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Returning to work
After a rather enjoyable weekend
Is hardly something to rejoice about
Especially when you are handling Recruitment
And particularly when you work in a startup
A startup that supposedly gives you freedom
Freedom for the employer, that is
To keen nagging his employees
From time to time
But not freedom for the employees
To work as per their convenience
You feel like a balloon
Pressed on all sides
By the boss, candidates and clients
One false step
And Boom! you are back to square one
And left with a mountain to climb
At the speed of light
You know, though, what's the worst part?
It's the uncertainty
Whether it be in finding relevant resumes
Or speaking to a bunch of candidates
And trying to convince them
Or, if you do somehow manage to convince someone
Waiting for him/her to share the CV
Is like watching that infamous innings of Sunil Gavaskar
In the 1975 World Cup
It kills you from inside
Such that, you just can't wait
For a miracle to happen
Which involves the client
Uttering the magic words
"This position is temporarily on hold"
Oh wisdom teeth, why do you hate me so much?
What have I ever done to you?
It is thanks to you
That my life has turned topsy-turvy
You should never have been born
For all you do, is cause pain
Metaphorical as well as literal
It was ten years ago
When I was first advised by a dentist
To finish you off
I let it slide at that time
And decided to give you a chance
Four years later
I was given the same suggestion
By another dentist
That too in a different city
Yet again, I decided to spare you
And four more years later
History repeated itself
Thus, you turned out to be luckier
Than a cat with nine lives
But you never made use of all that luck, did you?
On the other hand
You had the nerve
To bite the hand
That has been feeding you for so long
Thus, I had no choice
But to send you back to your Maker
Where you truly belong
Of course, you wouldn't surrender without a fight
The anesthetic injection was painful enough
But little did I expect
That you would continue to haunt me
Even after you were gone
For good
I had to take painkiller after painkiller
And even that was not enough
For monsters like you
Who made sure
That every meal was an ordeal by fire
And so was every phone conversation
Oh wisdom teeth, why do you hate me so much?
Ashwin Kumar Jul 31
After a rather enjoyable Saturday
Which marked the return
Of my mother and grandfather
After a fortnight's stay in Chennai
I was really looking forward
To some R&R on "precious" Sunday
It started promisingly enough
Getting up as late as nine o'clock
Enjoying a hot cup of filter coffee
Prepared by my dear mother
Solving Wordle in three attempts
Watching photos and videos of trains
Playing my all-time favourite game 'Choices'
Enjoying a rather delicious brunch
Again prepared by Amma
Followed by my customary afternoon siesta
Which lasted more than two hours
Just as I was beginning to think
That I couldn't have asked for a better Sunday
I had to begin the rather tedious process
Of filing my income tax returns
Fortunately, Amma was there to support me
And take me through the entire process
Which involved numerous calculations
Some of which, were more confusing
Than even the questions asked in IIT-JEE!
After nearly two hours of breaking our heads
And cursing the Finance Minister profusely
Which, by the way, was entirely my doing
The returns were finally filed
And the tax duly paid
As I heaved a sigh of relief
Having gotten a huge monkey off my weary back
It dawned on me
That tomorrow is Monday
And I have to go to office as well
Which involves getting up as early as six o'clock
Followed by a commute in the dreaded Mumbai local
With its super dense crush load
And once I reach office
I have to share a tiny cabin
With my boss and his wife
And endure a lecture or two
About my recent lack of success at work
In this rather claustrophobic setting
Oh boy, I'll never get a break, will I?
Ashwin Kumar Jul 24
There are quite a few people in this world
Who are special to me
In their own ways
But none, more than my parents
Especially my mother
Seeing as it was her
Who brought me to the world
In the first place
And raised me
With so much love and care
That I feel I am one of the luckiest sons
However, at the same time
Amma has ensured
That I am not spoilt or pampered
As often happens with many rich kids
On the other hand
She has always kept me grounded
Whenever I've gotten too ahead of myself
So, it is thanks to Amma
That I am able to maintain humility
In the face of success
Also, whenever my confidence has taken a beating
Especially at work
Amma has always been at the ready
With a few words of encouragement
And has never failed to remind me
That I've been in such situations earlier
And managed to turn things around
Amma is not only a wonderful parent
But also a great friend, mentor and counsellor
Rolled into one
I can go on and on about her
But I think that's all for today
Poem dedicated to my dear mother.
Ashwin Kumar Jul 15
Hiring For Investment Banking roles
Is like wading through a swamp
At first, it may appear as easy
As winning the French Open is, for Rafael Nadal
Since there is a decent pool of candidates
Waiting to be tapped into
However, as the old cliche goes
Appearances are deceptive
There are numerous pits
In the form of various factors
That influence the interest levels
Of each and every candidate
Such as, the job location
The salary
The bonus payout
The appraisal cycle
The scope of the role
The reporting manager
The brand
And most importantly, the work culture
It requires a truckload of skills
As well as a fat lot of luck
To maneuver your way through the swamp
And successfully avoid these pits
Which lurk in the shadows
Waiting to catch you unawares
One slip-up, and you may lose a candidate
Every time that happens
You'll find yourself sinking into the mud
Slowly, but surely
The harder you try to escape
The deeper you end up sinking
By the time you find that "perfect candidate"
Your face is all that will remain above the surface
And the only thing that can save you
Is the client uttering the magic words
"This position is now on hold"
Ashwin Kumar Jul 9
When we speak of parents
We usually refer to the mother
More than the father
Which is quite unfortunate
Because fathers are equally special
Of course, it is the mother
Who has to suffer through labour
And its unspeakable pain
In order to bear the child
However, once the child is born
The role of the father
Becomes equally important
Coming to my own experience
I could not have asked
For a better father
He has been there for me, no matter what
Taking me almost anywhere
Whether it be India
Or the rest of the world
A special mention to the train trips
Since it is only due to my Dad
That the Railways hold such a special place in my heart
Next to the Railways
Pride of place goes to cricket and tennis
With Dad sponsoring my cricket coaching
And playing tennis with me and my sister
I will never forget
The India vs Bangladesh match at Birmingham
Nor all those Wimbledon finals
The events themselves were memorable
But it was Dad's company
That made them all the sweeter
Anyway, enough about sports
Without Dad's support
I would never have made it through school
Especially the transition from CBSE to ICSE
That too in the eighth standard
Moreover, not many fathers
Would've been as patient and understanding
As mine was, during my engineering struggles
Which involved notching up seven arrears
However, the biggest challenge was my professional life
My first job was full of ups and downs
And towards the end
I felt like a fish out of water
Plunging from crisis to crisis
And eventually being forced to resign
And take a break from work
During these difficult times
Dad not only arranged my counselling
But also stood by my side like a rock
Putting up with whatever tantrums I threw
And this continued during my second job
Which turned out to be a nerve-wracking experience
Ultimately ending in a termination
After six months of hard toil
Coming to recent times
During my trainwreck of a marriage
And the subsequent divorce process
Dad and I ended up getting closer than ever
And I hope this only continues
Though of course for happier reasons!
So, as I said earlier
Fathers are equally special as mothers
Full stop
Ashwin Kumar Jul 2
Who gave you the idea
That love is all about romance?
Love can be towards anybody
In this massive planet
Whether it be your parents
Or grandparents
Or siblings
Or cousins and relatives
Or even friends
And apart from these people
Love can exist in other forms too
Helping an elderly gentleman or lady
Cross a busy road full of speeding vehicles?
That's love
Running a langar to feed the poor and needy?
That's love
Running an NGO to treat cancer patients
As well as rehabilitate them after treatment
And engage them in useful work?
That's love
Cancelling your job interview
To take a victim of a road accident to the hospital?
That's love
Dropping your colleague off at his/her home after work?
That's love
Standing up to a bully who is picking on a few kids?
That's love
Feeding chapattis and biscuits to a few cats on the street?
That's love
Again, who gave you the idea
That love is all about romance?
Ashwin Kumar Jun 28
Why does trouble always have to come in twos and threes?
As it is, I am in Recruitment
Which is itself a rollercoaster life
Through the peaks and troughs of Hell
For all my hard work
I get a few scant rewards
Which are like a few drops of water
In the mighty Pacific Ocean
And turn out to be as ephemeral
As the life of a mayfly
Just as I am dealing with all this
My wisdom teeth decide to crash the party in style
Bringing chaos and mass destruction
From all sides
The dentist takes one look at my mouth
And confirms my worst fears
The wretched wisdom teeth have to go
There is no escaping it
Moreover, it has to be a surgical extraction
Why does trouble always have to come in twos and threes?

