Friday, July 10, 2015

5 Stages of grief - Job rejection edition

Many have written about the various stages of grief they go through at the end of a relationship. This has become the premise for many comedy sketches, books and movies like 500 days of summer (talk about stuck-up !). Today, I would like to talk about the various stages of grief I went through. Well in my case, it was not about a relationship (that is for another day), but about rejection from a job application. I had applied for a position with one of the dream companies and got rejected after the fourth round of interview.

Denial. As a practice, I usually send out a “Thank You” to the panel members/HR on the day after my interview. I followed the same ritual this time too, well aware that it was the final and deciding round. The HR, who till that point had responded to my emails in lightning speed, had simply gone quiet. Though this was the first indication, I choose to ignore it and decided to stay optimistic. I only checked my inbox every 40 seconds and then the spam box, for the response. They had hinted that I would know the previous day or early morning in case of a selection. Instead of assuming the worst, I choose to believe that the printer which was printing my offer letter was jammed and hence the delay.

False Hope - Maybe there was a mistake. I was in my office (yes, luckily I was already employed) when I finally got the rejection email from the HR of the company. I stared at it with open eyes. Not the kind you do when you see your first paycheck, but the kind you have when your student loan hits you. My brain quickly jumped to its panic response - this is not happening, there must be a mistake. I read it again, re-read it, closed the mail, opened it again and read it. The mail hasn’t changed. Probably they mixed up the names. Maybe they would realize that they mixed up the names and send me the clarification in an hour. Or two.

Grief - After 6 hours of receiving the mail, I slowly realized that they hadn’t made the mistake while sending the mail. The rejection was for real. The pain shot up through my body like the boy who had accidentally bitten his tongue. The memories came rushing in. The big board rooms and open spaces I saw at the office, when I went for the interview. The smart boards and table tennis table will remain a dream. Now that I knew I lost it, I yearned for it more. I felt I had climbed up a mountain, only to fall freely from the peak.

Rebel or what the weak call “Acceptance”. Conceding defeat is difficult and it is even more difficult to accept it gracefully. This was the only part of the various stages that I enjoyed. This is when you stop being an adult and let out the inner child within you. It was 3PM and I decide to take an unauthorized, unscheduled ice cream break. The report for my manager, comparing “Disc Bullets vs Circular Bullets in Sales Presentations” can wait. It was time for me to be with myself and have some ice cream, rebellious ice cream. Maybe I should start smoking too. Nah, that’s taking rebellion too far.

Moving on. Life has to go on and some failures have to be forgotten. The rebellious ice cream did help in cooling me down. I tell myself that it is not the end of the world and know there is something better out there for me. I look around and see the others buzzing around, few even smiling while doing their job. Those must be the new hires. The pain slowly recedes as the day draws to an end. Some rest and a good night sleep should put me back on my feet. But before that I should complete my report on the relation between a “Sales deck’s font color and revenue stream”. The rebel stage did take up lot of my time and the boss is waiting..

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Saturday, September 18, 2010

a dark rollercoaster

I had only seen people suffering of insomnia in movies, often these characters are either drug addicts, murderers or both. These movies tried to convey the mental torture that insomnia inflicts, but it was never clear enough till I lived through. After 6days of loosing sleep you simply loose track of time. I was already bed ridden because of the viral & the medicines weren't helping either. After a point you start to dream when you are awake, even once u open your eyes & try to shake it away. It plays in your head like a broken records, over and over again. I try to shake it away, try to think of something different, but the only thing I can think of, is what I am dreaming right now. Its as if you are watching the "machinist" & "trainspotting" back-to-back in repeat mode. But does it count as a "dream" if I am awake? I sit on my bed, hoping that would help. I do not have the energy to go up to the washroom & wash my face.

I give up & try to make sense of what I am seeing. I had hoped that if I had left the city & come home things would change. The first 2 nights when I had this fit was, when I was in the city. I saw it being played in my head with both my eyes open & closed. Finally I had to give up on my attempts to sleep & get out of bed. But, the recursive, meaningless dreams followed me home as well. Yes, dreams are always not meant to be meaningful, but they usually contain other people, some dialogue, drama, action, something like a movie which plays in your head. But my recursive dreams had just some odd shaped empty boxes. The sequence kept repeating in my head in spirals, I felt I was falling down Alice's rabbit hole but even that had an end.I tried making sense of it during the day only to give up trying & comforting myself that at least the boxes were not shaped liked coffins. Now that would have been freaky !!

