Friday, August 29, 2008

What's in a name - II

As if this was not enough, someone called me 'Masrood' today!!!!

Money, Moolah, Bucks, Dough or Cash

I just realized something today. And it got me worried.

For the last 5-6 months, all I do all month is wait for 25th of that month. Why? That's my pay-day. Doesn't matter what day of the month it is. I just wait for 25th. Period.

And while on my way to work this morning, I was doing just that. Glanced at my watch to see what date it is today, quick calculation and, all of a sudden, it struck me: Is this what I do all month? Wait for the 25th? Yes, subconsciously &, even consciously, that's what I do. Why do I do that? What am I gaining? But what really got my concerned was: What am I possibly loosing out on?

I have no recollection of how time flew these last 6 months. I was so preoccupied waiting for something in the future to happen that I completely ignored what really was happening. I was secretly wishing for time to go by quickly. This never happened to me while working in Bangalore. I only waited for my pay-day if, and only if, there was a big commission expected. Like once in 3 or 6 months. Not every month. This is disturbing.

Money does make our heart smaller and life less meaningful. Unless we do something about it. This has to change. I have to change.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to work

Time out is over and I am back to work on a typical Monday morning. Tired, sleepy and bored. Boo.

Weekend was fun. Doha is not too different from Dubai. Traffic, erratic driving, luxury cars, corniche, food joints, malls, humidity & buildings to sum it all up. We spent most of our time indoors during the day waiting for the evenings before stepping out. Out here in any Gulf city, be it Dubai or Doha or Manama, stepping outdoors is either going to one of the umpteen malls or to the movies or to the beach or eat out or spend time in the car commuting between places. We visited the malls and ate out. Too hot for the beach. Not interested in wasting 3 hours inside a movie hall. Commute was OK. We almost ended up slamming our car into a SUV. We did hit but only just. No apparent damage to either cars, except a few scratches, so no one really bothered to call the cops. All's well that ends well. Overall, it was a good, fun weekend.

Now that I am back to work, this week is important for me. I am expecting 3 big orders to book this week. If all goes well, and I so wish it does, I will be at 200% of my numbers. This would be my first real good quarter since in joined Oracle Dubai. Gone are the days when my achievement was never in the hundreds. It was always in thousands. Don't believe me? OK, here are a few numbers:

Dec 06 - Feb 07: Achieved 2712% of my target
Mar - May 07: 1387%
Jun - Aug 07: 1801%

Big numbers right? Even bigger commission cheques I assure you. These were the numbers I wooed my interviewers with before starting with this job. Now wait till I mention my numbers since I moved here:

Sept - Nov 07: 25.1%
Dec - Feb 08: 32%
Mar - May 08: 42.3%

Pathetic I know. That's why this week is important for me. This is my chance at redemption.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Time out

Tomorrow evening, I am off to Qatar for a much deserved break. Unfortunately this is not a full blown vacation per se but I would consider it as a welcome change from the scheme of things. My wife's sister lives in Doha, Qatar. We've been thinking of visiting them for some time now. With Ramadan starting next month, looks unlikely that we could have traveled before October. So here we are then.

Looking forward to an enjoyable long weekend (I am taking Friday off). We are back on Sunday night. Cheers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

'Snooze' it

Just wondering....

How many people 'snooze' their alarms each morning to get those few extra-precious minutes of sleep?

I snooze my alarm three times. I get 9 extra minutes or 540 seconds. Doesn't look much, isn't it? Try explaining that to me at 6.45 am!

Are we addicted to snoozing? I know I am. It is my most trusted companion. Regardless of anything, I know my alarm will ring again in 3 minutes. Period. Unless, in my slumber, I accidentally pressed 'stop'. Not good. Rush. Excuses. Dog ate my homework?!!

So why can't we just wake up at the first alarm? No more snooze. Me gonna give it a shot.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's in a name?

Quite a bit, I think. But my problem is not with my name. Frankly, I just love it. True.

Plenty of reasons why:

1. I like the meaning. Masood means lucky, fortunate, happy. And I am.
2. I like the significance. My grandfather's name was Masood. I was born right after he expired. And he was a great man. (May his soul rest in peace). Also, Masood was one of our holy Prophet's (PBUH) companion's name.
3. I like the uniqueness. In 27 years, I know of just 1 more guy named Masood. Ofcourse, come across the name on TV or the internet a bit.
4. I like the simplicity. Simple. Six alphabets. Not too big. Not too small. Easy to pronounce I thought. But not the case.

