Monday, June 28, 2010

Wasting time on blog?

I was angry for a minute.
You would be, if you heard what my friend said: “You are wasting time on a useless blog.”
Wasting time?
This blog has meant a lot to me. It has given me an identity. I am in a different country and staying away from family. Distance has sucked many a good friends from Mumbai. But this blog brought in precious new buddies.
Wasting time?
Last year, a personal problem bogged me down. Five blog friends spent hours chatting with me just to cheer me up.
I have been in touch over phone with quite a few. Some of us have met in Dubai, Mumbai or Chennai. I have discussed various subjects with college students, doctors, engineers, chefs and other professionals. Some are close acquaintances now and we are almost in daily touch.
When I needed info about college admission for my daughter, it was a blog friend who helped. When I told a friend abroad how expensive is college education, without hesitation she asked, “Can I be of any help?” Thank God, I did not need, but was deeply touched.
I just heard that a good blog buddy is marrying another blog friend of mine. They met through blogs.
Know what? I found a friend from Switzerland. Hi brother, she said, and I replied, Hi sister, only to correct, Hi Swisster.
Now she is one of the best gifts that this blog brought me.
Wasting time?
Wait until I list all the best things that my blog brought for me.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Young-hearted old friend

I caught up with my old friend (hey, not age-wise) at Pune recently. I had mentioned to you about Adi Aibara (Left corner). He lives alone in a deserted area in Pune, along with a dog called Blair. The other pet he had, Bush, is unfortunately no more. Even fetching a can of water is a challenge, but my friend prefers to stay in the same place, away from the hustle-bustle of the city.
“You are still looking young, buddy,” I told him,
“I wish I could say that to you as well,” he joked.
When there were bomb blasts in Mumbai years ago, I and Adi were just 10 buildings away from Mumbai stock exchange. Hearing the sound, I asked the editor of a magazine with whom we were talking, “is it some blast or what?” When we reached the road, we realised that it indeed was a blast at the stock exchange.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Frog in the well

I had seen him with religious marks and in a traditional dress. Last week, I saw him with a tattoo on his arms, diamond ring piercing through his ears, branded shirt and a forced accent.
“What happened to you?” I asked in bewilderment.
“One has to go global buddy. You should not remain a frog in the well. Enter the sea and explore,” he advised.
“Good idea,” I replied and remembered how Joe Crasto, my sports editor in the former newspaper, used to chide me for entering the office in jeans, T-shirt and not formals.
I always thought journalists were free birds until MBAs and marketing sections took control of editorials and some newspapers started selling news columns.
“Is it too late for people like us in late 40s to join the gang?” I asked the guy.
“Just change your accent, put on a tattoo, talk businessman language and if possible, get a girl friend,” he listed his ideas.
“Can I start in the reverse order?” I asked, when he replied, “You better remain a frog in the well.”

Here's (y)our award

Now this award is from sweet buddy Chitra. Lucky me, I have such wonderful friends. Herewith dedicating the award as usual to all the visitors of this blog.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When bored, laugh

I was listening to an old humour debate on a CD. Here are some jokes I heard:
*The boy entered the class late. Before the teacher could lift his cane, the boy said: “I just saw the headmaster.” “Go to your seat,” the teacher suppressed her anger. After the class, the teacher asked the boy, “What did the headmaster say?” “I did not talk to him, ma’am. I just saw him sitting in his cabin.”
* The bus conductor asked loudly, “All of you have taken the tickets?” Replied a passenger: “At the high speed the bus is running, it seems we all have (to heaven)”.
* “Thank God, Iraq did not turn out into a Third World War,” remarked the teacher. “Yes ma’am. Otherwise, we students would have had more headache. One more lesson in history class.”
Tailpiece from a Tamil film dialogue: I will give you such a punch, even Google cannot search you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The ghostly game

We were talking about a deserted “ghost city.”
“Don’t talk about ghosts. I live with one,” joked my friend, hinting at his wife.
“She told the same thing about you yesterday,” I replied.
The subject refused to end.
“Have you seen a ghost?” he asked.
I have not seen one, but had a ghostly experience in Ooty. I had gone with my inlaws for vacation. Heat is OK for me but not cold. I just shiver even in slightly cooler temperatures.
My sister-in-law was alone when I went to a shop and returned. It was windy and chilly. She had not expected me to return early and peeped through the door glass. I had covered my head and half my face with a shawl. I had removed my glasses and had also applied some skin cream. To cap it all, we had all watched a horror movie the previous night.
“Who?” she asked.
“Mee,” I replied, stuttering in the cold.
“Whooo?” she asked again.
“Meeeee,” my voice refused to rise.
“Whooooooo? This time her face looked like a ghost to me through the dew-covered glass.
I had to spend at least 10 minutes on the who-me game until the door opened.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Affection overdose

