Of all my Marleys’ and me….

Posted: April 21, 2009 in Uncategorized
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This blog was written after good buddy Rahul threatened to kill me and then stab me with toothpicks if i didn’t write. (The procrastinator in me took 8 months to realise the threat…. 😉 ) Thanks for pushing me to write dear ” Lord”.  

Man’s best friends do not come cheap anymore, however today I saw an ad of someone giving away free Rottweilers in Chennai. For a second i was tempted to pick  up one and hide it in my apartment. But rottweiler is not the kind that one would hide in an apartment…Then i thought of taking one back to my place in Bhubaneswar….. but then again  no matter how cute the rottweiler pups are, the grown ups are a scary lot……plus they bite a lot,rotts so the plan was shelved for a while (I don’t want to go back to my home in Bhubaneswar in a few years from now and be chased away by the dog)

As a kid i had this habit of picking up any stray pup from the street and bringing it back home. Then the next few days would be spent in feeding the pup endlessly, till the puppy made an escape to save itself.  I would feed the puppy anything and everything i could lay my hands on. As a kid my understanding of dog food was limited and access to meat was sparse, so my pups have had the privilege of being fed chewing gum, raw papaya, cycle tubes, rotten tomatoes, chilli sauce, mustard seeds, newspaper articles etc etc. No wonder all my pups made a dash to save themselves. However that did not deter me from bringing back more puppies back home. This always left my mother in dismay and one time my mother threatened to leave house cause i had brought back an entire litter of puppies along with their family.

Amongst all the dogs who have had an impact on me the two i’m about to write on have been unbelievable. Blacky: My Tibetian mix breed and Benji: A name which i had forgotten only to be reminded yesterday by my better half.

Lets start with Blacky: The “God have mercy on us” dog

Blacky was only 7 days old when i brought him home clutching him in one hand as i balanced the cycle with the other. He was tiny …very tiny. Blacky was filling into Tiger’s spot, our German Shepherd who was a wonderful dog. Tiger had lived for more than 12 years and was an integral part of the family. Blacky had huge shoes to fill into….and he was pretty tiny to start off with. A few chews and escape bids later we reached home.

On reaching our place, i brought out a huge bowl of milk to make the little one feel at more at home. On seeing the huge bowl of milk, the overexcited little black ball toppled over and fell head first in the bowl of milk. Then it lapped up all the milk to save it self from drowning. Two minutes later he was content looking up at me, probing away if there was some more of the good stuff left………   🙂 From then till now, he is still the same naughty little fur ball that i had brought home. Little cause being a mixed tibetian breed, his height has stayed stuck at one and half feet above the ground level and naughty cause if i had not read “Marley and me” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marley_&_Me)then i wouldn’t have believed that there might be a dog in the world who is naughtier than Blacky is….

Playing catch with Blacky was always an event. Once you threw the ball at him,  he would go berserk. He would jump around the ball/over the ball/under the ball instead of catching it, but finally when one bent down to pick up the ball, he would get the cue, grab the ball and make a dash….. The ball would be stashed away in some place around the house where he hid his loot to be chewed upon later. 

Blacky always loves to chew upon things….. once he had bravely attempted to chew upon a huge bull mastiff’s front toes. What Blacky had taken to be a big funny joke was not looked upon kindly by the bull mastiff who had ended up chasing Blacky all around the locality before one of them could be brought under control and the other could be hid under the couch (no points for guessing who was hidden under the couch) 

Blacky also loves to see new people around him, he gets all excited and keeps hopping around till he is pampered by the guests.  One of our new neighbours came for a visit and she was one of those typical aunties who went ..”Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh…..What a lovely dog !!!!!!!!”  She kept on doing this for twenty minutes and then decided to feed blacky some biscuits. Blacky intrigued by these strange new people who were giving him food after entertaining him for so long decided to return the favour ….As soon as aunty leaned to give him a batch of biscuits, Blacky jumped at her hair and started yanking it at full force.  What ensued was utter chaos…Aunty’s husband tried to pull her away from Blacky, which was looked upon as a challenge by Blacky, so he decided to get hold of some more hair..finally after the scuffle, I carried away a mighty pleased looking dog with a wad of hair clutched happily between his teeth. Its been three years and till date the lady has not come back to our place….they even shifted from their apartment.  I would like to believe that Blacky played no role in that event, however one can’t rule out the fact that Blacky watered her newly planted rose shrubs everyday till they wilted was one of the reasons for their hasty exit.

Then again he is the dear one who came running upto me and tried to pull away my bag when i was leaving home for 2 years. He yanked and yanked till i let go of the bag, once he had the bag he sat on it as if to try n hold me back from leaving.  My mom called me to say that Blacky had not been eating for 3 days after i left……… that made me sad but also made me feel happy in a way that my dog was missing me so much…..thought its a different story altogether that he ate up every little piece of food that was lying unaccounted in the house over the next two days.

He believes that he is a human being and i believe that he thinks he is the boss. Maybe he deserves a book written on him as Marley did.  He’ll be happy to chew on the same to show his appreciation.

