Saturday, May 16, 2015

Of Rice and Men

It was a Monday morning meeting and I was waiting in the conference room for the Senior Product Manager (PM) to make an arrival. He was usually punctual. In fact he was always punctual. You can see folks adjusting their watches when he walks into the office. At least the ones still wearing a wrist watch. The rest just know it was time to start pretending to work.
                                                                                     
I surfed Ebay, trolled some news sites, and did the mandatory likes on photographs on Facebook. There were quite a few of them. I hastily unliked a photograph of some Himalayan baba sitting in the buff next to one of my gullible North Indian friends. This friend describes herself as "very spiritual". The next photo had her sitting on the baba's lap and baba sporting a rather inscrutable expression. I am sure she found the experience “spiritually uplifting” heh heh.

In the early 2000's she was the devotee of a Sadhvi. Sadhvi fixed all her devotees marriages, both national and international. Spiritual friend had her fix a wedding for me too. But I didn't care too much for the anemic Spaniard with the scrubby goatee. Besides it was my hasne khelne ke din in those days. I wondered aloud if I could do some browsing of the Sadhvi's grooms catalog. Friend was shocked and flabbergasted. She had never heard such a sacrilegious suggestion. Arranged marriage, she explained to me wagging her finger furiously, was God's way of uniting me with my soul mate. I yawned and she broke off the friendship for a while. I was relieved, till spiritual friend decided to forgive and forget. Which was annoying often.

After that I was mostly darting behind buildings and trees when I saw her approaching with photographs and albums. She tried hitching me to a pedantic Englishman, a painfully thin and "aromatic" Italian, a brusque 50 year old German and phlegmatic other nationality I don't remember. I got away with some sacrilegious suggestion or other and a whole lotta temporary suspension of friendship for some time, till Sadhvi got her married to an Estonian who was mostly stoned. She flew to Estonia and then moved to England in a container and then onto Mexico crossing the border into the US with her husband in a truck with mostly Spanish people co passengers. It was rather cramped she said in one of her numerous mails to me. But Sadhvi's framed photograph kept her steadfast. Now that her husband is in rehab, she has gone back to work as an "alternate medicine" dispenser in one of Sadhvi's clinic in the US. She is mostly stoned and doesn't trouble me anymore.

It was 10 am when PM walked in. He looked sleepy and disheveled. He barely sat through the new product meeting nodding off now and then. This was very unusual. PM was a dedicated man who was first to arrive in the office and last to leave. He could explain the features and modules of the new application he was building any number of times and repeat it again when I woke up from my slumber. He seemed to be in a lot of distress.

“What happened Srikant?” I asked with unabashed curiosity.
“Didn't have breakfast” he said sleepily. “I am so hungry.”

My eyebrows flew up. This sounded real juicy. “Why don’t you go eat something and come back?” I said sympathetically.  “It’s all right” he shrugged. “What is it that you wanted to talk to me about?” he asked none too enthusiastically.

The next day, he looked even more distressed. So I took him out for lunch. I wanted to be the first to get the dirt. The developers working with him were seen gnashing their teeth in despair. I had, as usual got to the kill before them. Lunch was an extraordinary affair. PM ate like a zombie. After watching him for 10 minutes I finally asked him what was bothering him.

“It is vacation time” he said gloomily. “The family is in my native place.”
That made sense. The poor fellow was missing his wife and kid! My eyes teared up. The man was obviously a softie. I thought his wife was really lucky.
“I am a creature of habit Silverine”, said Srikant, interrupting my happy thoughts. “I am used to Kanchipuram Idlis on Monday morning, Dosa on Tuesday, Pongal on Wednesday, Akki roti on Thursday and Upma on Friday. I cannot eat omelet everyday!!!” I frowned. This didn’t make any sense!

“My lunch is also follows the same pattern! I cannot eat this Cafeteria food! A working man has to eat. It is the least I can ask!!”

I looked at him. It all made sense now. The poor man was struggling for food with the ungrateful wife away on vacation. I picked up the delicious looking payasam and poured him some over his head. Then the paneer makhani followed by the butter chicken masala. Then I kicked his arse all the way to the office where the ladies gave him a tongue lashing. By the time they were done, PM was a changed man. He was heard calling his wife and asking her to stay an extra week at her parents place.

