Monday, December 28, 2009

InkTank to carry the olympic torch!

akshay kumar was honored recently when he was asked to carry the winter olympic torch in canada. reminded me of the day when i was asked to carry the beijing olympic torch, while it passed thru india last year. this is what happened...

My eyes gaped at the email, as I read it again and again, trying to absorb the shockingly unbelievable content. I also checked the date, and confirmed it wasn’t april 1st. the matter was such…” blah blah an effort to involve the common man in the Olympics, you have been selected to carry the Olympic torch in delhi. We are arranging for your travel to delhi….blah blah blah…” zapped I was, as I stared at that email for long. And then I let out a long scream, a hybrid mix of shammi kapoor, and tarzan, and broke into a dance.

Aarti(wife) and rohan(son) rushed upstairs, to see, and cudnt believe as they saw me go berserk! I just pointed to the monitor, and then they saw it too. aarti was sure it was a prank. “ your husband gets to carry the Olympic torch, so its but natural that you see it as a prank”… luckily we didn’t fight that evening.

I did not now what to do next. Woowwww, I was to receive the torch from nandita das and pass on to aamir khan. Or maybe sachin tendulkar would give it to me, and I would give it to bipasha basu. I thought of all the combinations, and aarti asked me to stop daydreaming, and if at all the email was genuine, I should start practice first. Well, I confirmed by calling the numbers mentioned in that email. Some gentleman from the home deptt answered. He said the govt had selected 5 emails at random, and these 5 persons would get to carry the torch, in new delhi, along with the other celebrities, and one of the 5 emails landed up in my inbox.

The preparations had to begin. I had to practice running with the torch, so that theres no fiasco in delhi. Me and rohan got hold of a stick, a thick stub of wood, of the length of the torch, and wound a napkin around one end. By now, the neighbours had been informed, congratulatory messages had begun to pour in. a proud aarti patiently doled out cups of tea/coffee to all those who visited to meet the torchbearer! I suddenly started feeling like an athlete. I even searched, and found some old posters of daley Thomson, carl lewis, and mary lou retton, from the junk, and pasted them on the walls, and started to preach rohan, the importance of running, and keeping fit and all. He gave a big yawn, and continued with his video games.

Once the napkin was tied and the torch was ready, it was dipped in kerosene, and I prepared for my first run, with most neighbours watching from their balconies. I decided to run on the main road, and dreamt of crowds lined up on both sides, cheering me endlessly. Thank god there were no groups of female cheerleaders, otherwise I knew in which direction I would run. As rohan ignited the torch, there was a huge flare, and as I started running, I couldn’t bear the blazing heat that came from the spiraling flame. The first attempt had flopped, a few kind neighbours suggested a smaller torch, some others just went back inside their homes, it was a big flop show on the very first day of practice. Not knowing what to do next, we just wound up the whole thing.

I thought of running at midnight. I didn’t want embarrassment again. A friend suggested that I should carry a battery torch, a large one carried by security guards, when they patrol housing societies at night. Like a stupid ass, I too said a yes! Aarti did mention this was a clumsy idea, but I was in no mood to listen. Have you heard Olympic torchbearers listening to their wives and their mundane apprehensions ever?

So off we went, this time I just had this friend for company, at 1 am in the middle of the night, with a large size battery torch held high, me jogging along and my friend following on his bike. As soon as I took a turn to come on the main road, a few dogs started to bark, it was unusual for someone to run with a lighted torch, pointing skywards. Very soon, some more friends joined them, and a pack of dogs started to follow us menacingly, barking together. I stopped, and tried to throw some stones at them, they scattered, but then the barking became louder. Instead of making the matters worse, my friend asked me to sit on his bike, and we went in the direction of the stadium, it was decided that I practice my run over there.

As soon as we reached the stadium, and prepared for my run, a police jeep stopped by, and 2 policemen got out, they wanted to know what were we up to, at this hour, they looked at me suspiciously as I was fully dressed as an athlete, with tracksuit, head and wrist bands, sports shoes and all, yes the paraphernalia had to be there, so everything was bought new, spent 2500 bucks, I wasn’t going to be an ordinary runner after all. They didn’t believe our story, and started to laugh when they saw the torch and all, and politely, yet firmly asked us to go home.

Soon I was back, feeling a bit dejected. How will the country have sportsmen, who will bring laurels to this country, if circumstances were such that an Olympic torch bearer wasn’t allowed to practice even, I said to myself, exasperated at what had happened in the last few hours. I then went to bed, and soon dreamt of me carrying a torch, and rahul Gandhi waiting to take it from my hands….

“anand, anand, get up, its 8 am already, and see the papers” – it was aarti, excited, and smiling. I sensed something instantly. She had that typical expression of victory, mixed with her smile! And rubbed my eyes, as I got hold of the TIMES. At the bottom there was a small news item, a clarification from the home deptt, of a fake email doing the rounds… rohan waved from behind her, a twinkle in his naughty eyes, holding the battery torch, grinning widely!

I looked for a place to bury myself

Saturday, November 28, 2009

twin chat!

She: heyyyy don’t push me na
He: me pushing you?? You are shoving me into a corner… I need more space

She: we all need more space, but for now this is all we have, so stop pushing!
He: okok, how long do we have to be here, jostling for space? I want to get out yaar…

She: even I want to…but we cant just go out, the 6th month is ON, didn’t you hear mom say this to someone over telephone? Its 9 months before we can be delivered to the outside world
He: delivered?? I thought we were supposed to be born!

