Categories
Incidents

Laptop worries

The new laptop was hacked during our Chennai visit

The virus does not allow us to run even Task Manager 😦

The old laptop is small, cute and oh so slow!

The old laptop refuses to recognize my new phone, so I cannot transfer any new pictures

Oh, and all our Chennai pictures were CUT and pasted into the new laptop, which now, as you know, is inaccessible!

So, the new laptop has been replaced by the old one. The old has everything, pictures, documents…everything, really. The new one has nothing. Except old stuff.

Sigh! This is sooooo scre*ed!!!

😦

Categories
Humour Incidents

On losing weight and gaining friends

Sigh! I finally decided to DO SOMETHING about my weight.

I got myself a really cool pair of cropped joggers and a branded sporty Tee! If that didn’t inspire me enough, I tuned the TV to a Fitness channel! And with all this gear in place, I got on. On to the laptop, I mean, and efficiently wasted an hour or so on Facebook and blog-hopping! (Now I don’t mean Blog-hopping is a waste of time… before our local Naradas and Naradis get to work on this!!).

Then I read a friends FB status about ‘Do-nuts and Krispy Kreme’ and almost felt faint at the thought of a delicious melting-in-the-mouth Do-nut πŸ™„ Before I could fall for the trap, I pulled myself up, and actually got onto the treadmill. Yippee!!!! Twenty minutes later (with about 3 breaks in-between 😦 ) I was still not through, and I tried some Aerobics from this DVD that promised me ‘REAL RESULTS’ πŸ˜‰ (Which btw, quite turned off Hubby – who seemed pretty upset at the inclusion of that elderly lady in the group of young nubile lasses πŸ˜‰ )

By evening, I was so enthused, that I laid a bet with a friend of mine, about who would lose more weight by the end of this month.

So in the selfless spirit of TRUE friendship, we set off to encourage each other.

With best wishes and warm regards, I sent her a box of laddoos and milk-sweets, along with a packet of yummy Cheedai!

For her part, my ‘friend’ promptly sent me a HUGE bar of Cadbury’s fruit and nut chocolate! I couldn’t hurt her sentiment, so this morning, I forced myself to eat about 6 pieces of that divine treat 😦

Sigh!!! What else can one do? Refuse a gift and hurt a friend’s sentiment? Or accept the gift, and make sure you give back much more?

Got to go now, folks. Plans are on, to make and send some paneer makhani in return πŸ˜‰ So much for weight loss!

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

On weather and forecasts

Back home (and to me, home always means my maternal home. And that, by the way, is a small 2BHK in Chennai, and not some sort of ‘ancestral property’ as the words ‘maternal home’ might unwittingly indicate πŸ˜‰ )…well, back home, we never EVER checked weather forecasts. It was always hot. Hot, hotter, hottest (as my Mum would describe our Chennai weather). So the question of looking forward to hearing the weather forecast never occurred! To me, ‘weather forecasts’ simply meant a sweet smiling bimbo (sorry!) with absolutely straightened hair, smiling from an NDTV news channel and talking about rain or sun across different parts of India.

So when we moved to the UK, it came as quite a cultural shock to me, that the weather could change practically every hour!! In the peak of summer, for instance, we would step out of our apartment, wearing nothing more than a Tee and jeans. Halfway down the road, the sky would turn dark grey, and strong winds would threaten toΒ fly us away like kitesΒ (well, not me, but some of the really thin folks out here!).

Or BBC would forecast ‘heavy rains’, and so we would go out of the house, fully prepared, bundled up in a thick jacket and scarf! Only to realise that it is a really hot day, and yours truly reaches her destination, sweating like a pig (like my friend Pushy says, I haven’t seen a pig sweat, but hey, that’s how the phrase goes…).

Β 

So what made me write this non-post today? Two things.

One, my friend back in Chennai updated her FB status with something to the effect that her son’s school declared a ‘rain holiday’ but there were no rains!! This took me right back to my childhood.

We lived a stone’s throw away from our school. So whenever there were rains, my sister and I would be almost the first few kids to get to know if school was ‘open’ or ‘closed’. We would wade through the water (yeah, half a day’s rain would flood our narrow lanes. Infact, its pretty much the same situation even today! πŸ™„ ), reach our school, and look around for a small black notice board, that would announce that school was closed!!!Β On days when we didn’t find the board, we would trudge sorrowfully back home, pack our bags and head back to school.

