Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Marketing Menace - I

imageIn front of one shopping complex at Madurai, I was waiting for my two wheeler to come from parking stand, my wife went to took the vehicle out. At that time I noticed, one person entering into the same complex from the road. He also came by two wheeler. He was driving vehicle while talking over cell phone, keeping phone between his neck and shoulder. No wonder, after ten years if it happens to see lot of people with tilted neck. In 2000 and 2002, head set  was not in use or no socket to connect with cell phone. When you are driving two feeler in this posture, driver might not have full control on vehicle and chances are more to miss the traffic. He might be much used to it, but I felt so uncomfortable and told him, If I get a call, I used to stop the vehicle for a minute, attend and proceed. He replied thank you so much, no one did concern about this and at the end he added his master piece that he liked my body language and the way I conveyed him.  Naturally  human being are much permeable to adulation, right!, so how I am going to be exception out of it. He gave his card and said, evening  he wanted to meet me and wished to discuss lot about expanding his customer circle. Immediately realized  that I invited the problem, at right time my wife came with vehicle, I said bye to him without sharing any of my contact details, silently sat behind her and left the place without leaving any trace behind.

Every one wants to earn money, that is fine but not at the cost of some one or making some one as a scapegoat. In the imagebusy market, they are doing marketing. Once in Chicago, in one of the vegetable shop at Devon street, some one aged around 50 to 55, first he smiled at me, then I too smiled. In fact I did not have time to talk, already time was 8PM, after that I need to drive for two and half hours to go to my town. He enquired, where I was from? I told him. He replied that next week they are also coming there. I did not understand, what do I need to do for it? Shop was already crowded, no place to pick the vegetable with the trolley, my son was also crying, but he was least bothered about all these things. Next he asked, what are you doing? I could not pay full attention to the question. Just replied that I am working. He laughed loudly, might be that was the biggest joke for him. Again he went in detail, “no no, on what you are working? and how was your pay?”. I told him politely, “sir give me some time now, we will talk later, at the earliest I need to leave, I have to drive back for long way”, but somehow I slipped my phone number, I wished to give him junk number, but as I was in hurry and out of reflex, I gave him my right contact number.

As he said, next week without fails, he came there and called me up and asked “when we could meet?” He narrated that he was having new concept for improving the life of monthly waged people, who are just living pay check to pay check. He described himself as savior of world. For anyone, coming across this kind of character was not going to be first or last time. Patiently I explained him that I never interested. Even then he was insisting me why I should not come and listen to his live improving lecture. Repeatedly he was asking for my address. He wanted my whole family to listen and get benefited, what a great people? full time thinking about others well fare only! what else to say!?. At the end, he said his wife also came with him, she wanted to see my child, because last week they could not see him well in the market. Then I started enjoying and decided to put myself in a test, that how long I could talk without giving any clue about my address. Already I gave my phone number to them and being paid for it, again by mistake if my address was leaked out, then immediately I have to run somewhere else. Will we burn house for mosquitoes? but this kind of torture is worse than  that. We only have to be very conscious of saying NO. Once if you made up your mind to say NO, no need to give any explanation, if reason is given, you will be corned again with those horrible well wishers work around.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Life in Middle East – II


For driving you need license, but what about walking out of home, yes, you must have something like that. When going out, without fails, one must take work permit (Ikkama) or passport with him. No one knows when police comes for patrolling. In their random check, when some one is not having above specified document, he will be taken to police station, then either his employer or visa sponsorer has to come to take him or some of his room mates has to come with Ikkama. Indepedant of profession, they will be taken to police station, without Ikkama how can they make out, what is he doing. Once I forgot to take my passport and left for browsing center. Calling from middle east is bit expensive, so mostly I prefer to chat over net. In 2003 only chatting over net became so popular in all walks of life. When I came out of shopping complex, surprise was waiting for me.

