end of the road

Modified. Had missed the top portion of the post last time.

The car, moving smoothly until that moment, suddenly swayed and seemed to slip and slide and then stopped dead in it tracks and refused to budge. Cursing his luck he got out of the car knowing what to expect. A flat tyre is not very funny when you have unsettling thought saucers flying across the honeycombs in your mindscape. Well, it is not funny in most other circumstances too, unless you are watching a sketch with a Mr.Bean character trying to fix his flat tyre. The key there is second or third person. A whole lot of things can seem quite amusing and funny when it doesn't happen to you.

He got out the car and its cocoon into the graying reality outside. Though he cursed and fumed, the soup he was in did not do much to wet his feelings. He was getting used to the wrongs in life. Anybody would when the foundation that they perceive their life to be built on shakes and shakes, crumbling and falling apart, unseen but surely felt. The tremors had been felt and duly ignored as passing rumbles.

"Oh yes! I have realized my folly.They weren't mere rumbles, were they? And they sure as hell were not passing. Like all bad things, it's all too late."

The road was deserted. The few unbroken lights threw patches of display window light on the potholes that were the only remarkable features on the otherwise dull tar. He was smiling; at how life had turned out, at change, at the uncertainities that lay ahead. He leaned onto the bonnet of his car and stared at the moon and the emptiness of the night. The night seemed to mimic what he felt of himself - empty and dark and the only moon in his life on its way towards the other end of the world.

The spare tyre was in the back of the car but there was enough time to try and replace the tyre. "What the heck! I might as well take in some of the evening air."

A hundred yards down the road he spotted a small body of water, the leftover reminiscence of a bygone rain. Mother earth holding onto the sweet memories of a wonderful association that had been taken for granted. The memories would fade away with time, helped along by the sunlight that would shadow them into submission.

He saw the moon reflected in the still water. The water only seemed still, for right under its poker face it carried a constant turmoil that ran harsher in its deeper depths. He stepped out of the road and reached the banks of the temporary pool. The ground was dry and he sat down by the edge of the water uncaring about the dirt that stuck to his trousers. It was nothing that a washing machine couldn't handle. His eyes roved and dug into the murky pool trying to fathom the disturbances that unsettled its calm. He caught his face looking out at him. Sunken and refracted like the skulls that marked railway crossings, warning the tresspasser of the fate that would befall him if he dared to take a misguided step onto the tracks.

He sat up into a squat and began to study his reflection. He saw reflected at him a man fatigued with trying to keep himself together and his life hooked into the society that existed around him. "Happy and well-settled. Isn't that what you are? Isn't that what everyone thinks you are?"
He could see his facade even now when he was in the middle of nothingness with nobody that would notice a scar in his otherwise perfect cover. That was what he was. An actor. The true representative of Shakespeare's staged world. Yes he was an actor, an actor who never took a break from the life that was his act. Why would people want to know the real him? Of what use would his nakedness be to the people around him? He hid his life underneath an elaborate Victorian costume with all the trimmings and nobody noticed that it looked out of place.

He had agreed to marry her when she posed the question to him three years and eleven months before. "I know that you love me a lot. I know you do. I know you want to ask me to marry you. So why don't you do it. Why don't you ask me to marry you?"

He had been astonished. All he could mutter was, "Because I love you too much.. I know it doesn't make sense but it does."

"It doesn't. Can we not give it a try?" "Well, okay! So will you marry me?"

"Yes, I will. Though you will have to ask me again and not in a corridor like this."

They had married two months after. Three years and nine months of marriage. Such a long time, an eternity ticked off by the seconds on the world's timepiece. Everything had been magical then. They loved each other a lot and they were both adapted to the small imperfections that they noticed in the other. It was perfect. Well almost. She had readily come into his arms and he had opened up to her like never before. That was his undoing, though he had no clue about it then. He built his life around her love.

He was paranoid. About everything. He had been like that from the time he could remember. Worrying himself over things that would've otherwise seemed trivial and insignificant. He had seen his parents break apart without a reason that he understood. They had been perfectly happy with each other or so he had thought. Things began to change with a rapidity that surprised him. Where they had cuddled each other, they now argued. They argued in louder and louder tones.

