Sunday, February 21, 2010

Alcohol & its Sidey Effects

Many things happen to you after you quit drinking (social drinking...before someone labels me as an ex-alcoholic), although almost being involved in a car crash was not supposed to be one of them, however refusing to take chances I started drinking (socially)immediately. Then, even worse things happened & before i thought i would be the last man standing God stopped & after having grieved enough i realised that there was still a crowd around me & the buses were still full & whatever would happen to me i was sure i would not be the last man standing, far from it, i wouldn't have a place to stand. And the life as of now goes on.

Work meanwhile is great, again alcohol helps in making sense...a senior of mine, whom i haven't spoken to since the great flood, decides to thank me, besides a few other people, for the promotion he received & forces me into remembering if i had lent him money on any occasion & ways to recover it now. People have also been approaching me & insisting me to reduce their taxes & almost accuse me of firstly paying them salaries & then making laws to snatch their hard earned money by way of taxes to finance the field trials of "Arjun Tanks" for the past 50 odd years. Which makes me wonder if they have replaced the old steam engine with a internal combustion engine during the last 50 years. We have tlevision sets installed in the office but no one is supposed to watch them, why instal them in the first place if i cant watch the cricket match? Me & some guys from work, have also found a new watering hole aptly named "sagar" across another actual watering hole named Powai Lake get drunk & try to sort out the work issues. The bar that we would visit, located opposite IIT was also good, however the total iq level of the people inside bar was around 10% of the country's & after being stone drunk we would end up looking absolutely stupid, sometimes we would just act drunk to have an excuse for our stupidity. I am sure by now the waiters of that bar have already finished their work on the Unified Theory. Our this new watering hole is an open air joint & few of the places where smoking is allowed or is legal (as almost all the bars 'allow' smoking) & for us non-smokers the traffic down on the road is a good option to breathe in carcinogens while drinking, so that we dont miss out on the effects of cigarettes. The other drunkards (used due to the lack of a better word)are also generally social here, they will generally join you on the table, screw your brains with any topic that catches their fancy. I had one uncle teach me electrical wiring & ways to get electrical plans approved in the BMC for new constructions(wtf?? i couldnt get my duplicate birth certificate from the BMC, i dont exist as far as BMC is concerned...& also for my friends who keep ignoring me). The uncle has left me his visiting card if anyone wants the wiring of their houses, buildings, mohallas done. Another reason to drop out of school, get alcoholic & learn new'd still earn more than me. On other normal days ask for the old monk & see the twilight sky being reflected in the Powai Lake...if the waiter does'nt screw up the chicken tikka then you have a job to do in saving the waiter from the clutches of Ashwin fun.

On the home front...the traffic on the main road has got worse, the cops thought that they would actually discipline us by putting traffic signals. They have instead made more people break law by speeding. The small gap in the road divider right opposite our main gate made to enable pedestrians to cross road has become a new sport for me. You actually need to race with old people to reach that gap first, not get tripped on the walking stick of the grandpop behind you & maintain your balance till the cars come to a stop coz of the signal, after which you can cross to the other side. I can visualize an accident happening there caused by some old dude trying to beat me to the place, lose his balance, & get hit by a speeding car which wants to make the turn before the signal turns red. If the cops can only do something so that psychos don't touch 80 on the stretch to make the light & i promise not to have a road crossing race with old folks (loss of a good sport for them though).

I don't know what made me write so it is only deserving that i end abruptly. I will however warn you that i am in between a story on gilbert hill, its history & the effects that it had on the young kids growing up in its vicinity, i don't know how much more time it will take to finish or if it will ever finish, but try we must. I am also sorry to see how builders have destroyed the hill in order to earn a few crores...they could've done that arranging field trials of the Arjun Tank, they didn't have to destroy an amazing rock.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Numbed Thoughts

When was the last time that I’d blogged? March, was it? & today it’s almost November, 8 months have passed & look what I’ve achieved in these 8 months. I discovered only a couple of days back that I “may” have 2 wisdom teeth & both of them made their presence felt by giving me sleepless, pain filled nights. Diagnosis of my friendly neighborhood dentist, both of the wise teeth (?) have turned out to be like me, twisted. So now I am going to have a surgery, (yeasss, finally, & I’d thought I’d never get to use my mediclaim) & remove these 2 teeth from my body, I’ve had enough of wisdom & it’s begun biting. Has anyone wondered what dentists do with the extracted teeth? I know for sure that barbers sell the hair that they’ve cut for making wigs, do dentists do something similar? (If every month, 2 of my teeth are going to be extracted, I may need a good set of reused, recycled, basically cheap (am going to be nangaa after this surgery), dentures by this time next year).

The other day, deeply engrossed in my work, I got a link to my schools alumni association webpage, from our very own (of Nanguys fame) Sid a.k.a. Anna. (How pathetic can I get? I blogged in March about my office party held in December, & all I could come up with was, that I was drunk. Surprisingly, no one cared to ask me if I am ever sober?) sorry, no connection here, I don’t know why I had to write that, only a symptom of my compulsive disorder, on medication for this & its on the wane so no worries there, but I ask you, are all the thoughts in your head always linear? They’re bound to be some randoms creeping in, esp if you are human (apparently my shrink disagrees, no, not to me being human, to my thought process being normal). In this given link of alumni association, that Sid (a.k.a Anna) had sent me had a class photo, black & white might I add, of this one Kindergarten class & wonder of wonders; yours truly (before education corrupted me version) was staring back out of the screen at yours truly (education even corrupted my wisdom teeth version). The joy was unspeakable, the immediate reaction were of a few tears, mistaking the feeling to be my toothache, rolled down. The fact was I’d forgotten I was kid ever, that I’d a beginning; ergo I’d have an end, like all you mortals. Before all the shrinks reading this start jumping to conclusions, let me be clear, my childhood was normal, both my parents (biological, rare in this day & age) took care of me, as should be of a child, its just that I was too reckless with my childhood than I should’ve been & too observant of my post teens. I should have been more observant & accepted my childhood than my adulthood, like taking childhood seriously & spend adulthood as a child, the other part I am trying to achieve. Back to the photo, no need to tell you that I am so ancient that we dint have colour photos back then. I’d even started suspecting that maybe only Sid, Iyer (maybe Iyer is the reason I blocked out my childhood from my memories, bloody Iyer) & I were the only people left of our batch, the rest had just died of old age. But there was the photo in front of me, of me, of years gone, probably sometime like 1983-85, in the middle of the most hectic week of the month & of the worst day possible, but it brought cheer to my soul, body has been crumbling since birth. This brought to my mind something I’d read from Osho's (I think)works, only the soul remains constant, otherwise even our appearances from our child hood to old age change; change so much, that all the stages of your youth to your old age could pass off as different people. Think of it, wouldn’t it be possible that the 5 year old you, was someone else & the 60 year old you, would be another person, maybe all are indeed different people, different entities. Also that, nothing that is visible is constant all that is invisible is never changing. Thanks Sid for the link. And I promise I’ll encourage my kids to take part in their schools alumni association once they pass out. I’ll always remain a rascal, blame my soul for it.

