Monday, December 21, 2009

Chennai charm

Chennai is cool. Some drizzle. Some areas are as dirty as ever but Chennai shines. Went to Spenser's shopping plaza but ended up just window shopping. Good to be back with family and missing you guys and gals, my precious friends. Will sure catch up. Excuse my tardiness in writing posts and comments as of now.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cycling around Dubai

Beautiful Friday. Wonderful Friday. Why am I jumping with joy? Hey..buddies, at last I got to pedal 11 kms on a bicycle in the heart of Jumairah, Dubai. Don’t believe? OK, am posting my photo so you are doubly sure.
It has been years since I went cycling. When I used my bicycle in Mumbai, the neighbourhood would comment, “See that stingy guy. Cannot afford a scooter.” Many guys asked, “You are working in a good company. Why don’t you buy a car?” Anyway, society is meant to place hurdles and we are supposed to find our way to happiness. My dad was riding a bicycle even when he was 75.
A fitness company had organized the cycle-o-thon. Our sports editor Agnelo proved to be stronger than me. He finished the 11 kms coolly, while I struggled at the last lap a bit. Now, don’t laugh, you enemy.
OK, now I am busy packing for India trip. You people dint say what you wanted from here, so I dint buy anything for you. But my bag is full of love for you, my precious friends. Cya.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wife-bashers, you cowards

I reached the first floor and rang the bell. The door had a little window through which we can see inside. The sound of the bell and the sound of a person falling down coincided. I saw my friend’s wife falling with a huge thud. She was in tears. She looked at me for a second and there was pin-drop silence. Embarrassment. Total embarrassment. After two minutes, my friend came and opened the door. I could surmise the situation. There had been a little war there. The woman had been pushed down. OMG. I could not sit there. I moved out ASAP. The funny thing is I saw the couple happily huddled together in a week. What a comical world!
I had been to another acquaintance’s house. The wife was being rushed to the doctor after a punch from her husband left her bleeding on the nose. Next day, she was massaging the hubby’s head as he had headache.
A good female friend of mine of Middle East origin had to take divorcé just to escape a violent hubby.
Shame on such husbands.
Only in my dreams I can try such a thing. So it went one day I gave a solid punch to my wife when she irritated me beyond boiling point. All she did was twist my left hand behind, warning, “Next time you try this, your won’t have your one hand to use for the computer.” Baapre, Tauba, tauba..what a dream!
Already, media reports claim that golfer Tiger Woods lost his tooth after his angry wife threw the mobile on him.

India visit

BTW, blog buddies in India. It will be great if any of you are interested in meeting over a cup of tea (hey u pay, kanjoos). Will be visiting Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai between Dec20 to Jan 9. Marina in Chennai, Forum Mall in Bangalore and Vashi, Kandivli (Mumbai) are sure spots for me. Do stay connected on if ya feel v can get in touch. Cheers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Missed you on cruise

Another Saturday weekend. This time it was a different experience. So happy to share with you, my precious friends. Actually, I was invited along with a couple of other media friends to visit Costa Luminosa, one of the most elegant Italian cruise ships that arrived in Dubai.
It’s the first time for Costa Luminosa (2,826 guests) to operate in Dubai.
Lemme tell the highlights to save your time: The ship has 20 different types of marble, timbers, mother of pearl granite, 120 Murano glass chandeliers. There was an excellent work of art sculpture by Fernando Botero “Donna Sdraiata 2004 (Reclining Woman 2004) on Costa Luminosa. Only twice or thrice I had been on such ships; so I was amazed by the facilities inside. 200 original paintings, 4D cinema, roller skating track, golf stimulator, grand prix driving simulator, spa, gym, swimming pool…well..
I know, I know. How did I manage my veg lunch? It took two minutes for me to make friends with the smiling European chef.
All the photos were captured on my mobile, except for the first one of the actual ship. Naturally, the photos are bad and I was tempted to dump my mobile into the Arabian sea. But who will buy for me a new one? Any one out there?
C ya.

Reclining woman sculpture

Here's the Hollywood star you wanted to meet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The chaotic charm

I was chatting with Patrick, the CEO of a company that maintains the AC bus shelters on Dubai roads.
“Are things really green in Dubai?” I asked him.
I liked the guy because he’s a diehard optimist.
“If you think things are bad, why add to negativity. Let’s embrace chaos and optimism,” he smiled.
I spent most time in a city that cuddled chaotic charm –Mumbai. So I had to readily agree.
Dubai is in news internationally for negative reasons. But the truth is that it is an amazing city, which helped people make gold from sand. These are tough times, but as Lincoln said, only the test of fire makes fine steel.
OK, OK. Let’s not get serious. Back to Ansar Salim’s new joke:
A farmer was working in a remote area when he saw a bus falling into a ditch. He reached the spot, pushed all the mud around and buried the occupants along with the bus.
After a few hours, a rescue crew arrived.
“Did you see any bus?”
“Any survivors?”
“A couple of them screaming “help, help.” But I noticed that they were politicians and thought as usual they are lying.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh husbands!