Next day he was bright and early, full of enthusiasm and energy. We patted ourselves on our respective backs and went to work with a sigh of accomplishment.

At lunch, PM opened his tiffin and a delicious aroma filled the dining area. We looked at each other and nodded approvingly. He had obviously made his own lunch. Then his phone rang and we heard him this conversation, “The food is fine amma. But you didn't make curd rice? You know I cannot do without curd rice at the end of the meal!!!”

He didn't know what hit him. But he is recovering fine at the hospital. His mom is making him some special soup for an early recovery. We don’t think there is any hope for him.


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Frandship forever

Today is International Friendship Day. A day to remember friends and commemorate friendships. Friendship is not be mistaken for "Frandship”, a word that took birth when Totally Random Indian Guys on Orkut copulated virtually with Every Random Girl on Orkut.  The Totally Random Indian Guys on Orkut (TRIGO) is a large conglomerate of desperate guys who spent approximately 99% of their lives searching for female profiles and sending them 'frandsdhip’ requests. This made Every Random Girl on Orkut (ERGO) to either block the requester or tell him to eff off. TRIGO led to the birth of privacy tools and later to another conglomerate called, ‘Facebook’.

“Frandship’ has redefined friendship. Today you can block your friends on Facebook from viewing your timeline, friends list, photos and much more.  You can even delete their comments or block access to your account while the person remains in your friend’s list.

But how many of us acknowledge the TRIGO brotherhood and their contribution on heightened online privacy and better social networking experiences! No one.

And this raises the question. Where is TRIGO? Did they die a natural death or are they somewhere around working ways to get their frandship request across impenetrable firewalls!

A little bit of digging gave a few answers… and raised a few questions.

The TRIGO is alive and kicking folks… on Orkut. One TRIGO member told me that the ERGO are much more chilled out these days and accept their 'frandship' requests. But they are shy. They do not reveal their photos and the TRIGO’s are fine with that. After all they are girls right? They need to keep their photos from being downloaded by creeps right?

The girls do not mind sharing their mobile numbers too. This has led to steamy conversations and late night clogging of the 2G spectrum. It is happiness all around. But there is a grouse. As one TRIGO told me, girls do not sound like girls these days. I was intrigued. Were they bold. Did they talk ungirly things like ‘you know what’. It was nothing of that sort said the TRIGO. It was just that… their voices are so masculine.

Erm…

So why did I write this post when today is International Friendship Day which is just the opposite of International Frandship Day! Because I want 'Frandship’ to be included in the Oxford Dictionary. It deserves it don’t you think! It qualifies on many levels too, like its extensive abuse err... use, it is used online and well as in print and it has been around since the beginning of time err... I mean since the beginning of Orkut.
However I will dwell on only one which will drive my point across rather nicely to the Oxford Committee members and that is:

Several female members of the Oxford Dictionary Committee were Orkut users and will not forget the harrowing 'frandship' and 'loveship' days.

Nice!



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Clueless in uniform


It’s been long folks. I plead guilty to neglecting this space. But in my defiance…err I mean defense, I must say that I was as appalled as the rest of the country at the atrocities against women and the girl child being perpetrated across the country as though an alien virus had come down and infected some Indian men.  While people debated over various TV channels about police inaction and insensitivity, I did a quiet survey of my own and was appalled…again at what I had deduced. Given below is my conclusion about the efficacy of our State police in stopping crimes against women in a few sample states in India. The final results will shock you.  This article is not for the weak-hearted. So please read this “Disclaimer” before you read any further:

Kerala Police:

A girl alights from a bus and waits in the bus stand, calmly listening to music over the earphones. She looks at the watch now and then and looks around a little impatiently. She is clearly waiting for somebody. A group of people start whispering and pointing towards her. The group grows bigger and the people more incensed. How dare a girl stand at the bus stand so long? What was she doing? She must an immoral person or worse, a modern liberated woman. Someone calls the police. The police come sirens blazing. If this was murder case, the cops would take at least three hours to reach the scene. The girl is questioned and her explanations are ignored as she is taken to the police station in the jeep. Fat Kerala Policewomen snicker at her and look at each other meaningfully. The people applaud. Yet another girl is put in her place by the vigilante err... vigilant people of the town. The girls parents are called and berated for not knowing her whereabouts. Their protestations are ignored and the girl sent home with a dire warning that she should not repeat this offense. On their way out you can hear the girl saying “ But you told me to wait at the bus stand!!! I told you that I can come home on my own. *sob*.

