Saturday, March 31, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday to my blog!!

My blog turned two yesterday!! Thank you all you lovely people who dropped in here to read my ramblings. You guys are the best! *HUGS*

Monday, March 19, 2007

Making ends meet...creatively!

Friday evening drew to a close and I was heaving a sigh of relief at the thought of a long weekend when I got THE DREADED MAIL from boss.


You are fired!!!

Or so I hoped it would say. But no such luck :( It simply said what it had to say:


Please submit your budgetary requirements for the next quarter by Tuesday and avoid allocation at my discretion.

Allocation at my discretion” are words that sends a chill down our collective spines. It is THE MOST HORRIBLE words that we hope never to hear. Last time Boss allocated funds at his discretion, the allocation was so paltry that I had to do a belly dance routine to pay off the ad agency bills and the Event Management people hired me part time as flame thrower to pay off their bills. My colleague Narasimhan had to sell a kidney to host a Dealers Conference and another colleague Subbulakshmi had to pledge her womb for surrogate motherhood to pay off a Training Programme she had organized. Those were trying times indeed and we all learnt that going for a stroll and innumerable coffee breaks when we are asked to do our budgets can have some very unpleasant side effects indeed.

After some quick calculation I realized that if I didn’t get nifty and make my budget then I would have to carry out “at least”....

1. Two bank heists
2. One train robbery
3. One grand larceny
4. A couple of cat burglaries
5. and some pick pocketing in a BMTC bus be able to survive the next quarter.

This piece of information gave me the necessary encouragement to make my budget in time. It also gave me a rough idea of my money requirements. So I sat down and like a good girl made my expenditure list in an Excel file complete with graphs. ( it wasn’t necessary but when Excel 2007 helps you make pretty graphs in pretty colors why shouldn’t you use it? Personally I would like to put in some flowers and teddy bears and birds etc. Microsoft please note!!)

Approximately two and a half second later boss called up.

Boss: err….Silverine are we by any chance funding the US invasion of China?
Me: US invasion of China? But boss that is a remote possibility!!!!
Boss: Exactly!!

Why can’t he just say “Not Approved!”? Grrr

I redid the entire budget and sent it again for his approval!

Boss: Are you by any chance preparing the budget for Nagaland and Manipur and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands!!!
Me: Why would I?
Boss: My thoughts exactly !!

Guess he means “not approved”. I carefully slashed a couple of zeroes here and there by the 'eeenie meenie minie mo' method and sent the file again for Boss's approval.

Boss : Wow!! Silverine, is our next team outing on the QE2? it really necessary that we are all flown to the QE2 in private jets?
Me: err...No!
Boss: *whew*!!!

Well I must admit the last figures did look like I was planning on a team outing on the QE2 *sigh* So I did a modest recounting of my money requirements and sent the file again to the boss!

Boss: aaarrrrgghhhh!! *thud*

Finally after much consulting with experienced people in the team I made what looked like a really threadbare cheap shoe string budget which was instantly approved!!

Now only if I can learn...

1) Pole Dancing wearing a Nuns costume
2) To stand still against a wooden wheel in a Mallika Sherawath costume while a blindfolded man throws twelve sharps knives at me to make my silhouette
3) Hold an apple on my head while another blindfolded guy shoots an arrow at the apple
4) Exotic Dancing while carrying three trays of wine of my head
5) And Sky diving in a chicken outfit

…then I might just be able to make ends meet this quarter. ‘Making ends meet’ reminds me, acrobatics in a lehenga choli is quite hot with the Jap tourists!! So am adding that to my list too.

And those of you who are sniggering behind my back, just remember, this is way better and more dignified than my colleague Balwinder Singh, who had to pose as a door to door salesman and rob unsuspecting housewives to pay for his Product Launches!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sharky and George

Picture courtesy: Corbis

Yesterday I went to the Pet Shop after a very long time and optimisticaly picked up a pair of Goldfish. It has been many moons and many Goldfish burials since I have picked up a pair of Goldfish. The last one who died got an awesome but somber burial.

Me:(taking dead goldfish in my hands) And may God bless your soul and take you into his arms.
[Sprinkles Holy Water on the fish and places the fish gently into the grave*]
Friends: Amen!

* Watery grave

I named my new fishes Sharky and George, after my favorite childhood toon. Sharky is fat and George is thin. I was hoping that Sharky is a male and George is a female or vice versa. I had great hopes on Sharky and George like I had on the seventeen thousand others who died in the quest of fulfilling my hopes of becoming a Goldfish farmer. Like the proverbial story of the milkmaid that we all have had to read compulsorily, thanks to NCERT, I too was like the Milkmaid who dreamt of selling milk and buying hens, then selling the eggs and buying goats and so forth till she had bought up the various State Dairy Development Boards and then finally in a hostile take over acquires the National Dairy Development Board itself. (Mr Kurien doesn’t know what a close shave he has had with this one!).

