Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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Posts from — March 2008

The gullible Mallu

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(Warning:This is a LONG post)

Maybe I look very gullible.Maybe I have those unsuspecting looks that every network marketeer looks for.Or may be a few words of flattery are enough to make me feel like a king.

It was an ATM queue.Thoughts like “damn India’s population”, “Why would everyone in Koramangala want to withdraw money NOW?”, “Why cant this stupid bank have more ATMs?”were moving in and out of my head.Suddenly this guy next to me started chatting up.And I would not mind talking to stranger to kill time in a queue.He introduced himself as a techie with an Indian IT company(ya, the one powered by brains driven by something else…).The queue was long enough… he could have as well given a dissertation on Nano technology.Comments like even I wanted to do an MBA sometime..I am preparing for CAT, wanted to check something with you and all were sprinkled in his talk.(Yes! I am getting a bakra, I felt)
He did shower occasional praises at MBAs, how good they were. And about my B School, which was more than an an ego massage for me.Somewhere in the middle, we exchanged phone numbers.So what? ;)

Dang! I get a call from him in two days about his entreprenuerial venture and how he wants an intelligent MBA like to help him out.It revolved around how I can multiply my money in this “novel” venture and make it rich during my free time.I politely declined.

Moral of the story.Dont give your number to strangers.

Another day.
At a bakery closeby.
My company id card hanging down my neck clearly says I am with HP.Someone next to me.”Oh you work with HP?,Great yaar”
A sudden boost to my esteem.My head held higher.Ego,pride and similar feelings sky rocket.With a tinge of arrogance, I say,”Ya, I am with HP”.
Oh, software? He asks.
Me:No,…MBA
He:Wow! MBA….good man!
Me:ya….
He:I am with XYZ soft.
Me:[General questions to acknowlege the attention I got and the to send a I am a KNOW ALL feeling]”What is your profile like?,which vertical”?

Out of nowhere he tries to hijack the conversation.
He:”I think we should exchange numbers”
Me:[Ok.Chance to throw my visiting card at someone]Take my card.

Two days passed.
“Hi, remember we met at the bakery…how are you doing…have you had dinner…?”
So many questions all in one shot, to strike a conversation.

I am like, okay…what do you want(in a polite manner though)

“See, apart from my work we do some work in ________________ area and would want highly motivated and intelligent people like you to join us. I am sure you have some time to spare.Why don’t we meet sometime at ______”
Me:Thanks, but I am not inerested.

The funny thing is the same guy caught me again, stuck a conversation at the bakery and took my number.
This time I was sure, he was going to call in a day’s time. I waited for the happiness of fooling someone.
He called, I said, Sorry I am not interested.

It did not end there,another guy at the same bakery.
“Oh you with HP, I am with SAP”
Me:Great! I am into Analytics(jus’ show off)
He:Cool!
2 mins into the conversation,the routine exchange of numbers happened.

I was hopeful, this guy was not a Network marketing guy.Hope,ya, jus hope.

I got a call from him, when I was out of town.Cell on roaming. No chance of me picking the call..ha ha ha!

Met the guy after a couple of days in the same bakery.”I tried calling you, he said”
Me:I was not in town
Me:I am in a hurry, bye.

He calls that evening.
Same old stuff. Plus,”We have some guys from IIMA and IITs who have joined us and they are doing exceedingly well”
Me:Good for them
Me: Sorry not interested.

Now that I am used to such marketing or rather lack of it, I act like am an easy prey to such tricks.Like, I am all set for businesses that can help your money grow at 100 times the GDP growth!

A week back.
A well dressed guy.Same bakery.
“Nice bag”
Me:(In full “attitude” ishtyle”)Original HP, I work with HP
He:Great.I thought its a Samsonite
Me:Its worth more.
He:So, you into software
Me:I am into something that is neither software nor call center, still IT/ITES.Its called Analytics.I am an MBA …from ….SIBM.
He:I am with _____. Was with Oracle for 5 years. I am from _________.
Me:Good.
(When is he asking my number?? ask ask!! ;) )
He:I am Harit
Me:Nice name ;)

He:Think, we should exchange numbers
Me:Okay(Done!)

He:This friend of mine _____ is from Symbiosis.___batch.
Me:Great!May be some other Symbi institute.Nevertheles…..