After seeing the cop only I realized, I forgot to take my passport. Other than chatting in browsing center, I did not have anything to do in that shopping complex, even I did not take my wallet also, just took only 1KD (3.5 USD) to chat at browsing cop-writing-ticketcenter. How long I can roam inside the shopping center without buying anything. For my bad time, cop was also not leaving from that place, might be he ought to cover up, quota of that month. Finally I decided not to stay back, for my bad time, no other way to go to my house. At the end, made up my mind to apply the same technique, what I used to do in college. When lecturer is randomly asking question, those who don’t know, they used to avoid looking at them. Their body language itself show that they have not read what taught yesterday and exactly lecturer used to pick them only, but comfortably I used to look at them as I was so eager to give answer, actually I also did not know the answer, what else I can do, like wise confidently I started walking in front of him without making even a single eye contact. I asked him “excuse me” and simply I passed by, gods grace he could not identify, that I was over acting. After coming home, I was patting myself, as I did a great job in my life, since then as long as I was there, one thing I made sure passport must be with me. Weather you are wearing your inner dress or not, no one is bothered, but never forget to take passport or ikkama with you.

In front of our building, on Wednesday and Thursday, we used to play badminton. because in middle east weekly holiday starts on Wednesday evening, Saturday again we have to go back to office, so Friday evening we used to sit very frustrated like “why it is happening in my life alone”. Then on Saturday morning we used to console our self by saying, “it is ok, we are not alone in this worldly trouble”. In every building there will be security guy (harris in arabic), same guy used to look after maintenance also. He is from Afghanistan. Once he came and told us in broken Hindi “you should not play here,  next time if I see, I will cut the net. We were so surprised, what is the need of telling like this. I could not understand, what went wrong. He put a full stop to our badminton, then myself and friend started playing ping pong in the opposite building. After couple weeks, on week end, when we are returning back to our room after 12’O clock, he took one Pilipino girl with him to his room. He also noticed that we noticed. According to law, that is not right. Next day when I came out of elevator, it happened to meet him. he talked to me politely and told if we want, we could play up to 11 and after that it would be disturbance to neighbors. At least I understood what is the problem and to whom it was a disturbance. Again root cause is, according to his salary level, he was also not having family status.

One day I went to meet one of my friends relative. Reached his house at around 8.30PM.  He was so desperate to send me out of his room when it was about 9PM. Some one knocked the door, when I got up to open, he said “no no, I will open”, because I was sitting close to door. SriLankan lady came. I did not know, weather to leave immediately or to sit like nothing I did see. She directly went inside the kitchen. He himself told, she used to come for cleaning the house and for cooking. For his income and for a single bed room, what is the need of cleaning and cooking, when good quality food was being served all 3 times at staff canteen. With in 5 minutes I came out and asked him to take care. When I was waiting for my taxi, he told me that for your age and newly married people like you talk and try to live in love and affection, I don’t know still how many years of life left for me and if I look back I also did not know, what did I achieve in my life and at least I wanted to be true to myself. It seems, initially he was also not comfortable, now he was not guilty at all. In any way, talking impolite and infidelity, can not be justified, but environment also needs to conducive.

At last I wish to share another incident which happened in my second return trip. When you are travelling in middle east segment, obviously you would have witness that, lot of people used to ask for help to fill up the embarkation form. Moment you start with one form, you will be keep on getting passport with embarkation form, mostly this work continue for around 2 hours from take off. Finally I got completely different passport, that is also Indian passport only, but it looks like a big folder. After filled up his form, I went to his seat to give him. He asked to me sit with him for some time and enquired that “will there be any problem airtravelwith this passport when I reach India”. Frankly speak, at that time I was also not much aware of such a ad hock passport and that is the first time I am seeing such a document. Shocking thing is, he had some issue with his employer and employer burnt his passport. As I told earlier, without passport, you are non existing person in that land. His last 6 months salary was also not settled. After borrowing from some of his friends, he accumulated some KDs (Kuwaiti Dinars) to buy air ticket to India. When he came to airport they took him to out jail in the airport and he was there for 3 days till they arranged temporary Indian passport. I told him to forget it as a bad dream and not to disclose to anyone at home, no point in revealing bitter past. After reaching Chennai airport, refreshed himself, wore white shirt with tie. Walked to his family as everything went fine in abroad. I too walked past him, as I never knew him before.

