Digital Lock

♫ Pretty girl wiggle and wind your body ♬ ……. ♪ Wiggle and wine, girl you look pretty ♬……. (or whatever). Donchez Dacres was taking the roof off BGT 2018. I was in the front row watching the judges and the audience go crazy dancing. Oh man, whatta heaven! Everyone is glad, dancing, screaming top of their voice….. Above all Amanda Holden & Alesha Dixon was having best of their BGT time.. dancing, of course….

Everything went to a halt when I heard a loud scream. Who had time to scream like that amid an epic moment! Must be someone got hysteric and gone to the peak of happiness. No one seems bothered, but me.

Suddenly the auditorium door bangs open and there stood an angel, screaming ‘can you get up and see what this girl is doing’…. The floodlights dimmed swiftly and all other sounds around stopped. Pin-drop silence. Angel pointed her finger at me. I just opened one eye to see if the entire crowd is looking at me. No, it’s just me. Under a quilt? But the scream seemed material! Slowly pulled the quilt down and there, I saw the angel! For real. Angel was shivering! “You sleep till noon on a Saturday and do you have any idea what I am going through?” The mesmerizing voice flew in like the Metallica screaming on top of their voice. “Come and see what this girl is doing”. I jumped out of the bed to witness the most disastrous activity some girl was doing in my house. How dare, and how offensive, to get to somebody’s house and do such nonsense on a Saturday ‘early’ morning! This is her last time and she will not, even in her dreams do this again.

I moved the angel to one side and sped outside the bedroom, pulling the door profoundly. There, near the opposite bedroom door, stood the girl in question. Very familiar figure and may be around 6 years of age, round face. She stood there as a photograph stuck on a ‘wanted’ display list in the nearby police station and was holding the second bedroom door handle with one hand. Simultaneously screaming on top of her voice. I applied the sudden break, though wanted to push the gear into reverse, hands seemed frozen. Dang, my weekend is going to be beautiful!

Angel 2 said, “She is (supposed to be a strong allegation against angel 1) trying to break open my door. I’ve put a new digital lock for the door yesterday. It will now open only with my fingerprints.” Screaming turned into cry in split seconds and it echoed in the hallway. Immediately Angel 1 responded from the other room, “I need to use that washroom, there are things I kept there, and I need to take it. What is going on in this house? I need to wait for somebody’s permission to use my own washroom! Nobody to talk for me in this house?”

One thing is sure. Today I am destined to resolve a case between two extremely powerful forces, over an extremely debated controversy, and I am expected to declare my verdict unbiased! I need to be very careful to ensure I am physically fit even after the verdict is out. How?

Slowly turned back and walked to the kitchen. Maybe a tea would help. Read some Mrs. Kaur P saying, “A cup of tea can resolve many problems”. Within a few minutes injected some tea into my veins. Angel 1 is still sitting in the master bedroom and angel 2 is holding the 2nd bedroom door and standing there crying. What to do, what to do………

Digital lock on the bedroom door

Tea started working slowly. Wait a minute. What did angel 2 say?  She put a new digital lock for the door?  It will open only with her fingerprints? James bond started singing inside….. tara…. taraaaaa….. Mr. Bond is singing more frequently inside me for the last few years after I realised my flat door number is 007! A mere coincidence. Immediately went back to the crime scene. While hugging angel 2 as if I am trying to comfort her crying…. slowly moved her from the door. Behind her was a pink post it/sticky note stuck on the door with a pencil trace of her small five fingers and something written on it in tilted capital letters. I could read the 1st half “ONLY CAROL”. I slowly asked angel 2 while patting her back, “baby, is that the digital lock?” She nodded her head and continued whining and said, “It will open only if I press my fingers on it, can’t you see my finger marks? She is trying to break open”.

I just took her in my arms and slowly opened the master bedroom door.

Angel 1 was there, holding her stomach with both her hands and literally ‘ROBL’ing! Rolling On the Bed Laughing!



While stepping out of my flat to get the weekly vegetable supply, I met my neighbor. She looked all dressed up for some party.  Party? While the life itself is in a lock-down mode? Unbelievable. I hate such irresponsible people with little social sense. Nevertheless offered a wide smile to her, hiding the bitterness inside. City life has taught me many such skills. To my surprise, she just continued to walk towards the lift, hitting a bicycle kick to my innocent smile! rude!

Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick

Well, this shouldn’t bother me. Apartment folks are much better than most of my colleagues who just mechanically murmurs ‘How are you’ and moves on without waiting to listen how I really am! Some of them seemed in a trance most of the time chanting good morning to whoever they meet irrespective it is morning, afternoon, evening or NIGHT. Can’t blame them, they must be doing it every time they wake up from a trance and it is morning! Sure it is. I used to get caught initially with these ‘how are you’s and genuinely stopped by to respond. Put an end to it when someone touched my shoulder once and said “don’t bother” even before I could open my mouth and just walked away. Ah, so it’s just part of corporate junk.

