Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bombay trip - 2

(This is a weak translation of my malayalam blog post. Part 1 is here)

Bride is a Punjabi. I will be able to devour Tandoori chicken, lassi, chicken tikka.. To top it, there would be jalebi etc. Moreover, the Punjabi girls with the colour of wheat would be a treat to the eyes. I should enjoy this vacation.

While I saw these dreams sitting in the taxi and enjoying the views outside, we reached the bride's place. Straight to 3rd floor where her flat was. Another 15 minutes of exchanging pleasantries. It has become too difficult to contain my hunger.

"Beta, are you hungry? Give another 10 minutes. When you folks said the taxi was stranded, we put all the food in the refrigerator. We were not sure what time you are going to reach. Chapathi is getting prepared. You can have them hot. Wait for a few moments"

Vineeta: "Poor chap! He had to push the car a lot!"

Ant: "I liked father pushing the car!"

Antlion: "The first couple of Chapathis should go to ant. Poor thing, she should be hungry!"

Vineeta and Antlion are vegetarians. Our philosophies don't match. So I freshened up and sat a little away from them. After all, I have to give salvation to Tandoori items, right?

"Beta, hope you like the food. There is a pooja today evening. So all food have been prepared without onion and garlic. Here, some potato. Curd and pickle are kept over there. Have to your content"

Enjoying my disappointment fully, Vineeta and Antlion spoke.

"So, what are the plans for marriage?"

"Engagement tomorrow. The marriage is the day after. Both in Tamil style. The groom is a Tamilian"

"Eh? But you said the groom is from Bombay..?"

"Yeah, he was born and brought up in Bombay. But originally they are Tamil Brahmins"

It was a hailstorm in my Tandoori at the moment. Did I catch a flight to Bombay just to push a taxi and to have curd rice and Sambar rice?

Our stay was arranged in another flat which had been rented for these 4 days.

"Alps A wing. 16th floor. Flat 4. Here are the keys. Go and take rest"

I had an attitude which a filled stomach gives a hungry man, when I took the keys. I have to take rest for some time.

It was with this confidence I reached the 16th floor. Tried a key.

The door won't open.

Tried all the 5 keys in the bunch. The door lock would not budge. It remained a mystery.

Went downstairs and got the security guy. He sweated for 5 minutes, surrendered himself along with the keys and promised never to visit that floor again.

Finally we got the guy who was in charge of the apartment. He looked at the keys, then to the lock, then our faces and finally the long array of our luggage.

"Sir, the apartment is not in A wing, but in B wing"

(you useless fellow)

"But what about the keychain? It's written A wing here"

"That... is a mistake"

The apartment was good. All rooms had air conditioning. Switched it on and had a good rest.

The pooja that evening was a grand one. Everyone had a ribbon tied to their heads and were dancing to Jhankar beats.

"We've got special permission to make noise today!"

3 more people joined us in our apartment later that evening. The apartment was meant for all of us. Two were a middle-aged husband and wife, who took one room. I, antlion and ant had one room. The third was a lady who shared the room with Vineeta.

I woke up late on 26th. I was the last to get into the bathroom. All others were ready.

Now, I have a problem. I forget the surroundings once I get into the bathroom. I start singing. I enjoy the shower and it takes some time.

So before I got into the bathroom, antlion had warned me.

"Don't start your singing. You need to quickly come out"

I disagreed to her in my mind and started my session as usual. In a short time, there was a knock on the bathroom door.

"Fast. Everyone is waiting"

I took the soap cake.

Another knock after 5 minutes.

"Don't have time for your songs. Breakfast will get over unless you get ready in 5 minutes"

Unthinkable. I resumed my shower.

"Enough. Are you going to come out?"

This is irritating. I need to put an end to this.

Throwing the mug into the bucket, I pulled open the bathroom door suddenly.

That's it!

The middle-aged family and Vineeta's roommate were looking into the bathroom.

They did not intentionally look into the bathroom. It was more of a reflex action because I pulled open the door with such ferocity. But what did they see?

Bhagvan chithal, except for a little shampoo on his head, was giving a rare full darshan without any cover!

If you ask me how the moment felt, I would say that we both, who got to show and see unintentional scenes, could just stay stunned in mutual respect for some long moments, unable to move.

