Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The deadly virus

What is this thing called Football Fever? Is that the same virus that makes my sweet & otherwise accommodating roomie snatch the remote from me & then completely ignore my earthly existence for the next 90 minutes?

I see that this virus is a wide spreading one. Rather, one fine day it caught inside the fat, slim, tall, short bodies of people around the world without any discrimination towards sex, caste or social class.

This makes people not to attend phone calls during certain times of the day and even if they attend scream "Gooaaaaaaaaalll" during the conversation thereby warning the caller not to repeat the crime thereon.

This virus, I observe, can sometimes lead to neglected kids to broken families and bitter divorces. People infected by the virus keep chanting the names of alien nations they have never ever gone to or intend to go to as if that would lead to their "Moksha" from this materialistic world.

I am proud of myself that I have managed to hide from the virus till date though there are times I was quite vulnerable. But the immunity is not gained by some expensive vaccination. It took years of self control and all sorts of spiritual & non spiritual disciplines to get to this stage.

Even if I search in the innermost & earliest part of my memory, nowhere I see myself posing for a photograph with a tennis racket or anything that remotely resembles a foot ball. Sport had always been as important as the GDP of Botswana for me.

I remember the time when Achan encouraged us to get up as early as 5.30 in the morning and go for a morning walk or run, that too when we were in the remote corner of India called Kodakara. That happened only on one day. The very next day I threatened to jump into the well if he dared wake me up at that unearthly time. Being a good Achan, he gave up.

My fourth standard teacher made the second attempt to dig out my hidden talents. She made me run with tens of other classmates in the pretext of choosing the fastest one to be sent to the district level competition. I knew it was a trap. Though I was a kid, I was a brainy kid. I fooled her by finishing exactly as the last one out of around fifty kids. (I still remember the face of that toothless, spectacled brat who laughed at me for that).

My brother cajoled me into being a wicket keeper at times. The moment I saw Achan starting his balling action, I would run as fast as I could so as not to hurt myself with his speeding ball. Mind you, that has got nothing to do with brother's batting abilities. But I always believed prevention is better than cure. Since the job description of the wicket-keeper didn't exactly match with my profile, I was fired.

My never-say-die Achan gave a second try on me by buying us a pair of Tennis rackets and some expensive ball. Brother and me ensured that Achan's money didn't go waste; brother by taking up Tennis as his latest fling and me by donating mine to any other neighborhood kid.

It was Amma's turn next. She tried to test my resolution by showing the black & white photo of a couple of college girls wearing a hockey uniform and pointing out to one thin, long-curly-haired and short girl with all sorts of emotions in her eyes and screaming "thats meeeeeeeeee". I commented that I have always liked black & white photos as they made me look fairer.

Under Achan's influence Amma told me bed time stories about her being the Caroms champion of her office and even showed me the stainless steel glasses & spoons she won for their inter-office competition. But I was determined not to indulge in such evil pleasures.

The moment my dear roomie start staring into the TV and get metamorphosed into one of those face-painted, weirdly tattooed people with a football haircut, I make sure that I leave the room and meditate against the temptation inside my bedroom.

Temptations will always be there, but here I am, standing proud, unaffected and determined to fight it at any cost. Atlast I have a cause to keep me going.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Peeping into myself

This guy is all intrigued about me. Let me try giving him some insights.

My Accent: Mallu ishtyle

Booze: Tried twice & realised not really my cuppa tea.

Its damn expensive & I didn't feel like I was walking on the cloud, neither did I dare pick up a fight with the eveteasers, couldn't remember to call my then-boss and call him names, didn't cry over a lost love of my KG class, didn't want to meet Amma right at that moment & nobody raped me mixing that drug in the booze as they say in those e-mail forwards...

phew .. nothing happened??? that was all??? ....

So I am happy with my coffee, tea & butter milk in the reverse order.

Chore I Hate: Cleaning the kitchen & washing the plates after dinner. It is so difficult to get up after hogging like mad; just want to sleep like dead, right there on the table.

Dog or Cat: Neither. They bite. I hate.