She: uff dumbo!! We will be born, but babies are delivered by the doctor, its called delivery.
He: wowwww!!! Is it?? Then I know where we are going to be delivered…

She: where? Where?? And how do you know???
He: we will be born…I mean delivered here at home itself

She: at home?? How come?
He: last evening dad was on phone, while mom was knitting a sweater, and he said over phone about wanting a ‘free home delivery’

She: O MY GOD!!! One big stupid idiot you are!!! That was dad calling the pizza restaurant for a free home delivery; didn’t you see they were eating pizza for dinner later in the evening? It was THAT!
He: ohhh…so where will we be delivered?

She: in a hospital, I am so eager to be born, to go into the outside world and start living my life…I want to be graceful and beautiful like mom, have you seen her look into the mirror every morning, after she has her bath? She looks sooooo charming and exquisite na?
He: yes she does, and even our father is very handsome, I want to be like him, with a large moustache, heyyyy it will be fun living our own life na?

She: yes sure, but you will have to wait for a long time for the moutache haan…
He: you know something? We are going to have names, our own exclusive names; I heard mom and dad discussing names for us

She: you are really outdated brother; I have even selected a name for me!!!
He: what? And how did you manage to do that?

She: simple…dad mentioned a few names of his choice one by one… neha, sarayu, meeta…. The moment he said meeta, I kicked mom’s tummy from inside…and immediately heard her saying to dad …..”look she just kicked me when you said meeta, maybe she likes this name, shall we have ‘meeta’?”, and then dad replied “yes sweetheart, meeta it will be…..” so I already have a name you see!!
He: you are real sharp haan, after all you are my sister….he he he

She: yes I am…you know something bro? our parents already love us, I can feel it, I am waiting for them to shower their love on us, and love them back in return, I am so excited…
He: love??? Now what is this new thing…?

She: arre it’s an emotion! The entire world, and life itself, survives, and goes around this unique emotion! Its affection, care, sacrifice, togetherness, and so much more….
He: waitttttt…how do you know all this?

She: while you doze away the entire time sleepyhead, I keep awake, trying to follow what mom reads, so I already know a lot, we women are like that
He: and we men take care of, and protect you, am I right?

She: cool… you sound like a sweet brother….my brother! May I ask you a favor now?
He: go ahead dear, ask!

She: when the moment is near for us to be born, I would love you to go out first, that ok with you?
He: sure it is, so I get to be the elder brother…..but what’s special about being the younger child?

She: nothing….I just want to see dad’s face light up when he sees me appear after you, he longs and craves for a daughter do you know that?
He: hmmmm but do you think he will be there at the time of birth?

She: yes….my dad is a courageous man!
He: you mean ‘our’ dad…

She: yes……’our’ dad!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

actually,... i want to rape!!!

I made an 8 day trip to paris and Frankfurt in the first week November, 2002. On board an emirates flight from mumbai to paris, via abu dhabi… Sipping red wine, served by the sexy Filipina air hostess…. after a few sips, as I felt the wine warm up my soul, I decided to launch into a conversation with my co passenger, an Indian guy in his late teens….. read on friends….

Me: hi!
He: haylo

Me: anand here
He: (showing surprise) here???

Me: I mean I am anand
He: ohh… my name is mansukh… from limbdi

Me: heyy that means you are a gujju, I am from baroda, I have passed thru limbdi many times, on way to rajkot
He: you traawell to rajkot also?

Me: yes I roam all over India, I am into sales. Nice to meet u mansukh
He: yes, very nice…

Me: are you off to abu dhabi, or will you be with me till paris? (mansukh had a habit of making a chuckling sound every few sentences he spoke, the way kids suck a candy, and he had already begun to get on my nerves…thanks to the red wine, I was managing to tolerate his whisssshhhhh whissshhhh sounds he made with his mouth. I was wondering whether his mouth produced extra saliva)
he: no, I em going to peris.

Me: that’s cool
He: hay cool cool, we are same types…

Me: meaning?
He: we two are going to peris, and we two say cool

Me: oh okk. Do you live there?
He: no no, my nani maasi live there, I will joining her from toomorow

Me: and what do plan to do once you are in paris
He: study music, I can use the sexophone, I am a fen of kanny gee.

Me: that’s really nice, what else in music?
He: actually, I want to rape

Me: (choking, with violent jerks, as the wine too got wild, and tried to enter my windpipe after hearing mansukh’s bomb blast) whaaaaatttt??? You want to rape?
He: (smiling, shaking his neck with jerks) yah yah, I very much like to rape…

Me: (hesitantly….instead of asking whom, decided to ask why) but why do you want to rape?
He: bcose I like it, its my ambition….do you know baba saigal?? The rape star?

Me: (getting my wine in the right pipe finally, letting off a huge sighhhh) ohhhh you mean raaaaaaap? You want to rap one day? And you mean SEHGAL?
He: bingawww, you finally got it bose!!

Me: ( I thanked netaji for not being there, or else he would have fainted) that’s nice, have you done a rap song already?
He: yes, I am a bataka lover you know….

Me: bataka? You mean potato??? A rap song on potato??? Are you serious??? He: yes, I want to experiment with everything, and since I like poteto much, I wrote on him.

Me: him?? Ohh you mean “it…”
He: no no I don’t eat, I just wrote.

Me: (desperately looking for the Filipina, as I badly needed another glass of wine….this was getting crazy) okok
He: you want to lissen? Here it is…
A frenchie fry, U tell me why,
Cos I am ur guy, Don’t let me die…
Shaka laka boom boom Shakalaka boom….
Here I go zoom Oh lets do dhoom

A finger chip, U kiss my lip,
And I will take a sip, Then lets go zip…
Shaka laka boom boom Shakalaka boom,
Here I go zoom, Oh lets do dhoom…

A potato chaat Oh dance fatafaat…

Me: (interrupting aggressively) hey that’s great, now excuse me mansukh, I need to go to the loo… will be beck soon, I mean back soon…
he: did you get excited na? You come beck, and I will complete this rape…

me: (desperately seeking god) yes I will soon…

I went to the Filipina charmer, and requested a change of seat, she readily agreed, as, till abudhabi the flight had very few passengers. I also requested one more red wine, and occupied a window seat at the rear, far away from the raping mansukh. God save me, and everyone else from such bizarre rapist…..