And that is what I don't like. People not pronouncing my name properly. On last count, there are about 6-7 different ways:

1. Ma-su-d (The right way. My way)
2. Mas-ou-d (The Arabic way. Probably the technically correct pronunciation)
3. Ma-sue-de (The American way)
4. Ma-suuuud (The people-with-a-lot-of-time-to-call-out-a-name way)
5. Mah-su-d (The African way)
6. Ma-soor (Yes!!! With the 'r')
7. Mohammad or Mansoor (People have. Very nice names but hello...not my name!)

And why do I write about this? Someone called me 'Masoor' today, again.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Aimlessly going through some old emails, I suddenly noticed a year old email lying in my sent items. One look at it and tons of fantastic memories came rushing back to me of my days in Oracle Bangalore. This is what that email contained:

"With eleven new hires we started, towards millions we darted,
Nobody else would have dared it, coz nobody else would have nerved it,
With just quarters three and four, eleven million in revenue galore,
Brightest among all superstars, step aside for BI-ZARS!"

I wrote this citation last year when my team was nominated for the 'Superstar Team of the Year' award. In two quarters that we were operational, we closed more business than 15 other teams that had worked all year long. Our team spirit was uncrushable, team work nonpareil. We called ourselves Team BI-ZAR (Logic behind the name - Business Intelligence cZARs (Our product line was Business Intelligence) and by BIZAR we really meant 'bizarre'). Truly a superstar team.

Here's a snap of the team during one of our 'bizar' moments

Oh, and did I tell you we won the award?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

UAE driver license & Emirates driving institute - Lethal combo

Yesterday was 4th August. Duh. So? It was the day of my highly-anticipated, much-talked-about driving test. It was yet another attempt to own the priziest of all prizes - a driving license in Dubai! And what an experience I had!

My test time was scheduled for 10am. I got there 20 min before time. Stood patiently in the queue to register myself. Within a few minutes, my driving permit was submitted. Now, all I needed to do was wait for them to call out my name. And, wait I did. Hundreds of names were called out, driving permits returned, tests given, licenses issued or declined but there was no sign of a certain name I was waiting to hear.

12.05 pm
I decided that's it. What the fuck is happening? Why is my name not being announced? I walk up to the registration counter and find my driving permit stacked with several others. I think to myself, "OK, they delayed the registration I guess. But atleast it's done. They'll call out my name anytime now".

So, waiting game - the next level. In the meanwhile, I try to socialize....with the cashier! He looked Indian that's why. I walk up to the guy and smile. It usually works wonders. After a harmless discussion about the weather and traffic, I casually pop out what was really on my mind, "Tell me something...when the registration takes so long, what's the reason behind it?". Quickly, he replied, "Maybe your appointment was not confirmed!". Huh? "But my date and time was given by you guys". I think the cashier sensed what was I getting onto. "But if you got your permit back, then it is confirmed". He even smiled. Reassurance.

1.55 pm
Still no sign. I noticed a few guys who had been waiting all morning. I walk up to another Indian dude in a suit (It even rhymes! This is crazy). His test was scheduled for 8.30am. We smile at each other, secretly refueling our tanks of patience and determination.

2.30 pm
OK. This has ridiculous. I've been waiting for close to 5 hours now. A more determined walk to the registration counter, tough stares and a few hard questions later, this is what that Arab guy tells me, "If no my signature on your permit, then no appointment today". I didn't like the sound of that. Signature? I knew what he was talking about. I had noticed that while standing in the queue earlier. My permit had no signature. I ask him why. He says I was not on time. I explain I was on time and have been here for 5 hours now. He replies, "Sorry, go take another appointment". And immediately looks away. Hello?

What the fuck! I've been here all morning and they say I don't have a fucking appointment. I was not alone. 15 of us. Agitation. Angers flare up. More arguments. I decided to stay put and flow with the tide. And, best of all, no one is ready to explain or help. Absolutely no one.

2.55 pm
One kind soul finally takes notice. He collected our permits again. In the midst of chaos, made a few phone calls and informed us that we will not be having our tests today. More agitation. But but but he will try and get us a new appointment at the next available date. Crap. As far as I know, there is a mandatory gap of 30 days before a new slot is selected.

3.20 pm
My name is finally called out. I am given 2 options: 7th August or 10th August? Surprised, but in less than a micro-second, I shoot back, "7th".

4.10 pm
I am back to work, dozens of emails waiting in my inbox, precious money spent on taxi, hungry and thirsty, back and legs paining and frustrated beyond belief! After settling down at my table, I try and recollect the happenings of the day. I am shocked. A quick glance at my driving permit lying on my desk and my eyes stop at this sentence: Emirates Driving Institute: Proud to be professional

All I could muster up is a smile.