 

Benji: The “no dog” dog

Me and a few of my old friends had this habit of roaming across any city for fun, so we were in New Delhi and after a hectic weekend of walking walking and more walking, we decided to walk around some more in New Delhi. Delhi has some pretty good animal societies and one such society is Friendicoes. They do a great job of rescuing old dogs and looking after them.

Friendicoes (http://friendicoes.org/) is tucked away under the defence colony flyover in New Delhi. This is one cozy corner for animals of all sorts. We were welcomed by a huge mutt who looked utterly disinterested in us. After staring at us for a few seconds he plopped his head back and went off to sleep.

Not disappointed at this show of utter disinterest, we started exploring the place without being aware of the fact that someone was following us.  On turning around we saw a three legged desi dog eyeing us curiously. Without even a second of warning, he jumped up on to us with all the affection he could muster up. Licking us away to glory. On being pampered a bit, he decided to show us around and became a guide who limped across to the other dogs, as if to introduce us to his friends. On finishing the introduction, he jumped on to us once again for his remaining share of pampering.

That was more than enough for us to fall in love with this great mutt. We bought him a packet of dog biscuits which he shared with as many of his friendicoes dog buddies he could manage to get (including the huge sleepy dog outside who looked like he was falling over every time he leaned down to eat)

Its been 8 years since we met “Benji” and Benji still remains the same. He still the same old lovable dog who prefers to share his food with others and jump on to us every time he greets us. Its been quite sometime since i saw him last. Hope he is doing well…. 

Dogs are wonderful teachers , as a “Hyper” Blacky or a “Serene” Benji would acknowledge….. Best buddies as some would say and of course many more things such as great teachers/counsellors/ agony uncles ……

P:S : One great blog which deserves a mention is this one here http://bkkstreetdogs.blogspot.com/ People keen enough to explore it won’t be disappointed i’m sure.

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In quest of hope

Posted: September 16, 2008 in Uncategorized
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This blog is about three different stories……Simple and small tales out of our very own lives. I felt a need to share them with all…….. So without much fuss, here they are:

Story one: On the right track

Railway station’s are awesome. They are a regular supply of entertainment 24×7. You find all sorts of people in here…serious people,not so serious people, funny people, serious people acting funny and so on and so forth.

Anup and me fell in a category of people who were not so serious but were trying to look serious. Every night after our dinner, we used to go for a bike trip round the city. On an old diesel bullet, we used to thunder around talking about everything across the globe. We used to reach the railway station at around 9:30 at the night, on reaching the station, we’d walk upto our trusted bench on Platform number 1 and take our positions, to watch life pass by leisurely.

Its an unsaid rule somewhere, that at the station you have to look busy and harried.  The funniest part would be to see relatives of passengers accidentally leave on trains instead of the real passengers. The relatives would be the do-gooders who would get on the train to check if the seat was okay n all and by the time the real passenger could get on the train ,it would have already left with the poor relative still checking the seat and tying up the luggage. Then there would be the problem of people trying to carry anything and everything in the train.

It is at the platform that the slum dwelling kids usually roam around carrying huge bags double their size. They try to collect plastic bottles, old bags, magazines, papers etc. One fine evening, staring at the messy life all around, Anup and i noticed one such child collecting plastic bottles. He was not more than 6 years of age. On seeing him we felt sorry and walked upto him.

Anup got hold of him and asked, “Whats your name ??”

“Tukuna” he replied without even bothering to look at us. He was being kept busy by all the collecting that he was upto.

“Do you want to eat ??”

He stopped and looked at us with suspicious eyes…..and then he broke off into a toothy grin.

Anup asked him,” What do you want to eat ???”

“Bhai…there is a cheap place outside the station…with vadas and idli”

“Lets go then”

On reaching the small shop, we asked the vendor to give the little one whatever he asks for.  “Eat all that you want to” I said.

“Really !!!!!!!!”

“Yaa…Go on eat” Anup continued.

“Bhai can i take the food back to my home and eat ???? It is very close by ?? ”

“Sure”

On hearing this , the tiny one grabbed on the food and ran back to a small lane close to the shop where we were standing.

As we were about to pay the money, he came back and asked for some more.

“Sure, Take more” Anup said. He grabbed the food again and rushed back into the lane and before a minute , he was out asking for just a little bit more food for the third time. Curious as to what was happening, we looked at the vendor hoping that he could explain it to us. The vendor gave us an all knowing smile and took us to the lane, where the kid had run off. We were surprised to see four small kids of different sizes and a dog sitting on the stairs of the temple. Tukuna was standing there administering food to the smallest child in the lot. The rest of them were busy having small portions of the food that Tukuna had just carried over.

We turned back to the vendor, who kept smiling as he went on “These are his little brothers and sisters. Every day, he earns just enough money to feed all of them. The dog too is a member of their family and has a share”

The vendor continued “His father was dead long back, and his mother was a daily wage worker who died on the railway tracks a month ago in an accident”

“He does this everyday, going hungry himself at times if he is not able to earn enough in a day” the vendor said.

It was perhaps the first time that Anup and me experienced something of this sort.

