This post contains conversations between two friends, Rohit and Mahesh, on following four topics:
- Job change,
- Exam preparation,
- Air pollution in cities, and
- Planning a picnic
In the conversations below, the two main characters – Rohit and Mahesh – have been color-coded for ease of browsing.
1. Conversation on job change
Rohit: You look bit down. What’s the matter?
Mahesh: (Sighs) Nothing much.
Rohit: Looks like something isn’t right.
Mahesh: Ya. It’s at the job front. You know that the telecom industry is going through a rough patch because of falling prices and shrinking margins. These factors along with consolidation in the industry is threatening the stability of our jobs. And even if the job remains, career growth isn’t exciting.
Rohit: I know. I’ve been reading about some of these issues about your industry in the newspapers. So have you thought of any plan?
Mahesh: I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but haven’t concretized anything so far.
Rohit: What have you been thinking, if you can share?
Mahesh: Well, I’ve been thinking of switching to an industry that has at least few decades of growth left.
Rohit: That’s the right approach, but you need to reskill yourself for the industry you’re targeting.
Mahesh: I realize that, and I’ve been leaning toward digital marketing because in that industry I can carry over some of my skills from the current job. Another reason for this inclination is that digital marketing requires far less hardcore technical skills, which will make it relatively easier for me to acquire new skills.
Rohit: Your choice makes sense. So are you thinking of making the transition in near future?
Mahesh: Not immediately. I need to keep the job, as I’ve EMIs to pay. I’m 80-90 percent sure I’ll go with digital marketing as the industry to reskill in, but in the next 2-3 weeks I’ll take more opinions on other options, after all I wouldn’t want to change the industry again. And once I finalize the industry, I’ll explore different options to reskill while keeping my current job.
Rohit: Sounds like a plan. If you need I can put you in touch with few friends who can help you finalize your future industry.
Mahesh: That will be awesome. Thanks so much.
Rohit: You’re welcome.
If you want to learn how such conversations pan out in other situations, you may have a look at following conversations: guests ordering food in a restaurant, patient vising a doctor in a clinic, and customer buying groceries.
Scenario II – Changing the current job, but in the same industry
Rohit: Hi, how’re you?
Mahesh: I’m fine. What about you?
Rohit: Good. How’s your work going on?
Mahesh: Not great.
Rohit: Why? What happened?
Mahesh: I can’t cope up with my manager. He was fine to begin with, but not anymore. But that’s not the only reason.
Mahesh: Also, the commute time to the office is just too much at the moment, and I don’t foresee a shift to a closer location in this organization. Too much time on the road is taking a toll on me.
Rohit: Got it. So have you been applying elsewhere?
Mahesh: I am, but the route of sending resumes and cover letters has so far not yielded much. It seems as if they’re disappearing into a black hole, with little to no response coming. Do you know persons in the industry who can help me land interviews?
Rohit: Sending resumes cold doesn’t work well. Off hand, I don’t recall a contact in your industry, but lemme try through people I know. I’ll let you know.
2. Conversation on exam preparation
Rohit: How is your preparation for the exam going on?
Mahesh: Not too bad, overall. I’m worried about English and chemistry, though. How is yours going on?
Rohit: Mine is alright. I’m also finding chemistry to be bit challenging because of its vast syllabus and too much memorization in organic chemistry.
Mahesh: Organic chemistry has been a problem for me too. Can we study chemistry together, at least the organic part?
Rohit: Sure. I think it’s a good idea. Can you help me with English though?
Mahesh: Yes, I can. Where exactly in English you’re facing problem?
Rohit: Thanks. Prepositions and reading comprehension are the main problem areas for me.
Mahesh: As far as prepositions are concerned, I can help you in understanding the rules. But for reading comprehension, you need to put in lots of practice to get better at it.
Rohit: OK. Will do. How’s your preparation going on for other subjects?
Mahesh: Other subjects are more or less on track. Economics, however, seems to have an inexhaustible syllabus and I don’t think I’ll have enough time to revise the subject.
Rohit: Thankfully, I don’t have Economics. But, yes, I’m also struggling to get enough time for revision. Anyway, we’ve to manage in whatever time we have.
Mahesh: That’s right. OK, enough of talk. Let’s get back to study. All the best for your next exam.
Rohit: Thanks. All the best to you as well.
Scenario II – Post-exam
Rohit and Mahesh come out of the examination hall after finishing English paper.
Rohit: The paper was long, wasn’t it?
Mahesh: Yes, unusually long. For sure, we won’t see as many 95+ marks in English this year.
Rohit: How did you do?
Mahesh: So. So. I wish I had timed myself better. In the end, I left questions worth 10 marks unattempted. How about you?
Rohit: I started off well. I was in fact ahead of time as long as I was on grammar and letter writing, but this year’s reading comprehension passages were just too tough for me, and it completely derailed my time management.
Mahesh: So, did you too fail to complete the paper?
Rohit: I did somehow manage to complete, but in the last 20-odd minutes I had to hurry so much that I guess I made quite a few mistakes. Which parts in the paper did you find particularly challenging?
Mahesh: Well, English has never been my forte, and I found even parts of grammar to be challenging, besides the usual culprit – reading comprehension.
Rohit: (Sighs) Well, can’t do much now. Let’s hope for the best and get ready for the next one, chemistry.
Mahesh: You’re right. Let’s get back to studies. Few more hard days to go.