Eventually they voluntarily realigned their eyes to elsewhere while I stopped my show and closed the bathroom door once again (they were outside, I was inside).

I should also mention that I have still not realised the meanings of the smile I saw on the middle-aged lady's face, and of the gesture which Vineeta's room mate did, just before I closed the bathroom door.

After 10 minutes, hearing antlion say "they all have left, it is safe to come out now" I cautiously opened the bathroom door, put out my head fist and surveyed the surroundings, and ran into the bedroom after finding the coast clear. Antlion followed me.

We both did not speak, but just remained looking at each other. Then a foolish expression must have kept up my face, because antlion started to laugh. Though surprised for a moment, I also joined the laugh.

I: "Vineeta did not see"

Antlion: "Why? I saw her roommate run into their room and talk to her. I could not see Vineeta's reaction. Not sure if Vineeta is now aware of what happened"

I: "Ok, now don't ask Vineeta if she is aware"

Antlion: "Ok. In case she is not aware, don't go and tell her all these yourself either"

I: "No, I won't. Shall we have breakfast?"

The next time I met the middle-aged family was for the engagement function. They stared at me. I just ignored and went my way.

The return trip was in an innova. I noticed that the middle aged family and Vineeta's room mate also boarded the same car. No one spoke throughout the journey. I pretended to be asleep.

(Is the driver smiling?)

Next day is the marriage. I finished my bath even before others woke up, and got into a formal attire. No one should laugh on me hereafter. When Vineeta, antlion and Ant got ready, I silently walked with them. We reached the line of cars waiting to take us to the hotel where the marriage function was to happen.

(To be continued..)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bombay Trip-1

(This is a weak translation of my original malayalam post)

I, my wife antlion, our daughter ant, and our family friend Vineeta went for a Bombay trip last Christmas.

Antlion and Vineeta's friend's sister was getting married which was the occasion. But the trip was also meant to be a sight-seeing one. So antlion got the list of places to vist and I procured a map of the metro city.

Antlion and Vineeta decided that we need to fly both ways, and booked tickets without consulting me. After watching the Air Crash Investigation series in National Geographic channel, I am very afraid of air travel.

When I told this at home, ant catagorically announced: "Father, I love to fly!"

She is just four and a half years old, but has already done several air travels. I had my first flight after my marriage when antlion forced me into agreeing that we have to have a honeymoon and that we should travel by air.

Anyway, without giving enough time to sleep on a Christmas morning, Vineeta reached our apartment in a taxi and called us. Immediately, Antlion and ant ran down. I was to take the 2 bags, lock the flat and join them.

But then I realised that the door was not locking. The lock was not going inside. I tried with all my might, still it won't budge. I was perplexed. Was God indicating I cancel this trip?

Antlion and ant called me from the cab impatiently.

"What are you doing there? Can't you come down?"

I was helpless, listening to her telling Vineeta in the background: "This man is incapable of taking 2 bags. See how fast I reached with ant in the lift?"

"Hey this lock is not sliding in place"


"Then how can I lock the door?"

"Oh.. may be some lizard is stuck inside. Remove it and lock the door"

"I feel like crying.."

"Hey, I did not ask you to use your fingers to remove it. Why don't you use that pen which you carry with you always, pretending to write blog posts? At least, let it come handy this way..."

Without waiting to listen more, I went inside, fetched a screwdriver, and removed a whole lot of newspaper scraps. Ant's mischief!

While Ant, Antlion and Vineeta sat on one side of the aisle in the plane, I sat alone on the other. I was sweating. Strange uncomfortable noises were around me when the plane started moving. And then one more voice floated from behind..

"Some burning smell is coming...?"

I wore my seatbelt, trying to convince myself that whatever were shown on Air Crash Investigation were lies.

The plane rose into air. I was tightly holding myself. Suddenly I felt weightless. My God! Is the plane falling? It has actually slanted to one side! Oh, it is trying to negotiate a curve.

I again wore my seatbelt when pilot announced his sincere efforts to land the plane in Bombay. A new noise greeted me - that of a fan reluctantly starting. Krr........Krrr......Krr....krr..krr..krr.krr.krr...

