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Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best
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Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments Life is a mess; a jumble of disjointed sentences; a collection of dirty smudges that, when put together, yields no particular shape or form. You have to live through your entire life before you can begin to make any sense of it, and maybe not even then. Pondering over Life fills me with despair and a deep sense of unease.

Fiction, on the other hand, is a tidy little thing; a straightforward arrangement of dots that the narrator slowly, tantalizingly connects to finally reveal the picture that is the story. There is no hidden agenda and no room for loose ends.

Fiction leaves me feeling content. Complete. At peace.


Read more about Kalyani’s views on life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments But a strange sort of change had come over me, the most telling symptom of which was this television series that I watched every day. A few years ago, a forty-minute episode of a daily re-run would not have been the most-looked-forward-to hour of the day. In fact, I am fairly certain that back in the days, I hadn’t even had a favourite TV serial because I simply had no time for such frivolity. But now I did, and I was so addicted to it that all my current passwords were based on characters from the serial.

The show in question revolved around a pair of brothers who lead an exciting and meaningful life hunting demons. A kind of edgy, modern day Hardy Boys drama in which the brothers hate their demon-filled, friendless, loveless, fatherless, motherless, mortgage-less and rootless lives. I could totally identify with them. I hated my life too, but for entirely different reasons — if my life had had a Facebook page, its status would read: Dizzyingly Boring.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments “He is asking me to go to Pune! How can I go? Am I just supposed to dump my husband and go off?” One of them wailed.

The other replied, “At least they are giving you something. I came here straight from campus and they never put me on a project. And now my bullshit bench manager is asking for a presentation on what all I have learnt in the past two years!” She sounded close to tears. They reached out to each other across the aisle and held hands, speechlessly communicating shared helpless rage.

I was torn between sympathy and contempt, between feeling that the poor girls deserved better and wondering what on earth that stupid girl had been doing, sitting idle for the past two years.

“It is a big fashion nowadays, yaar,” the first girl commented, throwing a sidelong glance at me. She raised her voice and continued, “Anything wrong in the software industry, they simply blame us graduates. We are not professional, we are not skilled, we are not employable… it is so easy to just dump everything on us, no?”

Both girls turned their cold gaze upon me again. Fearing that I might be called upon to represent the Management on matters most unpleasant, I quickly put on a smile-mask, raised my cell phone to my ear, and made several ‘uh-huh’ noises into it. I often used this tactic to evade sticky situations despite the fact that on one such occasion my situation had graduated from sticky to pathetic when the damned thing had started ringing loudly into my ear while I was busy having a fake conversation.

A few minutes later the girls turned away. Bitterly regretting my cowardice, I berated myself for not having taken the opportunity to tell the poor things that I agreed with them. In my opinion, it was plain dumb to blame graduates for not being employable from day one, considering we insisted on hiring them from colleges that claimed to teach modern science in the hope that their students would one day use their superior knowledge to invent a solar-powered-spaceship, instead of simply using it to make enough money to buy the damned contraption.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments As I slowly trudged up the stairs, I wondered when the work that I had once taken so much pride in had turned into, at best, a dreary repetitive chore, or worse, into an exhausting ordeal. The very thought of work evoked mixed feelings of boredom and dread, a far cry from what I had felt when I had left home at the age of twenty-two to take up my first corporate job, to take my first step on the ladder of success, prosperity and happiness. Why, I could still recollect the early days when work had actually been fun, a time when I had willingly and happily sacrificed my weekends, my family time and my downtime at the altar of work. When had all that changed? When had the bright flame of enthusiasm wavered, sputtered, and finally died out? Two years ago? Three? Five?


Actually, I think that my life had been on a downward spiral for quite some time now; it had just taken me this long to finally acknowledge it. I had now openly begun to hate work, to feel frustrated at how, instead of working on actual solutions to actual problems, I spent so much of my time working new buzzwords into proposals, frameworks, approaches, whitepapers, methodologies and presentations that no one ever read.


