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The Fallen Tomato Cart June 16, 2007

Posted by mayankjain in Uncategorized.
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It’s been over a year since I posted anything on the blog. So I thought i’d come back onto the scene with this piece.

I pass through this very intersection every morning with so much ease. Today, the pace is skewed. There is a sense of disarray as motorists try to push past each other through the traffic light. The light here always tests their agility because if you miss the green, you have to wait for another three minutes before it lets you go past again. Those three minutes become eternity for an otherwise time-insensitive nation on the move. Today, there is a sense of chaos here. People are honking, skirtingeach other and rushing past. I look out of my window to seek the reason. It is not difficult to find because it is lying strewn all over the place.

A tomato seller’s cart has overturned. There are tomatoes everywhere and therushing motorists are making pulp of it. The man is trying to get his cart back on its four rickety wheels and a few passersby are picking up what they can in an attemptto save him total loss. Though symbolic in the larger scheme of things, it is not a substantive gesture. His business for the day is over.

The way this man’s economics works is very simple. There is a money lender who lends him money for just one day, at an interest rate of Rs 10 per day per Rs 100 lent. With the money, he wakes up at 4 am to go to the wholesale market for vegetables. He returns, pushing his cart a good five miles, and by 7 am when the locality wakes up, he is ready to sell his day’s merchandise. By the end of the morning, some of it remains unsold. This his wife sells by the afternoon and takes home the remainder, which becomes part of his meal. With the day’s proceeds, he returns the interest to the money lender and goes back to the routine the next day. If he does not sell for a day, his chain breaks.

Where does he go from here? He goes back to the money lender, raises capital at an even more penal interest and gets back on his feet. This is not the only time that destiny has upset his tomato cart. This happens to him at least six times every year. Once he returned with a loaded cart of ripe tomatoes and it rained heavily for the next three days. No one came to the market and his stock rotted in front of his own eyes. Another time, instead of the weather, it was a political rally that snowballed into a confrontation between two rival groups and the locality closed down. And he is not alone in this game of extraneous factors that seize not only his business but also his life. He sees this happen to the “gol-gappa” seller, the peanut seller and the “vada pao” seller all the time. When their product does not sell, it just turns soggy.

Sometimes they eat some of it. But how much of that stuff can you eat by yourself?
So, they just give away some and there is always that one time when they have to simply throw it away.

Away from the street-vendor selling perishable commodity with little or no life support system, the corporate world is an altogether different place. Here we have some of the most educated people in the country. We don the best garbs. We do not have to push carts; our carts push us. We have our salary, perquisites, bonuses, stock options, gratuities, pensions and our medical insurance and the group accident benefit schemes. Yet, all the while, we worry about our risks and think about our professional insecurity. We wonder, what would happen if the company shifted offices to another city? What would happen if the department closed down? What would happen if you were to take maternity leave and the temporary substitute delivered better work than you did? What would happen if the product line you are dealing with simply failed? In any of those eventualities, the worst that could happen would still be a lot less than having to see your cartful of tomatoes getting pulped under the screeching wheels of absolute strangers who have nothing personal against you.

All too often we exaggerate our risks. We keep justifying our professional concerns till they trap us in their vicious downward spiral. Devoid of education, sophisticated reasoning and any financial safety net, the man with the cart is often able to deal with life much better than many of us. Is it time to look out of the window, into the eyes of that man to ask him, where does he get it from? In his simple stoicism, is probably, our lost resilience.

Subroto Bagchi, co-founder & CEO of MindTree Consulting

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Top speed breached… May 10, 2006

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Drove a Mercedes SLK200 Kompressor on the Autobahn..160 mph…one sweet machine!

5th-6th-7th May 8, 2006

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weinheim

mannheim

bruchsal

karlsruhe

appenweir

strasbourg

luxembourg

brusells

aachen

cologne

mainz

darmstaad

weinheim

Absolutely amazing weekend with Sathya, Venky, Merani and Ashutosh. Also quite expensive. I'm broke.

Just a thought.. April 30, 2006

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I guess it's a bad sign when pub waitresses, irrespective of how hot they are, start recognising you. Hallo, Eine Hefferweisen??

Katna Zindagi ka Niyam Hai! April 30, 2006

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Friday afternoon, the MD of Freudenberg Nonwovens india comes to me in my office, and asks me my weekend plans. I had no concrete plans by then, but I planned to travel, boosted by that very mornings payslip. I told him the same. He goes "What a pity, I was thinking maybe we could meet up over dinner and drinks". Now although I love travelling in Europe, the prospect of Free F&B with the MD is obviously enticing. So i readily agree to his idea. He says that he'll call me on Saturday evening, and if I'm in town, then we will meet up. He also takes my phone number toward the same.