Poor husbands, some of them are so henpecked.
I remember the German hubby of an Indian wife who was so henpecked that he waited for his spouse’s command every moment.
“Why you are standing? I told you to go and get it,” she screamed at him once and before I could turn to look at his reaction he had disappeared. The poor guy must be deeply in love.
Another old man I knew will tell his wife everytime the woman opens her mouth, “Baby, I am here na. Lemme explain. Baby, just wait baby.” What bloody baby! Many a times I had escaped before this guy put his “baby” to sleep with his lullaby.
This Chennai hubby used to wash his wife’s clothes and cook as well. And yet she will find fault with him. There was water shortage in the area and the hubby will wait in queue for hours to fetch water from a roadside tanker. “He managed only four buckets today,” she complained one day and the rubberstamp-husband nodded his head “Hehe, they did not allow me to take more.”
Henpecked husbands; Enjoy if you are enjoying. No objection. But I am not in your list. Wait. Lemme ask my wife. Baby, what do ya say baby?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sun rises, sets, rises again

Saturday comes, Saturday goes. Weekly off is gone. But should say enjoyed it. First it was breakfast with a great friend, a “Bengal tigress.” The loving family of Suresh hosted a delicious lunch and Sri Lankan friend Ahamat offered Subway sandwich for dinner. What better way to spend the off!
Talking of weekly offs, time flies so fast we wonder where we are heading. We toil six days to enjoy that one day off.
I picked this brilliant quote from
The preacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem, says: “What does man gain from all his labour in which he labours under the sun? One generation goes; another generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, goes does down, and hurries to its place where it rises.”
The moment we are born, the risk of dying is also born. If risk takes birth as a birthright, why should we spend time worrying about the risks involved in life. It’s all part of the package. Let’s play with risk then, though using caution, bestowed upon us in the form of wisdom. Shucks, serious stuff.
Let’s move on to Pakistani colleague Ansar Salim’s joke.
A truck driver was passing a busy road when the signal turned red. All other drivers applied the brakes, but this driver moved on. How? Hehe, he was walking.
Hey, don’t beat me ya. This is Ansar’s joke.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eureka, new way to fool

Newton was relaxing under a tree when an apple fell and he discovered the law of gravitation. “Eureka” Archimedes was blissfully taking a bath when he realised the buoyancy principle.
My friend was continuing his lecture, when I interrupted: “Why this sermon?”
“Well, whatever you do, just relax and enjoy.”
By then, we had reached the canteen. He ordered sandwich and mint coffee.
“I am telling you all this so that you learn to take things easy,” he continued.
“I am ok. I do not get worked up over silly things,” I boasted.
He gave more instances of how to handle stressful situations.
“Are you sure you are a cool cat?” he asked.
I smelt a rat but like a fool blurted, “I presume so.”
“Well then, quickly pay the bill.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The rat n snake story

Six of us colleagues were in the midst of a hot tea session when Muntazir Imam posed an intriguing question citing from a book he is writing.
A snake charmer enters a forest, struggles for hours and manages to trap a deadly cobra. He shunts the snake inside a basket along with a rat he had brought. He returns home away from the forest and opens the basket. Lo and behold! The snake lies dead, while the rat jumps out and escapes merrily.
“Now you guys answer how it could have happened,” Muntazir put it on the mat.
There were diverse reactions. One said the snake must have been sick and almost dead before capture, while another guessed that the rat winked at the snake with an “I care too hoots for you” look and the snake committed suicide. MJP of the Philippines argued, “Never take small things for granted. The tiny rat had a larger brain and bit the huge snake where it kills.”
Now over to you, guys and gals out there.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hey poet, food waiting

Another Saturday weekly off. Decided to chill out lazily when good friend Subramani, a married bachelor like me, rang up around noon to say he is waiting to share lunch with a special Avial (Mixed veg).
Had to rush. So dashed to the same saloon (you remember?) for a rapid haircut and shave. The same hair cutter was there, Asianet TV was on and he sported the same smile. I sat on the same chair, and in minutes it was the same bloodbath on my face. Dunno whether he used the same razor.
Before leaving, put on the DVD to hear some old Tamil songs. One brilliant title went on like this: “Look at the hen, how early it gets up, see the sparrow, how active it is, check out the crow, how it calls out its friends. And look at ourselves! Oh God, serious stuff.
OK. Moved on to the next song. It was about a man who could not believe someone very close could have said something like that. The lines: “Did she say this? Can’ttttt beeee. Salty sea can turn sweet, all 30 days can turn full moon days, a burnt corpse may rise and walk, but she could not have said this.”
Ooof what lines! It continued, “Mom’s milk may turn toxic, I may forget you and still survive, but how could you have said this?”
Hey, hey, poet, I screamed, “Avial is waiting.”
I put off the DVD and called out, “Taxiiii.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Look at the mirror

