Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friendly airhostess

Choosing Indian Airlines for Dubai-Mumbai turned out to be both foolish and wise. The timing was advanced and the flight merged with Air India. The first thing I noticed entering the plane was the smile-less smile of a middle-aged airhostess (what is news in that? Most AI airhostesses are middle-aged or look so!). She was mechanically saying “Namaste,” looking in some other direction.
Half way through the flight the journalist in me was restless. When another middle-aged airhostess brought water, I cut in asking, “By any chance do you know one airhostess UD?”
“Oh, UD? You din’t know she had a baby recently,” she went off.
Finding her friendly, I started off on a long conversation when a purser also joined us. The Parsi guy was very cheerful. I was seated on the last row of a huge jumbo and hence was quite at ease with the crew.
After a long conversation circling around poor treatment of AI staff and journalists, we were parting on a cordial note. That’s when the airhostess came with two books, “take it as a gift to your child.” The purser followed with more gifts and I was stunned by their affection. I took two pens from my pocket and offered as return gift.
This world is full of lovely people ya. All we need is to open up and share. We can all fly high.
Why it was foolish to travel AI? I was forced to wait nearly an hour for baggage. Imagine with family waiting outside past midnight.
Anyway, all’s well that ends well.
Hey buddies, plz plz plz..pardon me if I don’t comment on your blogs for just a few days. Am wrapping up personal work in Mumbai and going to Chennai next week for a week. You all are always in my mind.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lighting up the spirits

I had candle light dinner at Karachi Darbar restaurant yesterday. No, it was not some classy party, but just that the lights had gone out in most areas of Sharjah. Many residents had to sweat it out in sweltering heat. Power was restored past midnight and until then I tried 90 ways to fall asleep without fan or AC, and failed miserably.
At one stage, I tried sitting and sleeping at the balcony. The mosquitoes pushed me inside the bed room. There I tried all types of yogic postures to get sleep, but gosh…no use.
Anyway, after the power supply was restored it was blissful sleep and the dream was pretty. No, I won’t tell you everything about the dream. Some things are secret hehe.
Hey, me planning to visit Mumbai/Chennai for two weeks from Saturday. In case any buddy wants to stay in touch, my email ID is

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tech blow to print media

It was 7.30am and I was blissfully sleeping when I heard my roommate screaming on the phone: “What? 160 people dead?” He is a dynamic reporter of a rival newspaper. His source alerted him about the Air India Express plane crash in Mangalore. Within two minutes, I received a call from my alert colleague Mohan about the disaster.
We swung into action and tried to grab news about the tragedy for our paper from all possible angles.
But all this made me realise the weakness of print media vis-à-vis television and the Internet. The news was all over the world in minutes, visuals were there for all to see on television. There was a minute-by-minute flow of information on the Internet.
I have been a journalist for 27 years non-stop. During the 90s, reporters used to be adored for news breaks. Even now they do a great job. But something is missing. The glamour is waning for the print journalists. When a journalist from a TV channel moves in with camera, the celebrity bias is visible.
Newspapers have to bear the brunt even on the ad front. This made me remember the comment by the owner of my former newspaper: “We are just eating the leftovers of television and Internet.” This comment was made 12 years ago.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Some just don’t have manners

She entered the house of a friend and saw a Coke bottle placed on the table. “You are sweet, auntie. You have kept Coke for me and it is hot outside,” she told the lady and gulped half the bottle in one go. The “auntie” rushed to stop her, but it was late. The bottle had been refilled with toxic floor cleaner by the stupid family and left carelessly on the table. The visitor landed in hospital and luckily got cured. This happened in Mumbai.
A neighbour of mine in Sharjah was relocating. He gave me a pocket of cashew nuts. A look at it made me realise it was outdated and had to be discarded. I did not want to do that in his presence. So kept it on the table and left for office. The same evening a friend arrived from India. The moment he saw the nuts, he grabbed them and started munching. I kept telling him “It can give you stomach ache.” But he loved it. Am sure there must have been a tsunami in his tummy by late evening. Anyway, after that meeting, I have not heard from him again.
At times, we are not able to tell guests not to cross limits. A friend came home once. He opened the fridge and started consuming the juice. Then, he fiddled with the music system. My wife signalled me from the kitchen to “tell him to get lost.” I had to throw him out diplomatically.
Manners. Some people just don’t have it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sweet n sour news

