Wisewebwoman has this hilarious post up which I strongly recommend to my readers.
I quote one paragraph from that post – “And if you’re a man reading this, imagine binding up your dangly bits in wire and rigid satin and teetering around in six inch (or any inch) heels. And thrusting all of yourself outwards in enticement. How long would you last?”
While this made me laugh out aloud, it also took me back to my first job as a salesman and a very wise old man who was my Supervisor, coach and mentor. He gave me a great deal of advice and I benefited from all of them but among them, there was one particular piece of advise that I not only followed all my life and continue to do, but also something that I passed on to many young men who too were starting their lives as Field Salesmen.
That advise was to wear comfortable underwear and footwear. These two important pieces of a man’s attire made all the difference while on field work which involved a lot of walking, commuting by bus and train and also often talking to customers while standing in crowded shops / offices etc. And, I am talking about the days when the fashion was to wear tight fitting trousers called drainpipes and pointed shoes. You can well imagine how uncomfortable it would have been with ill fitting underwear and shoes!
In my blog post yesterday, I had included a video clip of an interview with Kevin O’Leary of The Shark Tank fame. In that interview, towards the end, O’Leary justified the student continuing to study to get his Engineering degree and he adds that getting the Engineers’ Ring is a much desired thing among Engineers.
This one statement took me back to 1966 when I had to work in an Engineering Firm in Mumbai during my summer vacation as an intern for eight weeks as part of the requirement for my MBA degree.
In that firm, I was attached to an Engineer as my mentor who had a ring on his finger about which I was curious but, considering his formidable position and my own need to be on his good books to get a favourable report about my internship, I had kept quiet till the very last day of my internship.
The last day finally arrived and during my exit interview he asked me if I had any questions and I asked him about the ring. He smiled and explained that it was a ring that he had acquired in the USA having qualified as an Engineer there. I thought it was weird as I had not heard anything similar anywhere else but, kept the information to myself.
This interview led me to an explanation in the Wikipedia which finally explained the phenomenon.
I am old enough to understand the joke as well as the system used in the past for measuring temperature. India went metric in 1956 and since then we have used only the celsius for measuring temperature. I distinctly remember the struggle that we had in converting the measures to understand distances, weight, currncy etc.
The first sentence refers to the score of top scoring students in our public examinations. Since I was mostly a back bencher, I was more often than not in the bottom set of scores.
The joke here takes me to another peculiar development in the last few decades. In our time we were comfortable with percentages. Now we keep reading about percentiles. This I think, is a significant change in preparing our young to be super competitive. Quite whether this is the right thing to do to them or not, I do not know.
What do you think?
This post has been inspired by this fascinating report in The Guardian. Having used these Phone Boxes any number of times during my visits to the UK, I can relate to the writer’s take.
I have a landline connection from BSNL. I have had the pleasure of using this number since December 1990 when we moved into our current home and it is a simple number to remember. I have two instruments, one fixed and another with a portable handset kept conveniently close to my recliner chair.
Unfortunately however, except for one friend who too has a landline, nobody other than the phone company ever calls this number. Many of my friends who used to have landlines have surrendered their connections for various reasons. I use it to call landline numbers of shops and establishments from where I need some service but, even these are simpler to reach through my mobile phone.
Cable TV, WiFi providers, water conduits and drainage chutes all fight for underground space and inevitably, the landline telephone cable gets cut repeatedly and it takes for ever to get repairs done to it and so, most of the time we are without a landline connection.
I have been nostalgic and am also more comfortable with the landline but, the sheer convenience of the mobile phones and the fact that most of the time the landline does not work, has made me also to reconsider my position. So, I tried to approach the BSNL to surrender my connection but find no way of doing it online and perhaps will have to go personally to their office to do so. I am however determined to get it disconnected one way or the other.
Are you still using a landline telephone? What is your experience?
All of us know about the famous Six Degrees Of Separation. This idea was proved to me by a series of coincidences.
I received a phone call from a gentleman, let us call him HP from my community. He spoke to me in our common language and syntax to establish his credentials and introduced himself as the cousin of a cousin twice removed from me called TM. HP said that TM had given excellent reference about me to him and that I was sure to be of help to him. I have not heard from TM in decades but was vaguely aware of his existence in Mumbai. HP came straight to the point and asked if he could depend on me to find out some details about a young man from Pune where I live too.
The enquiry was to establish the suitability of the young man as a prospective groom for HP’s daughter. This is not something uncommon in India where arranged marriages are the rule rather than the exception still. I said that I would try my best to find out about the young man given some time and then the discussion took on a different character.
HP wanted to know about my background and when he heard that I had spent most of my working life for a particular company, he was shocked and informed me that he was the cousin of a gent called TR who I had known too, and he wondered how someone like me could have worked in that company. He informed me that TR had been unfairly dismissed from service by the company following which he had died within a few years. I had not known about this as I was not in Mumbai where all this had happened and had already left the company to pursue other interests.
I was however intrigued and called up some old colleagues to get the story and was given the correct story about the dismissal.
The intriguing part of this tale is the degrees of connections that came up in the form of relatives, albeit distant and ex colleagues.
Remarkable isn’t it?
Mitch at I’m Just Sharing has reposted a 2014 blog post which took me back to TGOD. I reproduce below exchange of my comments and Mitch’s response.
Me: “So, which of the three categories will my blog fit in? Since I have not given serious thought as to why I write, that will help me decide.”
Mitch: “Actually Rummuser, you condescend to yourself but inside I think you know why you write. You write to get things off your chest; you write to share your life and thoughts with others; and you write for the kinship you get from folks like your Friday tagalong group (okay, I never remember off the cuff what y’all call yourselves lol). You have a unique storytelling style that seems to get people talking; you get way more comments per post than I do. And of course early on you told people this: “Tension nahin lenekka!” You did this during a tense part of your life, which you shared as well. As I say, I think you knew all this; I think it’s a cultural thing that you’re fairly self deprecating when you have no need to be. 🙂”
Me: “Wow! Mitch, that is a mouthful to get off your chest! Thanks. You have just made this wet rainy day over here feel like a million Rupees.”
Which led me to study my blog and I have come up with some interesting statistics.
The first post I wrote in this format was on the 8th of June, 2008.
I have written 3327 posts including this one since then.
There have been a total of 28082 comments and responses from me.
Wow! I am unashamedly impressed with my performance! Do you think that I am being immodest?