Pic courtesy: school.discoveryeducation.com

But on the days that we did find the ‘School Closed’ board,Β we wentΒ ‘Yippeeee’!! We would ever so happily skip back home, announcing loudly ‘Girlie, school closed!‘ to every schoolgirl we found on the way. Since many schoolmates lived in our apartments, if one kid got the ‘good news’ she would often make sure everyone else knew too, by yelling loud from her verandah πŸ˜€

And THE BEST PART –Β Once we were back home, warmed and changed into fresh, dry clothes, the rains would magically disappear!!! Not a drop, half an hour from the ‘rain holiday’ declaration πŸ™‚ So my sis and I used to spend the day, playing quietly, reading or bickering! The walls and ceiling would leak (no, we did not live in a hut, but the walls did leak.. they do even today 😯 ), and the freshly washed clothes wouldn’t dry, but all that was my mother’s concern. For me and my sister, ‘school rain holiday’ meant a ‘free holiday’ πŸ™‚

Schools, however, are quite a bunch of sadists. They would always compensate the holiday by making us work a subsequent Saturday. That was kind of irritating. But hey! We cannot have everything, can we?

Its been raining all day long, and quite appropriately, BBC had predicted we would have ‘sunny spells’, which are yet to happen!

So that’s that about rains and weather forecasts!

The second reason for me writing this post today was Deep’s comment – again on FB – about Blogworld being so quiet these days. I too, find the old-timers πŸ˜‰ lying low. I miss the fun we used to have during days when Solilo and Indy girl were around. The masti we had on Hitchy Bhai’s blog. With lil Pixie adding sweet comments. And Swaram throwing in some vile ones πŸ˜‰ Quirky writing some exceptionally tongue-in-cheek posts! Someone called someone else a ‘Comment Monster’ πŸ˜‰ And it was all just so much fun πŸ™‚ Sigh! I miss those days. Some folks have just taken a sabbatical (from blogging πŸ˜‰ ), some got married, some just disappeared!

Come back, you all!!

Cheerio folks… like I said,Β its been raining all day out here, and I need to figure out a way to get hold of some bread!!

x

Categories
Humour Incidents

Hectic Chennai & Bloggers Meet – Chennai Diaries Part III

Why is life in India so busy??? No time to stand and stare….

No time to blog, even! Or perhaps it is just me, unable to adjust myself to the really hectic lifestyle in India.

This is how a typical day starts … Wake up to early morning calls from the Milk(wo)man and sounds of stairways being swept and cleaned. And ofcourse, the newspaper neatly tucked into the grill by a really busy newspaper-boy πŸ™‚

This followed by a quick breakfast of toast (or dosai, if lucky πŸ˜‰ ) complemented by the noise of a wholesome fight over water, between a skinny, grumpy watchman and an obese, grumpier apartment resident!

Following this fiesty morning start, the day just whizzes by uneventfully, punctuated by umpteen rings on the poor little doorbell (indicating visits by servant maid, watchman, servant (again), salesgirl, post, watchman (again), courier folks, medical shop assistant, courier folks (again), flower-woman, laundry (iron) boy, laundry boy again – this time to deliver neighbour’s clothes as neighbour isn’t at home, exactly 15 mins later, neighbour himself, to collect the pile of laundry!, casual visit by some other neighbour…the list goes on. If lucky, we are also blessed by a visit from above-mentioned-grumpier-resident’s grumpiEST wife who rattles on for half an hour, about her plight and that of her entire family tree!

In between all this, naturally, the phone rings ATLEAST once an hour. Crank calls, Telemarketing guys, Relatives whom we like, relatives whom we hate too ;-), Ex-colleagues, Calls for little birds who have already flown this nest, a couple of wrong numbers…. (hey, what fun is it without those wrong numbers!)

And to think that in between all this interesting socialization, we also need to take care of our mundane chores and Live a little…. phew…!

Like I said, Life in India, is absolutely hectic.

Which explains why, despite having such fun in Chennai, and taking notes in the mind, about interesting events/tidbits, I’ve found no time at all, to log into my dear virtual world!

There was this one scene that has been captured in my mind. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera on hand at the time. It was THE MOST CREATIVE lighting solution EVER! Enroute to the airport (to pick up my lil sis who flew in all the way from Hyderabad), we saw this road rather dug up towards one side. Someone had put up a shabby little wooden fence, more as a ‘sign’ and less, as a protective measure! The best part was, the lighting solution on the fence. The same someone had simply fixed a little bulb onto one wooden pole, and had upturned a red plastic pot (the ones we use to collect water in!) over it. And voila! We had a beautiful red lamp glowing away in the hazy darkness of a typical Chennai evening πŸ™‚ This is one time I REALLY cursed myself for not having taken a camera or phone along! Sigh!

