Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Viva la Vida

Today as I went to deposit my rent, the secretary gave her warmest smile. She simply amazes me. how can someone smile all the time.

It was coffee time for her. So she invited me in and we started chatting. Suddenly she asked me how do I like Miami? I was taken aback. Its my home. I said. I love it. Why?
Because of people like you. Her face lit into her trademark smile as she picked up the empty cups , “ Liar”.

It isn't a lie really.There is so much associated with this beautiful city.

I remember when I came to Miami it was terrifying. I was suffering from the most painful back ache. I could barely stand for twenty minutes. Today I can barely sit for twenty minutes!
(Nah that’s a big exaggeration. Forgive me I get carried away.
My butt , apart from my eyes, is the most abused part of the body. )

My first time to Miami was very dramatic. The hurricane season had started. As our plane started it’s descent, there was a huge storm and we had to land at Palm Beach. There was a sea of humanity. I tried to speak to an officer who replied back in Spanish. I said sir I don’t speak Spanish. He looked derisively at me and said , “ You are Spanish and you don’t want to speak Spanish?”. wow i already belonged. i thought!

The people of Miami are very loving and caring folks. I remember the time I returned after my mother’s funeral. I was so depressed. When I reached my apartment, there was nothing to eat. I had the urge to take the first flight and return back to India. It was Christmas. Celebrations everywhere. But I felt empty.

As I entered publix, a few of the counter girls screamed at me and came and hugged and kissed me. one elderly man at one counter enquired. Do we all get a kiss today? And the girl laughed happily and said no. he is our friend. The man winked at me and said, “ Lucky man.!” The friendly banter relaxed me.

I knew I was home.

I also remember the surprise birthday cake from my co workers. The delicious cake was a reminder that you could bank on your friends in your hour of grief. Thanks Don Pan for making such beautiful cakes. All my grief just vanished in so much of sweetness.!

I remember one particular bad hurricane.No light.No cooking. But the kind neighbors came and enquired if I had enough to drink and eat. Impromptu hurricane barbecues were set and all gathered out as there was no electricity any way. I felt a great respect for them. They made the adversity also a fun to remember.

Another time when I was in the aerobics class in my gym. I was the guy with the two left feet. I was lost and looked around ashamed as the graceful ladies around expertly went through the routines. Suddenly I felt a hand around my shoulders. It was the girl from the next mat. She explained the trick to me. concentrate on the basic steps forget the music. Slowly I got the grasp. The instructor winked at me in encouragement.

It was a shock when MJ died. I was stunned in disbelief as I reversed my car and rammed into a coming one. I cursed myself for being stupid. Yet the first question he asked me was if I was OK. Luckily I was and so was his car! No harm done.

Its just not the people, the food is amazing too. You can find a lot of Caribbean, Latin, Italian and even thai restaurants. Chipotle, fajitas , tortillas , Paellas. All finger licking. I can simply gorge on them.

Satish is a great friend. He is always enthusiastic and encouraging in whatever I attempt. However if there is one thing that he is jealous of is that I live in Miami. How many times he begged me to find him a job in Miami. Alas, if wishes were horses , beggars would ride.

I could go on an on. But space is always a problem.

I tip my hat to this beautiful city.

Gracias Miami. Mucho gracias.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Ramblers Inn

I hate birthdays. They remind me of another year wasted. A slow yet sure inching towards old age. Nah , I am not that pessimist. But yes I am vain enough to color my hair, sweat it out in the gym and try to look hip, funky and contemporary. Not that it works.

When we were growing I looked up at the elder people and long to be like them. Their silver tresses, the crow’s feet , the way their face crinkled as they smiled; even the puffy bags below the eyes, just everything was attractive. They looked so assured, wizened yet elegant. I longed to get old.

But as I grew old nothing of that sort happened. I realized a few home truths. That all people don’t age elegantly. That age doesn’t necessary mean wise and it is good to be ugly and young than be old and uglier!

Last night that feeling of being an Austin 1924 model among a row of shining Ferraris became that more apparent as my room mates arranged an impromptu party.

Normally I avoid such parties.

But I yielded since they were leaving soon.

I wasn’t disappointed.

I pride myself on knowing something about drinks. But all that pride went for a toss as I stared goggle eyed as they fished out colorful exotic mixes from their grocery bags.

