Tuesday, 17 June 2008

First days at Training

Okay....

So I am in land of the Goths..

Once ruled by seriously unusual guys who thought long hair in pigtails was cool, and who made really tough rulers..
One thing about the Germans that will grab you at first sight is...Their Discipline...

So I am about to be trained by them, and i reckon, i should be on time right??

So for a 8 am arrival at office, i wake up at 6-15 or so.

And on the way i get to know, that you can come to the office anytime between 7:15 and 8:30 am.

So much for my attempt at ON-THE-DOT-PUNCTUALITY.. I really thought i would be there at 8 sharp when the cuckoo clock at the main entrance went DING DONG...
Firstly, there was no such thing as 8 Sharp....secondly, they dint have a cuckoo clock either..

Double Dhoka !!!

Well, i walk into the office, just a bit hesistant before opening the door to the Admin section..
And inside, half the workstations are empty...

Phir Dhoka !!!....

And I walk in and its just 2 ladies whom i know among the lot.. Ladies whom i had spoken to before on phone from Dubai...Friendly ladies though...
One was named Raveena and the other was named Shabana.. (names changed to hide the identity of the nice ladies)
Shabana is like this newly married lady...looks like a rock-star with a piercing through her eyebrow..

Raveena is this sweety lady in her mid 30s.. With a smile on her face whenever she sees you..Awww..

After the usual Hi, hello....i reached a blank in the conversation....Ever had the feeling there is an uneasy silence between u and the people in front of you..and you are expecting to say something..
It doesnt help if the person in front of you is giving you a sugary smile...Oh man...!!! And your brain is saying...SAY SOMETHING...and all you can come up with is...."SO, HOW ARE U???"
And then u realise thats the 3rd time you asked her that.

CRAPPPP !!!!....and you wish that a train crashes through the wall and takes you away on its windshield..

And she smiles and replies for the 3rd time....I AM GOOD...HOW ARE YOU....?? And you reply the third time too....OH YES I AM GOOD.....

ON SECOND THOUGHT....MAKE IT A SUPER FAST TRAIN..!!!


And then, i am standing there, hoping that someone asks me to sit, and they look at me and smile....
I think now i realise what an Elephant feels like in the Zoo...under the gleeful faces of the visiting audience....
Nevertheless, thanks to god i get a workstation to myself, which actually belongs to a girl who is at school today...(She works and studies alternate days....Germans start early - WOW)

So well, I started work, had a bit of catching up on my mails...(45 Unread ones--- Man the business world is so jobless)
And Shabana walks up to me and says..>Want me to help you with ABCD...(tats a software which we use for customer references....named changed to protect the software's identity)
And i say...thanks Shabbu but I got a bit of work, i'll clear it and then i'll listen to you blab about this software (of course not exactly the way i said it...but close)....
And shabbu smiled and waved her blond hair and left....

First thought that came to my mind was....SHE LOOKS SOOO DAMN DIFF FROM HER PIC...(yeah she had sent her wedding pic to the whole company...) But then i figured...All girls look prettiest on their wedding days....thats why they're glowing in white...
And all guys.....Well .... Black has always been the colour of mourning....;)

And then as I am going through the usual work, A Man walks in....blond, 6 feet, and in formal shirt, trousers, and Puma sports shoes....

wait a minute....Whats with the shoes??? Well, i guess he has to "run" from one meeting to another....
Lets call him Metallica....coz he looks like James Hetfield From Metallica...And he was really a nice guy....I could tell by the fact that he was immediately casual and asked me to shoot all questions and he would help me learn everything I had to over my training...I was really tempted to ask about the Puma shoes....but then....I didnt want one of the shoes in my face...so left it..

The rest of the day passed nervously....because i was seeing all new faces....and something about these guys and ladies....they're too polite....every one walking by me in the hallway would smile and say...HEY !!... HI !!....HELLOO !!!....i mean...wow...

coming from a place like Dubai where you see an eccentric arab or an indian or pakistani or bangladeshi on the road and your lucky if you get away with silence...coz he's had a rough day,and unfortunately he will hold you responsible for it and u will have a finger shown to you
or some mother tongue curses thrown with smiles at you....

This place was Wayyyy toooo different....

Later something my didi told me made me wonder...There is a reason why these guys are successful.. In most of the spheres of success.... Its their attitudes towards the people around them...

I guess Success stays best with the person who doesnt behave like he's got it....

Kewl !!!

And then i met many others....Raghu The Special design guy, Tabrez and Chandar the construction design guys and a few ladies....It was really nice...

My laptop was then taken for a CT Scan...coz i wanted to connect to the resident network..
So Raveena takes me to the IT Department...