Right, I am not bothered anymore. I shook my head and moved towards the parking. Still, what will someone lose if they return a smile…..

There were few other residents near the security desk adjacent to the parking and discussing something. Should be about a ‘new Shakespeare in town’. There is this guy who moved into our apartment and posts tendentious and high vocabulary spill outs in the WhatsApp platform. Many a time I thought I should also post a soft copy dictionary soon after he posts something. On humanitarian grounds, but I never did. Once somebody corrected him on a stupid grammar mistake he made. The person who corrected Mr. Shakespeare claimed she is an English professor and understands grammar better. What more interesting was, she expressed her opinion in totally broken grammar! That day no resident needed to switch on Netflix. There was a live show on WhatsApp! Hero and Herion just took the centre stage. Good, I did not post a dictionary, narrow escape.

If he is the discussion topic, I don’t want to get pulled into it. Still, I smiled at the group while increasing my speed to walk past them. Damn! No one is even looking at me. Not sure when onwards I’ve become an alien to these people. Never mind, got into the car and headed towards the main gate.

Pulled in near an ATM and withdrew some cash. A security guard was sitting there with a heavy responsibility of guarding three ATMs available in that kiosk. Seriousness was oozing from his gnome figure. Wanted to tell him, “bro, smile… it’s okay. It’s not that a robber will get frightened of your looks had he really wishes to rob”. But as usual, hidden what I wanted to say and just offered him a smile. He just stared back at me. Seemed like he will shoot me down if I stand there for one more minute. No smile. I must move on. There may be other hidden gnomes, and unity is strength. Never underestimate. There is some sort of alien attack in the air today that is freezing peoples face.

Picked up some vegetables from a regular vendor. I have this habit of talking to him whenever I visit the shop and have already built a rappo. Intention purely is not to add him in my FB friends list. It was just to ensure I get the best and fresh vegetables. Corporate guy that I am. When I started talking, the poor man turned in surprise and said, ‘oh its you, I couldn’t recognize’.  Really? You couldn’t? Alien got into you as well. But I didn’t say that.

Before getting back into the car, looked at the reflection in the windshield. There standing a weird-looking fellow in a pair of jeans, a full sleeve jacket, a cap that is almost covering his head and face, and with a face mask. Overgrown hair peeping through the cap and mask allover. A total stranger. Is this ugly creature really me? Revealing only the eyes that are not playing any more “Me” role on face? I am the alien invaded the earth! All my smiles got the bicycle kicks because of me. The gnome security guard at the ATM was scared for his life. Goodness gracious, he did not shoot me down.

Another smile took birth on my face. This time, very aware that I am smiling inside a mask and grooming has become an unwanted routine of life. My new look ever since Covid picked up phase. The Alien look, yo…. Baby 😉.



As per Mr. Russell Peters, Chinese cannot stand bargaining and Indians can’t live without it and both the communities live in peace in the US! Though I am a big fan of Mr. Peters’s stand-ups, the minute he touches India, he becomes a nobody to me. Boiling blood! Not sure if the feeling is because someone is touching my nation OR from the thought of why my nation is taking so long to get it to work.

I didn’t know Mr. Peters would mock the celestial nature of bargaining in the later years when I stepped out during last recession for some purchase. Some of you might call it shopping, well yes, it is. But a bloke would like to call it ‘some purchase’. I got this word ‘bloke’ from Sarah Millican’s show that I started following a few months back. Thought I should squeeze it somewhere to showcase my vernacular abilities, which I initially spelled ‘block’ and then with the help of google corrected it to bloke.

And back to purchase…… So, off I went.  

Still shuddering from the very thought of Chicago December weather, I remember poor me wearing 3 sweater shirts and a jacket, got into a shop to eat something before I start. More than the fact that I’ve underestimated how cold the cold can be and did not buy a proper winter jacket that could resist the chilling, I was happy in the extra layer of clothing with the puffed look that made me enough to match the crowd around.

Soon I got in, checked with the shopkeeper whether he will accept international travel card to ensure two things. 1, I am an international bloke, don’t underestimate me with the colour or color of my skin and a 5.8-foot figure. 2, I don’t have to do the dishes or clean the floor later!

After receiving the confirmation, placed an order for some spicy chicken wings in the best of accent I can put on. Strongly believing in the couple of year experience with a UK based company operating from Bangalore. I was feeling proud of myself and my accent which is normally used to give me an elevated status back in my hometown. Few seconds, the shopkeeper is not moving but staring at me. Very clear that my ‘accent’ did not work. I just pointed out to a large serve of chicken wings in the glass display with my head, eyes, hands and slightly moving my entire body. This time it worked! Thank God, there was nothing else left in me to tell him what I want.

