Sunday, August 22, 2010

Who Gossips More? Men or Women?

Trust me, any excuse I give is going to be lame. So, won’t give any. Sorry friends. Henceforth, I will surely try my best to be regular in updating my blog. And yes, thank you so much everybody for motivating me and giving me the push to resume the writing. Here’s the first one after the long long break!

Who gossips more? Men or women? I’m sure the ladies are going to say it’s the men while the gentlemen are going to blame the women. I will not let down my gender and strongly believe that times have changed. The present-generation man gossips more than women. Agree? What’s on page 3 today? Who eloped with whom? The men will know it all.

Oh my God! What did I just say? Before someone starts hunting me down for making baseless statements, let me correct myself. It’s not really just the men or just the women. It’s no blame game. Nothing rejuvenates the hearts, minds and souls of Indians as much as gossip does, right? The question of men or women shouldn’t really appear. Fresh, hot and spicy news exalts every Indian’s spirit like nothing else in the world.

My brother-in-law got into the Volvo bus the other day and so did two other gentle IT men. Buses are the ultimate meeting places for the gossip men and gossip women, and Volvo buses, the gossip destination of the IT world. Now, our two IT friends had already taken the world on their shoulders when a lovely lady entered the bus. She turned around, smiled and sat. Whoa! Our worried friends’ faces brightened. One said to the other, “Arey yaar, woh koobsurat ladki tujhe dekhkar hasi!” (That beautiful girl looked at you and smiled!) Looked like their hearts lightened immediately and their worries were all gone. What next?

The man sitting just behind the two boys overheard their conversation. Was he too interested in the girl? He patted one of their backs and said, “Woh ladki meri biwi hai!” (That girl is my wife!) Just imagine what the poor guys must have felt.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Love Bitter Gourd

Have I ever told you that I was a very good cricketer? During the summer holidays, we would play cricket with the boys. The boys were very very scared when they saw me. They never wanted me in their team. As a bowler, 6 wide balls an over. As a fielder, one could bet that I would never catch the ball even if it came and fell right into my hands. As a batsman (or batswoman), first ball, clean bowled!!! The worst thing, however, was that even till the end of the match I never knew which team I belonged to. How Deepthi?? How could you be so so so dumb?? Worse than the worst, I would clap when the opponent team scored a boundary or sixer. How foolish, Deepthi!!! How foolish!!! This annoyed our team so much that they would tear their hair apart. Anyway, that did not help them win the match.

Foolish!!! Yes, this reminds me of bitter gourd. I just love bitter gourd. However, I hated it when I was little. Mommy would force us to eat it. She once tried telling us that we would become just like Sushmita Sen if we ate bitter gourd. In, in, in, it went, down the food pipe and right into the tummy. We believed what mommy said was true. But, I don't see the result even after eating tons and tons of bitter gourd. Why mommy? Why?

Sushmita Sen reminds me of something else. My sister has been saying this since stone age, or, at least since she was in class 5. She has been saying, "Wait for three months. My figure's gonna be just like Sushmita Sen's". Almost a hundred 'three months' are over. I see no result sisterji. What happened?

Bitter gourd also reminds me of my neighbour, a three-year old smart girl. Out of the 24 hours, this chic girl would spend 9 hours at her home sleeping and the remaining 16 hours, she would be at my home. She called my mother "mommy" and her mommy, by her name. Once, my mommy was chopping bitter gourd when the girl came in. "What's this mommy?", she asked. "That's bitter gourd", replied mommy. "I want it", said the girl. "It's bitter. You will not like it", said mommy. "I want it", insisted the little one. Mommy gave her a piece. Munni was only three then. Mommy asked her, "How's it Munni?". "Very nice mommy. It's as sweet as ice cream. I want another one, mommy. Do you want a piece to taste?". Mommy smiled and said, "no". The little one took yet another piece of raw bitter gourd and ate. The expressions; no soul would ever get a clue that she was eating something bitter. She did not like it, but, her face wouldn't show it. Such was the self control!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Naughty Moppets

Last night, we were watching Home Alone on Star Movies. It reminded me of something that happened during our school days. All the boys in the neighbourhood wanted to watch the India vs ................ match. I don't remember the other team. It was happening at a stadium in Mangalore. They got back home late. Mommy asked my brother, "How was the match?". "Good", came the reply. We wanted to know how Rahul Dravid looked. We got the answer, "They were very far. Couldn't see the faces very clearly." A few days passed and one of my neighbours told mommy, "The other day, all these boys went and watched Home Alone in the theatre. How was it?". Clean bowled!!! Why did they lie? I don't know. But yes, Rahul Dravid who was at the stadium would look too small if you tried looking at him from the theatre. That wasn't a lie.

