Call Centre in a Naxal Village

I was so happy reading this news item in Express. A call centre formed by training youths in the naxal affected Krishnagiri district. If guys with no English knowledge could be trained in few months to speak in western accent, there is no reason why this concept woudln’t catch on and spread across. One of the biggest problems that India would face in the next few years is that there will be a very big social divide in terms of urban and rural folks, thanks to the IT boom & rocketing salaries in the cities. In this context, initiatives like these would do a world of good for rural India and we could only hope that petty party politics shouldn’t get into these.

Early Start

One of the advantages of coming early to the office is I get to park my car closer to our building at our sprawling office complex. Another thing is that at 7:30 in the morning, the office is so very quiet that you get to do things much quicker than normal and you get a feeling that half of your day’s work is done before the actual work time starts. More than anything else, I get to leave early in the evenings and I certainly value the time I spend with my family. Especially if I can take Anirud to the local park or library, that would be a very rewarding evening for me.

School Days

A long lost friend of mine some how found my email address and sent about 60 scanned photographs clicked during our school days. It was a kind of shock for me to receive those photos unexpectedly and I was gazing at each one of them at awe recollecting the time we had 15 years ago. Some of the photos were really embarassing as well. I don’t want to say that those years were the best period in my life or whatever. Just that I was surprised how different we would appear in 15 year’s time. All the skinny teenagers of those days have become giant-sized buffaloes and mini-dinosaurs now. It is a shame that I couldn’t identify quite a lot of my former classmates, as I have never seen them after my school days. In fact, it took me a while to identify myself in some of the photographs. It was a completely different me.

Shock from the physical appearance apart, the other thing that bothered me was that I was easily able to to count with just one hand the number of school friends I am in touch with. I thought that my geographical location had made me distance myself from all my friends of those days, but it doesn’t look like it either. There are few of my friends who live in the same area in the same city they grew up in and even they don’t seem to be in touch with the other guys. In this context, I think the biggest joke would be the lines written in our autograph books.

Brown’s Reign

Looks like Gordon Brown is having a rough patch after taking over as Prime Minister of Britain few weeks ago. Days after he took over, there were bombing attempts at Central London and Glasgow airport. Then came the heavy summer rains causing floods and chaos in many parts of the country. As the water level receded, here comes the Foot and Mouth outbreak. All of these in a matter of 5 weeks.

Had he been in India, it would have been attributed to the transit of Saturn over the weekend. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if some one suggests Gordon to visit Thirunallar. Perhaps, had he seen ‘Sivaji’ he would have got to know about that himself.

Salesmanship

On the otherday we lost our way driving to T.G.I.Friday’s located in a neighbouring town, despite the fact we had made note of the route before starting from home. It so happened that we found a Staples store round the corner and I walked in asking for directions. A sales assistant in the shop not only gave me proper directions but also took a piece of paper and drew the map himself roughly indicating the turns I had to take to reach my destination. As I headed towards the exit, he stopped me and pointing towards the array of Satellite Navigation systems said, ‘Buy one of these Sir. There is an offer going on now. You would never have to ask for directions from anyone in future’. I liked the way he said that after offering me the necessary directions. It was such a perfect timing to do a sales pitch. However, I could only politely refuse it saying, ‘When there are helpful guys like you, who would need a Sat Nav system?’.

Coconut

Just like ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) in US of A, there is this slang expression ‘Coconut’ common among Indians in UK referring to second generation Indians here. As the term ‘coconut’ has got a not-so-colourful reason behind it (‘Brown outside, White Inside’), I have always refrained from using it, at least in public, for the fear of being branded a racist or whatever. On the other hand, I wasn’t sure how the concerned people feel about the term, although it would surprise me whenever this word was used in ‘Indians only’ official meetings.

However, after having read this news item in BBC, it looks like ‘Coconut’ is more common in Britain than I thought. Quite literally so. One of the survey questions asked to British Asians was – ‘Would you consider yourself to be a coconut?’. Interesting indeed!