A new website assignment has been keeping me on my toes at office. (
Had a quick breakfast and rushed towards workplace. When I stepped on the road, realized I had forgotten my mobile. Swiftly turned back two steps, when I collided with a man. Thank God not a woman, who knows I would have got a slap.
Before I could say “sorry,” that guy said “sorryyy.” There are still some innocent souls in this world.
“Forget mobile. Go to office,” suggested my mind.
Did so. Returned after three hours. There were three miscalls. Who else but wife!
“What happened?”
“The guy who was lying in coma passed away,” she said.
“You always have to give me bad news or what?” I yelled.
“I will give you good news. My mom will stay with us for three days.”
I cut the phone instantly.
Which husband ever found mother-in-law visit a cause for great celebration?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Talkative wife

There are two kinds of people; one who talks non-stop nonsense like me and another who rarely utters a word.
I have known a man for 10 years and all that I could get out of him as reply to my greetings is: “Hmmm.”
How are you?
How is family?
It so happened I met him along with his wife yesterday.
“How are you?” I asked.
“Hmmm,” he replied as usual.
And then his wife took off. “Oh, you are that guy. My husband has told me about you. Oh, you are from Chennai. You have two daughters. Oh…,” on and on she went. Finally, she took a deep breath and asked: “How is your family?”
“Hmmm,” I replied and took to my heels.
It dawned on me why her husband just says “Hmmm.” She takes care of the rest.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Icecream party

I dislike formals but was forced to don them this week – after months.
“You look obese,” remarked my Filipina colleague. I frowned.
“You are slim, the dress suits you,” said my boss. I smiled.
“You have put on weight man. You should have at least coloured your hair,” remarked another colleague. I sulked again.
And then “SHE” came. She shook hands and said: “Hey, you look good.”
Vallahhh. My day was made. She said it, can you believe?
Hey buddies, you want to join an icecream party?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happiness for sale

Bobby McFerrin’s carol echoes, “Don’t worry, be happy.”
“Every man has the right to liberty and pursuit of happiness,” insists the US constitution.
“Think positive,” all great guys say.
But there is also an opposite version that says too much stress on positive thinking can be toxic.
JS Mill said it well: “Ask yourself if you are happy, and you cease to be so.”
The Journal of Clinicial Psychology mentions, “Could it be that the pressure itself to be happy contributes to some form of unhappiness?”
Reality bites.
The only people who make money are authors who tell others how to make money, says my boss.
As for me, I draw strength from the words: “Collaborate with the inevitable.”
We all react differently in different situations. I was in the car with a close friend. I started cribbing how I miss my family. Believe me buddies, this friend literally cried: “You want your family back; you are apart. I want to part from my partner; I have been forced to hang on.”
What a cruel reality! Destiny, if only I could catch you physically, I will hang you upside down and force feed raw bitter gourd for breakfast along with green chillies. Sorry no water.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In defence of doctors

Dr Chandana Shekar, our precious friend, has reacted emotionally to the last post. She deserves a pat for presenting her views without anger and as a healthy debate. Thought I should share this as a post as some of you may miss the comments column and these are very interesting points from a doctor’s perspective. Please let us view this only as a debate. Here's what she says:
God cures, we just dress the wound".. thats a popular sayin we all doctors know. god cures for sure. but hey, we dont kill anybody yeah. atleast not the 'doctor' doctors. there are corrupted ones and morons, i agree. but not the majority.

and coming to investigations, well, earlier, investigation modalities and treatment modalities weren so much advanced. a lot of them weren even invented.and mortality n morbidity were high too. nowadays, we have all of it. we infact have- investigation for screening, investigation with best accuracy and investigation of choice for each disease. and we choose teh investigation best suited for that particular patient.
infact, in medical colleges, students are taught how to diagnose n treat a patient just based on history and clinical examination. only in our internship and later on do we actually blend that knowledge with these investigations and stuff.

wat used to happen in ur childhood days was 'primary health care' practice. and what happens now, is corporate. come on, if we don't diagnose something with ur kith n kin just coz u dint wanna go thru investigations, and later if somthing happens to that patient, wud u leave us alone? u wud sue us in court with the consumer system that exists now!! we do give the patient the options for treatment. if they really don want it, they can always sign an 'against medical advice' form n go. that signature is just to guard ourselves in times of sueing
about the cuts, well, thats how the system has gone. but trust me, its not with everybody. i come from a doctors' family. parents, aunts n uncles, cousins, all of them. just one engineer in my family. so i know, honest noble doctors still exist :)

not offended or anything, but felt i ahd to say this. as a doctor, the stand of the medical community goes like this :)
earlier, medical college admissions used to be based on merit. nowadays, with all the private colleges comeing up and the 'NRI quota' and the 'management quotas' that exist, we end up havin doctors who are not fit to be doctors... thats the prob.

okay, i know i wrote too much. just clearin up misconceptions ;) trust me, being a doctor is not an easy job as people assume it to be
@smita- docs dont actually do anytthin for money. trust me, we dont. a few b**** mights, but not all of them

@mingled minds- i so totally agree

@A- physiotherapy is very much needed in an ortho case. what doctors gave u earlier, was a re-assembled limb. what we try to give u now, with physiotherapy and stuff, is a re-assembled limb in its best workin status.

