Thursday, February 17, 2005

Appraisal time

It's time for that annual ritual called appraisal, a time when the boss and I get together for a heart-to-heart talk and use words like 'Initiative' and 'Pro-activeness'. It usually happens in four stages.

1.Positive feedback: This is when the boss displays how concise he can be. And on the rare occasion when he decides to be liberal with his praise, you end up understanding not a single word. This time I got shot with this one "Your intellectual horsepower is commendable".

2.Negative feedback: I don't know if this is an example of a-few-seconds-on-the-stove-seem-like-an-hour theory that that Einstein guy proposed, but this part seems very very long drawn. This is also when the boss puts on a wooden face to hide all the glee he's experiencing. But atleast the language is lucid ("You are a piece of stinking horse-shit")

3.Task for next year: They call it fancy names like 'Key result areas' and 'Crucial undertakings' but they all mean the same. They are a bunch of tasks carefully worded such that they bear no resemblance to what you actually do for the rest of the year. The idea is to make next year's negative feedback session longer than this year's.

4.360 degree feedback: This is when the boss demonstrates his faith in democracy. He lets YOU give HIM feedback. Before you can start you have to allow him a few seconds to adjust his posture so that his body language screams out 'I'm not interested!'. But this year, I was determined to pull one back. So after he folded his hands, leaned back and half-closed his eyes, I told him 'You don't do enough to improve team-dynamics'. He's still trying to work that one out!

Monday, February 14, 2005


I toss and turn for a really long time. The sheets are too warm, and it's too cold without them. I don't want to see the time, because that always increases the anxiety. I try to distract myself from the repetitive thought patterns, but it's not easy. Try not to think of a mango, you'll know what I mean. After I have exhausted myself, I always turn my attention to the world, and I can see only the bad things about it. Capitalism, Martha Stewart, Chinese medicine, Al-Qaeda, SUVs, reality shows, global warming, Bihar, "Thank you Bangalore", dams, Mills and Boon, plastic surgery, plastic, greeting card verses... And I get drawn into a species-level masochism. I want everything to start afresh. I wish for an apocalypse, a great flood, an ice-age that will freeze the pee in people's bladders. I swear never to drink coffee again.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Profiling my little American nieces

Medha: The original style icon. She is credited with popularising the sign-off line 'See you later, have fun' among the gang. Not all of her words are that sweet though. She once told me 'You're so stupid you should die'. She was five!

Sadhika: Her most important contribution is to the field of rhetoric. Her revolutionary use of the word 'because' in sentences consisting only of the word 'because' was a mind blowing innovation! You ask her a question, say 'Why did you do that?' and the reply comes 'because.'. Yes, just that one word followed by the full stop. Terse, enigmatic and emphatically final.

Esha: She landed here only yesterday, and I haven't gotten to know her yet. She is definitely not old enough to coin catch-phrases. At present her language has a very limited consonant-set of guttural noises. But she is one cute kid!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Doomed resolutions

"Good resolutions are useless attempts to interfere with scientific laws"
"There is a fatality about all good resolutions. They are invariably made too soon" - Oscar Wilde

I meet this guy who irritates the hell out of me for the following silly reasons
* He plays table tennis like he is a gladiator avenging his father's death
* He puts his GRE vocabulary to active use. As a result you're likely to catch him using for instance,the word 'obviate' in informal conversations, and he is more likely to 'opine' than to just say!
* He's under an illusion that he is a mimic artist. Pretending to like his performances builds up a lot of stress.
* He has a blog that is dedicated to Kerberos authentication protocol.
* Some of his most intellectually stimulating moments happened when he was reading 'Who moved my cheese?'

As I dissect my reaction to this bloke, I realise I've turned into a crusty bundle of preconceptions and prejudices and unreasonable expectations from the people around me. My jerk-quotient is at a lifetime high. Which brings me to my resolution.I took up a difficult resolution this year, an extremely phony one. To make new friends. It's turning out to be more impossible than I imagined.

"Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account". Guess who said that? No Oscars for any wilde guesses that happen to be right. (And the puns are rotten too!)