Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Pro Code


Some plans materialize into successful results and others just pass by inconsequentially like a noiseless fart, which brings with itself a sense of nonchalance mixed with a feeling of guilt. You feel tiny for the lack of self control, but making that extra effort of running towards the washroom seems a task not worth the pain. You make efforts in the beginning, when you know that you can hold it between your butt cheeks, you can fulfill what you planned, but letting go seems easier.

We make study plans and party plans. Picnic plans and surprise plans. But it’s hard to stick to them. I made a plan to write a piece for my blog at least once every fortnight. That meant two posts a month. February 2012 being the originating month for such a resolution, I quickly completed two posts in the first week itself, and sat with a feeling of awesome through the next thirty days, till I realized how more than a month had passed since my last post. Making my Kailash Kher framed power of self control sit on the Adnan Sami of a procrastinator inside of me; here I bring to you a few hundred words to read.

The past few days have been pretty eventful. The events being no less in number than the number of times Shahrukh Khan says Insha-allah in his sentences. But the ‘God’ in ‘God-willing’ has been the declaration of the Company Secretary Examination results on 25th Feb. I had just as much hope of clearing these papers as Abbas-Mustan’s Players being as hit a movie as its original The Italian Job. I refused to check my roll number on the day of the result, being the ostrich that I am. But dad kept reciting quotes from Vivekananda in a pseudo Shiv Khera accent, asking me to be fearless and face all situations in life with the kind of confidence that you could say, KRK portrays. One needs guts to ask a senior actor like Amitabh Bacchan to be the villain in Deshdrohi 2 and get beaten up by the 5 feet 2 inches’ tall “hero”. But I’m happy not being KRK. I punched in my roll number on the keyboard, and a screen displaying my result flashed in front of my eyes. A minute long stare later, I regained consciousness and read out the figures. I had passed. The sudden realization of how Bollywood doesn’t always offer fictional lessons about life hit me hard. I saw how “Darr” and a trail of stuttering lines starting with ‘K’ made SRK what he is today.  I would never care to touch the body fluid colored drink called Mountain Dew earlier, but the amount to which I could relate to its tagline on that day made me want to gulp a dozen cans of the liquid down my throat. “CS Sarthak Ahuja” sounded so nice to the ears.

I still feel the same way about my receding hairline and the dirty toe nails that I’m embarrassed to show the world. My feelings towards the gullibility worn by Rahat and the hotness exposed by a few junior girls from college remains the same. I feel the gurgle in my stomach after having eaten two huge servings of Rajma-Chawal in the same way as it has hit me every time during the last fifteen years. A feeling of being as old as a twelfth-grader still shows in my behavior, but things and people around me have changed.

Being a “professional” now, I’m being offered bigger responsibilities at the office. Some old members of the extended family talk about how after my twenty-six year old cousin’s marriage in October 2012, they should start looking for a girl for me. It follows a slight chuckle and my parents break into a “Abhi toh bacche ko bohot padhna hai aage. Abhi se kahan shaadi!” The Mother talks to me after office hours about how most members of the female species are no better than the fancy bindi wearing Komolikas, Tapasyas and a few more Hindi soap vamps who just want to break well knit families and steal the good guy away from his parents. I realize how along with taking the name of any of my girl friends, I’ll have to think of a believable guy’s name who will also apparently be giving me company at the planned Sunday meeting for which I seek permission. He’ll be as invisible as Mr. India during the said lunch or evening plan, and I keep praying that my mum doesn’t ask me for his number. You feel how the world starts to overlook the flaws in you that you always thought repelled girls from you. A short height, an unimpressive hairstyle and a set of crooked yellow lower teeth now look attractive in the Mother’s eyes, ‘cuz now she believes that there’s only one hunk in the whole wide world, who she calls beta.

My dadi cried tears of joy on hearing the result and I thanked her for her prayers. No matter how 1800’s-ish it sounds to thank bhagwanji for his kripa, I thanked God with all my heart to have gotten me rid of giving exams for at least one course of study.

