Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another day Another Bandh!

Man proposes and the Railways disposes. My reservation remained no.2 in the waiting list and I am still in Hyderabad facing another day of Bandh. Thank you Railways.
Yes this is the same Railways which transformed our tainted Lalu Prasad Yadav into David Blaine the perfect illusionist. On second thought Lalu was always good.
Anyone who can make all that fodder vanish must really be good.

But this time he out did himself. He not only created an illusion , But he also embarrassed his political masters. To top that, He even embarrassed an ivy league university no less. The PM, a legend in economics, must be squirming in his seat for he was very effusive in praising the Railway minister’s Midas touch and how he brought the railways from the red into the black. But frankly , All the ex- minister really succeeded was in making the third A/C very very uncomfortable with that foolish idea of adding a middle berth in the side berths. Also he rubbished Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time”.

With all the egg the Harvard university had by inviting him to lecture their students, I am sure that the venerable dean can have a hearty breakfast. I am looking forward to a sequel to the book “ what they don’t teach you at Harvard” maybe something on the line of “ What they shouldn’t teach you at Harvard.”

But give the credit where it is due. Were it not for that feisty lady of Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee we would still be singing Lalu chalisa. It was she who brought out the white paper and explained how he manipulated the statistics to give an illusion of profits. She gave a valuable lessons to all the youngsters out there that statistics are like bathing suits. What they reveal may look promising but what they conceal are vital. So guys look out for the real stuff!

With the train refusing to take me in, I don’t have any option but to sit through another bandh. However, people have learnt their lesson three days back during the earlier bandh and hence all commerical establishments and schools etc. have already declared a holiday. So this one looks to be peaceful.
There are more than 12000 policemen around. Thats very comforting indeed.
The government has cancelled more than 7000 buses and over 150 trains.Wise decision. Granted it would lead to a lot of inconvenience.

But better reach late wherever you are going rather than not reaching at all!

The agitating parties have warned against any new year parties. So giving all the revelries a go bye. Given a choice between shaking my butt and protecting it, i prefer the second option. Any way I have two left feet. so no great loss to anyone.

It’s going to be a sedate farewell to an eminently forgettable year.

The only notable event this year was the beginning of this blog.

Thank you to Sundeep. You made it possible. Thanks Satish and Sis. You gave me the encouragement. A special mention of Sandeep who really showed me what is a blog.

And above all thank you dear readers. It was gratifying to see readers from as far as Kerala and Kashmir in India to readers from different parts of the world. I am truly honoured.

This blog began as something to kill time and because of your constant encouragement became an integral part of my life. I pray to God that he gives you a longer life than me so that i am never starved of readers! Finding readers with discerning and sophisticated taste ( ahem!) is tough and I am glad I found you.

My sincere wishes for a very happy and a prosperous new year. Hope 2010 turns out to be much happier and sunnier than the previous year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sex, Lies and a trampled State.

Delhi is a complex city unlike Hyderabad.

There is a metaphor hidden under every stone there. These days there is a chill in the weather there. But Delhi being Delhi ,the chill is both metaphorical as well as real.

Hyderabad on the other hand, is blazing hot. Yet Hyderabad too, being Hyderabad, It’s plain and simple metaphorical.

Sounds convoluted? Pardon me guys, Like George W Bush, I am lost. There is a madness in the air which has done me in. and no one can blame it on the sun. Its benign at this time of the year.

The Economist Dr. Manmohan Singh could advise PM Manmohan Singh to invest money in buying a unit manufacturing zippers. His party needs them badly. The sheer number of zippers required would justify buying it.

The congress men need zippers to shut their lips as well as their flies. That would save them a lot of blushes and the country a lot of grief. The situation in AP could have been far better only if Home Minister knew how to keep his mouth shut. Added to that , now we have the embarrassing Governor’s sex tapes released.
If only he wore pants instead or dhotis which had zippers!

When Governor N D Tiwari was the chief minister of UP, he was called as Nothing Doing Tiwari since nothing moved during his tenure. From nothing doing to Naughty Doing, that’s quite a flight. Even Bill Clinton could tip his hat in admiration. This man is 85!

So indeed the water in the land of Kamasutra does have something in it.
Now that he has been relieved of his duties as a Governor, he may well be a consultant for Play boy.

The only two in the party who don’t need a zipper are the PM himself and his Honorable party President, Yes the one with the Capital P. They both would do well if they talked a bit more. While AP is burning, not a word from these two.

I envy Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. She can have her cake and eat it too. Dr. Singh can simply watch and wring his hands helplessly.

What she grandly offered as a gift to the state on her birthday till some clever leader from the opposition reminded her that their state is not a birthday cake which can be cut, soon became an albatross. But hail the congress. The Goddess can do no wrong. So while the state burned she happily ate her Birthay cake. Any one reminded of Nero!

The BJP isnt quiet either.

Arun Jaitley can shout hoarse from the roof top.

But the pitch in Ferozeshah Kotla ground was not a pitch. It was a minefield.
I wouldn’t suggest that pitch for any one. Not even the Australians!

Alas, Delhi Cricket match was just a game! The Sri Lankan team will go home. The media will find something more interesting. We shall continue to be the no.1 team. And wait for the Common wealth Game to screw up.

Hyderabad is more serious.

There is a bandh again on the 30th. The city I love looks like an army cantonment. I eagerly await my reservation status. Planning to leave for Gwalior tomorrow. I am no.2 on the waiting list. I have no option but to play the waiting game.

Wish the Governor and the Home Minister had done that too!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas!

The office secretary in my friend’s office brought a delicious Christmas cake today. It was as delicious it was big. It was a traditional rum soaked cake rich with resins and other dry fruits. We left our diet plans for a while and simply hogged.

As the aroma of the oven fresh cake wafted through the office, it brought back many happy memories of the Christmas of yore, those days when Christmas was not gloomy as it is now because Christmas means the end of vacation and time to go back to USA. In fact many times I have watched nostalgically my favorite Christmas themed movie, “I’ll be home for Christmas” alone in my apartment in the USA, Ironically returning from home on Christmas.

The Josephs were our neighbors when we were seven and eight year olds in Nagpur. They were an old couple as their children were married and serving in the forces and posted in Delhi and Chandigarh. So Christmas became as much our festival as we helped Mrs. Joseph in decorating the house with buntings and helping her with the batter for the cakes. We went all dressed up with them to the church and watch movie about Jesus.

In the evening there used to be games and show at the Airforce ground and a junior officer dressed as Santa used to distribute gifts to us children. This used to be followed by a grand party at the Josephs residence. I can close my eyes and still savour the keema samosas that she made.

When we shifted to Chandigarh, there were no Christians around and it lost the personal feeling that once we had. Later they became just another reason to get sloshed.

Hyderbad is remarkably egalitarian and the Hyderabadis enjoy every festival with equal fervor. From the mouth watering Haleems to the roast turkeys, the denizens of this charming city show no partiality to any one cuisine.

I remember the Christmas office party in London. I am a big connoisseur of Red wine but somehow the white wine is a strict no no. Now every party in the west begins with champagne and then graduates into whatever you like. Unfortunately my lovely colleague just heard the wine part and sloshed me with the bubbly . Not wanting to appear rude and chivalrous to the core, I dutifully kept emptying flute after flute!
I promised myself that I wont ever hence forth discuss my wine preferences with a half attentive blonde ever again.

Turkey isn’t much popular in India. But in the UK, stuffed turkey is the perfect Christmas lunch.

I shall never forget the kindhearted neighbor in Miami who delivered a platter of turkey and other savories before they left for their Christmas dinner. I didn’t have to worry about cooking for a week!

Christmas is the celebration of love and happiness. Lets spread the message of universal brotherhood and peace.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Paying for my indulgence folks!

I am finally done in by the delectable cuisine of Hyderabad. All the succulent biryanis, mirchi ka salans, khubani and double ka meethas have left an indelible mark on me( my waist ). Now I have to suck in my breath to button my pant.

However things didn’t look that serious till I overheard tanmay, my friend’s precocious seven year old ,commenting to his mom that if Uncle starts exercising, he will become Shankar bhagwan from Ganpati. Desperate measures needed!

Getting to an hour glass from an apple shape is easier said than done. I calculated my hip and waist size. Definitely an apple. Though not the rosy Kashmir type. There’s still hope. If Adnan Sami can do, any one can!

Mornings are starting a little earlier than before. A game of badminton, a few cardios and running up the stairs. Haven’t yet started weights. Floor exercises also have to be added.

Cutting my favorite sweets and starch out of my diet. Next week maybe go for a one week diet plan. This is also a good detox. It’s a very scientific plan calculated by taking the body requirement of minerals and vitamins into account. The first day it’s all fruits. No bananas though. The second day it’s all vegetables no potatoes though. The third day is a mix. All the body needs are calculated. For example Potassium and other salts are provided by the bananas on the third day, the starch is provided by the baked potato. Iron and proteins are provided by the meat on the fourth and fifth day.

I remember my trainer from Miami. He was totally against any dieting. In fact he didn’t even allow me to cut down on my wine. More parties meant more time in the gym.
He was a hard task master. We used to do weights, machines, floor exercises followed by 40 minutes of rigorous cardios.

He just had one mantra, “ Bust your ass, Sudhir. That’s the only way.”

I am glad he is thousands of miles away.!!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The ' T' Bomb.