Responsibility is not something which you inherit. Its either there or it is not. Parents also are not there to do all our bidding and their responsibility towards us also comes with an expiry date. You cannot go on blaming your environment, parents ,peers for all that you are not doing.  That was a wake up call for us. If a six year old can own up the responsibility of his siblings and a dog, we also needed to move out of our comfort zones. Life is only as simple as we make it to be,  its always better to wake up before any sort of shock treatment. A lesson worth much more than 20 bucks of idli’s and vada’s.

Story two: The old man and the new leaf

IIFM is one place, which gave me so much. If i think of a life before IIFM and the one after IIFM, i know that i have changed a lot. A great place to be at, great guides plus a unique batch. Every batch at IIFM will always feel that theirs was a great batch, so i am no different. Ours was a great batch and given a chance to repeat those 2 years with the same set of people, i dont think anyone will have any hesitation in reliving those amazing moments. All the laughs that we shared bring a wry smile to our faces and for all the great meetings and fights we had, we have a hearty laugh about them now.

IIFM had a M.Phil program, which was known as the MRM program. During my first internship, Sunil, Kalpu and me stayed at IIFM cause we were working for the MP tourism board. Life was simple …. movies, meetings, trips, novels and sleep….and this cycle went on and on and on. One fine evening, Sunil and I came down on to the lawn in front of the boys hostel. We saw an old gentleman sitting there staring at passerby’s. We walked upto him and greeted him.

“Uncle, are you accompanying some new student for the MRM program interviews???” we asked.

He looked up gave us a smile and said, ” Yes…as a matter of fact i am. ”

“So who is the student, your son or daughter ???”

“Its me. I am accompanying myself for these interviews”

Not sure that we had heard correctly, we quietened down for a minute.

“Surprised !!!!!! ??? I am just 76 years old.” he added with a wink and smile “So a year in here for the program wont hurt me” he kept smiling as he continued ” I was a shepherd till the age of 11, so i lost 11 precious years of my life shepherding cows and buffaloes. I am trying to make up for all those years i missed out on”

“Ohhh…Okk…Do you have any children ??” we curious Tom’s persisted.

“Yes, I have a son, who is happily married and lives in Mumbai along with his wife. In fact can you please do me a favour.. I am giving you his number , can you please tell him that i have reached Bhopal safely ???”

After calling up his son and informing him, we got back to the gentleman. He had thick rimmed specs and wore a gandhian hat along with a crumpled kurta and kept on humming songs and looking around leisurely as we talked to him.

“You see ….. more than anything, i am doing this for my beloved late wife. She was the most wonderful inspiration that i could ever have had in my life. She always kept on egging to to follow my dreams. So i worked as a government servant for 35 years and after that, i completed my Masters program and studied law as well. I worked at a disctrict sessions court as a lawyer for 2 years before arthritis caught up on me. But then i decided to complete another masters in sociology and now i am here for the MRM program”

“…… but……????” we were way too short of words.

He smiled kindly at us, “I know getting into this IIFM program is difficult for me, but then again whats the harm in trying. If i do not make it here, i’ll try to get into the Sanskrit Vidyapeeth in Tamil Nadu”

“Its amazing…..”

“See children, when my wife died, i was left around doing nothing at my place for sometime, I kept on listening to my son, his wife and his children. It was great but only to an extent. I wanted to see places and learn things. So i did. I have pursued my dreams the way i always wanted to….. I just don’t want to have any regrets when i die” Then he pointed towards a tree and said ” This tree has many new leaves and as many old ones. I am one of those old leaves. I know my time is up and i will die away sometime soon, but before passing on, i want to be proud of all my years up on the tree……”

Its not just about the old leaf…. the new leaves also need to push and prove their worth soon…..cause one storm later every leaf is on the ground and if i need to be proud of myself, then as the great man said “I need to proud about all my years up there”

Learning to do my work and enjoying it as much as i could was something that the man taught us. I had a habit of getting repulsed by all the new work that was thrust upon me, but the man taught me to to learn and enjoy what i am doing. Life is only too short to learn new things, so why not make best use of it. If he was never to old to learn anything new, then i guess we all are not too old to be stop learning things. So keep learning and enjoying.

Story 3:The ice candy man

Summers at Bhopal can either kill you or they can bring you on the verge of death. The best antidote when you are out is an ice cream and any cool drink. There is a pretty famous top n town ice cream outlet in the New market area of Bhopal.

So one fine summer noon, Sunil n I were here in front of the ice cream parlour, trying to out do each other in the competition we were having (The ice cream eating competition). There are many street vendors, who try to sell you all sorts of stuff, that particular day, there was a poor lame salesman supported by a pair of crutches limping around to people trying to sell them mosquito squatter and nets. As a general attitude that people carry towards salesmen, more so poor salesmen, he too was being brushed and shunted aside by all. Nobody cared about him or his products, but he kept on limping around trying his best.

Then there was a young kid, who too was trying to sell ropes. He was dressed pretty shabbily and kept on trying to sell people ropes near the ice cream counter. He tried to request a couple of men to help him get an ice cream, but the people whom he asked found satisfaction in yelling at him and scaring him off. He kept on gazing wistfully at the ice creams. Sunil n I decided to buy him an ice cream and as we were moving towards him, we saw the poor limping salesman with the squatter and the nets walk upto the kid. The salesman held the child’s hand and took him to the ice cream counter n said,” Have whatever you want to have. I’ll pay”

The look on the faces of the people who had shouted at the kid and brushed aside the salesman was a sight to behold. People were turning pink out of shame. The kid got himself a ice candy for which this man paid. The two of them stood there proudly while the kid finished the ice candy and then walked off amidst the look of admiration from the rest of public standing in there.