On the D-Day
My head is spinning madly
My brain is on overdrive
And I find concentrating on work more difficult
Than even predicting the stock market
However, to my pleasant surprise
The surgeon is so calm and reassuring
And the process is so smooth
That is, apart from the pain induced by the anesthetic injection
That I get a feeling as if all my troubles have ended
However, I could not have been more wrong
After a few hours
The effects of the painkiller begin to wear off
Slowly, but surely
Eating food feels more awkward
Than a conversation between a boy and a girl
Who have just broken up
And to cap it all
Talking isn't exactly pain-free either
I might've enjoyed a bit of rest today
But come tomorrow, I need to get back to work
Which involves a truckload of calls
And as per the dentist
I shouldn't talk too much
However, as far as Recruitment is concerned
There is no such thing as "too much"
Why does trouble always have to come in twos and threes?
Poem about my dental fears and struggles, combined with my struggles in Recruitment.
Jun 21 · 79
Am I A Human Being?
Ashwin Kumar Jun 21
Am I a human being?
Or am I a robot?
You assigned me five mandates
Three of which, are more difficult
Than even clearing the IIT-JEE
And even the remaining two
Pose a considerable challenge
Though far from insurmountable
Nevertheless, what makes you think
That I have the capability
The skills
And the stamina
To successfully pull off such a mammoth task?

Am I a human being?
Or am I a robot?
You expect quality
You expect speed
And you expect numbers
At the same time
Is this not like having the cake
And eating it too?

Am I a human being?
Or am I a robot?
I am working on five mandates
And racing against time
Every single day
In order to send a couple of resumes
For each mandate
No matter how hard I try
I always end up falling behind
That too by a mile
What makes you think
That I can successfully handle even three mandates
Let alone five?
Let me ask you again
Am I a human being?
Or am I a robot?
Poem dedicated to my boss and his unrealistic expectations.
Ashwin Kumar Jun 14
Two days of hard toil
Searching through portal after portal
Company after company
And speaking to candidate after candidate
And what I am left with
Is nothing
Absolutely nothing to show for my efforts
One candidate doesn't find the role exciting enough
Another candidate loses interest
After hearing the name of the client
The next one is not looking for a job in the first place
For the one that comes after
Relocation turns out to be a deal breaker
And the rest of them are simply too busy
Too busy to even pick up the **** phone
However, I decide to keep at it
Only for the rejections to continue
One guy eventually shows a bit of interest
But he has too many questions
Questions that neither I can answer
Nor can my boss!
Of course, Recruitment is never an easy job
Especially when you are working in a startup
But to succeed in Recruitment for Investment Banking roles
You really need to pull off a Harry Houdini!!
Ashwin Kumar Jun 6
May has been a really difficult month
I have worked my **** off
Hunting for the right candidates
For a few roles
Which have almost driven me mad
And at the same time
Handling a few other roles
Which have, admittedly, not been as difficult
As the ones mentioned above
But still require a certain amount of time
Time that is as rare and precious
As a drop of water
In the Sahara Desert
And after all my efforts
I expected to close
At least one of these roles
In fact, I was on the verge of doing so
However, as always
It is Recruitment
Which has ended up having the last laugh
Leaving me with nothing to do
But start all over again
And at the same time
My dear boss has decided to assign me another role
Thereby adding to the already huge burden
On my hapless shoulders
May has indeed been a really difficult month
But it appears to have been merely a prelude
To the tornado that June is going to be
If the last few days are anything to go by
About my difficulties in Recruitment particularly in the last 1 month or so
May 31 · 98
Call Drop Blues
Ashwin Kumar May 31
I get a call from a friend
To whom I haven't spoken
In quite a while
All pleasantries done, we begin talking in right earnest
Catching up on each other
And reminiscing the good old days
When there was no pandemic
We're just over five minutes into the call
When there is a click
And the call drops all of a sudden
I call him back
And we continue from where we left off
However, after barely two minutes
My friend gets busy
Understandably, work is calling
I know the feeling well
After all, we're in the same boat
However, after a few hours
He calls back
And the conversation continues in right earnest
But, would you believe it?
After just over 5 minutes
The call drops, yet again
Way to go, Vodafone
You've just managed to ruin a conversation, twice
Mark my words
If there are any more call drops
Then it will be you
Who will be dropped, as a service provider
Poem about how a conversation with a friend got interrupted twice due to Vodafone's poor service.
Ashwin Kumar May 22
We've heard a lot about true love
Seen it in countless movies
Read about it in countless books
But does it really exist?
Well, I'd like to think that it does
You see, I'm speaking from experience
When I first fell in love
I felt like a bird
That had just sprouted wings
And was ready to take off
And experience the sheer joy and excitement
That comes naturally with flying
Especially if it's the first time
I felt like every single day
Was something to look forward to
And I managed to derive some interest
Even out of the most boring lectures
You see, I was doing my MBA then
Anyway, cutting to the chase
It ultimately turned out to be a case of unrequited love
But, as they say
It was totally worth it
My second tryst with love, though
Wasn't quite the same
Arranged marriage, love *** arranged marriage
You can call it whatever you like
But it doesn't change the fact
That it was never going to end well
To put it plainly
We were incompatible
And the eventual divorce
Was a blessing in disguise
I thus learnt the hard way
That it is not enough to be in love
And that is absolutely essential
To have things in common
The more, the better
So, coming back to true love
Does it really exist?
Well, my answer will remain 'Yes'
After all, I'm a hopeless romantic
And I'm not about to give up
Just because of one bad experience
I also believe
That it's a question of when, not if
And I happened to learn
Through a Facebook post
One out of countless posts that I've seen off late
That you shouldn't worry about finding the right woman
Just focus on being the right man
Ashwin Kumar May 18
Dear Investment Banking
Why do you have to be so difficult?
I spend hours and hours
Days and days
And weeks and weeks
Searching every nook and corner
For some really good resumes
Which are as easy to find
As a drop of water
In the Thar desert
I speak to dozens and dozens of people
Some are not looking for jobs
Some politely decline
Upon hearing the name of the client
Some need time to think
And others don't even bother to respond
It's a cruel world indeed