I saw the Ticket checker coming from the other end of the aisle and waited impatiently to enquire what was wrong. The train had been on the Kagaz Nagar station for over half an hour. That was strange since it is a very small station. I had been to this township. All it had was a paper industry( Hence the name Kagaz Nagar). This is a large industrial belt from Chandrapur in Maharashtra right upto Ramagundam in AP with many major cement industries , Thermal power station, Collieries and two big paper plants.

The train did stop at all these stations. But hardly for two minutes. Something was really wrong.

I was on the upper berth ( alas ! For the second time. And was punished with a pulled muscle in my back while alighting). The TTE took the exact moment to look up as I lowered my head down. He was a tall man. Accident prone that I am , I crashed my head into his. I don’t know what he saw. I saw stars!

The Telangana separatist movement supporters had stopped our entry into Andhra Pradesh. They were squatting in front of the engine.

Hundreds of anxious passengers inside were worried. We weren’t sure when we would reach Hyderabad. For once, the friendliest city in the country made us feel unwelcome.
Passions were running high in the city. Their leader was on an indefinite fast. His condition was rapidly deteriorating. I worried about the A/C. If they hold the train for long there was no option but to switch it off. Luckily that didn’t happen.

The cab demanded Rs.300/ hr for a 20 Km. trip. I was a bit hesitant to accept since I know the traffic snarl. It would take a minimum of two hours. But I wanted to reach home as early as possible. So I agreed.

It was pleasant though a bit intimidating to see the empty roads. I remembered the good ole days of the 80s and 90s. we reached in just forty five minutes. Incredible. In normal times we wouldn’t even have crossed Paradise!

Each person has his own theory about the Telangana Movement. The taxi driver from Adilabad feels that they have been dominated by the costal region for too long. I ask him if he feels that a separate state would drastically alter his life. He says doesn’t matter. He would be proud if someone from his region is the CM. I again asked him if all this violence is justified? He let out a colorful expletive in chaste hindi for the ruling government. He said these $%#$% wake up only when there is violence. He had a point.

I am all for smaller states. They can provide better governance.We can see how well Uttarakhand and Chhatishgarh are doing. (Jharkhand is more a victim of corruption and not poor governance). It definitely makes sense to divide a large state like UP.But does it make Geographical sense to bifurcate AP.

Who will take Hyderabad, the Jewel in the crown of AP? Or will we have a common capital like Chandigarh. More questions than answers.

Had a warm bath, hot food and now sleeping peacefully. Grab all the peace you can. We may wake up to a very violent morning. Its going to be one long and cold winter.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The soire'e

Last Friday a train carried me home. This week another one will ferry me back. What will remain is another foot print on the canvas of my life.

I am now standing exactly in the middle of my vacation. Confused if I should be happy that there is still half to go or sad that half of it is over. Nothing new though. I am always confused. I tend to look both sides on a one way street!

So what did I do? I did something I have always been good at – nothing. It takes a lot of training to do nothing. I have perfected the art to a T.

I just sat in the living room enjoying everyone playfully fighting over what to watch on the TV. Just absorbing the sights and sounds.. Hogging all the green veggies that I have missed. Mom was a great cook. Her USP was the simplicity of food. No elaborate spices. No heavy garnishing. The vegetables would still retain their original flavor. She is no more. But the tradition still continues.

Some times silence is more eloquent and more meaningful than a thousand words. We sat many a times simply enjoying each others company. If I look back I could have saved myself many blushes by just being quiet. But each has his own special talents. Mine is making an ass of myself. I remember the character played by the old time comedian who is tutored in social etiquettes and ends up asking ladies if they are married and even when a lady says she is single pops the next question – “Oh great. So how many kids do you have!”

The writer copied me but robbed me of my royalty.

Yesterday morning we were returning by road. I saw one of the most breathtaking sights. There was nothing between us and the horizon as the sun rose slowly, blushing like a newly wed bride, all crimson and round. The landscape ,deep emerald green complemented it beautifully. I was so moved I wanted to cry!

We stopped by a road side dhaba. A wedding party had taken a break. Their enthusiasm was infectious. I would have been rubbing my butt if I had traveled in that tractor. But not these beautiful people. They seemed oblivious of the discomfort and were happily chattering. The dhaba owner looked at me strangely as I requested him for a black tea.

Today I watched lazily as the golden ray of sunlight sneaked into my room. That is rare.

In Hyderabad it’s all a rush. We wake up long before the sun rises. My sister brought me the morning tea. Its my first tea in bed after a long time. Being single I can’t afford that luxury.

The delightful irony. I took some time to adjust to the cacophony of a metropolis after the serenity of Miami. Now I am again struggling to cope with the absolute silence of my brothers new beautiful duplex home. Next week I will have to again get used to the morning commotion as it would be time to go back to Hyderabad. The mad mornings, rudely waking to the shrill whistles of dozens of pressure cookers, the milk man and the paper boy noisily delivering their stuff, mundane noises smothering the pure and soothing bhajans of MS Subbalakshmi.

Last night I slept late. Since I don’t wear a watch nor keep a mobile it was difficult to gauge the time. I peeped out of the window. There’s a large lake behind the house. The city lights reflected in the calm water. The reflection looked frozen as there was no movement in the calm water. This was a symphony for the soul. The sounds of silence, the frozen lake, the still time, I felt like a king.

I am enjoying till it lasts. All beautiful things must come to an end. So will this soiree.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Its HOME SWEET HOME!!!!!!!

A gush of cold wind hit me as I alighted. My fellow passenger had warned me.” Wear something warm. You don’t feel inside because of the a/c”. I just smiled at her. She was young. She wouldn’t understand. I had been longing for this ever since I retuned from USA. It was an animal instinct. They recognize things from smell, sights and sounds. For me it was the whiff of cold breeze every year the plane hit the tarmac that screamed ‘ Home’.

I love traveling by train when I am in India. My friends often question the wisdom. There are two reasons. One Gwalior is not on the Flight map. So I have to land in Delhi and then run to catch a train. The whole travel thus becomes rush rush , wait wait. There is another very deep reason. This is the only time when I am totally removed from the world. I do not carry a mobile phone, a watch or even a pen. I spend these twenty odd hours in the company of my thoughts alone. I don’t talk to anyone nor read anything. Its splendid bliss as thoughts jostle for space with memories.

This time I took this experience to a new higher level!!!! The girl on the lower birth slept all the way. I had no option but to be on my upper berth.
It felt like I was a rishi meditating on the Himalayas.

I remembered Tanmay tugging at my heart strings as he hugged me good bye. His eyes brimming , he promised that he will be a good boy but come soon. His Environmental science subject (God ! what happened to the simple old fashioned civics!) had taught him about joint family and it left him confused that we didn’t all live together like one big joint family! his constant refrain is " why do you have to go."

It tickled me to remember the evening before. it was a dry day and the bar was closed on account of something. I thought we shall have to skip our drink. But the Indian businessmen are enterprising. The bar owner had kept a bottle for us. He arranged an impromptu seating in the garden behind and left us with the keys.

I don’t know if it was premeditated or at the spur, but friends started chiding me for worrying too much about my future. They assured me that they were there to help. One of them stood there giving me a big lecture. I suddenly giggled. A glass in hand another hand on his waist, he appeared to me like Lord Krishna exhorting Arjuna. After all this was my Kurukshetra. needless to say, all serious talks vanished once i painted this imagery to them

On reaching home I got the news that Sandeep has finally left IIT. He is joining his new job from Monday. I called him up. A lot of water has flown under the bridge. He was a 19 years old neighbour, my first teacher who taught me how to use our first computer. MS Office had still not arrived and it was the age of cumbersome DOS. C: popped up when you booted the computer. It left me baffled as to how did c arrive before a and b.Sandeep explained why. He was a student and a teacher.we owe him a lot.
He brought knowledge and virus in our life!!
Now he is a Doctor from the most prestigious school in the country.
Good luck Sandeep. IITs loss is the Corporate gain.

There is no substitute for nature. The cold water from the fridge can never really replace the refreshing and cool water of the river Ganges. Visit Haridwar and you will know what I mean. As I waited on the platform and felt that cool breeze I thought that A/C is no substitute either.

Suddenly I saw Dada , my elder brother waving at me. Sister was waiting on the other side of the bridge. I had forgotten to give them my compartment and seat no. and they were left scurrying.

It’s not easy being my brother.

We laughed happily as we hugged each other. Friends are something you can decide. But brother you just have to tolerate.

No words form in my mouth as I grin from ear to ear.
It feels great to be home.!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A sham called Liberhan report

The congress party can be accused of many things. But the one thing no is ever going to accuse it of , is being intelligent.

consider the timing.

This was supposed to be the finest hour for the PM. He was going to be the state guest of America. This was a much needed fillip for a government which was trundling from one embarrassment to the other and whose very credibility was at stake. This government never looks to be in control of anything, be it the spiraling prices, or swine flu or the Maoist attacks. They needed a gloss. What better way then showing the PM , as a great statesman, on the lawns of the white house shaking hands with the President of USA. Never mind if the same President on his visit to China almost accorded it the status of the leader of the Asia. (One wonders if the pomp and ceremony would alter that perception. But that’s one of PM’s least worries. He has a most genuflecting and pliant English press). But being Dr.Manmohan Singh isn’t easy. He has his party to contend with.

The Lieberhan report is nothing short of an embarrassment for any government.No government can justify that kind of delay. It took the venerable judge a remarkable seventeen years to come out with a report on the contentious Babri Masjid razing. And even after that there's nothing new and the report looks half baked.