Bus#422, I am in love with this bus. The few buses in the BEST fleet (for all curious researchers & to the helpless people who will be diverted through all the search engines, my lil bit of guidance) that I am in love with is, 422 & 84 Ltd., since 422 is not a limited bus I have an even more special place in my heart for 422, its in a league of its own & probably one of the longest routes to cover. Both these buses are exceptionally quick, be it traffic or rains, these buses will always be comparatively quicker than other buses, and BEST being the best transport system in India, these 2 buses are amongst the best buses in India. How cool is that? It does not matter how old or new the bus model is, the driver will make it run like wind, and I could go on praising like this, suffice to say I am in love with this bus. I like to believe that there must be a special training school for their drivers, that they pass out through the BEST equivalent of the “Top Gun” School, that the “best of the BEST” are only ever allowed to go near a 422 or a 84 Ltd, that you have to prove yourself till you are handed over the keys to these 2 buses. And there are other people who have come to accept that these 2 buses are special, they tell me how they’d begun changing their schedules to catch the 422, just to make it to the office faster, or how they’d give other buses the pass just to board the 422, I feel happy, these buses are gems in the BEST Fleet, just like Happy is a gem in all the restaurants on this planet. If anyone plans on coming to Powai or to Mulund & back to Bandra, take the 422 (not the A.C 422, it’s a shame for the 422 fleet, they should call it AC 425 or AC 424).

Also, if anyone says that I like this bus just coz it takes me to work everyday, I could take the 424 or 425 too, but I hate them as much as I love the 422. Both, 424 & 425, are slow, have exceptionally weird routes, probably plotted out by some poor traffic controller sitting in the weirdly named Dindoshi Depot (someone pls tell me what Dindoshi is supposed to mean), who was just curious regarding the small lines on the Mumbai map & decided whether the small by lanes go anywhere & voila, we have the routes for 424 & 425. The 425 has one more thing going against it, its rich ladies from the far suburbs of Seven Bungalows, who think they own the Bus, the City & my bag, some lady asked me to put my shoulder bag on the floor, coz it was messing up her view in the front through the windshield (I think). WTF!!! Mera baap ka bag hai, can’t put it down without his permission, can i? How hard is it to understand, it took me 15 mins of argument with the lady, for her to understand. Anyways “my” 422 has the most understanding crowd, no one speaks with you, they’ll just burn you with their hot tiffins, step on your trousers (just some dude passing through the aisle as you stand, I have yet to understand the whole process of human locomotion, how high does one need to bring his leg in order for some forward locomotion, I have instances where people’s shoes have scraped the back of my knees, why? Why does anyone need to bring his leg so high up? Is the person moving ahead or doing a ballet?) & puke, yeah, some kid decided that he’d give me some memory for me to remember him with, cute kid, if not for his 7 ft dad, I’d have thrown him off through the window.

Ever wondered why bus conductors have such wicked sense of humour:
Incident 1:
Conductor: Tapping me on my back, “Eh boss aage bado, khaali jagah hai na”
Me: “Jo Hukum” (do the Michael Jackson moonwalk, so that it just appears that I’ve moved forward)
Conductor: “itne padhe likhe log hoke bhi, peeche khade rehte hain”
Me: (Confused, what’s my educational qualification got to do with where I stand in the aisle of the bus? With the stated logic, the person right up ahead must be a Ph.D & I need to get off this bus, fast)

Incident 2:
Conductor: Kidhar jaayega? (Pls. note this is a first, conductor never asks, if he does address you, you must’ve broken one of the laws of traveling in a BEST bus, as are nailed to the ceiling. Plus you better repent for making the conductor speak, I’d commit suicide if I ever made one speak, rather than living with the shame for the rest of my life)
Some Bhaiyya: Powai Do.
Conductor: Rs.20
Bhaiyya: (mild angina stroke later) ek ticket ka Rs.20??!!! Kal tak Rs.10 tha na.
Conductor: Arre “Do” Bola na
Bhaiyya: Do matlab Do
Conductor: Ha wohi, Do ka Rs.20
Bhaiyya: Nahi, Do, Dijiye
Conductor: De raha hoon na, pehle paisa nikaal.
Bhaiyya: Lekin Mujhe ek hi chahiye….
Conductor: Arre, abhi to do bola…

(My attention was diverted by the view of Powai lake after this. Plus I am used to such conversation on a regular basis in the office, my boss being a Chinese has helped me immensely in overlooking such exchanges.)

That’s it for my bus memories. I’ll write more as & when I remember or Powai Lake stops being such a distraction.

