, Wage Slaves, work life balance on October 27, 2017 at 17:12
Employment is an increasingly thin disguise for lives being spent on auto-pilot. Hours, years, decades spent at desks convincing yourself that this is what you were born to do. Your entire childhood, education and the relative exuberance of your youth add up to this contract of employment at this CTC. Most of your time and faculties are spent not in working but in telling yourself that this…it it. This is all there is to life. This and shopping. Shopping is why you exist. And voting once in a while. In the modern world, we are consumers first, citizens later. Social media; at best, let’s us humour ourselves. At worst, it keeps you in a semi-comatose state throughout the day. Man did not evolve to grow old in cubicles. But via the miracle of the modern economy he can gladly do so simply because everybody else is. The mass tranquilization of conformity.
Stray ideas and interests can be kept as pets and called hobbies. Something you do in your free time, on the side, in the most inconsequential way possible.  ‘Yeah, he still does that…collecting stamps,’ followed by a sympathetic smile. As if we were describing a disease he has to live with, ‘Yeah, he loves getting Asthma, but only in his free time…and on rainy days.’ We never reserve the same disdain for day jobs, ‘Yeah, he is Vice President Marketing now. It only took him twenty years, two angioplasties and one divorce to get there.’ Hobbies are looked down upon as guilty pleasures. Not only can they not earn a livelihood they are not even supposed to. Which is why the most powerful people in the world are the ones who have made making money their hobby. A single-minded pursuit of money is bound to succeed in a world designed to worship it. But simply existing in defiance of it is the bigger success. In times when money is by itself a consumer product, a healthy detachment is essential to maintain sanity. You don’t have to be a hermit though. Struggling artists give artists a bad name. The compulsively struggling down on his luck stereotype is why we can’t imagine a world run by artists instead of politicians and businessmen. There would be no material progress, only a never-ending hippie party. And it’s probably true. If artists ran the world we may not have had nuclear power but then we would not have needed it either.
I still know people who state ‘General Knowledge’ as a hobby. GK. Admittedly, they are all old. But there was a time; not long ago, when it was cute that uncle Shyam could recite the capital of Azerbaijan and all Soviet states in alphabetical order. Now; in the 4G era, it is just sad. But at least Shyam had a personality. He tried to grasp something beyond the mundane. We remember people for their quirks, not their routines. If your entire life’s work amounts to a flat in the suburbs and a few FDs, the world could have probably done without you. ‘He was a nice guy…yeah…’
– Punit Pania

Santa None the Less

In Festivals, humor, Office humor on December 25, 2013 at 05:00

‘What’s wrong with a table clock?’ You say having never bought into the secret Santa gimmick.

‘Nothing, if it was 2012,’ says Karen, obviously more sold than you.

‘You mean a table clock is so last year?’

‘Not the gift, but Nitin’s designation has moved up in life, leaving cheap gifts and open cubicles behind.’

‘Just give it now, isn’t it the thought that is supposed to count?’

‘It is but not in office.’

If you had a dime for every time you heard that, you wouldn’t need to work in an office in the first place. But you have accepted it as a fact of life, as routine as complaining about the traffic and doing nothing about it.

Annual events remind you that you are still here and nothing much has changed except the date. What changes is how badly you want to break free and the time available to you to execute this jail break, both of which are on a downward spiral.

Christmas_Ad_Zippo
‘The thought should count for something. Like 40%,’ you say, still not convinced about the designation theory.

‘Let’s just say that the thought is only table stakes, you need to back it up with action.’

‘Man, this is gonna be painful. How about a fancy lighter?’

‘He doesn’t smoke.’

‘It is never too late to start,’ you say dryly.

‘We have ten more minutes, then my vacation starts. Do it or Secret Santa flops,’ Karen was serious.

‘A Wine Set?’

‘Too informal.’

‘An actual bottle of wine?’

‘Too expensive.’

‘A box of rum balls?’

‘Too predictable.’

‘I give up then.’

‘Don’t you have something…non-narcotic?’

‘Not in office.’

‘What?’

‘Can’t think of anything…flowery right now.’

‘Good bye then, see you next year. Merry Christmas!’

‘Secret Santa my ass!’ you exclaim.

You get back to work trying to ignore the sad looking cotton balls masquerading as snow and the thin guy from accounts posing as Santa. Working through it seems to be the only revolt of some semblance against what you feel is just another shopping festival.

Christmas Mall

*Gift for Nitin* continues to stare at you from the top of your to-do list. But you just can’t get around to the formality. At 8 pm on Xmas eve; it is just you, Nitin and his name on the list that are left in office.