I guess all of us at any point of our lives are better off than the poor limping salesman or the poor kid. We must be if we are able to read this blog sitting in the comfort of our room or maybe our office. Still we have so much to complain about and crib about. We are way too busy with ourselves to actually spare a thought for others. The poor limping man showed us how to care about another when it matters the most.

Lessons for me…I hope some work for you as well. There are many such stories all around us that we can draw something from. I needed to write these cause i felt like it. Three stories which i think have given me a lot.  The least i can do is share them with all…….

Life used to be pretty simple when i was a kid. No shopping malls… only shops, shops and more shops. Clothes used to be cheap and they had this wonderful ability to just go on and on and on. I remember wearing the same shirt in standard 4 and 5 and 6. My mom used to pester me to get rid of it, but i was in love with the superman blue shirt. It just went on till the time one of my smart childhood friends decided to experiment on it and painted a huge red blob to make it more superman like but that’s a different story altogether. We are here to talk about the malls. The huge malls and the tiny ones as well…. all types.

I live in a mall friendly city which boasts about the oldest mall in the country, The Spencer Plaza. Its so big that when the builders actually ran out of time , they put boards reading “More shops” and pointing in all directions. The poor customer is first enticed by the name itself and then by the grandeur and then by the time he realises he has to run off before he purchases everything at hand, he is a poor soul who is at the mercy of the mall. There are too many shops to even remember what do they sell. You get your usual clothes, electronic appliances, shoes, books etc. , then you get leather jackets and pashmina shawls (in Chennai ?????) and dog food shops n cat food shops n shops selling jackets for dogs and cats. You also have  key shops who make all kind of keys in 5 minutes except door keys, suitcase keys , almirah keys , car keys n bike keys…. I was tempted to ask “Are you sure you make keys ????”

The worst thing that could happen to you at Spencers’ is that you are standing in front of all these stores and you are broke… something even worse is you are standing in front of all these stores and you have a pocket full of money….invariably you tend to go broke after an hour or so…

The Spencer has 2 food courts which has all sorts of food. Getting food is easy but getting a place to sit is similar to the quest of the holy grail. If you do manage to get a place to sit, then you have to pray really hard that no one comes and sits on your lap. People do throw you angry looks if you have occupied the seat that they used the last time they were here at Spencer’s. Then you also have to pray about handkerchiefs…. You pray that you are not sitting on someone’s hanky….. people also tend to keep their food stuff on the chair to save a seat. So even a hanky is okay as long as you are not sitting on somebody’s sambar vada.

Moving away from Spencers, we come to the City Centre… The more hip and sophisticated shopping mall. Things in here are expensive… meaning you tend to roam around the place without buying anything for hours. This helps you in reducing your weight . Then if you are someone who has a pathetic sense of directions like me, you are made to feel like you are an alien from Mars who lost his radar and compass at the same time.

There was a beautiful shop with a hoarding which said “SALE 50% off”.

I made a dash towards its entrance only to be stopped by the security person who sang me an, “Exit door saaar, Come fram main entry”

“Ok, Where is the main entry???”

“Saar, >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>”

“Anna, anna stop……Tamil illa…English english” I plead.

“Ohk Ohk…saar see” and he points towards a board which reads “Toilet”

I look at him with pleading eyes and he goes on ” Take left then left and then straight……”

“Ok anna okk thanks ”

After many left turns and straights and further lefts i am back at the place where i started from. The watchman starts to act as if he has never seen me. After ignoring me for five whole minutes, the watchman decides to quietly smuggle me in. And in a flash he opens the door n says “Go in ,go.. go.. go” . Happy to be in finally, i take a stroll around the store leisurely picking up a horrible pink coloured cap.  The price tag on the cap quotes a fortune which will be more than the cost of my watch even after its discount. I look at my watch …. my dear watch which had cost me a fortune and for which i had saved money for 3 months. I take a good look around and make a hasty exit flashing a toothy grin to all i can meet on the way out.

Apart from these 2 major malls you have singular malls or huge shops which sell every utensil ever made in the world. The best part about these shops are that they do not have any space for you to stand, so all you have to do is keep picking stuff while the crowd keeps pushing you all around. An expert is one who manages to pick the maximum number of useful things. I tried my hands once cause i needed cloth hangers and ended up getting 4 cups, 2 glasses, 2 floor wipes, one belan, 3 plates, one bedsheet type of thing which we use to wipe our fridge, brooms in 3 sizes, one plate like thing which is too flat to be a plate( It does not hold anything) and all this fitted into a huge bucket. It was only after getting out of the shop that i remembered missing out on the cloth hangers. Its a favourite with all ladies. You have to be there to see how efficiently can ladies multitask. For a guy its always the fish out of water kind of feeling.