The plane landed at 2 pm in Bombay. We had not had much breakfast in the morning. Now we need to reach the bride's house at the earliest. Lunch is arranged there.

But no use planning that way! The luggage took 35 minutes to come. Who knows why?

Vineeta reached the pre-paid taxi counter first. Hindi is her mothertongue. So the trip from here on is her responsibility.

"Madam, a/c or non-a/c?"

Chithal is part of the gang. No concessions allowed. "non-a/c will do"

The taxi stand was filled with old Premier Padminis.

We got into one. Stuffed the luggage into the boot and tried to close it. It won't close!

"Sir, don't worry. I will tie it"

With whatever confidence that an ordinary packing tape could give us, we bound the boot and set off at a fast pace of about 20-25 kmph.

Very soon we realised one thing - Padmini aunty moves like a duck! She swings to either sides while travelling!

Slowly we reached a traffic signal. It was showing red. Lots of time left. The driver switched off the car.

The light turned green sooner than expected. And the fun started.

Car would not turn on.

Other cars came up from behind and started barking. The driver jumped out and pushed the car. 2-3 vehicles brushed past us at dangerous proximity. When the car attained a little speed, the driver jumped back in and tried to start the car. No improvement.

"Sir, can we both push?"

Thus, my first accomplishment on reaching Bombay in an airplane, was to push an ancient Premier Padmini.

After pushing for half a kilometer, I realised that the car is dead. It would be wiser to cremate it.

Before I could tell this to the driver, he spoke to me.

"Shall I get you another taxi sir?"

"Get us a taxi with good ropes to hold the luggage"

Another Padmini parked near us. Not satisfied checking the car's working condition by making the driver switch it off and on twice, I also made him promise upon his heart that he will not switch off the car at any traffic signal, no matter how long the wait is. I also told him to collect the money from the old driver.

Feeling content that with my limited Hindi, I was able to tell the old driver "gaadi achchi nahi hai," I leaned back in my seat. I chose to ignore the protests of my empty stomach.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Elite family

(This is a translation of my first malayalam blog post. A satire written years back when Govt steeply hiked the fuel prices.)

Traffic constable Gopi Pillai slid nearer to the sub-inspector. SI is a new chap. A seasoned guy like himself should be of aid always.


SI turned. “Yes, Gopi Pillai?”

“Sir, leave that young guy alone. He seems to be from some well-to-do family”

Though SI was new in the police service, he had enough wisdom to listen to the experience of Gopi Pillai.

“Why, do you know him, Gopi Pillai?”

“Oh, I hardly know him, sir. But don’t you see his fuel indicator shows a full tank? Enough to show the wealth of his family. Better to let him go without further fuss, sir. We can avoid a scene…”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blog Dreams (translation)

(This is a translation of my malayalam blog post. It got published in the leading malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi)

It was with a lot of hope I started writing at a young age.

Fame was prime. Enough if my stories appear in a weekly or some magazine. And best if it is a special edition. And as time progresses, there would be a collection of short stories; a novel; a published book.

Revenue was seldom a motivation. I never wrote for monetory needs.

Editors of magazines nevertheless were in no maya. Either they did not understand my stories. Or their standards were a tad too much. Either way, the stories I sent them remained in hybernation and readers were deprived of pleasures reading them. We all live in bad times!

So though I continued to jot at rare occasions, they were never exposed; at least till I heard of blogs.

Now, blogging seems a real boon to inspiring authors-to-be like me, who often are left out for want of an understanding editor. The promised land.

The technicalities involved in blogging are really simple. We compose a story and publish it in our blog. Others read them and comment on it. Each blogger is claiming a reasonable number of readers. Many readers are fighting over posts to add their comments! Discussions happen between those who commented, often resulting in minor fights or mood-offs. Nevertheless, the blogger gets fame! Many send the links over e-mails to others. And finally some of the blogs are indeed getting published as books! What else needed to attain bliss?!

I slowly started posting the old stories I had written. The first one was a satire written years back when Government steeply increased the fuel price. One which I felt is relevant even today. Expecting a flow of congratulatory messages from all corners, I used to check my blog post every hour. No one seemed to have even glanced!