I can never forget Lata D Mello.
“Change your hairstyle, stupid. Front to rear combing instead of left to right is the new trend,” this brilliant colleague yelled at me once after I got a promotion in my Mumbai newspaper. “Mature up.”
I did so promptly and you know how handsome I look now.
And so it happened that I told a female colleague yesterday, “Change your hairstyle.”
“What’s wrong with my present style?” she asked.
“You attend major conferences and will look more presentable with a new style.”
“You talking about looks?” she asked me.
And hastily picked up her handbag.
I thought she’s offering a gift for the great idea.
Out came a tiny mirror.
“Have a look at yourself.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here's (y)our award

Awesome. Here's another award from wonderful blogger friend Kadri. How lucky I am to have such wonderful friends all around. Herewith dedicating the award as usual to all the visitors of this blog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

‘Next time I will slap him’

Whenever I manage to shake off my laziness and go for an early morning walk, I feel as happy as a child who gets a “kitchu kitchu” (tickle).
Today was one such day and I walked briskly. The weather in Sharjah is pleasant and will remain like this through December. I feel like inviting all blog friends home. Hey, don’t take me seriously; if you come you have to starve like me as I am a horrible cook.
OK. While walking I slowed down because two middle-aged Desi women passed by. My ears sharpened. Rotten gossip.
The first woman was telling the other, “You should have asked him to get lost.”
“I did. He’s shameless. Next time, I will slap him.”
There was a pause as they noticed me.
Then the second one said in a hush-hush tone: “That day he took my cellphone and was looking at it as if he has never seen one. Shameless.”
I looked. They looked.
I felt as if the first lady was telling the other, “Here comes another crook.”
So I moved ahead on top gear.
God save men from women and women from men, and women from women and men from men.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just for a break

I had been to the Emirates Humour Club meeting yesterday in Dubai. Lemme share just three jokes I heard there;
* A man was looking at a new three-storey building in a dejected mood.
“Why you look so sad?” asked a passer-by.
“I have completed three floors of this building,” he replied.
“Lovely. So this is your building.”
“Ya. But I am just wondering who is the land owner!”

* Son was crying. Dad asked why.
“Mom beat me.”
“Don’t cry. Have you seen me crying when your mama beats me?”

* “Wake up that sleeping guy,” the lecturer told James.
“Sir, first you make him sleep and now you ask me to wake him up,” replied James.
NB: Hey, who's that running after me with a stick! These jokes are not mine.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brat who bit me

Everyone loves children, me too. But rogue children get on my nerves.
What? Are you asking me why I am angry?
OK, tell some brat to bite your hand and then ask this question.
I was at my friend’s home when this little monster was told by his dad: “Say Hi to uncle?”
The brat replied: “Hi chesma (specs) uncle.”
“Don’t say that beta (son),” this was his dad.
The monkey then tried to climb on my shoulders and in the process pushed down my specs.
This was when his dad gave him a mild slap and the monkey turned his ire on me while crying. He bit my hand saying “It’s all because of you,” and ran towards his loving mom, who hugged him.
What a wonderful family! I escaped in a matter of seconds. Who wants bite marks all over?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stingy friend’s dirty trick

I told you about a close relative who was stingy.
Once we were enjoying dinner at his home, when he put off the light.
“The TV is on. Why do you need the tubelight?” he asked.
With my scratch-filled specs, I could hardly see. I almost picked up items from my wife’s plate as she was sitting next to me.
Why do I remember that relative now?
Well, yesterday, a miserly colleague’s phone buzzed a Bollywood tune.
“Who is this?” he asked and continued, “Oh, professor? You are already in our reception room? I will be there in a minute.”
He turned to me and said: “I do not want to pay for this man’s coffee. Do you have Dhs100?”
Puzzled, I nevertheless gave him the money. He dragged me to the reception room.
After initial greetings, he asked the professor, “Coffee or tea?”
As I looked worrying about my Dhs100, the professor replied: “Coffee, without sugar please.”
My friend promptly ordered coffee and within minutes the canteen boy arrived.
Just when the professor was relishing the sugar-less coffee, my friend asked the canteen boy loudly, “You have change for Dhs100?”
The innocent professor kept the cup down and said, “I think I have some change.”
“No, no, no professor. It’s insulting,” the dramatist played his game well.
The poor professor finished his discussion and thanked us for the coffee he paid for. And I got my Dhs100 back.