As I quietly laid back, sipping another round of red wine, I thought of mansukh, and the talent that he would soon unleash on the innocent Parisians. As I soon went into a gentle slumber, thinking of the lunch that would be served soon, I dreamt of the poor Eiffel tower, losing control, and actually tilting, and leaning… from the harrowing experience of listening to the limbdi-ka-rapist, and competing with its cousin, in Pisa!

Friday, October 9, 2009

bird watching of a different kind....

at times we all do queer things, sometimes out of interest, and sometimes just to kill time. i have always loved to observe birds, watch them…carrying out various activities. i used to spend afternoons in our back yard, watching them in our garden, beaver birds, babblers, mynahs, even the common sparrows, sometimes lucky to see a raven, a sunbird, or even a kingfisher….

last week i was in mahim, at my cousin’s place near shivaji park, he occupies a 4th floor apartment, the drawing room has a huge sliding window, that opens on the road leading to ruparel college… such opportunities for some interesting bird watching:)…..and then theres a huge tree, a few branches coming very close to this sliding window. since i saw a crow sitting very close to the window, i slid the curtain first, so that the crow cudnt see me, and then, slid open the glass pane a bit, and very quietly, and also moved the curtain just a few mm, and i cud see this crow from a distance of 3 feet or so.

it looked like a young bird, its ruffled hair was wet, from the rains, it was trembling and shaking a bit, trying to loosen up or may be dry itself, by shaking its wings, it was also eagerly rubbing its beak on the branch to keep it clean. then another crow appeared, and sat about a foot away from this young guy. this one was an oldie, looked his age, and haggard. the hair on top of its head in tatters, a glum look on its face. not looking at the happenings around below…it then slowly began to shift sideways, one step at a time, slowly, till it came near the young lad.

as it sat just next to the young crow, it tilted its head, very near to the younger one, and then as if on an instinct, the young crow began to probe the old guy’s head slowly with its beak, he was prodding along and looking for ticks i guess, or just nursing him maybe, i could also see a bruise on the head. i cursed myself for not getting my camera. the young one kept on sort of caressing the area near the bruise for a few minutes, very gently with its beak, and while it did this, the old guy, kept silent, its head tilted, eyes closed, looking relaxed. after a few mins, as if feeling better, and satisfied, the old one slowly moved away, and the youngster flew off… the elder crow was treated of whatever it was suffering from, at least temporarily!

for me, it was a very brief yet unique insight into the lives of crows, especially when us humans have started to increasingly ignore our elder generation, forcing them to be on their own, in several cases….

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The night was eerily silent, it was well past midnight, nothing moved in the graveyard, except the barn owl, that kept moving its head from side to side, trying to follow the movement in the shrubs below, as it perched on the dead peepal tree. The tiny mouse that scampered along, in search of food, would very soon breathe its last. Such was its proximity to death, as the owl finally focused its binocular vision on its kill, almost ready to swoop down.

Just then, He walked out of the graveyard, and opened the old, rusty, rickety gate. He was of medium height, well built, with short cropped hair, and unusually red hot eyes, that furtively looked in all directions, before he quickly set off in the direction of the village. Vengeance was written all over his face, as he carried a large crow bar, and walked at a brisk pace. The owl fluttered its wings, a bit unnerved by his abrupt presence.

He walked as if he was possessesd. He was on a mission tonight. within minutes, he crossed the main village square, passed by the well, across the mosque, and was close to the lone two storey house. His face visibly angry, he clasped the crow bar hard in his hands, as he neared the main door of this old house, freshly painted green recently, on the occasion of ramzan eid…..

On his bed, imtiaz squirmed and turned, and tossed around helplessly, but just couldn’t sleep, he got up, gulped some water, saw the clock struck 2, and hopelessly jumped into the bed, to catch some sleep. He had to wake up early today, and drive down to the district court, 2 hrs away. Today was the judgement day, and he was sure of being acquitted from the charges of murdering his younger brother mushtaq, a few months ago. He smiled to himself, a cunning smile. That evening, he had pushed mushtaq in the old, unused well, just outside the village. He had no intention to share the 40 acres land that his father had left for both the brothers, 20 acres each.He had claimed that mushtaq had slipped inside, as they both stood near the well, discussing their father’s will. Mushtaq’s head hit a stone, and he had died instantly. Imtiaz shaikh was the prime accused, but was on the verge of going scot free, due to lack of concrete evidence.

Imtiaz had also spent well on a good lawyer. As he thought about his dead brother, the way he screamed as he fell into the well, he heard a knock on the door. Imtiaz instantly jumped out of his bed, who could it be at this hour? As he opened the door, he couldn’t see anyone outside. Imtiaz stepped out of the house, and HE was waiting, with the crow bar, before imtiaz could see his face, the crow bar hit Imtiaz very hard, a precise decisive blow on his head, shattering almost a third of his skull, the broken part hanging from his head, the brains splattered out on the wall. There was barely a scream. Imtiaz fell in a heap, and at once, he dropped the crow bar to the ground, and left the place, rapidly walking back to where he came from.

