Monday, August 23, 2010

The rise and rise of the shower curtain industry

The rest of the world has suffered from recession, job cuts and all sorts of miseries, but there is one industry that has quietly gone from strength to strength. The shower curtain industry. Whoever talks about their Return on Equity or Asset Turnover? Do we see their ads on TV? Do they feature in the S&P 500 index? No, no and no. Yet, this industry is booming thanks to strategic alliances, partnerships and ignorant buyers like me.

Here's how it happens. You buy a shower curtain because it looks good and because the leasing office made a surprise visit to your apartment a day after you moved in and reprimanded you for not having a shower curtain. Now, you fear another suprise visit, so you end up buying a really expensive shower curtain. Then a friend of yours tells you that you should buy a liner to protect your expensive shower curtain. You go ahead and buy that too. Observe what happens after 2 years.....

Strategic Partnership A:
In a fit of sudden philanthropy, the leasing office offers to upgrade your apartment. You get a brand new bathtub, which shines so much that you can literally see your face. You do not realize that the bathtub has been polished and so now, it is super slippery. Soon, the inevitable happens. You slip and fall while taking a bath, taking the shower curtain along with you. It is ripped apart. You need to buy a new shower curtain. The bathtub industry gets a cut from the shower curtain industry's profits.

Strategic Alliance B:
You have not been analyzing the price changes in the shower curtain industry, so you realize to your dismay that the price of your old shower curtain has now doubled. So, you buy an inexpensive shower curtain to defray your losses. Now, every time you take a bath, you look at an inferior curtain and sulk. Then a second time, you fall deliberately in your bathtub, taking the shower curtain with you. You end up buying the old (read expensive) shower curtain by paying through your nose. The shower curtain company makes 2 sales instead of one.
Then one day, a friend who has been hearing about your habit of crashing into the bathtub regularly, offers a suggestion. Buy a bathtub mat. That would save you from falling. You buy a mat. It has to match with the shower curtain color. The bathtub mat industry gives a cut of its profit to the bath tub industry and to the shower curtain industry.

And so the industry booms. And we try to learn from our mistakes....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

How often has it happened to you that you are in a group of people who are so much more smarter than you are that you feel stupid? That you feel lost and are overcome with hopelessness?

Don't ever be overwhelmed by anyone. If somebody knows a few things that you don't, chances are that you know a few things which they may not know. Like making the perfect spanakopita or singing a raga perfectly or even helping strangers in the middle of the night.

The trick is to absorb the positive energy that smart people emanate. To use that energy to strive for improvement. After all, being with the best makes me better"

Sunday, August 08, 2010

So long and thanks for all the fish

Good-bye sweetheart. It was nice while it lasted but all good things must come to an end. I have now found someone else.

I cannot say exactly when we first met; because I have heard my friends talk about you since time immemorial. We were those young, reckless, carefree souls in college that adored you. I never imagined that of all of my friends, you would choose me. I was very shy in those days and although I knew so much about you, I did not venture to reach out to you myself. Then one day, a friend pushed me into doing it. I simply walked into your life and asked for friendship. You took a while but offered me much more than that.

We’ve been in this love-hate relationship for six years, so it feels difficult to leave. But I have to go – its better that way for both of us. I loved you when you introduced me to new friends, your work and your life. You gave me the recognition that I had been yearning for. I felt secure because I was with you. I felt proud to be associated with you.

Sometimes we fought; over misunderstandings, over how you treated me and how you cheated on me. I felt I deserved more and you did not always think so. I used to feel stifled and you insisted that it was the best thing for me. Sometimes, you were rude to my friends, you walked out on them – it was me that was hurt.

But there were times when you showered me with gifts, took me places and let me a live a life that I had never imagined. At every step, you cared for me, ensured that I was looked after. To me, you were a parent, a friend, a lover. To me, you were my identity.

Good-bye TCS – my first job. Because of you, I have made friends for life. From being a shy insecure young girl, I am a confident professional. I loved being with you and I am sorry to leave. But life does not wait for anyone – I have moved on to greater challenges. In the coming years, I shall try to be a better person, resilient and worthy of you. Perhaps one day, you’ll find me so attractive, that you’ll want to court me back into your life. Until then, I will wait….

Monday, June 28, 2010

Living life by quarters

Some people, such as my boss, live life by quarterly targets. He knows that he needs to meet his sales targets in order to keep his job. I have no such qualms. Yet, I live my life by quarters too! Twenty five cents at a time. Five of these can give me one load of washed clothes in the laundromat. Another five can help me dry those clothes.

