Tuesday, December 27, 2005

‘A’ Resident Certificate

I am sure most of us would have seen the movie ‘Men in Black’. For those who have
not , well it is a movie where planet earth is like a shelter for friendly aliens from
different parts of the galaxy. These aliens have a human body and lead ‘normal’ (I dunno if we can call our lifestyles normal) lives. These aliens have something like a passport and they also have clearly defined geographical boundary which they are not supposed to cross. You can say it is more like their visa which defines their area of free movement. Anyways I did not associate much importance to this or to the film until a few days back.

To stay in Taiwan on a long term one has to have a work permit and an ARC. Only with this would you be allowed to open a bank account, get post paid mobile connections and many other things. Now, I understood ‘work permit’ but dindn't bother to find what this ARC means. All that mattered to me was that once I have the damn thing, I can do many other damn things.

After one year of approval and sign off process I got my ARC and work permit last week. I had waited so long and I was really happy that I had finally got it. The happiness was to be short lived. I had to go to the corporate office to collect this. After discussing the formalities to be completed like signing in some thousand places, I left the office and on the way took a closer look at the card. In shining Bold Arial font it read ALIEN RESIDENT CERTIFICATE. It was really annoying and very depressing. Even though it means someone who owes allegiance to a different country, the first thing which comes to my mind is sci-fi aliens. Couldn’t they find any other word say like foreign business visitor, or Non Citizen ID, or simply Outsider. Why ALIEN. The photography which I have on this card seems to reinforce the sci-fi meaning. Believe me its not a very Pleasant experience to show ur ‘ALIEN’ card when asks for some proof. Agghhhh
Feel that someday one of these chinks, with an attitude, dressed from head to toe in black is going walk into my office and blow my head off.

Alien Moods

Monday, December 12, 2005

I Love Christmas

It was like eternity but it finally came…. This was one Saturday which I wanted to come ASAP…. Exactly 5 days back, which happens to be a bloody Monday, the temperature decided to take a dive.. From a pleasant 23-25 it took a nose dive to 13-17…. Now there are some really good things about this…U don’t need the AC anymore, no sweating, no need to iron clothes (Cuz there is always a full sweater covering your shirt) and this and that and so on and so forth….
But before all this pleasure comes the pain of getting up early in the morning …add to that the time it takes for the water to get warm in the shower…. The very thought of a shower gives me Goosebumps ….
But then finally Saturday came and I enjoyed my sleep till 1:00 PM…. Got up and made coffee and then played cricket from 3:00 to 6:00…. Once you are allowed to sleep well, winters are the best …it was very refreshing and I decided to do some shopping….
Rohit and I then went to the 101 shopping mall….ee ling ee (101 in chinese) being the tallest building in the world Houses all the big brands …..

Rohit and I had decided that this time around we would go for a branded winter wear … So we started with the normal ones like Benetton, Esprite and then moved ahead to GAP, Roots…as we moved from one shop to the next we found some amazing clothes…the design and quality were right up there….we then went into Tommy Hilfiger …Now this is a commonplace name in Chennai… you can find every third person with one of them….i can safely say that this is ‘THE’ brand name with the most number of duplicates ever sold….

Out of curiosity, I check the price of the original Tommy….they were mostly 5 digit numbers with the exception of a few , which happened to be in the higher four digit range….Without much choice and convinced that only crazy people would shell such money I moved forward….
The next showroom was Ralph Lauren…a very classy showroom…I pick up a light blue sweater and appreciate the cashmere wool…hhmmm…. soffttttttt…. My hands automatically reach for the price tag…I could only smile….2000 USD….
If I call people buying Tommy crazy, then what would I call people buying Ralph Lauren…’Lunatics’,’ Guna’ …...i go around the showroom and calculate how much it would cost to dress from head to toe in Ralph Lauren …it worked out to be more than my gross Annual salary…after 20 mins ,being the only person hanging out in the whole goddamn showroom, and unable to ignore the eyes of 3 sales people now; I move out, thinking when I would be rich enough to buy such stuff….
1 answer struck me immediately ……’not as long as am in TCS’..hehehhe
The day goes by well but without any purchase ….. I feel good and finish my Saturday off with a ‘Presidente Margarita’ from Chili’s….
Come Sunday and am out shopping again….not for myself this time, but for my friends who would be off to India in a weeks time…. We go to Shing Kong Mitsokoshi…Similar in size to 101 but a Japanese mall..
We reach the place and all we can see is miles of humanity. People everywhere…the goddamn place is on Christmas SALE….. we also join the crazy shoppers and make our way to the men’s section…..
The Tommy’s and Ralph Lauren’s were there smiling coldly at us….the same classy showrooms but with a small difference… they were on SALE too….so we move in ….60% off, 50%off….they were all over the place…something which looked like a distant dream looked very much affordable….i was scanning the place and in the center there was this light brown corduroy jerkin…….man did it look pretty good…..I take a look at the price tag….

