Tuesday, October 27, 2009

sepia coloured happiness

This afternoon, I come back from a meeting, hot and tired, and log on to my computer.

As I wait for my mailbox to open, I also log into facebook.

A quick glance. Various status updates, some videos, pictures, the usual stuff. I’m about to switch windows and go back to my mail, when I see a black and white photo.

Not an arty black and white photo taken with a fancy 10x camera. But an old grainy black and white photo that actually looks sepia now that I’m staring closer at it.

Suddenly, it strikes me my cousin is tagged on the photo. Then it strikes me that she’s written a hysterical oh-my-god under it.

I look closer now. It is my grandfather.


I can’t hear anything. I’m just staring at that screen. My grandfather. Some stranger has posted a picture of my grandfather.

My favourite. The one I believe looks over me. The one whose old flying license my grandmother once gave me, as a keepsake. The one, whose only picture I have stays carefully hidden in some prayer books.

A picture of my grandfather. And I discover it on facebook.

And the caption that goes with it.

“East Boroi Jam session Capt Mookerrji WM Pilot ex RAF man with so many tales, got me hooked onto planes.”

That’s how I’d like to remember my grandfather. Who died when I was thirteen.

My memories of him are of this crazy happy man who adored me, and talked so much, and sneaked out for cigarettes on my cycle.

My memories of him are also full of the crazy stories others tell me. How he flew people through storms. How he ran away and signed up for the RAF. How he could drink anyone under the table, and still fly out first thing in the morning. How he and my grand mom spent the night in the car, because a Royal Bengal tiger blocked their way, and my grand dad was only concerned about flying out, in the first light.

And then this picture. And the caption. And the fact that this is how a stranger remembers him too.

Facebook. We call it social media. A networking site. And today, whatever you call it; it made my day, like no other.

*that's my grand dad. centre stage, with a drink in his hand. yes, it is a family trait!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

music video?!

traveling wilbury's - she's my baby
vocals: a
visuals: agg

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

first my cards, then my mind.

This is a telephone conversation I had last evening.

Me: Hello.

Extra chirpy lady voice, sounding like she’s just popped acid: Hello. Welcome to ShittyBank. To hear this message in English, please dial 1, to hear it in Hindi, please dial 2.

I press 1.

Acid lady: We have a new menu. Please listen carefully. If you have a savings account with us, please dial 1...

Me: yes, yes.

And I punch 1.

Acid lady: To payments dial 1, for loans dial 2, for blah blah dial 3 and 4, for loss of card dial 5...

I frantically punch 5.

Acid lady: For credit card loss, dial 1. For ATM card loss, dial 2.

I’m torn between 1 and 2. I’ve lost both. Finally I press 1.

First Kenny G plays into my ear. Then another voice tells me this call might be recorded, and then acid lady is back as she talks about home loans and credit cards.

In the mean time I’m having a seizure. Is she connecting me to another machine? Or a person? Or the crime branch?

Finally: Good evening, welcome to ShittyBank. How may I help you?

Me(hysterically relieved): hallelujah, it’s a person. Yes, please help me. I’ve lost my credit card and my ATM card.

Space Cadet: Sure, no problem ma’am. Can you tell me where you lost it?

Silence. What are you, the CID? If I could, would it still be lost?

Me: No, I don’t know where I lost it.

Space Cadet: Okay, can I have your ATM card number.

Me: But I’ve lost it you see.

Space Cadet: Can I have your T-Pin number?

Me: uuuu...I never remember those.

Space cadet: Can I have your thousand digit customer number?

Me: uuuu...not really, don’t remember it.

Space Cadet: Can I have your name?

Me: Yes, sure, it is .......

Space Cadet: Sorry ma’am, can you repeat that?

Me, cursing my parents for the long and complicated name: It is .......

Space Cadet: .......(making up his own version of my name)

Me: No, no, wait I’ll spell it.

I proceed to spell my name. Space Cadet, it dawns on me, is slightly deaf. Though why they would choose that as a qualification in a call centre candidate is beyond me. The only conclusion I reach after ten minutes of playing N for Nagpur and S for Simla is that someone who listens to these recorded conversations is selling them and making millions.