Another day in school. Come back, finish off the homework and go to play. May be, the day was too stymieing for all these little boys in the neighbourhood. I guess they thought a little nicotine would help. One of them gets two cigarettes. Quietly they squeeze themselves into the narrow space between our big water tank and compound wall. Wrong timing, I must say, wrong timing. My neighbour, a bank officer, comes back from work. He sees and smells smoke. A little solicitous, he walks a little closer towards the tank. Four boys, still in the primary school, sitting and inhaling the smoke. Clean bowled again!!!
Neighbours, neighbours everywhere. Concerned neighbours everywhere. Careful little boys, be careful!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Goli Soda's Guitar Retired

1. Ms. Goli Soda
2. Ms. Dee
3. Mr. Uncle Sam (Let the 'uncle' not misguide you. He's not old :-) )
4. I (i.e; Deepthi)

Goli Soda's guitar had been given for repair long long ago. Finally, on Friday, we decided that Saturday would be the most auspicious day to collect it. I met Uncle Sam half way through. Goli Soda would be coming with Dee. Four of us to collect one guitar!! It was an antique piece; an extremely expensive branded classical guitar. As usual, it took long for Goli Soda to reach the place. She was coming on her bike. Uncle Sam and I felt very hungry. The parking lots in the entire city were not ready to accommodate Santa, Goli Soda's bike. Actually, it wasn't the parking problem. She had left home half an hour after telling us that she was on her way. We were almost winding up at Green Onion when the two friends arrived. That was the first time Uncle Sam and I were meeting Dee. It was strange. I didn't know there could be someone else as sweet as Goli Soda. They too ate and we were about to leave when Dee reminded, "What about the guitar?". We had forgotten!!! The main purpose of our meeting was lost. Corner House was our next destination where we relished the ice cream and the Goli Soda-Dee college stories. Next, we walked to the guitar shop. Uncle Sam started exhibiting his talent. Goli Soda wanted to learn to play 'Summer of 69' and Dee wanted to learn 'Hotel California'. The bribing and bargaining for teaching the two songs took some time. Uncle Sam, I'm sure, enjoyed the pampering. As we came out, I thought of going for the Sunday obligation mass on Saturday itself. Mass was about to begin and the church was right there. Also, I would be working the next day and it would be too tiring to go to church after work. There was another choice. Going to the supermarket. My sister's friends were coming home and she wanted me to buy chicken. Goli Soda said, "Buy chicken. I'll drop you". She promised Uncle Sam the same thing. "My Santa!! Three of us will easily fit in", she said. We waited till Dee got her bus and left after that. Uncle Sam rode the bike, while I sat in the middle and Goli Soda behind. The way she just slipped off the bike, every time the cops were around, was very funny. I held the guitar horizontally in my right hand. But, as Goli Soda was finding it difficult to sit, I had to hold it vertically in my left hand. My left hand, as usual, displayed no strength. We were half way through when the bike went very close to a gravel pillar. The guitar banged onto it, then bounced back and hit Goli Soda's knee. She jumped off the bike in pain. She was hurt; badly hurt. The guitar was gone. It was damaged beyond repair. I still hope it can be repaired. The ANTIQUE, EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE BRANDED CLASSICAL GUITAR was gone. "Sorry" was all that I could say :( Goli Soda said, "Forget it. Let's go now. It's not your fault". Had it been my guitar, I really don't know how I would react to the situation. The sweet darling only smiled.

Later we thought, "What if Dee had not reminded us about the guitar? What if I had gone to church instead of the supermarket? What if I had held the guitar in my right hand?". All this would not have happened. But NO!! May be, all this was bound to happen. God saved us. Something worse could have happened. Goli Soda only hurt her knee. What if we had fallen off the bike, on the road?? God saved us!!! Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Then and Now.....

I was in the 2nd standard when my Catechism teacher asked the class, "How many of you want to become priests or nuns?". All but one, raised their hands. The next question was, "How many of you want to get married?". There was just one hand up. That was mine. I knew I wanted to get married when I was in class 2 and I'm still happily single. 99% of the prospective priests and nuns are now providentially married; some of them already have kids.

When my brother was little, his response to the question of getting married was a little wierd; a little innocent. He wanted to walk down the aisle with just one lovely lady. He was very determined. The chosen one was my mommy. He would tell mommy, "If you don't get married to me, I won't get married at all". Remind him of it now and he will ask you, "Are you mad???".
What do you want to become when you grow up, child? Doctor or engineer or pilot is what you'll hear most of the time. A lady once came home with her little son. Not knowing what to talk to the little fellow, mommy asked, "What do you want to become when you grow up?". Immediately came the caustic reply, "ROBBER". I was shocked. He was barely six years old and he wanted to become a robber. Luckily, the little one is now pursuing higher studies in the IT field.

When my sister was little and was asked about her future plans, there was just one reply, "THE JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT". Judge, and that too of the supreme court?? Huh!!! God alone knows when she changed her plans. She would be the worst judge. Mommy gave us Horlicks or Bournvita every night before going to bed. She couldn't even judge three glasses properly. She wanted to have the highest quantity and the glass had to be full. Mommy was very intelligent. She would place two half-filled big glasses and one fully filled small glass. My sister was given the special advantage of choosing her glass first. Immediately she would grab the fully filled tiny glass. She thought only she was getting extra Horlicks; one full glass while my brother and I got just half a glass. Dopey girl!! Mommy was fooling you every time there was less Horlicks and you never knew.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hard Work and Success

Have you ever realized who says, "money is not everything"? Many people have asked me to focus on work. They say hard work leads to success. If you tell them luck does play a very important role, they completely disagree. The reason? They have never been in your shoes. They are the ones who sit above and preach. Very rarely do people working just like you say this, and, most of the time, it is just to bring a smile on your face when you're warped.