10 minutes later I walk out of the stores with a Shing Kong Mitsukoshi bag housing my very own Ralph Lauren…felt good …in fact felt ecstatic….

I join the league of lunatics…I love Christmas…:)

“A victim of exceptional marketing or a person who appreciates the finer things in life “…definitely debatable…but now I would argue for the later…:)


Monday, December 05, 2005


Every Monday morning I get up with a hangover.....Not because of a Sunday night party or late night TV , but for the simple reason that it is the 1st of the 5 continuous working days ...The very thought makes me feel sick.....What is even more irritating is the fact that my roomies can sleep that extra hour cuz their office is very near......I get up cursing (offlate in Chinese) those lucky sonuvabitches....

Usually I am the last person to reach office....The fact that am the only Indian in the whole goddamn factory sortof announces my arrival to almost everyone who sees me....Initially I was a bit conscious that I was going late,but then I figured out that no one gives a damn about it......

My clients have generously given me a notebook, which would have made any relic hunter proud....I guess it is one of the first laptops to roll out of IBM....This museum piece of electronics takes 20 mins to boot...yeah thats right..20 mins.....I go for my breakfast after switching it on and it is all ready to work upon when I return......

I usually have about 50 mails to read every morning....these mails can be broadly classified as crappy mails,stinkers,fwd and FYI's.......The tempo for the day is set by the number of stinkers in the mailbox.....Usually monday is good...but as the week progresses usually the stinkers and "meet me" mails from the IT Director increase......when this happens its just a matter of time before you are gang, have to admit , these guys can fuck your brains out..... how much I feel offshore was better sometimes

The best thing about Chinese is that they do not mix work and personal relationship.....for example, inside a meeting the client might be the worst bitch you have ever seen, but once over and you are walking outside, he would speak to you in this very nice and polite way ,as if nothing happened....Initially it surprised me but then I figured that it was something which requires a very high level of professionalism....

By the time all this finishes its lunch time....I just love the lunch time in Taiwan.....People here take a short nap after lunch....The lights go down, the small pillows come out and almost all heads are on the table......Absolute silence.......So quiet that the sound from an unanticipated phart could cover 4 times the normal distance/people........I join them and sleep for 1/2 hr.....the best part of the day for me.........

I rise along with all the other chinks at about 1:00....sometimes I stretch it to 1:05 ...;)
1:00 to 3:00 is wat I call the "profound-thinking" phase...I try to recover from my 20 mins nap and make an effort to work..usually I dont succeed much and spend the 2 hrs like a zombie....Not awake and not asleep.....

At 3:00 Eric comes to my place and we got for cappuchino.....There is this small coffee shop near the factory just overlooking the highway....we have a good chat for 1/2 hr with a hot cup of coffee.......Watching the morning shift people leave and the young part time workers (cute chinki gals ) walking into the factory is a sight that Eric and I have never missed.....

The rest of the day just passesby and I return home by 8:00 in roomies reach by 9:00...our home then turns into a mini "Muniyandi Vilas"....Junta here have been nice to name it "Saravana Bhavan" is cooked for 6 ppl and everybody has his share of crap to share over dinner....

Muniyandi Vilas closes by 12:00 ...... I go to my bedroom and the 2 gays (my roomies,Sara and mayana) walk into their honeymoon suite and lock themselves until dawn....dont ask me wat they do.....


ps: Planning to reveal the 'gaymatter' in the future blogs ..;)