And the meetings… oh god, the meetings! Each meeting was a clone of the previous one, a criminal misnomer for futile gatherings where much was said but nothing was ever achieved, jamborees in which grand ideas were floated and discussed at length with no focus whatsoever on converting them into reality.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Shabana Mukhtar (shabanamukhtarofficial) Loved the sample. Any chance you'd be running a free book promotion for kindle? ;)


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments Hi Shabana

Glad you liked the sample. I can definitely send you a paperback copy for review. But before I do that, please send me your email id and I will send you two full chapters. If you like them, I can have my publisher send you a copy to you

thanks
Kalyani


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments It’s Fate, my mother had explained. Both sisters had married government employees with bright prospects, one with the IFS and the other with the Army. The IFS man did very well for himself and had been recently promoted to a very cushy posting. The Army man had done well too, but then the Army didn’t offer the sort of opportunities that IFS did. But, ma had been quick to add, the Army wife had been blessed with children and the IFS wife hadn’t. So there! her tone had implied.

While this brief sketch had explained Mrs Army’s srishti-ka-santulan remark, there was much that it left unexplained. Such as, how had God decided to grant Mrs IFS a transfer to Europe and Mrs Army children? Had Mrs IFS made the mistake of praying for money alone, assuming that children were a given? Had Mrs Army, after seeing the childless plight of her older sister, chosen to specifically ask for children, assuming that a husband with a government job automatically translated to a life of luxury, not realising that there was luxury and then there was l-u-x-u-r-y? Were they simply the victims of His malicious wit? Or was there something more to it?

Having been brought up on a regular diet of Amar Chitra Katha and Jataka tales, I knew that it was precisely these sort of tortured questions that the karma-and-cycle-of-rebirth theory was supposed to address — what one undergoes in this life is the result of accumulated karma from the current and previous lives, and that what one does in this life will decide how one gets on in the next, and so on. But there was just one flaw in this otherwise perfect theory — the assumption that there existed a caring God who diligently kept track of every individual’s good and bad deeds; something that Hiranya and I knew to be untrue. And yet, He did seem to ensure a balance of sorts. Clearly there was something else at work here, something a lot more straightforward, something a lot less reassuring.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Shabana Mukhtar (shabanamukhtarofficial) Kalyani wrote: "Hi Shabana

Glad you liked the sample. I can definitely send you a paperback copy for review. But before I do that, please send me your email id and I will send you two full chapters. If you like t..."

That sounds good to me, thanks. Sending you a personal message. Take care.


message 9: by Rakhi (new)

Rakhi Jayashankar (rakhijayashankar) | 32 comments Hi Kalyani
Loved your sample. would love to review it. Do contact me through jayashankarrakhi@gmail.com.
we also have promotional services just in case ur interested.


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments Exhausted by all the activity, I decided to take a two-minute Pranayama break. As I sat still, breathing in and out, I became aware of Dev’s low voice next door, trying to save some poor soul’s job, “C’mon yaar. He is Sachin material. So what if he is currently unbilled?”

Distracted by the S-word, I forgot to concentrate on my breath and concentrated instead on wondering which cricketer the Australians and the British used in the way that we used Sachin. I wondered if Sachin knew about this… this appropriation of his brand by project managers in the Indian IT industry, and if he did, whether he approved of the manner in which he was incorporated into our management philosophy. I wondered what or whom we had used before Sachin and cricket had happened to our great nation.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments I took a deep breath and quickly asked, “What about us, Pramod? What about me?”

He took a deep noisy breath. I held mine. He exhaled noisily. I still held mine. A bi-organic Pranayama. “Things are going to be tough,” he said.

I felt a strange flutter in my stomach.

“Kalyani? You there?”

“Yes, yes…” I scrambled hastily.

“Things are going to be tough,” he repeated.

“So I might be asked to leave?” The last word came out as a squeak of disbelief. I don’t know what I had been expecting when I had asked him if I was to anticipate trouble, but it had certainly not been this.

“No, no, nothing like that Kalyani!”

The brief but telling pause that had preceded his enthusiastic denial had not gone unnoticed by me. I felt a mixture of irritation and suspicion surge through me. “Then what?” I asked.

“What I meant is that we will have a lot of work on our plates now. We will have to be like a SWAT team, a crack commando team — swoop in and get the deals, ensure delivery, give confidence to the customer, stuff like that. But no serious worries as such — the staffing problem lies in the top-level bloat and the rookie ratio. Management is taking care of things like that.”