Dear Investment Banking
Why do you have to be so difficult?
After a lot of frustration and heartburn
And helplessness and desperation in turn
I finally manage to find a good candidate
Who also happens to be interested
However, as expected, there is a catch
He hasn't updated his resume
And by the time he does it
We would have already lost the client
Thus, I have no choice
But to move on
And resume the search
Which is already looking tougher
Than clearing the IIT-JEE!
Dear Investment Banking
Why do you have to be so difficult?
A poem on the difficulties I face in Recruitment for Investment Banking roles
Ashwin Kumar May 9
We humans have messed around
With Mother Nature and her eco-system
For years and years
Decades and decades
Centuries and centuries
Felling gazillions of trees
Turning forests into concrete jungles
Filling ponds, lakes, rivers and seas
With tons and tons of toxic waste
Releasing enough carbon monoxide into the air
To wreck the entire troposphere
The list of sins against Nature goes on and on
With no end in sight
Given all this, who are we to complain
When Mother Nature has had enough
And unleashes her fury on us
Through earthquakes and tsunamis
Avalanches and volcanoes
Hurricanes and tornadoes
Floods and droughts
And so on
Remember, Mother Nature has blessed us
With oodles of riches
In the form of plants and trees
Mountains and forests
Ponds, lakes, rivers, seas and oceans
And last but not the least, oxygen!
It is time we show her some gratitude
And more importantly, respect and compassion
And stop messing around with the eco-system
Remember the famous old saying
Live and let live
It doesn't mean infrastructure shouldn't be developed
We can build roads
We can build a railway network
We can build houses
We can build schools and colleges
We can build hospitals
We can build libraries
However, as my grandfather used to say
There is a limit to everything
And we should also plant trees
Build gardens and parks
Switch to renewable sources of energy
And cut down severely on emissions
A balance should be maintained
After all, messing around with Mother Nature
Will only bring about our own downfall
There have been enough natural disasters
Caused by human negligence
Let's not add to the list
Which is already longer than the river Nile!
Ashwin Kumar May 6
An acquaintance once advised me
Not to fret over Recruitment
Because it is the easiest job in the world
I have blocked him
But that's not the point
The point is
Recruitment is a pile of work
That keeps growing bigger and bigger
Until it surpasses Mount Everest
And it is also a fly
That keeps hovering tantalisingly above you
Daring you to swat it aside
Before making "The Great Escape"
At the eleventh hour
As far as today was concerned
Recruitment was losing the toss
And watching your bowlers being carted around for boundaries
In all sorts of directions
While enduring a long day in the field
Under the blistering heat of a raging summer
That has already wreaked havoc
Across the entire nation
Who knows what tomorrow may bring
In any case
We do know one thing for sure
Recruitment is anything but an easy job
Fairly self-explanatory!
Ashwin Kumar Apr 22
Expectation destroys everything
All of you should know that
After all, I am a human being
Not an AI-programmed robot
How much can I manage at a time?
You expect me to work
And aggressively at that
Handling five mandates at a time
When you very well know
That even three is not a walk in the park
You expect me to exercise
When I barely have time to complete my work
And on top of that
You expect me to eat
You expect me to drink
And you expect me to sleep
Like every other human being
Do you even hear yourself?

Expectation destroys everything
What do you get
When you expect too much from people?
Do you really want that?
I repeat, I am a human being
Not an AI-programmed robot
Put yourself in my shoes
And see if you can achieve
What you're expecting me to achieve
Of course, you love to say
That I need to be flexible
Well, I certainly do my best
But you need to know
That, sometimes, even your best is not enough
When you're up against time
Because time is not flexible
And will never be

Expectation destroys everything
I hope you will realise this some day
Because, if you don't
Then it will be your loss, not mine
Until then, here's to expecting
And getting disappointed
Apr 16 · 139
How To Spoil A Weekend
Ashwin Kumar Apr 16
It is a long weekend
A much-needed break
After four days of hard work
With no results to show for it
As the clock strikes nine
I slowly open my eyes
Still stuck in the twilight
Between my dreams and waking up
It is only the prospect of coffee
A strong, hot cup of morning coffee
Prepared by my dear  mother
And full of a rich aroma
With no sugar to spoil it
That gives me the strength
To climb out of my bed
I then head towards the dining table
To give my mom a customary hug
Before entering the kitchen
And grabbing that cup of coffee
As I head back to my room
And reclaim my bed
I check my phone
As I am wont to do
And bang! my Whatsapp is filled to the brim
With all sorts of notifications
The smile on my face
Turns into an ugly frown
As I check one of the many notifications
It is from my boss
Asking me to be available at one o'clock
For a call with a client
That too, that dreaded client
Which has ******* us over
More times than we can even count
And I also happen to notice
That the client HR has added us to a Whatsapp group
Which means there is no way we can back out now
Way to go, guys
You know for sure
How to spoil a weekend
Apr 4 · 447
The Hunt For True Love
Ashwin Kumar Apr 4
Thirty two years and counting
I haven't found true love yet
And I am not considering unrequited love
I've been there twice
The first occasion was during my MBA
To cut a long story short
I simply couldn't pluck up the courage
To tell her how I felt
When I eventually managed to do it
It turned out to be a case of locking the stable
After the horse had well and truly bolted
The second occasion was an arranged marriage
Where the engagement brought us closer to each other
Or at least, I thought so
But the issue was, the girl didn't
And the pandemic pulled us apart
Metaphorically as well as physically
Thus, that didn't end well either
Now that I am single again
Thanks to this amazing human invention called "divorce"
The hunt for true love continues
Before we proceed further, though
Let me get this off my chest
I am a work in progress, not a finished product
And I have my flaws
But then, we all know the saying
Nobody is perfect
Everybody has some flaw or the other
In fact, it is these flaws
That separates us human beings from robots
Which are equally intelligent as we are, if not more
But I am going off-track
The point is, I need someone who loves me as I am
Of course, it works both ways
If I love someone with all my heart
I would do anything for her
I mean, anything that comes within the definition of "ethical"
And I wouldn't want her to change one bit
I mean, as far as her character is concerned
Now that we are all on the same page
It is time for me
To resume the hunt for true love
Of course, we all may have our expectations
But I ask for only two things
Unwavering loyalty and trust
And accepting me as as I am
With all my flaws
And when I do fall in love
I hope and pray
That it is reciprocated, for a change
Mar 28 · 239
I Am Different
Ashwin Kumar Mar 28
I am different
And have always been
Right from the age of four
Whether it be my fascination for trains
And cement mixers, for some reason
Or my peculiar fear of water
Or my obsession with the number of pages in a newspaper
And last but not the least
Playing cricket with myself

I am different
And have always been
I can't make small talk to save my life
Social cues are like Greek and Latin to me
I understand sarcasm
As much as Voldemort understands love
I keep fiddling with my things
Pens, papers, clothes, hair etc.
My room is as organised
As a typical bachelor's den is
And the list goes on and on