My eyes further widened as one of them expertly concocted various cocktails. We had martinis, tequila shots and margaritas. I always thought you could get them only in fancy bars! We had some very decent conversation too.

I watched with fascination as DJ Chai , now an apprentice but I am sure a successful DJ in future, showed his skills on the newly acquired turn table. I learnt a few things about scratching. For a successful DJ, personality is an important thing apart from talent. I believe he has the charisma and the cheekiness which will make him a hit. He also has a boundless energy and passion to go with it. good luck DJ Chai.

My third roomie is another charmer. He has exquisite etiquettes and is a voracious reader of current news. I heard he is quite a ladies man in the office.why am I not surprised!

We were room mates for a few months. And yet we knew so little about each other.

This is a new experience for me. sharing the house with others.

Recession has taught quite a few things.

Life is a journey. And my house, like my novel’s title , is the Rambler’s Inn.

We meet ,we part and finally what are left are memories.

They are all smart. They are young. They are ambitious. And they are talented.

I wish them luck.

Farewell guys! Fare well in whatever you do.

I , like millions of his fans all over the world , have still not got over the shock of MJ’s death. The world has become that much poorer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009



sex in the office!!!!!!!

I love politicians. They are like sunshine. Never a dull moment.

To succeed in politics, a politician needs to shut two things – his mouth and his fly. But looks like politicians never listen.

Eminent sexologists claim that sex is triggered by something that happens between the two ears and not between the two legs! ( OK I made that up)

But our politicians are always help bent on proving all theories wrong. If he really used his brain, he would know quite a few things. Like not to send emails to extra marital affairs from the office, Not soliciting sex from minors or approaching interns and other employees for sex or if he is smarter no sex at all. Well power is the big turn on. Its an orgasm with a capital P.

When it comes to sex , however, there is no much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. Maybe slight. David Letterman, the Late night comedian once remarked that at least the Democrats wait for them to become adults!

Its time Politics is given the status of Entertainment industry.

Bill Clinton is now in the Hall of fame. We have more enterprising , more out of the world affairs that make his antics look pretty benign. At least Bill Clinton saved the tax payer money by doing it in the office. Mark Sanford, the SC Governor and the potential VP candidate for the next election , went all the way to Argentina on our, the taxpayer' money, to meet his flame. He doused his passion and his career i am afraid. the latest news is he has resigned! Not to worry, Mark, judging by your love mails, you can have a career in writing.

Sample this "Sanford gushes about Maria's "magnificent gentle kisses," tan lines, hips and "erotic beauty." And while he acknowledges that they are in "a hopelessly impossible love," his "heart cries out for you" and for "an even deeper connection to your soul." ( courtesy Time Magazine).

move over Mills and Boons. you too Jackie Collins!

In every three four months, one or the other politician confesses to an extra marital affair. The entire cycle is predictable. First there is the denial. Then the proof of the affair is thrown in his face. A sheepish confession follows. A press conference with a grim faced wife supporting her husband in his hour of distress is the end of the saga. Are these wives really that sad creatures , the sacrificial lambs on the altar of family life or scheming vixens unable to leave the lure of glamor and good life.

Each new scandal throws something more bizarre than the previous one. so we had the NY Governor paying $1000/hr to a call girl and the Louisiana Governor in the infamous DC Madam scandal. Each outdoing the other in being outrageous. All tax payers' money remember.

And as the stakes grow the more risks they take. A candidate for the President or the VP ,be it a Kennedy or now Sanford ,do things even a kindergarten would know are risky. And by things I don’t mean in bed!

Suffice to say that their future, their ambition and their public life hangs by something definitely heavier and thicker than the proverbial thread!!

When people like to read something juicy they go to the Page 3. I look at the front page.
Most of the time I am not disappointed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

To be or not to Be

It was a typical summer afternoon. The sun was brimming fire. We were traveling by car from Nagpur to Hyderabad. The AC almost seemed non functional. Or so it seemed. You could only feel the difference if you walked out. We were on the rough rocky Adilabad terrain. One of the most underdeveloped areas in AP. All one could see around was miles and miles of parched land and some wild bushes.

I was cursing my friend for not taking the Rajdhani express from Nagpur. He had to meet a client on the way. He tried to compensate by putting a cooler filled with beers. We had some dry foods since we were warned that this area doesn’t have any decent restaurants.

