Wednesday, March 31, 2010

'Yearning' for quiet life

“Shut your dirty, rotton mouth.”
No, no. I am not telling you buddies. Will I dare? These are the words my Math master used to scream at me when I yawned during his class, which I did repeatedly.
I remember I wanted to say the same words to a Mumbai dentist who sat close to me during treatment, without his mask (those days dentists rarely used one), and let go a wide yawnnnn. I felt a lion was about to pluck my head. (Hope dear dentist friends Nitu and Kavita skip this post)
“Ooof..hehe..I did not sleep properly yesterday,” he rubbed it in.
“Honeymoon?” I wanted to ask, but he had warned that I should keep my mouth wide open and not shut.
Why so much about yawning?
The pretty girl at the mall counter asked me, “You have change?”
“Hmmmm,” she opened the cash counter yawning.
“You seem tired?” I said.
She flashed a “what’s your damn problem?” look, banged the counter box and moved to the next customer.
“Can’t you keep your mouth shut?” asked my colleague dragging me.
“You mean dirty, rotton mouth?” I ran with him.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hate divides, love multiplies

A view near temple area in DubaiA path towards the temple
OMG, I tasted wonderful friendship yesterday. Flabbergasted. Thrown away from family and darling friends of Mumbai by circumstances, I thought who cares. And then there were some of these phone calls. Saturday happened to be the day I was born a couple of years ago (OK I admit, 24 years ago, multiply by 2/ divide by 3, square up by 8…hey forget it, don’t confuse me).
The first one to greet was my wonderful blog friend from Shillong whom I have never met. Imagine. I rarely remember my birthday, but some people who called me. I am amazed. I can only say a big THANK YOU. I love you ya.
Another reason that boosted my morale. Plz see the comments for the Power of Mirror post. The world is a wonderful place buddies. Did not Lincoln say, for every scoundrel there is a hero? So many out there have such positive attitude. Awesome. Ooof. I am getting senti-(mental).
Mr Subu was kind to take me by his car to the Dubai temple. Here are some snaps clicked on my outdated mobile (Brilliant blog friend Mridula has been asking me to throw this mobile into the Arabian sea).
Two quick lines to pep up your spirits: A guy who applied for news broadcaster job got rejected because his voice “was not fit.” He became a superstar. Name: Amitabh Bachchan.
A model agency told hopeful Norma Baker to get married and settle down or learn secretarial work. She became Marilyn Monroe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Power of mirror

“What are you reading, it’s midnight,” my roommate asked.
“Just some motivational pieces ya.”
“Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday,” I read a quote.
He replied with half-closed eyes. “Hmmmm.”
“In the midst of challenges, be like the epicenter of a cyclone that remains serene and calm,” I continued. He was snoring by now.
In the morning I woke up with a firm decision, “Be positive.”
I patted myself and looked at the mirror. Face looks grim, warned my heart. I flashed a smile. Abracadabra. The mirror reflected a cheerful picture. I picked up the dumbbells. You should have seen me flexing muscles buddies. Great going. Went for a walk after that. Flashed smiles all around.
Around 2pm packed my bags to go to office. And the damn phone rang.
“Your brother in trouble for his mistakes.”
When I reached office, two friends asked me, “What’s wrong buddy? You look so down?”
Well. Another dawn. I am standing before the mirror. Smiling.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Guy with a golden heart

Just saw this decade-old Mumbai photo in my album and remembered a great buddy. I thought should introduce him to you.
Adi Aibara was my colleague in Times, Mumbai. We used to call him Gandhi. I learnt the meaning of humility from him.
He has now settled in a Pune village. He had two dogs, named Bush and Blair. He is now left with just Blair.
This guy has an amazing sense of humour. If a beautiful woman passes by and I mention “that pretty lady is eying you,” he will laugh and blush so much, his face will actually turn red. During one of our picnics he joined the reverse run race with “teens” like me. He fell on the way. Thankfully, he was not hurt.
We are proud of his niece Firuza Aibara. This girl of Mumbai has written several books related to computers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just in pictures

Had nothing else to do this Saturday, so went to the new City Centre in Mirdiff, Dubai. There were some shows like Italian carnival parade and acrobatics. Captured photos on my outdated mobile, just for you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sportive spirit