I am different
And have always been
Earlier, this always used to bother me
And make me feel inferior
Especially when people advised me
To improve my verbal communication skills
And body language
However, I have realised now
That they could not have been more wrong
Because I am autistic
And autism is not something that can be cured
Rather, it has to be managed
And thanks to therapy
I have been managing reasonably well
For the last five years or so
Let me repeat
I am different
And have always been
If you have a problem with that
You are welcome to leave
Poem about my being different because of my Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. There is a Harry Potter reference.
Ashwin Kumar Mar 22
We work ourselves to death
Day and night
We pay attention to the tiniest detail
And analyse everything with the utmost rigour
We keep putting things off
So that we can give our undivided attention
To the project in front of us
After successfully completing a humongous project
A project that pushed our buttons
And almost drove us to the verge of insanity
We began another project
After the barest minimum of a break
And yet again, we've pushed ourselves
To the very limit
However, you've not uttered a word of appreciation
On the other hand
You only seem to be intent on nitpicking
Correct this, correct that
And blah blah blah
Seriously, what does it take to satisfy you?
Should we sprout wings and start flying?
Or even better, should we wave a magic wand
And cast a spell
To ensure that each and every whim of yours is satisfied?
Poem dedicated to my boss who (it seems) can never be satisfied; as my colleagues and I are working on two successive projects.
Mar 17 · 113
Sinking To New Lows
Ashwin Kumar Mar 17
Day after day
Week after week
Month after month
Year after year
You've shown the world
How not to be an employer
Treating your employees like slaves
Demeaning them with insults
That were way below the belt
Denying them their basic pay
For which they have braved storms
Scaled towering mountain peaks
And dived to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean
And firing a few of them
For no justifiable reason whatsoever
Today, however
You have sunk to a new low
It is bad enough to not pay your employees
But to accuse them of not doing their jobs
And lie to their faces'
That you've been paying them properly
Is despicable to the core
And goes on to show
That you are nothing more
Than a rat in the gutter
But then, the rat at least deserves to be put out of its misery
You, on the other hand
Deserve to rot in the confines of Tihar Jail
For a very very long time
Of course, we all know the famous saying
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind
But it applies only to human beings
You are not one
Dedicated to the monster who calls himself the owner of the company where my best friend works
Ashwin Kumar Mar 5
I have been working hard
For hours and hours
Days and days
Weeks and weeks
Combing every portal
Sending hundreds of mails
Speaking to hundreds of candidates
And yet I see no light
At the end of this extremely dark
And insanely long tunnel
I have sacrificed so much
Be it watching cricket
Or playing mobile video games
Or reading books
Or going for walks
Or exercising
Or even
Spending quality time with my family
Don't get me wrong
I love the work I'm doing
It is, after all, a wonderful learning experience
And will hold me in good stead
For the years to come
But surely you've got to admit
That I could use an extra pair of hands
To say that the company is short-staffed
Would be the understatement of the year
How long do you expect me to go on like this
Doing the work of at least two people?
After all, I am a human
Not a robot
So far, I may have been on the right track
But at some stage
I am bound to crack
And when I do
It is not only I who would suffer
But the company as well
You wouldn't want that, would you?
So, please hire more people soon
We need all the support we can get
And while allocating work
Please ensure that we don't end up biting more than we can chew
After all, we do love our work
But it is equally important
That the work loves us in turn
Dedicated to my boss.
Ashwin Kumar Feb 20
You know the famous saying
All good things come to an end
This applies to weekends as well
Or in this case, Sundays
Because I was forced to work yesterday
Due to a massive project
Which will keep me occupied
For a good three weeks
Including two Saturdays
Hence, all the more reason
To positively dread the start of tomorrow
Ah yes, the infamous Monday
Something that terrifies me
More than climbing Mount Everest
Or entering a lion's den
Or earning the wrath of a cobra
I can go on and on
But I think I've made my point
Yes, Mondays are bad
Especially if you've enjoyed the weekend
As much as I did
Notwithstanding working on Saturday
So, do you want to know
What makes tomorrow twice as bad
As any other Monday?
Firstly, as mentioned earlier
I am working on a big project
Probably my biggest in the last three years
Secondly, while the going has been smooth so far
Things are going to get tricky
So far, all I have accomplished
Is pure research
But now, I'll have to start calling people
And these are not recruitment calls
Which are relatively straightforward
On the other hand
I am entering pure sales territory
Which may not be a big deal
For most "normal" people
But for someone who is autistic
It is a different ballgame altogether
In fact, it is like steering a ship
Through the Bermuda Triangle
And finally
The biggest roadblock
In my long and treacherous path
Is not the candidates
Not even the client
But my accursed laptop
Whose ability to perform under pressure
Is even less than that of South Africa
In a global cricket tournament
Ashwin Kumar Feb 6
We have been in this relationship
For more than six years
For the first three years
You served me really well
Whether it be the network connectivity
Or the quality of calls
Or the mobile data
But since then, things have gone south
The calls started dropping
There were plenty of times
When I could hear the other person
But s/he could not hear me
And vice-versa
There were also plenty of times
When the other person's voice was muffled
Or worse, distorted
And finally, the mobile data was slower than a snail
Thanks to your disappointing service
My work was badly affected
And I lost a few candidates
But still I gave you a chance
As per your suggestion
I changed my Sim Card
And for a few months
It was smooth sailing
I thought we were on the right track
Alas, how wrong I was!
Every time there was an issue
You came up with all sorts of excuses
For instance, geographical reasons
And network settings
And whatnot!
Then the pandemic struck
Leaving you short-staffed
And your service suffered accordingly
So, I decided to wait
Until normalcy was restored
Thus, I gave you another chance
Unfortunately, as always
You failed to take it
And for the first time
You showed some attitude
This was really the last straw
And I have decided
That I have given you enough chances
And it is only a matter of time
Before I am finally done with you
Jan 26 · 498
My Quest For True Love
Ashwin Kumar Jan 26
I have been yearning for true love
For years and years
For decades and decades
I have seen it in movies
I have read it in books
But to experience it in real life
Is a different feeling altogether
Of course, when you have lived
For as long as thirty two years
It is utterly impossible
Not to fall in love
At least once, or maybe even twice
And I am not even counting crushes
They are as ephemeral
As the life of a mayfly is
The love bug has bitten me twice
However, on both occasions
The love has been more lop-sided
Than the recent Men's Ashes
On the first occasion
I was slower than a snail
By the time I finally confessed my feelings
The girl was already engaged
On the second occasion
It was an arranged marriage
After two initial meetings
Followed by two months
Full of frequent phone calls
We had a rather simple engagement
Since then, it was apparent
That the going was smooth
Even if it was a long-distance relationship
However, just before the wedding
The pandemic chose to strike
The marriage had to be postponed
By five frigging months
Consequently, things were never the same again
Mind you, I was very much in love
But, as I mentioned earlier
It was a long-distance relationship
And I could sense
That slowly, but surely
The girl was beginning to fade away
And the marriage, when it eventually happened
Was an absolute trainwreck
Now, a year and a half later
I am single again
And the quest for true love continues
This time, I hope and pray
That when I do fall in love again
It will be duly reciprocated
And will be as long-lasting
As the love
That my family has for me
Ashwin Kumar Jan 16
It is irritating beyond belief
That you have absolutely no control
Over what you can remember
And what you can forget
Especially if you are autistic
I want to remember so many things
Essential tasks, passwords, birthdays
I want to forget so many things
People, mistakes, failures
However, Fate works in mysterious ways
Most of the time, it so happens
That you forget what you want to remember
And remember what you want to forget
In the past, I have been guilty
Of losing a number of things
Calculators, earphones, pen drives
I have been equally guilty
Of forgetting as many things
Essential tasks, passwords, important dates
However, over the last few years
I have made some progress
I am much less forgetful
Than I used to be
Because I make notes in my diary
And set up reminders on my phone
However, as mentioned before
Fate works in mysterious ways
Especially if you are autistic
Just as I thought
That I had established some control
Over what I can remember
I have started forgetting again
And this time, there is no turning back
Fairly self-explanatory.
Jan 8 · 151
It has been two years
Ashwin Kumar Jan 8
It has been two years
Two very long years
Since we were blessed
With the opportunity to listen
To an entire album
Of your unique music
Whether it be the soulful melodies
Or the foot-tapping dance numbers
Or the mesmerising fusion songs
Or even the **** kuthu songs
Not to mention, the gripping background music
That never fails to draw you in
No matter what the movie situation may be
Romance, comedy, tragedy, action, suspense
For me, work and music go together
Especially when it is your music
That I turn to
In order to beat the stress
That comes naturally with Recruitment
In fact, there are times
When I actually look forward to working
Because I am confident
That all I need to do
Is to create a playlist of your best songs
Plug in my earphones
And click on 'Play'

