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)