Friday, November 13, 2009

63-year young man

He’s all of 63 and a marketing man. He has an amazing tact in networking and keeps in regular touch with all good friends. He had to leave UAE for India last month, dealing a blow to me as I miss a great friend.
He does not get a single penny out of it, but writes his views regularly in letters to the editor columns that are splashed across several newspapers in the UAE and India.
From where do you get such energy? I asked Mr Ragavan.
“I enjoy what I am doing and do what I enjoy doing,” he replied.
How about your romantic life? I joked as usual.
“Hehe..Don’t ask in front of my wife,” he said blushing.
“Are you scared of your wife?”
“It is not fear, but love for my family. What about you?” he asked.
“I am the boss of my house and I have my wife’s permission to say so,” I used the cliché to escape.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How sweet!

I was born with a sweet tooth (now mostly capped by dentists is another matter) and I am also a coffee addict who can hardly resist the temptation of adding sugar to the cup that cheers.
Yesterday when I asked the waiter to bring additional sugar, my colleague warned me, “Buddy, better check your sugar level.”
“Life is short. Let’s make it sweet,” I cajoled him.
When I reached home, my roommate was waiting with a box of chocolates which he just got from London.
“I cannot take chocolates. Please give it to someone else. Chocolates are the worst enemies of the teeth,” I said.
“I thought you like sweets, stupid. I would have given it to my gorgeous receptionist,” he said.
Vallah. An idea flashed in my mind. I grabbed the box. I can give to my receptionist, what say? She may not be gorgeous, but.. hehe.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Facing the steam of life

Routine sucks and so decided to take a short break during Christmas time and visit Chennai/Mumbai. Will have to wait for a month. It seems air fares always soar high, never to land. Hey, not grumbling buddy. This is just a common man’s perennial complaint.
After booking a ticket, I entered a restaurant in Rolla, Sharjah, with a friend for “Vada” breakfast.
“Enna venum? (What do you want?) asked the waiter.
He hardly looked a Madrasi.
“Where the heck are you from?” I asked instantly.
“Why? I am from Kathmandu,” he replied.
“How come, such fluent Tamil?”
“If you work in a Rolla restaurant for 10 years like me, you will also pick up at least seven languages,” he replied, looking at my friend and shifting to Malayalam.
“Shall we consider the offer?” joked my friend.
Free accommodation, food.., he listed.
I frequent many restaurants for dinner. I know how these workers slog several hours a day. Many of them get hardly two days’ off in a month and their pay is pathetic to say the least. They are mostly cheerful, but behind the façade they face challenges one cannot imagine.
“Have a good day,” I told the Nepali friend, dragged my companion out and moved on.

Friday, November 6, 2009

He would have bashed us up

He was short-tempered. One day he punched my boss on his face, broke his specs and lost his job. But he’s such a wonderful, goodhearted guy, we always kept in touch.
Once I went with another Bihari friend working in Kolkata to his house in Navi Mumbai. I had already taken lunch.
He told his wife, “Bring some snacks.”
“No, I just had a heavy lunch,” I replied.
By that time his wife had brought the snacks.
“Kha,” (Eat) he said.
“Hmm,” I hesitated.
“Kha, khaa, khaaaaa,” he screamed.
Within minutes my plate was half empty.
I turned to look at my Bihari friend.
That bum was already washing his plate.
When we were returning home, the Bihari friend joked: “Baapre, if we had not eaten, he would have bashed us up.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Now is the time

At last, I managed to break a two-month jinx and go for a walk/exercise early morning. Felt awesome when I returned and started humming.
“You were down last week. The new book you are reading seems to have made you more positive,” said my roommate. He was referring to The Power of Now.
“Sort of,” I replied. “I am trying to live in the present. Past and future are not worth bothering about.”
“How can you negate past and future,” he laughed.
“Anyway. I liked an anecdote in the book,” I continued. The author was watching some ducks. They were having a merry time floating on the water in a group. Only once, a duck tried to obstruct the path of another. There was a tiff. The two fought for a few seconds. They then moved in different directions as if nothing had happened and flapped their wings “as if to shed their negative energy.” In seconds, they were all together and the past was forgotten.
“All this are OK to read. Tomorrow you get disturbing news and you will start grumbling again,” said my roommate.
“Precisely,” I replied. “Tomorrow I may get. But why waste this precious moment now speculating about tomorrow?”
Smart reply, eh! When I have brilliant friends like you, how can I not be smart? hehe
BTW, guys & gals, this is my 250th post. Do you want to pat me? Pat yourself, if this blog exists, it's because of you, you, you..

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why don’t you say hello?

