Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Delhi Tides

Finally I get to blog once again.

Now an IBM R50 does not come with a FDD or a CDRW so what it implies is that unless I have a detachable USB memory device I would be left stranded to decide as to how the hell can I transfer a document from my dearest, cutest, sweetest, nicest lappie to another comp in the Cyber Café. And since I am staying at a friend’s place here in Delhi hogging all the way from dawn to dusk asking my hosts to pay the phone bill for my sojourns on the net is the something that does not appeal to my senses yet. But today I found a Cyber Café the owner of whose has configured my lappie to his LAN and here I am.

Friends, Indians, Countrymen today I intend to speak about a very delicate topic. Its sensitivity cannot be exaggerated and its importance in the life of a fledgling MBA professional is paramount. It’s a topic very close to my heart and lemme at the very outset tell you all that I have attained a high degree of skill in this trade that I will touch upon very shortly.

It is a skill that I shall try and map on a scale called the “Bated Breath” Index. And what brings me to speak on this is the experience of a lifetime. Well simply put what I am referring to here is the skill of waiting for someone or something to arrive. And to further simplify things the lower you are on the “Bated Breath” Index the more proficient you are in waiting .The waiting could be for a phone call that does not arrive even after a dozen messages or a date who is yet to show up but the movie has begun and the sherpa at the hall lets you know that “Agla show to do ghante baad hai Shaaphji”. It could be also be for the IAS official who has to sign his name on a paper and is not in office even after confirming his presence.
As you would have guessed by now few skills help you across IAS officials and Girlfriends alike and hence the significance to know how to score as low as possible on the “Bated Breath” Index. Scoring low on the Index lets you relax, tells you how to be not restless even if you have to wait from dawn to dusk. It just lets you go to the loo when you have to and not every now and then simply becos it is an activity that kills the waiting time.

I recently had the distinction (dubious if you like) of having the “Shortest First Day at DoCC” in SPJIMR history. And that’s exactly when the genesis of this post took place. The waiting time that day was two hours and five minutes to be precise. I was there at the headquarters of an NGO called Prayas at 9:25 a.m. and was sitting rooted in a chair at the reception till 11:30 a.m. expecting a certain Ms. Anupama to grace the office.

And this was again only one of the many occasions when I have displayed utmost skill in waiting with as less of a bated breath as possible. And at this moment of time I feel competent enough to pen a few tips to score as low as possible on the famed Bated Breath Index.
1.) Carry a bag always: You can carry something to eat and read. Though eating might not always be acceptable yet some situations give you a room to yourself as was the case when I went to meet an IPS officer in Mumbai for a signature on a certain verification form. This was the longest I had to wait for anyone and I luckily had a few cakes and an Aquafina in my bag. I could not have left the room for a second lest the officer come, pick his tiffin box and leave.Oh yeah I had made a rapport with a peon and was told that “Saab tiffin box chhod ke gaye hain.Waapas aayenge”. Flimsy as it might sound now at that point of time such bits of information from reliable sources offer a new lease of life and hope
2.) It might be prudent if you are stationed in a vocation that does require you to wait more than others (let’s assume you have an outsourcing firm that provides services like “Making getting signatures from Bureaucrats Easy”) to have a mobile service provider that allows you free outgoing SMS’s.
3.) I would also recommend not carrying anything to drink cos no matter whatever the office be it will always have a good source of water. After all bureaucrats need to drink pure water and stay healthy more than others.
4.) Read all instructions written everywhere on the walls. I have an interesting tale to narrate in this regard.
Having got bored of waiting for too long in the room that I just mentioned above I decided to go to the loo. This was less of a time killing tactic and more of a necessity. There was another gentleman in a creamy Safari Suit at the wash basin where I began a customary routine of washing my hands and no sooner than I had picked up the soap that he shot a stern glance at me.
“Sorry Sir, I dint know it was your soap”, I said.
The gentleman continued his glare almost to suggest that I was the underground criminal who had murdered his daughter. And while I was wondering vulnerably looking at him as to what could allay his apprehension of some infected human having spoiled his unadulterated soap he finally spoke after what seemed an eternity.
“Did you not read the instructions on the door” a gruff voice boomed.
Now I have been to many loos before. And afaik restrooms/toilets/loos whatever you call them seldom had instructions on the door. They sure did have a figure resembling a bald man or a girl who had her hair in two knots. This restroom did not have these pictures but I was sure I had entered the one that said “He”. Further proof of the same was the presence of this man himself under the same roof as I. So what the heck was wrong?
I spent the next two seconds mumbling something in the nature of “No Sir, I did not read anything.”
“Its written in pure Marathi and you couldn’t even read that”. The venom in his voice was growing by the word.
Damn. How was I supposed to know that the two sentences I did see indeed on the door of the restroom were instructions and not endorsement one liners in Marathi for 502 Pataaka Beedi?
“This is meant only for employees here.” Oracle spoke again.
I was just glad it was not the issue with the Soap and walked out sheepishly.
5.) And probably the most relevant .Always let the other person know through a call that you are coming. Regardless of whether you still find him there or not it’s important to let him know if you can.

Punctuality is something that I have learnt from my Dad. To the minute. And I can say with a fair bit of pride that I have inherited that trait of his to the T. But as Anurag has said in his blog just like the best of babes roam with the shittiest of guys, the most punctual of us stand outside the bureaucrats offices.

Happy Waiting!

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