It has been two years
Two very long years
We have missed you a lot
Of course, there is always the option
Of listening to your existing music
There are a plethora of songs
In every genre under the Sun
However, we are too eager
For some fresh music
Because we know
That there is still a lot left in you
As they say
Form is temporary
But class is permanent
So, let us hope and pray
That 2022 will usher in
The return of the "Melody King"
Poem dedicated to the Birthday Boy Harris Jayaraj - my favourite Indian music composer.
Ashwin Kumar Jan 2
It was a beautiful Sunday morning
A day after Christmas
Barely had I drifted
Into a gentle slumber
Full of colourful fantasies
Involving a vehicle with thousand wheels
Than I was jolted awake
By the sheer cacophony
Of my mobile alarm
It was just the crack of dawn
And it took me a minute to realise
Why I had to be up and about
At such an odd hour
That too on a Sunday
A massive trek lay ahead of us
After a hot water bath
Followed by a cup
Full of piping hot filter coffee
We were ready to head out
In a medium-sized car
After a long drive
It was time for a break
In order to recharge our batteries
With a delightful breakfast
Full of South Indian delicacies
After yet another marathon drive
Senjikottai finally welcomed us
With open arms
After exploring the Kalyana Mahal
With its artfully decorated interiors
It was time for the real challenge
The trek up the mountains
That loomed over us
It was a daunting task, no doubt
But certainly not an impossible one
Especially if we stuck together
After all, we were family
And what does family do
But stick together
Especially when presented with a challenge?
And so the climb began
Through a winding and twisting path
Full of sand and rocks
A path with more twists
Than an Agatha Christie ****** mystery
The Sun God showed no mercy on us
With every step we took
Sweat poured out in buckets
And that was not all
The steps were so uneven
That it was a miracle
To be able to cover even a hundred metres
Without slipping on the way
And there were more hurdles
In the form of monkeys
A whole family of them
Spread around the mountains
And lying in wait
To nick some food and water
From the loaded bags
That we carried
On our already weary backs
In order to keep the monkeys at bay
We additionally had to carry sticks
Thus adding to our burden
By the time we were halfway up
The sheer weight of the task
Was already beginning to tell on us
Our limbs were aching
Our palms were shaking
Our heads were throbbing
And I wanted nothing more
Than to go home
And crash on my bed
However, we were wise enough
To take short breaks here and there
During which we refuelled
Taking gulps of water
To fill our parched throats
Moreover, the view of the countryside
Was getting better and better
And it was this
That ultimately propelled us
To carry on and finish the task
So on we marched
Sweating and panting
Slipping and stumbling
But never giving up
Till we reached the very top
And there stood before us
Gingee Fort, in all its glory
With a stunning countryside
Full of lakes and hills
Trees, roads and buildings
A sight fit to dazzle
Even the most cynical of skeptics
A sight fit to melt a heart of stone
As we basked in the glory
Of an arduous and extremely tiring
But ultimately successful climb
I felt incredibly thankful
For deciding to undertake this trek
For it was one of my best moments of 2021
With family and relatives on 26 Dec 2021.
Dec 2021 · 83
A Day In Recruitment
Ashwin Kumar Dec 2021
There are times
When you work your hardest
When you burn the midnight oil
Yet, it is not enough
Because, the pile of work besides you
Grows taller and taller
Till it outgrows Mount Everest
As you process this
And arrive at a decision
That the first thing to do
Is to take a nap
In order to clear your head
And ensure your mind is fresh
You receive a call
From that hated client
Your nemesis-in-chief
For years and years
A client that has pushed you
To the very brink
On a number of occasions
A client that has kept you on your toes
Only to pull the rug from under your feet
At the eleventh hour
As you take the call
You hope against hope
That they are bringing good news
But your hopes are brutally dashed
As they inform you
With apparent smug satisfaction
That your candidates
Who have been interviewed
After more than a month of inaction
Are all rejected
Thus, you have to start all over again
And ****! Just like that
All those months of hard work
Have gone down the drain
And that is not all
This is merely an addition
To the gargantuan pile of work
That lies on your desk
As you take another look at it
You feel ready to pass out
To all those who've read till here
This may come as a shock
However, the reality is
This is just a day in Recruitment
Nov 2021 · 284
Recruitment is such a devil
Ashwin Kumar Nov 2021
For days and days
Weeks and weeks
Months and months
You work the hardest you can
You burn the midnight oil
You sacrifice a lot of things
That you hold dear
Whether it be cricket
Whether it be mobile games
Whether it be online shows
Whether it be exercise, even!
After all your sincere efforts
You are surely bound to think
That success would follow you
However, you are in for a rude shock
Far from being rewarded with success
You are instead punished
With failure after failure
As your efforts go down the drain
One after the other
Until all you are left with
Is a massive pile of zeroes
A reflection of your  rejection
By the candidates
By the clients
And, last but not the least
By your laptop itself!
Recruitment is such a devil
Nov 2021 · 435
Dear Patti, we miss you
Ashwin Kumar Nov 2021
Dear Patti, we miss you
We miss you so much
That there is a gaping hole
Taller than the Burj Khalifa
Left by your absence
Not a soul can replace you
You were one of a kind

Dear Patti, we miss you
You were always there for us
Whether it be the immediate family
Whether it be close relatives
Whether it be friends
So much so
That your presence was taken for granted

Dear Patti, we miss you
From your words of wisdom
To your unconditional support
From your sheer optimism
To your never-say-die spirit
From your delicious meals
To your spooky tales
From your knowledge of various topics
Whether it be cricket
Whether it be politics
Whether it be trains
To your unwavering enthusiasm

Dear Patti, we miss you
I still remember the day
As though it were only yesterday
When my dear friend
Was hopelessly marooned in her hostel
During the peak of the Chennai floods
Along with her family
It was your unconditional love
That saved the day
And my friend and her family
Can never forget you
Not just because of your timely help
But also because, to you
They were also family

Dear Patti, we miss you
You left us so soon
That we had no time to say goodbye
But you should know this
You will always live in our hearts
As a grandmother
As a mother
As a wife
As a sister
As an aunt
As a dear friend
And finally
As a human being
A very beautiful human being
Tribute to my maternal grandmother who passed away on 4th October
Aug 2021 · 111
Another day goes by
Ashwin Kumar Aug 2021
Another day goes by
When you work your hardest
And yet, you are left with nothing
To show for your hard toil
All those hours you spent
Searching for the right profiles
All those hours you spent
Calling as many candidates as possible

Another day goes by
When the world of Recruitment
Lures you into its *****
With a lot of false promises
Only to grab you
In a vice-like grip
At the eleventh hour
And try and choke you into submission
In the same way
An anaconda coils itself
Around its hapless prey
And squeezes it to death

Another day goes by
When you toil away
Like there is no tomorrow
Searching for candidates
In every nook and cranny
But, with every candidate
It is the same story
They are not interested
Not for this particular client
A client which calls itself "mid-market"
But is actually rather small
Some candidates are quite friendly
Some are just polite
Some, downright rude
And others don't even bother
To pick up their phone
The bottomline is
This client just won't sell
And as yet another day goes by
I wonder what have I done
To deserve such an unwanted burden
Upon my hapless shoulders
A rant about a very difficult (Investment Banking) role to close with a small client of ours that candidates mostly say no to.
Jun 2021 · 360
I deeply miss those days
Ashwin Kumar Jun 2021
I deeply miss those days
When I used to travel
Of course, not just by any vehicle
But a vehicle with a thousand wheels
Clattering away on iron rails
Like there is no tomorrow
A vehicle I had fallen for
Hook, line and sinker
Since the age of two
A love that I refuse to let go of
And a love that refuses to let go of me!

I deeply miss those days
When we railfans got together
Not simply to eat and drink
Not simply for some chat-chit
But to follow our passion
And shoot videos of trains
Thundering away into the sunset
Like there is no tomorrow

I deeply miss those days
When we railfans got together
And did train trips using circuitous routes
Akin to moving from the head to the mouth
Via the entire body!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to do solo train trips
On a monthly basis
Sometimes, even twice a month
An ideal way to **** work stress!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to write blogs
About every trip of mine
And post them in IRFCA
The largest association of railfans
At least as far as India is concerned
Including many railway officials
With an encyclopedia of information
About the Indian Railways
Whether it be the locomotive classes
Whether it be the train operations
Whether it be the timetables
Or even the food!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to lie down
Not on a bed, but a berth
And get lulled into sleep
By the gentle swaying motion
The rhythmic clickety clack
And, occasionally
The melodious chugging
Or the mesmerising humming
Of the roaring diesel
Hauling our train
Accompanied by its horn
Which itself, was music to the ears!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to sit on my Side Lower Berth
And watch scenery fly past me
As we traversed the countryside
The villages and the small towns
The cattle, goats and sheep
The farms and paddy fields
The bushes, shrubs and trees
The ponds, lakes and rivers

I deeply miss those days
When I used to travel the Konkan route
Through a plethora of bridges and tunnels
Lakes, rivers and mountains
And a plethora of greenery
Accompanied by the fierce chugging
Of the ALCO engine hauling us
Or the rhythmic humming
Of the EMD engine hauling us
Of course, it was a diesel heaven!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to travel by "toy trains"
Whether it be the Neral-Matheran train
Or the Kalka-Shimla train
Or the Siliguri-Darjeeling train
It was so romantic
The way we crawled
Right through the heart of the mountains
With a plethora of tunnels
Bridges, viaducts and loops
After all the high speed drama earlier
It was a surreal change
Enjoying the scenery at our own pace
While getting overtaken by joggers
And sometimes, even animals!

I deeply miss those days
When I used to get down
As we stopped at a station
One of so many in our journey
And take a walk on the platform
To check out our loco
And sip from a piping hot cup of coffee!