Its not just the opposition saying that. Even the congress Governor, Mr. Satyanarayan Reddy criticized the report saying that he was in charge of the UP government after the dismissal of the government but he was never summoned by the judge. He described this report as incomplete. Mr. Vajpayee was indicted without inviting him even once. so what was so great or secretive about this report.

Yet some clever and a half Johnny from the party decided its time to honor the services of a servile paper and a TV channel. He leaked the findings.( I told you being Dr. Manmohan singh is not easy!)

He thought he was killing two birds. One obliging the said media and two dividing the opposition who had come together on issues of price rise etc. and deflect attention.

He did kill two birds though. But not the ones he wanted.

He brought the completely comatose opposition ( read BJP) to life and did the unthinkable. He united them!! and two he dislodged the PM visit from the headlines. Common sense indeed is the rarest of sense. What was lying dormant in the custody for six months with the government after dragging for painstaking seventeen years couldn’t have waited for the PM to return? The report isn’t worth the paper on which it is written on. But by leaking the contents, the government gave the opposition a stick with which to beat them.

The world has moved in the last seventeen years. Our country suffered many attacks. 26/11 is still fresh in everyone’s mind. A young voter must have been a baby when this happened. Today he worries more about recession, employment and price rise.

Another theory is that the party wanted to win the muslim votes in UP. My feeling is that it would nullify whatever good work Rahul Gandhi may have done there. Assuming this was the motive it begs one question to the intelligent English media. If pandering to the Hindus is communal , how can appeasing the muslim community become secular? But clearly we do not have many cerebral journalists anymore.

I am proud to say that throughout my life, I had some very good muslim friends. We grew together. Our different religions never came in the way. We celebrated Eid and Diwali together. I am sure that they too would be offended by this brazen tokenism. If the Government is really serious, what happened to the other commission’s findings – The Srikrishna panel on the Mumbai riots or the Nanavati commission on the Sikh carnage?

If the guy who leaked it to get muslim sympathy thinks he won a lot many admirers, he is in for a rude shock. I am sure that the muslims are not going to go running to add him as a friend if he has a facebook profile!

A common man , hindu or muslim, doesn’t ask for much. All he asks for is a decent and dignified life. Is that too much to ask?

It took Justice Liberhan 17 years to write this. It was buried for six months under the other files with the government. It could have remained buried for another 17 years.

No one would have really cared.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

India Inc. Rocks.

Yesterday Warren Buffet and Bill Gates were on CNBC. They were answering to queries from the MBA students of Columbia University. One student asked Warren Buffet if he really took five minutes to take major decisions. Pat came the reply from the incredible Buffett, “ Fifty years of training and five minute of decision making!”

Today when I look at the India Inc. I see the same confidence. Deals are being made, companies are being acquired. All in no time. There are no boundaries left . So a Jindal steel goes and acquires mines in South Africa or a Bolivia while a Reliance goes and buys a company in south America. Its not just the biggies. Even small and unknown companies are on a shopping spree.

India had never had it so good. I remembered the publicity the media gave when the Mittals were bidding for Arcelor. Today everyone is talking in billions. So its no news.

If we look at the stock exchange, the sensex is healthy largely to the FII. It is a tribute to our industry that they have been giving very great Quarterly results making investments attractive. I was pleasantly surprised to listen to one of the prominent American bankers eulogizing the Indian market. He said that with the current recession in the Americas and Europe , India is the most attractive destination.

This did not happen overnight. Each company has been meticulously trying to make itself cost effective- Cutting operating costs, increasing sales , diversifying.

I am sitting here in a friends office. Ten years back when I left this country, he worked from a rented shed and a rented office. He worked hard. Withstood all kinds of pressures. He can write a book on what they don’t teach you in the IIMs and the ISBs. He had the guts to borrow money at a very high interest and invested in the business. His bad luck a few clients became bad debts. He still didn’t lose heart. Borrowed more and invested. The cheekiest part is that he even gave bonus to his workers with money borrowed from the market. He didn’t give up two things. He didn’t lose Hope and didn’t stop Dreaming.

Gradually a ray of sunlight peeped through the dark clouds of despair. A few projects clicked. He made some profits. Bought some land. Slowly brick by brick he built one factory. Every year he kept adding. A Korean bus bar bending machine here . A mini truck there. This was followed by the purchase of another factory.

But it wasn’t all work and no play. They are incorrigible when it comes to enjoying. They go vacationing to fancy places abroad, drink only scotch and are wonderful hosts. I can vouch for the that!! The moral of the story is that if you can’t slog or have vision, at least have the sense of having some friends who have!!!!!!!

Creating wealth is an art. It needs a vision. I am proud to say that Indian Corporates have shown that we have it in abundance.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why do I Blog!

There is something delightfully refreshing about childish exuberance and youthful innocence. The only thing that separates them is the age. As the boy grows he is able to temper the effervescence. But the innocence and the curiosity still remains. Its only when he matures into an adult does the guile and diplomacy creep in. The curiosity and innocence both are buried under layers of canard. The questions are still there in the mind. But they don’t come direct. They take a tangential trajectory.

Last night after dinner I and Tanmay went for our customary walk. I took him up to the recreation hall in his community to watch Table Tennis. But he was bored. So we came out and walked a while and then sat on the kerb. He is a real chatterbox. I have to listen to all that happens in the school everday. But today was important. He pompously informed me that he is the Hospital Leader of his class. I just gaped. What on earth is that? “Well! If someone is hurt or sick , its my duty to take him to the doctor in the school.” “ But you can’t speak Telugu!” Immediately he recited what he says in front of the doctor fluently in three languages- Hindi , Telugu and English.

Before I could compliment him on his skills, the lean and gangly boy from his bus stop was standing shyly in front of us. He had that awkward teenage gait. I smiled at him and invited him to join us. Suddenly he smiled expansively and told me that he had solved the conundrum . I laughed. Conundrum indeed! These kids couldn't speak normal english!

Two days back he had met me in the morning when I went to see off Tanmay to his school. He said that he knew me but cant place it how. I was sure I didn’t know him. I can hardly recall ever talking to a teenager in India , forget Hyderabad. But I didn’t want to sound rude and I told him that he certainly looked familiar but even I cant place him.( I am an adult. And I am supposed to lie!)
“ It’s a conundrum.” He had laughed. I had to agree it indeed was. The next day we met again. He smiled at me. I had forgotten him the moment he had left.


“ When you invited me to join your Chaupal I suddenly remembered. I read your blog”. There was a glint of Joy and mischief.

I felt like Jeffrey Archer. I had to buy this kid a treat.

As he settled down, his curiosity had totally taken over and he started bombarding me with all kinds of questions. Who I am( a small fish in a giant pond), what do I do in USA ( nothing! )and why am I in Hyderabad when I am not a south Indian. (I don’t even know why am I in this world! This is my second home I instead said. He wasn’t impressed.) Did I speak Telugu. ( Kuncham Kuncham . Now I tickled him.) Did I ever try the local food. ( Ofcourse! Love Gonghura. He was now rolling). I think I passed the test.I relaxed.

Suddenly, he threw me a googly. “ why do you blog?”

I was silent for a while gathering my thoughts. “ Is it the creative urge within you?”. He enquired helpfully. Boy!. This kid has a real flight of imagination.
What will he think if I tell him the truth? I had compelling reasons. That I started because I was jobless. This was the cheapest way of killing time. That it was my safety valve. I could vent my frustration, my angst, my anger without harming any one.
That the words that I wrote were silent. They didn’t disturb anyone. if I sang or danced instead , the neighbors would have dialed 911. That the last thing I wanted was cops at my doorstep.

He was too young to understand that life doesn’t go by lofty ideals.
But I had to be honest. I had to tell him the truth. I cleared my throat and as I was about to open my mouth I looked at Chikka ( that’s how he introduced himself.) and I stopped.

His smile could light up the whole street. His eyes had that puppy like adoration. His face had a rare innocence. I wistfully thought. A few more years.

“ A writer is like an artist. It’s just that the brush is replaced by the pen. The paper is his canvas and his imagination the colors with which he paints a picture. Some deft strokes, some gentle……….”. For the first time I almost felt noble as I lied.

( Hope Chikka doesn’t read this!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Yugesh


Dear Yugesh,

Tomorrow shall be just another day for the world. The milkman shall ring the bell once precisely at 5 am. Then there would be a lull for some time until pandemonium breaks. There will a collective assault on all the senses at precisely 6am. Another day would begin.

But for us, it would be a day to gilt edge and frame it and store it in the deepest vaults of our memories along with your other birthdays and cherish them once in a while.

I try to remember the day the stork brought you home. OK. You are too old for that. And let us also not fool ourselves that you were as pretty as a picture. You were as ugly as any new born.

You were a benign Buddha. Always smiling. The only one afraid of you was our dear Alsatian, Bonny. You would shriek with delight as you saw him and try to use him as a prop to stand up pulling his skin and sometimes tripping over him. He would let out a howl of anguish as soon as he saw you crawling.

As you grew, you loved to sit on my lap and sit next to your dad while driving. I don’t remember when you suddenly grew up and I started calling you an overgrown Alsatian no longer fitting in my lap. Last year in KC chacha’s house , I felt my eyes go moist when you wore my Ralph Lauren shirt and it fitted you beautifully. KC chacha spoiled the moment by removing the plate of onions I was chopping from me. Some people are so blatant!