I kept grumbling and drinking as we traveled when we saw someone frantically waving us ahead on the road. As we came closer we noticed a young boy , not more than 13, carrying chopped wood on his head. We stopped the car and came out. I felt blinded by the sun and thought I would pass out. It was that hot.

The boys lips were dry and he was thirsty. I fished out a bottle only half full of water which he drank in a few gulps and asked for more. I was kicking myself as I couldn’t find another one. Luckily we had some oranges.

My friend offered him to drop. The boy asked where are you going. My friend said doesn’t matter. Just tell where you want to go. The boy thought for a moment. And then asked what about the wood. My friend explained that we cant fit it in. but we can do one thing. We can buy it. He asked what will we do. We said he shouldn’t be worried. Some how the proud boy didn’t like it. He said no. you guys go.
We gave him all the food we had.
While leaving I slid some money in his pocket. This time he just smiled.

When we left him , his parched lips and red eyes haunted us. I requested my friend to switch off the AC. I switched off the music and we drove all the way in silence.

Today after two years suddenly I remembered him as I was talking over the phone with a friend in Orlando. A young boy who was hardly 24 years old had committed suicide. He had left behind his 20 year old wife and weeping parents. He had everything going for him. A comfortable business, doting parents and a loving wife.

I was looking at the irony. There was nothing going for the 13 year old lad. And yet he strove to survive. This boy had everything going for him. And yet he chose death.

It’s difficult to fathom a human brain. We really don’t know what was going on in his mind as he killed himself. It just wouldn’t be fair to sit on the judgment seat.

Both didn’t know why they were doing.

In life as in death, certain things remain an enigma.

All we are left with is – WHY?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who is afraid of the cops!!

I have always been afraid of cops. Right from the time I heard parents scaring their pesky kids. “ Beta. Quiet. Else the cop will whisk you away.”

The cops, I felt ,were trained to give you such icy stares that you catch a flu! I always felt like a penguin in Antartica in their presence.

But as I grew older and traveled I saw the humane side of them too.

Though I haven’t had a lot of brush with the cops ( tender mercies! ), apart from the occasional ticketing, my experience has been more than pleasant.

I remember the time I went to Togo, a small West African country and lost my luggage there. They only speak French there. you don’t need to be Einstein to guess that it was a French colony! Thank god I had my interpreter to pick me at the airport.

The police station was intimidating with all cops over 6.5’. Their dark complexion made them look menacing. I was ushered to a lady cop who was well endowed; anterior and posterior . She had nails over 7” long. ( yeah . I called them talons). She had music on her table and juggled as she worked. It was quite a sight. I even forgot why I was there.
Once she was done she kept the file and gave the drawer a heave with her massive jugs.
( My interpreter winked at me and called them money makers. To me they looked like the Veritable Bank of Africa!). I got my luggage in a week. Thank you lady cop!

Another time one of my consultants needed a background check. He had just moved in to USA and was thoroughly scared by the imposing cop. The cop handed him the application and told him to fill in. “ Black ink.” He bellowed. “ OKKKKKKK. No BLUE ink”.

The consultant eagerly nodded and went on to fill it in blue! His writing looked like a Cockroach had dipped it’s feet in ink and walked on the paper!

We had a good laugh as he composed himself and filled another one this time in black and legible.

My readers would suggest that I find them pleasant cause I am not in India.
right? WRONG.

We do have good Cops in India too.

I am dedicating this post to a very compassionate, kindhearted and wonderful police officer. His name is DIG Aravind Pandey. He works in Patna as DIG Railways now and if some one is traveling that way say my hi to him!

I think each one of us must go to his blogs and read about the fantastic work he is doing. He is a poet. He is a singer. And he is a humanitarian. He is very benevolent and a credit to the police department.

We always scorn our police department. Maybe most of the time we are right. But once in a while, when we come across some one who is doing a remarkable service, it is only apt that we doff our hat to him.

Thank you DIG Pandey. We owe you a special recognition.

( Please visit his blog. He is in my follower’s list.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Caught with my Pants down - Literally!!

Dictionary meaning :
[ak-si-duh nt]
an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: automobile accidents.

I have never been involved in a serious one so far. Or at least didn’t lose a limb or a leg. I was really lucky. All I lost was a little self respect here a little dignity there.

