Archive for May, 2010

Once upon a time …

Posted on May 30, 2010. Filed under: Photography, Short Story, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

… there was a very rich old man. He lay on the bed late at night introspecting. That very day, the doctor had called him to tell him the news, that his days were numbered. The doctor’s words had been, “Generally, I would have told his news to a family member, but since you do not have any one …”. The doctor had left his sentence unfinished. The doctor’s statement brought the old man’s world crashing down. He had spent his life in the pursuit of riches. The old man thought to himself, “Why O Lord! You gave me riches and power, why have I  been left bereft of love in this lifetime?” That very night, the old man got a dream. The Lord appeared in his dreams and said “Go see the world and you shall have your answer!” The next day, the old man got up and decided to do just that – see the world.

So he went to Washington, DC – the home of the most powerful person in the world, the president of the United States. It was spring time and cherry blossoms were in full bloom. He got a peek of the Jefferson memorial through these pink flowers.  This juxtaposition of beautiful spring flowers, spell binding architecture and the Potomac river, really moved him. He had found mesmerizing natural beauty in the capital of the United States, a place only famous for the power play of humans.

He continued his quest underground as well. He reached Luray Caverns. There he chanced upon this beautiful tapestry. It had been created not out of man’s hands, but out of the heaves of the earth and deposits of minerals over hundreds, maybe thousands of years.  This tapestry seemed nothing short of magic to him.

His sojourn then continued to what is known as the holiest place in the world, Vatican City.  He could not believe his eyes at the view he got atop St. Peter’s Basilica. He realized that man is divine too, because only a divine hand could have crafted this architectural beauty. He considered himself privileged to have witnessed this place, where man and god had achieved union.

He continued his exploration of St. Peter’s Basilica. He came across many works of beauty, created by great Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo and Pannini. This imposing statue seemed to tell him, “Son, you have sinned, but rise! All is not lost! Your quest is not hopeless!”

And last but not the least, he reached Seattle, US. He came to know that this city is home to one of the biggest technology companies of the world namely Microsoft and Amazon. He reached atop the Space Needle.  He was transfixed by this view of Seattle downtown, with the majestic and ghostly mountain peak, Mt. Rainier.  He also learned that Seattle  had dreary weather with almost 9 months of rain every year. However, on this day the sun was shining bright perhaps to reflect his mood, which had also taken a turn for the better.

He had reached the end of his travails.  He had seen beautiful glimpses of natural and man made marvels. He had also met many beautiful people and he had realized the purpose of his quest.  He had realized that the world was full of love,

Welcome to my world of love

World of love
Welcome to my world of love

and the only place where love had dwindled was his heart and mind. He vowed to go back home and try to mend his relationships with his estranged family and friends. He also vowed to spend his remaining wealth in charity and his remaining days in the company of his loved ones.

This is my entry for the blogadda travel contest I have copyright for all the pictures, in case anyone wonders.

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The Battleship Battle

Posted on May 20, 2010. Filed under: Funny | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

When we were young and carefree (sitting in the college canteen having bunked lectures), often we would wonder ‘who amongst us will get married first?’ I would always get picked last. Heck, I myself thought I would be the last. And then a few months ago, I had a Sheldon Cooperesque moment – “Bazinga! I am getting married first!”

I married #win on January 21, 2010. No, I did not marry a hashtag, I wanted a cool alias for my husband and this one makes me a perpetual winner (Tilo weds #win). Since then, my single friends caught in the conundrum of horoscopes and arranged marriages have asked me the question – How do you know he is the one? Well, to illustrate how, let me start by relating to you the tale ‘The Battleship Battle‘.

Once upon a time #win was at work and I was at home and I was bored out of my wits. Therefore, I reverted to my favorite pass-time (timepass) bugging #win. I called him.

#win: Hello?

Tilo: Hey, whats up are you busy?