“Catch you for breakfast,” said dear friend Rakesh.
I picked up the phone to inform him that I am waiting near a shop, when a shopkeeper-friend passed by.
“Hi Rakesh,” I said on the phone, when the shopkeeper asked me, “Suganthanne?” (How are you?)
I flashed a smile, took off the cell, and told the guy, “Ya thanks,” and returned to Rakesh, “Boss, I am near...”
“Family sugantanne?” (How’s family?)” continued the shopkeeper.
Again I took off the cell, “Fine thanks,” and shifted to Rakesh, “Buddy, I am near Kitcherama shop..,” when the third question followed.
“You still stay in the same building?”
Oof. I cut the line. Hugged the guy and told him, “I am fine, family fine, I am staying in this same building. How are you?
“All well,” he zoomed off in his bicycle.
Talking of affection, I remembered another guy whom I met in Chennai last week. “Hiiiii, so longgg since we met,” he gave me a hug. Fine, but this hug lasted for minutes! I had to violently wriggle out. Then he was holding my hand. Had to struggle to release my hand from his tight grip.
Some affectionate people overdo things, it seems.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Monkey trick

I keep talking about longtime buddies. Freny was my colleague in my previous newspaper a decade ago. When it comes to good friends, out of sight never means out of mind. I caught up with Freny in Mumbai last week.
We used to organise picnics on Jan.26 when our newspaper was closed. Once we decided to travel by local train. Most of us gathered at Mumbai VT while Freny wanted to join us at Thane. When the train reached Thane, I saw her standing at a distance.
I could make strange whistle sounds to grab the attention of friends in crowded areas. So I went off…Trrrrrrrrr…and Freny turned and screamed “Monkeyyy.” The way she came rushing to catch the train still flashes in my mind.
She is now a wellknown freelance journalist.
We recollected the fun days at work. We hardly see such amity among colleagues these days, or am I getting cynical?
We were all equally underpaid those days and so there was no jealousy. The pay disparities among staff and the rat race stink now.
Shucks, am I getting old?
OK, a joke shared by Agnelo: A lunatic climbed a tree and refused to come down. All efforts failed when another madcap arrived and warned the guy, if you don’t get down, I will cut the tree with this shaving blade. The trick worked. Moral: You need a madman to handle a madman.
Hey, I told a joke, why you no laughing?

Monday, June 14, 2010

British writer & Mumbai’s Bruce Lee

Thanks buddies for staying with me despite my inability to correspond with you for some days. Special thanks to all precious friends who were in touch over phone while I was in Mumbai/Chennai.
The day I landed in Mumbai, I had a golden opportunity to meet English writer Stephen Kelman.
Why did I meet Stephen?
Well, he travelled all the way to India to do research for a book he is writing about my best friend B.B. Nayak, who holds seven world records and 12 national distinctions.
Thirty-four-year-old Stephen Kelman shot to fame early this year when his first book titled Pigeon English was sold in 13 countries.
BB Nayak, known as Bruce Lee of Navi Mumbai, has received Guinness certificates for 819 backhand push-ups in one hour, smashing three concrete slabs on his groin and 34 one-arm cartwheels in a minute.
Highly impressed by Nayak’s feats shown on Channel 5 in England for several months, Stephen decided to write a book about Nayak’s struggle against all odds.
The book will be a realistic fiction based on a character similar to Nayak.
I was amazed by the simplicity and confidence of the Scottish author.
“Nayak is an achiever. I am sure your project will be a success story,” I told him. “I am confident too. Very soon, I will follow up with a film on your best friend,” he assured me.
Good news indeed. Thought should share this with you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grin and bear it

It's a blessing I have you all as my precious friends. Really, kasam se, Promise. Am on just two weeks leave and am completing some important personal work like selling off a small room I had in Mumbai and booking a small apartment in Chennai. I will keep aside one room in the new flat for my precious friends on visit to Chennai. Great idea eh!You see, I don't have a roof of my own and need one. In the meantime, also had to run around Pune to get my daughter settled in her MBA course at Symbiosis College. So, plz plz bear with me for just four more days. I will be back in Sharjah. And the routine boring postings will continue. You continue to grin and bear it. That's the reason I love you all. Hehe.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Alive and kicking

Ya boss. Alive and kicking..just that I am being roasted in Chennai. The weather is too hot and sultry. Am also paying for my greed. Had too many Alphonso mangoes in Mumbai and hence the tsunami. Remembering you all the time. Am in Chennai for this week. Will be back to normal soon.