I remember calling the Student Section of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India’s Prasad Nagar office to enquire about the exam schedule a few months back. The conversation that followed was such:

ICSI Official: Hello.
Me: Hello. Good morning, sir. Is this the Delhi office of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India?
ICSI Official: Whose number have you dialed?
Me: Um, someone passed on this number to me saying it is ICSI’s number. I hope it is.
ICSI Official: ICSI mein call karoge aur poochhoge ke ICSI ka office hai? Kaam ki baat karo seedha.
Me: I just wanted to enquire about when the schedule for the Professional Level Examinations to be held in December will be released.
ICSI Official: Jab niklega toh website pe pata lag jayega. *hangs up*

Irritated with the Dolly Bindra kind of behavior hurled at me, I vowed never to call the Institute in the future.
Two days after the result, it occurred to me how I could not do without calling up the Institute and enquiring about the forms I was required to fill to receive my Membership Number. On checking the Institute’s website for the Membership Section’s phone number, I felt good to have made some effort to avoid the embarrassment that I had to face during my last conversation with a person at their office.

Me: Good morning. I hope this is the Membership Section of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India.
ICSI Official: Yes, sir. How may I help you?
Me: I’ve been looking for the Application Form for Licentiate Membership of the Institute and it seems that it is not available on your website. Could you please guide me on how I can obtain the same?
ICSI Official: Sure, sir. Please give me your email id and I’ll send you a soft copy of the form right away.

I spelt out my email ID with each alphabet being spoken as a country’s name and thanked the official, who later offered to repeat the alphabets with each letter representing a town’s name in India. The email has made telephone operators and receptionists throughout the country pretty good at the game of Atlas.

It felt good to have been a part of a respectful two-minute conversation with the unseen man behind the telephone. And I could sense another change in the way I was spoken to by an official of the same office, where his colleague was rude to me a few days back. They drink the same chai at the same office. They both may be frustrated with the implication of their jobs on their private lives, but the one answering calls from students could find a route to give vent to his pent up anger. The one speaking to members may be as submissive as Tusshar Kapoor and may not be able to answer back to his wife who shouts at him every night for his buffoon of a job. But I’m sure he earns enough respect from his listeners that would give Anil Srivatsa a run for his money.

I am a very judgmental person. I guess I am. There are some stereotypes that define the contents of my thought process which has developed over the decade through which Johnny Lever gradually disappeared from the Bollywood circuit. One of such beliefs that I hold is how an English speaking professional may be better at his work than one who Indianizes the British language, struggling to find words that would complete his sentence and then abruptly switch to Hindi and feel more confident. Raghu Ram would hate me for such ideas. He might throw me out of a Roadies Audition like Rakhi Sawant banished Abhishek Awasthi from her household on Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty much a disgrace to the street play society I have been a part of in college. I guess the belief would change as I grow in the profession and have to consult some senior professionals for client cases. Well, I know it even now. But like a heartbroken lover dumped by someone who he thought would always stay by his side, I refuse to accept the truth.

Who am I to judge all of these people around me? A convent education that one proudly boasts about is not something that holds much value when we realize that we don’t have to ape the way the British communicate. With this, I appeal to you to Indianize your English a little more, you convent educated son of a Brit. Feel proud in talking like an Indian. Let Apu from The Simpsons be your role model, and not Karl Penn. Inglis is the language for most professional Chartered Accountants, Cost Accountants, Company Secretaries, and other such professionals. Here are a few tips to help you brush up on your Inglis:

1.       End all sentences with “na”, “only”, “ok” or “bhayi”. These are the only four words in Inglis grammar that qualify as Prefullstopitions.
E.g.:         Puchu, I love you na. You never believe me only.
                Mummy, give me roti with achaar na. I told you I don’t like tinde ki sabzi, bhayi.
                Don’t show so much bhaao, ok? I don’t anyway like you only.
                Don’t bitch about me, ok! One tight slap I will give you na.

2.       The Hindverb: We all believe that being English gentlemen will get us a job. We have to talk in English in an interview, or the interviewer won’t consider us for the job. So in our attempt to sound as fluent in the language as Inzamam-ul-Haq, we get stumped if an unexpected, unprepared for question is thrown at us. We haven’t thought of the string of English words that form its answer beforehand. It puts us in a soup when it takes a minimum of thirty seconds to think of the English for a word like “Amla”. We can’t just say Amla and not have the interviewer put some negative marks on our scoresheet. But Inglis comes to the rescue. If we ever feel the need to use a Hindi word or phrase during a conversation in English, the only license to use it is by prefixing the word/phrase by “matlab ki”. Some people have mastered this skill, as we will now see:

E.g.:    Sir, I am like a very hardworking boy. I do all work on time and am very.. uh.. matlab ki.. time ka pakka.
No, madam. My family stays in Barreilly. It is a big town. It is not like Delhi, but.. uh.. matlab ki.. it is not a gaon.
Sir, I will do anything for the company. I will take it to.. uh.. matlab ki.. aasman ki unchaai.