Once near the graveyard, he could faintly hear the commotion at imtiaz’s place, now it was his turn to smile, and smile he did, more out of satisfaction. As he entered the graveyard, the owl noticed him walking towards a grave, the owl was still perched on the peepal tree, the mouse firmly under its claws, breathing its last. At that lonely hour, no one was there to watch him, as he stood just above the grave, and slowly, his body just disintegrated inside, going under the gravestone, gone within a few seconds.

As the owl tried to see what just happened in front of its eyes, its powerful eyes zeroing in on the grave, if only the owl could read, the name on the gravestone said - “Mushtaq Shaikh”!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

roganjosh mein udd gaye hosh!

1979 november in srinagar, I was 17, on a vacation with family, to this exotic destination known as the Switzerland of India. Kashmir is truly a paradise, nature has been more than kind to this magnificent land, weather is absolutely wonderful, and food is out of this world. If you haven’t tasted kabargah(hope the spelling is right), meat chops cooked in milk, with saffron and other spices…. Then you haven’t lived at all!

we were at a decent eating place, close to the famous char chinaar. Me and my cousin had ordered a plate of roganjosh. Our hotel manager had informed that this place served the most authentic roganjosh in shrinagar. As we were busy sniffing the different aromas that seemed to travel around in that spacious restaurant, a family of four came and sat at a table diagonally opposite us. Needless to say my attention was drawn to the young girl, who was the part of this family.

The long and silkiest hair I have ever come across, or had ever come across till that time, she must be of my age I guess, I have never been able to guess the correct age of a woman. The more attractive the woman, the more off the mark I am, as far as guessing her age is concerned. Anyways, this girl was facing me, and next to the hair, another thing I noticed at once was the freckles on her face. I have been hugely attracted to females with a freckled face, it has been like this always, I don’t know why or since when. But the heart starts to beat faster, and in a blissful rhythm, whenever I see a girl, with that tiny area just above her cheeks, full of freckles!! God bless all the freckled females on this earth!

She looked at me and must have seen my popping eyes, or even felt the dhak dhak I was having, and started to move her fingers naughtily, a bit lazily, thru her hair. I cud recognize it was a signal, but being colorblind, cudnt make out if it was red, green or plain wait waala orange!!! Dusky skin, large eyes, large poetic n dreamy eyes, thin yet wide lips, she was 5 plus feet tall, and broad shoulders. An amazing package, a very stunning package. A package that had started to send off signals to me within minutes of taking her seat, and not bothering about her parents or her younger brother.

So much so, that I cudnt get my bearings right, and was completely floored. Meanwhile our rogan josh arrived, and my cousin insisted I pay more attention to it, or else he would leave me starving!! Reluctantly, I started to dig into the roganjosh, it was delectable, to say the least! As I glanced at her again, I observed she was staring at me…..wowww, a freckled beauty staring at me????? And then I saw her giving me a faint smile……I must have died a dozen times in those few seconds.

And as I extended my hand to pick up the glass of water, most of my attention still focused on her, I accidentally pushed the glass, which tilted in my plate. Oops!! My cousin let out a cry, I gasped, the rogan josh had turned watery, and the girl could barely contain her laughter, she saw the whole thing! The water had trickled on my trousers too, a waiter was there to clean up, my cousin was upset at me for being clumsy, half the roganjosh was gone, and I was left dumbfounded, counting freckles in the end!

Monday, September 21, 2009

platform 3, 6th june afternoon, kharghar rly stn.

It was a rainy, windy, and a wet afternoon, I had just finished my visits to a couple of clients in taloja MIDC, and my colleague dropped me at kharghar stn, from where I planned to reach vile parle, via vadala. At 4 pm, it was all quiet on the platform no 3, I made myself comfortable on the bench, and looked around to see barely 30 odd passengers, lazily waiting for the next local from panvel.

2 stray dogs, one brown in color, and another 3 legged friend of his, a black one, lolled around, anxiously trying to swap at a lone fly that seemed to disturb their tranquility. I enjoyed watching them, as they both took turns trying to bite in the air, as the fly dodged their mouths and managed to escape everytime. Smart fly, I said to myself! Just then, out of nowhere, came a blue colored polythene bag, one of those thin and flimsy ones, floating gently, along with the breeze, and landed quite close to where the dogs were.

The brown dog was up in a jiffy, pounced on the empty bag, and instantly started to play with it. Soon blacky joined too, hobbling on 3 legs, yet was every bit active, trying to tear at the bag. In no time they had the bag into 2 pieces, each one having his own toy to play around. For the next 5 minutes the dogs merrily played with the piece of plastic, acting as if it was a prey, trying to further tear it off into more pieces, but found it difficult to do so. After another few moments, they seemed to get bored of this lightweight toy, and just gave up playing with those 2 pieces, and stopped as abruptly as they had started.

Dogs get bored of things as fast as us humans, I said to myself…. Just then, on platform no 2, a local gently rolled in, from CST, going towards panvel. As if on cue, there was another fresh gust of wind, lifting one of the plastic pieces, the piece went up, floated around for a few moments, and gently landed on the tracks, a few meters from the approaching train. Both the dogs got up in a flash, on an instinct, and jumped onto the tracks, after the torn bag.

The driver of the local must have noticed this, dogs jumping in front of his train, he sounded the loud horn, but he was late. Both dogs came under the train, and within seconds the train halted for its usual 24 second or so halt. And then a gut wrenching howling suddenly filled the air. Both dogs wailed like mad, it was unbearable to listen to those desperate, and helpless howls, painfully long. I rushed to near the train, as so did the other passengers, helplessly looking a each other, knowing there was no way the canines could be saved now.

