Thursday, January 27, 2011

Floating in the air

What are the hilarious and touching incidents you came across as a reporter, asked my colleague.
Hilarious? Hmm. I already mentioned this. I remember how I was going to the canteen in my Mumbai newspaper office and a lawyer friend Gopal Punjabi rang up to say abruptly, “I am on the 2nd floor of a building at Girgaum. I cannot get down from 2nd floor.”
“What do you mean. Any fire?” I asked.
“No. There’s no staircase.”
It was then I learnt that the landlord had a dispute with tenants and had hired workers to cart away the wooden staircase to harass them. The tenants were literally left hanging in the air.  
Touching incident? Don’t ask me plz. I was travelling from Belapur to Vashi after interviewing a civic official. I entered a State Transport bus which is usually dirty. I managed to enter the bus despite the crowd and was followed by a little boy, who was in rags. He had no shirt and carried a soiled bag. As he stood on the first step, the conductor looked at the boy and said “heyy.” The boy got scared and jumped from the bus which had picked up speed.
The image still floats in my eye of the way he went rolling behind. I shut my eyes and did not know what to do.
They refused to stop the bus despite my screaming. That’s Mumbai.
Is he alive? I dunno.
Whatever, my prayers are ever for you, dear felo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just for a click

Dear blog friend Mridula asked what I am doing with the new mobile. Just clicked 2,3 photos at the Dubai Mall last week when I went there with friend Fareed. Here goes.

At Dubai Mall near Burj Khalifa

Water fountain show in progress

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bitten by the bark

It was a delightful session at a coffee shop. One friend was particularly lively clicking photographs and cracking jokes. We parted with hugs. A few minutes later a buddy told me that I was the subject of a gossip session led by none other than the same guy who was hugging me a few minutes ago.
Great. My only regret is I let him win. I lost a few precious minutes perturbed by that thought. Shame I could not inject my readymade formula: Progress with a smile and ignore the bark.
I have tested this. If we don’t get shaken, the one who tries to shake us gets shaken.
BTW, Hermann Hesse wrote: Inside you is a stillness and a refuge into which you can enter at any time and be at home. Everyone is capable of this.
Shucks, serious stuff. Hey, a short joke I heard.
“Congrats Banta. You have become a dad.”
“Don’t tell my wife doc. I will give her a surprise.”

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mind is a monkey

It seems to be a season of home-shifting. For years, rents went through the roof leaving residents high and dry. Mercifully, they are falling now in Sharjah. Many friends are looking for better places to stay.
I am no exception, but the mistake I did is to tell a cynic-friend about my plan.
“That would be stupid. Stay where you are,” he gave an unwanted advice.
After arguments, he said, “OK monkey, your choice.”
“Thanks brother,” I parted.
There are certain things we better decide for ourselves.
BTW, I read an interesting metaphor about life. Someone has compared life with a man being swept away by floods. He tries to hold on to whatever comes the way but fails until he reaches a plain, safe place. The story implies that desires never end and we get mired deeper holding on to them.
I told this story to my nephew and said: “Curtail your desires.”
“Why did you buy a new mobile recently?” he countered.
“It is a necessity and a cheap one,” I replied.
“OK now see this.” He opened a box and showed me a new set of Samsung Galaxy Tab.
OMG, we can throw away the TV, laptop, phone, radio, GSM, books and so many things if we have this simple gadget.
“Hey, give it to me,” I said spontaneously.
“And you are giving me a lecture about desires,” he winked.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hi starfish

A colleague in my earlier office had this habit of sleeping while on duty.
That was no hassle.
But the problem arose when he snored, something that resembled thunder.
He was disturbing us. We could neither do our work nor take a nap ourselves.
One friend could not take it anymore.
“Wake up buddy. Be like a bee. Honeybees never sleep,” he said.
The rattled man woke up and shot back: “Shut up, you starfish.”
“Starfish?” we all exclaimed.
“Don’t you know starfish don’t have brain.”

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Night out-Dubai's African attraction

I decided to check out on nightlife in Dubai and landed in an Asian country club (Not India) along with three friends.
“What will you have?” asked my host.
“Fruit punch.”
“You come here to ask for fruit punch,” he mocked, while the music started. A group of full-clad, sad girls on the stage left me not-so-glad, while a singer screamed.
“Do you want to have a taste of African culture?” asked my host, seeing my disappointment, and I readily agreed.
We moved to the ground floor, where an African band was performing and another group of eight African girls adorned the stage.
From the word go, the songs, ambience and smiles took me by pleasant surprise. We repeatedly cheered the singers and they became equally ecstatic. So much so, that an African singer took the mike and declared, “Here’s an Indian song for our Indian friends.” He went on to sing “Dil de diya hai…(Given my heart)” Bollywood song, and we started dancing and cheering louder. Some of the girls on stage repeatedly flashed “Namaste,” making us feel more homely.
Various African folk forms were enacted and the girls changed their attire according to the traditions.
There was no vulgarity in both the places.  
Bill? Don’t ask me. I will faint if asked to pay.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Between ‘is’ and ‘was’

A close friend Hiren who is editor of a Mumbai magazine asked me, “Did you hear about Pradeep passing away?”
I had worked with Pradeep Vijaykar, a famous sports journalist with The Times of India, Mumbai, for 17 years. When I was a trainee in the news desk, I wanted to interview Sunil Gavaskar. It was Pradeep who told me, “Go to Worli, refer my name and meet him at his office.” Gavaskar talked to me but was not keen on an interview due to some contract.
I remember how Pradeep used to call me to his cabin and say, “Forgive my ignorance,” before asking any questions. He was well informed than me, but was always humble.
“Ya I heard the sad news,” I wrote to Hiren and added a philosophical sentence: “How fast time flies? Between ‘is’ and ‘was,’ there just seems to be a breath.”
How I got this line spontaneously is not known to me.  
I am convinced. For a peaceful life, the best mantras are, “Work hard, enjoy the moment, laugh like a child, keep mind open to all ideas (Let knowledge come to us from all sides, as Rig Veda says), have a blog and join my lovable blog buddies here.”

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A week with family

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
 Apologies for staying off for a week. Family back in Chennai and I can now cook more stories as well as food. We had been to the Global Village and the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi thanks to best friend Dr Jana, who took us in his car. Daughter wore the traditional Islamic dress, as visitors are encouraged to do so while entering the mosque.  
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the largest mosque in the UAE. The mosque’s design has been inspired by Mughal and Moorish architecture.There are four minarets and 57 domes. The domes are decorated with white Bianco marble from Pietrasanta, Italy and the interior decoration is made of white marble from Laas, Italy.
Heard this joke: “When I cry you never ask me why,” cried Mulla Nasrudin’s wife. “Sorry darling," said Nasrudin, "that question already cost me an awful lot of money."
NB: That outdated Mobile I was having conked off. I can see Mridula laughing there. Boss, now I have a Nokia E52. 

Famous blogger Subu shows off his purchase at Global Village, Dubai.