Recently, I heard one of the best impromptu speeches. The speaker said, "In 10 years I have grown so much within the same organization. My company has given me the chance to perform 7 different roles in 10 years. Opportunities lie everywhere. We need to be open to changes." I was impressed, very impressed. So impressed that I began ruminating. Only then did I realize that had I done the same thing, the same man would call it INSTABILITY. Now that he has done it, the definition changes. It's called OPPORTUNITY.

I had the opportunity to listen to another great speaker. She said, "Our life at work is like a marathon. We need to keep working. Continuous effort will lead to success. Wait for some more time. Don't hurry. In the long run, you will surely be happy with your work". Is that so? Does it really take so long to succeed? Is it really like a marathon? I don't know. Will the same person listen to me if I tell her the same thing about the company she works in? If I tell her, "Wait for some time. Don't hurry. It's a marathon. Everyone is working hard. The company will grow slowly. Try to understand. It's a marathon". Had I said this to one of the top heads in my company, if not for the salary hike letter, I would surely receive my termination letter the very next minute. The company would not need such laid-back, easygoing employees. Here again, we see the difference. When it comes to your personal growth in the company, it's a marathon. When it comes to the growth of the company or the top-level executives, it's a sprint.

Have you ever been tortured with lengthy lectures when piles and piles of work was pending at your desk? I have. Too much of work had been the issue. We were overloaded with work during that period. We complained with sad faces hoping that the speaker would shorten the lecture. The result? A two-hour lecture on time management when we hardly had a few seconds to spare. The speaker, or, the so-called problem solver, was someone who was hired only to deliver useless speeches. He knew about the work we did and knew the step-by-step process. The sad part, however, was that he was a man of words whose main intention was only to waste everybody's precious time. We would have highly appreciated it if the man had given a practical demo by completing the same work in a shorter time. But he wouldn't. He knew the speech wasn't practical enough to prove it. Finally, we shut our big mouths realizing the need to get back to work. Would it not have been a lot better if his position was cut down and someone work-worthy was hired?

Moral of the Story: Next time someone tells you "The only secret behind my success is HARD WORK", ask him/her "WHOSE???" It surely can't be that person's hard work.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sneezing, Killing And Dying

One of my friends told me this just yesterday. A very naughty fellow he was and is. I told him not to bestow upon his innocent newborn son even 0.1% of the naughtiness. Just the 0.1% would be more than enough to turn the entire place naughty. He is a Tamilian. Many years ago, the naughty boy just got admission. Day one in school and he must have done something naughty. Suddenly he starts screaming, "Teacher, he's killing me. Teacher, he's killing me". The teacher was surprised. She could not make out what went wrong with the boy. The little one continued screaming, "Teacher, he's killing me". What was the matter? The word "kill" in Tamil means "pinch". The other boy was pinching him.

Another friend disliked one of his classmates in college, a girl named Archana. We were in the bus. I was sleeping and suddenly he says, "Archu, Archu". "What?", I asked him. I thought he had suddenly started liking her. She must have done something nice to impress him. I looked around. She wasn't there. "Are you missing Archana?" I asked. He looked at me scornfully. "I was just mimicing that person sitting behind. He was sneezing", he replied. As I'm writing this, yet another friend comes and sits next to me. He says, "Come, let's die". He says that to everyone. He says it all the time. Nothing new. But, this time I told him, "Wait". I looked at this other friend (the bus friend or in other words, Archana's best friend :-) ) and asked, "Do you want to die? My friend needs company". This fellow immediately shouts, "No. I'm still young". He covers his head with both hands. He was thinking of "dye" (hair dye), and not "die". He was just trying to cover the gray hair on his head.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Adventurous Trip

It was not long ago. The incident, I had promised myself, not to disclose to anyone. I was frightened to tell anyone about it; but not anymore. After a long time I was credited with the joy of a 4-day vacation. I was finally keeping the monotonous work schedule aside for a few days of fun, frolic and excitement. We set out in a Maruti Esteem. It was kind of a re-union and 5 of us went; 3 girls and 2 boys. I was supposed to go home, but thought this vacation would be better. I wouldn't get a second chance.

We left at 5 in the morning and it was around 8 in the night when we realized that we were lost. A little later, we realized that we were completely lost. I looked at my watch. It was 10:00PM. Our car broke down at the most unexpected moment. We looked at our cell phones and there was no network coverage. There were no signs of visibility of any sort of human dwelling either. It looked to us like houses were miles and miles away. It seemed like we were in the middle of a deserted area with only wild plants and trees.

Just then, we heard the cry of an infant. We got a feeling that someone may be living in close vicinity of the place and felt a little happy. We walked a little when we discovered the source of the cry. The baby was in the arms of a young woman. The pretty lady was wearing a pink cotton saree with white prints and a white border. She had draped the saree so neatly that it didn’t look like she had worked the whole day. We, on the other hand were so shabbily dressed and the car problem further added to the stains on our clothes. We had tried everything we could to get the car started. The lady’s face was so clear there was not a single blemish.