Essential Electronics: Nothing. I was computer science for grad and finance for mba. (OK, I can hear some one shouting "PJ,PJ" in the background)

Perfume: Got three. All gifts. Guess I stink ;) (Thanks dear for those and lot more)

Gold or Silver: White gold (Yet to buy anything in that. But I am sure I am gonna like it). Someone please take it as a hint.

Home: Refugee in Mumbai

Insomnia: Whats that???

Job Title: Business Analyst (And what is that? I think they haven't come up with a proper title on what I do. So sticking to that.)

Living Arrangements: Staying in one of the best areas in Mumbai. You gotta see to beleive it and its dead cheap too. (Sadly, gotta move out in one month)

Most Admirable Traits: I think it is my ability to get along with most types of nerds, except for the arrogant ones

Number of Sexual Partners: None yet. Not planning to rape anyone either, yet to reach the height of frustration. So all you handsome hunks, you can hang around near me without any apprehensions.

Number of times in hospital: Once. When me and HOG fell off the bike. It went like this.

We were taking a turn under the overbridge.
Me: "I think we are falling"
After five seconds, He: "I think we fell off"
After half an hour, in the hospital, Rafeeq: "You guys fell off?"

Phobias: Heighttttttttttt. Just can't look down from the terrace. I can eat crockoaches if you insist but yes, I am acrophobic.

Animals & birds.
All started when I was a kid & one daughter-of-a-bitch hen ran after me just 'cos poor me passed thru the place where all her offsprings were hanging around. I ran with my record speed. (Though I have had a couple of other occassions to rejuvenate my talent, had never broken that rrrecord).

Then there was a crow that mistakenly took poor me for the destructor of its nest and sratched my head, making me think I was encountering some ghostly spirit haunting me.

Quote: Mind if it's a poem??

There’s no thrill in easy sailing,
When the sky is clear and blue.
There’s no joy in merely doing
Things which anyone can do.
But there is some fulfillment
That is mighty sweet to take,
When you reach a destination,
You thought you couldn’t make.
(Author Unknown)

Religion: India is a secular country

Siblings: A freaky brother who is an aspiring drummer but an engineer by chance, a lyricist & music director by choice and a voracious reader by habit. Damn good story teller, knows about all the so far existed music bands & particularly knows the life history of their drummers, has got some crazy female fans, always helps me out of Achan's fury, recently shaved off his long hair which was longer than mine. Made up of the best material for a sibling & embellished with sparkling friendship traits

Time I Wake Up: Anytime between 0 am to 12 pm. The probabilty is high between 8.30 am to 3 pm.

Unusual Talent or Skill: The unbeatable ability to embarass myself. This is something I was blessed with during birth. But a lot of hard work had gone into actually developing it.

I have worn my skirt inside out in school, not just once or twice, but a good number of times.

Recently I was fwding a pesonal mail to someone with a sarcasting remark about the original sender. Pressed reply and sent to the original sender........

Those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Vegetable I Love: Fish, fish & fish. After that - Lady's finger, Cabbage, Row banana, Leafy vegs, Cucumber, you name it & I love it.

Worst Habit: Not being attentive at times & procrastination..

X-Rays, Last time: In Jan, for my pre-employement medical check up

Yummy Food I Make: Cabbage Thoran, Ladies Finger and yes, fish fry.

Whenever I am at home, I insist on making fish fry myself.
Coriander+Green Chilly+ Ginger Garlic+Pepper+Salt , marinate and fry ... somebody take me home, plssssssssssssss

Zodiac Sign: Cancer

People tagged to do it : HOG, (gotta force him all the time to write something), Nair (hopefully she will oblige owing to her new found blogging talent), Rafeeq (gotta wait & watch), Rose (u better, u cud be moving in with me)

Monday, June 19, 2006

When Harry met Sarry

Before your wild imagination takes you to the wilder South African forests let me clarify that I haven’t tattooed his name on my wrist yet. Neither has he cut his finger to put the sindoor on my head. I will keep you informed the moment we decide to elope singing pyar-kiya-tho-darna-kya… So till then you can pass time thinking of Rakhi Sawant & Mika Singh

Sometimes we have no explanation as to why we meet some one. Somebody just walks in and be a part of our life. So much a part of our day to day existence that a life without he/she becomes so painfully unimaginable. All my life I had been really lucky. And when it comes to people, I was luckier.

