Sunday, January 31, 2010

To be or not to be – a TV slave

Believe me, I have been away from the Idiot Box for two years. I do not have a cable connection but watch movies on my DVD. Have I missed anything? Absolutely nothing, except maybe BBC, CNN and Sun/Jaya TV (to check on hometown happenings).
The illeffects of TV have been discussed for years; how it leaves people overweight; how kids who view violent acts show aggressive behavior; etc. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, long periods sitting before TV leads to obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes and higher risk of death, irrespective of moderate or vigorous exercise.
OK, enough of scaring you. My anger at TV is the discord it creates at homes. I knocked at a relative’s door in Chennai and heard a loud noise: “Rascal, Why did you come back. Get lost.” Oh, it was from the TV.
Oof. I wiped my sweat when the relative opened the door. He looked at me and again at the TV. The entire bloody family were like maniacs addicted to TV. It took 20 minutes for the serial to end and the folks to return to normal and recognize my presence.
I know families that have split because of TV. How? Elderly people spend time before TV. Several middle class families in Mumbai/Chennai live in 1 or 2 room houses. Children are not able to study in peace. Wives returning home after a hard day’s work end up quarelling with their inlaws. What? Not in your house? You are lucky buddy.
But at home I can’t complain. My wife is jumping with joy. The political party in Tamil Nadu which formed the government distributed free colour TVs to all families. And she got one free for my home.
Hey, why am I complaining about TV?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stronger than yesterday

“You can do much better,” she started.
“I agree,” I nodded.
“Actually, you have wasted too much time,” she continued.
I listened quietly. After all, she is a close friend. Maybe she is trying to pep me up.
“If I were you, I would have been editor of an international newspaper. You are happy in comfort zones. Anyway, now you are in late 40s and there is nothing you can do. All you can do now is give a few headlines, write a few stories and go to sleep,” she refused to stop.
My attempts to prove that I have been doing my best were scuttled by “You have wasted your life and career ya. You are finished."
My blood started boiling and BP was shooting up.
It was then that I realized I had a weapon. SMILE. After all, what’s the point in arguing with cynics and diehard pessimists? I understood such people dread one thing in their lives: Your smile.
For every line she continued, I flashed a smile.
She just shut up after four minutes and moved off.
I concede that my anger was at its peak, ego bruised badly, but controlling my rage helped me.
All I did was put on the taperecorder.
“I am stronger than yesterday..” adorable Britney’s voice filled my room.
“Yesss. I am stronger than yesterday.”
I thanked that friend. She has helped me win. I controlled my anger.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Don’t pass word, sister

I was reading a report in New York Times which said that several computer users utilise easy-to-guess passwords. Among the common passwords identified are 12345, abc123, monkey, friends, Iloveu and sunshine.
When I discussed this with a close friend, he asked: “Do you know passwords can create wars at home?”
“I was checking my mail one night,”he started. “And went off to bed without signing off.”
“My sister-in-law came to the room in the morning and saw the computer on. She was about to shut it down, when she noticed my sister’s name in my inbox,” he paused.
“What had she written?”
“A splash of four-letter words against my in-law. She advised me never to listen to her. Rest of the content I won’t tell you.”
“Then what happened,” the gossip monger in me was curious.
“What will happen? A domestic war erupted. Both of them stopped talking to me for a week. It took a lot of persuasion to bring the warring factions together.”
“Sorry,” I acted as if I am genuinely sad. This is so common in my house, why will I tell him that!
“Anyway I am happy,” my friend concluded.
“My sister-in-law did not see another mail which was much more damaging and had stronger 4-letter words.”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tattered spirits

Joke is fine, but life is not a joke, said actor Sunjay Dutt once. Yes, no humour in this post.
Outside our flat in Chennai was a huge garbage bin, with trash all around except inside it, thanks to residents’ “wonderful” civic sense.
I came out of my house along with my wife and instantly glanced at this man sitting on a heap of garbage. He must be merely in his 20s, did not wear any shirt and bore a hungry look. He had a stale bread in his hand and his eyes stared blankly at me. The pants were torn; the hairs messy. Let me not say more. You can surmise.
My impulse struck. I checked my pocket and picked a Rs10 note spontaneously. There was no emotion in him when I offered it. It was just like a piece of dead paper.
I moved on.
Two days later, when I came down from my third floor flat, there was a crowd near the bin.
There’s a small temple across the road managed by an old woman.
“He is dead. We informed the corporation and they just picked his body up. I tried to give water but it was too late,” the woman told me in a sad tone.
Dead? Body picked up?
Is it not the duty of corporations and politicians to pick humans alive and protect them instead of waiting for them to die and send their bodies for research?
“If one man goes to bed without food, let’s burn this earth,” the powerful words of Tamil poet Bharathi reverberated in my ears.
“I have let you down brother,” I told myself.
The tear that dropped when I recollected the incident while in the bathroom yesterday is a tribute to that unknown soul.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great Murphy chase

