Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A hartal day in Kerala

Today is yet another Hartal in God's own country. We have it for many reasons - national, regional and local importance. Today's Hartal is to wake up Union Government to Give green signal to build a new dam over the Periyar river. With Dam 999 movie in theatres, public fear has reached a frenzy, If the 116 yr old Mullaperiyar breaks, the waters will inundate parts of four districts. The waters will move at 100km/hr and reach the biz hub of Cochin in just 4 minutes and wash everything out to sea. A total of 35 lakh people will be killed instantly. So, Keral needs a new dam while TN is happy with the old one which is in kerala but produces power for TN and irrigates its three districts.

So, we have a hartal. No schools, no shops, no buses. People perceive it in different manners.

As my elder son puts it," What a waste . 10 years of studies including 2 years in Kindergarten and you will be killed by floods"

Or take the case of hubby who played good samaritan to a lady waiting for the non coming bus and gives lift. Immediately the guy at the stop too tries to hop in to the rear seat. Hubby," Hey, you. Get in front"

Ride of 3kms. Girl gets off. The car moves and the guy is trying to open door. But the door of the dear car won't budge. He says," Itoo want to get off"

Hubby asks," Where are you going?"
" I just, ah. er..."
" I will drop youat the place"
"Sir, You are taking me to the police , aren't you"
" I'm not that kind of a guy. I'mm good"
Hubby drops him at the next stop.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reasons to go on a trip

#1. Your cat is bored and so are you

#2. You are tired and can’t sleep

#3. You had enough of the same cribbing from office, in laws, parents and kids

#4. Your camera is sitting idle.

#5. You have a different environ to fight with spouse or even love.

#6. Your maid is taking a holiday

#7. You came into some money

#8. Your neighbor took a holiday.

#9. You suddenly turned pious.

#10. The inflight magazine was responsible.

So, when are you taking a holiday?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Superman comes to Kochi

It was…I think in the month of September. Kerala had just played host to the annual guest – Mahabali and we were still talking Onam. The rains had left Bum Bum with a fever. So after 1 week of self medications, home made concoctions etc, we took him to the doc. She on her part tried to look serious and wrote out a nice little test to be done immediately. It was 8 pm. We took him to one of the 24x7 labs, took his blood and gave for test. The huge massaging chair helped to coax Bum Bum to dispense some blood. We returned to the apartments.

There was little crowd milling around, all looking very serious. Someone came running from the adjoining apartments shrieking, “ No, He is not there”. One woman looked dazed. Men were trying to look strong.

One 5yr old was missing. It seems the mother left him with the tuition teacher and went shopping with little daughter and ayah. Now the apartment is locked and no one answers the bell and he is not to be seen.

Suddenly, someone remembered that he saw the boy riding off in his bicycle. Soon, someone was questioning the guard who said he joined shift at 8.00pm.

The local Hero took his bike and zoomed to 2 police stations and 3 hospitals and was back drawing a blank in 15mins.

Some were trying to push and break the door to enter the apartment. The building secretary was trying to be in all places at once. Bumbum was now discussing with friends about the disappearance.

And then it happened. A man descended into the balcony of the apartment from the apartment above. He got in and found the child deep asleep on bed. The bedroom TV was on.

Clad in red T shirt and Black trousers, this superman had worn his ‘undies’ inside, or we would have known earlier.

He was our plumber.

P.S He was assisted by our electrician who placed a ladder from the flat above to this balcony.

Monday, November 14, 2011

For Your Information

It was almost dusk when my younger son barged home. Angry, he was on the verge of tears. It seems, his big brother had shooed him off the football match they were playing with the rest of the kids in the complex. We had moved in about two weeks ago and the boys had found their friends. I still didn’t know the people beyond the adjoining floors. So, I went along with him to reinstate him and get to know the moms. I found a group sitting on the bench enjoying the breeze, the game and gossip. I joined them.

After a while Mom A stood up and checked the seat of her dress to find that it was wet. The rains earlier the day had seeped into the grooves of the granite bench where she had been sitting. This turned the conversation to the incidents where one felt really uncomfortable.

Mom A, “The time I broke my shoe in Dubai…. We were just going enter this hotel lobby and it breaks”
Mom B., “ Oh! Really”.
Mom A, “ It was so embarrassing and you know that it was The Atlantis. And we had to buy another pair from the adjoining mall and it came to 4000+”
All, “My, My”
Read message: She has been to The Atlantis in Dubai

Now it Mom C’s turn
Mom C, “You know once when we flying in from Singapore, the sandals broke”
Mom B, “How did you manage? Didn’t you sis-in-law make fun of you”
Mom C, “ No. This time I was flying into Cochin not Chennai. I just took it off and walked. It was only Dad who would know me”.
Read message: She has been to Singapore at least twice

Mom B didn’t want to be left behind
Mom B: Nothing will beat my daughter’s condition. She was at this diamond store where she usually goes to and admiring herself in a full length mirror when the damn pencil heel broke. And the guys there were trying their level best to stifle laughter.
Mom A: Did she make a purchase?
MomB: She did. She chose that necklace and rushed to car while I remained to pay the bill.
Tee hee..went all.
But message went across: The marriageable age daughter has got another diamond necklace…any grooms?