Update on the Wisdom teeth surgery:

Pleased to announce that both (wisdom teeth) have been extracted successfully, with terrible inflammation to my lower jaw & continuous bleeding thereafter from the left behind, stitched cavities. I hate it when 2 dentists discuss their Dentistry Associations politics while extracting a tooth from a seriously scared, on the verge of a heart stroke patient. The politics discussed & played in the Scouts troupe in my school, was better & much more interesting than this & then we left all that because we’d thought we had grown up for such petty things to matter us anymore, some, it seems, just dint grow up or are still in the scouts. I wonder when the dentists worldwide will learn, remove the paining teeth dammit, stop scaring me:

(Both the Chief Dentist & his assistant, the hot chick, are peering into my mouth, going about their work when the following conversation occurs)

Chief Dentist : Its bad. I never expected things to come to this.
Me: (!!!, WTF is bad? What’s come to what? am I going to die(with my wisdom teeth)?)
Dentist Asst: And to top it all, we can’t do a thing about it. I feel so helpless.
Me: (What? What? Lady, you don’t know what helplessness is. BTW can I have my last cigarette?)
Chief Dentist: Yes, exactly.
Me: (For all the times I have disowned you, God, I believe in you, You exist, You rule, You rock!!!)
Dentist Asst: Yeah, they shouldn’t (some ch***** in the dentist’s assoc) stoop to such a level. These are only elections to the regional Assoc.
Me: (You blood b******, wait till this is over.) (P.S. God I don’t believe in you anymore)

Have you ever wondered why all dentists’ assistants are beautiful chicks? You can’t even cry openly in front of them, another case for investigation.

Beatiful Dentist trainee: This might pain a bit?
Me: *Thumbs up sign & wink of the left eye, for showing her how cool I am with this pain thing* (Inside my head: Mom? where are you mom? let me see you for the last time)

Anyways, after such beautiful events, it’s not over as yet, more visits to the dentists yet, it was time to nurse my swollen face & bleeding gums. The childhood photo still brings back peace in the middle of pain, & hopelessness, that like everything that has begun & going on smoothly, so will it end, and yet it will not be over. Whoever preserved that photo, Thanks man, from the bottom of my still functioning heart (I can give you two teeth for this).

I have done this for the past 2 posts & I am in no mood to change it this time. So before signing off, something I like: (something I was trying to tell Mannu in CT the other day)
LIFE is in living. It is not a thing, it is a process. There is no way to attain to life except by living it, except by being alive, by flowing, streaming with it. If you are seeking the meaning of life in some dogma, in some philosophy, in some theology, that Is the sure way to miss life and meaning both.Life is not somewhere waiting for you, it is happening in you. It is not in the future as a goal to be arrived at, it is here now, this very moment -- in your breathing, circulating in your blood, beating in your heart. Whatsoever you are is your life, and if you start seeking meaning somewhere else, you will miss it...
OshO The Art of Dying Chapter #1 Chapter title: The Art of Dying
For all that it is, life, for me, is all about observation, internal & external. Internal is scarier than external.

(DISCLAIMER: The above contents & all the ideas are written under effects of various painkillers & sedatives, anyone who may have felt offended by anything written above, I am sorry for that, but it’s still the truth)

Friday, March 31, 2006

Bits & Pieces

Long days have I spent in trying to forget the fact that my post is unfinished for the past 2 months, okay 4 months but I’d actually forgotten in the first 2 months & then accidentally tripped on the unfinished post & have been since trying to forget it without any success for the past 2 months. And since Appoo refuses to stop writing & still has dedicated readers proves that there are always readers for the nonsensical.

Lot of things have passed in between these many months, for one I attended my office party, my first office party where they served alcoholic beverages. Not the one to lose on any opportunity of getting drunk, after which people excuse whatever I say on my drunkenness (my main reason to get drunk is for people to assume that I “may be” talking sense whenever I get sober & to my credit, I don’t usually hang around to let them realize that how irrational it is to believe that people are any different than when they are drunk.) I reached the party venue before everyone else, since I don’t bother with changing attire for parties or work, the clothes I wear for work are good enough for the party & vice versa. Reaching the venue I greeted the big boss & proceeded to the table which was the only reason I was there in the first place & the same was the case with the official party photographer who, like all party photographers throughout history, was there to have free booze. The moment he noticed that he had subjects for practicing his non-existent photography skills took a snap of me as I ogled at various shaped bottles of booze. Turning away from the topic of party, I have always failed to understand what skills are required in taking a photograph from an auto-focus & auto everything digital camera , I’d say give the camera a li’l bit of AI & a pair of legs, it’ll replace free loader photographers anytime. Anyways my ex- co-drinker made an instant celebrity of me when the same picture was developed & posted onto the company website, since the inquisitive creature that a human being is, it takes minimum 28.5 snaps for him to be bored of viewing photo albums & when any pictures is the first in the album the same is viewed with a lot of expectation. I have yet to find out whether the people who viewed the photograph got what they expected when they saw me in the midst of many bottles of booze, although it has helped me in identifying with a lot of my colleagues world over. “ya, the same person….yes the one standing & ogling at the booze…good morning btw... What did you want to speak to me about?…” has become one of the regular sentences to start my day.

Valentine’s Day passed too, uneventfully, as it always does, without me bothering any of the florists or for that matter any supermarket salesman/woman. I have a colleague who introduced me to his valentine, took me (I am clueless about the reason yet) & his valentine to the super market & bought 2 packets of instant “2 minute noodles” & presented one to his lady love. No, I have still not got the joke if there was any in the incident. I presumed that there was a subtle message in the presenting of the “2 minutes & ready to eat” catch phrase of the noodle brand, but I don’t think she understood it & returned the packet of noodle to my buddy. I totally understood as to why he was so happy while walking to office the next day, 2 packs of noodles can get your mind off anything. I am so inspired with this new idea for a gift that I plan to give instant noodle packets to everyone, my wife, my kids, grandchildren, great-grandchildren & once they are disgusted with the gifts I have given them they’d return them back to me. Assuming that they are so disgusted as to leave me to die alone in my old age, then I’d sit alone in the nights, cook a packet of instant noodles & eat them while watching “night safari” on national geographic, assuming that no one decides to take off the air the only program which does not hurt your eyes when watching in darkness. And that’s just a part of planning for my life, anyone interested in still allowing me to live are part of a vanishing breed of people.