And the horrifying wails grew louder and louder, and it seemed as if time had stopped still, people looked helpless and sad, I was shocked beyond words, I had never heard such soul shatteting wailing from 2 dying animals, it was simply impossible to bear. Within seconds, two playful animals were dying the most terrifying and painful death, and we all were mute spectators. I felt miserable….this was unfair! Just then, the train started, and for the next few seconds, the wailing increased to a very high pitch, and then subsided as suddenly as it had begun.

As the train left kharghar stn, once again, there was complete silence, the mangled bodies of those 2 dogs lying in tatters, all red. I felt a lump in my stomach, and for the first time in my life I said something nasty to GOD, for being so so so cruel. I knew it was of no use.

Strange were the ways of nature, that kills a dog in such bizarre manner, and then we humans silently call it a dog’s death.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

inkie proposes, air hostess disposes!

I frowned as the counter staff at the kingfisher check in counter handed me my boarding card, with 19B as my seat number! I hated these seats in the middle, one got so cramped, esp when both the adjacent passengers were on the heavier side! “ the flight is full sir…..we are sorry we cant offer you a window, or an aisle seat” said the girl in red, with a not-so-plastic smile!

I entered the aircraft, thinking of being trapped in the middle, imagining two heavy guys on both sides, how was I going to pass my entire two hours, from pune to Chennai…. And I was zapped as I neared my seat! 19A was occupied by a dazzling lady! I quickly assessed her, in a few seconds really! She was quite tall, with a smooth dusky complexion, extra permed curly hair, she preferred to keep them loose, bobbing around her shoulders. She wore blue denim jeans, and the tight black cotton shirt, highlighted her shapely form quite well! A wide jaw, and high cheek bones completed the sculpted face. She gave me briefest of stares, with her sleepy eyes, but what attracted me was her full lips, they were awesome, giving me enough ideas to work upon. I went weak in my left knee, as I carefully observed this stunning co-passenger. I felt her sleepy eyes had dreams in them, it was a matter of matching my dreams with hers, and 2 hours of flying time was enough for me!

And God had been kind, as I had another gorgeous surprise at 19C! another young woman, in her late twenties probably, she wore a light purple salwar kameez. A dark purple yoke sort of added a gentle glow to her radiant face. Wheatish complexion, an oval face, bright and friendly eyes, her smile began with her eyes smiling first! Shoulder length hair tied in a neat pony tail! How did she know I loved lipgloss? Cos that was the only make up she seemed to have. What I noticed in her was she was well built, and had a great body! As she gave way to me, to approach my seat, I could sense her well toned legs thru the tight salwaar, she would be a force to reckon with in bed, I said to myself, just a fleeting thought! Finally my right knee felt weak too!

As I gently lowered myself into my seat, I was floored by the fragrance coming from both sides. I thanked my stars and all other celestial objects in the sky! What does one do in a “jackpot” kind of situation like this? I asked myself…. Should I break the ice left & right, or should I for sometime enjoy and relish the icing on both sides of the cake? One thing was certain, I planned to make most of this once in a lifetime opportunity. I felt I was the chosen one to have a koena mitra on my left, and a raima sen on my right!

The jeans clad goddess on my left took out a novel by James Michener. Just as I was about to initiate a conversation, I noticed the airhostess walking towards our side, looking at me, a bit concerned. What was this….was this red riding hood jealous or what? She stopped as she neared us, and asked me “ sir, theres a lady in 3B, who isn’t feeling well, and would like to be seated with other ladies if possible. Would you mind exchanging seats with her please? There too it’s a centre seat” my romantic world came crashing down in seconds. How could I say a no to that? I could sense koena and raima smiling, on both sides!

As the kingfisher airbus took off, I found myself sandwiched between two guys, the only respite was they were lean, both of them.

How would you feel if you order a mutton biriyani, and when it arrives, you find the mutton pieces missing? I felt worse than that!

Monday, September 14, 2009

pink chaddi pvt ltd!

This post is fictitious, a lighter take on the recent happenings in our country. I do not mean any offence/disrespect to any individual, group, caste, community, or religion.

While returning from the recently concluded chemtech exhibition in Mumbai, where we had a booth, I shared a coolcab with a middle aged gentleman, from dadar to pune. A few minutes into the journey, and we got talking.

Me: hello, I am annand
He: hello annandjee, I am kewal. Kewal chaddiramani….oops chandiramani! Sorry…(laughing) ever since I started this business venture, I blurt out this surname!

Me: what business venture?
He: well, I started a firm called pink chaddi pvt ltd!

Me: (wide eyed) what? pink chaddi???? Ofcourse I can understand pvt ltd, because chaddi is something private and one has limited numbers too. Ha ha ha!
He: you got sense of humorous, annandbhai

Me: you mean humour, oh yeah, I love to have extra laughs all the time!. But why this crazy name?
He: well, the name suits the crazier things happening in India, doesn’t it? And personally, I also enjoy seeing the lighter side of life. When I saw that these womens’ group collecting pink chaddis, I sensed a business opportunity. So now I manufacture demo grade pink chaddis at my mfg unit. A no frill chaddi….(winks!)

Me: do you see this business flourishing kewaljee?
He: flourishing? Its booming already! Bar girls association of Mumbai wants to buy a large number, with black bands (to protest), they are planning a huge morcha on the secretariat in Mumbai soon, and they want to use flags made out of these chaddis, novel idea na?

Me: wow! I don’t belive this…
He: some afghan womens organization has also ordered, they want to demonstrate against the Taliban, for bringing out demeaning laws against women in that country. Further I also plan to export to sri lanka, Nepal, burma, and Singapore. You can log onto for more info about us.

Me: why Singapore? That is a liberal country
He: hahaha yes it is, well… for Singapore, those women are keen as they want to wear it as a status symbol, and flaunt them openly sometimes! Some of them are so liberal, that they could be using a chaddi for the first time…he he he!