A high dosage of antibiotics along with the highly sedative cough medicines mixed a tired body & mind can play tricks on you. You feel as if you got the front seats in a roller coaster ride which is heading straight into an iron gate reinforced with steel, lead & anything sharp you can find. The mind had already been hit bad thanks to the work. They say you shouldn't burn bridges, but at times you just know you have to blast that bloody bridge with enough dynamite to light up the sky on a full moon night. The thought did bring a smile to my face. And that is when the body gave in to the viral & here I am trying to twitch & turn in bed, to find the position which would give me the least amount of pain, while I try to sleep. I got some sleep yesterday after 6long days, I hope I get some tonight as well.

My health is showing minor improvement, so hope to be up & running in a few days time. Lot more medicines to have & supplementary foods to take up. As for the mental health, it will mend, it always does. Now that the sword is already pushed in, I'd rather pull it out from the other end. I really doubt if this would make sense if I try reading all this again. But these are memories & words, which I might forget once sanity kicks in.
Like TP says "its official, u've gone demented"

Monday, March 08, 2010

The Atheist - Rejected by Heaven & Hell

Last week was quite painful for me. My best friend died a slow death which was painful to bear. I knew my friend for the past 3years, used to be always by my side wherever I went, from the bakery next door till the long trips I have been. My friend managed to make me smile & helped me get some sleep during all those long journeys. My friend, my T430 Transcend mp3 player. Ok, jokes aside, come to think of it my mp3 player was really like a friend to me. I have read that these days with the invent of interactive computer systems, we have started considering electronic gadgets to living entities. So yes, I did feel a sense of pain when my mp3 player's sound output started faltering. Maybe I didn't shed a tear, but I still didn't feel like throwing it away even after I got a replacement.

While talking about replacing electronic gadgets, it is common for many of us to replace our laptops, mobile phones quite frequently these days. Though we love & adore our gadgets during their term of use & safeguard them, we do not often give much time to think while replacing them with another. It makes me think, will we also be replaced or forgotten by the ones around us. Even more scarier, do we have the same fate as a broken mp3 player or mobile phone. Lets accept it, the universal law applies for everyone & everything. If born one day, you definitely have to die one day as well. But do we also just "switch off" or slowly rumble on & die like one of our machines.

Now, the theists have their different versions of "paths" after death. Despite the religious differences all these paths can be summed up as either "Heaven" or "Hell". Like they say in most SMS jokes, the doors to either is guarded by somebody by the name of St Peter who has a log of your deeds while on planet earth. Now, I don't want to go into the details & point out the various absurdness they have, as I always do. To tell about "Heaven" & "Hell" there are quite a lot. For some its a place where angels float around among the clouds, usually your grandparents are there (I never understood why !!) , they have good food & everybody is dressed in white. For some others Heaven has virgins (not sure male or female) inhabitants for company. Hell is usually where the infidels, the cruel, the lawyers & "evil-doers" (borrowing the word from Jr Bush) are punished to go. The place is said to be extremely hot, with boiling cauldrons & you have Mr Devil staying there as well, who will whip you for no apparent reason.

But what happens to the atheist? I know for sure that the theist's heaven nor hell would let us in. So without heaven or hell, our lives (& path) would end like turning off a switch. "Puff" & gone? Gone in 1 second? Is that it? Though this does scare me, I am able to see the good side to it as well. We atheists needn't worry about our deeds during our mortal life. We do not have a hell & you can't possibly push us into a molten cauldron once we die. I can only pity for the poor theists. We can lie, cheat, break rules & we just have to go "puff" when our time is up. Its nice, though it makes me feel no different from a machine. Both machines & human go through their repair cycle whenever the time is near & then it reaches a point repair cant help much. That's when we are given up on.
While writing this, it is being more clear to me on the million possibilities just opened up ahead of me. When you are free from the consequences of your actions, the concept of freedom & thoughts become clearer to you. You can do whatever you want, not fearing about the eyes in the sky. You do not have to do the "right thing" or as per "god's will" but what you feel is right. After all you are Heaven's & Hell's reject.