Spicy chicken wings were all sour and sweet but looked attractive and tempting with a few of them plated in a ‘W’ shape. Very clearly, somewhere the cook misunderstood the concept of spiciness I was looking for!

Purchase time started. Got a Tommy Hilfiger travel bag at a reasonable price. No bargaining… see Mr. Peters, you need to change your thoughts. Then bought a pair of canvas shoes for $5 and a thin pullover sweater for half price than printed on the tag, I guess $7 or something. See Mr. Peters, how about that? No bargaining, make a note. Next was a souvenir showroom with Chicago all over it. Shop seemed like they didn’t realise it is recession yet OR the owner is from the ruling party who does not agree it is recession. Well, it doesn’t matter to me. I have my travel card. My eyes got stuck on a Chicago Bulls round neck shirt (T-shirt). Neatly bundled in a roll with no price tags. Slowly moved towards the shopkeeper and asked for the price. This time, with an improvised accent and all the aforementioned bodily movements. He looked at me head to toe and said $20. I smiled, that divine Indian smile and asked, ‘what is your recession offer?’ The shop keeper again looked at me head to toe and responded, ‘for you, I can make it half price’. Finished, simple as that. No bargaining. Somebody making a note? Ehmm ehmmm…. Mr. Peters?

An Arab in thobe

All done, took a train to Schaumburg where I was staying in a hotel. Rushed to the room, freed myself from the multiple layers of cloths. With great reverence, pulled out the Chicago bulls shirt. I have the original one from the very Chicago….. yes; you heard that right. Pulled it over my head, standing in front of a full-size mirror. Shirt covered my neck and went down, covered my stomach and went down…. covered my knees and went down…… covered my foot and went down………… covered the floor and went…… nowhere! It slept on the floor, like a bridal gown with a red bull printed on it!

Hairs on my head stood up like Albert Einstein’s, who found out I paid $10 for it. The most expensive piece of cloth from that purchase spree! I looked like an Arab bloke in his thobe. Rather, an Arab kid in his Dad’s thobe! God re-winded the scene of the souvenir shopkeeper looking at my 5.8-foot figure from head to toe. That was a sign I missed!

For a very long time I used it as an extra thickening agent under the thin hostel mattress, well kept for a souvenir. Had I bargained….. not much….. a little……


Professor Egg

Alex was a smart lad. We all envied him during our graduation years. Our institution being a famous catholic management college in the city that admitted only academically brilliant folks, we assumed that Alex secured his admission because of his financially brilliant dad. But that was not a thing to look down at him, but added to our envy. The only thing challenged Alex was *The Law Of Diminishing Marginal Utility.

Every time the professor tried to explain the theory, Alex would be busy counting the seconds in his wristwatch that made a meager tik tik noise while his eyes skillfully stayed staring at the professor. He nodded his head occasionally to convince the professor about his attention to the topic. Simultaneously, his hands involved in multiple recreational activities like pulling the hair of an innocent, Diminishing Marginal Utility focusing classmate etc. But nobody complained since Alex was doing them a favor. If not he, they would have pulled their own hair in agony trying to digest the theory. Almost when 2 minutes remain to end the class, professor would customarily ask if anybody has any further questions. Alex always raised his hand and said, ‘Prof. I didn’t understand a thing, if you could please explain again in the next class’. When this happened a few times, professor himself started looking confused about the theory. In total, Alex was a hero for all of us who never understood one important theory in Economics.

Prof. Omnipresent, (we all called the professor with respect 😉) who explained The Law Of Diminishing Marginal Utility, was also involved in many extra-curricular activities and represented our institution at state level. That summer, he was heading a 30-member team for a 10 days wildlife camp. Under the strict supervision and guidance of the forest officials, we were all set to spend 10 days in bamboo cottages in the middle of a tiger reserve. Forest officials looked happy to see a group of notorious guys to talk to for the next 10 days rather than their regular chit chat with the animals. Notorious guys were thrilled that they were far away from the city and what happens in the forest, stays in the forest. Possible that there was another group happy. Any guesses?


As instructed by the forest team, we got up the next day early morning and set to walk in the forest. All of us were in fact scared. Professor strengthened us and said, ‘It is difficult to see a tiger even from far. They will move away soon they smell human. Nothing to worry’. Gaining confidence from those words, now we are walking in the middle of a tiger reserve. Visibility is very weak due to the heavy morning mist. There were 4 forest guards with us carrying old wooden guns that even they are not sure will work if needed. Since the gun looked very familiar from the Richard Attenborough’s 1982 movie “Gandhi”, some of us searched for the before independence British East India Company’s logo on it.