And did I mention our little Blog Meet? A few of us (the same group that had met earlier on in January this year) met up at this supposedly quaint restaurant called Dhaba Express. Uma was the first to arrive. Dressed in a chic blue kurti, one would never imagine she was a Mommy, and that too, of teenage kids! She brought her vintage chocolate cake, as always. And it was such a treat!!! The darling that she is, she even gave me a huge chunk to take back home for the Brat! Thank you, Uma, and May You Bake many more πŸ™‚

Aaroo joined almost immediately. We never read each other’s blogs, but trust me when I say, no trip to Chennai is complete without meeting her πŸ™‚ The three of us managed to squeeze into the low-levelled tables and got chatting.

Kanagu walked in a few minutes later. First, we did a Hi-Five to celebrate our Success in the BPL contest (and to show off to Ums and Aaroo πŸ˜‰ ) Once Anish joined, we are all chatting away like long-lost friends. Anish again, has been off the blogging radar for long, but it was fun to meet him in person.

As you know, VIPs always arrive late. So did our Prince Villiam! After many phone calls and SMS-es between him and Ums, he finally made it to the event! Looking neatly scrubbed and perfumed, he barged into the scene, gulped down some Aam Panna, and rushed out after a few pics were clicked! So much for a guest appearance!!

Amidst all the chattering, the power went out for about half hour. We diligently used this time, to hog the totally yummy and absolutely delicious chocolate cake without being seen by the restaurant authorities ;-).

Pics will be posted soon(est). Why I cannot post them today, is a sad story in itself. But that post, is for another day!

For now, let me just say, I am glad to be back on WordPress and Facebook πŸ™‚ Hope to catch up on all those posts in my Reader really soon.

Cheers folks!

πŸ™‚

Categories
Humour Incidents

On Liberation – Chennai Diaries – Part II

You read it right!! Chennai liberates me. Staying here un-binds me from formalities and etiquette πŸ™‚ For example…

  • You do not have to smile at people on the road or wish them a Good Morning/afternoon or evening, as the case may be! In London, people are uber polite. Well, most of the time. So it can get quite tiresome at times, to have to smile at a stranger and wish good-day. Back home, one is free to smile, smirk, frown or even growl!! No one feels bad at the lack of etiquette πŸ™‚
  • You can bump into someone on the road, and continue to walk like nothing ever happened! You don’t have to say ‘Sorry’ or even look apologetic πŸ™‚ We are above such formalities!!!
  • You can jump queues, cut traffic, take a U-turn right in the middle of a traffic-packed road. People will scream at you, with the choicest words and colourful language. But you don’t actually need to pay much heed. Just yell back and move on. Such is life here. Smooth as can be πŸ™‚
  • Finish a tetra-pack of juice and you don’t necessarily need to look for a garbage-bin. Just contribute your pack to any growing pile of garbage at the corner of any road. And voila! Job done πŸ™‚

This, my friends, is true liberation.

Well, I have no complaints! So far, I’m loving it.

And on that note, wish you all a very happy Independence Day πŸ™‚

x

Categories
Incidents Thought and Reason

Chennai Diaries – Part 1

Debs gave me this idea.. to write about the little incidents that happen here, during my short stay in Chennai! So let me shoot…

* We took this arduous journey of almost 17 hours to reach Chennai! It was an indirect flight, via Bombay (I cannot yet bring myself to say Mumbai!). Inflight, it was stuffy and warm, and I had a splitting head-ache for half the journey! Then the plane hovered around for about 30 minutes in the air, because it couldn’t land due to air-traffic congestion!! We finally reached home at 5:30 am!! Luckily, my favourite nephew was awake to welcome us, so that eased away all the trouble of travelling!!

* We were jet-lagged for the first three days. The Chennai weather did nothing to help us out. Strangely, until the day we landed, (we are told), the weather in Chennai was supposedly awesome.. warm during the day, but chill at night! Sigh!

* Just as I recovered from jet-lag, my paternal Grandma passed away. The family was expecting it for a couple of weeks, as she was ailing, but when the phone rang at 12:30 am, it was a bit of a jolt!!