Do you remember that day you had your unit test and you overslept. You were afraid of going to school as the principal would punish you in front of the school. How we borrowed your dad’s car and I kept bragging that your principal doesn’t have the guts to do that to you as long as I was with you. You really believed it. How we sneaked you from the back gate to the classroom as the class came back from the prayers and how you felt so proud of me. I can let out a little secret today. I had bribed the security at the gate. You see ,even gods have feet of clay. It’s expensive to maintain the super hero status. I am glad now you are grown and accept me for what I really am.

We shared everything. Even your anguish and pains. I am proud that you always think of me when you have self doubts.Remember that night when you chatted with me at 2 am hiding the laptop inside your bed and covering yourself with quilt and using a torch. If your dad reads this, he would be horrified. So would your mom. They never knew. Wonder if you could have pulled that trick against bua?

You were always a sensitive and an understanding kid. Remember that time when I eagerly came from USA to celebrate your birthday with you and paiya? And how you ,instead, decided to go for a movie with your friends. It is this sharing and caring that keeps us together!

This birthday, I want to let out a little secret. Of all the nephews, you are my favorite. Now its not my problem that you are the only nephew I have. But let’s assume, hypothetically , that I did have, trust me you still would have been my favorite. ( It’s your birthday after all and I have to be good to you.)

But I have one more dilemma. All your friends are my friends too. Now what should I do? Support them when they give you the customary birthday bumps or save you since you are my only nephew. I am glad I am not in Dehradun. You are on your own son. I told you. This caring and sharing has kept us together so long and I see no reason to change this winning formula.

One last thing. We live in very hard and trying times. The least we can do is smile and be happy and try to make others laugh.Thanks for bringing so much happiness and laughter in our life. I am glad you have inherited my sense of humor. But trust me. You are funnier when you borrow some one else’s jokes.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sachin Ton'dulkar- The big bull of Indian cricket

I hate much use of metaphors, aphorisms, adages or proverbs in writings. It denotes a bankruptcy of talent , my English teacher would say.

And yet I can’t resist using one today. Or maybe two. Or may be three. ( Forgive me teacher). My adrenalin is still high!

Yesterday there were two wars going on. One between the bears and the bulls on Dalal street. One between the Australian and the Indian cricket team. I preferred the Dalal street. The Indian team is more unpredictable than the stock market.

Luckily the timings were such I witnessed both.

I doff my hat to the big bull of the Indian cricket. I know he is a class. But this was master class. Sachin did everything right. The trademark cuts, the elegant drives, the ferocious sixes.
It wasn’t a bull vs. bears. It was a bull vs. the bullies. The bullies won. I am developing a grudging admiration for the Aussies.

Now every one wishes to kick Australia’s butt. But if wishes were horses even beggars would ride. Think about it. Their seven players were injured. And still we lost.

But if Sachin was a class , the guys in the commentary box were classier. As he was crashing the ball in all parts of the ground I heard one bozo gush, “ Ahh now he’s just 800 runs away from 18000”. Now can we call that an expert comment! Can anyone say anything more stupid than that?I was plain jealous. Think he was being paid to say that! I can say a hundred more stupid things and no one would take notice ; forget paying for that.

Tomorrow a new day a new war. Both at the Dalal street and at Guhawati.
( For the record, the bulls are winning at the Dalal street)

Tail piece : Sachin Tendulkar first shot into limelight when as a 15 year old he smashed a triple century in the local harris shield competition. This year a 12 year old boy Sarfaraz Khan hit a record 439 with an incredible 56 boundaries and 12 sixes.

Another sachin in the offing?!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quirks and Idiosyncracies

Hotel Green Park has some very fond memories. I was one of the first guests there when the hotel was newly built. That must have been at least ten years ago.

But it wasn’t nostalgia that brought us for the break fast buffet last weekend. The hotel has a reputation for authentic south Indian food. “ Genuine Nellore cooks” My friend had informed. I was tempted.

The buffet was a veritable visual delight. As I surveyed the assorted fruit juices, my eyes caught an emerald green juice. The waiter looked alarmed when I filled a glass but said nothing. I can now say with my first hand experience that bitter gourd juice is the last thing you want to eat on an empty stomach! It reminded me of the custom of eating neem leaves on the Maharashtrian new year gudi padwa. Chastised I decided to stick to the known cuisines.

As I was finishing the sumptuous breakfast , I saw a platter of dougnuts, Danish pastries and croissants sitting incongruously in a corner. I suddenly felt a pang of guilt. Doughnut was something I ate everyday with coffee in the evenings in Miami. How could I forget my staple food so soon? Quietly I reached for one.

As I sat there eating my doughnut and slurping sambhar , an American sitting on the next table smiled and quipped, “ Now that’s what I called fusion food!” He was dunking his bread in spicy sambhar! I asked him if he ever heard the pot calling the kettle black! He gave a hearty laugh.

Thank god for idiosyncracies. They make for a delightful change.Imagine if all persons were prim and proper and looked like clones of each other!

I remember one very famous criminal lawyer in Gwalior. He used to argue his cases fiddling with the button of his shirt. He was simply unbeatable. That is until one of his opponent bribed his servant to remove that button. He just folded.

Bless David Shepeherd, one of the finest umpires, who died recently. His quirky humor, best expressed in standing on one leg whenever a nelson ( 111 or 222 ) was on board, endeared him to millions of spectators.

MF Hussain always walked bare foot though I wonder if this was more of a publicity stunt than a real quirk. Somehow I always feel he is more of a showman than a real quirk.


I know a friend who drinks chilled beer with piping hot soup. If that sounds strange , my ex boss used to eat grapes while having coffee. Try topping that.

My father’s friend had a strange habit. He always read the book from the end to the beginning. Yes even Agatha Christie and Hitchock! He said it was fun to see how the writer creates the story.

I am reminded of a software engineer in New York who only ate one cantaloupe in the whole day. When asked how did he manage, he would retort that a human body needs only that much energy. We pamper our body too much.

Some food for your thought!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Of cricket, Bananas and Hope!

Originality is a myth. Even God was original only once when he created Adam and Eve. The rest, in the modern jargon, was a cut and paste job.

Life ,being a part of the system ,cannot be different. That’s why we hear comments like life imitating art or real life copying reel life.

My life, currently, is as volatile as the stock market. Bullish one day and bearish the other. Happiness is like the Foreign Instituitional Investment. Its withdrawn and left a huge trough. We both are still recovering from our bad health. The flu was like the RBI Credit policy which triggered the collapse. But we both are optimistic and look enthusiastically for the markets to reopen on Tuesday! There is no place in the stock market for permanent gloom. You just accept both the phases and try to make the most of them. Sell on rallies and buy on dips. That means you don’t wait for the proverbial sunshine to make hay! Treat every day as a sunshine and try to make hay!

Some farmers have shown remarkable ingenuity in Erode district in AP. Their crops were doing badly. But as the going got tough, the tough got going. They had to experiment. They first tried Pepsi as pesticide. It worked! Common sense. If it can screw human, there is no reason it will not kill pests! Next they mixed brandy in their soil and Bingo! got a huge crop of bananas. This was not only cheaper than the conventional fertilizers, but also the crop out put has been remarkably high. The experts are baffled and trying to figure out the reason. Maybe the experts can have a drink or two while trying to figure it out. If it can work on the banana trees, it sure would work on them.

The Australian team lost James Hopes yet we look hope less. They lose Brett yet we look bre(a)tt(h)less. They lose Paine yet look pain less. One is left wondering if we are waiting for Ponting and Hussey to get injured to make us look like champions! I know some die hard fans would be scandalized but the last win was far from convincing. Only Dhoni saved us the closing blushes. Can we really call ourselves the no.1 team? To me this seems more like Obama holding the Nobel prize.

The mornings are suddenly pleasant. There is nip in the air. Soon it will be cold in the north. I have spent too long in the sunny climes of Miami to being called a ‘son of a beach’. Gwalior would soon drop to 4 degrees centigrade. The mornings would be foggy. Visibility close to zero. Cheeks would be ruddy and the nose ruddier. Time to get buried in layers of warm clothing. Time to go home.

To many the fierce and biting cold may mean a sign of discomfort. To me it’s home!

I am still in Hyderabad. But soon I shall visit Gwalior. The Sensex will rise and the bananas will grow larger. The Indian cricket team will play like champions.

The Optimists never give up hope.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My gift wrapped days!

I had a very romantic idea about childhood. Those tender years when you were carefree, always laughing, not a worry in the world. The days were soft like cotton and nights silky and gossamer. How wrong!

I am once again reliving those wondrous days with Tanmay, my friend’s delightful seven year old son. I now understand their stresses, the tensions , their fears and apprehensions.

My day starts delightfully as he jumps on my bed and wraps his soft arms around me and whispers that the tea is ready. Today is maths test. He cant remember the table of 4. I tickle him and tell him he knows it. We revise the tables playfully running around bumping furniture and sipping tea at the same time. His mother feigns anger as she readies his bath. He is late for school. She airlifts him ,arms flying,to the bathroom. I get that much time to read the newspaper and catch up with what is happening around the world. The outside world stops as he comes out of the bath and its pandemonium. He has tried my black shoe polish on his white sneakers and his mother is grumbling. He looks sheepishly at me. I wink and get a cleaner lotion from inside my bag. We both shake the bottle and apply the lotion allowing it to dry and wipe the shoe clean. We both whoop delightfully as the shoes look sparkling white and give each other high fives.

As its time to leave for school, he looks at me and his dad impishly and we wink. That’s the signal to pick his bike. Mom complains that he must walk.Besides, once I leave she would find it hard to carry back the bike. But we ignore her and take the cycle down the lift. He squeals with delight as I run behind him with his bag and water bottles and tiffin carrier.