Her house looked very small. However, her heart was bigger. She spoke Kannada. We explained our plight and she was sad that she couldn't do anything about the car. Her husband was not at home and would return only the next morning. She invited us in and insisted that we stay there so that her husband could help us out with the car the next morning. It seemed scary. But, as that was the best option at our disposal, we agreed.

She served us roti and vegetable, but, wouldn't eat it herself. We managed to lie down after that. But sleep looked far away. Sleep had disappeared. We were in a stranger's house and thoughts of the next day's adventure troubled us. The lady put her baby to sleep. She sat there, by the kerosene lamp. She was writing something. She wouldn't sleep. I do not know what she was writing. Thinking of all this, my eyes closed.

I was asleep and suddenly woke up at around 1:00 in the night. The others were sleeping; all but one. One of the boys wasn't there. He must have gone out to answer nature’s call, I thought. I got a little worried when he did not return for the next 5 minutes. Fear was greater than the worry and I did not dare to get up. I could have asked the lady, but, she too wasn't there. My fear grew. I know I shouldn't have slept off after that. But my eyes just closed. I fell asleep. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Over here, my eyes were weak.

I woke up only at 5 in the morning. All of us woke up at the same time when my friend's cell phone rang. He was there, sitting by the lamp. Yes, the same friend who was missing in the night was there. The cell phone with no network coverage rang. As soon as we opened our eyes, he said, "Come let's go". He wouldn't let us say anything. He wanted to just get out of the place and offered to explain everything later. The baby was still asleep and the lady lay on the ground just outside the door. She looked dead. It was strange; very strange. We were curious. We wanted to know what happened, but, no soul to explain.

We ran towards the car. The car which hadn’t started the previous night moved immediately. We moved just a little when someone stopped the car. It must be the lady's husband, I thought. He was limping. He looked quite decent and carried a walking stick. He instructed us not to tell anyone about the previous night to avoid any more haunted nights. We did not know what happened and he knew everything. How? I do not know. But, we were scared and nodded our heads. Then, we zoomed. No more vacation we thought.

The escapade wasn’t over yet. We drove for an hour. The roads went up and down, round and round. It felt like a roller-coaster ride. With my hands joined and eyes closed most of the while, I prayed. Please God, if it is your will, please take this cup away from us. The moment my eyes opened, I was shocked. Another lady, with an infant! This time we did not need help, the lady needed some. She was asking for a lift. Our friend who was driving stopped, but I did not have the nerves for another dare. I asked him to hurry. Sorry God! I asked for help, but when someone else needed it, I did not want to lend a hand. However, I noticed a strange smile on my friend’s face, again the one who was driving. Was he not scared? What had happened to this boy? He had been acting strange. What had happened the previous night? I began to wonder.

It wasn’t long when we noticed hurdles on the path. Little boulders blocked the road. We had to move them if we wanted to go ahead. We had experienced enough and more fear and excitement the previous night and I wasn’t ready for more. My friend said, “Come, let’s move them. We need to get back home at least before night. Let’s hurry”. All of got off the Maruti Esteem and started pushing the boulders. As we bent, the same naughty smile flashed yet another time on my friend’s face. My other friend returned the smile. My fear grew. I felt like everything had changed. My friends were not the ones I knew till the other day. I wanted to cry. At the same time, I did not want display the fear on my face. I trusted my friends no more. Had they become zombies?

What more could have happened? It suddenly started raining cats and dogs. There was lightning, there was thunder and there were the heavy rains. My mom was screaming, yelling, and sprinkling water on my face. Whoa! What a nightmare! I was now breathing harder. The adrenaline rush finally started slowing down. But what a frightening dream that was! I had grown and was working in a multinational company. The work was so hectic that I wasn’t getting leaves. I was out on an adventurous trip. Whoa! This is the result of watching zombie movies late in the night. I have my exams next week. Back to studies.

Monday, November 9, 2009

At The Signal

We were tiny; very tiny. Our bags were bigger and heavier than us. We were sent to school in an auto rickshaw. Almost every evening, once we were back, mommy would have to bear the storm; the storm of complaints. The rickshaw driver was a gauche fellow. Apart from this, "She stamped my foot, mommy. He pinched me, mommy. She did not let me sit on her lap, mommy." These were the most common beefs after getting off the rickshaw. How much we complained!!

It was one of those days when breakfast was delayed by a few minutes. We reached the gate just a few seconds late. But, the flagrant driver wouldn't wait. He saw us walking towards the gate; but wouldn't wait. Merciless was the man!! Now, it was daddy's job to drop us. The scooter was wistful. It failed to obey daddy's command. Daddy looked at his slender Kinetic Spark which was the final and the only ray of hope at that moment. My brother in front, and my sister and I behind daddy. Four of us went in that sleek and scrawny two-wheeler. I wouldn't be wrong if I said seven of us went; four of us + three giant school bags. We also had water bottles hanging round our necks. We managed to reach the main traffic signal. It was the junction where four roads met. It is also the centre, I must say, of din and commotion of people and vehicles. There we were, right in the centre of the centre, and, our big bags fell off. It was a slopy road and we had to move in the upward direction. For daddy, riding was difficult. We were too small, and now, he had to pick the bags from the road himself. The policeman with the big belly was there. He would have fined us for overloading the poor vehicle. Any policeman would have done that. In fact, they wait for such a chance. But no, this jumbo policeman uncle didn't do that. Instead, he signaled all the vehicles to stop. The red, orange and green traffic lights blinked as usual. But, he stopped everyone. Vehicles moving from all four sides were stopped. Then, he signaled daddy to move. The whole place was stock-still while we were asked to proceed. At that moment, he was our guardian angel. God sent him to help us. Blessed be the merciful policeman!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Littt....le Sugar. Very Little.