Note: The author does not advocate "lying, cheating or breaking rules". Consequences of your actions while still alive is very much a reality.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

to all those animal welfare activists

Decided to write this piece after a discussion with a colleague over lunch. My colleague is a vegan & cannot stand the thought of a non-vegetarian dish. Today, he was giving me the reasoning behind his decision to not consume meat. According to him ( & many others, I am sure) it is not "right" to kill an animal & consume its flesh. Just because they cannot respond back, doesn't mean we have right to kill & eat them. Well, he was almost echoing the thoughts of the animal right activists who are presently protesting against killing of animals for consumption. Earlier these protests were mainly for cruelty towards animals & their killing for recreation/product manufacture. But as per the newspaper, new rounds of protests are against consumption as well.

Surprisingly most of these protests are against the killing of cows. There has been no mention about killing of chicken, duck, pig or even fishing. Evidently our nation's dear animal activists do not care about the pigs, goats & chicken, though they are being butchered & consumed in much larger numbers. In spite of cows being butchered in very less numbers for food in the country, focus is primarily on them. Makes me think, is there a hidden religious agenda behind this "animal welfare". I always knew that people are distinguished always on basis of their religion, caste, creed color. But did they start a caste system in animals as well? Interesting.

And an even interesting was an article which I read in the newspaper yesterday morning. I had to do some googling to get a web article of the same. I wanted to get the attention of our dear animal welfare activists on this particular piece of news. It seems thousands of rams & bulls were sacrificed in a temple in Kushtagi, a village 6hours away from Bangalore - the silicon valley of India. Villagers say that children were made to stay indoors, so that they dont see the gory scene as rivers of blood flowed through the temple grounds. While I read through the article, I wonder "where were the animal activists doing on that Sunday morning?". This was not a surprise party which the villagers decided to throw, but a practice which have been followed for years. But then, like I mentioned before, our activists are only worried about the cows & not surprisingly no cow was harmed in the sacrifice !

It doesn't require a lot of intellect to understand the "animal welfare" in the country is driven more by religious sentiments rather than actual love for the animal. Killing for the sake of consumption/nutrition is being banned while the law looks the other way when mass sacrifices are being made. With the large number of activists fueled by religious sentiments to their godly animals, the future of tasty food looks bleak for the minority non-vegetarians. For the time being I will have to survive on chicken in a land where, Lion is not the King, the Cow is !

Saturday, December 12, 2009

an Athiest at the God's Gate

"I pity the fool" - Mr T's famous quote from Rocky III, came to my mind several times in the past few weeks. I had made a trip to the northern half of the country in the previous weeks & my journey included places of worship of different faiths. Few of them, were considered the most important pilgrimage points for different faiths. The journey was quite different for me, not only because of the new places I was seeing, but also because I had kept away from all religious places for the past 3 & half years. So it was a good experience, talking to different kinds of people, watching people from different places & different belief system. I got to meet the believers who had an extremist attachment to their belief system & also the ones who kept their beliefs as a private thing. So when I met these people, read and watched millions of others on TV & other medium, there has been only one feeling which comes into me. Its not anger, its not rage, its not happiness nor joy, but its pity. Pity for your ignorance. Pity that you are unable to see the bigger picture. Pity that you are being manipulated so easily with something which does not even exist.

Why pity? Well, I shall explain with the help of a story I recently heard through a friend. My friend belongs to a far off village where they have very limited access to electricity, newspapers, media & most things which we take for granted. The place where they live a simple life. But every time when election approaches, the regional political parties come up banners, posters to spread the word of the party. In most of these posters it was a common practice to put the pictures of the important leaders, which included few of them who had died in the late 80's. But for the people of the village, these posters were the only way to see all their leaders & to this day they believe that all of them are still alive. As much as 50% of the village's population, majority of whom are uneducated believe that their Prime Minister (who was killed in early 80's) is still alive & competing for elections. Feel like laughing at their ignorance? Village idiots, right? Hold on, what would you do if I tell you that there is a huge number of people who believe & trust a person whom they haven't even seen. In fact they haven't even seen his pictures, only sketches of the person. Yet they believe this person has the solution to all their problems & would go to any lengths to please him. None of these people have never spoken or heard this person, but have only "felt" his person. Yeah, you know where I am going with this. Blind faith & it only deserves pity.

But to be honest, I wish there was a God. No, I haven't turned into a believer, but for the sake of the millions of people who live around me. I wish there was a God so that all the prayers will not go for waste. I wish there was a God, so that he could acknowledge the billions people spend on making places of worship rather than trying to wipe off poverty or hunger. I wish there was a God who could forgive all those who killed & burned down property in the name of the almighty. I wish there was a God who could show heaven to all those martyrs who blow themselves up to reach Elysium. I wish there was a God who took note of the sacrifices & offerings made to him which amount to trillions. But more than everything I wish there was a God, for all the ones I pity, because fictitious though you may be, you are a source & inspiration to them. For the ones who do not believe in themselves, you are the only one they could trust. When everything around goes down in flames, you are the one they believe has a plan & its all well taken care of.