He scares his friends by ringing the bell and then deftly maneuvers his cycle through the bunch of kids. As the school bus nears, suddenly he remembers the he has forgotten his writing board at home. A frown creases his face. He doesn’t smile as I wave him. Clearly he is worried.

Daddy and I take a detour and reach his school as they are in recess for snacks. The broadest of smile comes on his face as he clutches the board gratefully. He gives his list of things to be purchased from the school supplies. The supplies could furnish an army. He needs tie and school badge every month, shoes every two months and shirt every three months. He patiently explains that he is very gentle. But the other boys are naughty. A few class mates complain about him to my friend. Tanmay simply glares.

Evening we get a call from him. What time are we coming home. Seven. His father replies. The negotiations begin. No make it six. Ok 6.30. finally we settle to 6.45. Pick me from the teacher’s home. He orders. Next. what are we going to bring for him. We agree for biscuits from the bakery. Don’t bring the hard ones. He warns. I broke a tooth because of it. Ok cream biscuits. One last try. Come at 6.15. daddy shouts and he hurriedly keeps the phone.

When we reach home we find that one tooth has fallen. It’s the incisor. He wants to see it in the mirror. The mother shouts if you see, the new one wont grow. i tell him wrap it in some cotton and keep it below your pillow. Childhood is about fantasy not reality. let him dream of fairy god mother bringing his new tooth.

We study English. I try to correct his pronunciation. I patiently ask him to repeat Lion. But he ends up saying Loin. Again I correct Bear and explain that beer is something we drink. He is unhappy. The teacher will be angry. I pick up the phone and call his teacher. I gently advise her to look into how the kids pronounce. She is young and brash. I am curtly told that that’s how it is pronounced in Hyderabad. My joke about the king of the jungle not being happy if you don’t call him correctly falls flat. When I mention Beer she warns me not to spoil the child by mentioning alcohol. I try another angle. I ask her your name is Lata. How would you feel if someone calls you Latha. Well she is indeed Latha. She has dealt a knock out punch.As I keep the phone down, he looks at me with concern, “ was she angry?” “ No. But at home we shall pronounce it as Lion”. He gladly agrees.

Time for some fun. We bring out the colors and paints. I watch mesmerized as his imagination takes wings. I take pictures with my camera as he is immersed in his creativity. I title it “ The artist at work.” I have captured him for posterity.

A few years back he was in his shower. Suddenly he squeezed himself inside the bucket and smiled naughtily. I rushed for my camera and took a picture. I titled it “ It’s my world”. The picture won an award in USA and it was printed in their annual book. That book is safe in his father’s locker. A pearl from his precious oyster. A remembrance of his colorful childhood when he grows.

He draws an aeroplane and tells me proudly that he will fly it when he grows. When? I ask. Soon very soon. To grow fast, he eats spinach. So that he gets muscles like popeye.

Everyday he checks his muscles in front of the mirror.

The dear innocent angel. Little does he realize that its one of life’s paradoxes. As soon as he grows old , he would yearn to be a child again.

I shall not be alive then. He may relive it some day through another Tanmay.

Just like me.

For now I feel like a kid sitting besides a lake watching the days fly like the brightest kites one can paint.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big brother and the birth of a Mega star!

I am now a big fan of the great KRK. For readers like you who have a less desperate life than me, it may be KRK who? Well to be fair I would have had the same question if I was busy like you guys or had more eclectic tastes. KRK is Kamal Khan, the star who became the first person in the history of Big brother to be evicted for throwing a water bottle at a fellow inmate in the realty show ‘Big Brother’. One could ask how does he become a star by throwing bottle? Well because the great man thinks so.!

I am not a great fan of the ‘Big Brother’. What could be more torturous than watching a bunch of self indulgent has beens or out of jobs actors making a fool of themselves in front of the whole nation. But sometimes life throws moments with a hobson choice at you. And the perspective changes. My luck had finally run out and I was down with flu. Yes the swine did have flu. But it wasn’t swine flu! I was bored.

I had warned my friend that I would rather go miles to the woods and watch monkeys scratching their asses rather than sitting at home and scratching mine waiting for him to return from work.
He pointed to the idiot box. He threw in some cds for me to watch. It couldn’t hold my attention for long. I switched to the news. Barkha dutt was all over NDTV. Someone sue Prannoy Roy. I am not sure on what put me off! Her loud mouth or her louder makeup. I kept surfing.

Suddenly I came across this nugget. he was being interviewed by the great Amitabh Bachchan. It was like a duel between AB and KRK. AB served a quick serve. Don’t you think you behaved like a bad boy. No way! he was a good Samaritan. The poor model sherlyn needs money. She was being nominated by her fellow inmates. So he gallantly offered to leave instead. Also he had promised himself when he entered the big house of the big bro that he would go in a blaze of glory. And he was proud that he didn’t let himself down. Another serve. Well the inmates complained that you never did any work. My fans don’t vote me for the jhadoo pocha. They vote me for what I am. AB looked at him speechless. Andre aggassi would have felt proud.
Didn’t he feel bad. Nah. My name will be inscribed in the history of Big brother for ever as the first contestant who was evicted ; who cares for violence. Point , Set and match to KRK. And yes , AB just stared dumbly as he majestically declared that he was not such a small star that he would be evicted the first week!

Generously he offered a role to AB in his next movie. I wished I could advise him on adding a couplet of ghalib in that movie. “ badnam hue to kya hua naam na hua?”

There’s a fine line between fame and notoriety. Who cares? At least not KRK!!!!!

Let the power be worry about the quality and the dignity in television shows. At least not KRK!!!!! He’s too big a star!

Thanks KRK. I can’t promise you that I will watch your movie but I felt priveleged to be there at the momentous occasion and see the birth of a mega star and yes I shall be grateful for saving me that one visit to the woods.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fashion street is a dead end street!

The Indians have great sartorial style and are dapper dressers. It hit me hard twice in the last week. The Americans believe in dressing only for formal occasions or when in office.
In the USA , its common to wear shorts and t-shirt for a party. In fact, they wear shorts all the time when they are not in office.

As they say in Rome do as romans do. They also say its easy to catch dirty habits. Well I caught this dirty habit easily and behaved as the romans, I mean Americans for a large part of the last ten years. My mind , it seems , went for a vacation as soon as I arrived home. I should have remembered that I am in India now. One need not be a Gautam Buddha and sit under a tree. Epiphany can strike you even when you are exhibiting your hirsute legs to a group of elegantly dressed gentry sipping cocktails and mocktails.

Also, you need not be badly dressed to make an idiot of yourself. I remember when I joined my first company in London. The Englishmen are some of the finest dressed people. My bad luck I was joining on a Friday. The HR lady who was in charge of my orientation did a perfect job ,only forgetting to tell me about the funky Friday. All came dressed in torn jeans and tshirts.I reached there to find me looking like a bull in a china shop.

Times have changed since we were kids. I was tacky then ,I am tacky now. But it requires more money to keep us tacky now. The fashions have undergone a huge change. Lots of things changed. Branded clothes weren’t available then as easily.But one thing remained constant. No matter what I wear I manage to look cheap!

Style is something which doesn’t depend on the money you spend. It depends on how you can carry it.

The earlier Film stars were originals. I remember the time when Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh were the rage. They made those ugly bell bottoms look hip. Rajesh Khanna brought in the Guru Kurtas. Jeetendra brought white shoes in fashion. Among women, Zeenat Aman was an iconoclast. Before her , the heroines were meant to be all coy and dressed up only in saris. She broke all the barriers. Boy cuts, halters, the minis and the midis. She made everything look great. Sadly these days the stars simply follow the international couture. Its hard to see any special signature style.

Among the politicians, I remember Benazir Bhutto’s visit to India with her father PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She was a big hit with the media because of her style.

The Late PM Mrs. Gandhi too was always immaculately dressed. She had a charisma about her. I remember seeing her after she lost the elections. I was a school boy then. She came to address a rally in Agra. There wasn’t much security as she was no longer a PM. I could see her from pretty close. As the other boys and girls waved, I just gawked. She had that effect.

The late Maharani Gayatri devi of Jaipur had that effect too.

The young generation of politicians are all pretty fashionable and each has his own signature style. My favorites would be Omar Abduallah, Sachin Pilot, Scindia and Rahul Gandhi.

How can we forget the king of fashion , the stylish Sidhu with his matching turbans and ties!

Each one of us may not possess fashion sense but we must at least try to fashion our common sense into not doing something stupid.

I remember my date with pretty Gisela. As we made ourselves comfortable and looked at the menu to order our drinks, I whispered in her ears that I was a hit with girls cos they considered me harmless. I pass out after the first drink. She laughed loudly and complimented me on my sense of humor. That should have been my cue to shut up.

She was wearing a very chic Pierre Cardin dress. As I complimented her she beamed happily. To my horror I heard myself saying, “ Isn’t it ironic that we spend huge amounts of money to buy clothes but our happiest moments are when we are out of them.”

Clearly any kind of sense can’t be taught in the books – fashion sense or even plain horse sense!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Indian Diary II

This by far, is the weakest diwali I have ever seen. There seems to be no enthusiasm. It seems specially strange for a city like Hyderabad. The city emits a positive energy. But this year I can’t see any decorations or much hype. I first came to this city on dusehra some twenty years back. Today it is like a second home to me.

I love the hyderabadi hindi. ‘Bole to. Uno hich dekh leta. Tu light le. Pareshan nako ho.’ Or ‘Arre woh samne wali building kanne ruk main tyran main hawa dalke ataich abhi.

