Sunday, March 20, 2011

Remote. Untouched:

I believe the trees spoke to me. I believe there were fairies.

We were traversing the pot-holed roads in the Maikal hills of western Chhattisgarh on our way to see the open cast bauxite mines of Balco (Vedanta). For years, neither the government nor the company had made any efforts to repair the road. Maybe intentionally. It was a road which only a truck could traverse. Other cars and vehicles would land with punctured tyres. As did ours.

We were in a remote forested region in the hills, full of trees and water bodies. It had rained the previous night turning the day cold and wet. I decided to go walk around a bit while my colleagues spoke to a group of young men from the Baiga tribe sitting around a small fire. Each tree here like that in rest of Chhattisgarh had a distinct character and seemed full of life. When I was considerably away from everybody and surrounded by trees, I whispered a soft hi to them. Somewhere the leaves rustled. I whispered how are you. The leaves rustled from the other side. I carried on the conversation stunned, trying to figure out whether it was my imagination or something was really happening. Then as I got ready to go back and said my goodbye to the trees, a strange thing happened. A wind started to blow and all the trees swayed along with it.

It must have been my imagination but there’s no questioning the strong raw vibes in those areas. Everything had a life there, the trees, rocks, rivers. It seemed like a place untouched by humans, as it must have existed hundreds of years ago. Even the tribal communities lived a life they had known for generations. Though slowly many of them have started getting to know and understand money and value of land, there are many who still use barter system to get what they need. On one hand they are innocent and unaware of the harshness of life that they are slowly getting pushed into. On the other hand, they can be aggressive when they feel that you are an outsider or feel threatened. What I admire about them is there intrinsically linked lives to nature and what I feel desperate about is how fast they are getting urbanized. Their land is fast falling into the hands of corrupt mining and infrastructure companies who are stripping it clean of nature and age old traditions of communities.

Chhattisgarh is a pure state, very rural and heartbreakingly pretty. People are simple and unassuming. Nature speaks here…if only anybody cares enough to listen.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A short conversation:

While working in office, the phone rang and I happened to pick up the call.

Boy: Is this so and so company? Can I speak to a program person?

Me: What is it regarding?

Boy: I want to come for an interview.

I explained him our long process for interviews

Boy: But I am a MBA in Marketing, can’t I speak to a program person and check if there is any requirement?

Me: If you are an MBA, what will you do in program? That requires MSW.

Boy: Oh. Actually I am interested in something like Marketing Strategy and Communication. Do you have a department like that?

Me: Yes, but what’s your experience?

Boy: You know, I am a MBA in Marketing. I was thinking of a post in senior management.

Me: Excuse me!! You want a senior level post?!

Boy: I mean, something like a Manager, a middle management role. You see, I am a MBA in Marketing

Me: (getting ready to destroy his apparent misconceptions) Now-a-days everybody is a MBA. It’s good to have ambitions. But before you start applying, at least first understand the sector. If you want to rise so fast without any experience, then you should go for the corporate sector. In this sector, the hierarchies are less and people stay in a position for years. For example, the manager in our organization has 20 years of work experience.

Boy: (Aghast and a bit meek) Oh. Actually I wanted to do something in environment.

Me: (Going for the kill ie create confusion) What exactly do you want to do in environment? Is it conservation or wildlife or natural resource management? First decide what you want to do and then apply.

Boy: What do you think I should do? What course should I take up?

I laughed an evil laughter in my head and told him to first decide and then go check the net.