P.S. “Amla” in English is Indian gooseberry. But who cares? We have the “matlab ki”.

3.       The Filler: The English language has more of an American influence throughout the world than Brit. We’ve heard of fillers like “you know”, “I mean”, “like” being used as generously as Karan Johar uses the word “Mahi” in at least one song in each of his movies. You thought there are no such fillers in Inglis? Wrong. There are plenty.

We’ve all had that one person in our class (or maybe plenty in yours, including you) who say “Sir/Ma’am” more number of times than every other word in that sentence combined. It comes from the old Indian habit of sucking up to our seniors. E.g.: Sir, I have done my work sir. I mean sir Rahul was only sir disturbing sir. Sir he is not sir I mean cooperating sir. Sir please sir. Matlab ki sir I will do it sir. Sir yes sir. Sir no sir. Sir I was like sir not well sir.
4.       Now we move on to another type of filler, which deserves a whole category in itself. It’s called the Gaali. We, as Indians can make a gaali out of anything and this quality of the language permeates to formal Inglis.
Saale” being the most commonly used, is one that doesn’t deserve to be blanketed in asterisk signs. You’re not supposed to take offence when addressed as “Saale”. After all, it means wife’s brother na *grin*.
Others like Ch*****, B*******, B***ke**** are the classics. They define what we as Indians believe in, considering the huge population recorded in the last census.

E.g.:     Saale, you’re such a ch*****, man.
B****** frik, man, she’s so hot.
Dude, drop the ch***yapa.
The abovementioned usage reminds me of a couple of blue-blooded Modernites that I know from the city. I guess no one else can pull of our gaalis as well as they do when speaking in Inglis.

5.       The Yaar: We all picked up on “Dude” as soon as characters like Anvesha, Yuvi and the others started using it in our childhood favorite TV show, Remix. “Our”? Uh, sorry. I mean “your”.

If we dig out all the email accounts you’ve created in the history of your miserable existence, ninety percent of them will have “dude”, “kool”, “babe”, “hot”, “chick”, “guy” and “gal” in some permutation or combination. “sarthakoolreloadedude@gmail.com”. Guilty.

The “Yaar” is the Inglis word for dude.
E.g.:       Yaar, don’t do it, yaar.
              Yaar, how do you do it, yaar?
              Yaar, shut up.

There are things that are changing around me. It feels good to be known as a “Professional”. While I stay abreast with all the latest news related to my profession, it’s also important to sound like a very experienced Finance Consultant running his own practice in Janakpuri by brushing up on my Inglis. What is it like being a professional? Almost like a Jalebi.

8 comments:

  1. @@@@

    HAHAHA...Mr. Professional up with his wise words "matlab ki" (sounds like teri bhen ki :P ) what an article sirji. Loved it. You are an entertainer, its always a rib tickling experience reading your analogies.
    Keep writing good stuff bro.

    Ps: even I have pinned Rajpal Yadav(the determined me) against Khali (the procrastinator ). Lets see who wins :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And even though my reply to your comment has been pretty late, it seems like it's hard for Khali to beat Mr. Yadav. Waiting for you to write a post soon, bro.

      Delete
  2. I've never used any of those words in any of my e-mail addresses! :D
    Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You! Pseudo Melodramatic since 1991! :P

      Delete
  3. Congratulations dude.... great going and keep going.... wish you the very best in this endeavour and all other future endeavours na....matlab ki badhai ho... khush raho... khoob aage bado....

    m guessing u can guess whom I was trying to imitate...if u do lemme know on fb....cause life is a Jalebi....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, bade bhaiya :D

      I'm guessing it's nani. Is it? *wide grin*

      Delete
  4. Such an entertainment! Keep writing! :D

    ReplyDelete

If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D