This guy walked into my life one fine day with his ever enchanting smile and became a big part of my small and messy world. We are not bound by any social or genetical obligation. Still we go on. If you still don’t know who am I referring to, you can check this or this.

"He is weirder than you told me”
That is what exactly what I told my friend when she introduced her school time pal to me for the first time. Well, there was more for me to find out.

Every one else kept wondering how could I laugh on all of his PJs and I was wondering how could he remember all of those PJs since time immemorial. He not only could recollect those but also narrate it so lively that I could laugh even if I was in a funeral and till my tummy ached threatening to throw up all the chicken I just ate.

We could talk about anything under the sun and were happy about each other that we got someone who actually cared to listen. Nothing was taboo. While on the roller coaster ride he would try to give me tips as to how I could avoid my fear, which I would understand only after the guy who operates stopped the whole thing fearing I would jump out of it and somebody poured the entire bottle of Pepsi down my throat.

In the mornings it always used to be a whirlpool experience before getting into the office. He would promise to pick me from my place and drop me before he went to work. He would stop in front of the roadside shop to force me to have breakfast. I would yell and abuse him with my witchiest of tongues that I would get late for the office. He would still remain calm and try to force me have food. He would plead and cajole me into eating something, promising lots of rewards in return, waking up the stubborn five year old in me. I would oblige by pushing the food down my throat. And he would fly with a scared-to-death me with eyes closed sitting behind.

He would call me and keep talking to me till the time he realises that I fell asleep long time back. I would hang up on his face on a rage of fury and he never hesitated to call back. I never remembered or noticed that he needed something but he noticed it was winter and left his jacket at my place.

We have tried cooking together but couldn't agree upon the amount of chilly to be put. We fought in the kitchen with the knives, still had food with so much relish that everyone else thought we were just back from Somalia.

He would gift me anything and everything and I, being my same careless wicked self would lose it somewhere. After that it would be Rose's responsibility to go on a frantic searching mode just to confirm that "it is lost". He would yell at me for not being careful but buy me the same thing again hoping I would change one day.

His perseverance is really admirable. Even after knowing me for more than a year, he still believes that I would change one day. Something like one day I would get up and call him to tell, look I have decided to keep things in order, apply for my ECNR, have food at proper times, be careful while walking on the road and …. and … and …

When I was moving out of Hyderabad, I knew he is going to be the one person whose absence will always stand in the way of my liking towards Mumbai.

Last weekend, he was here. Though he was bit lost with his sweetheart (;)), he managed to rejuvenate our warm friendship. We had a real blast. So much fun for two days.

I didn't know where to take him. I was equally scared to introduce him to the Mumbai trains. But I had no choice.

We were at the railway station. Anyone who has even heard of M of Mumbai must have invariable heard of its railway stations and trains. He had heard about it too. But he wasn't sure if I was just exaggerating. (Can’t blame him for suspecting that).

"I want to try the train"
"Sure? You may not find it easy"

OK. I was scared that it would be too crowded and messy for him. So we took first class ticket. The station was not as crowded as I thought. Still there was the typical hustle bustle. We stepped into the station and I was walking fast towards the platform dragging him along.

"You are careless while walking"
"Me, why?" I didn't get it.
"Don’t you see these perverts coming and hitting you purposely?"
"What? Common, everyone is in a hurry; you are getting worried for no reason"
"You don't know about men"

He literally managed to get me to the platform with nothing but the hot & humid air touching me. I can't describe the look he gave to the fellows who dared to pass anywhere near me. He would stand as a wall between the crowd and me. We had to get down at Dadar to change to central line. He got a view of the crowd from the top of the over bridge. He couldn't se anything other than people's heads.

"What an uncivilized crowd?"
"What crowd?!!!!!!!!!"
"I don't understand why they can’t maintain any decorum"

The train came and left in less than half a minute. He kinda got to know the reason behind the barbaric mumbaikars. On our train journey back, he looked at me with the innocence and regret of a 10 year old.
"I didn't know that these trains are such a mess. Sorry dear"

He was shaken and I could see the concern in his eyes. Then came a list of do's and don't do's to be followed while entering/traveling/exiting the trains; a long list indeed. I lost count after the 102 tip.