Ever since my room mate and I got rid of our washing machine, life has not been the same. About three months ago, both of us decided that we needed to move into a different place. The first thing we did in the pack-up process was to get rid of the washing machine and dryer. We were consigned to using the local laundromat for washing our clothes. It was temporary we thought. After all, we would move to a new apartment that would have a washing machine and a dryer. Then our plans did not work out and we stayed on, sans the washer/dryer. At first, I found collecting quarters such a tiresome activity that I resorted to washing clothes by hand (like the good old days when there were no washing machines) but I could not keep up with it for very long. Soon I had a pile of clothes and no time to wash.

Now, having exactly ten quarters every week is not easy. It means getting rid of plastic money and using cash for all your transactions. I have not done this for more than a year. It boiled down to going to the bank on Sunday morning just to withdraw money and have it changed into quarters. It meant buying coca-cola from the gas station on late nights only to ask the cashier to return all the change in quarters. It meant putting dollars in the vending machine and asking for coin return (this almost never worked).

Woe betide! One day, I had managed to collect exactly ten quarters by 11pm at night. I loaded my clothes into the machine. I was supposed to leave on a flight the following morning, so the clothes had to be washed. As I put the coins and started the machine, something jammed inside and the machine would not start. I was left with only five quarters and a choice between not washing any clothes or washing the clothes in a different machine and hunting for quarters the next morning so that I could dry them. I chose the latter. Even badly begun is half-done.

These days, I had started maintaining a quarter bucket - a plastic ice-cream bucket. Whenever I get a quarter, I drop it into the bucket. I wake up in the morning and check my bucket. If the coins are any more than 10 at least, I am happy for the rest of the day. I can spot the glitter of a quarter from a distance. I don't like the look of any other coins, I hate it when people give me 2 ten cents and a dime - I grin sheepishly and ask for quarters. In the interest of humanity, all the cashiers of my grocery who know my obnoxious habit of asking for quarters ( I do it so that I may wear clothes that do not stink!) have now started refusing me all the quarters that I ask for. I usually get 2 less than what I need. We call it the law of demand and supply.

I have realized that I am living life by quarters

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A bad day in office

I lost all the games that I played on the computer. My win percentage is now at 26%

I seemed to all but lost interest in this blog that I started nearly six years ago. It may not augur well for my readers (do you exist?) and me, but I am trying to make amends. I have just quit the job that I started six years ago. It was out of boredom in office that I had decided to chronicle my life and everything surrounding it out here. This blog was my outlet, because when I looked out of my office window I saw concrete buildings instead of the great blue sky. Now that I have quit that job, I somehow feel that this blog and everything that tied me to the umbilical cord of that job are being torn away. Three of us started blogging together and two of them gave up eventually. The burden of carrying the practice has fallen on my unworthy shoulders and I find the cross heavy to bear. Hence, this reluctance to blog, to ruminate and to write.

This blog was my lifeline, but recently I found another one, a better one - a husband. And a new beginning. Not a new job, but I am finally doing something that I have wanted for the last seven years - to go back to school. In an ironic way, my posts were a constant reminder to me that life would go on..ob la di..but I was not chasing my dream. Now that it has been fulfilled, should I shut shop?

I am still wondering...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Silent Prayer for the Faith Departed

In the land of plenty, the young lord Hanuman is hoisted under the rear view mirror of a car ready to make the huge leap of faith over the G mountain. This time, he's not alone. A Toyota Camry is his vehicle of choice. Recalls notwithstanding, he thinks he can beat the sun to Olympic glory.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

For want of a nail...

And so the kingdom was lost - well this sums up my story. I woke up this morning determined to eat healthy and started my day with a glass of warm water for breakfast.

Lunch time arrived, having wrapped itself in a cloudy mist of nothingness and disappeared before I could realise. I had controlled my pangs of hunger until then and eaten a very healthy meal.

By afternoon, I thought that I had been such a good girl that I could surely reward myself with a packet of baked potato chips. And so the down slide began. After an hour, I thought that a donut could do me no harm, so I ordered two - triple chocolate flavour.

Then I had a mocha ice cream shake because I wanted a drink.

Then I had a papdi chat because I wanted to eat something Indian. The papdi chat was ordered from a sweet shop and I ended up buying a few ladoos and gulab jamuns (all for tomorrow)

By the time I got back home, I thought one gulab jamun could do me no harm and ate a ladoo and a gulab jamun.

As I write this, there is still some time for dinner and I am willing myself not to eat anything more tonight.

Moral of the story: Never skip breakfast.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When you find that the janitor and you wear the same jacket to office everyday you realize that
- you live in the land of equality
- its time to increase your winter clothes budget
- you must learn to avoid the janitor's broad grin every time she looks at you