I was sipping coffee when the phone went alive.
“Is it Raameesshhh?”
“Yep, who’s this?” I asked.
“Arreee yaarr. Nausheeerrvaan here.”
“Whattt? Naushi? Monkey, where are you calling from?” I was shouting with excitement.
“Vallah. Tomorrow lunch at Sharjah City Centre,” I told him.
And we met.
Why all this exhilaration?
It’s just coz this guy was my colleague more than a decade ago. He was with the sports department of The Times of India, Mumbai. To catch up with a good friend after a decade is a great feeling. And we connected with a couple of other common friends here.
Naushi keeps travelling to Greece. He loves junk food. He prefers to remain single. To cap it all, he has a wonderful sense of humour. After all, he is a sports journalist and had come to the region to cover the Bahrain Formula 1 event.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Simple sample

Talking of strangers, yesterday I had a pleasant incident.
There was this elderly gentleman in full suit when I entered the elevator.
As soon as he saw me, he said with a broad smile, “Good morning.”
I reciprocated.
“You journalist?”
“Yes sir.”
“My name is Othman. Pleasure meeting you. Have a great day.”
And he was gone when the elevator stopped on second floor.
Simple incident, but I still am amazed.
A few seconds and he had passed on such positive energy.
Wow. Wish I could be like that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Strange stranger

I remembered Husain, my college classmate, after all these years. That bum used to appear suddenly from nowhere, beat me alarmingly from behind and laugh. That was his way of showing affection.
And why did I remember him suddenly?
I was walking on the corniche when I saw this man.
He went off instantly, “Hey boy. Haven’t met for months. How you doing?”
Who is he? My baffled mind switched on the “search” mode. After two minutes “No result.” Obviously, he had mistaken me for some other friend.
“Hiiii,” I put on a plastic smile and asked, “So how’s family?”
“Hey. You know we got separated,” he replied with a grim face.
Holy God. How am I to know that.
“Sorry man,” I kept the drama alive.
Luckily he also floundered.
“Anyway, how is your son?” he asked.
Son. When did I get a son? As far as I know I have two daughters.
“Hey. My daughters are fine ya,” I tried to wriggle out.
“C Ya,” he escaped at last looking behind three times to confirm that he had confronted a mad man.
Ya. Why did I remember Husain?
This donkey held my hand so tight during the entire conversation - just like Husain would do - I could not wriggle out despite invoking my fitness gurus Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzneggar and Putin.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

No dearth of philosophy

“I crushed a cockroach yesterday. I did not feel any remorse. But suddenly I remembered how bad I felt when I had maimed a butterfly innocently during my childhood. Is it coz a butterfly is more beautiful than cockroach? Is not life the same holy spirit in whatever body it hides? asked close friend Subbu.
“Did you notice? When we were kids, people used to hug us, pinch on our cheeks and shower affection. We are the same now. Same names, parents. How come no one behaves the same way? asked buddy Ansar Salim.
“People always spring a surprise,” said Shaadaab. “When I lost my Kolkata college election by a slender margin and was sitting forlorn in the canteen, a guy dropped in. I always thought he would never vote for me. But he came and said, ‘sorry comrade. Voted for you expecting your victory. Anyway.’”
God. I am surrounded by philosophers.
Your friend Global Madrasi also needs to philosophize then, right?
OK, shot a missive to Faiyaz. “Don’t chase happiness buddy. It will be elusive. Instead, find a way to drive away unhappiness. That’s easier. Just like putting on a switch will drive away darkness. Lighting up your spirit can drive away your mental blocks.”
Hehe, great philosophy eh?!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ferocity is short-lived

A close friend, an Internet freak, was shooting questions.
* Do you know mosquitoes have 47 teeth?
“Nope,” I replied.
He went on.
“No two zebras have stripes that are exactly alike. A giraffe’s kick is so powerful that it can decapitate a lion. At least do you know that a hippopotamus can run faster than a man?
“Shut up, don’t make me feel that I do not know anything,” I fumed and continued: “I know about tigers which I heard from Shaadaab. Tigers do not attack face to face, but from behind. In order to avert tiger attacks, some forest rangers wear masks behind their head to mislead them. Tigers also stink a lot. And I know about lions also because I am a lion myself. A lion’s roar can be heard five miles away.”
“But why do you get angry? Like tigers’, your ferocity also should be shortlived,” my friend replied.
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, you don’t know tigers do not live for more than 15 or 20 years.”
I felt I had grown a tail after this conversation.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Punches can’t knock you down

