Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ignorance is bliss, or is it!

“You know what happened?” asked my daughter on phone from  Bangalore where she is staying as a paying guest.
“Our helper found there was no kerosene for the stove. She went to buy that and returned with petrol.”
“Oh my,” I got scared.
“All well. We told her about the danger. She is innocent.”
“What else did she do?” I asked.
“We told her to warn our neighbour about high TV volume. She bluntly told the neighbour about it. When the neighbour was screaming in anger, she kept correcting her, “My name is Vanita, aunty, not Vinita.”
Well, ignorance is indeed bliss, or so it seems.
I remember the guard of my building. He used to do workouts in the gym. One day, I said “Hi” to him while he was holding a dumb-bell high. He tried to return the greeting by saluting, only to lose balance and almost let the weight fall on his feet.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Desperate thieves

When my building cleaner entered my room, he was a visibly downcast.
“What happened?”  I asked with genuine concern.
“You will not believe what I say. From early morning I am disturbed,” he said.
“What happened?” I repeated.
“Some rascal has robbed the garbage bin from the footpath,” he replied.
“What?” I shouted in surprise.
There are people who are so desperate that they can even steal a public utility drum.
Similar such freaky thefts flashed in my mind.
Once, the owner of a building in Mumbai surreptitiously carted away the wooden footsteps in his building. He wanted to teach a lesson to his tenants who refused to vacate and in the process literally left them hanging in the air.
Last week, my friend’s office toilet cleaner complained to him that someone had robbed the door knob and cleaning tools from the rest room.
When I met a labourer-friend and admired his bicycle, he replied: “This is the fourth one. Three have been stolen.”
Have I ever lost any possession?
Once I attended a marriage in Chennai. When I returned, my shoes had vanished. I have been hunting for the thief ever since– to thank him.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Catching up after 3 decades

I started my career in Free Press Journal, Mumbai, in 1983. Suresh Pattali (Centre) was my colleague and dear friend during that year. We caught up yesterday (after three decades) in Sharjah Sahara Centre. We were joined by our senior colleague during that year, K. Kumar. We talked, talked and talked. Those initial challenges, gains and losses, pleasures and pains in the happening city of Mumbai - the trip down memory lane was absolutely nostalgic. At the end, we had a clear consensus: Give us a chance and we will go through it all over again. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Customer is king

Business is all about money. Add a little goodwill and profits multiply; play petty and calculations go haywire.
I recently went to an optician’s shop in Sharjah. It was humid and the moment I entered the outlet, the attendant offered me water. The first impression was pleasing. He paid personal attention to my demands and made me feel like a king. I mentioned about him to my friends and three of my colleagues became his customers. A courteous attitude got him free advertisement.
PG started life as a cook in a Mumbai roadside restaurant. He started an eatery of his own in 1992. Now, he operates 45 outlets in India and seven in three countries, including the UAE, Oman and New Zealand. When I met him recently in Dubai, he was the same, simple person I had seen initially when he started his first restaurant. His perseverance and humility paid dividends. 
In contrast, I know an office canteen owner. One of his customers for 10 years had forgotten to pay for a cup of tea one day. The owner caught up with him after a week and rudely asked for the money. Ten years of association meant nothing for this businessman.
Just remember a joke: Two strangers had an argument.
“Mind your own business,” shouted one.
“I am doing that, moron,” replied the other. “I am a psychologist.”

Thanks Adnan

My designer friend Adnan suggested a new header for the blog. Thanks Adnan

Take it or 'leave' it

Article in The Executive Qatar, May, 2013.