We have been working in the same office for eight years, but this guy has never said a “Hi” to me.
I was hence stunned yesterday when he said “Hello.”
I felt like someone had gifted me a gold chain.
“Hello,” I reacted. “How you doing?”
“Ya good. I wanted to ask you something,” he said.
“Please shoot.”
“I have noticed you waving your hands to so many people. But why is it you always try to avoid me? Does my face look so dirty?”
Booooomm. I felt like I was stung by a scorpion pushed into my shirt.
“He he, ho ho,” somehow I escaped.
Being an old teenager has its merits. I plunged into memory lane.
I was entering the editorial section of my office in Mumbai one day when I saw that woman (hey..not so pretty OK?) coming from the opposite direction.
“Hey, How you doing?” I asked casually.
She looked at me as if someone had pinched her.
“Sorry I do not recollect who you are,” she snapped.
OMG. What an embarrassment.
It’s a different matter that she indeed knew me. That woman’s dad was working in a different section and had taken Rs100 as loan from me.
What a world of contradictions we live in!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Up above world so high

I do not like skyscrapers. Whenever I see a ground-plus one building in Dubai I feel good. Sharjah has several skyscrapers. But I feel tall buildings lack the human touch. They turn cities into concrete jungles.
Why my sudden outburst? Walking on Al Wahda yesterday, an empty toothpaste packet fell on my shoulders. I looked up, up and up. How to locate the culprit hiding in one of those multistoreyed flats! I had to just move on, thanking the stars that it wasn’t some heavy metal thrown on my head instead.
I remembered a friend who said he had a fight with his sister and threw her book away. Out it went through the window of the third floor and landed on the watchman's head. My friend had to bribe the watchman not to create a scene.
My family was staying on the fifth floor in Mumbai. My wife had asked my daughter to dump some “dal” (cooked cereal) in the garbage bin. The lazy girl quietly threw it out of the window. The “dal” splattered across a new car parked on the ground floor by an advocate. In 10 minutes, the guy was in our apartment. His Honour left only after I had tendered a thousand apologies.
And people ask why I like to wear caps! At this rate, we may be forced to wear helmets while walking near skyscrapers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dutch Uncle

Of course, most people know Dutch Uncle (DU) is a person who gives unwelcome advice.
“Why are you looking sad?” asked DU.
In fact, I was in the best frame of mind as I have been reading The Power of Now, a good book. Anyway, I played along.
“A friend has lost job and needs money. I am not in a position to help.”
“Try to help him somehow,” he advised.
“You have lots of time. Why don’t you try some part-time job? he asked.
“Am trying.”
“Do you know I always get up before sunrise.”
“But I do not go to bed before midnight,” I retorted.
“BTW, Could you talk to your doctor friend. I need a sickness certificate.”
“But you are quite fit. I cannot,” I replied.
“It is only for record. You can’t even help me with small favours,” he replied angrily.
“I know. I do not give unsolicited advice or seek unreasonable favours.”
He has been avoiding me for a week now.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Smart couple

Oct.24 happened to be my wedding day (You have to give it to us. What tolerance level from both sides for 21 years, especially me..hehe).
What’s the secret of your marriage success? asked my friend jovially.
“Give-and-take policy,” I boasted.
“No, I heard your wife hardly gets a chance to talk as you do all the talking,” he continued.
“Change the topic,” I replied.
“I asked you because divorce cases are increasing. After wedding, a bridegroom in Lanka found out that the wife’s family had lied. During the same evening of the wedding day, he said he was going to the market and never returned. This woman remains single even now at 40,” he said.
“Ya, I have heard such stories.”
“There was another couple who separated after 15 years of marriage. Is it not funny?” he asked.
“Temme something positive,” I pleaded.
“OK, there’s this couple happily married for 40 years,” he said.
“Boring,” I joked.
“They stay in different cities for the past 20 years,” he laughed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This, too, will pass

Two stories from Eckart Tolle’s A New Earth book are interesting to share, though you might have heard about them.
Zen Master Hakuin of Japan was highly regarded by the neighbourhood. It so happened that the teenage daughter of his neighbour became pregnant. When questioned by angry parents, she pointed her finger at Hakuin. The parents accused the Zen master and shouted saying their daughter had confessed he was the father. “Is that so?” was all that he replied. The master lost his reputation and people shunned him. He remained unmoved. The child was born and the parents told him “look after the baby.” The master took loving care of the baby. After one year, the girl confessed that the real father was at the butcher shop. The parents went to Hakuin. “We are sorry. You are not the real father.” All that the master replied was, “Is that so?” The master responds to truth, bad news and good news in the same way.
A king was continuously torn between happiness and sadness. He approached a wise man. He promised to help. After some weeks he returned and handed a ring to the king. On it was inscribed the words “This, too, will pass.” The sage said, “Wear this always. Whatever happens, before you call it good or bad, read this inscription. You will always have peace.” The idea is, don’t jump too much when you hear good news, nor sulk too much on getting sad news.
Good one, eh!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lesson from ‘lucky’ trouser