If you want to know a first-hand narration of the weekend, you should check here.

Man, we all had a great weekend. All of us – me, Rose and Nair, managed to keep our lazy ass selves in the closet for some time and managed to catch up with you. Come down more often. We are all waiting for you.

Now you know why I call him my best friend. They say friends are god sent angels. I don't know about everyone, but he truly is.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I wanted to write something special for fathers’ day. I had been thinking for days. But couldn't come up with something that would match the passion with which I wrote this on Mothers' Day. So finally I decided to write about the same thing in a different angle. After all Achan and Amma come as a package. Let a day not seperate them.

Achan was always sad that he couldn't study much due to his parents' financial circumstances. But he always wanted all of us, Amma, me and brother to study and reach the zenith of achievements.

"Do you know what, today Rahima told me that if I do some course as an additional qualification, my office will reimburse the tuition fee" Amma told this one day and it all began.

Achan was excited.” Did you find out what can you study?"
"There is this PGDCA that everyone in office is planning to do?"
"PGDCA is computers, right?"

Amma enrolled for the course. Every Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning she used to have classes. Achan would go to drop her and pick her up.

She had class mates of all ages, she being the eldest.
"All are so much younger than me."
"So what?" Achan never found anything abnormal in that.

Then her exams started. She took a couple of days off from office to prepare. Achan used to get up earlier than usual and prepare food. Amma would be studying.

When we come back home in the evening, he would hush hush us.
"Shhhhh. Let her study. You put the TV volume down"
"Acha, let us have food. I am so hungry"
"Ask your Amma, if she is hungry"We would be still glued to TV.

Finally he would get up, slowly open the door of their bedroom and peek inside to find a just-about-to-cry Amma breaking her head over C++ and Java. He would come to me with a sad face.
"Neenu, can't you help your Amma? You have studied all these, right?"
"Errr, yup." I knew what a himalayan task it was.

First was her practical. I was damn sure she wouldn't pass. So I gave her a small chit with all the possible programs. Amma was reluctant initially. But I managed to convince her and even taught her how to cheat in the exam without being caught.

Achan got the shock of his life.
"Nooooooo. If she gets caught what a shame it will be"
"Acha, she will manage. You don't worry"
"I would still suggest No"

When it was time for her to start to the exam, he came to me, lowered his voice and saked
"Is she takng the chit?"
"Sure, she is"
"I don't know ... But let me tell you, it will be such a shame if she gets caught"
"Acha, plsssssssss, do you want her to pass or not?"
"No no. I want her to pass. But ... are you sure she can manage"
"Acha, you are impossible"
He could breathe his relief only after she came back and didn't say anything about being caught and chucked out of the exam hall.

It was her theory exams after that.
"Today is her exam, eh?"
"Yes Acha"
Achan would drop Amma and come back. He would check the clock every 5 minutes to se if it is time to go pick her up. FInally he would lose patience and start to fetch her back.

"I couldn't write much. I finished in 30 mins ahead of time."
"So what? I saw your colleague, that lady in blue sari, what is her name, anyway she was out in one hour"
"But her brother is a software engineer, She must have done well"
"What a joke, it is she who writes the exam not he"Achan always had HOPE. (Great hopes at times)

Then he used to recheck with me.
"Neenu, what did your Amma say about the exam?"
"She says it went well"
"So she will pass?"
"Well, I guess so"
He would give his 1000 watts smile.

After that it took Amma quite some time to be a PGDCA. Every time she would come home particularly gloomy on the day her results are announced. Achan wouldn't want to hurt her. So he would act as if he didn't understand what happened.

"Neenu, did her result come?"
“How is it?”Achan would ask.
“Better than I thought. She cleared 2 papers”
“Really???!!! Out of how many”
“Oh .. just 12”
“So just 10 more” Achan would give his relieved smile.
The story would repeat after 3 months. She would start studying for her next exams. Achan would take up the charge of the entire house. And still act as if everything were normal.

When she finally cleared all her papers, I was at Hyderabad. She called me up to inform the good news. I was so proud about her. I asked her to give the phone to Achan.

"Acha, so she finally made it"
"Yes dear"
I could see Achan smiling at the other end. He had reasons to be a proud husband.