"Rules are made to be broken". I've heard this statement many times from one of my managers at work. We, all of us, are free beings. When rules are tolerable, we tolerate them. However, when they are obnoxious, no matter what the consequences are, we break them. Moreover, we are remembered for the rules we break, right? Why obey them? Why obey and miss out on the fun? Obeying rules does not make us any different than the rest. The doctor announces, "The tests conducted reveal that your sugar level is high. You are diabetic." People hear this, and suddenly, I really do not from where, the love for sugar blooms. Daddy is diabetic, and obviously, it's none other than mommy dear who regulates his sugar level.

The following has been happening everyday for at least the last 15 years. Every morning mommy wakes up and makes tea. Daddy doesn't have it immediately. He waits for mommy to go out of the house. The moment she's out, he stealthily walks into the kitchen. He looks right; then left. Nobody is watching. The sugar box is then turned open. One full teaspoon of the sweet poison then gets into the teacup. It is stirred a little with more than half of it settling at the bottom. How happy he feels!! What delight!! Now, mommy enters. "Did you have your tea?” she asks. He says "yes" with a rather naughty smile. Seeing the happy face mommy smells a rat. "Did you mix sugar in it?” she asks. "No", comes the reply.

She walks to the sink to wash the utensils. There, she sees a cup with sugar. She turns back. The sugar box is left open on the countertop. Daddy never remembers to close it after use. 365 days of the year, there are ants in the sugar box because of this. Then, yet another time, mommy starts, "How much to tell you. Take care of your health. Have you not seen other people with diabetes? They are so careful about what they eat. Why don't you understand? How many people have asked you to be careful? Only God can save you..............” It goes on and on. For all this, she gets the reply, "It's difficult to have tea without sugar. Litttttt....le sugar. I put very little sugar. Trust me, very little sugar." The same answer for the last 15 years. Just imagine. At times, even mommy has tea without sugar. But Daddy, that’s very rare. Not unless mommy is with him till he finishes the entire cup.

Moral of the story: If sugar is left in the cup, rinse the cup well before leaving it in the sink. Secondly, close the sugar box tight. Follow these rules and no one will know anything till you get your next sugar report.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Two Divers

We went to Balmuri Falls for our corporate team outing. Around 15 of us went. We had a wonderful time. It took us three hours to reach the place, and then, we struggled for two more hours to find some clear water. Rocks and dirty water, more rocks and more dirty water was all we could find. At last we were delighted to find some water space where we could play. Though not very clean, it wasn't too crowded. Someone, a stranger, had just dived in. He was alone. Half immersed in water, his face looked sour. We did not know if our sudden appearance was the cause for the sulkiness or his loneliness was eating him up. However, one of us saw him dive and got too excited. I believe that's what happens when a swimmer lives in a desert and suddenly wakes up one fine day to find himself on the sea shore. He got a thumbs-up from the first diver. The exultance could be seen on our swimmer friend's face. He went on top and swooped down. Lo! There he was. He didn't look any different than the first diver. In addition to the gloomy look, he started abusing diver number 1. The water was not even knee high. The two divers had swooped down only to bang themselves on the hard rocks. They were now hurt. "Never trust a stranger" said diver number 2.

I Believe In Miracles

I hate the way little children are made to write notes. I hate it the most. I was one of the toppers when it came to scoring marks in languages. No complicated words to remember. Answer the exams your way. Grammar and I were always the best of friends. The prose; write it your way. Memorizing poems was the only arduous task in the language papers. I remember! All my friends told me, "Sir reads only the first and last word of the poem. Learn everything but the poems." I used to learn only poems an hour before the exams, and, this time I did not read a word. I tried it for the first time and my Kannada sir had a good laugh. He read out the poem in front of the whole class and everyone laughed. What a meaningless poem it was!! It was wonderful; a jumbled composition of all the labyrinthine Kannada words I knew. Only the first and last word made sense. The main culprit, the one who asked me not to memorize the poems, laughed the most. In English, I was the topper. However, I remember one of my English exams where I scored only 46%. The reason: I did not write answers the way the teacher had given in the notes. I wrote it my way. Everything was correct, but, not presented the teacher's way. How would I write it her way when I hadn't written notes at all? I hated it. If ever I've written notes, it's a day before the note book was supposed to be submitted for inspection. Thank God those days are over. Nevertheless, I believed in miracles. Our headmistress, a nun, told us, "Don't steal. God works miracles. Your hand may get stuck to whatever you're stealing." Not that I wanted to steal, but, I believed what she said. I believed in miracles. I tried it on my notes. I knelt and prayed to God. "God, please fill my notebook with whatever notes my teacher gave. Please God. Pleee......z". Not once or twice; many a times I tried it. It didn't work. Why? I don't know. Can anyone tell me why? Why? Why?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shh.... It's A Secret!!!