Professionally, I am still not going anywhere. I never thought that getting four real good software candidates would be so difficult.

We collected almost 50 resumes. One look and you get a feeling that Bill Gates would send his chartered plane to pick these guys. But within the first few minutes of the interview you realize that you have been duped. I imagine Bill Gates sending the plane to drop these guys back. Why do we lie so much? The client is totally fazed. He wants to shift base and try in Pune. But the swine flu and the high cost of living makes me try harder.

I remember last year meeting an American in the bar in the Taj hotel. He complained that even after four years in India he still finds it hard to work with Indians. His grouse was that they were too quick to accept any dead lines but never bothered to finish them in time. We tried explaining that India is a big country. There are good people and bad people. And it was just his bad luck. Today I need to remind myself about that conversation to pep me up. Come on good guys! Where are you hiding?

Yugesh, my nephew , decided to give his uncle a surprise but was surprised himself. Poor boy, came all the way from Dehradun to Gwalior to meet me. Wish he had checked it out with me. I too feel strange that this is my first diwali in India when I am not home. But young Tanmay is happy. He fails to understand why everyone doesn’t live in his house. He is too young to understand that as we grow we create our own islands.

We Indians have remarkable buoyancy. We take calamities in our stride. The floods have wreaked havoc. But the indomitable triumph of these brave people triumphed. Life is again coming back to normalcy.

It was one cold and blustery night in Haridwar a few years back. I saw one young boy carrying huge loads on his slender shoulder. Suddenly he slipped and the load fell down. I , along with a few passerby rushed to help him. He slowly staggered back on his legs and smiled impishly. “ its just a bruise nothing serious.” I asked him how did he manage to smile. He grinned back , “ My leg is bruised but my lips are alright.”

It is this indomitable spirit that refuses to bow down.

Its October the fifteenth. I have already been here for a fortnight. Looks like the time has wings. Its flying like a breeze. Next week hopefully Gwalior and Dehradun. Or maybe not!

Ah the glorious uncertainities !!!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My India Diary

It’s great to be back. I have a strange biology. While everywhere everyone’s falling sick I am fit as a fiddle. No jet lag, no sore throat, no fevers. In short, I am enjoying it. life never felt so good.

Suddenly yesterday Sandeep buzzed me and asked me to write about Barack Obama in my blog and I was like huh? Imroz tells me to keep blogging.these guys bring me back to reality. My blog, Barack Obama and everything else is buried under heaps of biryanis and jugs of beers! I must admit that the hyderabadi biryani continues to be tastier year after year. The huge bottle of beer is a cultural shock at first when you are used to the pint sized ones in USA. But not for long.
Now I too effortlessly guzzle them in pairs!

I feel that George Bush can claim some credit for the Noble prize. I guess the committee thought that Bush was more dangerous for world peace than any one else. So Obama was given it just to see his ass off! I am a great admirer of Obama. But so far he has only talked the talk. If I were him, I would go and collect it only after I had walked the walk.

Incidentally if intentions were the only criterion I should be in the reckoning for the Nobel prize for literature.

I visited Kurnool just as floods were arriving. Its heart breaking to see such ravage. Once in a while nature unleashes its fury just to remind us that we cant be arrogant.

Every year when I visit India I see some great changes. The new airports are a sight for sore eyes. Both Delhi and Hyderabad can now claim to be world class. I was pleased with the foot massager at the delhi airport. I had just one suggestion for GMR, the company responsible for the operations there. While I did compliment them in their suggestions book, maybe they could next try for a complete body massager!!!!! Kidding.
But twenty hours of travel makes me a wreck. And I am not growing any younger.

Tanmay, my friend’s precocious 7 year old is growing. I find my knowledge inadequate to teach him. When he asked me what was LOGO , I tried explaining that it was the symbol by which we recognize a company like Mcdonald, only to be curtly told by him that it was the Language of graphics Oriented! I simply stared.

Later when he brought out his books of cats, I could barely recognize a few tigers, leopards and pumas. Those made for just the first few pages. The rest was simply greek and latin to me. Do children really have to grow and lose their innocence in a pile of books? But he is still the bubbly kid when we are on the ground. We have to make a few adjustments though.The cycling has included some daredevil stunts and the park doesn’t interest him much anymore. He has announced that he will visit USA with uncle. When his mom scares him that uncle cant cook, he sagely informs her, “ I can manage with bread!”

The Television was just where I left before. The news channels look menacing as each news is a breaking news and every news caster the prophet of doom! Can’t someone tell them that news is serious business. Among the shrieking and wailing I look for some sanity.
The only professional channel is the CNBC. The presenters are all elegantly dressed, know their subject and present the show in a very pleasing under stated way.

Among the various reality shows, the li’l champs is my favorite. The depth and the range of the young kids is amazing. I cried with the venerable Asha Bhonsle as a young boy from Mathura sang his own creation. What abundance of talent!

The other day , I watched mesmerized as I accidently hit a telugu channel. A physically challenged kid ,Ganesh , dazzles the judges and the audiences with his amazing dancing talent and innocent smile. I don’t think he needs the crutches of sympathy to win the show. The Jaipur foot was more in my mind! The kid is a winner all the way.

I am yet to visit Gwalior, my home. Cancelled my ticket twice. But as I told my sister, I must first find my financial footing. Festivals are a state of mind. If the pockets are full, its diwali, nahi to diwala!

Often people ask me if my cheese has moved to India and am I relocating for good. Well, we live in a global village. It took me twenty hours to reach India from the states, almost the same time it takes me to reach Gwalior from Hyderabad. USA is as much my home as India. So it takes time.

But this is a time for festivities. time for revelry.Not for deep philosophical humbug. The Obamas and other issues can wait.

As you light your homes with the traditional earthern lamps and eagerly await the arrival of Godess Lakshmi, here’s my fervent wish that your homes are filled with happiness and prosperity. May the goddess’s benign hand bless your home always. May the smiles on your faces be brighter than the brightest of the lamps and may the sound of laughter be louder than any of the crackers that you burst.

Happy Diwali.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Singh a Song of six pence!

I was wrapped in my thoughts, happy at returning home finally after a few faux pas'. I was planning to write a vivid and colorful post, embellished with some very lachrymose moments.

But all I could think of was one word – Incredible.

I always thought that one had to be incredibly stupid or incredibly patriotic to travel by Air India. I am both. I immediately realized my stupidity as I was collecting my boarding pass in Chicago. The call centre expectedly had bungled. He not only gave me a wrong advise regarding my rescheduling resulting in me paying more than necessary, but also I was informed at the Chicago airport that they couldn’t issue my connecting boarding pass from there but had to collect it from delhi airport. What that meant was that I would collect my baggage go through the customs, cross the road again stand in a queue ,get the boarding pass, clear the security and come and sit on the same seat!!

I was fuming as I waited in the seating area before boarding. However my fury lessened considerably as I saw the procession of pretty air hostesses glide gracefully past me like svelte models on a ramp. I saw the appreciating looks of the American passengers. I am no sexist and respect age, but come on ,give beauty its due. I must admit that the only airlines which could give our girls a run for their money is the Thai Airways.

As I entered the plane, I simply gasped. Yes trust me. It had that effect on me.
The interiors are breath taking, the ambience is perfect. I have traveled in almost all the major airlines and I can certify that the service is top class.

I had one drunk passenger stumping me with a rather brainy question. The tipsy guy pointed at the toilet and said that its written that it is a non smoking zone. Then where is the smoking zone? It was a question from either a genius or someone itching for a smoke. A mere mortal like me was certainly not qualified to answer such a profound observation.

I simply said, “ sir I am speechless.”

Again the ground staff at the Delhi airport was incredible. They were polite , efficient and eager. I did cross the road, I did go through the customs. But they ensured to make it as comfortable as possible. They also saved me another customs at the destination.

I must say I am really impressed. What saddened me was the nonchalant attitude of an inept government hell bent on destroying a wonderful carrier.

I sat right in front of the airhostess as the plane descended. I compliment her on their service and we ended up chatting. As the air hostess explained their predicament , I saw the human face behind the glamour. Its not a pleasant feeling when you work hard and are not paid your salary. The pilots and the airhostess do a real hard work. They surely deserve to be paid.

I felt rage. JRD Tata , the father of Indian aviation and the owner of Tata airlines which was then transformed into Air India must be turning in his grave. I think its time the government returns this wonderful carrier to the Tata fold again.

The IITs are one of our venerable institutions. I was proud ,when once the immigration officer in Miami mentioned about that ‘wonderful school’. They bring out the finest brains in the country. And the people who are responsible are the professors.They must be treated with dignity and respect. If they have to come on the road, something is really wrong. Our education minister doesn’t want to increase their salary; The corporate minister wants to reduce the salary of the CEOs. I am waiting for the health minister ,not to be left behind, to majestically declare reducing the doctors' salary.

Ah the queen's men!

Austerity like charity never begins from their home!

There is just one word – Incredible!

Tail piece : During the elections , I had written an article for sify.com. An irate reader, perhaps a congress supporter, acidly wrote that these NRIs should be kicked on their butt when they visited India.
I am glad he is unaware of my itinerary!

Monday, September 21, 2009

EID happens only in India!!!!!!!!

While in school, two of my favorite stories were Somerset Maugham’s The Luncheon and Munshi Premchand’s Idgah. I can’t remember how many times I read both of them.