Then you have the auto rickshaw drivers who form the conclusion of our story. If you are a shopper and have stuff in your hand, then god save you. The moment you try to haggle with an auto over the exorbiant price that he would be quoting, he goes ” Saar…. So much stuff”

I look at my shopping for the day which holds two bedsheets n a towel and say ” What so much ??? Its just bedsheet”

He goes “Saar, petrol price go up”

While i am still trying to reason between a bedsheet and petrol price and he comes up with “Saar , too far”

Thats the last straw when you grow really irritated and start walking off he shows a queer expression and says ” Whaat saarr……. ok 100 final come come”

“Whaaa…… but you were saying 80 sometime ago…it shud be 60″ I challenge him

” Ohh … Okk then 80 final…come come” he says

“But thats where we started bargaining….its 60” I say

“Whaat saarrr…..78 final…in middle…not yours not mine” he adds graciously

I wonder how does the middle price between 60 and 80 end up being 78…….I look at the driver flashing a saintly smile at me and about to start the auto. A last sigh and i get in. Half way through n he starts to stop.

“Anna why are you stopping ????” I ask

“Saar you said park. Here park” he points me to some unknown park which looks less like a park and more like someone’s lawn.

“Anna i said near independence park. This is not independence park” I try to reason.

“No saar see. I tell rate 100 you not giving. You luggage and petrol cost going up and you taking me far far” he says.

“Okk go go. I’ll pay” I say.

Finally on reaching i hand him 70 bucks and show him an empty wallet.

“Saar you no go. Give 100.” he starts to threaten me.

“Watchman!! Watchman!!” I call,” This man is asking for a 100 bucks from city centre to here. Handle him please”

Then seeing my dear watchman at work makes me proud 🙂 The man makes the auto driver disappear in 2 minutes grumbling to himself. These are the tricks of the trade.

Finally when you reach home you find that half the stuff you got was there at your place and the rest half do not have any use. But thats mall shopping for you friends.

Lets go malling……………. 🙂

Tapu – Smarta- The name in itself confuses you. The guy in discussion was my portly ever smiling buddy. He was one of those effervescent cute guys who never failed to delight you. A favourite with all parents.

I’d first met Tapu sometime back in 2004. Harry was a close buddy and Tapu was his neighbour. Back then he was a mustachioed man with a jiggly tummy. Our first meeting was with me confusing him to be Harry’s cousin. “Who else could it be” I’d thought The guy was strolling around in the house in a short pant and tank top grabbing all the food he could, so i’d arrived on the logical conclusion that this chap is Harry’s cousin.

Confusions cleared up and i was introduced to Tapu or Smartabrata or Smarta for short 🙂 He was Harry’s tenant and he was here to prepare for his final year graduation papers and then for the CAT. The best thing about Tapu was his jolliness, be it the way he spoke, he joked or played. Everyone around was bound to take a liking for that jolly nature of his.

So that’s how a friendship started which went from strength to strength. One thing about being an undergrad student is that you are always hungry but you hardly ever have money. Same was the case with me, Tapu and Harry. Every evening after our gruelling sessions on the streets of trying not to hit the ball into any compound (Translated as gully cricket), we three used to start out for our evening snacks and invariably Harry and me used to be the ones who were broke. Tapu the saviour used to chip in every single time paying for all of us. That how this friendship lay its foundation stone which was cemented further because of the numerous outings and time pass that we did together.

The best stories about Tapu are the ones in which we travelled around. The wanderers was a group comprising of Sam, Anup, Tapu, Harry and me. One fine winter morning all of us decided that we had to be in Jaipur and Delhi. Thus a trip was planned. A few B-school interviews were scheduled in Jaipur and that was the cue for all of us. For parents it was an important interview in Jaipur , in reality, it was a vacation trip to Jaipur via Delhi. A trip with four nutcases. A gang which loved to roam around. After all it was a vacation. Pooling in money for each other and sponsoring each other, we somehow managed to get the tickets and all of us were on board with a pack of cards some food and a few suitcases. The best part about being with good friends is that you don’t really care if anyone has money in his/her pockets…you know that in case of dire needs you can walk and so as an ode to the spirit of youth, we started off…..with a cumulative account which accounted to a little over 600 bucks.

The first penny of this saved money went into purchasing the single most important thing that we could think of and that was a pack of cigarettes costing us 80 bucks 🙂 The second most important thing was another pack of cigarettes costing us 40 bucks and the third was 3 cigarettes costing us 15 bucks. Thats necessity for you. Food n all were kind of secondary. But our train was to pass through the town of Balasore which was Tapu’s native town and auntyji had promised us some food. So it was an eager wait till Balasore and once we had our supplies of chilly chicken, parantha’s and juice, it was a regular party. Many amazing mountains and grasslands later we landed up in Delhi.

Greeted by Sam’s yelling and shrieking girlfriend at the station, who dragged him off to their pub party, it was left to Tapu, Harry n me to find a place to stay overnight. Having relatives helps and so we ended up in a plush serviced apartment with a huge dog named Tyra. Over the next few days we got to discover that Tyra’s single most favourite hobby was to take all our clothes and make a bed for herself. The worst would be trying to pull out the clothes from beneath her. Many shirts were to end up armless or collarless in the struggle that ensued. It was a matter of prestige for us and gleeful entertainment for the dog. After four days of dog n fight we decided that 6-7 torn shirts were enough for us and we moved on to our next destination…..Jaipur. All this done on money borrowed from various sources.