We were kids and the summer holidays had just begun. My mommy, like all other mommies, woke us up to go church. We usually walk to church and it takes us 20 minutes to reach. I had worn a light yellow frock that day. We were walking and I felt a little uneasy. The uneasiness hindered my speed. I looked down and a pink skirt just fell off. Immediately I realized what I had done. I had unbuckled the pink skirt that I was wearing at home. However, in a hurry, I had forgotten to pull it off my feet. It was half way through my legs when I left home, and now, it had come off. I looked around and there was no one. Thank God it was dawn and there was nobody on the road. Had there been anyone watching, how embarrasing it would have been! I did not have enough time to go back, leave the skirt at home and come back. My bantam brother uses his little brain. Mohan's shop was open. He picks up the skirt, neatly folds it, gives it to Mohan and tells him that we would collect it in an hour's time. We go to church, pray and collect the skirt on our way back. Nobody knows anything. Episode closed.

Shhhhh..... It's A Secret!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sleep Tight, Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite.......

I rushed to the travel agency to get a ticket. It was already 9:00 PM and the last bus to Mangalore was about to leave. Gramma was sick and I had to visit her. She was asking for me. I told the travel agent that I needed a seater. He phoned someone and said, " Sorry ma'am. No ladies' seat". I said, "Any seat would be fine". He phoned the same person again and said, "One sleeper at the back; i.e; the last sleeper, is available". I said, "I don't want a sleeper. Give me any seater." At that point of time, I couldn't go looking for a ladies' seat. He said, "Okay. There's one seat. Seat number 5." I felt very happy. The seat would be somewhere in front and I wouldn't feel the bumps on the road. "The yellow bus over there ma'am. Get in fast. It will leave in a minute." I hurried. The nightmare began. I was in for a shock. I could see only sleeper seats. Immediately I thought - MISCOMMUNICATION. I remember saying, "Any seat would be fine. Even a gents' seat." He had given me a sleeper. A gents' sleeper!! No way!! I couldn't sleep next to a stranger. I told the conductor, "I asked for a seater. This bus has only sleeper seats". He said, "No ma'am. There are semi-sleepers at the back". Thank God!! I thought. There were 2 rows of semi-sleepers at the back. I sat on seat number 5. It was in the last row. Soon I realized, the blood-sucking bugs fell in love with me. Bed bugs all over my body. The itchy bites started driving me crazy. Then came Mr.Seat Number 6. He looked scary. I was the only lady passenger who had taken the seater. I asked the conductor if I could sit on the other seat. He said, "Okay". But, the bed bugs wouldn't let me sit or sleep in peace. The red bumps all over my hands, neck and back increased. The intense itching was intolerable. I called my mommy and started crying. I cried and cried. I did not want to go home. It was around 10:30 in the night and I told her that I wanted to get off the bus. It was too late and she wouldn't agree. I cried more. I did not realize that the crying was loud; loud enough for everyone to turn around and look at me. But what could I do? I couldn't stop crying. At last I told the conductor, "There are bed bugs in the bus and I can't sit here". He said there weren't any bugs. "It must be the mosquitoes. Leave the windows open", he said. I said, "No" and continued crying. He said, "Wait"and disappeared. He returned with a spray. He sprayed the insecticide all over the place where I sat. Three guys were sitting in front of me. They too wanted the insecticide. For half a minute I was happy that the bed bugs were, at last, bidding farewell. Immediately, the fragrance made me realize that the conductor had sprayed a room freshener just to make me happy. The bugs hadn't left. I looked out of the window. It was eleven and the bus hadn't left the city. I was angry that the bus was so slow and happy that I still had time to get off the bus. I now called my friend and started crying. He said, "Take a cab and come back. It's safe." I could go to Mangalore the next morning. I call mommy and tell her that I'm getting off. She says, "Okay". Had she refused, I would try convincing her. But now, I don't know why, I thought I would continue my journey. May be, I was scared to go back alone. My sister and brother-in-law were already in Mangalore. Had something happened and I was stuck in the middle of the night, there wouldn't be anyone. I would be alone till morning. I cried, cried and soon fell asleep. I woke up in an hour's time and it felt like a camel ride. The roads were bad beyond description and I was sitting in the last row of the worst bus. A nine-hour camel ride I thought. I was sitting in a roller-coaster bus which went up and down, and, turned round and round. Four or five times, I felt the bus would topple. Thank you Lord for keeping me safe. The bugs, the itching and the red bumps had all disappeared by dawn. Thank you Lord, once again. The usual nine-hour journey was a twelve-hour journey this time. The journey was bad and I was feeling very tired. This time, I wanted to, but hadn't gone into the bushes to answer the call of nature. The bus stopped and I took an auto home. Once I reached, without looking right or left I headed straight to the toilet and was finally relieved. I had a shower, slept for an hour and went to visit gramma.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What's Better? A Moment Of 'Wonderful', Or, A Lifetime Of 'Nothing Special'?