#win: Yea I am a bit. Meeting with my advisor (Yes #win left his high paying corporate job for drudgery at grad school. All his friends thus think he is #nutlose).

Tilo: Well, I really had a very important thing to tell you.

#win: Ok tell fast fast.

Tilo: Wait a minute forgot! (Had not :D)

#win: QUICKLY (Almost at the end of his tether now)

Tilo: I had 2 important things to tell you – 1 was that your friend #ok was pinging you “Maga, did you see the race last night?” …

#win: And the other important thing .. FAST!

Tilo: And the second thing was (almost choking for trying to stifle laughter) can you get us some paper from office for us to play Name, Place, Animal, Thing or Battleship?

#win: (Hangs up)

At this point I am hysterical with laughter. Tears are streaming through my eyes. After a while, when I had calmed myself, I switched on my laptop. I had a feeling that this time I may have gone a bit too far. So I pinged #win.

Tilo: R u anger? (We dont use grammatically correct English with each other for some bizarre reason)

#win: (Unresponsive for 5 minutes)

Tilo: R u anger?

#win: Yes.

Tilo: How much lil bit or lots?

#win: Why don’t you understand that there is a time for playing the fool and that was not it. (Uh oh! Correct grammar = BAD mood!)

Tilo: (Bristling a bit, no one calls me a fool) Oh come on lighten up, it was not that bad.

#win: It pretty much was. My advisor just walked away, after all I had gotten a hold of him after a month almost. Now I have to wait  another month before I can talk to him.

Tilo: Bla bla bla … talk to my hand

And this continued. #Win got mad and I got mad. Then both of us got madder. And after half an hour the fight ended thus:

Tilo: Ok fine, henceforth I am not going to talk to you.

#win: Great, that is good to know.

In the evening, #win was about to come home. I was dealing with the situation in a very mature way by banging pots and pans in the kitchen. I heard the door open. I tried to feign more disinterest, lack of enthusiasm and anger by banging pots to the accompaniment of ‘Tum to thehre pardesi …‘. I heard #win‘s movements in the other room. I did not bother for a long time and nor did he. I realized that we had come to an impass. I finally went to the other room, in the mood for another battle. And there was #win sitting calmly with pen and paper in hand. Another set of pen and paper was beside him. He already had drawn a grid on his paper. He looked up as I came in and said – “Name place is too childish. Let us play Battleship.”

So girls, look for a man who shares your sense of humor (more or less) and even if he is quick to anger, he should be quick to forgive. That sure is a #winning combination.

If you liked this post, do share it with others for them to have a good laugh. If you want updates from this blog immediately, use one of these handy buttons on the right.

And if you have any stories of similar battles with your spouse or your sibling or anyone really, please let me know. Still looking for guest bloggers 🙂

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Mujhe In Aaropiyon Se Bachaoooo

Posted on May 7, 2010. Filed under: Funny | Tags: , , , |

07 50, 11 10, 1 40, 5 55 – I am not making up some mystical numbers a la Lost. Such numbers are important to each Mumbaikar. Yes, these are train timings. Only Mumbaikars have a special set of friends called train friends. Often I have heard ladies gossiping thus, “Tya 4:37 vaalya Joshi aahet na …” (Translation: “That Mrs. Joshi who travels in the 4:37 train …” I have generously used Hindi in this post, and wherever required provided translations, in italics).

Mumbai local trains have been called iconic, efficient, the lifeline of Mumbai etc. They are the butt of many jokes and were at the receiving end of one of the cities more gruesome terrorist attacks. Every Mumbaikar has travelled by these trains at some point in their lives. Disembarking from a train during peak hours is a sublime mixture of art and science. You need scientific precision and divine intervention to jump off at the right moment. If you jump early you may fall on the platform and break your neck. If you show a moment’s hesitation, off you go to the next station. It is a matter of practice, but definitely not for the faint hearted. My mom has thus given up. She’d rather be called a coward than travel by a train.