An elaborate trip was planned in which all of us ( meaning me, harry, tapu, sam, sam’s girlfriend, a friend of sam’s girlfriend and the friends another friend…..I know no one understood this but thats ok ….even i didn’t ). So all of us kind of piled up into the bus to Jaipur….. The pairs all got together on double seats and then it was left to us pairless souls to find ourselves seats. Tapu n I managed to find a seat way back in the bus and so we bolted there. Poor Harry was left stranded with the friend’s friend who was a lady. Over the night we had around 4 pit stops during which Harry told us scary tales about how the friend’s friend is almost hugging n kissing him while pretending to be asleep and how one of us should be nice and change seats with him. He gave an elaborate speech on how friendship is all about sacrificing ones comfort for the sake of a friend and so we sacrificed him once again to have some more fun at his expense. No seat change nothing happened and all of us reached in Jaipur at around 4 in the night. A very harried Harry tumbled down from the bus looking very pinkish and sheepish. We climbed into the most docile looking auto waalah’s rickshaw who promised to find us the best hotel at the cheapest rates and so we ended up in an area which was not so posh but however the hotel rooms were good.

Early morning in Jaipur, at around 9 when we opened the window, we discovered that the not so posh area was actually Jaipur’s most crowded market place and the hotel probably was one of its worst. Seeing all this Harry lost control of his bowels and tried to find salvation in the loo. So leaving him with his pursuit of happiness, Tapu and i headed towards the B-School . Amidst loud honking colourful vehicles and equally colourful cows we managed to reach the Jaipur border.Wrapping up our interview in 40 minutes, we decided to take a little stroll in the small lanes of Jaipur. We saw ladies making papads and kiddies playing around. The stroll was pretty leisurely till one of the little kids ran upto Tapu and hugged him yelling,” Papa, Papa !!!” Too shocked to say anything poor dear Tapu kept standing like a statue. It was only when the kid tried to climb on Tapu that he started running. The kids playing around got into the act and started chasing him yelling things like, “Uncle,Uncle, Kaka !!!!!!!!” Too shocked to do anything myself i just kept standing….finally after 10 minutes of hullabaloo, the kids realised that probably this man didn’t look like their father and let go of Tapu, by that time Tapu had completed one round in the colony. Huffing n Puffing he came back to me saying,” Dude… Thats what i thought. I have never even been to this place before this how can i be their father”

“Ummm…. good point buddy” i said.

“Man, they had me scared for a second. I even tried recollecting the last time i was here but then i realised this is my first time in here so i can’t have that big a kid” he continued.

Back in the hotel room, the first thing Tapu did was shave off his carefully grown moustache which made him look even funnier.

Jaipur has some of the most beautiful monuments in India frequented by tourists from across the globe. We managed to miss all of them and ended up seeing some of the worst possible areas…… but i guess there is a charm in seeing the worst lot if you are with friends. Especially funny ones who are comfortable anywhere in any condition.

Tapu by nature and spirit was very charming. There are people who can make you laugh at the drop of a hat and he belonged to that category…..Be it falling in love with Burkha clad ladies in Jaipur….. or losing balance and falling on an Auntyji’s lap in crowded buses to be shouted and yelled at…. the chap had an indomitable spirit. He also was the hardest working guy that i can ever think of…somebody who lost sleep over work….. somebody who ensured that we feel ashamed of ourselves for not working as hard as he does……

We lost him to a tragic road accident last Thursday. An extremely close buddy who will be very difficult to forget. The group of Wanderers namely Anup,Harry, Sam,Shrey and Tapu has lost a trusted steed, but as Anup said, the beauty of the guy is that his memories will always make you laugh and that is what makes him so special.

So we r remembering Tapu as we had always known him….. They funny one who always made us smile……

Miss you cool dude.

Moms are always meant to be moms…..

Meaning they are meant to delight you/infuriate you / make you laugh/ make you cry…  they are meant to do everything. And at the end of it all you can’t but help loving them even more.

The whole equation is meant to change through out a life time. As a kid I remember trying to be a hero and jump of a running rickshaw and impress my mom a bit. But as it turned as she was utterly disappointed on seeing me in the Cuttack drains and vented out her anger by scrubbing me with Dettol water for 2 whole days.

Later on once i tried to show her what a good son am I by trying to cook for her. She probably had the saltiest lunch of her life that day. She braved it by saying that it was absolutely amazing and never letting me in the kitchen again.

As a grown up she made me take decisions all by myself. This was bewildering but also made me independent to a large extent. She stands by me no matter what and is a great friend now more than a mother.

So a blog on one of my best buddies out there 🙂

To start things off :

A mom will always be a mom: For example if i am sick.

A buddy will ask ” You sick ?”

me” Yes. A bit of cold”

Buddy:” Oh Ok. Take care. Theek ho jayega”

NOW MY MOM

Mom” You Sick?”

Me” Yes. Just Cold”

Mom ” Where are you right now??”