By this time one guy walks up to the bench holding a baby
Says he in a feminine voice,”Hi girls(where all of them are on the wrong side of 35)”
Displeasure writ large on their face, the girls return the Hi and get up to disperse.

I had enough of ‘Knowing Thy Neighbours’ session and was relieved with this break by guy-uhhh-girl( not sure about gender)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Living in an apartment

We moved in to a apartment complex about a year ago. And I am still getting to know the life in one.

Recently, the security agency at the main gate changed. Blue shirts were replaced with green shirts. And for the last three days, we could hear water running in the flat above. So, we finally decided it was time to report. Hubby gave his advice on doing so and went to the gym. I was cooking and expecting guests later in the day. with many things on my mind, I dialled 1002.
A voice on other end said,"Police Control Room"
Wow, the security fancies to call itself the police control, I thought and said" Iam calling building 2 flat 5c and please send the plumber."
"The voice," Lady, this is Police Control Room"
"Yeah, yeah. I Know."
"Do You where you have called?"
" I called the main gate. It is where we call. The plumber never answers his number"
"Please listen. This is Police Control Room"
I glanced down for first time during entire conversation. I was calling on the blue phone and not on the red intercom. I smashed the receiver down.

And now the blue phone is dead.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Playing Host

Summers and you don different garbs. You play host, tour, work, and generally are the verge of losing it when school reopens, monsoons come and life returns to normal. In the following weeks I will recollect some of the abnormal experiences. Here is first one.

Husband's co has a stockist in Bangalore who came down to visit Kochi. The Husband and wife duo were made for each other measuring not an inch above five feet, equally clueless about what to expect and equally carried by those lovely houseboat pics that tourism offices put up around the world. And to top it all, they were pure vegetarians -Jains( mostly ultra orthodox sect who won't have any vegetable that grows underground, won't dine at a veg+ non veg restaurant and even not like the vegetarian fare around). Jain tourists usually cook their own food or bring packed food for foreign tours!

We had to take them around Cochin and spend the day with them. Our guests originally belonged to Rajasthan but had been living in Bangalore for last 35 years. They had two grown up children who had recently married. So the couple were out for their second honeymoon.

They arrived late morning. We started with Mattanchery. By the time we reached the Jewish synagogue , it was closed for siesta and was to reopen by 3pm. So I tried to engage their interest in antique jewellery and furniture shops of Jew Town. But they were unamused and the lady kept repeating that they would get cheap stuff in Kolkatta where they shopped for daughter's wedding. I however continued my efforts to generate interest. But their bored looks made us try another attempt which was taking them to Fort Kochi, the place known for the Chinese fishing nets. But the decision was wrong. The beach and wharf stank of fish and the lady was almost blue in face closing noseand mouth. Her eyes pleaded rescue which we promptly did and took them to one of the oldest churches in the area. Another lesson learnt-Jains are not interested in churches even if they have Portugese inscription, centuries old Punkahs and nice wooden pews.Evey now and then, they would ask, "Will we going on a houseboat today?" to which we would be patient and say that good houseboat tours are in neighbouring dist. Alappuzha and that they can go on one the next day or the day after. But no avail. The question was a good example of periodic motion and was put to us at regular intervals.

After lunch from a Gujrati restaurant, we took them again to the synagogue. I tried to explain Jews and Judaism to the uninterested couple who made a face looking at the paintings depicting arrival and progress of Jews in Kerala. I ranted on my knowledge. At last they asked a question "Ganne ka juice jaisa
"( Like cane juice?)

That shut me up for the rest of day. I have answered some weird questions in life but this was too much.

P.S This just a humourous generalisation. I know many saner Jains.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A vacant space

Last week dad's best friend passed away. He was an acute diabetic and living alone after wife's death. The bai(housemaid) would come in at sometime in the day and prepare the next 24 hr meal for him.

That day, he did not answer the bell. The bai called her son who called his sister about 5 kms away. She and another brother broke into the house. The iron grill door took some time to give away. Inside, he lay semi conscious on bed struck with a stroke. They rushed him to the hospital where he lay for a week showing no signs of reversal. He had no children and no will to live.

Dad called up in one evening with the news. I just grunted, talked about few other things before putting down the receiver. I had seen him come to our house almost on adaily basis from the time I could remember anything. As more memories played playback, more tears welled up in the eyes. I rarely called him after I got married. But he was always a part which now lies vacant.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A viewpoint

Son goes for NTSE for class III. It being Talent Search, I did not teach him, wanted to know his take.

Son comes back. He has marked options on question paper.Couple of pleasant and unpleasant surprises and then the question

Q. Select the odd one out
a. Deer b. Elephant
c. Tiger d. Rabbit

Answer marked is Elephant. Asked why so. Pat comes the reply,"Because Elephants don't jump, or pounce! "


"Have you ever seen an elephant jump?", asks he and hops on to the bed to get some sleep.