Surprisingly, i was kinda anxious to meet these guys...I dunno why...but i felt, man, an IT department without an Indian must be one hell of a sight...And guess what....the location of these guys was AMAZING...

They were given a state of the art place...clean and big....................... In the Basement !!!!!!

OMG it took me a lot to hide the smirk on my face....Okay so they are geeks (techno term for brains behind the whole virtual office), but they were kinda thrown into the abyss.... Next to the cafeteria...which for some strange reason, smelt like Masala Poppadums to me...

They took my laptop and said....Okkkk, weeee vill scan it for infection....I was like...Uh Oh !!...I hope they do not open my pictures directory....no no...no such thing to hide...but i m not entirely comfortable with showing the germans the pics of Robert sleeping in his volleyball shorts, and Raju cutting onions...(names as usual changed to protect the identity of my roommates)

So i handed my laptop to a guy...who looked like those German Secret Service guys you see in cheesy american movies....all he lacked was a tight black suit and a Black Audi....I almost expected him to say...."Pleaz show me yore Eye Dee Carz (I.D. Card) "
But he didnt know english...And the head of the department comes to join us....Dharam...(he looked so much like the Jat Superstar).... After the usual pleasantries, he told me....we will just check your laptop for virusess, we dont want our system infected...(duhh...i wasnt specially keen on having the entire organisation fall because of a silly trojan from the Mp3 Downloading site) So i said...yeahh...please do...

Thankfully i later found out that Dharam and Secret Service dude found my system clean...not to mention they have put in a chip which helps me to access official programs...(Hmmmm !!)

Nice guys though.... Finally an IT department in the world, which has No Indians....(Countrymen...we have to move up the bar guys...commmonnn)
But nevertheless...>ISOLATED<

LOLLL

And well...there were the usual people i met who i am sure are there in all offices...

There was TINA...the mentally day dreaming, all beauty-no duty kinda secretary/employee who smiles at you and also at the potted plant next to you with equal kindness

There was the impatient Pandey....who had important meetings and had to leave....

Not to mention....The usual run of the mill Skeptic Vamp (evil Lady...or so i thought)
Lets call her Sundari....And she looked at me as if i have just been released from the Jungle....

MAN WHERE THE HELL IS THAT TRAIN.....!!!

Lunch was Salads..... :((

YOU SMILED AGAIN DINT YOU....!!! Sadistic Creature....

And after lunch, Metallica introduced me To Mr. Bean....our new collegue...who, like Mr. Bean, smiled often, said little, and was very prim and proper...(a real opposite to my Adidas jacket and Westcoast gold shoes)

Metallica took us around the whole factory...t'was great...

But thats all another story....

The following day was also smooth, with me learning the ropes slowly, and using them....


Tomorrow will be 1 week since i tasted Meat....!!!!

Give me Strenght ya Allah...!!

Friday, 13 June 2008

Destination Deutcheland..(Stepping into Europe)


I read a quote at the training today.

“One does not discover new lands, without the acceptance of the fact that he will have to leave sight and memories of the familiar old shores behind him and spend ages at the uncertain route of the sea !!”

Whoever wrote it was clearly aware of what he was talking about.

Its 10 pm in the night, there is still hint of twilight at the horizon. Lazy European sun !!

Let me begin at the start of it all. The journey !

I started alone from home, all my friends busy away at their job, in the peak summer afternoon of 11 June 08. (A tad too prosaic huh? Sorry) in lame terms, I was sweating my t-shirt to saturation when I left home. (Howzat) And all the airport formalities were like..BLAAH.

What did catch my attention was the whole Terrorism prevention steps the airlines are taking these days. After checking in, I walked through to the passport control, and a female a red tee (which read MAY I HELP YOU !!) asked me if I had any liquids in my hand carry. I was like…ummmm, maybe, I guess I will check, she said I must.. And there I found out I was carrying a potential terrorism weapon. My Can of Gillette Shaving Cream. Forgive me for my ignorance, but I actually acted surprised to her that my facial hair removing cream could be used to put the entire world through another terrorist activity. I reluctantly left it there. (For those of you who love to point out that I could have packed it in my check in baggage, well the trolley was check in, just 4 kilos too heavy, so had to tag it along.)