SWAT team, crack-commando team, Sachin, bloat and ratio… on good days the Corporatese buzzing around me made me wince. On bad days, it triggered a migraine. But today, it simply left me feeling uneasy. My decent Checklist-manager had sounded too bright, too pat, too… false. Clearly, he was hiding something.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments I quickly freshened-up and joined the others in front of the idiot box. And there he was, my favourite Asura, demanding immortality as a just and much deserved reward for the rigorous meditation that only a few undertake, and fewer still succeed at; certainly not the lazy incompetent Devas lounging about in Indralok. As expected, a smiling God refuses to grant immortality, claiming that not even He could bend the laws of Nature which stated that everything that took birth had to eventually face death.

So clever Hiranya re-phrases his wish — he would accept death, he says, but on his own terms — he would not meet his death at the hands of a human or at the hands of an animal, neither inside a dwelling nor outside one, neither on the ground nor in the sky, neither during daytime nor at night.


A smiling and treacherous God grants him all his wishes, never intending for a second to keep his promise.


Soon, Hiranya gets down to the business of destroying the Devas, his sworn enemies. Of course, the ineffective and insecure Devas run around screaming trahimam! trahimam! begging God to intervene and save their sorry asses. And of course, He obliges the Devas, emerging from a stone pillar in Hiranya’s palace in an avatar that is part-lion and part-man. He then proceeds to place the king on His thighs at the threshold of the residence, and tears the poor devil’s stomach open with His bare claws. Oh sure, with the face of a lion and the body of a human He is neither man nor animal, His thighs are neither the ground nor the sky, and the threshold is neither inside a dwelling nor outside one. So, according to Him, no rules are broken. The only thing broken and dead is poor Hiranya.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments I had been around ten myself when I had first laid eyes on Hiranya. Not on television (we didn’t have a TV set in those days), but on the pages of a nicely illustrated Amar Chitra Katha. As I had slowly ingested yet another instalment of the by now familiar theme of Siva-or-Brahma-grants-a-great-boon-and-Vishnu-renders-it-useless, I felt an equally familiar resentment rise within me. Why? Why were the Asuras always the bad guys and the Devas the good guys? What made Hiranya the villain? All he had wanted was to establish world-rule, and wasn’t that his right? What uncle wouldn’t be enraged at the sight of his own nephew worshipping his nemesis? What mortal expected God to resort to trickery, to cheating? For that is what God seemed to do. Cheat.


To a ten year old who questioned everyone and everything, this recurring pattern of boon-granting-and-subsequent-reneging had had far reaching implications. It had meant that I couldn’t just ask God for a car and then sit back and relax, because He would most likely bless me with a bullock cart which, in His dictionary, was a car of sorts with a bio-engine. Instead, like Hiranya, I would have to give Him detailed specifications — God, I want a vehicle with four wheels. Neither during the day nor at night. God, I need a vehicle with a steering wheel. Neither at the hands of a human nor an animal. God, I need a vehicle with an engine. Neither on the ground nor in the sky. And so on. And despite all my efforts, when the time came to deliver on His promises, He would zero in on the cracks to wriggle out of the deal. He would send me a car that didn’t run, and then ask innocently, ‘Oh, did you actually want this thing to take you from point A to point B?’ Because God, it seems, didn’t really want to grant you what you prayed for. Why, He even seemed to blame the supplicant for wanting anything in the first place! A good mortal, according to His definition, was one who was always happy with his lot and never asked Him for anything.

Read more about Kalyani’s life in Bend Your Knees & Do Your Best– a story about a 40 year old IT professional whose neat and boring life suddenly turns upside down because of downsizing at work. And though Kalyani manages to land on her feet, she finds that her life has changed forever…


message 14: by Shobhit (new) - added it

Shobhit Shobhit (shobhitg) | 18 comments Sounds interesting


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments Thank you, Shobhit!


Kalyani Kalyani | 29 comments Let me know if you'd like to receive a 2 chapter sample by email


message 17: by Shobhit (new) - added it

Shobhit Shobhit (shobhitg) | 18 comments I want to give it a try, i m from it field so it should be ok but there is some mythlogical angle too so better i read 2 chapters and share review.. my email is mail4shobhit@gmail.com


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