Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wow, it’s been nearly 6 months since I last blogged. Huge numbers of things have happened since then, and I’d like to talk about them now.
For the past 8-odd years, I’ve been working for a private software company in Pune. The ones who know my company’s name already are the only ones who need to ;). Well, it’s been a long time there and I finally decided I need to do something with my life. I couldn’t imagine myself as just a software engineer at 40.
So I quit. I’ve set up as a software consultant now, and I already have a couple of projects to work on, so I’m comfortably set up. But I didn’t quit primarily to do that. I quit because I want to write.
Readers of this blog will have noticed that I was writing like mad around the beginning of this year. Work pressures, however, put paid to that particular activity and I’ve had to slacken my pace since then. This consultancy thing is one of the things I’m doing to pick it up again. Like that story about the rocks in the jar, I want to turn my writing into one of the bigger rocks around which everything else fits.
Here’s hoping the writer’s block goes away now that I’m out the office.
And so, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Recently caught the promos of the new Dev Anand movie on TV, and it reminded me of a birthday my father had, several years ago, that involved Dev Anand. Well, almost. [close up of my face, fade out...]

Dad had inaugurated a training session for new folks at his company a few days back. In introducing himself, he mentioned that he liked old Hindi movies in general and Dev Anand in particular. Since a major portion of the people in the company happened to be there, this bit of trivia became a well known fact there.

Three days later was Dad’s birthday. I was thinking of what present to get him, and finally, all out of ideas, decided on sending him a bouquet at his office address.

At the florists, I selected the bouquet. He handed me a blank card to fill up, to accompany the bouquet. It would be fun to fill up a prank message on the card, so I wrote, "Happy Birthday to my biggest fan, from Dev Anand." I of course was not aware of the training session speech.

So anyway, the delivery boy went up to the office and asked for my Dad. The receptionist glanced at the card that was with the bouquet and did a double take. She directed the boy to keep the bouquet there; a guard would take it to Dad’s office. The bouquet sat at the reception desk for maybe half an hour while the guard came back from his lunch break. I have no idea how many people saw it there. Even one person, of the right kind, is enough to spread this kind of information :).

When the guard delivered the bouquet to Dad’s office, he looked at the card, recognized my handwriting immediately, and asked the guard to put it in on a side table.

A few minutes later, a colleague came in, ostensibly to ask Dad about some trivial thing. Every few seconds, he’d glance at the large bouquet in the corner. Finally, he gave in and asked Dad, "Is it your birthday today?"

"So... did Dev Anand really send you that bouquet?"

Dad here played his cards right, and offhandedly replied, "I guess so – that’s what the card says."

"Er... may I see it?" The guy went over and looked at the card. A flush came over his face. He hurriedly went out; on his way he bumped into another person who was coming in.

Dad estimates he had more than thirty people drop in that day. Most of them were reporting trivial things, or else asking for Dad’s opinion on some report or the other. All of them "happened to notice" the bouquet and casually asked about it.

That isn’t the end of the story. Last month Dad happened to be at a conference where he met an ex-colleague, who now works in another company. Said ex-colleague was accompanied by his boss. By way of introducing Dad, the e-c said, "... and, sir, he’s a personal friend of Dev Anand!"

The Legend continues...