The situation was all set for a horror crime thriller. Tiger being the alien and we the ‘fighting for survival’ earthly beings.

Suddenly one guard walking in front of the team spread his hands and stopped us. He pointed his fingers to a direction, hinted us all to be extremely quiet and murmured, ‘look behind that tree, do you see something moving?’. Before the guard finished murmuring, we all heard a loud noise and a suppressed cry of someone. Like something was holding his neck and he is not able to breath. Horrified from the thought that it could be another tiger followed us from behind and probably snatched one of us, nobody moved. Tigers are skilled hunters. They might use strategies to knock down their prey. May be one was showing its face in front of us while another one attacked from behind. In a fraction, all the sins I’ve done till that date flashed in my mind. I confessed and asked forgiveness to the Almighty. After a minute, some of us gained strength to turn back. There, in the beauty of that silent and heavenly forest, Prof. Omnipresent was lying in the muddy puddles, unconscious!

While carrying the professor back to the cottage, we all cursed the spotted deer jumped and ran from behind that tree.

During the breakfast while everyone still giggling, Alex took the additional share of a boiled egg from Prof. Omnipresent and told the ‘half cooked’ man, ‘Sir, you anyway wouldn’t need this since you have already achieved the marginal utility. Anything you eat more will cause a Diminishing Marginal Utility’.

We couldn’t read from the professor’s face whether he was happy that Alex finally understood what Diminishing Marginal Utility is OR his eyes were searching for the forest guard who ‘spotted’ the tiger!

In both cases, long live the Practical Economics.


* The Law Of Diminishing Marginal Utility explained below in burger language 🙂


Tooth Fairy

If The Rock can….. 🙂

I chuckled for a minute when this title came to my mind. All the buildup I did by writing about cars and extraterrestrials and paranormal activities for sure will go for a toss now. (hold your horses, I didn’t write about the latter two, you must understand that some heavy stuff is essential when someone writes.) But I couldn’t think of a better title this one time.

This unknown angel figure – Miss. Tooth Fairy – I may call it, had come into our life when my 6 year old daughter was watching her favorite cartoon channel about a year back. Vaguely remember she inquiring whether they truly exist and I nodding my head carelessly admitting the very existence of them. Somewhere in your school days, if you had made any attempt to study at all, you must have learned that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. C’mon, nobody forgets that much.

But I did! I forgot the fundamentals of Newton’s third law!

Realisation of a previously committed mistake pinched my wrist last week when my daughter alarmed me about one of her front-line teeth fighting for survival. The 1st question I faced was, ‘what should I wish for the tooth fairy to gift me?’ I stood there like the president who got caught on one of his election promises after the poll. Realizing the trap, I said, ‘anything you want my dear’. Along with that sweet statement, I simultaneously listed some dolls, a frock or some silly fancy stuff for her to choose. But she immediately acted like the press who caught the President red hand, and wished for a fancy study table and chair with her favorite cartoon characters printed on it. Just crushing the list I presented to her! I could feel the sudden squeeze of flesh and blood on my face.

Eh, I am not talented enough to make it all by myself for her. Now I need to find a place where I can buy, and it normally doesn’t come cheap in Bangalore. Nevertheless, I planned to buy and keep one in the car trunk and surprise her in the morning following the day her teeth fall. After strictly instructing on how to attend the moving tooth, I tied a thread on it and asked her to keep pulling until it loosens up.

Off to the shop now, found a nice and fancy study table and chair. Left it in the car trunk as planned and came back upstairs as if nothing happened. Looked at her to see if the tooth is off yet. Hmmm, it is slightly moving. Should be out soon. But in less than 30 minutes, the fact that I have her gift all set was slowly gaining momentum on my patience. Crap, now I must wait until the tooth comes off, and she must put that under the pillow, we all must go to sleep…… long way to go. I started humming Robert Frost’s ‘miles to go before I sleep’ in a way that Mr. Frost would immediately delete the entire poem had he known it can get interpreted this way. Irritation grew into anxiety and I reached a stage where I couldn’t sit on a chair comfortably.

This is ridiculous. I truly remember how my dad treated me when I was going through the same. He chased me all around the house and threatened if I don’t pull it out myself, he will mash all my teeth with a hammer! Even before I accepted the fact, I pulled it myself to safeguard the other remaining soldiers in my mouth. Now one Miss Tooth Fairy, from nowhere, has turned out not only expensive, but too slow in action!

With mounting excitement that I couldn’t hold anymore, and in an effort to settle it a little before my heart stops beating, I went down. Open the car trunk and took the chair alone and came up. Plan was to say “this is only a trailer. If you speed up the process, Miss. Tooth Fairy will fulfill the wish in its fullness”. All prepared, slowly opened the front door with a ‘Ta-da’ and put the chair on display.