Finally after ten minutes of covering all the godforsaken cities in the country. By the way, I took way too long thinking of O for Ooty. Tip: Keep India map handy while talking to bank.

Space cadet: Thank you Miss.....Now can I have your surname.

Me: Oh no. It’s rather long. M for Manipur and so on and so forth.

Finally, after another ten minutes, we’re done with that.

Space cadet: Your card has been blocked. Anything else I can help you with?

Me: My ATM card.

Space Cadet: For that I’ll have to transfer you to another department.

And before I can protest, acid lady is back.

To cut a very long story short, I called ShittyBank five times that evening. Sometimes Acid Lady would trip me by asking me for T Pins. And when I didn’t punch them in, she would, in a acidic sort of way, say, “This call will be terminated.”

I spoke to four call centre executives. Answered the same questions over and over again. Spelt my name dozens of times. Got disconnected five times. Burst out in tears. Calmed myself by holding the dog and sobbing. Called again.

It took 45 minutes for my cards to be blocked. The confirmation email I was told could take ten minutes to two days to reach me. Why? Are they sending it through a pigeon that they just interned?

However, if you’re still reading this, here’s the icing on the cake:

Me(meekly and on the verge of fresh tears): And I would also like to change my address.

Marbles in her mouth Lady: For that you have to write a letter to our Chennai office or use internet banking.

Me: Letter? To Chennai? As in post? No, I’ll just use the internet banking.

Marbles Lady (gleefully): You should have done it earlier. I just blocked your card, now your internet account is deactivated.

Me (weakly): Which means?

Marble Lady: Letter to Chennai Ma’am.

Even Old Monk could not sooth my shot nerves.

picture @ www.hiddenstreamsproductions.com

The King, appropriately belts out All Shook Up for me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

even confucius wouldn't know what to say


Going Psycho discusses her guy, Gestapo with me.

Me: so, how’s it going with him?

Going Psycho: Same shit. He’s a leech. And now he wants to know everything about all my friends, my past loves, my work. Bloody hell, I think he even checks my sms’s.

Me: Gasp. Fuck, drop him. Hot potato dude.

Going Psycho: Ya. Really I want to.

Me: So?

Going Psycho: But he’s like nice to have handy. Like when I’m bored and in town, and want to go for a movie. Or coffee. Or just some slow evenings someone to hang with.

Me: Okay, so you just want to hang with him.

Going Psycho: Ya, but its too late now. He’s in my house all the time. And he’s stuck to me. I don’t want him around all the time. How do i do this?

Me: so let’s get this clear. You are asking me how to tell a guy that you don’t want him around all the time, only the times you are bored and want someone to go for a movie with.

Going Psycho: Okay. If you put it like that, ya, I guess.


Feeling blue calls me, out of the blue.

Feeling Blue: Listen if you like a guy, and want him to sleep with you, how do you get him to do that?

Me: Um, just tell him that. Chances are he’ll be happy to oblige.

Feeling Blue: Fool. I can’t tell him that. He has to want it.

Me: Oh, well, then does he want it?

Feeling Blue: I don’t know. I want him to want it.

Me: One sec, are you asking me how you can get a guy you want to sleep with, to think that he wants to sleep with you, and it was his idea in the first place, that sort of thing?

Feeling Blue: Ya, will you just help, or are you going to be technical about it.

tap, tap...the sisterhood will always be crazy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

wake up shit

Last night we went to see Wake Up Sid.

And I will try and save you all the pain by telling you that unless you want to watch Hannah Montana meets Karan Johar, and they tell each other touching tales about Bambi the deer, stay away.

Sid is a typical Mumbai guy. Right? Then how come I’ve never met someone like him, not because he’s rich and aimless. But because he’s the world’s greatest ass.

He meets a girl. Who he shacks up with. And even when she’s quivering and making constipated cow like eyes at him, he doesn’t grab the chance. Forget sex, not even a fucking kiss.

Oh, and the chick. The whole first half I thought she was a lesbian. Because she keeps insisting, “Don’t get the wrong idea, hum sirf dost hain.” Dude, that went out with Salman saying “Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ban sakte.”

Anyway, for three hours, all you do is watch these two losers as they boil eggs, and make pasta, and sleep in separate beds. What, is this a bloody Disney movie? Sleeping beauty meets Cinderella?

