Sunday, December 05, 2010

Why Me?

Swamiye... Saranam Ayyappa"... Veeramani was singing in ucha sthayi* (Higher pitch) inside the ipod that was connected to Raju’s ears. But Raju was so overwhelmed by his thoughts that neither the song nor the spirit of the song could go beyond the ears to his heart or mind. Raju, as you would have guessed by now, is a typical IT professional, with whom many of you can easily relate to. Slogging round the clock during weekdays and ending up weakened during weekends. Adding to his woes is the travel time to office. His office is located at Mahindra City and hence Raju would have to spend at least around 1.5 hours in a (s)train journey to reach his office. Most of the time Raju uses the travelling time to finish off his quota for sleep that day as he seldom gets enough time to sleep at his home sweet home.

Raju is working in a critical project for a US client and he is required to support the client during the American morning hours and then since he is a “senior” resource in his team, he should also be there to support his Manager with the required information during the Indian Morning hours. Consequently he can think of leaving home only after 11 pm and even then if luck forbids, he would have to share the cab with some girl for whom the cab has to travel from Mahindra city all the way to almost Mahindra Pallavan's city (Mahabalipuram). By the time the driver wakes up from his sleep and realizes there is another soul to be home dropped, the time would have crossed 1 am. That too now since Raju had been observing Sabarimala Viratham (Viratham - Austerity seeking GOD's blessings) he had to take a mandatory bath and only then he can go for sleep. By the time he is about to get an onsite opportunity in his dream, his merciless mobile wakes him up by alarm settings set at 6'0 clock everyday.

"Hmm… What a life it is” thought Raju as the train was speeding past Thrisualm, “being a Software Engineer going through the same routine tasks daily without any respite. Just because my manager and onsite coordinator gave some fancy promises to the client I would have to work overtime to cover up and present a rosy picture. …hmmmmmmmm”, Raju was slowly getting into a griping mode. “Getting up at 9, finishing the daily chores, taking the train, travelling for an hour, then slogging in office till 11, catch the cab, reach home, sleep at 1, then again getting up late at 9………..ooof… what a monotonous life mine had become. In a way I feel being treated like Chitti the Robot in Endhiran. ………. Just like Chitti, People play with me, have fun with me, give me loads of work, appreciate and clap whenever I do well, want me to have feelings for whatever that bothers them… Deadlines, customer pressure, management pressure etcetra etcetra… But I am not allowed to have any desire or feelings for my own like good rating or onsite spiration….. They will tell some insane reason and switch me off…Ennangada nyayam ithu………. (Translation: colloquially telling Not fair at all) Hmmmmmmmmmmmph…..” Raju’s Enthiran parallels came to a halt with the train he was travelling had end the run in between MEPZ and Tambaram. “Oh shhh”, (restrained from completing “it” as he was under Sabarimala Viratham), Raju got further irked about this unnecessary delay. He took off the earphones from his ear and peeped out of the window to see if there was any technical problem that was causing the delay. He could see none however. Others in that compartment did not seem to bother about that delay much…but thatz fair enough… Not everyone travelling at the mid noon time of 11 am would be going to office as our Raju does, so they may not be in a hurry to reach their destination. Raju started getting restless, he thought of getting down at that place itself, walk to a nearest bus stand and catch a bus to reach the office, but decided against it. “I have a strange luck that the moment I get down, the train will start to function again pushing me into further depression” he thought and hence rejected that idea. Not knowing what else to do, Raju got up from his seat and walked inside the train looking at the watch to check the time. It was 11:15 am……..and the train looked like being settled at the same place where it is standing right now . “Hmm… gone…. I am going to miss the 12:00 meeting with the onsite coordinator and he is going to send mails with all those red flags and bold letter cc-ing PM, DM and whoever he has in his address list….GOD………… Why all this is happening to me……. Why why why” depression gave way to anxiety in Raju’s face with every growing minute as he slowly walked inside the train.

At that same instant a kind voice called from behind of him “Hey Raju”……… , Raju turned back in surprise and found Mr.Sundareswaran his father’s friend who was also travelling in the same train was the one who called him. Raju was surprised to see him there and so greeted him

Raju: (trying his best to appear cheerful, but still in a dull tone): Hi Uncle, how are you doing

Sundareswaran: I am good Raju. How are you doing and what are you doing in this train

Raju: (feels like telling mmm…. I am here working as a TTR…… but then he controls himself and maintains that formal composure and tone) : I am going to office Uncle, got late yesterday, thatz why (tries to smile kindly but ending in a wry smile)

Sundareswaran: Oh cool, nice to know your office is very flexible [Raju’s reaction was a grrrrrrr to this one, but he somehow managed to hide that emotion of his as Sundareswaran continued] looks like you have taken up Sabarimala viratham this year as well..nice to know that

Raju: : Hmmm..Yes Uncle…… It was you who advised me to go to Sabarimala last year

Sundareswaran: Yeah I remember that very well. You were very down and depressed about the lack of promotion and onsite opportunity at your company. Hence I suggested you to take up Sabarimala Yatra which would rejuvenate you and remove your worries. I could not meet you for the past 1 year and hence could not get your Sabarimala experiences at all. How was it? And did you experience any positive changes thereafter?

