Saturday, April 25, 2009

The be(i)tter half

“Why is the house in a mess?” “What’s the burn mark on the bedsheet?” “Where’s the beautiful cupboard I was using for six years?” It was a rain of questions from my fuming wife.
These women, they never change. You are my friend. You know that I am alone in Sharjah for one full year and the house will naturally be dirty. You know that the burn mark on the bedsheet was caused by my nephew while ironing his cloth. You know that the cupboard she claimed was beautiful actually had a broken leg and I gave it away to the watchman. No wonder, better halfs mostly turn out to be bitter halfs.
Anyway, I have very few friends here in Sharjah unlike the great Amchi Mumbai. But these few buddies are so loving, my wife is not allowed to cook at home. For two days, the buddies have been hosting lunch and dinner. Off to Chennai tomorrow. Will stay connected. Meanwhile, you have a great time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Vacation time

Precious buddies. It’s vacation time. Am taking off to Chennai on April 27. Planning to spend entire May in India to return to Sharjah hopefully on June 1. Will definitely stay connected through posts, though may be irregular if traveling or Net link unavailable. It would be a pleasure to get in touch with blog buddies in India. Can communicate personally through

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shrewd sanyasin

I knew, I knew. Talk of sexy sanyasin and see how many eyebrows raised. Well, lemme not drag the suspense. As a part of reporting assignment I was supposed to talk to an attractive Osho follower. I rang her up and invited her to our office opposite VT railway station. But she suggested a posh food outlet near Flora Fountain. I tried to wriggle out. After all, we used to get tea for 10 paise in Times of India canteen for staff which was as good as free. But the lady with sugary voice was so persuasive, I had to agree. We had a wonderful lunch at this classy joint. When the bill arrived, she took out her purse in slow motion. The fool that I am, I told her for courtesy, “Allow me.” “Sure?” she folded her purse before I could reply or blink. Need I say more? Finger burnt, lesson learnt.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cool it, buddy

Short temper is a disease and I like needling short tempered people. Last week, I casually asked a page designer, “So, what’s your programme for tomorrow?”
“Weekly off. Will relax,” he said.
I just reacted in jest. “Again off tomorrow? Last week also you took off. Every week you want weekly off?”
The dumbo failed to take it as a joke. He yelled: “You do not take weekly off or what? When I take my off, the entire world notices. You people…,” he paused, saw other colleagues laugh and understood it was just a joke.
LG is a gorgeous, short-tempered friend. We both entered a branded coffee shop. Don’t worry, she was to pay. But like Jeffery Archer wrote in Luncheon short story, my mind was on the bill. You know how branded shops charge. She had indicated it was her treat. But the male ego? Well, forget it. She placed orders, told me that it won’t be a bad idea to start a coffee shop.
“Yes,” I nodded.
“How much will this coffee machine cost?” she asked the salesgirl.
“I am not the owner maam, no idea,” she replied.
A few more questions and similar answers.
The replies infuriated my friend and a heated argument followed.
In the melee, I was forced to pay the bill and bring her out to calm her.
Hey, don’t tell me it was a tact to make me pay.
Oh, that reminds me how a sexy sanyasin made me pay for lunch in Mumbai. Tomorrow on that.

Beg to differ

This 5-column headline in Gulf News today did make me laugh:
“Beggars have a bleak future in Bangladesh.”
Wallah, where on earth do beggars have a dazzling future?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yes we can

I have realised that every other person we meet in our daily life has some inspiring message. This attractive Canadian college student was with us as part of a training scheme for a month. We had not met for months and I did not realise she was trailing my blog. And we got in touch again. I was so damn proud when she said she had been tied down with her studies, slept hardly four hours a day, read 100 authors this year and wrote a 1,000 papers. Proud of you, MT.
There are others too. LP is a young SAP consultant, lost his job and his dad is in debt, but says will never let negative thoughts sap his zeal. BB does martial arts exercises around midnight as that’s when he gets time.
And our great blog friends. Each one of them is a great inspiration. How much strength I have gained by chatting with a few of my blog friends, oof.. you will not believe me. BTW, don’t forget that there are 200 million blogs floating around on the Net.
Finally, your own buddy, RR. Hey, you forgot damn it, that’s me. Down with a knee injury for a week, RR decided to wake up early, go for regular walks, work really hard, write brilliant stories, cook sumptuous food and improve skills overall. That he failed miserably on all fronts this week is another matter.
Hey, don’t laugh, I am serious.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy New Year

Most of India celebrates New Year today.
Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali etc etc.
So here's wishing one and all a very happy new year filled with peace, prosperity and cheer at work.
An affectionate hug from Sharjah to all visitors of this blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Every drop counts

There was a time when I used to return home from night duty at 2am and at 6am my wife would scream at the top of her voice that I should get up, rush to the ground floor from my fifth floor flat and fetch water. Having seen that kind of challenge at times to get my drinking water in Mumbai, I fume when I see wastage of the precious H2O.
The reason behind my gripe now: I was at a friend’s home for dinner this week. She was chatting with me while washing the plates. The tap was running at full speed. Every minute my hand would automatically reduce the tap speed or shut it completely. Exasperated, she asked me what my problem was. “Do not waste water,” I told her.
The weather was pleasant but the AC was on. I shut the AC and put on the fan.
“I did not know you are so stingy,” she said.
“I do not mind that tag if that is the price for avoiding wastage,” I said.
How are you planning to return home? she asked.
“Better walk it. You can save fuel and money,” her words were hotter than the food.

