Friday, June 23, 2023



Jolyon Wagg - A frequently encountered side-character in the Tintin Series by Herge

Of all the professions in the world, the enthusiasm of a salesperson (probably) needs to be the most indefatigable and deep rooted. Not being fully invested in her work is not an option she has. Whatever be the product or service and its relevance to the customer, her only job is to push the sale to an often less-than-interested client. No wonder the salesperson is a favoured character in comedies, dramas and tragedies alike. We have all encountered a character like Tintin's Jolyon Wagg in our daily lives and our irritation with them is tempered with the fact that they have been given a tough job to do.

While all of us have some part of our professional lives that we struggle through, it is eased by a formal separation from the selection/rejection whatever it is that we have been giving at least 8 hours a day towards. We mostly work on a small part of a larger impersonal project and rejection, while worry-inducing, is not borne alone. The salesperson on the other hand is handed a product or service that she hasn't designed or built, convinces herself of its distinction from all other similar products and pitches the same to strangers whose interests and motivations may be universes apart from even the best features of Product X. 

I understand that sometimes the product sells itself and sometimes even the customer has an active interest. I remember the time when a door-to-door salesperson brought little plastic lights, blue and white and shaped like spaceships (as per an industrial designer and an imaginative child), that could be tapped on for a warm friendly night light. My mom and me were equally enamoured and at the price at which she was selling them, the sale was a foregone conclusion. Those lights remained at use in home long after I had ceased to qualify as a child.

In some respects, I suppose that sales can also be viewed from the frame of just another job where strategy and selection yield 'results' with the right 'execution'. But the biggest challenge in my (ignorant, inexperienced and unsolicited) opinion would be in how to make the rejection not feel personal. When you have approached someone with all your charm and conviction only to be told "Not interested", sometimes repeatedly, how do you keep the fire going?

Thursday, June 22, 2023


A casual glance at the Gallery folder of my 8-month old phone gave me reason to pause. 7571 photos lay entrenched in that particular location. 7571 photos that I had consciously taken within 8 months and none of them selfies! Until that moment, I had had airs of being superior to "this generation" who spent their entire lives in front of cameras it would seem. At 1000 photos a month, I couldn't make any real claims of being above it all. Even if I wasn't clicking pictures of myself, I was spending enough time with the phone camera to lose all moral authority to judge others for the same.

Pets dominate my mix of photos with landscapes that then seemed interesting coming a close second. In a very telling contrast, most of the landscape pictures seem bland and repetitive on a later viewing but the pet photos retain their warm cushiness. Flesh and blood even as a static image have a life of their own but rocks and trees lose their vividness once the environment they were clicked in is not immediately accessible. In a desperate attempt to take some of that beauty back with me to my less scenic daily life, I had clicked vigorously and to an extent, indiscriminately. The end result is a lot of high definition pixels which only re-emphasize that it was so much better in person.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Longest Day

The longest day is already upon us and with it the arrival of the monsoon. A morning person like me has hardly any reason to complain in that regard. Extended hours of sunlight shielded by clouds loaded with relief is a win-win in my book. June is almost over, with it the half-way mark of the year, causing the well-organized to recap what was achieved thus far. Unlikely to be accused of such good qualities, I take the time to savour the change of air after summer’s long sultry goodbye. There’s a thrill in having survived another sun-fest season in a top floor room.

What do I do with the extra 2-3 hours that I get by waking up early? I use it to breathe a little easier and enjoy the luxury of not having to plunge into the day’s frothing pool of activities in a barely awake state. This is not to say that I approach the dreaded work hour with a confident calm. It is more about having some free time before rushing into the due-yesterday channel of professional commitments. In its favour, besides the long daylight hours, summer offers the chance to be less drawn into the infinite charms of sleep as its co-conspirator, the blanket, has been put away for the season. 

My dogs are happy campers with regard to the hours I keep. Dawn is their golden hour too. At the slightest movement showing my emergence from slumber, they pop up at my bed-side eager to wage battles or pursue alliances in the as-yet unplanted fields behind my house. The seriousness with which they survey their home turf and the protocols with which they deal with friends or foes makes me wonder if inefficiency and error susceptibility are the best markers of being human?