Munshi Premchand was the master of understatement. His signature style was his simplicity. Idgah is the sublime story of a four year old orphan’s conquering of his temptations on the Eid day and sacrificing his idi in buying a pair of tongs for his grandmother. I can only think of ‘ The gift of Magi’ which captures the sacrifice in love so brilliantly.

Sadly in our eclectic circle we didn’t have any muslim and so till I entered college, eid was something we only watched on the television. Everything changed when a muslim friend came to live in our colony and they became family friends. Eid became as much a part of our lives as Diwali. I remember the fun we had going to his dad for Idi. He would buy some gifts for us in advance.

We used to wait for the Eid ka Chand and the subsequent declaration by the Imam of Delhi.

One Eid there was some confusion. But I was a real hog and always greedy for the tempting sheer korma. So I woke up early morning switched on the radio and rushed to their house to wish. The startled family woke up to a commotion which was rare in their house. we were summoned to get milk. The milk had vanished from the market. His father went to buy meat. We scoured the whole city and brought the milk from far. I was sitting behind on the motorcycle clutching the can like a trophy and this guy zooming like a rodeo. That evening as we sat for the meals, there was a lot of laughter. It was the most satisfying we ever had.

Later when I moved to Hyderabad, Ramzan and Eid became a big part of our social calendar. A new world of mouth watering delicacies were introduced. Haleem and nihari along with the biryanis and mirchi bhajjis became synonymous with Hyderabad. ( I was notorious because I used to remove the mirchi and eat only the fritter! My hyderabadi friends hated me for that but I cant eat Mirchi to save my life!)

We were busy during the ramzan days exploring places like the Grand Kakatiya and Hotel Viceroy. Now this hotel has been taken over by the Marriot.

Hotel Niagara also was one popular joint. But I never went there much.

Once one local friend derided us as elitist and snobs and offered to take us to the most happening place, the Charminar in Old Hyderabad. I must confess that if you discount the unhygienic conditions , it has the most delicious food available. So we carried our own water but at the last moment our defences crumbled and so got the whole thing packed and ate it at home. It was heavenly. I did eat there once though and it was heavenly. I remember once we were not in Hyderabad and while returning kept discussing about haleem in the car. Imagine when we reached the outskirts , our friend orders the driver to Charminar and as people were having their morning tea, this guy sat and ate haleem at 4 am much to our amusement.

Even the haleem packaged by pista house was a hit.

‘Tabla’ was the one to go for Biryani. I know the local hyderabadis will wrinkle their noses. But Hotel Niagra doesn’t serve Beer! On second thoughts , even Blue fox was good. To be fair enough there are so many wonderful joints , its impossible to really pick.

When I moved to UK, my neighbours were all Pakistanis. They used to send very aromatic and delicious sweet rice full of dry fruits. My mom always was scandalized. She used to warn me don’t eat their food. I must say , they were the finest neighbors we had. Ignorance breeds hatred. I once saw one Restaurant owner from Lahore who was fondly feeding a sikh youngster who had just arrived from India . Later he told me that he was from Amritsar before the partition and this youngster reminded him of his home in Delhi.
We must remember that the blood flowing in everyone’s veins is red.

Perhaps festivals could be a good way of reducing the animosity between two communities.

The delectable cuisine from the Muslim kitchen could easily warm the cockles of any Hindu’s heart just as which muslim could resist the aromas of a hindu rasoi.

I am blessed to be born in a rain bow country where every diversity vanishes in the cauldron of a unifying sheer korma.

Eid Mubarak.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD"

I felt famished as we landed. I eyed the chipotle hungrily and ordered for one. Bread Sourdough , Chips Jalapoeno , drink – Pepsi. I couldn’t believe my ears that was me ordering. There was no way I was going to eat all that. I had never done that before.

I did. But then I could barely stand up. I wasn’t sure if I should feel happy on my achievement or feel sorry for my predicament. I had a meeting at 4.00 and all I wanted to do was sleep.

I am in Texas. Home of the lovable George Bush. You would know about him if you loved Disney.

The cab driver was a ruddy old cowboy with a hat larger than anything I had ever seen.
He tipped his hat a bit, bent his massive frame a bit more and his creased face broke into the warmest smile I had seen. He became ruddier as he smiled. I imagined a beetroot with a hat on.
I wasn’t the only one smiling though.

“ You got a strange accent there.”

“ Yes strange.”

“ strange as in?”

“ accent”

“ which country do you come from?”

“ India”

“ as in red India”

“ No as in brown India.” Fortunately the hotel wasn’t very far.

I love the hotel. Its elegant.

I showered, shaved and put on a crisp white Oxbridge shirt to go with my suit. I eyed myself critically as I knotted my tie. Must make a lasting impression.

This time Frank gave me an appreciating look.( I have my own quirks. Like to hire the same cabbie for the whole day. So Mr. Beet root has a name.)

Austin convention centre.

He looked at me incredulously. “You going there?” “yes why?” “You don’t look that type?”

“ as in?” I was learning his language fast. “Well they all are a bunch of unwashed, unkempt gangly kids there. The school going kind.”

This was weird. I thought conferences are all suit and tie affair. So what if it’s a Gaming one. Alas , Frankie was right.

They were staring at me as if I had walked into a nude beach with a tuxedo on. Wake up uncle Rip Van Rinkle. Things changed while you were sleeping.


Thank you Frankie. YOU are more my kind than THEM. so I invite him for a drink in the evening. He takes me to a charming quaint bar. More cowboy hats and ruddier faces greet me. I feel like I walked into one of my childhood favourite series Olivier Strange’s Sudden.. I am waiting for some one to pull out a revolver and shoot.
But they all are warm and boisterous. I explain to a bunch of guys my predicament since morning. Well we have an unofficial motto “ Keep Austin weird” one guy explains as they break into another round of laughter. “ welcome to Austin”. I smile. This is home territory. Anyone who drinks will understand what I mean. All the beer guzzlers are united by a common bond of brotherhood. Nothing is weird anymore. not even Big Ole frankie who gets ruddier as he drinks.

But wait. The night is not yet over. I enter the elegant hotel and meet with the charming manager. She changes my room as the internet is not working in this room. Again after another one hour I notice that the faucet is not working. She apologizes and now gives me a massive double room instead as a gesture. We can learn customer service from these guys.
This room is perfect. I set the alarm for four and go to sleep. Its been a great day.

The phone keeps buzzing gently. Far from the shrill ones when we were young. The one which made you jump out of your skin. Surprised I pick it up. As I say a sleepy hello, choicest of abuses are hurled from the other end at me for being a two timer and a jerk and then silence and then sobs. Another round of abuses as I tell her that she is talking to the wrong person. “ you a%^*&. Why didn’t you say that before?” before I could explain that she never allowed me, she slams the phone.
Its 3 am. I try to sleep again. Before I fall into the arms of Somnos, the god of sleep, the alarm goes off. Time to shower and leave. Got to catch sleep in the flight.

As I am having coffee, frank calls from the reception. I am pleased as punch. He’s bang on time.

I shut my laptop , switch off all the light and as I am leaving on an impulse return back and switch off the ac, my groggy brain too blank to realize that they will all close automatically once I remove the card. Bingo! That triggers the fire alarm making me jump a feet. I am horrified. I jab every button inside the room. Nothing happens. I rush with my things to the ground floor wary of the guests next to my room. The sound is deafening. But the reception is locked. Recession. Cost cutting. No manager in the night shifts. They only come at 7am. No security either.

Frank roars with laughter. “ This is a big hotel. Someone will take care. Let them earn their bread.”
He says non chalantly.

As we reach the airport, I offer my hand for a shake. He brushes it aside and covers me in a massive bear hug. I feel for a few crushed bones.

Its my turn to grin. I love Weird. it’s the normal that scares me.

I love you Austin.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Austerity in Gandhi Land!

Oh!East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.

Shashi Tharoor, our dapper Minister of state for foreign affairs is learning it the hard way. So while a President Obama can not only get away by calling Kanye West a Jackass, he is applauded for his wit, Tharoor finds himself in a hole because of his witty remark on twitter. He may be learning two things soon. That while Delhi chatterati twitters, they neither chat nor twitter! Confused? Well, life is more complex in Delhi than in the United Nations, Shashi!. What you see , you unsee and what you unsee is what you really see.

The other thing is that in Congress you do not joke about anything but it is ok if you yourself become a joke. Ask Abhishek Singhvi. He looks normal till he goes ballistic about his Madam Supremo. Take a look at his discussion on ibnlive. You would think that the next thing he would do is declare Madam Sonia as the Mother of the Nation.

Any normal being can see the frivolousness of Sonia’s Economy travel. It wasn’t economical by any stretch of imagination. But we can forgive Singhvi or Sonia. Maths is not their strong point. Imagine booking first two rows for her. Mama mia! You could have traveled first class lady. That would have been real austere. And if you had left the three SUVs which cost 3 lakhs in transportation! But oh security. Isn’t there a more austere thing to do. Down size the jumbo cabinet. You could have the whole jumbo jet.

Reminds me of the queen who was puzzled that why don’t her people eat cakes if bread was scarce. Way to go Sonia. Not to be outdone the baba traveled by train. I am not sure how many seats were reserved for him.

Looks like it requires more money to keep the Gandhis poor. Remember Sarojini Naidu’s immortal comment on Mahatma Gandhi’s austerity. She had commented that it requires more money to keep the mahatma poor. Things haven’t changed much.

But this is not about the Gandhis or the Congress. They both are incorrigible. But it is about a suave and educated Tharoor. Will he be removed for one silly joke which went horribly wrong?