Here is your award

This fifth award for this blog comes from dear friend Sai Charan. Feel greatly honoured and am happy to share this with every visitor and my friendly fellow-bloggers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strange encounter

I was crossing the Sharjah subway to reach my office when this well dressed young man approached me.
“You speak English?” he asked me.
Stunned by the stranger’s strange question, I replied: “A little.”
“You see. I have lost my job but luckily a new company has offered me one. But they say I have to cancel the visa. Do you think there is any problem?”
He was looking neat but pitiable. “Why do you worry. You say that they have given you the offer letter. So what hassle?”
“No they say that if my visa is delayed, other applicants’ also will be delayed. Why do they say that?”
The discussion went on in the same pattern. I could judge he was deeply disturbed like several hundreds who had lost jobs.
“Which company you have applied to?” I asked.
“I do not want to tell you that,” he said.
“Where are you from?”
“It does not concern you,” he replied though innocently.
“Why don’t you go back to your country?”
I asked.
“Cannot do that. I have lots of dues to settle.”
“Don’t worry. That job is yours,” I tried to convince him, moving towards my office.
“Anyway thanks,” he said and quietly stepped away.
Well, the social impact of recession is just beginning to show.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hot iron experience

I was a paying guest at that time. My owner had bought a new carpet and was flaunting it to all his friends. “This is original Egyptian carpet,” this friend kept telling me. One day I asked him whether I could use his iron box. “Go ahead,” he said. I was merrily ironing my shirt when suddenly the iron box fell from its vertical position and, lo and behold, what have I done! I was actually sitting on the same new carpet. The little cloth I had kept above it had moved. The hot iron box left an indelible mark on the carpet. “I will never forget you in my life,” said my friend, his face as red as the iron box mark on the carpet. “But you can forgive me,” I pleaded.
That was not all. That same day, another pal, FH, came to visit me. He went to the loo. And returned with a crestfallen face.
“What happened?”
“I broke the toilet lid. Let me pay the repair charges,” he said.
All this happened during my first month in Sharjah.
Your guess is right. I was thrown out of the house the same month.
Why do I mention all this after eight years? Well, yesterday, a cousin of mine who is temporarily staying with me did the same mischief to me.
Plz do not tell my wife that her loved possession, a majenta colour Turkish bed cover, now flaunts a lovely hot iron mark. Just like a handsome boy kissed by a beautiful girl with her lipsticks on.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The go-getters

Two close friends made me proud yesterday.
Mariecar Jara-Puyod is a razor-sharp journalist-colleague of mine. “You have to attend a function where I will receive an award,” she had been telling me for two weeks, but kept the details in suspense. When I reached the venue in Dubai yesterday along with reporter Jamil Khan, I was overcome with joy when she was bestowed the “Woman of Substance” award by the Filipino community’s famous Illustrado magazine. The humble mom of three explained to the audience the challenges and intricacies involved in the life of a journalist. Sincere work does pay, I told myself looking at her as an example.
The other friend is a journalist who is now setting her focus on medical tourism. She is such a close acquaintance that she never took objection whenever I teased her “Fatty.” I myself am one is a fact that I ignore conveniently. But the go-getter mom of a college-going arts student declared: “You will see me slim soon.” I did not take her seriously. I met her yesterday after a gap of a few days. Hold your breath. She had lost at least six kilos.
What’s the magic? I asked her.
“If you have the will you have the way. I went on a diet after consulting a doctor and joined the gym.”
The go-getters get going even as cry babies keep cribbing.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hottest letter

“Which is the hottest letter in English alphabet?” asked the little boy when I reached my building.
“T,” he shouted and grinned: “You lost.”
‘Why did the girl throw butter out of the window?” he asked.
“She had heard about butter-fly. You lost again,” he laughed.
“What do you want to become when you grow up?” I asked him.
“He loves to eat and spends most time in the kitchen,” complained his dad, cutting in.
“No wonder he knew the answers,” I murmured.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wow lucky, it’s 2 birds

The hot tea session topic yesterday between me, Shaadaab and Ansar was “Superstition.”
It’s funny. All of us declared at the outset that we do not believe in superstitions, but there are several instances where we get influenced by “false notions.”
For example, a black cat crossing the road when I leave for work does rattle me a bit. I get overjoyed when two birds (any bird, hey, not that little boy and girl, you naughty) cuddle or play together. It’s a symbol of love and affection, you see.
Ansar knew of a man in Multan, Pakistan, who used to whitewash his house everyday. “Everyday,” he insisted.
Shaadaab’s dad used to get upset if anyone called out his name from behind while leaving for some work.
Close pal Dr Janardhan believed that getting up after sleep should be from the right side and not left.
There are other weird beliefs too. While eating you get hiccups, somebody remembers you; if I remember you and your phone call or mail arrives, you live a hundred years; a shiver means someone walking over your eventual grave; unlucky to button up any clothing wrongly (better start all over again); crossing two knives is bad luck; Irelanders believe if a bird poops on your head or car, good luck.
As for me, I take out all positive aspects of superstition. For example, if I happen to see the astrological column page in a magazine, I will check out my Tamil birthday predictions, if not positive, will move to the English one. If that is also negative forecast, I move on to star date. Somewhere, I will spot positive comments and then smile as if I had won the day.
What are your thinking about? OK, let’s add one of our own. Thinking like that brings good luck. Cheers.