It was one of those days when our pockets looked empty. The month was coming to an end and we waited for the paycheck. My brother and I had just begun working. Paying guest accommodation or hostels did not look very appealing. We wanted to live a free life. Our policy; 'live life king-size'. A lady was kind enough to rent out her 2 BHK house at a reasonable rate. We could afford the king-size living during the first few days of every month. The last few days; a peasant-size life. But, when it came to food, no compromise whatsoever. I checked my wallet. There was hardly anything. I asked my brother to buy a few vegetables. He wouldn't listen. The stomach wouldn't agree to digest anything vegetarian. He pulled out his trousers from the suitcase; 4 to 5 of them. In the pockets, there was money. Lots and lots of money. We put together all the coins, the crumpled 5 and 10 rupee notes and the money from my wallet. A hundred rupees - a real big amount when you thought there was nothing left. The required spices were already there in the kitchen. 1 kilogram of chicken, a few tomatoes and coriander leaves was all that we needed. The chicken stall was about to shut down when my brother reached. Luckily it hadn't. The tomatoes and coriander leaves were also bought. I cleaned the chicken while my brother cut the onions and tomatoes. The ambrosial chicken was soon ready. Meanwhile, the rice also got ready. We enjoyed the savor of our victory. The taste was better than the best chicken. The happiness; even greater than the taste.

There may be days when we have spent ten times more on food. But, it is just this day that I remember. It's not always the money. It's better to enjoy and remember a moment of 'wonderful' after a lot of painstaking than having a luxury-filled lifetime of 'nothing special'.

The Dinner - This Way Sir

The whole city, I believe, was mourning the death of actor Rajkumar. For me, it was a humdrum day at work. I wanted some rest. Had there been flights, I wouldn't mind taking one to get back home. Unfortunately, even our cab, which usually left at 2:30 in the afternoon was not let out of the campus for security reasons. We were asked to take the shuttle which left only at 6:00PM. To add to the frustration, the road was jam-packed with traffic and it took us unusually long to get back. It was already 9:00 and my tummy craved for some nourishment. I stayed with my brother then. I called him and realized he was at his friends' place. The bottom line, however, was that I had to get back and cook to feed my hungry self. Without any deliberate intentions, with a sad face, I told my friend, "I'm hungry and I'll have to cook and eat". He asked, "Do you want to eat outside?" I was hesitant for a while. The reason being, I felt he would have already made plans of going out for dinner with his roommates. I did not want to trouble him. But, as time passed, the hunger grew intolerable. I said, "Okay, let's go". We got off the bus and stood at the gates of one of the finest family restaurants. It was brightly lit. We entered. As we were getting ready to park our tired selves on the cozy chairs, a uniformed man said, "This way sir". We were led to the darker side of the restaurant. Whoa!! It was the tree top. That's not all. We reached on top and just stared at each other. My mouth was wide open. I took a deep inward breath and sat. He did the same. It was a candle-light dinner. The atmosphere looked romantic. It was very clear that dinners in that part of the restaurant were meant for the romantic couples and we were just good friends. We saw 3-4 pairs of lovebirds enjoying their slushy dates. We felt out of place. But why bother about anything else? We came there to fill our hungry tummies. We laughed over the whole thing and started eating. Prawns and mutton biryani came our way. The food was scrumptious. I packed a plate of biryani for my brother. Again, had I known he was going to pay the bill, I wouldn't have done it. He did not let me pay. He said, "next time". As I'm writing, I realize the next time has never come. It's three and a half years now. I'll have to compensate for the fluky, so-called date. I shall call him in a few days. Right now he's busy preparing for his baby's christening.
That dinner, however, I shall never forget. The tree-top candle-light dinner. Back in 2006, I had no idea that the dude was already in love. I wonder how red her face must have gone when he told her about it. Anyway, I will never repeat the mistake. Never!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mrs. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

I sometimes wonder if my sister suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. My brother-in-law would hopefully second this thought. She is always bent upon having the house sparkling clean. The sparkle that you see in all those toothpaste ads can be seen in every nook and corner of the house. But, sister dear, will somehow still find a speck of dirt somewhere. It was a long time ago. She was a little girl then. Toddlers, as we all know, are never bothered about what they have in their hands. When they are not satisfied with what they touch or smell, it goes right into the mouth. Little scientists they are; always busy with their scholarly and scientific investigation. My sister's childhood story was the same; but, with a little twist. Her hands became as dirty as the dirtiest thing you could describe. She was never bothered. What bothered her? Her legs. Her feet would, at times, get a little muddy while playing. This tiny thing would immediately sit down and remove it all off. How? With her hands. The same story when she stamped on dog poop. She would resume her usual work once the feet were cleaned up.
Then comes the fish market story. Hundreds of fisherwomen sat at the entrance of the market. Inside the market, it wasn't as clean as the entrance. But, the fish sold inside contained the guaranteed freshness. So mommy and daddy always preferred buying fish from inside. But the little darling did not appreciate this idea of buying fresh fish. Her feet were there, right? They would have to step on the dirty water. But taking her to the market was never a problem. This girl was so charming and chubby that the fisherwomen at the market were more than happy to entertain her. When mommy and daddy were back, they would find her happily jumping from one fisherwoman's lap to the other feasting on their tea-time snacks. Something similar at the seashore. Every Sunday, evening time was seashore time. Taking her to the shore was all that mommy and daddy had to do. After that, she would run all the while and a bevy of beauties followed. She always had a group of college students after her. Such was the magic she possessed!! How I wish I had one of her childhood snaps right now to prove my point. At the moment, I guess these photos of a grown up Mrs. Obsessisve-Compulsive Disorder would suffice. The dimpled beauty is just like a magnet. Every individual in this macrocosm is just another piece of iron for her. She leads and everyone follows. This blog is dedicated to my lovely** sister who celebrates her birthday tomorrow.