Alone in an office at night, an FBI agent sifts through files.

You decide to confront him, walk straight into his newly acquired enclosure, wish him and leave. He sees you coming a long way away and waves you in. But you rush back to the desk and put that zippo lighter you never used into your pocket, just in case.

Zippo ad kids

‘Long day eh?’ he says

‘Yeah, just like any other. Hey, can I help you with something?’

‘Oh no, I’ve…I’ve got it covered, thanks,’ says Nitin in a smile too big to be true.

‘I plan on being here quite some time. Why don’t you head home to the kids on time for once?’ you offer.

‘The kids are not at home…I don’t have custody for the holidays,’ says Nitin still smiling.

‘I’ve got nothing waiting for me at home either,’ you say pulling up a chair. Secret Santa still has a chance.

Santa-Smoking

– J.

My Chair

In Coffee Mug, Hiearchy, Hopsquatch, humor, Office, Organisation, Quick Sand, Table Fan on August 15, 2011 at 03:45

You have been together since the time your memory is foggy. She has always been there, supporting your wild pitches and cushioning your falls. You have seen 2 rounds of restructuring and 3 Presidents come and go. Exchange rates have halved, GDPs have doubled and the continents are few more inches apart. But you still find her every day you wake.

She off course is your chair, blindly loyal to you, as you are to your employer. It knows you, it understands, it cares. It knows you fear intimacy and like familiarity. In turn, you fight to keep her yours. No one dares lay claim to it, even in your absence for a quick meeting. You mark her with signs of your togetherness and adorn her with accessories. She is unmistakable, even from a distance.

Along with your personalized table fan, your coffee mug and your computer system, your chair represents a self propagated gravitational field, forceful and hard to resist. Like a black hole, it sucks you in and escape seems too difficult to even attempt.

 

Consistency through a different mirror also looks like lack of progress. The length of your back rest represents the obesity of your pay check. And your back rest needs a lot of propping up. Beyond these gallows lie other enclosures with other chairs, more ergonomic, with better colors and cushioned arm rests. And they are waiting to be-throne you. If only you could escape the quick sand of slow procrastination. So wake up and smell the Styrofoam! It is time to shed your security blanket, shun the familiar warmth of your chair and move on. I am sure she will understand.

  

–          J.

Caffeine Clique

In Boss, Health, humor, Office, Organisation, Wage Slaves on June 27, 2011 at 13:40

In most Futuramas, everyone wears the same clothes, uniforms if you will. They also have the same asexual haircut and vitamin-D deficient facial expressions. That is because utopias are boring. Real world is not.

Social orders, stratifications and competition make the game worth playing. Unlike video games and competitive sports, we can’t have people walking around with jet packs and sashes. So we give them milder trophies. Like a shinier name plates, a costlier chair and better quality tea and coffee.

These everyday drinks, humble in their commonness are also stratifying in their variety. From your chicory-adulterated pedestrian cuppa to your boss’ Darjeeling organic to his boss’ ultra green, there is one to suit every palate and pocket. There are almost as many varieties as there are layers in your company’s organogram.

Placebo or enabler

You would think a ‘company with presence in over 100 countries’ can afford better coffee for its employees. But you may be missing the bigger picture. You realize this on a fateful day when your boss’ boss calls you to his cabin for the first time. Let us call him ‘Slave in Chief’ – SIC for convenience. SIC is known to be magnanimous in person but stingy over e-mail.

“Have some green tea, it’s organic.” So far, he has stuck to his profile.

He serves it to you without waiting for your reply. You awkwardly slump into the chair facing SIC’s ping-pong table-sized desk. Small talk ensues, mostly moderated by him. He is intermittently distracted by his phone that seems to be flashing something unpleasant.

“What is it?” he finally barks into the phone. This initial pleasantry is followed by long drawn silence, interspersed with nods.

Meanwhile, he motions you to add honey instead of sugar. Your village upbringing has already given itself away.

 'It's not a gift, I earned it.'

After the initial salutation, SIC does not manage to get one full sentence in:

“But I…

…wanted to…

Let me at least….

We will…

This Satur..

I prom..”

……………someone just hung up on your SIC.

The rest of the meeting, post phone call, is vague and unproductive. However, two important things were learnt on this day:

  1. The wife doesn’t care two hoots what your visiting card says
  2. Organic Green tea tastes like expired cough medicine

High end caffeine drinks must be an acquired taste, like classical music. Weather they are an outcome of or means to enter inner circles…you will only know when you cross over.

– J.