Lot of legal cases are over & done with too. And with each passing case I am forced to believe that truth never has any witnesses or any defense, it is alone & can’t be proven. If you can prove something in a court of law with proper documentation & proofs, it is all fabricated just for the reason that it will have to be produced in a court of law, at least where I am involved. So if a judge is shown all evidences & documentation for or against as the case may be, he should rule against the obvious choice. My bit of advice for improving the rate of conviction here in India

Many bosses have come & gone since I joined here, now as I sit typing this post I feel as if I’ve been here all my life. I have yet to know what keeps me stable here when my bosses feel something’s wrong with this world, maybe it’s just me. I have had different priorities for different bosses & now there’s a new boss & a new priority & I ignore it as I have done with all the previous bosses. One thing I don’t like is when I am told how I am supposed to a particular job. Maybe I’ll gift this one a packet of instant noodles for never telling me how to do my job & staying that long enough.

New buses have been introduced as part of the World Bank funded Mumbai Urban Transportation Project & the same have been introduced on the route I travel as well, these are the buses which have the route number of the bus displayed on the rear too. Earlier as I ran towards my bus stop I’d always console myself that the bus that I just missed was not mine, now I know for sure that the bus was mine, although I have yet to understand how this bit of info is supposed to help me.

Maybe I’ll sign out with this thought for the people who thought I was dead:
"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But, it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
- Winston Churchill

Monday, October 03, 2005

New Job

Been a long time till I realized that I had a blog & it needed my attention, of course the same goes for my toenails & my fingernails, thankfully the hair fall off & take care of themselves. In the very near future I will not have to worry about the hair part at all. But I have decided to make amends to the situation & here is my first attempt at creatively using my office time in this new job, by clipping my toe nails that is.

Anyways I have quit my earlier job, left my Reay Road station behind, left my beloved Harbour Local even farther behind, my salary, my traveling allowance, my half yearly bonus & leave salary the farthest of them all. Now I am dependant on the BEST buses for my commute (bloody expensive as compared to the trains). So, nowadays instead of having full body massages I have to content with exercising my biceps & occasionally hurting the ligaments in my shoulder, which also means that my bowling career may come to an end in the near future (the hurting happens only on the stretches where the roads are bad or the driver decides to do a surprise braking test for evaluating the conditions of his brakes or alternately the alertness of the commuters). Also, I learnt that traveling on the bus’ footboard is worse than traveling on the footboard in trains especially on the bad road…almost got thrown off the bus as a result, whereas sitting in the middle of the last bench is as bad, only difference being you’ll be thrown off the seat & on the aisle floor, what is worse is I lost my seat till I got back up. Since then I have started giving the conductor loose money from my ticket to tell me which passenger is likely to get off on the next stop or the nearest stop, so that I can go & stand near that particular seat (bad habit I inculcated in the train). I hope Abs buys a car when he returns to India & giving me a lift from office to CT. Asked the same to one of my friends here, he even agreed to buying a car on the condition that I’d pay the fuel bills, but if I don’t agree to the condition I’ll save on the fuel bills cost & I might be able to buy a flat opposite my office in about three months (at the projected average fuel price over the next three months), this may also be the case if I stop smoking & start saving that money, but then cutting down on one necessity to invest in another is an illogical step (plus if I quit smoking I’ll live till the loan term is complete & I’ll have to repay the full amount to the bank instead of Appoo and/or Iyer repaying my housing loan as my guarantors-designate).

The commute time which earlier was 30 mins. in my beloved harbour local has now increased to 2 hours give or take a few seconds. Even 2 hours are on the lesser side…sometimes the traffic cops decide to take the matters in their own hands & switch off the traffic lights & direct the traffic themselves which increases the commute time by another ½ hour (so the habit I had learnt in trains of going off to sleep while standing is of a lot of help to me). I wish the traffic cops would stop doing their work sit on their bikes behind trees, poles (How can the pot bellied pandus hide behind light poles is one of the paranormal things I am currently investigating) etc. to trap unsuspecting traffic offenders & help the traffic move more smoothly (yea, pandus & me have something in common, people feel that we’d be of help if we stopped helping).

In the morning there’s a stop where this group of daily wage labourers get onto the bus, everyday, like myself (whenever I look at them I feel I am worse off than them coz I don’t get paid till the month end, if ever, & if I quit in between…no pay, no leave salary, no bonus. Plus they are even covered by the minimum wages act, which, I assume; my previous & the current boss have never bothered to read). I did not mind standing next to them earlier but after I realized that they carry hot tiffin in their innocent looking half molten plastic bags, I have become more careful of not standing next to them. The first time such dude came up & stood next to me I had a very hard time trying to figure out why there was this burning sensation next to my thigh. I thought of everything from the lighter in my pocket mysteriously catching fire to the paranormal event of auto self-combustion only localized in nature near my thigh. Then looking at my worried face the worker began to explain to me…realized he was chewing something…bent to spit out of the window …in the process scaring the guy sitting in the window who misunderstood that the worker had bent over to kiss him…happy that the dude just spoilt his shirt cuffs & not his day & explained to me in some strange language of which I understood only the word “tiffin”. Anyways I have understood enough to keep away from this people lest they burn some other “sensitive” body parts. No wonder they get space to move around the bus.