Me” Walking back from office”

Mom” Go home. Take medicine (5 to 6 tablets named !!!). Mop yourself up and take rest”

Me” What !!!”

Mom” Make youself some lemon n ginger tea”

Me” Okk. Will try”

1 hour later

Mom ” Did you ??”

Me” I am fine mom”

Mom” Ok .Dont listen to me. Dont take any medicine. Do whatever you wish to”

Me” I am taking rest mom”

Mom” Ok. Good. I hope you have taken some medicine”

Me ” Yup”

Mom” Its all because of the maggi that you have been eating of late. Eat simple and healthy food.Chawal/ Dal are so simple to cook. ”

Me” But…….!!!!!!!!!”

Always trust your dear mother /aunt/ wife /girlfriend to find a co-relation between the food you eat and your health.Be it cold…be it whatever.

Then a message early in the morning from mom. “How are you ? I hope you are fine. Take care of your health.You stay alone so its you who should be caring about your health. Take healthy food. Stick to the office timings. Dont over work. Do you know how much stressed out i have been since yesterday!!! You should learn to take care of yourself”

The saga continues……

Mothers and fathers after a certain stage have a tendency of becoming your kids. They don’t understand. They become stubborn. They hate to learn something/anything new.

My mom is trying to learn the art of internet chatting. It took me 3 months to make her sit in front of the desktop. My cousins somehow managed to teach her to chat. And this is our first chat 🙂

12:21 PM me: mama
🙂
12:23 PM Mama: are u there?
me: yes
what r u doing
12:24 PM Mama: i opened it but the computer is fading out
12:25 PM I am logging off
12:26 PM me: wait. learn to chat properly
ma
learn just a bit
1 was going for lunch
Did you have lunch ?
Mama: do u think i learned something
me: yes
you are doing good
12:27 PM 🙂
Mama: o.k. i am logging off then. I have learnt something.
me: ok…….. ma
i am going for lunch now
12:28 PM
bye

48 minutes
1:16 PM me: you are still online
i had my lunch
did you have lunch ?
Mama: yes
me: what did u have ?
1:17 PM Mama: i shall take my lunch now
me: ok
go and have it then
1:18 PM what did you do online for the last one hour ?
Mama: i am trying to explore different sites
1:19 PM me: okk
what sites ?
Mama: monuments, baby animals etc. Nice photos of baby animals i am seeing now
1:20 PM me: ha ha
🙂
okk
1:21 PM Mama: i do’nt no how to give the sign of laughing in computer
me: try
1:22 PM colon :
then half bracket )
: + )
🙂
Mama: ;;;;;;;[
me: ha ha
try the button besides L
1:23 PM :
plus
) its on zero
Mama: ok trying ;;:{
:::::::{
1:24 PM me: its on zero
Mama: ::::::}
me: use the shift button as well…try again
Mama: 🙂
me: good
🙂
1:25 PM one more time
🙂
Mama: ::::::::::)
me: ha ha
try the sad one ?
😦
do exactly what u were doing
just use the other inverted bracket
1:26 PM Mama: no no no enough for today. enough studies for one day
me: naa. not enough
try ths
plzz
Mama: 🙂
me: this is good
try sad
😦
1:27 PM Mama: i do’nt like sad face 🙂 🙂 happy is good
me: ha ha
🙂
love u
then try
😀
laughing
use D
1:28 PM D
D
Mama: d
me: nahi
the same way that u were smiling use shift key and then press D
Mama: D
me: shift
: D
😀
1:29 PM Mama: offo. no i will only smile. no laughing. mausi is calling. i am going
me: acha bahana now !!!!!!!!! you are running away from studies
log off
then
🙂
1:30 PM Mama: o.k, when we will chat?
me: whenever u say
ur wish is my order/command
🙂
Mama: you say
1:31 PM me: naa
u say
Mama: i don’t want to chat. i will call you.
me:call me. but also learn how to chat.
🙂
Mama: 🙂 🙂 🙂 Ok at 4 p.m then.
1:32 PM logging off
That my dear friends is my mom n me chatting for the first time. I remember me running away from the class the first time i was put in one 🙂 i ran and hid behind my mom n pa who were sitting on a old school bench waiting for me. The nursery teacher had to cajole me back into the class. Could not help laughing on seeing Ma run from her chatting classes.
Love the lady for her amazing life and spirit.  Proud to be your son 🙂

-1 (Minus One)

Posted: May 14, 2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So whats the -1 for ??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This little bit in the last blog caught attention of quite a few when it wasn’t intended to.

Raunak was a great great buddy. We were friends right since our intermediate days and had become friends because the Bio professor has caught us when we were trying to paste a sticker saying ” I am your football. Kick Me”  behind the fattest guy in the class. That was the first real interaction that we had…. getting thrown out of the class together.

The second one was when both of us had somehow ended up as partners in the Chemistry lab and ended up wrecking half the lab. All test tubes all beakers and all the jars had to be thrown out…so also we two. Thrown out of the lab, we had started investing our time on more serious issues like cricket and motorcycles.

Many matches / many class bunks / many explorations later, we were buddies who were there for each other. Each of us knew the other one too well. We also knew that if there was nobody out there who will come with us on our mad explorations , then it does not matter. We two were like an army in the jungle. Many of my recent passions like exploring / biking / reading were all shared by this great buddy. Someone who always believed in me more that i ever can.

