Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The perks of being unemployed

Fact (Dan Brown style) --> The 'perks' in the post title is a 'white lie' ;)

Long tale, but I promise, it is 'interesting' till last paragraph :)

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, to start even before I left my job on March 28. Wanting is so different than what we actually do and when we do it. So many times, I have had the uncanny feeling that things will happen only when they are ought to. Of course, we do have the power of choice. But, how do we arrive at a particular choice? Is it a conscious or sub-conscious decision? For example, when I did start this post, I didn't have any intention to be talking about 'choice'. Or perhaps, I did have that intention, only it was buried deep in sub-conscious mind :D

Let's leave the fuzzy philosophical thoughts aside and return back to one's wish ;) I wanted to leave the job about 2 years back, when  I lost interest in the field I was working on. The practical mind didn't let me. Or perhaps again, it was just how things were to be. My regret is that I still left some of my responsibilities unfinished and forgetting to thank appropriately. I am not good in things like that :(

'Lost interest' is so odd? I don't blame you, my own understanding of myself and my actions isn't great too. But then, it is a pattern I have had to live with. After 10th, I chose Physics group over Commerce purely because my eldest brother got better marks with that compared to my middle brother. My own 10th marks were reason too - History 87 and Geography 71 were disappointing compared to 90+ in Maths and science subjects (despite my 'fear' over science). I didn't choose Biology group as I hated the subject vehemently.

In 12th, I got some 'interest' in Electronics, but my aim was to become 'software engineer'. So, I chose 'ECE' over 'CS' - falling to popular argument that one can always join s/w company by studying electronics but not other way around, similar to Physics over Commerce group argument in 11th (also the fact that CS in PSG wasn't govt. aided). Before 2nd year was done, I 'hated' software (due to complete mental drain after 10 days of continuous coding to solve a 'digital logic problem' for department project competition). I then switched 'interest' to hardware course in process of working with my teacher.

Masanobu Fukuoka's quote on 'work'
Beautifully put by Masanobu what I felt once I lost interest in my field of work (Image copied from friend's facebook post)
My handwriting is another enigma. It is somewhat good one day and pathetic another day. Don't remember exactly when, I once tried to change to 'slanted' cursive writing and even did well for a time. Similarly, my biology drawing in school varied too - once, in 10th, I did such a bad one that my class teacher assigned a biology teacher to oversee that I improved (which was after school hours!!) I confounded myself and the teacher by doing a very good job of some diagram - but then, I took about an hour, one doesn't have that luxury in exam hall.


My father often chastens me that I am not practical and all theoretical. I got a very good taste of just how bad am in real world.

Saturday, March 29: 
In all eagerness of trying to take care of little things, I set out in Metro from Indiranagar. Getting down at Trinity (noticed price rise of metro ride too), I walked the few meters to Axis Bank. I was 'prepared', having photocopy of 'Rental Agreement' which I thought will be enough as proof for change in communication address.

I walked in and had no idea where the help desk was. Standing in the way and going nowhere must have been enough for help desk (by the right side of entrance) to call me, thankfully! I explained my requirement - pat came the reply that 'Rental Agreement' was simply not acceptable. Gas, BSNL landline, DL, voter-id, Aadhar, any other bank statement - none of them I had! I only had Airtel broadband bill and after some checking whether it is acceptable, I was given go ahead. Phew! By now, I was sitting and being given personal attention. All said and done, I was asked to fill a form, get a photocopy of broadband bill, identity proof and a passport size photo. And I clearly remember, I was asked to come on April 2. (My father would have probably found out required docs and gone and finished the process in one shot)

Feeling a bit disappointed, but grateful for any excuse to keep withdrawal effects (from office work) at bay, I then went on foot to Blossoms book house (famous for second hand books) and got more books to read (not withstanding the few still to be read).

Tuesday, April 1:
I cross checked all I had filled in the form, hoping to avoid mistakes and having to fill the form again at the bank. On an impulse, I called up ACT broadband to check if availability in my area has come up (few weeks back they had come back saying it wasn't). But the call wasn't picked. I improvised a bit, I carried a file to keep papers, rental agreement as a backup. Had juice and then got 'two' copies of PAN card (My father always advises to get extra copies than required).

Then, I walked to Airtel customer center, close to Old Madras road (about 10 min walk). (You see, I have a bicycle, but not trusting to park at Axis Bank and to avoid U-turn on MG road, I was playing safe). Again not knowing who to ask, I eventually asked someone that I have some queries about my broadband. I was informed that I will have to go to Airtel office on 100 feet road - this one won't help me. Trying to confirm, I asked if he was referring to Airtel office close to Domlur (knew it when my office was in Diamond District). He didn't exactly confirm that but I walked to KFC and took a bus to Doopanahalli. Walked back a bit trying to locate - saw Vodafone but no Airtel! A security guard of clothing shop informed me that Airtel office has now moved closer to KFC! Cursing myself for not looking up Google before leaving house and not owning a smart phone, I took a bus back to KFC 'and' walked back to finally reach the right Airtel office. (About 40 minutes of unnecessary walk and bus rides)

This one had a designated reception desk in plain view. After getting my point across, the fellow asked me to get a ticket request from touch machine by the entrance. Well, what do you know, I had to enter my Airtel landline number to get a request (the words to that effect was ambiguous, I wasn't sure if I was being asked landline number or account number - something like 'relationship' number). I thankfully had noted down both in note pad, but neither of them worked (the touch screen difficult to operate too). On verge of losing patience, I called receptionist to help me (thankfully keeping my voice low). He entered my landline number, without the '0' in Bangalore's STD code '080'. You tell me, how could I know?

