Death of an ex-colleague

2 days ago, while going through status updates on Facebook, I read an update from a friend who shared the news of an ex-colleague, lets call him S, who had passed away. The news was very shocking for me. I inquired with my friend for the details of the tragedy. S had jaundice a couple of weeks ago and he suffered a relapse of the same. My friend informed me that apparently S didn’t have the money to get himself treated at a good clinic/hospital. I asked my friend, why S didn’t take the mediclaim under company healthcare policy. Then I realized – he was paid on cash basis.

One of the sad parts of working in a domestic 3rd party BPO is that the salaries for employees can go really low, sometimes in the range of 5k-7k a month, which in a city like Mumbai is peanuts. When organizations hire employees at such low wages, they offer the employee the choice of getting the salary in cash or via normal payroll. When an employee chooses to get paid in cash, he does not have deductions like PF, PT and income tax. This way the employee gets more take home salary. However, getting paid in cash also means that the employee is not on the payroll of the organization and therefore, does not get benefits like PF and health care.

S couldn’t get himself treated because he couldn’t afford the treatment which made realize that there are so many people like S out there. In our daily lives, there is a lot of money which we spend on things which we don’t really need. Instead of spending that money, we can donate that money to a charity which will help people who cannot fend for themselves. May be such actions will make the world a better place to live in for all of us.

Kolkata – You Sexy!!

Last night I was watching the movie Kahaani on Movies OK channel. Since the movie is based out of Kolkata it brought back a lot of memories of the city in which I had spent almost 2 years. The movie just reminded of the times I had spent there, the places, smell, the sounds, the excitement of the people during the Durga Puja, old Ambassador cabs, kachoris, puchkas and moori from the road side, the momos and last but not least, people.

I moved to Kolkata in the year 2008 due to my work assignment. It was my first time to the City of Joy. I was told many things like Kolkata is very dirty, I wont like the food cooked in mustard oil, the language is a big challenge etc etc. However, I found my experience to the contrary.

Each city has it own different charm, Kolkata is no different. There are many old historic buildings in the bylanes of Kolkata, each one has its own story to tell. Most of the cabs are Ambassadors, vehicles of a bygone era, still driven with pride with the local taxi drivers. The language has a sweet sound to it. Just like French. Bengali is one of the sweetest languages out there. Initially, I had trouble understanding the same. But as my stay extended, I became familiar with the language to a point where I can make out the on-going conversation. The best part about Kolkata are its people, very friendly, very sweet and at the same time extremely proud of their culture, language and heritage. I am not sure if I could find anyone who had read the works of Tagore or had some form of training in Rabindra Sangeet.

It’s been 4 years since I have relocated to Mumbai. Hopefully, I will be going there sometime soon and rediscover the city once again.