Each passing day increased my despair. And then I tried to think that since it was a first post, people should need to know more to visit my pages frequently. Which would probably result in better coverage. Thus I decided to put a story for which I had received a lot of on-the-spot appreciation, as my next post.

My friend Pramod had to see off his cousin at the railway station. For the sake of a company, he asked me to join. That day, my story to just pass the time evoked so much laughter in his cousin Ramya that she travelled the entire distance between Thrissur and Aluva unable to control herself. Several co-passengers were found keenly watching her, unable to fathom if she had forgotten her medicines or if the heat outside had done some tricks. Ramya starts laughing even today when she sees me. That was the power of my story!!

That story became my second post.

For this post, I got 2-3 comments. But they were all from my friends and relatives. Though I felt a little happy, the bliss I seeked still seemed far away.

Subsequently, I checked the pragmatic side of blogging. I soon discovered that most of the popular bloggers are from Gulf. To get their attention, I started posting my stories on their holidays, at around the time they wake up!

By this time, I had started checking others' blogs as well and I was furiously adding my comments to all the posts which I felt even a feeble attraction. I was sure that at least a sub-section of the bloggers would wonder "who could be this guy?" and would come checking my profile. My third story fetched about 10 comments (of course, I had put in my contributions as well). Nevertheless, the comment number touched double figures!

Still, the fame I craved for was still a long distance away. I decided to talk to some stalwarts.

Carpenter Raman is my neighbour in Thrissur. Though he does not blog himself, he is a regular visitor of Vastu blogs and has several bloggers (including I) as his friends. May be he should be approached.

One afternoon, I strolled into his home.

"So, what brings you here?" Raman was polishing a door frame.

"Hey, you know I started blogging. But I hardly get any comments. People don't seem to read my posts. What should I do to get more comments?"

Raman stopped his work and motioned me to come closer. Then he passed on the universal secret.

"Just ensure that your posts have good standard. Comments will automatically come!"

While I silently contemplated selecting between going to jail for attempted murder of a carpenter and a trip to the holy Varanasi wearing saintly robes, Raman went out to get his cycle puncture repaired.

I resolved to befriend my colleagues.

My cubicle mate is a girl from Trivandrum. She works every day for no less than 12 hours. I have heard her lament about her work pressure to many.

I decided to tell her about my blog. I approached her an evening when she was resting in her chair for a few minutes after a hectic day.

"Are you having a lot of work?" were my opening words, followed by a long lecture on how to work. At the end, I introduced my blog.

"You may want to have a look when you are feeling bored working. It might help a little"

Opening her eyes wide, she asked back a question:

"So what if I feel bored after reading your blog?"

Amulya comes with me regularly to have lunch. I approached her next. By that time, I had five posts.

Amulya came laughing after reading my blog.

"Hey, I read all your posts. But what I liked most were the stories given in the two links you had provided in your latest post. They were simply super!"

God, why am I being experimented?

I decided girls cannot be sincere. Caught hold of Panchu. He is straight-forward.

"I will surely read and tell you my opinion"

"Oh no. Put it as comment in the blog itself"

"Hmm.. so you are forcing folks into adding comments to your blog. If you do that, lot of other things are going to appear in the comments. Are you sure you want that?"

"No. This is enough"

Amulya, who was listening to our conversation, pitched in.

"Hey, why don't you create 4-5 ids and add comments yourself?"

As though I took all the pains to write stories to get comments from myself?

I was totally overtaken by grief when a new guy arrived.

He looked straight-forward. The type who cannot understand what lies between lines. He is my new team member. Moreover, a Malayali.

I seized the opportunity and led him to the conference room. Started a friendly discussion with him to cover personal and official aspects. Finally I decided to speak up with my requirements. An opening was needed anyway.

"What do you do during leisure time? Do you check blogs?"

"Sir, I do that regularly!"

I sat straight in my chair. Finally I was about to get a coverage. I was framing the next sentence in my mind when he continued.

"Not just that, sir. I regularly write blogs also. Till now, I have posted about 22 posts and I get 30-35 comments on an average. I have a plan to collate some of the posts and publish as a book, sir! Sir? What are you thinking?"
I motioned him to leave and left my head resting on my hand for a while, while I sat in the conference room alone. Simply. After all, there is nothing left to be done.