My dreams were quite similar to the milkmaid in the story. I would buy a Goldfish that would give me numerous baby Goldfishes which I would sell and buy more Goldfishes who will give me another million babies that I would sell and quit school. Simple. (I wasn’t too ambitious in 4th standard)

If you bump into one of those numerous ex Goldfish sellers who live in the French Riviera and Hawaii, they will fondly recall a determined little girl who came religiously to their shops in Shivajinagar after every Sunday Mass at St Patrick’s and went home with a Goldfish. They loved the little girl, especially since they knew that she would be back in a day or two, or if luck was on their side in a couple of hours to buy another one. She was the only known person in the history of Goldfish buying to have made it to the elite list of “Frequent Buyers Club” and she earned numerous freebies like the FREE opportunity to pat the Pomeranian puppies kept in the cages or FREE ten minutes of playtime with the cute rabbits also kept in cages.

Accompanying her was a gentleman whose only purpose in life seemed to be paying for the fish. Sometime accompanying them would be a boy, a little elder to the girl who was partly mute as all he would be heard talking was “Bet you this fish will not live for more than three hours. Anyone for a bet???”

Boy: Bet you this fish will live only 12 hours.
Gentleman who always paid for the fish: No way, she will take good care of this one! Won’t you mole?
Girl: *Nods head vigorously*
Boy: What’s the bet!
Gentleman who always paid for the fish: 10 Rupees.
Boy: Deal!
Gentleman who always paid for the fish: *sigh* Here take the ten rupees, you can return it if the fish lives.

The boy would take the ten rupees and add it to the thick wad of notes in his pocket. The boy was also perhaps the first known boy in history to have his own “Cash Box” by age ten. He was the guy who came to the family’s aid when there was a critical shortage of change in India.

Dad: Son do you have change for a hundred rupees?
(Boy counts nine ten rupees from the 20 ten rupee notes he has in change)
Boy: Dad I am afraid I have only ninety rupees.
Dad: Never mind, here is 100 rupees. Give me whatever you have.

And thus he amassed great wealth while his sister still hoped to make it big and rich in the Goldfish business.

Now Sharky and George were also greeted with great glee and anticipation and lots of mental arithmetics by the the boy, now a fully grown boy. By now he had also become very supportive and extremely encouraging of his sisters ambitions.

Grown up Boy: 24 hours!! I give this fish 24 hours!!
Gentleman who did not pay for fish this time: No way, she will take good care of this one! Won’t you mole?
Girl: *Nods head not so vigorously*
Grown up Boy: 24 hours!! A minute more and I pay one thousand rupees!!
Gentleman who did not pay for fish this time: 25 hours!
Boy: Deal!
Girl: *sigh*

24 hours later Sharky and George were dead. After collecting the money, as a gesture of sympathy and support in my time of grief and my Dad’s time of loss, my brother laid the fishes in a clean sheet of paper one beside the other for the burial. The fat one first then the thin one. Under the fat one he wrote “Before”. Under the thin one he wrote “After”.


I bet you a thousand rupees that I will find him in 24 hours!! Any takers????

(I just got an SMS from him that says "Deal!")


Friday, March 09, 2007

New heights!

I guess by now most of us have heard about the "Heights". I saw a couple of incidents that made me realise that there is lots of scope for expanding the ‘Heights’ series. Given below are my four contributions. If you have any to share and expand this series feel free to use the comments section.

Height of cleanliness

I am working late. The housekeeping staffs as usual come in a 6 pm sharp and start their cleaning routine. A dashing young housekeeping guy comes and starts cleaning my rather longish table, stopping now and then to inspect his work critically. He is obviously a perfectionist. He then removes the orange skin on my table and cleans the area thoroughly and then...puts the skins right back where he found them ( I swear in the exact same angle)and walks away with the flourish of a magician leaving the stage after a successful performance.

Height of Annoyance

Vehicles are stopped at a traffic signal. Most drivers are honking the horn impatiently as the cop is giving the oncoming traffic too much time. Amidst the din I see another old man. The old man is also honking his vehicle horn in annoyance. The only difference between him and the other drivers was that his vehicle was a bicycle and the noise he was making was with the bicycle bell.

(The cycle bell couldn't be heard even if you were standing next to him but he showed that he was just as annoyed as the next driver. Hats off grandpa!! You have a fan in me. )

Height of obeying traffic rules

An (obviously) new driver on a brand new scooter is slowing to a stop near a traffic signal. He puts up his arm to indicate that he is stopping, 'License Test Style'. (arm bend from the elbow and held parallel to the shoulder with palms facing front) He loses control of the bike several times due to this manoeuvre and nearly falls down. But he persists and stops his bike after several attempt and looks quite proud of following traffic rules. The traffic cop in the meantime was highly impressed and was seen rolling on the road laughing. So was I.