The better part was when she saw my toothpaste tube. (Yes I was carrying one for fear of not finding my brand here). And she goes…Awww..This is also not allowed. I cocked an eyebrow and she explained, “Well, permissible limit is 100 ml, yours is 125 ml. so not allowed, but you could try, they might let you”.
Few instances in life where I was left with no words, this was one of them. I mean..the security personnel think that 25 ml of fluoride toothpaste (promising white teeth in 30 days) would actually be a Weapon. I mean, which terrorist came up with that idea. I mean, which self respecting terrorist would pull out a toothpaste tube n say, “I AM HIJACKING THIS PLANE. IF YOU DO NOT CO OPERATE… (for dramatic affect he shows the toothpaste tube)..” What is he planning, to brush the pilot to death if he didn’t take the plane to do his bidding?????

I mean.. WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO?? I mean, I cannot carry 25 ml extra toothpaste because some fanatic thinks that he can blow up innocent people and get rewarded for that? Allahu Akbar, talk about delusion.

Nevertheless, the actual weapon was more cleanly concealed in my small shaving pouch. When I walked out of the security check, the officer tells me, SIR WE NEED TO CHECK YOUR LUGGAGE. I for a fact know that my teeth are in deep trouble now if the Germans don’t stock my brand of toothpaste. And the woman who checks my luggage says, “Sir Please remove the scissors which you are carrying”

My brain does an immediate recap of the packing I did earlier. Hell yes I was carrying a pair of scissors. The total length of which is slightly greater than my forefinger. She takes it and calmly puts it away and says, THANK YOU THAT WILL BE ALL.

Mixed emotions again.

MY 25 ml EXTRA TOOTHPASTE HAS BEEN CLEARED. BUT THEY TOOK AWAY MY NOSE HAIR CLIPPING SCISSORS.

Again my imagination runs wild, HOW DOES A TERRORIST HIJACK A PLANE WITH NOSE HAIR CLIPPERS. Man are they desperate or what?


“MUHAHA THIS PLANE HAS BEEN HIJACKED. EVERYONE REMAIN IN YOUR PLACES. WE’RE GOING ON A LEETLE TRIP. HEY PILOT, TURN AROUND THIS PLANE..WE’RE GOING TO MADAGASCAR.. IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY, I WILL SURELY……(this is where my mind goes blank)

“…..SURELY PUT THIS SCISSORS IN UR NOSE AND PULL OUT UR NOSE HAIR ONE BYE ONE??? ”

“…..CUT YOUR THROAT (expecting you to sit silently and see me try to use a 1 inch long blade to slaughter you) ”

“….GET CREATIVE?? ”

I mean….WHAT THE HELL IS THE MATTER WITH YOU GUYS….

You fall below the dignity of the so called jihad you are running. What will you tell the Rasul Allah? “Ya Rasul Allah, I hijacked a plane full of kafirs with a nose hair clipper”?

Go read your books for the sake of Allah. GROW UP !!

Because of your terrorist fears, now I have to spend atleast half a Euro on a pair of brand new nose hair clippers.

Ironically your jihad caused me…A MUSLIM…to go through trouble.

I hate being able to pick out the irony of situations..

Nevertheless, lets move on.

My joy knew no bounds to find out that I HAD GOT THE WINDOW SEAT….

Hey don’t blame me for being a lover of scenery.

And my joy was crushed when I saw that the best in-flight movie was HORTON HEARS A WHO!! An animated story of an elephant who ….. (its pathetic to even mention the plot so forget it). But I loved one line in that movie. The elephant thinks he has a mission which he must accomplish A.S.A.P. ….. which according to him is,

ACT SWIFTLY AWESOME PACHYDERM (not verbatim)

Lol…imagine my boss telling me…FARAZ I WANT THIS QUOTATION OUT. A.S.A.P. I mean, WOW !! would he be right or what.

For those of you who didn’t get the pathetic joke up there, a pachyderm is a synonym for Elephant.

For those of you who still dint follow, a synonym is a word which can be used in place of another similar word. (Football = Soccer)

HAHAHA…I still retain my PJ talent.

Well, to make matters more beautiful, the lady behind me was an Arab lady travelling with 2 kids to Germany. Lets call her SPECIMAN LOUDSPEAKER. Because, she felt she was royalty I think. She didn’t let me incline my economy class seat, coz I would be practically sleeping in her lap. But she could very well tap with all her strength at her personal entertainment screen, which strategically was placed in my seat’s headrest. So every time she hated the program on screen, my spinal cord got the message.

Not to mention, the flight was delayed, Munich it seems was in a mood to have a thunderstorm in protest of my arrival, so the plane was sent to Nurnberg. Whoop de do. And the pilot forgot to mention that in Arabic. A mistake for which I and my surrounding passengers paid the price.

Once we landed in Nurnberg, our specimen loudspeaker lost her marbles, or so it seemed. Coz she expected Munich, and this certainly did not seem like Munich, (unless the Munich-ians had opted for a more agricultural lifestyle). She asked a German lady WHAT WAS HAPPENING.