Cannot believe its been three weeks of no dusty by lanes of Reay Road, no more of the magic potion which tasted like kerosene mixed with milk & burnt tea leaves which I suspect is an indigenous & patented product of Reay Road. No more jokes on nepalis, in fact no nepalis. Only good thing to happen was the seat given to me faces the window, which overlooks the Powai Lake, damn cool view (unfortunately not good enough to replace the nepali jokes)

During the past 3 weeks, fortunately, I missed reading all the crap that was written on the blogs to defame me. Firstly Appoo comes up with my imaginary girlfriend, Vijaylakshmi. Which got me thinking for the next several days & later I heard from Iyer his explanation for the same & still the name doesn’t make sense. Why Vijayalakshmi? Why me with Vijayalakshmi? Why not Iyer with Vijayalakshmi? Mrs.Vijayalakshmi Iyer sounds good. Speaking of Iyer, he in some post becomes my angel. This post has given me lots of nightmares, Iyer in his banian & “phantom chaddis”, cigarette in one hand with little wings that angels have been shown to have in movies, only that Iyers’ are bat like & this angel speaks with Sanjiv Kumar accent. Those who know me will tell you that I wouldn’t lift my finger to save myself let alone a chick named Vijayalakshmi, who is angry at the proudest moment of my life, my only act of vandalism, my only felony (till today).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Accidental Memories

I knew rains, holidays etc. are bad news anytime. All my work had piled up to the ceiling and there was no movement towards reaching my targets. I knew this fortnight I would end up with a 100% deficit. I also knew that Madnesh would be stressed out enough come up with something, as always.

I was attending a meeting when this happened. As I was talking through my presentation I heard a loud crash, which is not abnormal where I work, since we are very close to a ship-breaking yard. Any day that you do not hear a fire engine siren means that the workers at the ship-breaking yard are on a strike. So we have various noises of huge steel pieces falling, being cut by blowtorches, hammered into various shapes, the occasional screams of men as they fall to their deaths & my boss singing (which, to the ears, is worse than to hear people screaming). What got my attention this time was I heard Madnesh screaming. I could plainly hear him yell “Oh F****!!” around 20 times till I got out of my office. As I ran out to see the damage a falling Madnesh might have caused to our office, I, instead saw Madnesh along with another engineer running around our premises.

We have in our office premises various antennas, some for radio comm., some for navigational radars etc. Madnesh & his team of engineers found some such antenna or radar defective & like I hunt for scraps of paper to act as if I am working, Madnesh finds faulty nuts & bolts to tighten (I call my this job, analysis & he calls his maintenance) Anyways, the 2 engineers decided to do some “maintenance work” on one of the antennas fixed on the roof. Unfortunately for all the people concerned (even the ones sitting under that roof) the roofing was of steel sheets & not of concrete. So with Madnesh standing on the roof was pushing the luck (of everyone around a 200 mtrs. radius) a bit too much. But fortunately for everyone concerned (inside & outside) he realized what he was doing soon enough & went back to stand on the ladder & guide another person from the ladder itself.

Contrary to Madnesh, with all the wisdom bestowed on him by the almighty for the protection of innocent lives (on the assumptions that he & I are not innocent & the wisdom, if any (which has escaped our attention so far), that Madnesh possesses, protects only the innocents) his boss is a jackass. When he saw what was happening, i.e.Madnesh on a ladder instructing someone else with the work, he lost his remaining linear thought process, unnecessarily termed as “emotion” by psychiatrists. He ran up the adjoining building & jumped through the small staircase window & onto the roof (I knew Mithun films could inspire people into action like in this instance, but I do not want to take anything away from his boss being a thoroughbred jackass). He triumphantly walked over to the person doing the “maintenance work” on the antenna & took over the job, reassigning Madnesh someplace else. As Madnesh finished talking to his boss & went one step down on his ladder, he saw both his boss & his assistant disappear through the roof along with the antenna accompanied by a loud noise as the whole antenna setup got dismantled. Sure that his boss had untimely passed over to the devil before either of us could go first & have a good time minus our bosses, Madnesh started screaming hysterically (although I’d think he was distressed by the fact that the antenna whose only 2 bolts required tightening would require complete installation now). If I ever see something similar happening to my boss even I would start screaming. Pure joy, with experience I realize, cannot be contained.

And that is how I met Madnesh as he was running around inside the premises trying to see where his boss had touched down. He barged first into our logistics dept. As our logistics officer got scared seeing Madnesh rush into his dept. he gave out a loud shriek (he has been swearing since that the water jug kept on his table overturned when he panicked, but I wouldn’t blame him for the real reason. Seeing Madnesh charging at you is a scary sight, even the motorman slows down the train as Madnesh comes running down the Reay Rd. bridge.), hearing the logistics guy scream even Madnesh started to yell. Logistics is where I joined in the rescue operations where the Logistics officer, Madnesh, his department colleague & other people who thought this was some way of bonding were screaming their lungs out, after which to cover the embarrassment they started shouting our Electronics chief’s name, acting as if they were searching for him. I’d guess Madnesh was in a shock as he had seen his boss fall down & was probably scared that he’d have to pick up his boss’ body parts, piece by piece. I, as always, was the good for nothing pest who was trying to scare him some more. Just then I heard his friend say “Maybe both of them are stuck inside the false ceiling & got tangled in the insulations” I knew fear numbed the thought processes but to expect a 6’ 5”, 130 Kgs. person getting stuck in the insulation was bit in the extremely deranged mind category & as I always do when I find myself of no use or out of place or want to run away from my life & their problems (the last piece of conclusion is courtesy of my personal shrink, Abs), started laughing out loud without noticing that our Managing Director was standing behind me. I still haven’t understood what was it exactly that made my MD want to throw me out, coz whatever she muttered under her breath sounded exactly as she does every time she sees me.

It was quite a shock then to see the 2 disappeared entities entering through our security post. It appears that the 2 of them were standing on the edge of the roof, which sloped out onto the street & had fallen through the roof out on the main street. The news that I received later (after I was unfairly thrown out of the “search, rescue & ridicule operations”) was that Madnesh’s Boss had a hairline fracture to his vertebrae & was rushed to the hospital by Madnesh that evening (at least the hell remains safe till I get in) & the other dude got out with minor cuts, although a fracture to his collarbone is not ruled out, he refuses any doctors coming near him.