Height of absentmindedness

Silverine gives print command for several files she is printing and realises that the printer for some reason has not printed the same. (Perhaps it has spied, through its printer eye the several times she stuck her tongue out at him).She cancels the print job and gives a fresh print command. Finally after five tries she gives up because she had other work to do. In the evening there is a mail from the Facilities Desk enquiring the name and where abouts of a certain employee who has printed 200 A 4 size sheet of papers in the 2nd floor. Silverine sits on the first floor. No one had a clue. The mystery endures to this day.

Friday, March 02, 2007

My realities

Recently a girl wrote to me saying that she admired the fact that I admitted to having a conservative mother and being from a fairly conservative background. She felt that too many girls pretend that their moms are Paris Hilton clones ( she didn’t exactly say that but I am using certain licenses here like ‘being the owner of this blog’ ). Thank you dear girl…alas one cannot chose their parents (unless you were on friendly terms with the geneticist pre-conception )or I would have chosen Dr Salim Ali to be my dad and Rita Rudner to be my mom. Kidding… I am quite happy with what God gave me or err…what God gave my parents.(Dear God, you do spoil my parents a lot I must admit, by giving them too much of a good thing a.k.a “me” :p )

Now I have been more than honest about my family or more popularly referred to as Case Study # 3456 by the good doctors at NIMHANS.

I don’t have an amma who says “Mole you don’t have a boyfriend??? I am so ashamed of you!!! Are you my daughter?? Ente daivame I think you got switched in the hospital. Someone took my darling smart baby and put a loser like you in there!!

But when I do things like climb trees and recently in Kerala, when I nearly killed the family’s’ prize goat, prize cow, prize neighbor (he has an eligible son) with my cousin brother’s Bullet, she does wonder if I had indeed got switched in the hospital. (But the Bullet ride was awesome!! Next, I am gonna try the Tractor!)

And she also honestly and sincerely believes that her hubby dearest and his younger two kids descended from the apes while she and her elder son and her family were dropped from heaven to earth below as fully formed manicured and pedicured human beings who had read all the Malayalam authors and the plays of Shakespeare and as soon as they descended onto earth they headed straight to the library where they still reside reading books as they are printed.

My dad, a pragmatic Pala achayan on the other hand proudly admits that he is descended from the apes and thus can grunt and scratch himself anywhere anyplace anytime. (He also says that it is a calculated lie perpetrated by his wife and in laws that Apes are vegetarians and that he is living proof to the contrary.)

As a kid I heard my friends say that they read Mills and Boon right in front of their moms. I looked at them with admiration. Wow what cool moms they had compared to mine I thought. I had to read the Constitution of India and Geography for Secondary Schools...because they were big enough to hide the M&B. It did have it’s disadvantages though, like one day when my mom suddenly asked what I chapter I was reading I absent mindedly said “Midnight Tryst oops I mean Freedom at Midnight” ( You will all admit after this incident that an M&B kept hidden inside the Constitution of India and Geography for Secondary Schools is very good for mental alertness.)

I was always red faced when I heard aforementioned classmates moms declare rather proudly to my mom that their daughters read only Shakespeare and The New English Reader and not filthy books like Mill and Boons. They were right I must admit…these girls did not read M&B like me....they had by now graduated from M&B to Harold Robbins and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

While my peers said that they had permission to go to the movies, I admitted rather frankly that I would have to check with my mom. And after my mom had asked around about the movie and got different opinions and reviews and finally a clearance from the parish priest and if possible from the Pope himself and if further possible from Sushma Swaraj and the Imam of Jama Masjid, then and then only would I be told “No!!” Don’t judge my amma too harshly. This movie had a lot of s** and violence and bloodshed you see. The heroine reportedly wears very short skirts and high heels (s**) which makes her trip and fall down the steps and break her head ( violence and bloodshed).

But I must admit that I was not totally honest all the time. When the aforementioned classmates moms would call me and ask “Where is Nina, she said she is coming over to your place to study but I heard she was spotted at the movies?!” I would tell lies that her daughter was indeed here and studying hard and right now she was in the toilet where she would remain, till around the time a matinee show generally gets over.

When my classmates declared that they could wear spaghetti strap and off shoulder tops, I had to admit that the only thing I was allowed to wear was T Shirts and jeans and frocks that I suspect were remodified burkhas. Since I was not a regular in the fashion scene, I was quite fascinated by the trends in fashion exhibited by my friends and learnt a lot from them. For example did you know that spaghetti strap and off shoulder tops are “always” worn with a modest T Shirt on top till you are 500 meters away from the house or out of view of your mom and vice versa?! Amazing!

I so envy girls with super cool moms like my friends.