Sigh!

Karnataka Police:

A girl alights from a bus and waits in the bus stand, calmly listening to music over the earphones. She looks at the watch now and then and looks around a little impatiently. She is clearly waiting for somebody. A guy approaches her. She gives him the cold shoulder.

Cop1: I bet you ten bucks she will go with him
Cop2: I bet you twenty bucks she won’t.
Cop1:  Deal!

And they watch with great interest as the girl ignores the Romeo and he walks away dejectedly. Cop 1 is crestfallen as he hands over the money to a delighted Cop 2. He curses the stupid girl for ruining his day. Cop 2 pats himself for his astute intuition when it comes to the people of Bengaluru.

Delhi Police:

A girl alights from a bus and waits in the bus stand, calmly listening to music over the earphones. She looks at the watch now and then and looks around a little impatiently. She is clearly waiting for somebody. Guys start approaching her with vulgar offers. She abuses them hoping to deter them. One of the guys slaps her. Two cops who are watching this tamasha come charging in and start beating the girl black and blue. She tries to run but they catch her and put her in the jail where fat policewomen slap her and call her all sorts of names.  She is released after every policeman and woman has taken turns to call her an immoral woman who is hell bent on creating more work for them, till parents or relatives get her out.

Tamilnadu Police:

A girl alights from a bus and waits in the bus stand, calmly listening to music over the earphones. She looks at the watch now and then and looks around a little impatiently. She is clearly waiting for somebody. A guy approaches and tries to talk to her and out of nowhere, a mass of people converge on the guy and beat him black and blue before he could say “Aiyyayo!!”. Cops arrive and part the crowd with great difficulty and take the boy to the police station while the people try to gamely kick him in the groins. Boy learns his lesson, when in Tamilnadu, leave the girls alone.

As you can see from the above examples, the Tamilnadu cops are the most insensitive of the lot. They did absolutely nothing when the girl was being harassed while their valiant brethren in other states were so proactive. Never mind the misdirection of the 'proactiveness'. 

When this journalist questioned a Delhi cop, he said “ I don’t understand these new generation types. They cry when we do nothing and cry louder when we do something”. Poor guys! They do have a  genuine problem.
  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Family khap panchayat


Approximately ten years to this day, she held the tiny sleeping bundle in her arms and smiled at the miracle of creation in her hands. He slept blissfully in her arms, wrinkling his face and stretching, like little babies do.  She giggled at the funny faces he made in his sleep and hugged him closer...a wave of maternal feelings sweeping over her. As she drifted to sleep with her little one beside her, a smile lingered on her angelic face.

Her sweet slumber was broken by harsh voices. They had come for him, her precious little bundle of joy. He was a mistake they said. His father was no good they said. They wanted her to abandon her little one. She clung to her precious bundle fiercely…protesting against the injustice. But no one would listen to her. They took him away and gave him to the old lady who lived down the road in an orchard.

A few years later, she was walking down the road by the orchard when she saw a familiar face. She instantly recognized him, her little one who was so cruelly taken away from her years ago. He was playing blissfully with some kids. He had grown big and strong and handsome.  He stopped and stared at her when he felt her watching him. He looked at her quizzically, before returning to play with the boys in the orchard.

Years passed and one day her feet took her down the orchard road again and she saw him again. He was playing with a little one who looked so much like him when he was small. She felt a rising excitement within her. She was a grandmother!! Her grandson, like his Dad was the cynosure of all eyes. She picked him up and looked at his playful eyes. He wriggled impatiently, like little kids do. She put him down laughing and watched as he bounded off to play.

