Friday, April 15, 2005

Flat Finding Facts

One of the first things that I learnt at my b-insti was performing a cost to benefit analysis and do only those things which have the best ratio. Earlier, I used to go bilindly for the cheapest option and be done with it – my aim was to find an option which left the smallest hole in my purse. Not now! I have also learnt to take up the non-monetary transactions into consideration.

As of now, I have three choices of flats – the one I am currently staying in (A), sharing a flat with 2 other people (B – of which one person has already starred here), and sharing a flat with another guy (C). If I go with A, I don’t have to pay any rent and I will save up to Rs. 3000 per month (Rs 3500 rent in case of option C + maintenance charges + grocery costs). I also don’t have to worry about food as my room mate cooks for the rest of us. But, I don’t have the option of having my own room or personalizing it. With option B, I would spend about 2500 on rent, in addition to a deposit of about Rs. 20,000 and share rooms with someone who have the dirtiest rooms I have ever seen outside a hostel and there are also some incompatibilities in personalities. They spend a lot on useless stuff and also I would have to share a room with one of them.

With option C, however, I get a separate room and there is a TV as well as a modern washing machine. I get to move in only after a month, when the guy’s mom goes back home. The rent is also somewhat high, Rs. 3500 on my part and I also have to worry about cooking – there is a gas stove.

Option A is about 1.5 hours away from my workplace at peaktime and about 40 minutes start-to-finish in the mornings; B and C are close to work. But, both A and C’s duration are uncertain as they don’t know how long they plan to stay here. C guy might change companies. A guys might get transferred out of this city. If I stay with A, I don’t have to worry about getting up for work but rather about getting up at 6 in the morning. C guy comes in just 5 minutes after me and is one of the early birds (I am the earliest bird now), and B guys say with pride they find it very difficult to wake up before 10 am, and often they do come in very late – over 10 times in just under 30 days of work here.

Anyway, I still have about a month to decide upon the place and my head already aches with the decisions to make.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

F-ing Madrasi

There used to be a time when any South Indian was called a 'Madrasi'. People think it is because they lived in the city called Madras (now Chennai) and people from outside 'Madras' (the city) used to take offense and give reason against being called a Madrasi that they have not even visited Madras city. Alas, they are as ignorant as the peasant who calls South Indians Madrasis. One Hindi-chauvinist moron told me that anyone south of the Vindya Range was called a Madrasi. Madrasis are called so not because they come from Madras city but because the province they used to live was called Madras state whose capital city was Madras City. This was during the British rule and Gults, and Kandus and Mallus all 'secceded' from Madras state to form their own states. This is their gripe - they are not ruled from Madras anymore, then why are they still called Madrasis? Gulti morons had another fight even while they separated form the state. They wanted Madras city because it had a huge Gulti population. It is like saying Bombay belongs to Gujarat because it has a huge Gujju population. We had already lost Kolar to Karnataka, Tirupati to Andhra Pradesh and Palakkad to Kerala because 'they had a substantial population' that spoke 'their language'. If they had succeeded, Madras city would have been outside Madras state. Thankfully, the geezer that fasted for this died and we won.

After Madras state was renamed as Tamil Nadu in the 60s, and later on Madras city renamed as Chennai, a new breed of morons came up which just globally replaced Madras with chennai in any name, even though their official names were never changed. So, University of Madras (in their tiny brains) became University of Chennai, Madras Medical Mission became Chennai Medical Mission and the High Court of Madras was referred to as High Court of Chennai (again, in their peanut sized grey matter). There were idiots from the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh (which separated from 'Madras' after a lot of riots), were reluctant to go by the official name of 'Chennai'. Even Madras Medical College which 'lost' its 250 year old name to the stupid sounding Chennai Medical College reverted back after losing its standing in the world market.

Now, people here are no longer called Madrasis, they are called 'Anna' which is the tamil word for big brother. It is easier to call one anna than a Madrasi. The maid which I employed to wash my clothes (6 shirts exactly) called me a miser after I refused to pay her the full 50 Rupees she demanded. She had washed my room mate's 3 shirts for only Rs. 25. It is not even proper washing, she just dipped it in water and gave it to _me_ to hang it dry. She told me that it is Rs. 50 because I gave her more clothes to wash. After some staring down, I finally gave her Rs. 35. That is when she told me I was 'a miser just like the anna next door.' What nerve!

During my last job in Market Research, I had to meet a 'respectable man' of another organisation for an interview. When I said Bombay instead of Mumbai, he stopped me and told me off - 'You' expect people to call Madras as Chennai, and 'we'expect Mumbai instead of Bombay. He is not from Mumbai by the way and even people from Mumbai refer to it frequently as Bombay. There was one interesting thing he told me - about 'values' and other notions which he held. He: 'If I want my son to be a good person, I have to lead by example. I should not expect him to not smoke or drink if I do the same.' Fair enough, that is some good stuff. Then he told me that 'if there is a naked woman laying on the side of the road, I will immediately close my eyes with my hands, and my son will also do the same.' I was shocked! If there is a naked woman lying on the side of the road, I expect myself and even my father to first cover the poor woman. Even if that means giving the shirt off my back. Then the interview went downhill from there (for me atleast). I just sat there, phased out and smiling at him, occasionally nodding.

There are also some politicians calling to stop the influx of people into Mumbai and non-Mumbaikars leaving this place. If we take it to mean only Marathi speaking people who have lived in Mumbai for atleast 10 generations, then the Chief Minister has to leave this city after his term because he is not a Mumbaikar. Earlier it was any non-Marathi, then non Hindi (that is 'Madrasis'), then it was anyone who was not born in Mumbai, later anyone who came in the last 10 years, now it only slum dwellers that have to leave. The only reason people have been moving into Mumbai is because this is the only place where companies set up their offices. Even when software/BPO companies are coming up in Bangalore or Gurgaon or Hyderabad, some people still prefer to have big offices in Mumbai. They give a reason that only Mumbai has good infrastructure and the Chief Minister himself requests people to set up offices in Mumbai. Then he goes about saying 'no to immigration.' The same with New Delhi, it gets all the money it wants, all the main events like Asian games, etc. One moron (one of my cow-workers) says that New Delhi should get all of it because it is the Capital City and even Olympics are conducted only in capital cities. Which idiot says that? St. Louis, Atlanta and Los Angeles were not the capital cities of the USA, nor were Melbourne or Sydney Australia's or Barcelona Spain's capital cities. Then he changes his reason to say that only Delhi has the 'proper infrastructure' to host these games. I remember Delhi got its first fly-over only during the '84 Asiad and developed its infrastructure after getting to host various other conventions. If only the other cities were given a chance, they will try to atleast 'spruce up' themselves.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


After getting my new telephone and getting it activated, the first phone call I received nearly broke my heart. It was my brother-mother combo, my mom wanted to know if I was surviving in the big bad city and if I was getting along well with my room-mates. My heart nearly stopped at what my brother then told me - my comp at home was not working - it was showing some error like "arc firmware boot configuration error". First I panicked, I haven't taken back up in ages, and there were 30 GB of music, music videos, advertisements, movies and much more to be lost. The 100s of MBS of Hi Res pictures of Laetitia Casta, Sophie Marceau, and Monica Bellucci? I had even started to like Christina Aguilera and started collecting her pictures! Even the stuff I recovered from my old failed hard disk was in it. What can I do except go to my room tonight and cry myself to sleep?