Dang! not only that I didn’t see the expected excitement on her face, she stared at me with her eyebrows up, and slowly asked “Where is the table?”

I grinned at her. That’s not fair! How can I get caught again? Why can’t I think that it is easy for a 6-year-old to guess no one gets a fancy study chair with cartoon stickers all over it without its pair table! OR may be the Tooth Fairy is real, and she had sped up the process before an excited dad surrenders his life due to a massive heart failure!

Now the study table and chair all set. She is sitting there with a thread tied to her tooth, pulling it occasionally as if she doesn’t care anymore. I am sitting on a couch opposite to her, scared and pretending to be busy. Genuinely hoping she won’t come back with another ‘WISH’ when it really happens.

Miss. Tooth Fairy, please help!! Will you? Damn it.



Poet was a regular participant in the church *catechism classes because he liked some attention here and there that made his teenage beautiful.

Talking about teen-age, two weeks back my girlfriend told me (to whom I am married to for the last few years 😉) that it is the age between thir-teen to nine-teen! I felt devastated from that information which I never knew and was living in thoughts that I could still claim it. This is what will happen if we go too much into details. Why should I split a word in to two and understand! So, I stopped thinking about it and believed in my teenage that is still running.

Now to get back to our hero, the poet liked all his writings rhyming at the end of each line. He gained confidence from the small-town church competitions in which barely anyone attended in the poem writing category. When he won -one- secondary level award in the 3rd year of attempt, he confirmed that it is his destiny. He should now start writing to some prominent magazines. After all, he was born for that. Very soon, state level to international awards started filling his dreams. Since it was a dream and he had all the liberty to cross the boundaries mercilessly, he would often dream of tough times to attend functions that required continuous international travel. His manager had the most difficult personal assistant job on earth and recurrently asked for increased paychecks sighting the huge remuneration he anyway bags.  

One evening he wrote a beautiful poem. 4 lines each a stack, 4 stacks, all rhyming at the end. He read it again and again to ensure the absolute success of those divine lines. He did not want to check with someone before sending it to a publisher. This is a bad era, and people copy someone else’s hard work and print it in their name. You can trust no one. This is a marvelous piece and can be easily stolen. After reading it 100 times, often wiping his own tears, absorbing the pain from those golden words, he bought a long envelop to seal it. Done some artwork with a black ink pen and highlighted ‘only to open by the chief editor’ and posted it with a kiss.

Days passed, no response from the magazine. Is it that the chief editor himself had stolen the poem? Possible, highly possible. He shook his head in agony, thinking of his foolishness to send it with no guaranty. The only option left is to send the poem to a second magazine. Tell them he initially had sent it to another magazine and they have possibly stolen it. But is originally written by the very poet himself. And he highly recommends that it gets immediately published before the earlier one publishes it. Soon the plan was put in to practice. This time, for a change, as a registered letter.

But nothing happened again! Poet’s dream initiated a layoff process to the manager post. After all, he was claiming increased paycheck too often.

Poem went to couple more other magazines in the following weeks. Dream stopped the international travels and strictly restricted it to ‘very near’ domestic travel.

Finally, poet understood the element that none of those illiterate magazine publishers grasp the depth of his poem. He also read somewhere that most of the famous poets had a much worst beginning. His heart filled with revenge. He screamed at the world that kicked his creativity with their barefoot. He put a black spell that they will never see another beautiful creation from him. Ever again!!! Never.

After 10 years, when I went to my mom’s house, I saw the poet’s diary in the dust. Opened it with my shivering hands and read:

“Dog, you are not a mere dog
You looked at your pups before you hog
You’ve given them hug
While I looked at you, holding my peg.”

Tears rolled down my eyes!

*Catechism is a learning introduction traditionally used in Christian religious teaching of children.

Gear stick

My friends and I get wings when we talk about cars. The mesmerizing vast arena of never-ending discussion opens like Niagara Falls in its full glory when the topic turns to automobiles during our quick catch up breaks. It goes like a bumper to bumper insurance cover, without leaving no part untouched and then generally left incomplete to be continued at a later session. For those who are not so obsessed with the topic, possibly the most terrifying part of a car could be the gear. What led me to this conclusion? Well……. 