Friday, November 27, 2009


My malayalam post which came in this week's blogana (click on the pics to view the pages):

Friday, November 13, 2009

I will not change!

[Some said they did not understand. For their benefit:
For lab experiments, we have 2 records. One rough record for the dirty job - marking observations, drawing rough circuit diagrams, graphs etc. One fair record where after the dirty job is done, we copy the values, observations etc and draw neater graphs, circuit diagrams etc. During the final lab exam, we have to submit the fair record also. Typically the fair record carries 10% marks.
Hope that also clarifies some questions you may have had for my previous post.

Scene: 3rd sem lab. Betsy teacher is in-charge for our batch. She is the toughest teacher.
B: all, submit your fair records!

Everyone submits, except Santosh. He is smiling.

B: Santosh, why you are not submitting your fair record?

S: Madam, I lost it yesterday! (still smiling)

B: What??!! How coolly you say you lost your fair record. And you are smiling! No remorse on your face!?! Do you know what will happen? Do you know the weight your fair record carries for the final exam? Anyway, do you think you can enter the final exam without fair record? What is the proof that you have done all the experiments in this lab?

S: (says nothing. Continues to smile)

B (little bit settled after a few moments of silence [Santosh’s still smiling]): Anyway, I think you will have to re-write all the experiments and get it approved from any of us before you come for the next experiment. Do you think you can do it?

S (still smiling): Yes madam.

B: Ok, I think I will look at your rough record to cross-verify experiments. For now, you submit your rough record.

S (still smiling): Madam! Rough record was inside the fair record when I lost it…

B: (Looks at Santosh’s innocent smile in wonder for a few moments). Ha ha hahaha!!! (bursts out laughing)

PS: Santosh never laughs. He only smiles... as he did on that day even when Betsy ma’am was laughing….

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gently lick me out, folks..

(This post is a bit technical as it involves an actual scene in an electronics lab in Engineering college. I am sorry, but I cannot translate the technicalities)

Location: Outside circuits lab, Govt Engineering College, Thrissur (Kerala)

Situation: S3 Electronics lab univ. exam

Smitha: Sunder… you look so happy.. are you not tense?

Sunder: No way! I have learnt all the experiments!!

Smitha and others: (wow, this guy’s so cool… and I am sweating…)


Smitha: We will step into the lab with right foot first. That way, we will have more luck.

Sunder: No way! I am a communist.. I don’t believe in superstitions.

Smitha: But Sunder, how confident are you on the experiments?

Sunder: I have studied all the experiments except UJT. UJT has not been asked for any of the batches who completed the lab exam till now (including A batch). So they will not ask today also. To prove my point, I will step into the lab with left foot.

Sunder steps into lab with left foot. Others with right foot. They look at invigilators – Sukumaran sir and Indira madam.

Sunder takes the sheet and slowly opens it… the experiment is.. UJT??!

Now comedy starts. Don’t know circuit diagram.

Sunder: Sir, I don’t know this experiment. Can you change this for me?

Sukumaran sir: Have you done this during class?

Sunder (almost whisper): yes… sir..

Sukumaran sir: Then it cannot be changed. Go and draw the circuit diagram!

Sunder goes back to seat… somehow draws a circuit diagram (how he drew, I will not explain). Takes it to invigilators.

Sukumaran sir: What is this?! Is this your circuit diagram?

Sunder: yes.. .sir…?

Sukumaran sir: This is wrong! Anyway, I will take your viva now. hFE of an npn transistor is 150. B-E cutoff voltage is set to 0.6v. E-C voltage is set to such-and-such and it is working in common emitter configuration. What is the base current in the transistor?

Sunder completely worried now. He looks at the calculator in his hand. Not very sure where to start.

After 3 min…

Sunder: Got it! Sir, it is 35A!

Sukumaran sir looks at him disbelievingly… “my dear, there is no such transistor in this world which can accept that base current…?”

(ok, for those who did not get the joke, the base current in a transistor never exceeds a few milliAmps)
[As though that explanation was enough]

PS: Sunder continues to be a communist, but from that day always steps for a new venture with right leg only.