So while returning from the God's gate, this was the silent wish I had. I knew I cannot change the beliefs of the people around me, nor enlighten them with the truth. I controlled the urge to tell them that all those phenomena which you had named as God is now detailed in the science textbooks of school kids as facts. But I understood that knowing nothing & being ignorant can be more comforting at times. After all everybody has the right to follow his own faith.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Living a dream

Its been a while since I blogged & thought of putting down about what I had been up to. I got some serious feedback about my last write from a friend & this time I hope to bore you (if anybody is reading). Its almost the end of the year & looking back it feels I have achieved all the things I had set out to achieve. Almost. In December of last year, I penned down 4 resolutions which I planned on abiding in the coming year. Now a year back I had followed 3 of the 4 resolutions religiously. The one I didn't stick to, was no longer relevant, so lets strike that out.

So as per my resolution to travel, I set out to the Great North Indian trip. Now I dont want to write down all the small intricate details about the trip and bore anyone (the earlier feedback), so I will just stick to the highlights. The trip was mainly to attend a friend's brother's marriage, but that was after all just an excuse to visit the northern half of the majestic country. The trip lasted 11days & covered 6 States & 1 Union Territory. It started from the Delhi Airport --> Uttar Pradesh <--> Uttarakhand <--> Chandigarh <--> Punjab <--> Himachal Pradesh <--> Haryana--> Delhi. It was one of the most amazing journeys I have ever went. But there were few which stood out & it would be injustice not to mention them.

The North Indian marriage should be the one which generated the maximum amount of curiosity. Attended a marriage which started in night & went on till the early hours in morning. The lights, the color, the energy was electrifying. Got an opportunity to dance as part of the "Baarath" or the groom's procession till the wedding hall. The groom arrived at the wedding hall in the traditional horse driven chariot. The menu for dinner was limitless, starting from the Dosa of the south to well made Parrattas of the North. The ceremonies which I was not very fond off did go on for long & after a really tiring day, I dozed off in the wedding hall :)

The second place worth mentioning was Amritsar. The Golden Temple is a symbol of shear beauty. Though we had to go through an overnight train journey in chilling weather, the view of the Golden Temple, made the journey worth it. Even at 10 in the morning, the area was covered with mist but the air had a spiritual feel to it. Later in the evening had an opportunity to catch the parade at the Waga border. For all those people who are not huge patriots, the patriotism at the Waga is infectious. I never knew that I could scream out slogans like "Vande Matharam" & "Jai Hind" so loudly. The spirit & energy of the soldiers on both sides was amazing to watch.

I would call myself a non-believer, but which I was there I didn't mind checking out Haridwar & Hrishikesh, 2 of the important places of Hindu pilgrimage. Set at the banks of the so-called "holy" river Ganges, the place could easily get your liking. Though I was traveling only at the beginning of the winter, the water was still freezing cold. I could only envy the adventurous once who took a dip in the river which I had to limit myself to just washing my feet. The "Aarthi" performed in the evening at the banks of the river, was one spectacle which would remain in my mind for years to come. The students of the traditional school all dressed in yellow & red recited the prayers in such unison to an audience of close to 100. Even I was motivated to shut my camera & sit down to listen to them.

Last but certainly not the least was the visit to Delhi, the capital city of India. Everything about the place was a treat to my eyes. From the modern Metro transport, the Parliament house, the India Gate & the Qutab Minar. I can almost still taste the "Chilly Stuffed Paratta" & "Rabri Paratta" which we had in the "Paratta Wale Galli" in Chandi Chowk. Since we were running short of time, we had hurry through Delhi to see all the places, but every minute spend was worth it. Everything about Delhi is simply beautiful & I mean everything.

Those were only the highlights of the 11 day North Indian trip, but there was endless number of memories from the journey. The glimpses of the trip still comes to my mind, the cycle rickshaw rides, the delicious "alloo tikki", the early 5pm sunsets, the view of the Himalayas, the softest Paneer, beautiful faces in Delhi, the gardens of Panjore, the Gun Hill at Mussorie. So finally went the year closes I feel I have so many new places & met lot many people in this year than all my years combined.