This incident brought me back the memories of my own accidents. None of them were ever serious, but on each occasion I had to go under a surgeon’s knife. I don’t think anyone could call stepping on an odd nail lying on the ground an accident but I do, coz I had to visit a surgeon to get a piece of my shoe sole which I was wearing when I stepped on the nail & which had pierced through the sole of my foot along with the nail, had stayed there for 3 years, faithfully, might I add i.e. without giving any pain etc, only the swelling once in a while gave its hiding place away. I fail to remember who was more surprised the surgeons or my parents. I have since learnt a valuable lesson, act surprised when people around you seem surprised. I had a hell of a time explaining both my parents & the inquisitive doctor how the piece of shoe sole came to be in the ankle. Anyone who sees this story on Ripleys kindly inform me, I’ll try to collect the fees that I have paid the surgeon from the royalty that he might be earning.

Second incident was when I broke my elbow when I fell down from a 3ft. high wall. The best part was, as a kid, I remember jumping from 10ft.high walls without spraining an ankle (abs, appoo you guys remember?). Went to some hospital close by where the doctor was whispering something to my dad so he was quite shocked when I asked him straight up when the operation would be? The angle in which my hand was lying limp below the elbow did not require the surgeon to tell me that I’d require an operation, but somehow it seemed to me that the doctor was hell-bent on insulting my IQ. I’d be scared if he’d have told me that he’d set the bone right without any surgical procedure just by pulling at the hand. Then there was the nerve, which was unfortunate to have come in the way of my splintering bones & had paralyzed my 2 fingers for a couple of months. Of course I learnt then that the doctors are happier if you act scared. I earned a full-blown 1992 (I think) FIFA World Cup Schedule with players’ posters when I showed the doc that I was scared of him cutting open my plaster. I knew I should’ve taken up acting. The best part was after the plaster came off my hand looked like the pincers of the praying mantis & it was that thin. I know for sure that I’ll break my bones or die only if I fall from a height of less than 3 ft.

The next time it was again to do with my legs, my knees to be precise. They’d just buckle when I bent down in certain fashion. Went to a doc who advised me that he’d perform small surgical procedure to find out what the problem was & then if need be perform another procedure to correct it. T’Was hard on my mind but had to refuse him then, two scars at the same time was too good to believe. I am happy with the scars I have till date & luckily my knees hold me steady till today. Of course the doc tried to scare my parents to ask me to go under the knife saying that my knee might buckle while crossing roads or traveling in a train (while Abs was trying to scare me). Little does the doc know that my heart is too weak either to go walking for distances more than 500 mtrs. Or to stand in the train. I knew laziness would pay off sometime.

I don’t know how time flew in between the accidents but I was left with a lot of scars to make sure I’d never have to think while filling any forms when the question read “Any Identification marks?” I have the luxury of giving addresses of different scars for all my ID papers. And I do not have to strip to show any moles placed strategically at birth, in other peoples cases, at the airport security check…I just raise my hand & walk off. What’s next I don’t know but the way things are going I guess it’d have to be a heart attack.

I can’t help but laugh as I look back, life was weird then than it is now. I think I am getting old or lazy or both to be doing stupid things. Wisdom sucks the joy out of living.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rains, Old Monk & Tandoori Tuesday

Two super days of absolute adventure over, I am back at my desk trying to trace where most of my colleagues are & to find whichever scraps of paper I can to show people that I am working, while I write this post.

Started Tuesday with a mild flu like symptoms, didn’t want to leave home but for the last day of my super-accountant from Kolkata. Decided I’d just go visit him in the office, kiss his feet so that he would be ready to part with branch information more easily & not shout over the phone as to how the branch functions more efficiently than the HO & then describe the ways in which the unions in Kolkata deal with demanding bosses. After kissing the brand new “Hush Puppies” (someone in Bata should be decorated for coming out with such a name for men’s footwear) took my boss’ sign on my half-day leave application which I had made complex enough with various medical terms & settled down to waste 4 hours grumbling about body ache. At around lunchtime (we have taken it upon ourselves to have flexible lunch hours, which gives us an opportunity to snack every 2 hours or so) the drizzle started & I decided to postpone leaving a bit. Also I should mention that I am not a fan of the rains, neither do I like water as such (unless it is mixed with cola syrup & sugar). Within no time the rains had increased & the compound in front of our office was submerged (1 hour is all it took). As the time progressed to 4 PM, the ladies were asked to leave (I was stopped even though I was ready to sign a declaration stating that I was a lady) in an office car. I was left at the office with my team, when my boss called me to pack up & offered me a lift to Bandra. Since Bandra has been lucky for only 2 people, myself & “the madnesh”, I invited him along too (here I must mention, to his credit, madnesh was the only person with rainwear, he had taken with him the micro mini umbrellas that you can fold 5 times & store it in your breast pocket. So he had protection for his right or left arm, depending on the hand he would hold the umbrella in). Madnesh & myself began the long walk.

4.30 PM, 26th July, 2005 – Follow the Leader.

In the course of which, at the first turn we took we encountered waist deep water. As the silent walk went on, we noticed that the water level had increased till our chest & my boss had disappeared (not drowned though, unfortunately). The 2 of us incredibles, madnesh & myself minus our bags but with a micro mini umbrella, were left to fend for ourselves in an unknown area (you would expect more determination from 2 grown ups, but we were lost & hungry, we were scared to be so far away from any office, restaurant, my mom & (in madnesh’s case) fiancé). After wading in the chest high waters for a couple of minutes (actually I was hoping I’d be able to find my boss while kicking around in the water & then ask madnesh to stamp on him to free the world of a marwari) we decided to head back to our base station & find some food first.