* This morning, I witnessed an ‘auto fight’ πŸ™‚ It was fun. Fun, because the auto-driver was negotiating with a foreigner over the fare to be paid! For non-Chennai-ites, you must know something – Chennai autos do not believe in the concept of ‘metre readings’ or ‘fair fares’ πŸ™‚ they believe in harassing and fleecing ‘savaari’ or passengers πŸ™‚ So we saw this auto driver arguing with a foreign lady. And the Hero that my Dad likes to be, he shouted at the auto-driver and said, foreigners will think we are all beggars! The dutiful daughter that I am, I supported him, by saying ‘What will ‘they’ think of ‘us”. Only to realise, after a few minutes, that the auto-driver was actually asking for a reasonable amount. And that the poor foreigner was actually leaving a posh silk-saree shop!!! So much for ‘hospitality’ towards ‘foreigners’ πŸ™‚

* A strange conversation with my dearest maternal grandmother this evening. According to our custom, the son/family is not allowed to perform anything auspicious or even visit temples/undertake pilgrimage for 1 year from the time of death in the family. I was cribbing about this insane custom to my grandma. When she said, that as a young girl of about 6 or 7, she remembers being shocked at a woman in her village (Poondi), who lost her husband, and confined herself to the four walls of her house for an entire year!!!

While I think this is outrageous, there could be a couple of reasons for such a stupid custom…

1- The family is in mourning, so they cannot venture out. One year was probably a fair enough period for them to ‘move on’.

2- The family cannot afford to undertake anything, be it a function or pilgrimage, as people did not save quite that much in the olden days!

3- The widow must be protected from other men (or women) who might try to take advantage of her frail situation.

While I found all the above utterly insane, one point that my Grandma made was striking! She said ‘It is specifically at such a time, that the bereaved family needs support from other people’, so to cut them away from the rest of the world is insane! Kudos to my Grandma for saying that!

* The rich-poor divide in India has always been talked about. Infact we have lived our entire life through this divide, struggling each day, to ensure we are on the right side!! But the more we look around, the deeper this divide gets imprinted in our mind. Yesterday, I went to get my old watches repaired, and spent about Rs.340 on them. Then I realised my slipper had snapped, so decided to buy a new one. In the meanwhile however, I spotted a cobbler, and got the slipper mended by him. The man sat hunched, cruching in the little shade that the bare tree could offer. He did his job, and when I handed out a Rs.20 note, he returned Rs.15 to me. It struck me as so unfair. That labour is so cheap!! What would that man do with such a meagre amount of Rs.5??? Even if he repaired 20 pairs of slippers that day, he would not make more than Rs.100… on his good days, probably Rs.250 or 300? Or Rs.500 perhaps? Is that enough, TO LIVE A LIFE OF DIGNITY?????

* We had an awesome little blogger’s meet this afternoon. Uma, Kanagu, Aarthi, Vimmu (who made a guest appearance), Anish and yours truly met up and had a ball!!! We did take some pictures, but I have this bad feeling that I’ve accidentally deleted the pics I took. So I bank on Uma to upload her pics on FB. Oh, and she baked this yummylicious and totally drool-worthy chocolate cake for us πŸ™‚ that we ate secretly under the tables, when the power went out!!!

* And finally, this evening, came the awful news of IHM’s daughter. Tears rolled freely, as I read Tejaswee’s blog. And a particular post called ‘On dying early’. My deepest condolences to dear Β IHM. I feel choked. So I have to sign off now.

More later…..

Categories
Incidents

BPL – We won!

And… WE DID IT!! We won the first ever Bloggers Premier League πŸ™‚ by Cafe Ginger Chai dot Com. The Tigers roared all the way through, and swept most of the awards too πŸ™‚ When Cafe Ginger chai announced BPL, I was very excited!! It was an innovative concept,something nobody had tried earlier. And considering the number of players (6 groups of 8 players each), and the fact that this contest would run into a couple of weeks.. fortnights even, it seemed to be quite a challenge!!

Neha and Kanagu have already blogged about our Journey in BPL.. and I would just like to add this… When Cafe Ginger Chai and LakshmiRajan announced the Teams, I was so sceptical, because I did not know anybody!! But I knew, for sure, that team performance would be so much better if we already had great team dynamics in place.

Fortunately, for us, Neha and I hit it off on Day 1, and we chatted on FB like long lost friends πŸ™‚ She was my pillar of support, friend, guide.. and source of encouragement all through the League. And ofcourse, like I mentioned earlier on her blog, she is a chatterbox, leader, busy little girl – all rolled into one – I called her my favourite ‘Hitler’ πŸ™‚ And to think that I subsequently wrote on Hitler in one of the rounds and topped that category πŸ˜‰ (so much for modesty..phew!!)