@nituscorner- i totally agree to that
@insginia- u dont need a urine test blood test and ecg for a head ache. if some doctor has done that to u, well,u chose the wrong doctor

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pill, bill and pocket nil

If a patient dies, doctor killed him, but if he gets well, Gods saved him, says an Italian proverb.
A doctor’s profession is so noble. Salaam to all docs. But then the commercial world has tainted some of them.
During the earlier days, all that a doctor did was to put the stethoscope on your chest and ask you to breathe in. Then you are asked to open your mouth. When you do, s/he will say, “wide” until you say “bahhhhhh” and open your mouth as wide as a rhino. That’s it. Your disease has been diagnosed. Once my doc did the same and told me, “Go home and send your mom.” I had diphtheria and he had diagnosed with just a look.
Most present day doctors do not move one step ahead without X-ray. The “cutting system” (where doctors get commission) with the testing clinics works wonders for them. Of course, there are wonderful doctors who do selfless service. Among them are two of my best dentist friends from Assam and Meghalaya.
Talk of docs and remembered a joke. A man had a big fight with his nurse wife, screamed at her and at last managed to go off to sleep after a struggle. When he was about to snore, his wife woke him up: “You forgot your sleeping pills.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cook, cooker and pressure

It was lunch time and I had just had a cup of coffee. My stomach was howling with hunger. I decided to prepare Idli (rice cake steamed in a pressure cooker) and switched on the gas stove.
Same story. The phone went alive. This time it was our correspondent from Abu Dhabi. This Lankan colleague is also a great friend. In our chat menu were life in Lanka, India and sweet gossip.
I was telling her how to prepare “lassi” (hey, all you do is mix sugar with curd and stir it...vallah, lassi is ready. How simple!). It was then that I smelt something fishy. Something was burning. I was standing at the balcony this time and cautioned my neighbour “Check your stove, something is burning,” and continued the conversation.
Boomm...After five minutes, I noticed smoke in my kitchen.
Instead of steam hot idli, I had steam hot tension for lunch.
The vessel had to be thrown out. The pressure cooker is not working.
Well, I am busy now, catch you later. I have to try a new dish.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Even my brain worked

Sibling fights come in different forms. When my neighbour’s sons fought, they would tear each other’s shirts and the dad used to scream, “You are tearing my pocket. I won’t buy new dress.”
One boy used to push his elder brother down, put a bed sheet on him and dance over him. The elder brother will then suddenly spring like a lion and bite the younger one. After one hour, they both will be hugging each other.
One little girl used to pinch her elder sister with her nails so hard there will be blood marks on the hands. Not that the elder is innocent. The elder once threatened that she knew a special prayer and that the younger one will get “punished” immediately. She closed her eyes and murmured some words. The younger one got so terrified, she waited until her mother arrived and started crying. Hehe, that’s my darling daughters in action.
About me? I used brain instead of brawn. One of my brothers is a bodybuilder. Once he hit me so hard when we were alone at home, I could not do anything. Then my brain worked. I acted like I had fainted. OMG, you should have seen the royal treatment I got. He gave me water; he prepared special coffee for me and also gave me some money to keep quiet about the incident.
Brainy chap your friend, right?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Not tongue in cheek

The wound caused by fire will heal, but a scar left by tongue never, goes a famous Tamil saying.
I committed two blunders which I regret. There was this man who helped me at the initial stages of struggle in Mumbai. Later he became my boss in the newspaper. One day, we had a heated argument. I am convinced I was right, but the words I used were not.
He refused to pass my voucher for the work on my off day.
“I am not begging. Just pay for my work,” I shouted in a nasty tone.
“But you once came begging for a job. Have gratitude,” he slapped back. Harsh words from both sides. I wish I was more mature.
There was another guy from Kolkata who had always been nice to me. We decided to start a weekly. Five of us joined and the project was going OK. But I got an offer from the Gulf and had to leave.
Quitting a cushy job after 17 years wasn’t easy and I was going through the blues. I could not talk to him properly and the misunderstanding grew.
My apologies failed to convince him.
Buddies, when you get angry, bite your lip, do not let the words out.
Oye, post sounds serious? OK, a joke.
Two boys reached a river. They wondered how to cross. Suddenly they saw their master sitting on a mango tree on the other side. “Boss, how do we reach the other side?” asked one. “You are on the other side,” came the reply. (Thanks Internet)