Me: wowowow…since I am into sales & marketing, are you planning some ad campaigns?
He: ofcourse, things are happening on that front too, you will see our ads soon, with a punchline: “pink chaddi, tode mardon ki haddi!” don’t look for a pun here annand bhai…ha ha ha!!

Me: you seem know the business well kewaljee
He: yes one has to, if I have to excel, I have also registered 3 names with the motion pictures association. I know once my chaddis become popular, someone will want to produce a movie, and then I want royalty on the names too.

Me: am curious to know the names kewaljee
He: 3 names! “chaddi mein hulchul”, “chameli ki chaddi”, and “senapati chaddi mein bhaaga”

Me: ha ha ha! Hats off to you sir, this is unbelievable and hilarious!
He: I have ambitious plans annandbhai, I want my name on BSE, and NASDAQ one day! You just wait and I will make it happen!

Me: I believe you kewaljee, anything can happen in a chaddi, especially if its pink!
He: ha ha ha, hey anandbhai, how about a stop at the food mall, we are approaching one.

Me: of course! I have an annual contract with the food mall , lets take a break.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Brida! will you be mine.....?

as the sun gently went down, lowering itself languidly over the horizon, bidding farewell to the rustle and bustle of the earth, sliding into the deep chism, to rest its sizzling molten form for the next 12 hours or so, she came towards me, tiptoed rather, to sizzle up the otherwise cold and chilly night!

she wore the saree which i had got her from my last trip to kolkata, a crisp cotton, lavish fabric, jet black in color, with an inch of bright saffron border, i remember deciding on that particular saree, the very second the sales girl had shown it to me. so much so that it brought a half smile on her face, she probably had never come across a customer who decided on a saree so fast!

i cudnt believe my eyes as i saw my jaan, a deliberate and lazy sway in her walk, she loved to drape the saree just to expose the upper half of her navel, i always asked how she managed such clinical and precise exposure, and her reply everytime was, " theres a lot more i can manage my prince, you just wait....."! a sleeveless blouse accentuated her milky white skin, her bare shoulders inviting me, slowly preparing me to lure into submission.

as i smiled at her, gazing at her endearingly graceful feline form, a million stars exploded in my mind, ecstacy had begun to set in, what a night it was going to be, i thought to myself. as i rested myself on the edge of the bed, my head against the pillows, she came and stood besides me, pressing her tummy gently against my face, i could smell the wild lavender fragrance, soaps are a boon to mankind arent they?as i rubbed my nose against her creamy flesh, she began to tickle my eyes and ears, with one end of the saree, i just let it be, goose bumps had taken control of my body now. my mind and heart had slowly began to immerse in a wild process of intoxication.

soon i held her hand, and wrested away the saree end, holding it tight, and she at once swirled away, gliding away from me, in a few neat circles, reaching the other end of the room, before i could realise, the saree had come off, lying lazily on the floor now.

she stood there, resting against the wall, her naughty gaze throwing an invitation at me. i slowly made my way towards her, and gently lifted her in my arms, and with careful steps, so as not to let her slip, i walked back to my bed, the moment i lowered her on the bed, she wrapped herself around me, forcing me down...

"brida!" i said, into her ears, i could feel her earlobes had turned warm, and could also feel her breath shift a gear higher...."brida....will you be mine?"

"i have no time for words dear", she cooed into me.......

i saw the moon from the window, a radiant smile on its face, signalling us to unite, the night was ours......

Monday, September 7, 2009

the night was ours....

a cool, sensuous night
The moon played hide and seek with a few clouds
As they bobbed around like cotton balls
The stars smiled bright
The beach was calm
A sea so peaceful,
and tranquil pristine air, laden with love
Gentle waves lapped the shores
Serenely caressing our feet as they went back
As if inviting us to the sea
She sat next to me, wearing a crimson gown
Our bare shoulders brushing each other
The soothing breeze making her hair flow Against my face, rapturously tingling me
I watched her eyes,One moment they seemed intoxicated with innocence
And the very next, a naked naughtiness in them
I nudged closer to her And kissed her ears…
“Welcome onto me” I said… she came… unabridged…
an electrifying ecstacy seemed to explode
as she rubbed her nose against mine
the moon came out in anticipation
the stars fervently twinkled in an applause
clouds waved in unison…
a huge effervescent wave, rose high,
splashing against us drenching us in passion
and zinggggg went the strings of our hearts….
the night was ours….! .

Thursday, September 3, 2009

from Barista to CCD !

Saturday afternoon around 4 pm, I found myself a corner sofa in barista, and settled down comfortably, I had the entire evening to myself, no agenda, my last day in pune, had to catch the Sunday morning Volvo to mumbai. As I sat down, I surveyed the crowd, it was a typical barista crowd, jeans n tees, n ipods n cells, shoulder bags strewn lazily, giggles, cigarettes….i smiled to myself, the present generation is having a ball, the world belongs to them…

And then I noticed her, some distance away from me, she was alone, facing me. A crisp crystal white lucknavi chiken kurta, her curly shoulder length hair, tied back neatly. Dark blue denim with this kurta made her look so petite. Couldn’t guess how tall she was as she was sitting, but seemed the average height of 5-4 give n take an inch maybe! A complexion that stood between dusky and fair I shud say. Flawless skin, a cute and short nose, and large eyes. Her eyes attracted me to her within a flash. They danced! Yes…. She had dancing eyes. The movements her eyelashes, her eye balls, and her eyebrows made, while she talked on her cell, or even as she ordered her coffee, would send even the strong hearted into a tizzy! And she had something that I would die for… a sweet little cleft in her chin!