In fact I plan to chronicle my life with such accidents as the milestones of my growing years. its going to be titled " The growing tears."

Only point folks. All those who thank me for making them laugh. Well, they were accidents. I expected some compassion and understanding. Hate you guys.

Bumblebee goes to school : I was maybe 13. Try as I did , was never able to reach school in time. The gates used to be locked sharply at 8.30. so the only way was through the barbed fencing. One day in a hurry , totally oblivious, I tore my shorts. Rushed to the class as the kids were marching in after the prayers. It was a rainy day. As I ran , I slipped in a poodle where the construction was underway. Education is never easy.
The whole class surrounded me. I was red as they started jeering me. As I stood up, there was another round of laughter as the guys noticed my bloodied cheek peeping out of my shorts. I stood there frozen. Just then there was a hush. The prettiest girl on whom I had a crush but afraid to tell came forward. She picked my bag and came close to me. It was magical. I could here no one. See no one. I thought that this was my moment.

She came close to me, put her hand around my shoulder and whispered those three magical words in my ears, “ Pant is torn”. The sadists were clapping wildly.

I wished I was a Maori, a native New Zealander, and could have done a full
whakapohane (baring one’s buttocks, a traditional Māori insult) instead of that one peeping act.

Make me a kid lord for that one act of revenge.

Bumblebee on a date : She was my first real date. I didn’t want anything to go wrong. A friend advised visit the restaurant , bribe the staff, plan the music. I opted for a candlelit with the romantic Manhattan song, “ want the shining stars.”
As I entered the foyer with my pretty date, the usher saw us. He was as large as Khali, the WWF monster who made me look like an elf.

He gave me a wide smile and bowed respectfully to my date. She was pleased as punch. I got the kick. Literally.

As he opened the door with all the energy induced by my bribe, his giant elbow hit me on my face like a sledge hammer and I simply saw stars.

As we entered inside, the band started playing shining stars. I thought they were playing for me. for that’s all I saw that night. Until I passed out that is.

Bumblebeee in charity : My heart always is in charity. So during tsunami, I arranged for a documentary on the ravages wreaked by tsunami. Just before that, I was talking with my agent and his son was fiddling with my mobile. He said I had a lousy ring tone and could he change it. I absent mindedly said go ahead.
Well before the presentation, I gave a small introduction about the NGO and urged people to switch off their mobiles during the presentation. I barely noticed the brat keeping my mobile on the desk before leaving.
As the documentary began , the audience was totally stricken by the enormity of the situation. Suddenly to my horror the crazy frog ring tone broke the trance.
I couldn’t comprehend for a whole minute as the crowds gasped at the insensitivity.
As the kid came quietly and switched off the mobile everyone looked gratefully at him 'what a nice kid' the look said and looked at me with that despicable look as he handed me the same.
“ what a jerk” the look said.

Bumblebee on the podium : It was an august gathering. I had to round up the show with a brief introduction about my company. As I walked up, I slipped and fell down. I could immediately feel a trapped nerve in my leg.
As some one helped me to the dias, I remarked, “ Ladies and Gentlemen, some good news and some bad. The good news is that I think I have injured myself. So I can’t stand long. So I will be brief. The bad news is that I injured my leg and not my mouth. So I can still talk.” I got a standing ovation.

Bumblebee meets an o'le friend : I was on a visit to India. I was in the market. Suddenly someone tapped me on my shoulder. I was looking at my friend whom I had never seen for almost a decade. We exchanged our addresses and decided to meet at his place for a drink and a dinner. The kind man picked me up and we had a whale of a time. His wife was in splits. I told her how close we were. And she said she could feel the chemistry between us.

And then it happened. I suddenly asked him how was his younger brother. He thought it was one of my silly pranks. He said I don’t have a brother. And horror of horrors! I blurted, “ aren’t you xxx?”.

He was a sport. He went and brought out his old album and showed me who he was.

i was kicking myself. he was my best friend in school!

All that time I was longing to be the Great runner Usain Bolt. And do what he did best.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Journey

Highway bends
Never end

And I feel so lost.

My legs feel weary
Eyes so bleary

And I feel so lost.

the rear mirrors show , the woods I left.
Dark and green, lush serene.

Why must I go. Why must I drive?
Is lust that drives or drive I lust.

I am chasing dreams. And dreams are dreams.
Only dreams and yet we go.