It’s not good to be too attached to something, especially material things, but we often tend to get trapped.
There is one particular dress I always considered a favourite.
I used the Sting brand black trouser for special occasions. Last week, when I searched the cupboard, it had vanished.
“That washerman. He has not returned one of my favourite T-shirts also,” complained my roommate.
I confronted the “dhobi.”
“You can come and check my entire shop,” he replied in a sad tone. “After all, you have been our customer for years.”
“If you still doubt us, we will pay the amount you quote,” he added.
I felt bad.
My friend Frenny’s favourite quote rang in my mind.
“Learn to let go and be free.”- Lord Buddha.
I let it go. Hehehe. I feel better now.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Doctor with guts

Wandering around a mall on Diwali day, I picked up the book “Think before it is too late.”
The one para I read touched me so much I wanted to share with you. It was about Dr Barry James Marshall, an Australian physician who won the Nobel for Medicine in 2005. This doctor and his research partner Dr Robin Warren made the startling discovery that stomach ulcers are not caused by stress, spicy foods or too much acid. They felt that bacteria Helicobacter pylori was the cause of most stomach ulcers.
When they declared this, their theory was ridiculed by scientists and doctors, who did not believe that any bacteria could live in the acidic stomach. In order to prove his point, Dr Marshall undertook some daring action. He drank a petri-dish of the bacteria and soon developed gastritis. He then fought the condition with antibiotics. The bacteria disappeared after two weeks.
Marshall has been quoted as saying "Everyone was against me, but I knew I was right".
Great guts boss. Hats off to you, doctor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

From treat to retreat

I never knew cooking would turn out to be such a nutcracker for me.
After having been spoonfed by mummy dear and betterhalf all through, I have now been left to fend for myself.
I had invited a close friend to taste my "sambar" (a cereal-based curry) last week.
The guy's initial response itself was negative.
"Why me?" he asked as if I had asked him to jump out of the window.
Somehow I convinced him and he made it to my house the next day. I served rice and then followed it up with "sambar." The moment he tasted it, his face twisted and turned in 100 different ways.
"All okay?" I asked innocently.
"I have heard of spicy sambar. How come yours is sweet?" he asked me.
Shucks. I had added sugar instead of salt. I should have told my wife not to keep sugar and salt in similar bottles.
"Taste before you serve next time," my friend cautioned before beating a hasty retreat.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Keep off idiots

It’s better to stick on to positive people than the negative ones who make our lives miserable.
I was reading a post by famous Oslo blogger Saroj. She mentioned about how her son was advised to wear spectacles and everyone was blaming TV, computer etc.
When I was doing my degree, I found difficulty reading the board. The doctor said I had a power of -1. A neighbour reacted: “Oh God. One? You are blind.” It came as a shock and I was shit scared for several months. Thirty years later my power has not crossed 6 and I have had no difficulty handling life so far because of specs. That idiot spoiled several days of my peace for nothing.
Contrast this with the positive ones. I was scoring poor in my school days until my English teacher Prem Dulari stepped in. While others chided me, she kept praising my skills and encouraged me all through. That made a huge difference and I landed a job in the top newspaper of India.
At least, we can try to say cheese 24/7, even if it’s tough at times.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Truly inspiring

Dr Janardhan, Ragavan and me were discussing life’s challenges when Jana came out with three incidents that touched him.
* He had a class/roommate during his PhD days. The guy was the only child of his parents and survived on a meagre monthly budget that came by way of scholarships. And he was visually challenged. He not only braved his odds, but took care of his parents, got married and succeeded in life. On the lighter side, when the classmates were sitting in the canteen late one evening, there was a power cut. When all the students shouted, “Oh shit. It’s pitch dark,” this guy asked “What happened?” “The lights are off buddy.” He giggled and said: “You guys are jacked. Now hold on to me, lemme lead you all out.”
* Some people are committed to honest earnings. An expatriate gentleman in the UAE won a raffle for Dhs50,000 as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival. Asked what he intended to do with the prize money, he said. “I did not work for this. I will donate the entire sum to a charity.”
*There was this maid who had to bear with untold sufferings in the form of domestic violence. She decided to visit a mental asylum at the beginning of every month. Not that she needed psychiatric help, but her intention was to reassure herself that there were people who suffered more than what she had to endure. Strange logic, but she drew courage and was consoled by the relatively fewer hardships she had to face vis-à-vis those patients.
Truly inspiring, right?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Attraction distraction

When I was in Mumbai, I used to visit public gardens sometimes and do exercises on crossbars.
One day when I was sweating it out, I saw a girl watching me.
You guessed right. I became extra active and started doing exercises more vigorously feeling great that there was an audience for my show.
After 10 minutes, the girl, having lost her patience, rushed to me and said: "Uncle, aunty said she's going to the supermarket. She asked me to pass on your home key."
Shucks. Why does that always happen to me!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