5.15 PM- Unanimously decided to head back to Reay Road Station to take stock of the situation & food supplies, if any, in Reay Road.

Reay Road station looked like a transit camp, with no standing room on the platforms, there were old people & ladies who must’ve been standing there for more than 2 hours min. At this time my boss called up & asked the both of us to come walking to Byculla Station (guess around 1.5 – 2 Km. farther) in rain, so that the 3 of us best friends could go home by cab. As we came out of the Reay Rd. Station we met the ladies contingent that had gone out before us in the comfortable office jeep, returning back to the office due to heavy traffic & flooding & despite their pitiful condition, I couldn’t help noticing 3 office guys with them (so the declaration would’ve worked if I’d have held out long enough). It was also obvious that after 2 – 2 ½ hrs. of rain the traffic situation was really bad & we could no longer by the road, only if the trains started or we walked the whole way would we be able to go home.

7.00 PM – Met the wise monk.

Since Madnesh & I were the only 2 fit or adventurous guys in the company we decided to continue going towards our homes even after the ladies contingent begged us to come back to the office (nah, they didn’t give a damn whether we lived or died). Initially in the “josh” of the moment we kept on walking through the debris strewn by lanes of central Mumbai & covered quite a lot of distance (or so we thought) but ended up walking till the next station. We again encountered chest high water & decided to head back to the office & stay there till everything settled down. While going back we smelled a divine smell. Smell so warm & refreshing that we had to enter the place. There we met our long lost friend or rather a friend we had chosen to ignore for so many years. That first sip of Old Monk XXX Rum left a sensation of sitting in front of a fireplace, the dual sensation of hot & cold, the cold outside & hot rum inside. We overdid the fireplace thing, when we got up to go (just because they were closing the bar at 1.30 AM) we had finished a full bottle of rum & yet the rains had not stopped & neither had our appetite for rum. The problem with rum is you need to eat a tandoori chicken with it, & when your boss calls you & asks you to save the food bill for reimbursement, you feel like having two. So while Mumbai stopped & people drowned & died, me & madnesh sat talking, with the help of the grand old monk & a tandoori chicken, about our past, our families, scary marriage scenarios (madnesh's).

10.30 – Find a dry banian!!!??

Before we had drunk too much we decided we’d go & crash at a hotel at dockyard road where the super accountant from kolkata was staying during his visit here. We informed him about our intentions & bribed him with his own qtr.bottle of “botka” (as he likes to call vodka).

As the memories & daaru flowed freely (it should be the other way round, I think) I received a call from my boss telling me he had crashed at the hotel before we did & now he wanted us to bring him some food & before he hung up, he told me “Bird, are there any stores open that side? I need you to buy me a banian.” The carefully built up tempo of our conversation, expensive & extensive counseling by the old monk to relive & forget the old & new fears, were shattered by a new challenge of buying a banian for my boss at 10.30 in the night in a city which was slowly drowning (actually bigger challenge was to hold my laughter till I finished talking with my boss). We felt it our duty to buy 2 more bottles for our mildly senile boss, obviously he was in a shock. There we were, on one side my boss, who, when people were dying, were spending a night in a train for the next 12 hrs. without food or water, when the houses that they lived in did not have a single thing that they could call dry, was expecting us to find him a brand new banian & on the other side the two of us, drinking, eating & making merry, were not even worried about our boss having to sleep minus the banian (I must mention here that the quest for new banian was completed by our ever-helpful nepali peons, who not only found my boss a banian but also managed to lay their hands on a lungi).

1.30 AM – Hotel.

I decided to call my boss before we squared off the bill at 1.30 AM, as the waiters threatened to throw us out otherwise. I wanted to know what he’d want to have for dinner at 1.30 AM ( I wanted him to eat as much as he could so that he’d forgive me for not buying him a clean banian). I was surprised to know that even in such trying times as that day, my boss had efficiently ordered from a nearby pizza outlet & had already slept. So the 2 of us walked back to our hotel in the rains, put up the clothes for drying, put on the towel, drank till 5 AM & then tried to sleep (the disturbance being Madnesh’s phone which kept ringing after every 15 mins. At first I thought it might be an alarm but found out later that many people were missing Madnesh.)

3.30 PM, 27th July 2005 – Homeward Bound

As it neared lunchtime the next day, we decided to catch a cab & go to Delhi Durbaar near Bhendi Bazaar. Had our fill & decided to get back to Churchgate & catch an Andheri Local. This time too Madnesh argued with me to go by cab till Bandra & then at Bandra, decide the future course of action. For the first time (in my knowledge) Madnesh proved to be right, the trains were running only till Mahalaxmi & then from Bandra onwards, as a result of which the exit of Mahalaxmi station looked like a bomb shelter & there was no way we could get a cab there (I’ve always hated Mahalaxmi for the simple reason that Essar’s main office is situated there & I had my first failure working in my present company at Essar. Also the receptionists there gave me a smaller conference room than what I had expected & asked for.). We reached Mahim in ½ hr. flat & as we came out near Mahim Church there was a huge traffic jam. The cars were just standing still (for the first time in proper lanes), in some cases the drivers had just walked off leaving the cars in the middle of the road. There were Fire Engines & Ambulances trapped in between, it was all chaos & to add to it Madnesh was going to walk through it. In such a scenario we started a long walk back to our homes. Before going any further, I’d like to ask every person who travels towards Bandra to look into the Mahim creek. I always thought that the natural colour of the water was black, but due to the heavy rains & the great amounts of clean fresh water introduced into the creek, the water’s turned muddy brown. Couple more days of rains would’ve got the water’s colour to blue. I suggest everyone to go & see the miraculous change.