Why? Why is Murphy harassing me? Alone at home, I put on loud music, locked the door, wrapped a towel and entered the rest room. I was about to put on the shower, when the damn landline rang. I ran, picked it up and the line went dead.
Back to the rest room, I put on the shower. Wow, what a pleasant hot/cold mixed water! In less than four minutes, I had soap all over my body. It was then that Murphy struck again. The same damn phone.
It was a friend. “Oh, you are taking bath?” she asked me.
“No, I am dancing,” I wanted to reply, but politely said “yes.”
“Talk to you later.”
The room was wet all over. And a few drops of soap water also splashed on the laptop near the phone.
I had to rush to Dubai for some work. I asked a friend with car to drop me.
“You should have told me. Just 10 minutes back, I was crossing your house and thought of ringing you up,” he replied. “Now I am already in Dubai.”
Murphy’s Law played its trick again.
Once when I mentioned that if I find Murphy I will hang him upside down and pour hot water on his face, famous blogger Priyanka Khot laughed out.
I am telling you again, I will do it. Grrrr.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Poo for Pooja

I have this dirty habit of shortening my close friends’ names. Hence Patwardhan became Pattu, Michael became Miki, Lajwanti Laju, Ansarsaleem Ansu, Pooja Poo, Naheed Na and so on.
It was when I tried the trick with wonderful colleague Denzil that the trouble started. I used to call him Denji. A new cute girl had joined our department that day. I introduced Denzil and they had a pleasant conversation. After a little time, she had a doubt and called out: “Mr Denjiii.”
“My name is Denzil,” he replied.
“OK,” she said, but after a little time called out again, “Mr Denjiii..”
“You will not improve. You need a taste of your own medicine Su,” he replied.
Her name was Suchitra.
“Su is alright for me. But don’t add another Su to that,” replied the fun-loving girl.
For those uninitiated susu means, hehe, pissing…

Friday, January 15, 2010

Interview with your friend

Devang Vibhakar is doing a wonderful job of encouraging fellow bloggers by holding extensive interviews. He has today carried an interview with me. Kindly read when time permits at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Pongal

Here’s wishing Tamilians, global Indians and global citizens a happy Pongal.
Thai Pongal (Tamil: தைப்பொங்கல்) is a harvest festival equivalent to a thanksgiving event celebrated by Tamils across the world. Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over or spill over." The act of boiling over of milk in the clay pot is considered to denote future prosperity for the family. In January 2008, the Tamilnadu Government anounced that Pongal will be celebrated as 'Tamil New Year' from 2009.
(Thanks: Wikipedia)
Have a great New Year, folks.

Grin n bear it

The second day after I landed in Chennai recently, I was walking around when I noticed a board “Smile with confidence” at a dentist’s clinic. I promptly smiled and reached home.
I never expected such smiles to come with a price. The very same night I could not sleep as I had severe tooth ache. There was also swelling in the gums.
I had to run to the same clinic.
I was pleasantly surprised as there was only one patient and he too disappeared in a minute.
“Your turn,” informed the assistant.
I entered the dentist’s room. And the smile vanished instantly. There was this man who was not even wearing shoes or slippers. He had folded his pant almost up to knee level. The chair I was asked to sit on was so dirty, I thought of telling him I would prefer to stand. I am not going to tell you about the condition of the needles.
“So what’s the problem?” he asked.
“Your clinic,” I wanted to reply, smiling with confidence. But restricted myself.
God was on my side. There was no need for the doctor to use his unclean equipment.
He saw the swelling, scribbled a few medicines and said “Rs60,” followed by a “Next patient please.” That there was no next “patient victim” waiting is another matter.
PS: Dentists, please don’t gnash your teeth at this post. I have visited several dentists for treatment. These kinds are exceptions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back in action

Buddies. Real sorry could not stay in touch with you for a long time, though many of you kept writing. Am lucky to have friends like you. Hey, now I am back in Sharjah ya and the routine grind has begun. I promise to visit each of your sites and stay connected. I have to tell you boss, Mumbai rocks. I swear.
As of now am sharing with you a little motivating piece my daughter received on her email.
A man saw a poor boy looking at his beautiful luxury car. He offered the boy a ride. After the drive the boy said: Your car is marvellous, it must be very expensive! How much does it cost?
Man: I don't know, my brother has gifted it to me.
Boy: Wow! so nice of him.
Man: I know what you are thinking. You also want a brother like him.
Boy: No. I want to be a brother like him.
-Always aspire higher than the people's expectations.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hey, forget me not

A thousand thanks to all you my precious friends who have been consistently in touch though I have been unable to correspond from my side. Am presently in Chennai and will be back in Sharjah by Sunday. Am not able to post mails or comments as of this week. Know you will understand as I am spending time with my family from whom I have been cut off for several months. The GenNext is so different. Am learning a few modern gimmicks from my daughters, who are my great friends as well. I can bet you know you are always in my mind. Jus gimme a week ya, and we will be back with regular correspondence.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Get set, cheer up, move on

It's bye, bye 2009…Welcome 2010…
Again time for new year resolution…
What better than this usual five-point goal:
* At least a few minutes of exercise/meditation every day,
* Cheerful and enthusiastic work
* Staying connected with a couple of great friends (of course, like you),
* Great books/ entertaining movies,
* And, pursuit of happiness/adieu to trivial thoughts.
Here's my selection of two great quotes:
Socrates: The man with least needs is closest to God…
Bill gates: If you are born poor, it’s not your mistake. But if you die poor, it’s definitely your mistake.
Best wishes once again to you and your near and dear ones.