As I observed her, she looked at me, just that fleeting, unassuming kind of a look, and instantly took her eyes away. They didn’t dance this time, but I did notice the tiniest of sparks in them. Ohhh maybe it was just my imagination, cos I found her so attractive, maybe that’s why I was already seeing sparks and all. Honestly I cudnt keep my eyes off her, her first impression had made a lovely impact somewhere deep inside my heart.

Its always impossible to guess the age of a woman, the confusion increases if the lady is pretty, and she certainly was! Could she be in her late twenties or very early thirties? As I already went into a day dreaming mode, of me and her enjoying our third coffee…….our eyes met once again, this time for just a wee bit lingering moment more… and I just felt the dance had begun. Oh god, this time the spark was unmistakable! And then during the next half an hour or so, there were more occasions when our eyes said a ‘hello’ to each other! Things were getting interesting, the lingering, fleeting glances had now turned into a gentle gaze of a longer duration. I cud see her giving me a fairly long stare, and there was a half smile attached. I cud see she was waiting for someone, as she repeatedly looked at her watch. Within 45 mins of my arrival, I already had made an eye pal!!! Something like a net pal!!!

Finally I decided to display some courage! I walked up to her and introduced myself. “I am meghana” she said in her soft and sweet voice. “well I am not meeting anyone here, and noticed that you are sitting alone too, would you care to join me for a coffee please?” She thought for a while, her dancing eyes steady on mine, and took a long time before saying…” actually I am waiting for someone!”

flop show once again….i said to myself! “ ohh that’s ok then… nice meeting you meghana, how about….” “on second thoughts anand” she interrupted me….” Would you mind if we shift venue to CafĂ© Coffee Day? I would love to have a coffee with you…” before I could even respond with a eager YES, she did something coool! She switched off her cell, flashed me a smile, and said “ lets go!”

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

in conversation with God!

This incident occurred very recently, just less than a month back. On a slightly warm, yet comfortable night, I lay awake, twisting and turning in my bed, unable to sleep. As I watched out of the window, the full moon slowly rose up, arriving in style to provide company to the twinkling stars that shone as brightly as ever. I also noticed, it was just past midnight. One of those rare nights, when sleep seemed to elude me for no specific reason. As I looked by my side, I could see aarti sleep peacefully, as rohan stirred just a bit at the far end of the bed.

I got up from my bed, came down to the kitchen, and made myself a huge mug of coffee, black of course. And then went up again, this time right up to the terrace, to relax in the armchair that we always kept in the terrace. I often loved to spend an hour or two in silent solitude, here on the terrace. As I gently immersed myself in the chair, and let the strong flavor of coffee permeate my senses, I started to gaze at the clear, starry sky, being in awe of the creator. Just as I was slowly getting lost in my own thoughts, I felt a whiff of cold air brush past me, shaking me off my thoughts instantly. Wondering how this chilled breeze appeared out of nowhere, I looked around, and was stunned to find a silvery blue sphere, of the size of a soccer ball, rest very gently on the parapet, to my right. I simply refused to believe what I was witnessing, and even pinched myself, to see whether I was awake. This was some thing bizarre… really really crazy….. A soft blue glow emanating out of this spherical shape.

And before I could stretch my mind any further, regarding the origin of this blue ball, I heard a crystal clear voice, a bassy voice say…”hello anand, how are you?” further bewildered at the ball now speaking to me, my pulse was racing like a formula 1 Ferrari, and my palms sweated badly, still, I gathered courage, and stammered back, “who is this? I mean who, or what are you?” “I am GOD” came back a very assured voice. “God???? Are you really HIM? I mean can I today speak to you? My mind has been clogged for years with so many things….confusing thoughts always. I see a golden chance to sort them out with you today. Dear God, may we have a chat?”

“Sure anand you may ask whatever you wish, I know you do have some pertinent questions since many years now, I will try my best to satisfy you…” “Dear God, thanks for agreeing to talk to me, what a heavenly privilege this is. May I ask you…..” this time the blue sphere interrupted me with a sharp and firm “shoot anand!”

Me: well…let me come to the point, why did you create us? Whats your motive?
GOD: anand, first of all, understand one thing that I am nature. To me creation comes naturally. This entire universe was created to provide a channel to assist these billions of souls floating around, and carry them towards liberation.

Me: I knew you would say this. Now are YOU in control of what you created? Are you happy?
GOD: I am nature anand, to me, theres nothing like happiness or sadness, all these emotions are for you humans. As far as being In control, once again, YES, since I created everything, I am very much in control of things.

Me: if you are in control, then don’t you see the atrocities, violence, terrorism, killings etc?
GOD: anand, I created you all, gave you brains, you ppl laid out laws for urselves, u all became civilized. And now some of you are turning uncivilized, behaving worse than animals, and turning everything topsy turvy, then why blame me for this?

Me: hmmmm, but cant you do something when innocents suffer?
GOD: its not my job anand. I have set some rules. “do good, and good will come back to you” ---- “ as you sow, so will you reap”--- and so on. Now its upto mankind to follow rules. You guys break rules, so you all suffer, and then run after me… that’s not fair anand!

Me: now that you have seen the way mankind is making a mess of a beautiful creation, do you regret what you did?
GOD: again, to regret, is not for me, but yes, things are turning bad, and the way you all have been exploiting the natural resources, and literally raping mother earth, the end is near, let me tell you that.

Me: so once everything ends, what will you do?
GOD: ur questions are strange anand. Well well….. I don’t have to do anything. For me, I don’t sit here and watch things happening on the earth. And do you know? Earth is just a tiny spec in this universe, now do you have an answer to your question?

