Observing last few posts, I felt that the blog is getting too analytical and didactic. So the second part of the previous post has been postponed to next week without advance notice to whomsoever it may concern. “To whomsoever it may concern” has such an arrogantly apathetic and yet a pleading disclaimer-like tone to it that I wouldn’t have believed it to be one of the standard ways of formal addressing in written form, had I not been taught to use it in school. “Sincerely Yours” is another funny usage in application-letters and one learns due to it, at a tender age, that it’s okay to lie. Not many things can be undone; let’s move on and justify the title in three snippets:
1. The Firm Handshake: My previous company lost two of its clients I had been involved with. The first company I worked for doesn’t exist anymore and I hear that there is a huge crater now in the plot where the office building once stood tall. Contrast that with the current employer; I take two interviews daily during the worst slowdown since the great depression.
I should be a contended man, but for the self-help books and guides that teach you how to leave a good first impression. “Shake the interviewer’s hand with a firm grip” they say. “It shows confidence” they go on. I am particularly proud of my gentle, soft and slender hands that many girls would willingly exchange with theirs, if you remove the hair. It irks me no end when a palm, sometimes sweaty with nervousness, squeezes my hand tight enough to suck life out of it, when I meet the candidate. I feel like yelling at him (female candidates usually don’t offer their hand on their own and I don’t make the first move either) “THIS doesn’t work anymore. The other candidates know the secret too.”
As the Efficient Market Hypothesis tells us, once the wisdom is known to everyone, you cannot exploit it to your advantage. Nowadays, I rather appreciate someone who is confident enough to shake hands lightly; it’s better to rely on one’s instincts to judge the fellow.
2. Dating Punjabi Browns: This was googled by someone in Senegal to reach my blog. So that someone, most probably a lady, finally figured out that all “Browns” are not the same, especially when it comes to sensitive affairs like Dating. Maybe she had a terrible experience with a Gujju-Brown earlier who probably didn’t pay for the Dinner; maybe she had eight Browns as her neighbors sharing the apartment next door. Our Punjabi Munda might have got her interested and then she might have had doubts about his turban, the mark of a Punjabi-Brown, and would have been researching the implications that the turban has in romantic life.
This is an opportune time to explain “Brown Phantom”, the blog name. I was never fond of the comic-hero “Phantom”. Initially I planned to be anonymous and hence the word “Phantom”. And “Brown” was chosen as an acknowledgement of the above mentioned notions since I knew that despite being anonymous, the brown-ness would be clearly evident in my writing.
That lady spent a few seconds on this blog; long enough to figure out after looking at the profile picture that this Brown isn’t a Punjabi.
3. Succumbing: Months ago when the liquor-shopkeeper mentioned here robbed me of money and pride, I resolved to never deal with him again. Time heals. Weeks later, I was out to buy some Fosters from other shop, which is twice the distance away and one has to cross this cheater’s shop to reach it. The cheater had plenty of customers and he was frantically serving them. The lazy manipulator got into act “What’s the use of avoiding him? I am just ONE customer. What difference is that making to his business? Why walk extra yards for a false ego? Why give so much importance to one-self?”
The spineless pragmatic cut his route short. Beer did the trick for the night. The next morning as I walked past the shop again, guilt-ridden and self-loathing thoughts, which were conveniently ignored the night before, returned with a vengeance. Not being a man of principles is probably good for survival and longer life. God, can I have some strength back in my character please?
Recent observations suggest though that I am in for a long life. While in Goa, I was haggling for swimming trunks in a shop. He said 200; I told “150 is the best I could offer or I leave” and began to walk out of the shop. Outside Goa (and West-Bengal), you expect to here the last price from the owner when you are about to leave the shop. I didn’t know that such moves don’t work in Goa. We left the shop and as we moved towards the beach, the quoted price got higher and higher. We turned and went back to the same shop and bought the trunk for 200. “The other shops have only cotton trunks. We are in a hurry. Please give that one for 200.” were the sheepish words.
This reminds me that I was supposed to write a chain of posts on Goa as promised here. Of course, that hadn’t happened. I haven’t retuned “after a very short break”. But then, what else can one expect from someone who has been a wuss lately.