I deeply miss those days
When we travelled in single-line sections
And our train came to a halt
At a nondescript wayside station
With a platform on only one side
And total darkness on the other side!
I waited for the signal on that line
To turn green, after a while
And heard, from a great distance
The horn of an approaching train
Followed by the lamps of its engine
As it proceeded to burn the tracks
And raise a great heap of dust
Thus shattering the calm of the night

I deeply miss even those days
When I used to go to office daily
Commuting by the famous Mumbai locals
As the train pulled into Vikhroli
I staggered into the First class compartment
Packed to the hilt
With pretentious male executives
Filling the air with testosterone
Such that it was quite a challenge
To even inhale the air properly
It was quite a relief
When Dadar arrived
But then came another challenge
The famous changeover
From Central to Western Railway
Across a sea of commuters
Followed by a brief ride
In another train, to Lower Parel
By the time I reached office
I was drenched in sweat
From head to toe
Not to mention, thoroughly fatigued
What to do?
After all, this is what life is
For the average Mumbaikar

I deeply miss those days
When train travel was the norm
Rather than the exception
However, as far as I am concerned
COVID19 may have taken me out of the train
But it certainly can't take the train out of me!
My longest poem, on deeply missing trail travel since the pandemic struck.
May 2021 · 381
Recruitment without Naukri
Ashwin Kumar May 2021
Recruitment without Naukri
Is like a cobra
Stripped of its venom
A tree without leaves
A musician without an instrument
A Mutton Biryani without the mutton
A laptop without a battery
I can go on and on
But you get the gist, right?

Recruitment without Naukri
How does it even work?
Of course, there are other portals
LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed
TimesJobs, Shine, Updazz
Dice, Hirist, Instahyre
But do they even come close
To matching the pin-point accuracy
The sheer amount of detailing
The refreshing practicality
And finally, the user-friendliness
That Naukri brings to the table?
The answer to that, unfortunately
Is a resounding no

Recruitment without Naukri?
Can it be managed?
As mentioned earlier
There are other portals
But will your boss be ready to pay
For any of them, apart from LinkedIn?
The answer to that, unfortunately
Is again a resounding no

Recruitment without Naukri
Coupled with a miserly boss
Is like chasing 350 in 50 overs
On a seaming wicket at Leeds
All your hard work at the nets
Goes to the drain
As you keep trying to hit boundaries
And end up getting clean bowled instead
Ultimately, the loser is not the client
Not the boss either
It is you, and only you
This is a rant about being forced to work without Naukri access to CVs for a whole week. People in Recruitment (especially in India) will understand.
Apr 2021 · 490
Are you a human being?
Ashwin Kumar Apr 2021
Are you a human being?
Or are you an agent of Satan?
Are you capable of any good?
Or is it utterly pointless
To keep such expectations?
You live only for money
And your employees are mere tools
To be used one day
And thrown away another day

Are you a human being?
Or are you an agent of Satan?
Your employees sacrifice so much
By burning the midnight oil
Every day, every week
Every month, every year
Some of them have to do it
Just to make ends meet
And you deny them
Such a basic thing as salary
For an entire year

Are you a human being?
Or are you an agent of Satan?
During these mad times we live in
With many people dying
And many more getting infected
You still care about work only
Of course, your employees are just robots
But, if they are robots
Why are they getting infected as well?

Are you a human being?
Or are you an agent of Satan?
With every passing day
The situation is getting worse and worse
As the virus is spreading everywhere
Including amongst your employees
Yet, you still act like Emperor Nero
Who was content to play the piano
While his beloved Rome burned
Is it not your duty
To create a safe environment
For all your employees?
Should you not make it a priority
To ensure that they all work from home?
Instead, your lust for control is such that
You would rather prefer
Your employees to risk their lives
Just so that you can watch over them
Just the way the monster Cerberus
Guards the gates to Hell

Are you a human being?
Or are you an agent of Satan?
You may be a Founder of a company
But you lack basic goodness
And unless you mend your ways
You and your husband
Will die a dog's death
The sooner that day comes, the better
So that your employees
Can start leading a normal life again
Free from your evil influence
This is a rant to the boss of my best friend, in whose company many employees have been infected with COVID19 and she still expects everyone to come to office.
Ashwin Kumar Apr 2021
When will you ever be satisfied?
Work, work and work
That's all you want us to do
Never mind that it's a Saturday
That we have a life of our own
That we have a family
That we've already burned the midnight oil
With no rewards for our hard labour

When will you ever be satisfied?
We all know the famous saying
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
Do you want us all to be Jacks?
Are we humans or machines?
What ever happened to work-life balance?
We work for hours and hours
In front of a computer screen
Is this fair to our eyes?

When will you ever be satisfied?
We handle multiple roles
We handle multiple clients
We run a huge risk
In upsetting a few clients
In order to satisfy your favourite client
But will that particular client
Justify its enormous price tag?

When will you ever be satisfied?
We never get our incentives on time
Yet we rarely complain
We patiently put in all the hard yards
Waiting for months, in vain
At the huge risk of burnout
You will never be able to replace us
Yet your lust for control is such
That you will never be satisfied
This is a rant to my boss who has been driving us mad for the last 4-5 days; including making us work on a Saturday.
Mar 2021 · 100
What do you know, really?
Ashwin Kumar Mar 2021
What do you know, really?
About the midnight oil I burn
About the sacrifices I make
About the long waits I endure
As you find numerous excuses
To delay my salary and incentives
About the pain I endure
In order to share resumes on time
Even as my stomach muscles burn

What do you know, really?
About what goes in my work
About the amount of time I spend
With my eyes glued to the screen
Searching every nook and corner
For the ideal candidate
Even as my eyes protest vociferously
About the calls I make
Hoping to convert every one of them
Into a successful lead
But instead ending up in rejections
Even as the pressure mounts on me
To find at least two good resumes
By the end of a long day
A tedious and totally exhausting day

What do you know, really?
About the various situations
I have to deal with in my life
About the efforts I put in
To ensure that work is not affected
At any cost, whatsoever
About my Asperger Syndrome
And the difficulties it puts me in
Whether personal or professional

The list goes on and on
You may be a Founder
And me just a team member
But as far as my ordeals are concerned
What do you know, really?
A rant to my boss about not understanding my side of things.
Jan 2021 · 459
Republic Day Special 2021
Ashwin Kumar Jan 2021
This is a very important day
A grand and glorious day
The day on which we became a Republic
Thanks to the guiding light
Of Babasaheb Dr. B.R.Ambedkar
The Architect of the Constitution
And the True Father of the Nation
If it were not for the great leader's efforts
In creating such a precious document
Many of us would have been denied
Our basic rights and freedoms
There would have been no equality
Many of us would have been languishing
In the gloomy confines of Tihar Jail
In fact, many of us
Wouldn't even have had the chance to live!

This is a very important day
A grand and glorious day
Or, is it really?
Today is the day
On which we take the pledge
To follow and protect the Constitution
But do we really follow it?
Is there really equality everywhere?
Is everyone getting their basic rights?
Are we really a free country?
Is our human rights record
Really something to be proud of?

This is a very important day
A grand and glorious day
Or, is it really?
If Dr. Ambedkar were alive today
He would have been speechless
With sheer shock and outrage
At the way in which
Our Constitution is being misused
Whether it be innocents languishing in jail
Or the atrocities inflicted by the trigger-happy police
Or arbitrary bills being passed
To benefit the rich and the powerful
Or people being denied a chance to love
Because they belong to different religions
Or an entire state being trapped and besieged
And cut off from any kind of communication whatsoever
And of course, casteism in a myriad variety of forms
At each and every level, whether overt or subtle
The list goes on and on
With no end in sight