But I digress. The local trains are such a melting pot that you are bound to meet some ‘strange’ people if you travel in them daily. So, here is one of the strangest incidents that I witnessed during my train sojourns

It was a sultry afternoon (as most afternoons in Mumbai are) around 9-10 years ago. It was the Ladies 1st class (With college concession, traveling in 1st was quite cheap). A handful of women were present in the compartment. A Christian lady was horizontal on one of the seats and was enjoying a nice siesta.

The train stopped at Bandra station, in came a policeman. He was not alone, he entered with 2 men. Soon, we that that their hands were bound to each other with rope. We all looked at each other aghast, unsure of what to do.

A bit of background here about the protocol regarding gents admissible in the ladies compartment-

  • Son/brother of 1 of the passengers less than 15 years of age (at least who looks like it) – Allowed.
  • A man selling useful trinkets such as earrings, combs, purses – Allowed.
  • Old beggar man above 60 years of age (at least who looks like it) – Allowed.
  • Blind men – Allowed.
  • Police – Allowed.
  • All others – Not Allowed. (Includes men between ages of 15 and 60, maimed, burnt, injured not withstanding)

Coming back to our story, we were all aghast, unsure of what to do. A policeman for protection, allowed. A policeman along with two bound criminals? Apparently, this was a grey area in our protocol. We all kept mum for the time being.

The erstwhile dozing Christian lady had by then assumed an upright position, having been awoken by these new entrants. She started speaking:

Lady: Inspector saab, aap in aaropiyon ko leke utar jaao (Inspector, please get off with these ‘accused’).

I realized that this lady had recently watched one of those 70s-80s Hindi movies, in which the judge will proclaim a sentence on the villain in the last scene – “Sabhi gawahon aur sabooton ko madde nazar rakhte hue, adaalat aaropi ko saza-e-maut dene ka hukm karti hai . He shall be hanged until deathhhhh!” (Translation: In the light of the witnesses and the evidence, the accused shall be given the punishment of death) One more reason why I suspect so, is that she directly called the cop an inspector.

Then Inspector saab, began to talk:

Inspector: Madam, baaki dabbon mein jaam gardi hai, main aaropi ko udhar leke jaaunga to yeh bhaag jaayenge. (Other compartments are crowded, if I take the accused there, they may flee)

I do not know, if the Inspector had himself seen the same genre of movies or was merely trying to use the same terminology as her.

Lady: Arre aise kaise? Aaropi bhaag jaayega is dabbe se aur humko gun dikhayega to? Humko yeh sab tension nahin mangta hai. (What if the ‘accused’ decides to flee here and holds us hostage with a gun? We do not want these hassles).

Inspector: Arre Madam, Inke paas nahin hai bandook. Aap chaahiye to inke jeb check karo. Kuch tension nahin hai! (They don’t have a gun, if you want check their pockets)

Lady: Arre aise kaise check karo?!! I will not touch them, I only touch my husband.

At this I had to burst out laughing. What more, even the aaropis started smiling to each other.
Some other concerned ladies started supporting the original lady, the instigator of the argument. Murmurs of “Haan barobar hai, Kaayko tension” started echoing in the compartment. The final straw came when the lady said,

Lady: Yeh ladkiyon ka compartment hai, aaropi ladki nahin hai! Ladies aaropi hota to hum log allow karte. (The accused are not girls. Had they been, we would have allowed them).

The inspector was flummoxed at this rhetoric and decided to wave the white flag. He got off at the next station (Dadar) with aaropis in tow. I also got off at the same station and saw him ushering the two in the ever crowded gents 1st.

I shall stop myself here, because I want to desist from making any politically charged comments about women or cops. This is a long enough post already.

Do you have a funny story that happened to you or someone else in the train or elsewhere? Do share it with me, I would love to have guest bloggers here. Also, if you like this post do consider sharing it with others using this handy link Bookmark/share a post or other gadgets in the sidebar.

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