"I hate you. Why did you do this to me?"

"I didn't mean to hurt you. I don't know how this happened. I can't change it now, can I?"

"What about our son? Do you even know how he will take this? Is he ours at all?"

"Please... don't say such hurtful things."

"Ah! So you are hurt now, are you? After all that you have done."

His mom had sobbed and his dad had pleaded. He had only been a kid then and couldn't yet comprehend words like adultery. Such words and others, mouthed by his parents hadn't brought home to him the seriousness of their fights.

In a matter of two weeks, his parents had separated and left him wrecked. The actual day of separation had been too undramatic to register in anybody's mind. He had watched his dad sitting on a chair, his face cradled in his palms. A dishevelled little man whose world had crumbled around him and yet refused to accept the truth. He watched his mom come out of the room with just a duffel bag. She walked towards his father and stood in front of him. His father did not look at her and his mother's hands stretched towards him but stopped short. No words were exchanged and no goodbyes said. His mother kissed him on his forehead before walking out the front door. He later learnt what had happened. His mother had taken a fancy for another man. He couldn't understand how that could've happened when his mother had loved his dad such a lot. But that was the truth and his disbelief didn't change it. His back had been broken and he never got rid of his distrust towards everybody and everything, especially relationships. He had lost faith. He didn't make any friends for a long time until she had come along. She had forced her friendship upon him and he had bowed.

She was the cement that held together the fragmented bricks that was him. In any construction the cement merely holds the bricks and hides the fragmentation that continues to subsist and grow into cracks that don't bother you with their baby cries or any warning until one fine day a gust of wind brings down the whole structure. On further analysis, the cracks, the always there but indiscernible cracks would plead guilty. But by then the damage was already done and nothing can put the same set of bricks back together.

She had been super-strong hold cement. That was true. She had held him in her arms with amazing strength and made him better with time. Yet all her love and all her comfort could not prevent his breaking apart. It seemed like a very natural phenomenon, something that you never get a hold on.

He knew that he depended on her a lot. Enough to make him addicted to her. His life outside of her had ceased to exist; not that he had much before anyway. But it made him feel insecure.
"Does she really love me? What if this is a game she has chosen to play with me." Maybe she was merely setting him up for a big dramatic final dumping, a throwing into the lowest pits of existence. It troubled him a lot. These fears screamed at him in his dreams trying to grab his attentions. They did get his attention hooked but he did not see the hidden meanings to them. He took his fears to face value and attempted to put them aside as fears. Just another sandman under his bed. He missed the whole point of the thing. The wrong variable in the equation was his detachment and he did not recognise it. It was himself. It was he that was pretending to be in love. He was not in love and he did not notice it. His failing had hidden itself in a play. A play within a play. An actor acting out to an actor.

He changed everything about him to make himself fit her, as they say, like a glove. Yet his facade, his poker face always remained with him. Even though she owned him in all possible ways and knew evey heartbeat that kept his cells nourished, she never could see through his veil. She remained largely unaware of the increasingly turbulent current within him. She was infact waiting for him at home as he pondered at the secrets that his face revealed to him under the dark cover of the night.

In his deepest self he did not grasp the concept of love. What was it about love that convinced people to tied themselves down? Mind you it never lasts forever. One thinks one is tied down for eternity and then the first glitch rears its head. The first doubt, the first questioning smirk makes your mind waver. Once that happens you feel let down by the whole constitution of love. What had earlier seemed like an indelible truth mastered over centuries now shows its true face. Love is nonsense. It is a buzz word that has remained in vogue for too long; just one of those fads that forgot to leave the stage on cue.

He wondered if she had ever stopped to listen to her heart and find why, if it really did, it digged him. You could learn so many things about yourself if you took the time to try. There are a million feelings that you have never felt or realised that you feel them. He was grateful to her keeping his spirits at a higher place yet he was as detached from her as he was with everything else. He liked the vantage point of looking from outside of the frame. He did not consider questioning things, he just took it for granted that whatever he felt was the truth. He did not try to find if he loved her. He just assumed he didn't.