Memories fade, but never lie. 1982. I finished my PGD in Journalism and was hunting for a job in Chennai. The Hindu, Indian Express showed the door. I went to The Times of India Mumbai and made my career.
But the beginning days. The Mail was a 100-year plus eveninger of British times. Its chief reporter told me, “We are shutting. Work as a reporter for three months. No pay but I will send you to cover celebrity events. Enjoy.”
One day, I was assigned to cover a girl’s school event. I was thrilled. The school opposite my New College. But without reporting experience, I was na├»ve. I entered the school feeling like a celebrity and was floored by the variety of North Indian girls. And the royal treatment given by the organizers. I was on the stage where cups were lined up. I was writing down each and every word they spoke. “Oh, this cup, oh oh...!” When I was introduced to the girls, I was floating in the air.
Age boss, age.
I returned to the office, gave them four written pages of what I had noted down.
“Good boy,” Chief Reporter Mr Menon patted me.
Next day, when I opened the paper, I saw a four-line brief report without my name.
What a punch. I can tell you buddies. Don’t give up if you get knocked once in a while. It actually helps.
Today if I can smile, it’s because of those punches.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thy name is hospitality

I can’t believe this ya. She rang up to say we will meet at a mall around lunch time. I was damn hungry. I reached there and was glad to see her at the food court. I told her I will pick up some fried rice for her.
“I will go and pick it up myself,” she replied and vanished.
“Wow, at least some sponsor,” my crooked mind murmured.
She returned with a chicken burger, French fries and Pepsi.
“I am a veggie,” I said.
“Sure you don’t mind my eating,” she questioned.
“No hassle,” I replied.
Grrr. My tummy was hissing. And then I noticed she had started munching.
The burger was gone, the fries were being gulped in seconds and all through there was not a word of “Take it.”
Shucks. I literally watched the glutton celebrating her lunch.
I had to rush alone to a nearby restaurant after she finished her “business discussion” and moved off.
Thy name is hospitality, my friend.
Just remembered. I and my wife were climbing the stairs to our fifth floor Mumbai house. At the third floor, Mr S stopped us. How can you go without having tea? He literally dragged us into his house, when I noticed his wife signaling to him “no milk at home.” He was a jobless man and had a handicapped daughter.
Strange world.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What a guy boss

This is my 300th post and hence thought should write about someone inspiring and full of wisdom. So thought of my darling Socrates.
Just a few points. In 399 BC, this guy said “Don’t take soup. It will invigorate hunger and force you to eat junk food.”
When a friend took Socrates to his shop and said, “Take anything. All yours,” Socrates replied: “Wow, so much I can do without.”
When he was chatting with his friends, his wife poured a bucket of water on him. “Give her a slap,” said his friends. “I will not offer you the pleasure of watching a drama,” replied our hero.
OK, some Socrates quotes:
* An honest man is always a child.
* Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.
* Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
* By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
* Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.
* False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
* He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.
* I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Smart, smarter, smartest

(Photo Thanks: Nisham)
(This photo taken on my outdated mobile)
It’s raining cats and dogs in Sharjah. I have to cross a subway to reach office. When I got to the subway, I was stunned to see it filled with knee-deep water.
Some smart Keralites and Bangladeshis were using mall trolleys to ferry people from one end to other. Just that they charged Dhs5 for the ride.
Some other office goers were smarter. They picked up plastic covers lying all around, covered their shoes and started moving.
Your friend has to be smartest, right? I looked around, picked my shoes and socks, merrily walked across looking at others like Mr Bean would.
Once on the other side of the subway, I sat on the railings, put on my socks and shoes with thorough contentment.
When I got up to move on, it happened. That damn truck which was speeding across splashed such dirty water on my shirt, I can still feel the stink.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy Holi

Holi (referred to as Phagwa in Bhojpuri), also called the Festival of Colours, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad, the UK,and Nepal. In West Bengal of India and Bangladesh, it is known as Dolyatra (Doljatra) or Boshonto Utsav ("spring festival"). (Thanks Wikipedia)