Raju: (who was holding his composure till now breaks up, and nodded his head in strong disapproval): No uncle, certainly not, If at all, my woes have only increased since last year with more pressure, even chota bachas are promoted ahead of me, they go and sit in the US as my onsite coordinator and asking me questions.

Sundareswaran: Well…

Raju: : I took your advice wholeheartedly and believed it would work out because I myself had a wonderful experience during my 1st trip to Sabarimala with my father at the age of 12. The atmosphere was wonderful, there was the feel of spirituality all over the air and when I happened to have glimpse of the lord I was feeling goose bumps and an unexplained joy. I followed every customs associated with the viratham with utmost sincerity. From getting up at 5, taking bath, doing the pooja at home and going to temple to repeating the same after returning from office I was doing everything. But still my trip to Sabarimala last year did not bring any good feel to me.

Sundareswaran : Why, whatz the problem

Raju: The whole place right from Pamba river to the way to Sabarimala was dirty, polluted and so was the minds of the fellow devotees. There appeared to be no moral values and people were downright selfish and jealous. All in all there is little of devotion and lots of commotion out there and hence I didn’t have any divine feel unlike in my earlier trip. I decided not to carry on with the Sabarimala viratham any more but my parents insisted me not to stop with two times and hence I have taken it up again for the sake of going third time.

Sundareswaran: Hmmmph..

Raju: Uncle, I gave my best to this viratham but still was unable to get or feel the almighty’s grace, don’t know why all this is happening only to me… It has been like this throughout my life……… I gave my best in my college and school got into a world class software company, still I end up toiling all day without any satisfaction or reward whatsoever. Is anything seriously wrong in my horoscope?

Raju by now was venting out all his emotions to his Sundareswaran Uncle, he just could not control all that was bugging his mind for a very long time. There was none to share his emotions so far, Parents were too busy in their own respective works while colleagues turned a deaf ear to him. Manager does conduct a one – on – one meeting, but that will eventually turn out to be a one voice (Manager) on one ear’s (Raju) meeting. Sundareswaran who initially was taken aback by Raju’s emotions later did not seem to bother as Raju was letting his emotions loose. He took out a pocket transistor from his bag and started tuning it to FM Rainbow.

Sundareswaran (in a relaxed voice): Hey Raju, I think FM Rainbow is at 101.4 Mhz only……. But I don’t know for some reasons, I am unable to tune it to that station at all even though the dial stands at 101.4

Raju was like…almost uttering….”What the …” and some text that could be written only in password font, but then he realized he is under Sabarimala Viratham and hence controlled himself. Also, he was used to these apathetic gestures from his colleagues whenever he tries to share his emotions. So he returns to his formal composure once again

Raju: : Oh Please uncle, when we are travelling, not always the radio picks up signals at the same defined frequency. Try to tune it slightly several times to correctly capture the signal

Sundareswaran: Ha ha, even a radio needs to be tuned sometimes to receive the correct signal, being a much complex designed human being you expect everything coming to you automatically just by sticking to some rules is it?

(Raju was dazzled, he did not expect this old man to hit back him like that, that too logically... Sundareswaran continues as Raju looks on)

Sundareswaran: Look my son, Life is not like your application deployment process, just to follow the steps in the installation document and get to see the application up and running… To get to anything worthy we should first make ourselves deserving, be truthful in our efforts and make some adjustments as we move on. Just like the radio needing to be tuned to capture the frequency, human mind should be tuned to identify and move forward with the way to growth. Hardwork will not get counted if you don’t have the right attitude and the right intention. When you have the right intention you don’t stop to see what others are up to and start complaining about that and when you have the right attitude, when in hard situations, you don’t sit and whine to GOD asking “Why Me?”, but rather fight your way through the situations and show to the world “Why Me?” the deserving winner. The Ayyappan chant "Kallum mullum kaalukku methai" is not just for eulogizing the lord. It also carries a moral with it, that only when you enjoy the journey, you will be able to reach the destination. Work or Worship all that is needed is the intent and being truthful in the effort to meet that. Remember my boy, If you do certain things just for the sake of doing it, you will only feel forsaken at the end of doing it

Raju stood there still not knowing what to reply as for the first time, someone pointed out his problems from his perspective rather than from their perspective (as his onsite coordinator and PM does). He felt like some ice broken in his mind as Sundareswaran got back to reading his book once again without waiting for any reply from Raju. The Train started to move from where it was halted towards Tambaram, his iPod that was in repeat mode started singing once again “Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa !!!”


Aarti said...


visiting your blog after ages... Enjoyed the kathai :)

knc said...

Hey, I'm an occasional reader of your blog (but for nearly 5 years now!). I am looking to get in touch with you about something - how do I email you?

rsubras said...

@knc: let me know your email id, will send a mail from mine

logic said...

Visiting here after a very long time..
Good one..Not sure if i commented earlier..please drop by