Candle melts when it gives brightness, but why we need melt like that. In a job nothing called high or low, salary may differ. Job is for us and we are not for any job. Just it is for our survival, we did not born to do any specific job. We can learn lessons in life, but being lesson to others is a horrible pain.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life in Middle East - I

1893766-Kuwait_City-KuwaitI have seen lot of people used to say “he was not having any financial issue, his dad is working in middle east”. During my college days, so many time I got this doubt, from India that is on north west, then why they are calling it as a middle east, I asked few elders and seniors, they told me that they would tell later, but never that day came. The term middle east is originated by British when they were ruling India in 1850. It encompasses southwest Asia, north Africa and Egypt. Now they are trying to stretch up to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Human resource suppliers for middle east mainly focusing  on Qatar, UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Yemen and Bahrain. I was under impression that really they were making huge amount of money. I was surprised, when they are paying that much amount of money, why then local companies are not paying like that. Truth is comparatively salary is higher. Pathetically this little bit difference is at the cost family and friends. Country can be rich, but are we? Every where you may get oil, but do we own? Let us restrict our view to blue collar jobs, and keep high skilled professions aside like Engineers (i.e Mehenthis in arabic) and Doctors.

No one can deny that the way the locals dealing with foreigners are unfriendly. Naturally their language is bit vocalized. Evenbeautiful_kuwait_galleryfull ordinary sentence also more sounds like they are confronting with you. Most of the work force is from Asian countries. Now I am wondering that if they put the same effort in their native, they can lead better life with their nears and dears. As long as you are just going to office and getting back to house, you could not witness other part of life in the same locality. For getting family status, that is to live with family, that individual must earn certain amount of money, unfortunately human resource suppliers for their own profit and to satisfy the interest of the client, carefully restrict the salary, so as not to exceed that slab.

lotus-leafYou can not see any love in the middle east countries, because after the age of eighteen male kids can not stay with their parents. For time being let us ignore those stringent laws, it is having its own gains and pit falls. Other factor is no sufficient college to accommodate foreign population. Getting citizenship is very difficult except few countries. In every house you can find either newly married people or family with school going kids. All together the life in middle east is something like water droplet on lotus leaf, water stays there, but that is not its place. You can not say, your life is going to be there only, but still you will be living over there. The bitter truth is even if they die, their bodies will not be buried over there, it would be dispatched to their country. More than this, how one can have such a extreme non commitment relationship.

At least I get a chance to see, lot of family men living alone over there. I noticed frustration in their eyes. Other than going for shopping, no other better recreation that too if he left with sufficient balance after money has been sent across to family, because as per their visa ( i.e Ikkama in arabic), they don’t have family status. After coming from work, they will change the dress, they will come to parapet wall in front of the building, stare at sky for some time. Sharply at 7’O clock, food will be served. After dinner they will watch television for sometime, then they will get back to the bed, next day mechanically same routine will start again. Don’t ask me then what you do?, because everyone used to do more or less same, but when you are with your family the same routine makes lot of difference.

When I was coming to Chennai by Kuwait airways, guy who is sitting next to me was very restless. I asked him, are you fine? he said “yes”, but actually he was not, then 2 hours before it reach airport, I could see tears in his eyes. When we slowly started talking with each other, he expressed that after 5 years he is going to see his wife, mother and father, that too he left his house within a week after he got married. My goodness!, it is the worst punishment that he had in his life. After reaching Chennai air port, I was waiting with him for around an hour till his family come to airport. When they met, they did not speak, simply they were holding their hands with each other and silently they were shedding tears. This scene deeply etched in my mind, I could not resist this question, is it a open jail? certainly for him it was like that only.

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