**Conditions Apply.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Get Two At The Cost Of One!!

The chief pleasure in eating does not consist in costly seasoning, or exquisite flavor, but in yourself. We go to restaurants quite often now. Eating at home is a thousand times better than eating outside. However, it wasn't the same when we were kids. We relished even the insipid food served by waiters. Mom's food, though the best, failed to excite our taste buds. We went shopping one fine evening and mommy asked if we liked to eat outside.

In no time our eyes twinkled as the giant hot crispy masala dosas were placed right in front of us. Seeing is deceiving. It's eating that's believing. We started eating, and, as usual the taste was divine. Just then, one of us discovered something. No, not I. My sister discovered this tiny fly in her dosa. 2 options: Pay the bill and walk away quietly, or, call the waiter right away and fire him. But she didn't do either. Mentally, a circle of diameter 5 cms was drawn with the fly as centre. The rest of the dosa; happily eaten. She was happy; but not happy enough. At the end of it, she now tells mommy about the dear departed fly. Mommy calls the waiter. Mr. waiter sees the fly. "Sorry madame, will get you another one" he says. Happy ending. The moppet smiles with dimples on both cheeks. Lucky girl must say!! Today, finding a fly would be a different story. But at that time, I had wondered why the fly hadn't fallen in my plate. Why? Why? Why? :-) And, how did she manage to eat two BIG dosas? I wonder how. How? How?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Know What Happened On Fool's Day

I wasn't born then. But I know what happened.

It was the 1st of April, 1984. Popeye and Olive were returning from church. Monday to Saturday; spinach is fine. But on a Sunday; red meat is a must. On their way back, they picked up a packet of pork. Now, Popeye must have hustled to get back home. It was a bike and not the sailor's usual mode of transport. There came a turn on the road. And, there they were; down on the road. The packet of pork all shattered. Passersby helped the two. They weren't too hurt. But Popeye still looked worried. The reason? He was worried about the expectant mother who was sitting behind him and had now fallen with him. They rushed to the hospital and were relieved to a certain extent when the doc said ‘everything is fine’. I, a eight and a half month healthy baby was born a month later. But, I swear, I swear; I did not kick mommy and push her off the bike. Believe me, it was the oil on the road that pushed them. Yes, Olive is my mommy's name. Popeye is not daddy's name though. And yes, if at any point of time you feel there's something missing in me, blame the half month. I came into this world a little earlier than I was supposed to. Right now, friends say I don't know to eat properly. Blame the half month. I talk or write rubbish? Blame the half month. Coz that's what the baby is supposed to learn in the mother's womb during the last half month :-)

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Lot Can Happen Over Coffee

Can anything really happen over coffee? Does love bloom or can a cup of coffee mend broken hearts?
As the coffee brewed I paced into the kitchen, poured it into a thermos flask and got ready to go. My aunt was in a medical facility for care and treatment of a formidable disease. I waited everyday to visit her, to talk to her, to see her smile in spite of the pain she was undergoing. I carefully poured the coffee into two cups after exchanging greetings. Just then, my Uncle, my aunt's cousin entered. Something that I am not aware of had put the two cousins at loggerheads. They hadn't spoken to each other for long and he came to visit her after 3 long years. I wasn't too happy to see him. All the more, I was perplexed and didn't know how to react. Slowly and silently I left the room and spent time walking on the corridor. I returned after twenty minutes. To my surprise, I saw the two sipping on coffee. They happily laughed telling tales of their childhood. They spoke about those sweet cherished moments as they quaffed the coffee with gusto. My happiness knew no bounds. The scene touched my heart.
I now believe a lot can happen over coffee. A cup of coffee can bring a smile; it can mend broken hearts.

Me or I?

What's right? Me or I? My English teacher was always right and she averred the difference between 'me' and 'I' with the following canard. St. Peter stood at the gates of heaven. Scores of people waited anxiously to get in. 'Who's next? Who's next?' asked Peter. 'It's me, it's me' came voices in unison. Peter was in a bind, when, from the far end came one shrill voice, 'It's I'. Peter sighed 'Oh! Yet another English teacher'. We often use 'me' instead of 'I'. The tale, though untrue, taught me the difference. You and I need to know the difference. It isn't 'You and me need to know the difference'. Have a great day!!