Incident 1. Two women talking. Now listen carefully and don’t ask me ‘who’ they are. This is not as simple as belittling my friends. This is a much more serious stuff and can be life threatening. Hence, they stay ‘some two women’. So, the conversation went on like this. Lady 1, ‘I don’t understand why someone would drive a car faster than 40 km per hour! 40 is a good speed to reach anywhere on time’. Lady 2, ‘Absolutely, I never understood why the manufacturers even keep *gears over 3! it is totally not required’. Lady 1, ‘oh you’ve stolen my words, I never pushed it beyond 3’. Lady 2, ‘yeah, and its already difficult to operate clutch, break and accelerator with two legs and simultaneously keep your hands on the driving wheel and do 100 other signaling functions’. Soon they summarized the conversation with a commonly agreed statement that the actual issue is the unwanted 4th and 5th gear and looked at me for my opinion. I stood up from my seat slowly, pretending something else was happening in the next room and started walking while noticing a fourth person, another guy sitting in the room, secretly smiling!

Incident 2. An office meeting. Seven of us were talking. Group had six men, majority of them were fighting to take their tern and open the treasure of automobile knowledge and gift everyone a piece of their valuable information. Conversation went on like it was free for then and if you do not listen, later it will be charged for a revision. One or two others just waited for the conversation to end so they can discuss the topic for which the meeting was called for. The only lady in the room stood there like Nia Long who just found out that Martin Lawrence was in the Big Momma’s costume till that date cheating her! Her eyeballs were bulged as if it waited for permission to fall out and run.

During the conversation one said, ‘my car is not giving me enough mileage**’. ‘oh, is it? what happened?’ the other one amused. ‘don’t know, I normally drive very careful. Don’t understand why I don’t get the mileage’. This time, my eyeballs were out remembering a previous day conversation where he mentioned never crossing 3rd gear while driving. I was a nerd to quickly say, ‘where will you get mileage when you always drive in 3rd gear’. The devastated look on his face brought me back to normalcy. Maybe I was too loud and fast to pull my dear friend down in front of the whole team. I shouldn’t have but couldn’t figure out why the 4th or 5th gear was not used. One thing was clear. Yet again, the problem child has been named out. The gear!

Incident 3. This goes about a decade back. And the hero is none other than…… the very talented…….. wait, you’ll find out.

1st week of my 1st car. Overconfidence was all over me. Decided to drive till office and invited a colleague to be a co-passenger. It’s a 20km drive that normally takes one and a half hours in the heartless Bangalore traffic. Ideal driving time, 15 mins at the maximum. Somehow drove in to a narrow and stupidly busy road to pick him. Both of us were in a south Indian ethnic wear called ***‘mundu’ for some special occasion at office. It is very rare that I fall for such ethnic dressing exhibitions because of the challenges involved to hold the mundu in place. Before getting out of that road, a bike bangs on the right-side front door. My heart broke into multiple pieces. There is an obvious dent on the door. A hundred thoughts flashed in my mind. If I get out and pick up a fight with the biker, he might notice the mundu and what if he just pulls it off my waist! Even if the colleague comes for help, it will only result in two idiots standing in that busy road without proper garments and trying to spread our palms to protect humanity. Our own humanity. So, gently smiled at the biker and asked if everything is okay with him and we moved on without stepping out of the car.

A groom in traditional Mundu for wedding

Already shaken, I somehow wanted to reach the office. Almost 2km left to reach, and we got trapped in huge traffic at the middle of an underpass. Which would mean, now it is a steep up when we restart. After 20 minutes, vehicles started moving. I pressed my leg on the accelerator in relief. Car is not moving. It just got switched off. Started again…. same thing happened. By then vehicles behind me started honking. Sweat rolled down from my forehead. Other drivers around are screaming at us. An enormous bus right behind started honking continuously. How can my new car breakdown in the 1st week? Did the accident damage the engine? Before slipping into a coma, heard an angel whispering. ‘Isn’t the gear supposed to be in 1st when you restart?’ I looked at the angel. Angel’s face looked familiar like that of my colleague’s but in total confusion. Looked at the gear position. Its in 3rd! Life came back to my body. Pushed the gear into 1st and pressed the accelerator. It worked…. Phewwww. I am relieved, colleague is relieved, other drivers on the road are relieved, my new car is relieved. Relief has become my favorite word.

But it was the gear!

  1. *In India 1 to 5 manual gear cars still rule the road over automatic.
  2. **Maximum area you can cover for 1 litter petrol/gas.
  3. ***A single piece of long cloth that is draped around the midriff.

5 Star Hotel

Long time ago…… more than a decade back, there lived a guy called ‘Me’. It was a time Business Outsourcing from the Europian countries, and the US has become an established trend in India, especially Bangalore. Since Me was not a prince like in other “long time ago” stories, he chose to go with the flow and joined one of the Multinational Corporations (MNC). All went well and a life of his own started.