Oh, but wait, we have come of age. There is one scene. Where after days of sharing a one room flat, and making moony eyes, they finally tumble into bed together . To do what? Cuddle and sleep. Are these people in class two? Yesh, I could be sick.

And that bit, where he wears her nightshirt because he’s missing her. Dear lord, is this man for real? A woman wearing a guy’s shirt – sexy. A guy wearing a chick’s shirt, freaking hell, he’s been dancing at the rainbow parade.

Anyway, at the end of the movie, M tells us the director is gay. Maybe that explains it. Why the girl doesn’t choose the dishy Rahul Khanna over Ranbeer. Why Ranbeer doesn’t ever make even a half hearted attempt at a move. Why Konkona, who by the way, plays the girl, wants to be just dosts!

And finally, did you know, that...gasp... after a three torturous hours, the guy and the girl, realise they are in love with each other and then....we have......gasp...a passionate kiss on the forehead.

I want my money back.

picture @ http://buelahman.files.wordpress.com

The Band with Who do you love? I kept thinking this song would be so appropriate for the previous post.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

love in parts

They never gave her the children’s ward.

Actually they never gave her any of the regular wards. Of course they were polite about it. As polite as you can be at a god forsaken government hospital.

“Nurse, only emergency ward hain.”

She never asked why.

That’s because she knew. She knew from the look on the patients face when she first went up to take their temperature. She knew from the giggling behind her back at the nurses’ station. She knew from the drunken whispers of the ward boys at night.

She had never been pretty. And by the time she hit her thirties, her face had started to turn against her. The prickly hair that grew under her chin had started to multiply rapidly. The boils that came only in summer, now refused to go.

Her eyes became smaller, her nose bigger, and her hairline started to recede.

She had given up looking at the mirror some years back. She had also given up the thought of finding a man.

She looked at the other nurses. How they flirted with the doctors. And she ached to be held, to be caressed, to be made love to. Once, lonely and crazy from being on a ten hour emergency night shift that included four accident victims and two dead bikers, she had tried telling the ward boy that she was available for anything he might have in mind.

The fellow laughed hysterically. And said with her the only thing he had in mind was to run the hell out of there.

She never tried again.

Till that warm humid night.

When they brought him in. He was nineteen, and beautiful. And he had just chopped his thumb off. His hysterical parents had brought him to the hospital.

His uncle who had gifted him the gleaming fake Swiss army knife was also there, berating himself for his thoughtless gift. The uncle was carrying the thumb in a plastic bag filled with ice.

Of course they flinched on seeing her. But their grief had made them numb, and they didn’t even ask for another nurse. They begged her to please do something. Sow his thumb back. Call the doctor Nurse , please, save our son. It is true isn’t it, that the thumb will survive in ice. Tell us it is.

She hooked him up on the bed. Told them she’d call the doctor, and that they’d have to wait outside. Then she took the bag with the thumb, and walked to the cold storage room.

She stared at the thumb in the clear plastic. A strong thumb, not too fleshy. She took it out and held it against her cheek. And slowly moved it down her face, across her neck. It felt like a caress, rough and cold, but manly.

She moved the thumb down the swell of her breasts. And that’s when she made up her mind.

“ Sorry, spoke to Doctor. He says nothing can be done. Our Operation Theatre has been shut for a week. And the thumb can only be attached fifteen minutes after being severed. It has already been one hour.”

But nurse...the mother’s wail filled the air.

“Sorry. You have to take him to the next hospital for stitching, or the hand might get gangrene, and it might spread. Go fast”

They left in a babble of confusion and crying. The next hospital was in the next district. And in their hurry, they forgot the thumb. The thumb that was of no use now.

She reached home just as day was breaking. She opened the rusty fridge, and took out a steel tray full of ice. The thumb was placed in a sparkling blue soap dish, next to her bed.

She hummed to herself. Happy that she had two men, one who couldn’t take his eyes off her. And now another, who couldn’t keep his hands off her.

The eyeball, in a glass, on top of the old TV, followed her as she went about making tea and humming her little song.

absolutely love this song. how to save a life by The Fray.