Ab post ka title yaad karo.

He didn't call. I know for sure that I can receive calls, murgi called and so did bhai. So the only explananation is that he didn't call. Now the stupid thing is that it'll become my fault, because I had told him that I planned to travel. He obviously doesn't know that I stayed. He didn't have a numbere here as well where I could have called him. To basically mara lo. Stay the whole day in Weinheim, waiting for a call which never came. 

I got frust sitting inside by the evening, and decided to take a walk. Then i think I should climb the closest hill to the restaurant in the Windeck Castle, and have a beer and something to eat up there. We had gone there for the company get-together. Nice Place. So i trudge up the hill, about a 30 walk. Only to find the place closed. Mast kataa!

Dave Matthews Band – Cry Freedom April 23, 2006

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I simply love this song..especially the last line!

Check it out of you can… the lyrics may be slightly wrong, as I wrote them down while the song was running! Anyway, enjoy!!
DMB – Cry Freedom 

How can I turn away
Brother/Sister go dancing
through my head
Human as to human
The future is no place
To place your better days
Cry freedom, cry
From a crowd 10,000 wide
Hope laid upon hope
That this crowd will not subside
Let this flag burn to dust
And a new a fair design be raised
While we wait head in hands,
hands in prayer
And fall into a dreamless sleep again
And we wave our hands

Hands and feet are all alike
But gold between divide us
Hands and feet are all alike
But fear between divide us
All slip away

There was a window and by it stood
A mirror in which
he could see himself
He thought of something
Something he had never had but
hoped would come along
Cry freedom, cry
From deep inside
Where we are all confined
While we wave hands in fire
Wave our hands

Hands and feet are all alike
But gold between divide us
Hands and feet are all alike
But fear between divide us,
All Slip away

In this room stood a little child
And in this room this little child
she would remain
Until someone might decide
To dance this little child
across this hall
Into a cold, dark, space
Where she might never trace her
way across this crooked mile
Across this crooked page
Cry freedom, cry
From deep inside where
we are all confined
Till we wave our hands

How can I turn away
Brother/Sister go dancing
through my head
Human as to human
The future is no place
To place your better days

Hands and feet are all alike
But gold between divide us
Hands and feet are all alike
But fear between divide us
Hands and feet are all alike
Hear what I say
Hear what I say
Oh, so be it
How can I turn away
Brother/Sister go dancing through my head Human as to human
The future is no place
To place your better days

Just got Tagged..so here goes! April 23, 2006

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5 people who top your shit list….. and why:

  1. The American People: who being such fools as to choose George Bush as their president, well even that is debatable, and George Bush for what he did to Afghanistan, Iraq and now most probably Iran. What a nincompoop!!
  2. Varna: for tagging me, and making me think so much!
  3. Prof. K K Chaudhary: reasons private
  4. Mayank Jha: for all the shit he pulled while in IIT, and has the potential to pull even in the 24 hours I am forced to meet him!!
  5. Shiv of Citigroup: for being the asshole in the last interview, and that Rahul chap for making fun of me in the same interview..jerks both of them!

Close brushes with death/danger:

  1. Happen often in Delhi at the speed I drive..among the latest was on the morning where I was returning from Kriti's place after an amazing party! The car in front of me got taken out by a road divider..and i'd been trying to overtake him for a kilometre or so!
  2. Driving from Dehradun to Mussorie..the road was too curvy for a city-driver like me! I think I stopped an inch from the edge!!
  3. Infrequent, but they happen, lows in life where I resort to driving fast as a means to recuperate and take my mind of things!

5 Preferable modes of suicide, in descending order:

Interesting question…basically i wish to die instantly, not something painful!

  1. Free Falling from a Airplane or something…
  2. Shot through the temple..
  3. Driving off a mountain or something
  4. Die Drinking…
  5. Walk into a river, like Virginia Woolf

5 Guilty pleasures:

  1. Chivas
  2. Dark Chocolate
  3. Pizza, the pure italian variety!
  4. Gulab Jamun
  5. Movies, old and new, when I ought to be studying and I know it!

5 things you never want to forget:

  1. Paromita, and all the time we spent together
  2. The time I first saw my JEE result in the Hindustan Times..
  3. The time I checked my result for IIM Bangalore
  4. The time as part of 11B and 12B, Bhagat, the guys, the Jain bhandhu, the fights, the patties..
  5. The guys in IIT, and now in IIM..to name a few…Bangali, Bansal, Bomb, Kalra, Swara, Dasa, Merani, Master, Rus, Nidhi, Mera Maddu, Shekh, Nagi, Aunty, Guptaji, Dalal Sahab, Parashar, Tuhin..