But time has come. I need to stop.
My aching limbs, cant steer me now.

No motel close, No river by.
To quench my thirst or need to lie.

The garbled mind ,the distraught heart.
Pines for peace, for release.

Dunno how , dunno why
Is this the truth or just a lie.

Journey half, cant be undone.
I can hate or I can love.

But till I find or till I die,
Try find my way I cannot shy.

Don’t know when began,
know when to stop.

All I know is I am lost.

Lost yes lost and oh so lost.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mama mia

Since this is the monsoon time, its glorious to walk in the evening. As I took a turn and reached the small water pond I saw a glorious sight.

Have you ever heard the idiom , “ To get your ducks in a row”. well i saw what it really means.

I have never seen human beings so organized.

Against the back drop of a partial black and orange sky, a duck family was crossing the road. The dad was majestically in the front , the chicks making the unruly middle and the stern mother looking very cautious making the rear. Once in a while she nudged her duckling in. luckily the traffic in our community is not a very busy one.

It was a very picturesque moment. I rushed immediately home to get my camera. But by then the procession was in the sanctuary. No amount of bribing or cajoling helped.

The mother just won’t let her children leave her side!

I had to do with some long shots. I am afraid the cute ducklings may not be visible.

All I could say was “ Mamma Mia”.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Corporate Memories- Narayan Murthy and ME - II

(This is just a satire. any one taking it seriously is giving me more respect than I deserve!!!!)

Folks , as promised I am here with the second part of my book.

But before that a foreword.

What is Leadership? Leadership for great leaders means to stoop to conquer.

Leaders like me and Narayan Murthy.

We understand that learning is a process. And any one big or small can be a teacher.

Even Sachin Tendulkar.

Because of Sachin I learnt that it can be very lonely at the top.

Yes, I was in my hideaway, the loo of my fifteenth floor office, the top floor of our office building with a transistor in my hand. It was when the floor caught fire. The commotion in the stadium was definitely more than the doleful staff of our office could create as they trooped out.

As all our staff were made from senior officers who worried more about their diabetes , blood pressure and health care plans than poor ole me , no one noticed my absence.

But leaders show exceptional bravery.

It was only when I smelt a whiff of smoke that I tried opening the door and found it was locked.

As sachin was nearing his century, I climbed to the ventilator and peeped out. It was a giddy sight. A new word was added to my dictionary – acrophobia.

I understood what Great leaders meant when they said it’s lonely at the top. I must shift to a lower floor soon.

My last thought as I passed out was that we both, sachin and I , were out together.

Leaders learn from every accident. I learnt an important lesson. Compatibility. Like mindedness at work.

Hire young staff so no one feels guilty watching cricket and use the rest room for what it is supposed be used for. So I ordered some fresh faces from our Indian office.

But great leaders can make a mistake once in a while.

I made two.

One mistake was quick gun Murugan and the other was called Thunder Thighs.

I conquered both the situations. It helps if you have a command over English like me. then you can conquer in style.


I follow the Britishers. They didn’t rule the world for nothing.

As the British say , “ when the goings go tough , the toughs start going to other places”.

So I sent one went back to India but the other went to Randy’s house even before I could plan something. But Randy saved the situation for me.

Randy requested me to become the best man for the wedding. I was left wondering if I was the best man why was she marrying him? Weird Americans heh?

But wait I am jumping the gun. Damn quick gun Murugan. I wasn’t violent before he came. Never talked of guns.

Folks, I promised you the excerpts. But alas, I have been warned by my detractors to be brief. I know dear readers, we discussed about how jealousy is as old as civilization.

Murugan and Thunder Thighs were not simple problems. You could write books on them.
I must explain the mistakes to you and then you will appreciate why there was an action to a reaction. Or reaction to an action. Or action to an action. Or whatever.
Damn Newton. Couldn’t speak simple English.

I got a mail from a fan from BITS, “ Sir, Thank you for your erudite pearls of wisdom. Not looking forward to read the second part.”

Quoting Shakespeare from Romeo and Juliet I wrote , “ Son, Thank me no thankings and proud me no prouds.” heh Erudite me and my pearls of wisdom heh heh.

I think the Not was a typo. He meant now.

My detractors are stifling their laughter. Petty people. Jealous people.

But I forgive them. That’s what great leaders do.

Like me and Narayan Murthy.