Couple of years passed and one day it was a client visit time.  Floor was all set for the visit of a top client. Me and others were asked to come in formal. This would mean an additional tie for guys and a suit jacket for the head of the operations. Ladies were blessed to categorize anything they wear as formal. Confused? So, it works like this… They can either wear western formal and call it a ‘formal’ OR Indian attire and call it ‘Indian formal’. The irony of the lady’s Indian attire was that it has changed its name to ‘Ethnic wear’ during ethnic day celebrations. Considering the dual role they had to play, Me could only imagine the kind of work pressure those attires went through! Men had to normally beg, borrow, steal an Indian ethnic wear on those days. Only consolation was that they are normally good at all the said 3 actions 😊.

It was interesting to watch girls walking like queens, head held high and struggling to hold the heavy outfits in place on those special days. While struggling to walk, they looked at guys as if they haven’t seen those ugly creatures till that day and innocently wondered why the guys are staring at them.

Client was happy after the week-long reviews and meetings. It was announced that there will be a dinner with the client for the management team that evening. Venue, a 5 star hotel. Me immediately called his hostel friends and told them not to expect him for the regular Friday pity party. Also mentioned he would however will contribute for them to have some silly fun time of their own. He and a couple of others squeezed into the long vehicle the client has hired during their stay in India. Others followed in the department head’s car. Soon the 3 km journey started.

Bangalore being famous for its horrible traffic sense, and Me being someone who wanted to portray India as one of the best places on earth Infront of those internationals, he genuinely prayed to reach the hotel ASAP in official language. That moment, like lightening, the other Indian colleague in the vehicle asked one of the client “so, heard that traffic is similarly horrible in London?” The Brit lady, Me’s colleague was trying to communicate, being naturally polite responded “Yes, but is more organized”. Me passed a burning look at the colleague meaning ‘you had to ask that now, is it?’. colleague returned that innocent look on her face in her Indian formal cum ethnic wear.

Finally, after a looong 15 mins, all reached at the venue. Me, hiding the naked truth of entering a 5-star hotel for the first time, took a secret glance of the surroundings wondering how these things existed in his close vicinity without him noticing.

Dinner started. Client ordered for wine. Somebody came along with a — years old bottle and explained the royal generations the bottle lived through and poured a few drops in the wineglass. While Me was wondering why only that little is served, considering the glasses filled till the brim he is normally used to, the lady took a sip and said ‘Its good, you may serve’. Oh, so that’s how it works! Also, you get a glass of wine and that’s it. You can’t ask for more, if you do, modesty is at stake.

Soon it was time for soup. That day Me learned the bitter truth how awful a soup can taste. The fresh, uncooked lemon grass grinned at him. His mouth drooled for the thick corn flour thing that he otherwise used to call soup. Soon dishes were overcrowding the dinner table. Then it was time for that….. this…. then…… Me din’t know what!

While returning home in an autorickshaw, totally hungry, Me was more worried about explaining the mesmerizing experience with his hostel friends beyond the cry of his empty stomach and counting money to handover to them for their pity party.



Not sure what got into me that day when I was getting ready for office. It all looked normal when the day started. As soon as I reached office, somebody told me that our department annual day is fast approaching. It would mean SHOW TIME. The wide smile of Jim Carrey from the ‘The Mask’ 1994 spread on my face. I always had this dream of me performing an outstanding number like Stanley Ipkiss would dream. Not to get the Tina Carlyle, but to ensure am still in the game and I can do it. See, purely to be a professional employee. Hence, sometimes I sit alone, picturing myself moving outstandingly and create a wow factor amidst the people around.

So, it is the time. Inspirited by Anybody Can Dance etc., (OR was it Anybody Can Cook from the creepy little animated rat movie!!! I wish not to dig too much in to it fearing if the truth unfolds in to the later and I lose the grip of my story line here) and to keep the team spirit up rather than doing it alone all by myself, created a move among the management including the super boss. Now no one can complain. Moreover, building team spirit was one of my annual goals to be evaluated for the year’s appraisal review. There you go baby, one stone and 2 birds…… how about that?

Super boss being the super bozz, said we will split in to two groups. One group that included me, henceforth named as group 1, will move to some western songs, and the other, that included him and henceforth named as group 2, will develop steps for few super hit song collections that had been thrilling youths in the north and southern parts of India that time. His reason for the division was that some of us behaved, dressed and talked like we understood western culture a bit more than the other team. Not knowing whether to swallow that reasoning or try chewing it before swallowing, we agreed to the suggestion for no particular reason. It is to achieve my dream. After all, what can beat the chilling drums and guitar ripping the party hall when group 1 starts the event.

Throughout the rehearsal sessions, I’ve ensured that I stood at the back and kept talking more and correcting others so that in case I am doing something wrong it does not get noticed. To top my pain, our group instructor was an excellent dancer and showcased some moves that I would never be able to replicate even after the event gets over. So, I ensured that I fell sick a couple of times, took long breaks to serve water/coffee to others and created a couple of emergency situations at home to safeguard my back-line position. Do not get me wrong here, it is not because I don’t believe in myself. But only to save the world and make it a better place for ME 😊.