And the German lady knew that this lady wouldn’t understand German, so she might as well tell her in English.. “WEEE ARE IN NURNBERG BECAUSE…STORM…RAIN…WIND IN MUNICH

Big mistake.. The Arab lady was insulted. Thus began her Shakespearean recital of the injustice of everyone speaking English. I mean…hahaha…she actually expected the German female to speak Arabic. LOL.. She went on a shouting spree asking for cabin crew with Arabic knowledge. And when he came, more recitals. I am pathetic in Arabic, but I did manage to hear what I think meant

“ I AM ASKING THESE PEOPLE WHAT HAPPENED AND ALL ARE GOING BLOLOLOLOLOLO IN ENGLISH………………..”

Speechless twice in 1 day. Brilliant start. She was a big hit with the Germans I tell you. They loved her. And she enjoyed the stardom. (or so it seemed)

All this while, I was turning page after page of Andy Mcdermot’s ATLATIS.

But let me tell you this. The first sight of Europe fascinated me. Fascinated is a small word actually. You could say, Speechless Hat-trick.

The sight , most simply described, would be that the Europeans atleast managed to keep Allah’s beautiful gift to human beings intact.

Coming from a land where it was sand and mud from horizon to horizon, not to mention the neo-concrete jungles. This place was a sight for sore eyes.

It was like someone had taken the paint bucket from MS PAINT and splashed the desert landscape with green. I mean….THESE PEOPLE HERE HAVE FORESTS.. You know…BIG HUGE PATCHES OF TALL GREEN TREES… The last time I saw them was in ooty, but even there, the trees weren’t as pristine, each of them carrying a LAXMI LOVES SUBRAMANIYAM love ode.

Nor had I seen such buildings except in the preserved buildings of Mysore and Bangalore, whose corners are painted red by eccentric pan-chewers and the walls again a tribute to SALEEM + ANARKALI love stories.

Prosaically speaking

“As the plane came descended towards the carpet of clouds, and slowly cut through it with its wing, from below came into view a land, where it was green all the way to the horizon. Patches of farmland was evident from the houses and barns which were like a shot out of the late 18th century landscape paintings. Among these farmlands were huge areas covered with trees whose imposing height was evident even from the air.

As we landed, I could see more clearly the sloping roofs of the houses in Nurnberg. Straight out of the paintings we did in 2nd grade. I felt like I had just walked into a screenshot of ROBIN HOOD- PRINCE OF THEIVES.

European landscape was all it promised to be in the Yash-Raj movies…and more.

The sunset was simply stunning. I mean, the unpolluted air showed me how orange the sun really gets just before it disappears for the night. A sight which I previously admired at the Goa beach.”

SUBHANALLAHIL AZEEM. I can only but marvel at the qudrath Allah Subhanawataala has created for us.

The European landscape isn’t very different from the bits and pieces of rural south India that I have seen. No. Infact, the streets, the houses and the plains remind me very much of Bangalore and its old areas like Richmond Town and Jayanagar. It’s practically the same. The difference comes in the fact that Bangalore has moved on to a concrete jungle, but the towns of Europe are reluctant to do so. They leave the huge cities to do that. While they sit in the peaceful satisfaction that its possible to live in century 21 with all our amenities and still look like a lost paradise.

I pray that India still manages such places, ooty, kodaikanal, the backwaters of Kerala and hill stations of north India will match what I have seen of Europe. Only matter to hope for is….Preservation of Allah’s art”

If you read all that, you are either mad, or jobless, or both.

Hahaha

To cut a long story short, we waited for almost 2 hours or so at the Nurnberg airport before flying back to Munich. The late summer sun had left a slight twilight which was strange for my Asian eyes which were used to total darkness at 10pm.

My poor colleague, May Allah bless him, waited out for me at the Munich airport. The drive from there to Frustenfeldbruck was pretty smooth.
For a person coming from Dubai, empty roads like that are nothing less than miracles.

The hotel room is lovely mashallah.

And the morning happened earlier than I presumed.

I spent the day at a nearby village called Landsbried. The local clubhouse serving as the training centre for the EMEA Teams. And by village, I should probably say that its like looking at visual of something out of a FAMOUS FIVE story. Green grassy plains ending is far away forests which could serve as a great exploration pastime in summer holidays.

My hotels is on the banks of a river. The view outside is of clear water reflecting the greenery lining its banks.

Right now, its 11 pm. There is a thunderstorm outside.

Thank you for reading.

By the way. Its been 24 hours since I tasted meat.

NOW WIPE THAT SMILE OFF YOUR FACE…!!!