This is a very important day
A grand and glorious day
Or rather, supposed to be
In reality, a very sad day
We are cowards at heart
We wear our patriotism on our sleeves
We scream from the rooftops
India! India! India!
But we never question injustice
The sheer injustice perpetrated on a daily basis
On many of our brethren
Especially the marginalised communities
They are also equally patriotic
But we deny them the chance
To even share the stage with us
Till we, the privileged majority
Acknowledge our complicity
In all the injustice and inequality
And start making amends
In action, not mere words
There is no point in celebrating Republic Day
Dedicated to the privileged majority of India (myself included!) on the nation's 72nd Republic Day.
Ashwin Kumar Sep 2020
Music is a wonderful healer
It has soothed many a troubled soul
And cheered up many a depressed soul
There is something in music
That endears itself, to one and all
Something irresistible, so much so
That it feels, frankly divine
Something that distinguishes it
From all other forms of art
There is no greater joy
Than watching a master musician at work
Maestros are one of a kind
Around them, is an aura so powerful
That nothing can stop them
From weaving their magic
Slowly, but surely
And leaving us spellbound
At the sheer symmetry of it all
And we cannot speak about maestros
Without speaking about Harris Jayaraj
His music takes us into a whole new world
A world full of hope
A world full of infinite possibilities
And most importantly
A world where we feel liberated
Whether it be the softness of the instruments
Or the extremely catchy tunes
Or the clever choice of singers
There is no doubt
That his music has cast a spell on us all
Of course, there are haters
Some of whom call him a copycat
However, actions speak louder than words
From Minnale to Kaakha Kaakha
From Ghajini to Unnale Unnale
From Vaaranam Aayiram to Ko
From Nanban to Anegan
From Yennai Arindhaal to Kaappaan
Harris has delivered hits time and again
His records speak for themselves
And what's more
We can love or hate Harris
But we can't deny
That his music affects us all
For better or for worse
Poem dedicated to my favourite Indian music composer - Harris Jayaraj.
Aug 2020 · 2.2k
I will always be your fan
Ashwin Kumar Aug 2020
Dear Ronald Bilius Weasley
No matter what others say
I will always be your fan
You are such a marvellous character
Not perhaps, a perfect one
But a character with flaws
So real, and so beautiful
That we can totally relate to it

In your first year at Hogwarts
You played a game of chess
In such a magnificent manner
That even the Russians of the Muggle world
Could not have done any better

In your second year at Hogwarts
You faced your greatest fears
With a courage and nerve
That Godric Gryffindor would have been proud of
For the sake of your best mates

In your third year at Hogwarts
You almost ruined a friendship
For the sake of a rat and a broomstick
But you made amends for it
By standing up to a notorious murderer
That too with a broken leg
Again, for the sake of your best mate

In your fourth year at Hogwarts
Again, there was a misunderstanding
That threatened to derail a strong friendship
But you were there for Harry
When it truly mattered
There was also some ugly ****** jealousy
As your teenage hormones took centrestage
But at least you got an inkling
That you and Hermione
Were made for each other

In your fifth year at Hogwarts
There was a lot you had to put up with
The constant bullying of the Slytherins
Especially during Quidditch matches
The temper tantrums of your best friend
And finally, the evil Dolores Jane Umbridge
Initially, due to your nerves and insecurities
Your Quidditch performances went from bad to worse
But then, you finally showed us
The stuff you were made of
Saving goals left, right and centre
And to cap it all
You bravely fought a dozen Death Eaters
Yet again, for the sake of your best friend

Finally, we come to the war
Due to your never-ending insecurities
And anxiety for your family
Worsened by a dreadful locket
That contained a part of Voldemort's soul
You briefly deserted your best mates
But returned when it mattered the most
Even saving Harry's life in the process
And then, as you destroyed that darned locket
You finally conquered your fears
And transitioned successfully to manhood
Finally, during the Battle of Hogwarts
You showed us your sensitive side
A side that we had never seen before
As you displayed your concern for the house-elves
Precipitating your first kiss with Hermione
Later on, you lost your dear brother
But continued to soldier on bravely
Even standing up to Voldemort himself
Hence, dear Ronald Bilius Weasley
No matter what others say
I will always be your fan
A poem dedicated to one of the best characters in the Harry Potter world - Ronald Bilius Weasley
Jun 2020 · 169
Every week, every day
Ashwin Kumar Jun 2020
Every week, every day
Every hour, every minute
You pile on the pressure
The same way a python
Slowly, but surely
Coils itself around its prey
The hapless rabbit struggles hard
But its efforts are entirely in vain
As the python tightens its grip
And chokes the rabbit into submission
The poor prey can only pray
As the serpent opens its mouth wide
And devours the rabbit whole

Every week, every day
Every hour, every minute
You expect us to close roles
At the speed of light
As it were child's play
As they say, ignorance is bless
While a pandemic is raging
And many people are losing their jobs
And many more, their lives even
All that matters to you is money
Money, that you don't pay us on time
And yet expect results from us
After all, you can't have the cake
And eat it too!

Every week, every day
Every hour, every minute
You take us for granted
You expect the impossible from us
But have you ever realised
The pains we go through
In order to satisfy your unreasonable demands?
Have you ever considered the fact
That we are also human beings?
What would you do
If we decided to abandon you?
It is easy to lose good employees
But a herculean task to replace them
Your firm would be finished for good
You would end up bankrupt
And there would be infinite time left
To reflect on what may have been
Had you been a little more understanding
A little more considerate
A little more human
A poem dedicated to my boss. Enough said!!
May 2020 · 914
Forty five dark days
Ashwin Kumar May 2020
Forty five dark days
Forty five desolate days
Forty five depressing days
With every passing hour
I go from depressed to hopeful
From hopeful to furious
And back to depressed
The vicious circle goes on and on
With no end in sight

Forty five dark days
Forty five desolate days
Forty five depressing days
As the first lockdown is extended
The sense of despair grows stronger
My temper grows shorter
My insecurities, buried till then
In the dark recesses of my mind
Suddenly rise like a tsunami
And flood my brain and heart
Leaving a massive trail of dead cells in their wake

Forty five dark days
Forty five desolate days
Forty five depressing days
As the second lockdown is extended
I become increasingly on edge
Every little frustration comes to the fore
Whether it be the delayed salaries
Or being cooped up in a small house
With five family members
And thus having to endure the sheer cacophony
Of the Mahabharat and Ramayan
Blaring on the TV every day
Or simply the torrid climate of Chennai

Forty five dark days
Forty five desolate days
Forty five depressing days
How long will this go on?
I have been patient till now
But at some stage, I am bound to snap
And then you will find
That when the going gets tough
The tough get going
However, I get dangerous
So, think carefully, dear Prime Minister
Before you announce another nationwide lockdown
Unless you want to land yourself in quarantine
My 3rd lockdown poem!!
May 2020 · 121
How cruel can you be?
Ashwin Kumar May 2020
How cruel can you be?
How heartless can you be?
Every month, every week
Every day, every hour
Every minute, every second
You subject your employees
To nothing but abject slavery
In the name of hard work
In the name of targets
But in reality, just to satisfy
Your unquenchable thirst for money
Your insatiable greed for power

How cruel can you be?
How heartless can you be?
You expect results at the speed of light
But you do not provide your employees
The necessary resources
After all, do you think
They are all Harry Houdinis
Capable of pulling rabbits out of hats?

How cruel can you be?
How heartless can you be?
Your employees burn the midnight oil
And brave Hell for you
Some of them are forced to do it
Just to make both ends meet
And you have the sheer nerve
To deny them their pay
Which they have so richly earned
After weeks and weeks of toil

How cruel can you be?
How heartless can you be?
Mark my words, the time will come
When you will pay for your deeds
Till now, you have been lucky
Fate has been on your side
However, things will soon change
Your company will be in free-fall
You will be in debt
With nowhere to turn
As your employees will desert you
One by one
Not even a Houdini can save you then
This poem is a message to the owners of the company where my best friend works; she has not been paid the salary since June 2019!!
Apr 2020 · 403
Thirty years and counting
Ashwin Kumar Apr 2020
Thirty years and counting
Every day, as life goes on
A fiery battle rages
In my mind, heart and soul
Conflicting thoughts and emotions
Wage an unholy war
Armed with a billion weapons
Far more destructive than nuclear bombs
The resulting carnage threatens
A result far worse than a Dementor's Kiss
You know, I never asked for this
I never asked to be born autistic
Of course, it is good to be different
But, does everybody appreciate this difference?
In India, the society judges you
Based on what you speak
However, my mouth is blessed
With an ability to turn
Anything that it touches, into stone
Resulting in decades of social anxiety
If only wishes were horses
I would be in Britain
Where actions speak louder than words
After all, not for nothing
Was King George VI one of the finest rulers
In spite of being born
With the handicap of a speech defect?