3. Conversation on air pollution in cities
Rohit: Hi Mahesh, how’re you doing?
Mahesh: I’m good. How about you?
Rohit: I’m fine too. How’re you coping with Delhi’s pollution?
Mahesh: It’s really terrible, especially in winter months. I recently bought a pollution mask to mitigate the effect of pollution, but you can’t wear it all the time. But what to do at home?
Rohit: Air purifiers. Don’t they work well?
Mahesh: They do, but they aren’t affordable for everyone. Moreover, would you want to run them for so many hours every day and for so many months?
Rohit: You’ve a point. I’m also planning to buy a pollution mask. What would you recommend?
Mahesh: I bought an N99 mask which cost me just over INR 2,000/-. I’ve tried the cheap ones as well – the ones that cost 15-20 rupees apiece – but they actually turn out to be more expensive.
Rohit: More expensive? How?
Mahesh: The cheap ones can at best be used 2-3 times. Whereas, the one I’m using can be used for few hundred hours. So the cost of cheap ones add up fast. But more importantly, the cheap ones aren’t as effective as the N99 I’m using in filtering the pollutants. That’s critical, right. What’s the point of using a mask if it’s not filtering the harmful pollutants?
Rohit: Agree. Anything else on pollution masks?
Mahesh: Prefer a mask with exhalation valves. Valves help you exhale easily, especially when you’re out of breath after walking fast or climbing stairs, and prevent buildup of moisture.
Mahesh: We’ve been breathing the toxic air for the last few years. Do you foresee any abatement in pollution levels in near future, say this winter?
Rohit: I think it’ll be marginal at best. Vehicular pollution can be controlled by taking the fuel-inefficient, polluting old vehicles off the roads, but will it happen. Who is going to bell the cat to control stubble burning in the neighboring states? Construction activity is probably the easiest of the three to control.
Mahesh: What about pollution from firecrackers on Diwali?
Rohit: There have been some restrictions on use of firecrackers at least in Delhi, but implementation is not easy. To be honest, I’m not too worried about firecrackers because their effect is only for few days. I’m more worried about the month-on-month high level of pollution arising out of other factors.
Mahesh: I agree with your points, but I think citizens too have some role in curbing pollution. We can stop or report people from burning polythene bags and other hazardous waste in winter. We can also report construction activities in our neighborhood during the period it is banned.
Rohit: True. What we often don’t pay attention to is the fact that pollution, especially in the winter months is not just a Delhi phenomenon. It grips most of North India. In fact, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of smaller cities such as Gwalior, Agra, and Lucknow often gets worse than Delhi’s, and they don’t get the same coverage in the national media as big cities such as Delhi do.
Mahesh: That’s right. And pollution is exacting such a heavy toll on human life. I was reading in the newspaper the other day that India has the dubious distinction of most deaths because of pollution and most of them are attributed to air pollution. In 2015, a staggering 2.5 + million people died in India because of pollution.
Rohit: I too recall reading in the newspaper that the AQI in New Delhi entered the satisfactory zone for the first time in several months during the rainy season. Things have come to such a pass that we heave a sigh of relief when the AQI moves from very poor to poor category. Imagine, satisfactory levels come once in few months and that too by the grace of nature (rainfall). AQI in good category seems to be a distant dream.
Mahesh: You’ve summed the state of affairs quite well. Let’s hope things improve.
4. Conversation on planning a picnic
Mahesh: Everything is going smooth. What about you?
Rohit: Same here. What’s your plan for this weekend?
Mahesh: Nothing much. Do you have something in mind?
Rohit: I’ve been thinking about going out on a picnic since the last weekend. What do you say?
Mahesh: Not a bad idea. I’m up for it. Even I’ve been tired of loitering around malls and movie theaters on the weekends. Outdoors would be great. Do you’ve a location in mind?
Rohit: How about Tava? It’s relatively remote and just three-hour drive. We can in fact stay a night there in the government guest house maintained by the forest department.
Mahesh: Can you tell more about the place? What activities we can take to there?
Rohit: The guest house is located on a small hillock overlooking the backwaters of a dam. It’s picturesque. We can make the guest house our base and undertake different activities in the surrounding area.
Mahesh: The location sounds exciting.
Rohit: We can hike down from the guest house to the backwater in an hour or so, spend some time there, then walk on a different trail, and then finally walk back up to the guest house in the evening. We can also take boat ride on the backwater, but for that we’ll have to walk 2-3 kilometers, which isn’t a big deal. There is forest all around that area, and on the next day we can loiter around. You’ll get perfect solitude in the area.
Mahesh: Can we cook own food? Because that’s a key ingredient of any picnic.
Rohit: I’m not sure about it. We can carry the raw material, but we can get confirmation only when we reach there.
Rohit: I forgot to mention that we can even play volleyball or cricket close to the bank of the backwater, which has a sandy beach.
Mahesh: Sandy beach, wow!
Rohit: It’s not like what you’ll get on a coastline, but it’s awesome considering the fact that it’s so close to us. OK, so what’s the plan?
Mahesh: I’m definitely in. Let’s ask few more friends. We should aim for 5-6.
Rohit: Agree. Once we’ve people in, we can pool in different resources – food, vehicle, and other items.
Mahesh: Let’s speak to others today and get the final consent by tomorrow.
Rohit: Sounds good.