Next day she took her parents to see her son and her grandson.  She hoped they would feel remorse for what they had done when they beheld their great grandson. The parents looked at the stray dog and his puppy, gamboling around and scratched their heads. They wondered which one of the 568 stray pups they were forced to remove from their stubborn little daughter hands and hand over to maids, car washers, vegetable vendors, security guards, dhobi, meter reading man, LPG supply boy etc etc etc … was this dog and his pup.  The father was sure this was puppy number 431, but the mother felt it was puppy number 315, judging by his age. Then they looked at each other as a startling revelation hit them. It didn't matter which puppy this was, what mattered was they managed to get rid of it. Then they heaved a sigh of relief and slinked away shadily into the sunset.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seeing red

While cooling my heels at my grandparents home in Kerala during a hartal/bandh, I decided to write a blog post. The blog post has nothing to do whatsoever with the bandh mind you! I was chumma time-passing, just like that. So here is the blog post, another FAQ just like this one, though not related.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. The term “commie” used in this post refers to a fictitious group of people. Resemblance to any group, caste, race or political party or ideology is coincidental and unintentional.



Why did the commie cross the road?
Because his leader told him to duh!

What did he do there?
He waited for his next order duh!

What is the best way to prevent a strike call by the commies?
Buy up all the red colored fabric in the city.

What is the favorite color of the commie!
Bankroll Green!

Why did the commie get a Sony television!
Because he had raided a Sony Television shop duh!

What did the commie say when his employer gave him the pink slip!
Thozhilali Aikyam Zindabad!

Why did the commie come late for work?
He came to work? Really? Oh my gawd!!!

What happened when the commie got a really bad performance appraisal?
He was immediately promoted to Senior Comradeship!

How did the commie celebrate his birthday!
I have no idea! I wasn’t invited!

What was the commie’s favorite childhood bedtime story!
Red Riding Hood and the Imperialist Wolf!

Who was the commie’s childhood hero?
Comrade woodcutter who killed the Imperialist Wolf!

How do you make out a commie from a non-commie.
The non commie goes to work.

How many commies does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Changing light bulbs are for the bourgeoisie who work in air conditioned cubicles in Bangalore.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Photocrafty

Age 10: Beg, plead, cry, sulk, beg, plead, cry, sulk, and scream till your parents get you a point and shoot camera.

Click away happily taking some awesome pictures.

Age 18: Beg, plead, cry, sulk, beg, plead, sulk…. till your parents give in and get you a DSLR camera.

Click away happily and realize unhappily that you cannot click away happily till you've learned to set the camera.

Click away unhappily as you miserably fail to get the hang of the ISO, F stop and a trillion other settings.

Look wistfully at the nice-nice pictures you took with your old point and shoot camera.

Look wistfully and wince at the horrible deformities you took with the DSLR camera.

Discard the DSLR camera and go back to happily clicking awesome pictures with your point and shoot camera.

Age: 20: You are still trying to convince your parents that the awesome pictures you took after age 18 were with the expensive DSLR camera and not the point and shoot camera and that the lack of difference in the quality of the pictures was because of their err...amateurish eyes.

That was a blast from my past.

Of course now I am a DSLR pro. All the awesome pictures I have taken are not from Corbis. I swear on my DSLR!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Poverty whines

Salary days are well....salad days. But salary discussions are well...quite over the top specially when you take your payload home in a truck.

Very well paid exec in our office: If my salary is delayed by one day, there are four cheques that will bounce.

Another disgustingly heavily paid exec: If my salary is delayed by two days, there will be six cheque bounces and I would have got an eviction order (he has his own palatial flat bought in cash).

Another deplorably over paid exec
: If my salary comes on time, then all my cheques are paid and by day 11 I am looking for people to borrow heh heh.

Poor me who is disgustingly and deplorably and miserably underpaid : If my salary doesn't come on time, I have my savings *looks around smugly expecting to see the faces round me turning red in embarrassment*

Execs: Wow! Now we know who to borrow from midmonth.
Me :!!!!!!

Note to self: SHUT THE EFF UP!