Anyway, I took the ticket and was attended to promptly. I first asked a copy of my previous month's bill, explaining that it was needed for address proof. (All this was extra cautious steps if at all Axis asked me to validate). Next, I asked him to change my plan (I was unnecessarily paying for landline services I never used except for paying when Airtel service engineers placed a call - the irony of it! :( ) He replied that I could do that only by calling customer care or mailing to an id he wrote for me. I then asked the third reason I came for - procedure for termination, citing that I might leave the city given that I left my job.

Then, I walked back to metro station. After baggage x-ray, I got a call back from ACT. Train was arriving, so asking him to hold, I hurried up to catch. The air conditioning cooling my excited state, I was surprised and relieved to hear that ACT was ready to provide me connection. I gave my address and repeated to make sure it was noted correctly. When I reached the bank, it was closed - informed that it was holiday on account of April 1 (must be financial reason than fool's day I presume). I don't need anyone to play prank on me, am a big fool myself :D. I convinced myself that perhaps I was told 'Tuesday' not April 2, why would it be holiday, etc. If not for ACT good news, dunno how bad I would have felt after series of mood spoiling events.

After getting back to room, the ACT representative came. Here too, I had to give address proof, identity proof (happy that 'extra' copy was useful - remember, when I got copy, I didn't know ACT was coming) and passport size photo, along with signing the form where he filled the details. Rental agreement was acceptable, but I wanted to save a copy for myself. Airtel bill too (irony of it again :P), but I had only one copy. Soft copy of bill was acceptable :) Primary reason to change service was that I was getting better deal for Rs 600+ less! It is another matter to see how the service will be, my friends are okay with service so far.

Wednesday, April 2:
Hoping that I won't be sent back for lack of correct documents (or worse, if I forgot some other document required), I took the metro third time. Not before taking extra copy of both Airtel bill and PAN card (again following father's guideline, also I had HDFC card address change to take care too). I walked in confidently and straight to lady who had instructed me last time. Apparently, she was only helping me out, I had to meet someone else to submit the docs.

I fumbled a bit while taking a seat. I handed over filled form and proofs. I repeated that I had left job, etc. Well, can you expect in advance? I have to fill 'two' forms - one for address change and one for change of account from 'salary' to 'savings'. The other lady could have told me on Saturday itself :-/ And for that, I had to provide TWO copies of address proof. I produced it (thanking my father again). Rest of procedures went smooth and I was actually pleased that I got it done, despite the comedies.

Buoyed by success, I then called up HDFC customer care to politely ask procedure for address change. The representative, equally politely, gave every little step to follow - I just had to download a form, take a printout, write my new address and put in dropbox at any HDFC ATM! No address proof required. (FYI, I had looked up in Axis online account to see if I could change address online. But didn't do the same for HDFC credit card :-/ )


Not exactly a street wise guy I am, you can infer. Which I know it too. Which, my father surmised so long ago. To summarize the post, I am as confused as anyone else what I am gonna do next. I certainly haven't figured it out yet. As can be expected, the void resulted in withdrawing effects. I should have seen it coming but didn't prepare for it. Fortunately for me, my friends had the right words of encouragement and solidify the confidence in myself.

I am enjoying the absence of work such an extent that I keep pushing away the process of trying to earn. I'll leave that to random probability of universe :P And entropy and atoms and Higgs boson :D Instead, for now, I enjoy the slow process of peeling an orange (used to make juice earlier), plucking coriander/palak leaves from strands for chutney, getting used to Ubuntu (detailed post coming later), sorting out old clothes and donating to my maid and isthiri wala, alarm free sleep, the extra time in mornings to go for a run/cycling, wandering in neighborhood to note eateries and other shops, blogging more than usual, learning a thing or two about social life and so on.

Have a nice day and listen to your heart once in a while at least :)


Shiva said...

Dude, just straight from your heart, brilliant!!

sundeep agarwal said...

Thanks a lot Shiva :)

Arya B said...

Good writing Sundeep.. I can probably empathise with the withdrawal symptoms to a small extent, having left job myself mid-March to relocate to husband's place.. (though I was equally bored of the place too). I believe taking time off from any routine activity (interesting or otherwise) is a good thing to get your priorities into perspective. Afterall, we all live one life :) Good luck for the future ! Earn you may not, but never cease to learn !

sundeep agarwal said...

Thanks a ton Arya, felt very good reading the comment :)
Good luck to you too :)

Other Works

Square Tic Tac Toe
Get it on Google Play

Beginner's guide to Command line and Scripting