Graduation time , we went our ways. He dropped out of biomedical engineering to join engineering and i dropped out of engineering to join genetic biosciences.

Seven years later the guy was the same. First reunion resulted in a Pondy bike trip being planned out.

3 days later the dude was no more.  He died in an auto accident.

The worst part was telling his father and girlfriend. His mother was not here. Cant imagine his mother’s plight. Had it not been for Shweta i don’t think that i could have told them at all.

IIFM has changed me …some for the good and some for bad….. on the flip side I became lazy /stopped working hard/ stopped exploring/stopped playing my two fav games (Basketball for the lack of a place to play and cricket for reasons even unknown to me) . Donno how all that happenned. But Raunak was someone who would have been shocked to see me like this….. would have commented in his typical way ” Shaadi kar aur so jaa !!!!! Bachoon ko bhej dena mere saath khelne ke liye !!!!! ”

Its a fight now but will respect his memory and do my best to get back to some of my good old ways. The way i think he would have remembered me.

WILL MISS YOU FOREVER BUDDY.

A month in this steamy boiler named as Chennai. The heat leaves u all sweaty and wet so you feel cool anyways.

The best part about this wonderful place is that the people around here are very helpful. They are always keen to help you …. much like Mumbai……….. but the only problem is that in Mumbai you understand the language. In Chennai you have to rely on hands heads foot tummy gestures. And the worse part is that the people here actually  don’t let you go until they have made sure that you really have understood the address.

Pranita my dear friend in here wanted a perfect house and her definition of a perfect house was something which would make an Ambani or a Birla proud. The house should not be dingy- it should be spacious the bigger the better/ It should have 2 big bedrooms and a kitchen which should be large enough for 2 people to dance in/ a car parking and a lawn thrown in would be a bonus but guess what Prans is not at all fussy so leave out the lawn 😉 so 30 odd flats later Pranita found her dream villa – so what if the bathroom is right inside the kitchen/ so what if the kitchen is so small that you can’t turn arond without bumping half the stuff down from the racks/ so what if the water filter keeps on getting filled up mysteriously…..a deam house is a dream house after all…. the owners dog loves Pranita soooo much and vice versa. I can’t say much cause Pranita is my dear saali who keeps telling me that she will complain to my biwi dearest if i don’t listen to her orders.

The auto rickshaws in Chennai are the best. Where else can you get autos who quote twice the original price to males but half the original price to females….. the prices are slashed down further if the female can make a sorry face. Every auto rickshaw here feels that its his responsibility to pick up a female who makes a sorry face……. and if its afternoon time , then its siesta time for the autorickshaw drivers ” THEY DON’T GET UP AT ALL…..NOT IF YOU OFFER TWICE THE MONEY/NOT IF YOU THREATEN THEM/ PLEAD BEFORE THEM /NOT IF YOU DO ANYTHING”….afternoon siesta’s are heavenly 🙂 who cares about silly stuff like money.

Then you have special autorickshaws with even special drivers like the one right in front of my office. The driver bargains and haggles with everybody….you quote a price and he will haggle to get a better price for an hour and then when everything is settled he would peacfully walk off and want to rest. YES…REST the driver would go back to his stone and sit down with his paper and continue from where he had left off…”Again” who cares about silly stuff like money… This one likes to have fun.

We have saturdays off and i am new in here..these two facts in combo make up for my most horrible day in office so far…. I was in office on a Saturday…I had decided to work a bit 🙂 (YES !! IT IS TRUE) …. so up early i brushed and walked into the office with my lappy and in a pajama and tee shirt and my faithful old slippers. Then it all started…people started pouring in ……first one collegue “Ahh, Looks like i have company !!!” I thought, then another collegue ” What is he doing here!!!!!! Its Saturday” , and another ” God !!!!! Why did i come and that too in this attire !!!!!!!!!” and then boss and then the management staff ” I’m dead !!!!!!!!!!”. All this when i was still in my pajama….Some people also walked upto my chair to chat and were shocked to silence  I felt like yelling out loud “MAN ITS A SATURDAY FOR GODS SAKE”    ” PLEASE STOP STARING”  ” WHAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IS THIS THE FIRST TIME YOU ARE SEEING SOMEONE IN A PAJAMA ????? “…….. but then i thought ” Yessss !!!! Must be so !!!!!!! They are seeing someone in a pajama in the office for the first time” poor me and poor them… I got up thinking that its better to walk off…and trying to put up a brave face i got up and walked in my crumpled pajamas and slippers straight out of the office i felt human again…… though a little stupid but i am human after all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chennai has been beautiful guys 🙂

All thanks to a nutty saali / Some old friends (-1now 😦 ) / My mom and my to be better half (phone)/ One senior/ Some juniors………. Its beautiful 🙂

And finally  i saw the length of my blogs ” GOD BLESS YOU ALL FOR SURVIVING THE POSTS”

Honestly speaking i would faint twice before reading such lengthy blogs……But then as i said God bless you so keep reading and of course commenting…. and i dont mind if you guys comment more than once…maybe thrice or n number of times 🙂