I was waiting for his call.No he did not call that day.Next day, no.
Yes, he calls!!!! :-)

He:Hi Nikhil, this is _____…had dinner?(Hey,even my mom doesn’t care this much)
Me:Ya!
He:You must be having a lot of free time, right.
Me:mmmm…ya(so what?)My company is good that ways.
He:Ya, I know.Your company is great!
See, apart from my work, I am into…..(There you go!!!)
Me:I can’t code.
He:This is not software.But would need inputs from MBAs like you.(LOL!)
Think we should meet and discuss this over a coffee.
Me:Sorry!!! I am NOT INTERESTED.

I don’t understand if I carry myself as a probable network for these guys or I am stupid enough to exchange cards…
Anyways, their tactics SUCK to say the least. To strike a conversation with someone and then take his number and try selling the concept.
Guys, you need to revisit school.

Good luck to all MLMs,Network Marketeers and others forms of it.

Moral of the story: Talk talk to strangers or put it this way MLMs, you guys need to learn a lot.

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March 30, 2008   20 Comments

Coin-age Tale

Numismatics and Philately….I knew these two words not because I used to collect stamps and coins, but they sounded very nerdy. And whenever in class one was quizzed on hobbies were, Stamp and Coin collection seemed very cliched.
And the next question would be “How do we better know Stamp/Coin collection?”

In school , almost every one used to collect stamps and coins. That was the in thing, years before WWF trump cards came in.(Which infact my brother used to be mad about)
I am talking about the second half of 80s and early 90s.

I remember days in school, when the discussion used to be “Who has Nippon Triangle doubles” or “I have the world’s rarest stamp, of Peru, anyone willing to get me a San Marino or an Ethiopia”. I used to die for these stamps. Used to beg, cajole…to get rare stamps.
Some guys used to buy stamps from the market and I used to believe that they are all fake. Still not sure if those were original or not.

Stamps without the post office seal were considered fake. That was one of the innumerable illogical logics followed.

Taking off stamps from an envelope was not so easy. The envelope had to be soaked in water for about half an hour and then the stamp had to be taken out carefully.

Figuring out the country of origin of some stamps was a difficult task those days. Those were the days without Google or Wikipedia. The only source of such information was books or friends. So a Magyar Posta or a Helvetia remained “unknown countries” till they were discovered by some knowledgeable soul.

Non English stamps like that of a Saudi Arabia,Oman or a Cyprus used to be identified by their insignias.(Though Cyprus had KIBRIS on it)

I remember how countries were made rare. One had to cook up stories like, this country is really really poor,they dont have money to feed people,and its a stamp from one of those counties. Usually, African and South American stamps fell into this category by default. But for these stamps I would have never known an Ethiopia!!!
Stamps from the Middle East was the most easy to get in Kerala, for obvious reasons. ;)
Umm al-Quwain,Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman other emirate stamps from UAE was rare though.

I still stick to a funda, whenever a country is United, like a USA, UK or a UAE, its states/provinces will have stamps. Not sure if that gem of information is true.
And it was NOT difficult to sell such funda among friends in school.

I repent for exchanging one of the Greece stamps for I dunno which stamp.
And pride myself in having an Ethiopia , San Marino, Peru and some weird shaped(India’s Triangles, Circles).

Coins also were not easy to decipher. The value, the year and the country! It was so complicated.
I used to be fond of pre independence coins .I somehow managed to get 2 coins of British India from a Northie classmate, who had got them from his grand dad. Boy! That was some effort.

CCCP was the easiest, be it stamps of coins to decipher. After my dad told me CCCP is actually SSSR , I used to make a religious effort to correct my friends.
And then USSR broke apart, and so many stamps and coins in my collection became rare,overnight.

Stamps and coins have been collected not only from friends and relatives….but…
I have stooped to the level of asking random firangs for coins to asking neighbours for foreign stamps from posts they get from abroad.

That was the craze.

Times have changed. So many of these coins would never be minted…so many of these stamps would never be printed …. which includes all EU countries, Czechoslovakia etc ….

And I have not stopped collecting coins and stamps….recently bought some old Travancore coins from a roadside seller in Trivandrum. :-)

PS: Will post on Match Box cover collection later ;)

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March 13, 2008   7 Comments