I do not remember much, but I could see a lot of people walking, felt like being in a protest march or something. With the lane of S V Road which goes north bombay, full of cars parked & the other lane full of people trying to reach home. Around Khar Jn. I heard singing, surprised I turned around to find Madnesh covered in sweat, stumbling along, totally exhausted, singing!!! Not humming or anything but loud singing. As I started to sing along with him I realized it got our minds off the details like which area we were in, or how much walking was still required or to ignore the dead man we saw on the footpath near khar station. We went on singing & marching (& drinking tea, eating biscuits, thanks to all those beautiful people who mistook our singing for crying).

I hate writing about the good times I had when so many people suffered but I guess I have written this post so that I could archive for the future that I had really walked so much, even tell my kids the day when I walked from Mahim to Andheri. Also if any people other than Iyer read this post, to publicly thank that old dude who had joined us at Mahim in our march. We got home because we did not want to look exhausted in front of the old dude & the old dude must’ve gone home happy that he was in a better shape than 2 young guys (Hope he reached home safely).

I'd like to finish this post off on what H G Wells had once written , “While there is a chance of the world getting through its troubles, I hold that a reasonable man has to behave as though he were sure of it. If at the end, your cheerfulness is not justified, at any rate you will have been cheerful.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New Plumage!!

After a very long interval I present a changed bird (in more ways than one). Long time have I given those 2 people who read my blogs religiously, to recover their sanity, but I was worried about Iyer, who had grown tired of re-reading my posts. What I did in the past months was to actually start working in the office, which left me very little creative time, plus somehow I started achieving targets twice over, which resulted in my targets being revised four times over. Now I am back to under achieving my given targets & the joker during our staff meets every week. So in every weekly review if someone gets flak for under achievement the common excuse is “but I did better than bird!”. and then people are again reminded of the person who has come to personify deficit. I am waiting for the day to arrive when people who do not achieve their targets, instead of the deficit percentage, start entering “Better than Bird” in the surplus/deficit column.

My topic was not about cribbing though, but a celebratory one. Bird’s New Plumage. It shouldn’t have happened, it did because I screwed up my earlier template & then I realized how ugly the whole thing was, with or without the screw up. This template is courtesy of some brave soul somewhere who has not realized that I will be amongst the people to use this, now you know why they ask you to make stuff “fool-proof”, cause I am generally around to fool with it if you don’t.

I also fail to understand why I chose this color (Which I prefer to call moss-green, ladies & other people with sharper colour-name associating knowledge please excuse me). But on studying a bit, this is what I came across, on some site,

Green is a balancing colour, in the middle of the visible spectrum. The higher three colours are known as the "cool" colours and are calming in effect, the lower three are known as the "warm" colours and have a stimulating effect. Green is the balance between these two.

When a therapist comes to the end of a colour therapy treatment, he/she will use green as a balancing colour at the end of a treatment.

Green is the colour of balance and harmony and can, therefore, be helpful in times of stress. If one has experienced a trauma, a green silk wrapped around the shoulders can have a very therapeutic effect.

I know for a fact that appoo will counter my claim that this blog can now be used to relieve all my readers’ stress, although the rest of the world may beg to differ (& that’s why appoo has all the needless arguments with every alternate person that he meets). I also wish to proclaim (its my blog & I can be assertive) that I am not a fan of this particular color but I still own 2 Shirts, 2 trousers & 2 pair of shoes which are round about moss green in color (which is my full wardrobe) & I also have these dreams in which my hair is moss-green, so I may have been sub-consciously influenced to prefer this color over others. On the other hand, it may also mean that I have all the above qualities as have been researched & stated by a person who had absolutely nothing better to do with his/her time (like myself). Of course it does not mean that people should share their problems or worries with me, I already have my hands full for coming up with novel excuses for target deficiency & additionally I have problems with people who think they have problems.

During the time that I was allowing people to recuperate, I found out, the hard way, Lesson#1 stations, airports & bus terminals should not have multiple exit points.

My colleague coming down from Kolkata was to be received at CST. During the countless conversations I had with him over the phone before he left Kolkata, I had repeatedly told him that I’d be waiting at the taxi queue & that he was supposed to call me when his train reached the station. But it seems God has blessed me with friends & colleagues who would teach me new lessons every day of my life (like why train terminals should have only 1 exit). As all the passengers of Madgaon Express alighted (which came 1 hour after the Gitanjali Express had arrived & thought, by the railways, to be dirty enough to be the first train ever to be cleaned within an hour of it’s arrival. Although I must mention here that cleaning for railways is a different term. This same day, I took the last train from CST to Andheri in which a sweeper boarded at Mahim Stn., swept the main aisle without cleaning the space between the seats & got off at Bandra Stn., my type of worker) I knew I had lost another friend, this time physically, to the functioning of railways. Just then I received a call from an unknown number, it was my friend on the other side. I greeted him with the new swear words I have learnt recently & kept on repeating them because he calmly told me he’d caught a local train from CST & had reached his hotel while I waited with a taxi for him at CST. Which led me to…

Lesson#2 Nobody is really dependant on you.

As I reached the Hotel this person was calmly puffing on a cigarette in the lobby. Just out of courtesy he had refused to check in before I got there. I helped him to check-in (the first time I used my office ID ever for such things, except when I need to take benefits for the “below poverty line” citizens. I have come to know very recently that anyone working in our office, vide some government statute, is considered to be underpaid & is allowed to claim concessions at rationing shops, but everyone need not line up to claim benefits, we are really paid nothing or thereabouts.) & that being the only reason that my friend had called me & now I am stuck with him for a week. I am sure he will be the source of entertainment for coming days.

I hope by this above post I have made most of my readers (1 out of the 2 that are still alive) happy. Also I expect to not listen to any cribs from Iyer over the next session, its too weird to have a Sanjeev Kumar imitator ask me to write a post. And notwithstanding Appoo’s protests to the contrary, I hope to have made some people (either of you 2, my dear readers) giggle & forget your worries, if my post wasn’t relaxing the colour should do the trick for you, or better still read the books I have recommended.

Now I have reached a stage where my hands refuse to put in words the thoughts which are coming out of my mind.