‘Start a barber shop’

News rooms used to be full of life and noisy in the earlier days.
Tension will be in the air, but so was fun. There was this morning shift which began at 10. I used to head this on many occasions.
One day the furious editor came to me, threw the day’s edition and asked, “What’s this shit?”
“No boss. This was done by night shift.”
“Do not shun responsibility,” he blasted me for a minute and disappeared.
He returned with a sheet of paper this time and threw it on the table. On it was written by a reader, “Close your paper and open a barber shop.”
I almost laughed out.
The angry editor melted. “Be careful,” he warned and started moving off.
“Actually it’s a good idea, I think we will get better paid,” I whispered to my colleague.
The editor heard this. Luckily, he also just smiled and went away.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Do looks matter?

While there are plenty of other challenges to attend to in life, many seem to be bogged down by the issue of looks.
“You fatty,” called out a friend, infuriating his colleague.
“It’s better than being a shortie like you. Once I saw you standing and driving,” joked the “fatty.”
“But you need two seats in a car,” replied the “shortie.”
What started as a joke turned out bitter. Adding to the confusion was the middleaged lady M.
“Why do you argue over looks?” she played a judge, while removing her lipsticks from her vanity bag.
“I am not a part of this discussion,” I tried to wriggle out.
“Ya, it is not a subject for oldies,” replied the “shortie.”
“May be, oldie is better than shortie,” I reacted.
Oof, he managed to infuriate me by touching a raw chord.
My vow never to get provoked went for a toss in a second.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fun with friends

When my wife arrived for a week's visit recently we were amazed by the affection showered by close friends. We enjoyed lunch and dinner at various restaurants hosted by them. We indeed have been blessed with wonderful friends.
And now many blog friends have proved to be a boon. There are some with whom I chat and speak my mind out. I have helped some handle personal issues, while many have offered solace when I have been down, beaten by loneliness. Especially three from Shillong, Canada and Mumbai.
So it was that I invited home a former colleague who is now a famous journalist. "My wife will make special "Dosas" (South Indian rice speciality) for your family," I promised. She rang up next day to say she would not make it in the morning but would do so late in the evening. She did come with her cute baby and hubby. We had a fun-filled chat, but I forgot totally about the dosas. When she was about to pack up after coffee, this dear friend quipped jovially, "What happened to your dosas?"
You should have seen the embarrassment on my face. After a bitter scolding from my wife, we decided to visit a Madrasi restaurant near our house. We had a great dosa party. (Picture: baby Pravda)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When luck smiles...

Being at the right place at the right time changes one’s lives dramatically in a positive direction. I had mentioned how my senior colleague suggested me a Gulf job while in the office loo in Mumbai.
Yesterday we were discussing situations where people have landed in trouble for being in wrong places at wrong times. A man decided to take a quiet walk. He avoided the dangerous highway and walked carefully on the footpath. He was crossing a skyscraper. On the 14th floor, another man had decided “enough was enough” with life. He jumped through the window. And he landed on this pedestrian, killing him. The man who wanted to die survived.
Another colleague said about this Second World War hero who returned home triumphantly. He was relaxing when a piece of concrete fell on his head, taking his life.
Shucks. Why are on this negative track? Come on. We are positive thinkers.
Yes. A Pakistani garbage truck loader who lives in a labor camp in Sharjah, received a phone call recently.
“You are a millionaire.”
Ajmal Khan works as a laborer earning AED 800 per month ($1=AED3.67).
He could not believe his ears.
He had won the Etisalat 24 Millionaires promotion.
I am praying at least one of my precious friends (Hey, where are you looking? You are one indeed) gets such a phone call.
What say?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Let’s catch up

Apologies. Apologies. Please do not give that look buddies. You are too precious for me and you know that. Remembered you all the time though I could not keep in touch virtually. I swear. Just dropped betterhalf at Dubai airport and returned to office.
Strange Dubai taxi meters start with Dhs40 ($1 = 3.67 dirhams) minimum if we hire one for Sharjah from the airport. So tried a bus. The bus driver told me to get down and buy a NOL card for Dhs20. Under the new system you cannot just buy a ticket and travel anywhere in a bus in Dubai. You buy a card for Dhs 20 (called NOL card – don’t ask me the meaning. Dunno) and punch it everytime you use. Earlier me and philosopher friend Faiyaz enjoyed several bus trips as it was a flat rate of merely Dhs2 from anywhere to anywhere within the city. Gone are those days philosopher.
It was a mixed bag this week. I was feeling great with my wife taking care of the cooking aspect. After months I could eat good home food. There was too much of shopping. She smiled, I frowned as expected. On the negative side, there was domestic turbulence involving a close relative. That’s it. Let’s catch up from where we missed. Now, come on, shake hands, and say cheese.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Three more days

Did not get leave at office buddies. Plz bear with me for three more least...