Thirty years and counting
Everybody seems to like me
Everybody seems to think I'm nice
Up to a point, that is
The moment I dare
To step out of my threshold
The moment I dare
To break codes of conformity
The moment I dare
To question any form of injustice
Is the moment of truth
It is the moment
When everybody shows their true colours
It is the moment
I stop being nice
Instead; I am angry, disturbed, jealous
Naive, immature, unreliable
Confused, weird, crazy
And the list goes on and on
With no end in sight

Thirty years and counting
I have seen enough
I have heard enough
I have felt enough
The time has finally come
For an internal independence struggle
Gone are the days
When I was busy being a 'Yes Man'
Now, if you have a problem with me
I can only tell you this
Tomorrow, you may find
A pill of cyanide
In your cup of coffee
Or a cobra in your shoulder bag
Or a bullet in your temple
Or a bomb in your briefcase
The choice is entirely yours, my dears
This poem has a dark ending, and a Harry Potter reference.
Ashwin Kumar Mar 2020
Day by day
I am falling apart
Sinking to new lows
My world crashing around me
I may be thirty years old
But at heart, I am a child
A lost child, seeking reassurance
Seeking sanity, in this insane mess
Seeking happiness, in this tragic story
Seeking an escape, from this hideous cage
After all, what have I done
To deserve this terrible fate?
I did not ask, to bear this burden
On my already weary shoulders
It is quite easy to say
That I will soon be fine
That it is only a matter of time
But, how can I right the wrongs
That I have done
Over the last few hours
In my anger, panic and desperation?
Whether it be shouting at my family
Or breaking my phone screen?
Of course, I can start afresh
My love for my family is real
Irrespective of a few spats
Triggered by being cooped up
In a small house, for two days
After all, these are mad times
You cannot eat at a restaurant
You cannot watch a movie
You cannot attend a poetry event
You cannot even go to a park
But, how long can one remain inside?
In the absence of fresh air
The mind tends to become stale
And therefore prone to meltdowns
Can you then seriously blame me
For flipping out, as I did?
Of course, it is easy to say
That I should be more mature
Given my present age
But then, autism affects you
Irrespective of your age
Anyway, the fight is on
The virus may **** us physically
But it is upto us, to ensure
That it does not **** us mentally
Of course, we have to take a few blows
It is certainly not an easy battle
However, as they say
It is better to try and fail
Than to give up right away
Therefore, whether we win or lose
We will not go down without a fight!!
Poem dedicated to fighting the novel Corona virus.
Mar 2020 · 642
Woe betide me
Ashwin Kumar Mar 2020
Woe betide me
Every day as I wake up
I sniff the air around me
Searching for some hope
In these dark, difficult times
However, like a fly
Buzzing around the dinner table
Hope hovers tantalisingly
Inviting you to make a lunge
Before eluding your reach
At the eleventh hour

Woe betide me
My mood swings like the Sensex
From happy to sad
From sad to angry
From angry to depressed
From depressed to stressed
Like a sine wave
The graph marches on inexorably
With no straight line in sight

Woe betide me
In all my thirty years
I have been through a lot
Depression, sorrow, grief
Heartburn, jealousy, rage
Frustration, stress, guilt
One thing, however, is certain
Anything set in stone
Is less likely to tug at my heart strings
Than something subtle and nebulous
Uncertainty is the worst evil
Like a cunning serpent
It slithers around us silently
Striking when we least expect
Sinking its huge fangs
Into our soft and supple skin
As the poison courses its way
Through our delicate bloodstream
We are ****** into an abyss
Deeper than the Pacific Ocean
And from which there is no escape
We can only pray in vain
As it is only a matter of time
Before our souls are ****** out
Through our gaping mouths
Open, in a silent scream of terror
Of course, we could be wrong
We may wake up tomorrow
And realise it was just a nightmare
Nevertheless, the damage has been done
Things will never be the same again

Woe betide me
Marriage is a dream
For every man and woman
As it heralds a new life
A whole new world
Full of promise and hope
Yes, there are hurdles along the way
But none of them are insurmountable
Now, however, crisis has stuck
Being born autistic is hardly a blessing
Since I am often bamboozled
By people and social situations
However, thanks to therapy
I have ridden the storm
And stayed afloat
Over the last five years
Now, however, I am faced
With something totally out of my control
Thus, all my old insecurities
Largely dormant all these years
Have broken through the dam
Carefully built, through sheer willpower
And flooded my mind, heart and soul
At the speed of light
Thus, I am back
To a place where I was, five years ago
Never did I think
In all these years
That I would return
To the humble abode of Satan
Alas, that's life for you
Handing you the greatest shock
When you least expect it
Woe betide me!!
Woe betide us all!!
This is my poem dedicated to our present times - the novel Corona virus. I have taken a bit of inspiration from Harry Potter and its author JK Rowling.
Jan 2020 · 537
Enough is enough
Ashwin Kumar Jan 2020
Enough is enough
We have watched
We have heard
Every year, every month
Every week, every day
Every hour, every minute
Thousands and thousands
Of untold horrors
In every state
In every city
In every village
In every nook and corner
Of this monstrous country
A supposedly secular country
A supposedly democratic country

Enough is enough
How much more can we stand?
For how much longer
Do we have to put up
With this Brahminical terror
Unleashed by the state and legislative
By the judiciary and police
By the corporate and media
Don't you dare hide
Under the garb of patriotism
Under the garb of secularism
Admit it, this is what you wanted
Right from day one
A Savarna-Brahmin India
Free from Dalit-Bahujan resistance
Free from liberty, equality and fraternity
An India ****** would have been proud of
I would like to mention that I've drawn inspiration for this poem from what I've learned through the struggles of many people among the marginalized sections of society; in particular from powerful Ambedkarite voices - Round Table India, Dalit Camera, Velivada, BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association), Dr. B R Ambedkar's Caravan to name a few.
Jan 2020 · 154
Three years of hard work
Ashwin Kumar Jan 2020
Three years of hard work
Three years of patience
Three years of dedication
Where are the rewards?
You talk so much about speed
You talk so much about quality
You talk so much about numbers
Where were you
When the salary was delayed
Every alternate month?
Where were you
When the incentives were delayed
By more than a year?

Three years of hard work
Three years of patience
Three years of dedication
There has been so much
I have put up with
But I do expect something in return
Such as timely payment of salary
Timely payment of incentives
And you have failed to deliver
In all of these aspects
Each of which, is so critical
For a healthy relationship
Between employer and employee
But, are you a good employer?
Looking at the evidence so far
I guess the answer is no

Three years of hard work
Three years of patience
Three years of dedication
The wait has been long enough
I have been extremely patient
But at some stage
My patience is bound to snap
And then, you will hopefully understand
That it may be easy
To lose a good employee
But much more difficult
To find a replacement
And, looking at the speed
At which you pay the salary or incentives
The search will go on and on
Until your wretched company shuts shop
Which is something
That we are all eagerly looking forward to!
Poem dedicated to my boss; known for his legendary salary and incentive delays!!
Dec 2019 · 1.4k
Rest in peace, India
Ashwin Kumar Dec 2019
Rest in peace, India
For you are no more
No more a democracy
No more a republic
No more a secular country
What we are seeing instead
Is a fascist, Brahmanical dictatorship
Where Dalits, Bahujans and Muslims
Are treated as second-rate citizens
Where Brahmins rule the roost
And caste is the order of the day
Where the police run riot
At the slightest sign of a protest
Where equality is dead

Rest in peace, India
For you are no more
The Constitution is being wrecked
By the same people
Who swear to protect it
Day in and day out
This is not the country I knew
This is not the country I loved
Since I was a child
This is Pakistan, not India
After all, we are brothers
United by caste and communalism
Divided only by religion

Rest in peace, India
For you are no more
I so wanna escape it all
Thus I turn to cricket
Watching India play West Indies
In my beloved Chennai
But, then again,
As I turn up the volume
I hear chants of 'India! India!'
This is the last straw
That broke the wretched camel's back
Unable to bear it any longer
I yell 'West Indies! West Indies! '
My prayers are answered
As West Indies win the match
That too as if it were child's play
Rest in peace, India
For you are no more
Poem in the wake of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, followed by the Jamia students' protests and subsequent police atrocities.
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