He was sometimes proud of his mother. She had chosen to fall off the conveyor belt that most of the world was sliding upon. It must have taken a whole lot of courage. Ofcourse she had hurt many, but if they made a study of it the ones that felt hurt would see the great benefit she had made available. She had, through her act of perceived selfishness, liberated some souls to where they actually belonged, free from the shackles that binds them. Though he could've done without the ruckus, he felt that his mother had awakened him to the play that society staged. A play that is easy to live by. A play that in all its goodness hid the truth as if it were a disgrace.

For his father, he didn't feel anything, not even pity. The man had wallowed in self-pity and died trying to figure the disillusionment he felt.

He knew that if he continued the way he was now, their life would soon be at blows. He had tried hard to correct himself. He had tried it thinking of her. He had succeeded a little but not enough to make any significant change.

What would she do if he told her that he didn't think that he loved her, not then, not before? In all certainity she would have looked at him with a certain smile. "No darling. You are mistaken", she would have said. She believed in love and other undefinable things as fate. She considered their being together as the truth. The truth, as she thought, that love was indispensable and that they had an abundance of it between the two. The bliss of ignorance.

He got up and went back to his car. A wind had picked up by then and rattled an empty can of coke towards its journey through the drain. He jacked up the car and changed the flat tyre. He wondered if he could do the same with his life. Change a tyre and make a fresh start. He laughed at his ignorance. It was not a mere flat tyre that he suffered from, it was a complete breakdown of everything. Every single thing. There was no way to mend it. No matter how adept a mechanic he could find. "Life is not a broken car. Who am I trying to kid?", he laughed.

The car was on its way in less than 15 minutes. His hands were still greasy when he opened the door to the house. He knew she would be sitting in her chair, a magazine in hand. The television would be tuned into one of the soap operas that were the rage of the season. She wouldn't be watching it though. She wouldn't really be reading the magazine too. She would be waiting for him.

He knew he had to do it. Not for himself for he was beyond any hope of reclaim. He had to do it for her sake. He would yet again change his life for her. As he walked in, she put her magazine down and smiled. That irresistible smile of hers. Before she could ask him anything, before she had a chance to say anything, before she broke his resolve with her smile, he knelt down before her. The same way she had made him do those many years ago. Then he had whispered to her the question in his own clumsy way - "errr... will u marry me?" Now he whispered to her his goodbye. "I am leaving". She, innocent and unaware, asked him, "Where to, baby?" "Away from your life. To save you from myself". Before she had a chance to recover, he left in her hands a long note that threw his veil away and left through the door that he had left open.

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Sameer's Golden Rules

Productivity and Time Angle

A quick guide for a manager. I wonder when Managers in India will ever learn these golden rules.
Sameer, gr8 work dude.

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more timepass

He was caught deep
In her callous net
Yet he felt no grief.

His mind was not his
A swirl around her
But felt nothing amiss.

Drops of her smile
Dew'd upon reality
Yet he heard no chide.

Lost in the world
Unowned by himself
Like goods once sold.

And he felt no grief.

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Software lives

Crosspost from sameer.

IT Survivors - Staying Alive In A Software Job - JAVA J2EE PORTAL

This is what the software world in India is. Inspite of the head honchos claiming employee satisfaction I can't, for a second, concede that any software company in India really does look after its employees. Yes, these powerhouses have made a huge impact on where India is today but at the cost of many unnoticed lives. An appreciation or an award cannot put these lives back on track. They are mere band-aids that will won't last a single day.

I agree I am in a slightly better position. I learnt by burning my fingers. And fortunately, I am not fleeced by my managers and I am not forced to spend every living moment hunched before a computer.

IMHO, the core problem in is that the managers never stand up for their team. A manager shouldn't manage just his project or margins. His primary responsibility is the team who are anyway the ones that can make or India break his project. But somehow, I don't think managers in India realise that.

The employee himself/herself is not clean of any blame, though. They don't stand up for themselves too. Show me one employee who can say "No" and I'll show you a happier-than-average software professional. I haven't gotten around to that completely yet, but I do say "No" when in need. Well, most of the time.

Ofcourse, some of my opinions are based on what I see around me here in the UK. I can confirm that the work culture is infinitely more employee-friendly than what we have back at home.

Sorry state of affairs and it doesn't look like this is going away in a hurry.

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