Well he could be the latest Sacrifice on the altar of populism. Sometimes I confuse BJP and Congress these days. They look like the two sides of the same coin. Remember Jaswant singh?

There’s nothing much we can do. Jinnah would surely agree.

On a more somber note, it was sad that Patrick Swazye finally succumbed to cancer. he was not just a brilliant dancer. He was a wonderful human being too. He had an Indian connection too. He acted in ‘ The city of Joy’ and was a great friend of Om Puri.

May his soul rest in Peace.

Tail piece : some one wrote a comment in a leading newspaper that they should write only about the people he knows. This was against an article on Kanye West’s recent meltdown.
Brush up your knowledge mate! If the paper goes by your advise, the editor wouldn’t know what to do after the first half of the front page!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bacchanalia!

No this is not about Amitabh Bachchan. He is a great star but still I am not going to build a temple for him. There are several reasons for that. It has nothing to do with his talent. He would certainly stand tall in front of a Khushboo ( no pun). But I am not from south. Again he isn’t half as sexy as Khusboo. And imagine the height of the temple to accommodate this towering man. Logistic nightmare really.!

Well this is about an unsung god. Lord Bacchus and his celebration. Why hasn’t anyone thought about it yet?

Lord Bacchus is the god of wine. I can say with confidence that he has more followers in India than any part of the world. Show me an adult who doesn’t drink and you have shown me the eight wonder of the world ( ok that’s an exaggeration).

We have often come closer to giving him the respect due. I can see bacchanalia during every procession starting from as sacred as the Ganesh immersion or as mundane as a municipality ward winners.

Think about it. What will our politicians bribe with if there is no booze. Rooh afza?

What about corporate meetings?
We tried one meeting with a client over a plate of idli and coffee. As expected the meeting finished in twenty minutes and the client insisted that he forgot his visiting card at home and that he lost his mobile in the morning. When his mobile suddenly rang, he cheerily replied, “ wow I must rush to the temple and pray. I have just seen a miracle.”

Sarat Chandra would have sold his idea of Devdas to some Punjabi writer if he had a devdas who drank lassi in the memory of his paro.
Dilip Kumar would have become Adnan Sami, before completing that movie.

Can you imagine Harivansh Rai Bachchan, that talented poet who wrote the immortal
‘ Madushala’. Would he have been able to bring out all the philosophies of life so beautifully if he had written ‘a ganne ka ras bar’ instead ?

I propose that we have something like the famous beer festival in India too.

Here's my hic hic love story. Thank you Lord Bacchus for being there whenever i need you.

Sunday Morning
Saw her at the mall.
Thousand stars sparkled even in the hot stall.

We met she smiled.
She said you are fine.
I gave her flowers; we had wine.

Tuesday evening discotheque.
Funky music but me two feet
The strobe lights on she Pranced like a deer.
I watched hypnotized and guzzled some beer.

Wednesday evening dialogues corny.
She was coy I was horny.
As night wore , we were frisky.
What better drink than a peg of whisky.

Thursday come.
All passions gone.
All serene.
We wrapped each other in our arms
And drank some gin.

Friday night.
Fcking night!
She broke my head I broke her heart.
She was teary I all pain.
The whole bar shouted champagne champagne

All alone Sunday noon. Swatting flies nothing to do.
Thinking of the past. Bloody whole week.
I wanted to cry, gimme my fun.
Drowning sorrows, coke and rum.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Go Harbhajan Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Picture this guys. There are no Harbhajans or no Shoaib Akhtars or Symonds. The teams all comprise of the Sachins and Dravids. I would rather read my moral science lesson.

Ask any kid. They love the lions and tigers in a circus. But it’s the joker who steals the show.

To be fair enough, these guys are never given their dues. They are what I would call full whole some family entertainers. Don't for a moment mistake them for ordinary cricket players!

Think about Shane Warne and his colorful antics. He was the perfect balance to the gentlemanly Kumble. What an entertaining duel!

I know a lot many will be scandalized. Cricket is a gentleman’s sport. They are role models. They should conduct themselves with dignity.

Well life is a rainbow. Imagine what would happen if you were to eat healthy organic food all your life. No chaat, no spicy pav bhaaji. Naah you say. Not possible.

So you don’t want to sacrifice your mirchi Bhajji but don’t mind crucifying our dear bhajji with a temper like a real mirchi!

Accept it guys! The most endearing image of Sourav Ganguly at the Lords was his baring his chest and spinning his shirt. But for that, I would have forgotten that match by now.

Can you ever forget Sreesant doing the Jig after hitting six against his tormentor Andre Nel.

Don’t feel sorry for the camera man. He will have his ass whooped any way. Hasn’t he heard of something called a zoom. If it is not Bhajji , there would be someone else.

Also, I have one advise to all those screaming, hysterical out of breath reporters who pretend like they have just walked out of a convent and are seeing such bad behavior for the first time. They should pay 20% of their earnings to the bad boys and girls. They would be jobless otherwise.

Imagine if there was no Rakhi Sawant.? They would have to conduct their own swayamvars and go and cook for their 9/5 working hubby.

Finally my advise to Harbhajan. You were just ok. A push is not enough.
You need some real professional help.
There’s a guy who was one up on you. Don’t go on his mad ass laughing on the Laughter Challenge show. He could kick some real ass with his bat. He answers to the name of Navjot Singh Sidhu.

And to all the detractors. Yes I adore Sachin and Dravid. But then I want Harbhajan too.

If we liked Amir Khan did we stop loving a Mogambo or a aahoooooo Shakti Kapur!
Grow up guys. These tabloids too have to make a living. So they will keep fingering all the bad boys.!

Loosen your belt, remove your shows, get out your popcorns and watch the fun. The sky isn’t falling.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

To Sir with love.

Today is the teachers day. Wonder how many people remember that? Wouldn’t blame them though. Now we almost celebrate everyone’s day.

But push your valentine for a moment and give this soul some space.

The teacher leaves behind an indelible mark on us. ask me!I can slide my hand inside my pant and feel. The marks are no longer there. but I can still feel the pain!

We belong to the era when it was not fashionable to spare the rod.

Each teacher had his own school of thought. But they all agreed on one point. The only way these brats could be disciplined was by being generous with the cane.

Well all teachers weren’t so predictable. Some were quite innovative.

Some progressive and technologically advanced believed in missiles. My Maths teacher used to throw duster if he heard even a whisper from any direction. The students soon became adept in ducking. Some became good catchers too. Wish our cricket players had such teachers!

I did my initial schooling from St.Johns’. The father there was an environmentalist. He didn’t believe in tampering with nature. So the use of scale or duster was kind of anathema to him. He had , what then was called a ‘tappu’ a long swinging bulbous weapon which he tapped on the head leaving the victim teary eyed. Mother nature was a cohort too.

Then there was one sadist. He used to insert a pencil between two fingers and give the fingers a squeeze. The shrieks of the hapless student were enough to scare the day lights of the other students. No wonder, his assignments were always submitted on time.

I remember a pretty teacher who unfortunately had to teach our class as her first assignment. Bad luck for her. It was the most notorious class. She was a very sweet and kind hearted lady. Maybe she was warned in the teachers’ room to carry a scale.

But when the time came to use it, her hands faltered. She gave a kiss of the scale on one of our class mate’s hands leaving the class rolling on the floor. Soon this news spread in the school. Today I can imagine the torment she must have gone through. For once even our Principal couldn’t hide his smirk when he came to our class to advise us.

If someone thinks that these teachers were the watered version of Atilla the hun, you have another think coming. They were the most kind hearted and dedicated people I have ever seen. I can say they did a very good job. If there are some lacuna, the fault is totally ours.


I remember how when I had to return to my old school mid term and the new principal refused to accept my application asking me to return in the next year, my chemistry , English and biology teacher went in a delegation and convinced him. To top it, my chemistry teacher even got me scholarship so I didn’t pay any fees for the last two years of my school. Teachers , I bow my head.

I was away from home for my last two years of school. I was almost adopted by the teachers there. They were my parents, my guides my everything. Much to my embarrassment, the home science teacher often brought lunch for me and made me sit and eat in the teachers room. I used to shudder because it used to be followed by a lot of ragging from my class mates. Sissy boy!

I once met my vice principal after a span of almost ten years in a book store while I was buying books for my nephew. As I bent down and touched his feet , he was visibly moved. He wanted to say a lot, but just a few tears rolled. I too drove back home misty eyed.

The exigency of work , the pressures of modern life and sheer laziness; I have practically lost touch with my class mates. We didn’t have the benefit of internet then. No emails. It was still old fashioned post cards. We weren’t different than the youngsters of today. We never wrote to each other.

One old friend somehow reached me after almost twenty years! the first thing he shared was that our Physics teacher came to attend his wedding and he was the most important guest for him.

Immediately after my mother’s death, my sister was unable to teach her students. I taught them for a month. When I was leaving for USA, a shy teenager came and presented me a clock. It had four simple words. “ To Sir with love.”

That was the best gift anyone had ever given me. even today it sits proudly on my table.

I can never claim that I was as good a teacher as my teachers. But it still felt good.

Wish I could roll back the time and do the same for my teachers too. Tell them that our wickedness didn’t mean a thing and that you were the best thing that happened to us.

Alas! His clock has only one direction. It only moves forward.

All I can do is rub my seat and remember the indelible mark they left.

Teachers ! You are priceless. May you live long!

(Yes I know the Title says Sir but doris day looked so pretty.couldn't resist!)