At first, GC announced a WARM-UP round, to introduce ourselves. This was perhaps, the best thing they did πŸ™‚ It gave us all a fair chance to get to know our writing skills and interests. Which was very important for a ‘team’ to perform ‘together’. Neha and I were chatting (again) on FB, and we decided to go ahead with the Limericks format, because Neha had already done some work in that genre, and I found it very interesting too. The rest of the team took to this idea so readily, and in no time, we had an awesome set of limericks to present!!

It was at this stage, that 2 out of 8 members disappeared πŸ™‚ And therein was a grand entrance made by Kanagu πŸ˜‰

Now we had this super-duper-writer who calls himself IdliVadaSambar πŸ˜‰ and his email Id has a ‘king’ in it, so he became our defactor Β King Sudhakar:-) I had never read his work earlier, but this 55-er took my breath away πŸ™‚ and I just KNEW that he was a hell of a player in BPL πŸ™‚ Infact EVERY post by Sudhi was a stunner in its own right, and I am so glad he was adjudged Best Male Player of the entire tournament. He completely deserved it!!!

We had this particular round, where the teams had to come up with a Magazine name, and Sudhi stunned us by designing an entire Magazine itself!!! Infact, it was so fantastic, that somebody even contacted Saurabh, to ask if he could write for our next edition!!!

To complement King, we had a Himalayan-returned Debs, who charged into action with a whopper of a post. Again, it was her little 55-er that gave me clear indication of what a fantastic performer she would be in the rounds to come πŸ™‚ True to it, she won almost every time she wrote something!! Proud of you, Debs!

Infact one of her posts in the tournament was so exceptional, that in a fit of frenzy, I vowed that I would give up blogging, if her post did not win. Luckily, she won πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

Kanagu – as you all know – is this simple, sweet guy. Pretends to work at office, but is mostly blogging away. What I like most about him is that he is so unassuming, so humble, that he simply takes on ANY topic assigned to him or left out after everyone else had chosen. He’s such a no-fuss guy, and we could always count on him, to write some strong analytical stuff on even the most boring topic. I especially liked his post on Education – totally rocking!!

Arpita – Unfortunately, I haven’t read much of her work, and since I am miles away from Poetry as a genre, I cannot comment much on her work. Though, she was a very sweet and encouraging Teammie πŸ™‚ She was always there with kind words for me and the rest of the team, and with suggestions and comments πŸ™‚

Rashmi – Again, sweet little kid. At the times she wasn’t writing exams, she was working really hard at blogging, creating interesting posts like her Aliens Report. Always ready to take feedback from the rest of the team, this little girl was a pleasure to have around.

Saurabh – How could I forget my favourite hip hop guy!! I call him that, because that’s what his email ID sounds like πŸ™‚ He would churn out hilarious posts, though I really wish his ‘Maa’ interview had won – it was outstanding πŸ™‚ And I remember one comment of his, on this post of mine ‘Princess of the Dark’ – Β when he said he was happy to have lived to read my post πŸ™‚ I was utterly humbled and touched *tears in my eyes*

So thank you, LakshmiRajan, Mani Padma and Cafe Ginger Chai team. Thank you, AWESOME PANEL OF JUDGES, for giving us this super duper opportunity to get to read a bunch of utterly talented bloggers.

And ofcourse, for having ajudged us THE WINNERS OF THE BLOGGERS PREMIER LEAGUE πŸ™‚ HURRAY! ROARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR……

Categories
Incidents Short story

A promise unkept

Just before Granny’s surgery, we spoke. ‘When you come here, meet me FIRST, Ok?’ she made me promise.Β I landed,Β jetlagged. She was feverish. I forgot all about the promise I had made.

I went this morning, to see her body.

I hadn’t forgotten to bring her favourite chocolate. It now lies untouched. Like my promise, unkept.

Categories
55-er Short story

The boy who never smiled – 55-er / fiction

Clothes, chocolates, gifts – nothing satisfied Akaash. Ungrateful, resentful child.

Yesterday, I offered left-over pastry. He glared!

β€˜What the hell do you want????!!!’ I screamed, frustrated.

He replied quietly – β€˜My mother. Please send her home?Β Tomorrow’s my exam’.

Behind me, Kanthabai waited nervously.

Both, pleading in silence.

β€˜Go!’ I whispered.

For the first time, Akaash smiled.

Categories
Incidents

Team Tiger Trails – the journey so far

To read more, please head over here πŸ™‚