Friday, September 18, 2009

A two-day break

Better half has arrived in Dubai for a week's visit. So applying for a two or three-day leave from blogworld. Sure you, my precious friends, will grant. Cheers always.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Here's (y)our award

Here's another award from Mr. Pramathesh™ Borkotoky of Bamboo Lounge. Feeling great. Thanks PB. Wish you the very best in life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cut it short

My colleague arrived late.
“You know what? After taking bath, I told my wife….,”
“Cut it short.”
“OK. I forgot my purse. Had to return home.”
Some days passed.
Again he was late.
“Missed the bus.”
“But how can you be irresponsible…?”
“OK. You know what? After taking bath, I….,” he started all over again.
“Cut it short,” I told him.
“I already cut it short saying I missed the bus. You wanted details,”
He lives his own way and me my own way.
Some people never change boss.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The missing staircase

I was enjoying my lunch at my earlier newspaper office, when I received a call from a lawyer-friend.
“Boss. I am on first floor,” he said.
“I cannot go down.”
“What do you mean? Take the elevator or walk the stairs,” I replied, a bit irritated.
“That’s the problem. Being an old building, it has no elevators. And the huge wooden staircase has been removed by the landlord suddenly following a tussle between him and the tenants. We have been left hanging in the building,” he elaborated.
I laughed out. That they found a solution to the problem with the help of police is obvious.
The Times of India did carry my story in a box titled: “Staircase carted away in daylight.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Gosh, why did you slap?

The subject of discussion yesterday among us colleagues was ghosts. A colleague kicked off the debate by describing how she was disappointed with a Hollywood movie on vampires.
I have also heard weird stories during my childhood. In villages slapping of people by “ghosts” around midnight was a common story. There will be a knock at the door, the face and head of the “visitor” would be totally covered with a bedsheet and the voice would be familiar.
“Come, come..,” the "ghost" would invite the people in deep slumber. The victim would follow innocently and once they reach an open field, the victim (he/she) would receive a tightttt slap and fall unconscious.
There was another one well-known category called “Ammukuvan” (What’s the translation? OK, one who presses hard) in Tamil. When some one sleeps in open terrace, this Ammukuvan would press his/her stomach so hard that the person would find it difficult to breathe. I used to be terrified but my communist brother took it as a challenge and slept many times in open terrace.
Nothing happened.
Well, stories are stories. Let’s not analyse deep. Do not forget those days there were no mobile phones (to contact the family if Amukuvan strikes or ring up police if “ghosts” slap).
Say cheese 24/7. “Ghosts” will also smile at you, shake hands with you and bid adieu.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here's (y)our another award

Now this award is from sweet friend Sujata. How lucky I am to have such wonderful friends all around. Herewith dedicating the award as usual to all the visitors of this blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Here's (y)our award

Hey..9/9/9 has proved to be lucky after all. Poorva and Jyothi have been very kind enough to pass on this award. I am overwhelmed by the affection. Thank you my dear friends. Lemme me wish you the very best in life. Herewith dedicating the award as usual to all the visitors of this blog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Battered husbands

“Life’s a war. You are on a chariot. Fight arrows attacking you in the form of greed, anger, desire etc. Retaliate with darts of compassion and kindness. Hold on to God, who drives the chariot.” my friend was going on.
“Boss, change the subject,” I said. “No philosophy now.”
“OK, how’s your friend?”
"Which friend?”
“That guy who was regularly beaten up by his wife,” he replied.
“How do you remember something I told you years ago? Well, that guy was my landlord in Ghatkopar, Mumbai, and we as bachelors shared a room in his house. Their family of four used to sit for dinner together at the adjascent room and within minutes we would hear furious noises. The hefty woman would push him so hard that many times he landed in our room,” I recollected.
The guy would then rise up and advice us: “Mehnat se kamav, kushi se kaav.” (Work hard, eat happy).
“Poor guy,” my friend remarked.
Suddenly I woke up. “Why did you remember him now?”
“Can’t you see the bruises?” he asked, rubbing his hands.
Oh, now I understand why he turned a philosopher.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lifting up the spirits

The elevator door opened and I saw her standing there.
“Hi. Sweetheart,” I hugged her.
“Where the heck were you for so many months?” she asked lovingly.
“Hard labour, friend. Little time for self,” I bluffed.
She looked at the mirror, picked up her lipstick and decked up.
“So we meet next Thursday for my birthday,” she whispered. “Do visit home.”
“Sure, advance greetings,” I said.
“No one will believe I am turning 58, right?” she winked and waved her hand “bye.”