Group 2 was led by the bozz and we could see their rehearsal camps very active and ‘obedient’.

D-day has arrived. Evening 7.30. Everyone dressed up in western formal for the event at a 3-star hotel in the city centre. As agreed earlier, group 1 has decided to stay in formal and do our thing to add more spice to it. One ultimate decision had come before we get on the stage that we all will wear sunglasses to make it look dapper. Soon this was announced, a couple of my colleagues started running around searching for one and managed to get few ladies sunglasses. After all, they did it.

It was time for our event and group 1 rushed to the stage. Music started playing and I could see people In front of me moving like shadows. Something is wrong. Looked through the corners of my sun glass and saw another colleague dancing In front of me just threw his sun glass saying something like ‘this sh*t, can’t see a thing in the dark’. Realizing it is the sun glass blocking my view in the dim-lit party hall, I too had tossed it. Could hear the cheering and madness among the crowed applauding. Felt very glad that all are liking it.

Then for a minute, I realized that I am not dancing! The song is playing, others are dancing, I am not dancing! I stood there not able to move my body. The heaviest object I’ve ever handled, Myself! I forgot the moves! Now I understood why the crowed is screaming hysteric! While group 2 was breaking the roof off, I slowly moved towards the bar counter realizing I was not wearing ‘The Mask’ that day.

Recently somebody posted the very same video on FB after a long time and someone commented, ‘I like the dancer at the last corner. Who was he?’!

These days I totally understand what social media can do to Big and Famous people.  

Flash (way too) back

Sitting at home, especially thinking about what to do next, though never really wants to find the next task, can be awfully stressful!

Only talent you need is the patience to do nothing and contemplate the next possible ‘nothing’ and think how stressful it is. While a specific set of people are always successful in this art, the often-mistaken identity of this exercise is that you will be heinously criticised as being lazy, unproductive and possible mental health humiliation. All for the very innocent gaze you can offer back! Now, tell me if it does not seem stressful to you. (Wanted to add the expression “my foot” here for no reason but thought of the legendary writer Kamala Das who once expressed the same and a paparazzi being concerned for her and asked ‘Mam, what happened to your foot’!)

Well, in one of those blissful – above mentioned state of mind, I was trying to pull the ‘when I was in America’ days. Needless to mention, it is always beautiful to dig from the past since you don’t have to at least physically strain while doing so and it is emotionally appealing, snowy and….. Oh wait, I know for some of you it might remind the irritating itchy white skin on your leg due to the cold weather. After all, Indian men consider using moisturizers too feminine than being called the Mom’s lad. So, we stay ‘Mard’ (Man) by sneakily scratching the leg in between the client meetings, imitating the ostrich trick and strongly believing that no one is noticing 😊.

To get back to our thought ‘when I was in America’, now that the vicinity of the picturization is too far, that even if you want to hurt someone, they would never know about it too soon. Thank God, after all the supersonic and modern transport techniques currently prevail, America is still a few long hours far from India had you wish to travel. Gaining overconfidence from all these, the beautiful memories lined up in my mind pushing the one at the front like the limited distribution of government liquor shops in Kerala. Each one wanted to come in first as if the opportunity might get confiscated if someone tries to wake me up. Those beautiful neighborhoods, well-paved walkways, broad roads, what more, even the tree leaves I find better looking hence I’m sure you need no detailing of the hooters!

If your answer was ‘yes’ to the narration of hooters, I am not writing this to you insensitive Bharatvasi (Indian).

I was swimming like a dolphin in the memories, slowly jumping out of it, nose diving back into it, breathing the little water umbrella into the sea air etc. etc. As simple as Picture Perfect.

Now here comes a Brit lady (in the memories of course), that too from a very recent dialogue exchange at one of my client visits. By the time I wondered about her role in my American dream, the innocent voice flew out like from thousand trumpets ‘I feel so horrible for what our country has done to you, it was total exploitation. I am sorry’.  Immediately the chivalry shook its fur in me like a lion and I told her, ‘It’s absolutely fine. Europe always had a superior lifestyle that every Indian wants to be a part of’. Before I could spread out my American experience for her comfort and my secret satisfaction of letting her know that once I was in there (that I am a superior Indian unlike others around me during the incident), she said ‘no, India always had it. You had a much more open culture than Europe. It is evident from the book of Kamasutra. It was written way back than Europe could even think of such a thing’.  

What crap. Shoot! I hate these doing nothing times.

It is so stupid, lazy, unproductive and possible mental health humiliation! I am no jobless. Let me at least make a lemon tea, truly Indian style, and get back to work.