5 things you wish to forget:

  1. The day we broke up
  2. The unfortunate incidents that happened at the end of my time at IIT
  3. Losing to Sodhi in Squash 🙂
  4. Seeing my QM 1 end term paper 😦
  5. The day we lost the elections, and the ensuing shit which happened!

5 really exotic dishes you have tried:

yaar mein jaini aadni..meri zindagi mein exotic khaana kahan!!
5 crushes/loves in your life… in chronological order

  1. Hot Neighbour
  2. Hot girl from CJM who travelled in the NOIDA bus
  3. Paromita
  4. Close friend of a close friend(either of them will understand, and it's not for public consumption)
  5. Close friend(again not for public consumption)

Strangest dream you ever had:

Chinese Water Torture: I am tied to a post, and there is a tap dripping onto a metal surface slowly. It's just out of reach of my foot, and I can't shut it, not matter what. I end up waking with a headache.

5 most valued personal possessions:

  1. The stuff only I know, and which will die with me
  2. My family
  3. The feeling of contentment I have after a good meal, and which i try to replicate whenever I can without the food
  4. My relations with my friends
  5. My degrees, both IIT and IIM

5 favorite superheroes….. and why:

  1. Batman: ordinary human fighting evil, agreed he's got the cash and the cool car!
  2. India's Revolutionarys<ies>
  3. Nelson Mandela
  4. Entrepreneurs, Indian or otherwise.
  5. Master..ohh yes he's a superhero!!

Tagging Chetan, Rustagi and Prerna…Mwahahahaha

Random stuff.. April 19, 2006

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Its been quite a long while since i got the time, chance and inclination to write. I've been quite caught up with weekend trips, lots of work in office and finding enough time to cook and sleep. Germany's been great till now. I went to Karlsruhe and Stuttgart over the weekend, to meet murgi<vishal vaibhav>. He's doing a double diplome at the University. At the ID<International Department> I met Sahil and Udit. Sahil's doing his masters and Udit his bachelors in Mechanical Engineering. It would be an understatement to say that they are fun guys to hang out with. Deb and Jhaw<uffff, i'll tell this story sometime later> also came down from Paris. We had lots of fun clubbing in Karlsruhe. I've invited them here for this weekend, so hopefully some more fun is on the cards.

About the internship, the office is pretty good. I have some intelligent work to do. I need to figure out the India entry strategy for the Liquid Filtration segment of the Nonwovens business. My boss, Dr. Holger Leubner, is a cool guy, 32, unmarried, very intelligent and knowledgeable, and extremely curious about India. He's extremely helpful whenever i've had any sort of trouble. His boss, Mr. Thomas Miotk, is another smart guy. Very knowledgeable about his work, and again very curious about India and Indians. I have a nice little office, with a view of the mountains out of my window, the same one which I can see from my apartment window as well. I got here a day late than when I was expected, so they shifted my hotel to this place. It's about 15 minutes from the city centre, 2 minutes from the tram station and 5 minutes from the train station. Talk about centrally located. I'm at the intersection of the two biggest roads in Weinheim. It's a top floor  studio apartment, with a decent sized hall and an attached kitchen and bath. The coolest thing is the room service: they even clean the dishes! I even have a piano in my room. Pity I don't know how to play it. Food and drink are not a problem, though i still have to find shoe polish. It's slightly expensive to eat out, as I found out in Karlsruhe and Stuttgart.

What else..well, the HR woman is cute!! Ohh ya, the weather..it was absolutely brilliant weather on the first two days..sunny and chilly. But it got worse till about wednesday, rainy. Then it cleared up and has been good ever since, only the occasional shower. Temperatures have stayed between 12-16 degrees and 0-6 degrees, but we have indoor heating everywhere so no bother!

Finally April 13, 2006

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A congruence of factors have collaborated to help me write this post.

1. My apartment now has internet<20 euros per month>

2. My laptop has a german charger<borrowed from office for two months>
3. I am home, and not in office.  I couldnt login from there.

I am in Weinheim, a small town on the perpendicular bisector of the line joining Mannheim and Heidelberg. It's a very pretty town, and I'm living practically 10 minutes from the City Centre. The weather has been good, the food is OK and the girls are pretty. Am having fun and hope you are too. Detailed account will follow<am hungry right now> 

Reservation March 31, 2006

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Yesterday, we were having this discussion about reservation. It started with someone relating the anecdote of how the topper in one of these south indian engineering entrance exams could not find a seat in the college. We finally came to what the IIMs would look like if the proposed 50% reservation goes through. Among other views that surfaced, the brilliant Burjor Dadachanji said " In 10 years from now, if you're a general {category} majority {community} guy who studies, you're screwed".

I'm slightly afraid of what the future will be like for our kids. I think they are going to blame us.