Me: wow!!! You mean there are other civilizations spread all over the universe? Just like us? Something that we call as aliens?
GOD: ofcourse! There are many such areas in this infinite universe that contain life. More on them some other day.

Me: that’s interesting, cant u shed some more light on life elsewhere
GOD: I will tell you something. Remember cindy’s “fenku contest”? where you all got into a creative mode, and came out with such a huge variety of fenku posts? Me being nature, I am always in a state of creativity, and hence have a large vriety of life spread across the universe. Each civilization, different than the other.

Me: OH MY GOD! I mean hey GOD… this is mind blowing, even to think of such a possibility. Ok tell me something, what is all this? I mean what are these souls actually? Where did you find them in the first place? You have some stock or what? A stock of 10 billion souls, and then you create 10 billion humans, a body for each soul. Something like that? Havnt been able to figure out this increase in population correspond to similar increase in number of souls. Got what I mean?
GOD: hmmm you do think a lot anand. Well let me clarify. Each soul is not matter, its just energy, a blob of energy you can say, very volatile and unstable. By giving it a human form, and then by making the human form polish this soul with the help of good karma, I try to calm the blob of volatile energy. So that one day, it attains stability, uplifts itself to a higher level of energy, and unites with me. Something that you all call as NIRVANA! So now imagine billions of blobs of energy, all over the earth, constantly evolving, elevating, and slowly liberating themselves, as they keep on getting into one human body after the other….over a period of years. Getting it?

Me: yes, I am sort of getting the concept slowly….so what are we then? Even we are pieces of energy, and not matter really?
GOD: bingo, you got it finally, you are almost there anand!

Me: ………………. Let me get one more coffee, I need to charge my mind which is still in a confused state, would you like a coffee?
GOD: no thanks, but you can have one, and now I will tell you where all this energy came from

Me: wowwwwwww wait, I will be back in 2 mins

Saying so, I went back to the kitchen, very excited, made another large mug of coffee, and hurried back to the terrace…………..and HE was gone! I tried to search for HIM, but HE was nowhere to be seen. The most important part, which would have explained the origin, and the basic reason for creation, also went with HIM. Maybe someday, I will meet HIM again. And the secret will be out…..

Sunday, August 30, 2009

a breakfast to remember!

The yercaud express from Chennai, gently came to a halt at this tiny, non descript hamlet called sankaridurg, at 6.00 am sharp. Sankaridurg is located between salem and erode. And I disembarked with my paraphernalia, a collection of some instruments to be demonstrated at the nearby india cement plant. The moment I set foot on the platform this earthen fragrance of sankaridurg, overwhelmed me, rarely I have felt so fresh, so early in the morning!!!

It was a gentle, warm morning, the sun was already up, and jubiliant, first playing hide n seek with the well spread out fluffy white clouds, and then continuing its game with the palm leaves, as the caring rays descended on mother earth, to bring us the heavenly radiance! From the railway station, we headed straight for the guest house, of india cements, they had sent us a princely and majestic our very old desi ambassador.

Very soon, we were trundling along the curved 6 km path, towards the cement factory, passing thatched houses, swaying palms, and a few locals busy with their early morning chores, some of them just lazing around, something that they seemed to have been doing since ages. Sankaridurg is derived from the sankari mountain, which mutely stands guard on one extreme of the village, it also houses an old fort, hence the name “durg”! what fascinated me was a story that from the fort there Is a secret tunnel all the way upto mysore. How about exploring the tunnel, and maybe having a tube railway from erode to mysore? My mind continued to play around with such thoughts, and we soon reached the guest house.

We were welcomed by an attendant, and also some golden silence, to add to it, some pleasant sounding chirping from a few birds. Nature was so refreshing! After a relaxed hot water bath, we finally descended to the canteen, where a heavenly treat awaited us.

Within seconds of us taking our seats, a hefty guy dressed in the traditional knee length tucked-up lungi, and a flashing smile, came with a huge plate containing a couple of snow white ultra fluffy idlis, a bowl of steaming upma, laced lavishly with cashew pieces, 2 varieties of chutneys, and a bowl of hot sambaar! Also served was some mullagapudi, or powder chutney, with oil ofcourse. The idlis were awesome, at their softest best, and the steamy fermented aroma ticking the nose no ends, one of the best idlis I have ever had. I know aarti will make her usual faces the moment I mention soft idlis, more on that some other day. The upma was absolutely well done, delicious to taste, full of tomatoes, cashews, cubes of carrot, and contained urad dal fried to a perfect brown!

While we were about to finish the first helping, the same rotund gentleman served us a fairly big sized wada, fresh out of the frying pan, I could even feel the oil sizzle on the outer surface! The vada was at its crunchiest best, with a right proportion of coarsely grated fresh coconut, half ground pepper, and curry leaves. And next came the gastronomic delight. A plain dosa, soft in the centre, and brown and crisp on the periphery. Sambar was heavenly, full of drumsticks and raddish slices, which I relish a lot.

When I tell people about south Indian food, esp such quality meals and breakfasts at certain locations, a general reaction often is, “ whats the big deal” its just idli and dosa na….” what we had this morning was far far better, it was a heavenly serving of one of the finest cuisines in the world! This was not “just” idli n dosa, this was food, as served to the Gods! This breakfast was something which will stay with me for years! Do you know something? I am eager to get back to this canteen for lunch today, I expect another sublime experience!

i dont know why but after finishing the breakfast, my mind went to last nite, at the chenai railway station, to this youngish policewoman, at the "may i help you?" counter....... cute expressive eyes, a flashing million dollar smile, and dusky comlexion....after eschanging a few glances, for a brief period, we locked eyes........thats all......:)