Sunday, December 4, 2011

Facebook knight


0700 hrs.

I crawled over to the study table. Checking mail isn’t something I do because it must be done. It is more of an incognizant act done purely out of habit. Like scratching your cojones. So did that. I mean the mail checking routine. Simultaneously I logged in to facebook. My mouse finger had a tingling feeling.

I would have been disappointed if there had been no new friend requests. There was one from “Eden Cherry”. One of my friends is a common friend. That will do. My friend circle is 2719 and counting.

My status update every 25 minutes has managed to harness and hold the attention of a huge fan club. I do not know half the jerks in the circle but that is irrelevant. At least a dozen click “like” when I post something even I don’t understand. Last Saturday’s “my boner is empty” got a whopping 32 likes. There was a typo that slipped in as I performed a fast update with a single blackened finger on my blackberry when I found that the Xerox machine was out of ink. Who cares! Even if I belch on facebook my darling Teena would click “like”. She is dumb and pretty. God bless her.

After a quick glance at the video uploads by my friends, I realized that I am not doing my part, enough. I promised myself that I will be more diligent and proceeded to share a few with the rest of the world. But realized a little late that the “Hot nun at Canterbury” was an inappropriate one for my good ol’ convent school teacher who recently got in touch with me. But it was all her fault. Would she ever realize that facebook font is too small for her age and eyesight? She shouldn’t be here at all.

There seems to be a lot of buzz about a dam these days. I googled it and came up with this much: “a masonry gravity dam”. I didn't understand shite. Who cares! I copied it on to my status line and got an instant “like” from Teena babe, four “shares” in 3 seconds and a “wow” from Willy, the bartender at the local joint. They must be thinkin I went to the “Harold” or something! Or is it the “Harvard?”

Holy splooge! The last time I updated a profile pic was yesterday! In a flash my handsome face was replaced by a better one. Teena once again came in like a flash and said “cute”. I love this girl. My high school friends who used to call me a “Kermit” should see this. But the “Celeb look alike” app on facebook keeps telling me I look like Iggy Pop. I hate that app.

Suresh is screaming in CAPS that some guy called Mark Wahlberg will shut down facebook for ever. Doucheberg! How could he? I shared this vital info with everyone and now that butt-wipe Suresh who said it in the first place seems to have deleted his post. Am I feeling like an idiot or is it something I ate?

Enough if this nonsense. I’ve got that email to be forwarded to a 100 people. For every 100 persons, Bangbros (weird name!) will donate a penis to some guys in Saudi Aarabia who looked at female goats and sang a song. Save our world, you people. It is all ending one pretzel at a time.

Well….I know you will google THAT for sure.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mirror, mirror......




If your bathroom mirror always looks clean, it means that there are no women staying with you. Those who doubt the credibility of this fact are recommended to check before you say nay. However I must also consider a few nit-picky house keepers who would not let the mirrors stay like that. For such households, an inspection of a hair brush (especially the cylindrical ones) would reveal it all. A few such revelations were on the bed, belly up and staring back at me that day, as I looked down in disbelief.

I was losing hair, I had dandruff and my comb was being used by the two ladies at home; a daughter who had straight hair and her mother who had wavy hair. In spite of the assortment of hair brushes and combs that were strewn all around the house, these two ladies had some sort of devilish plan wherein they would always use MY comb. Afterwards the comb was discarded with all that long/wavy/straight hair entangled around it like a grizzly puzzle.

That day, I spent more than 15minutes trying to get that comb looking like what it was supposed to. It was at the end of that distasteful job that I discovered the aforementioned facts. Soon, I was convinced that the hair loss was due to the dandruff which of course came from the women who used my comb. Trying to convince them not to use my comb was not even a thought. I knew by then that you can’t keep a comb away from a woman for too long. That was against the laws of nature. I had to find another way.

The coward in me who hated confrontations with hair-brush-wielding women found a peaceful way to tackle the dandruff problem. The salvation was always an obvious choice right across the street. The saloon was open till midnight. I walked in. One of the barbers looked at me and smiled like a vampire who spotted a teen-some virgin.

After finding out how much it would cost to get rid of my problem, I was seated on one of those familiar steel chairs. The coiffeur nudged the chair with his knee and it swung towards the mirror and I found myself looking at myself. I noticed that the mirror didn’t look very clean. But that didn’t really matter. It wasn’t my mirror.

The coiffeur inspected my scalp and reacted like a guy who stepped on poop. He made a face and I felt insulted. I agreed to undergo a 30 minute special treatment. The first part included a shampoo wash. Afterwards he proceeded to massage in huge amounts of smelly oil. Then came approximately 2 pounds of hair cream. After the first cream, came a second coat of cream. It made my head look small and my over-sized ears look bigger in the mirror. I thought I heard the guy on the next chair smirk. I looked at me again. I looked like a big ice cream cone with eyes. And then, it started to itch. I grabbed the arms of the chair and clawed the steel.

The coiffeur disappeared and soon came back pushing something that looked like a plastic helmet on a stick. Then he propped it up with the helmet sitting a few inches above my head. The next 10 minutes were spent steaming my scalp which had the world’s largest itch ravaging through it. I grit my teeth and clawed more steel.

What he brought out next filled my heart with happiness. It looked like a giant hair-brush fixed on a machine. Those rubbery spikes were meant to massage my scalp and clean it off all the dead tissue. The mere thought of that send goose bumps through me! I got ready for the ultimate head massage! He plugged it in, flipped the switch and the whole building fell into darkness.

There was complete silence for a few seconds. Then the hailstorm of abuses started. All of them were from Kerala and no one can beat us when it comes to belting it out.

I heard someone asking my coiffeur whether he had ever gone to a school. The reason was revealed to me slowly. The machine was faulty and there was a note left on it warning the users. My beloved barber had either not seen it or chose to ignore it. The circuit breaker had tripped, I still had 2 pounds of cream on my head and the itch had returned with its cousins. Plus, I could feel the condensed steam slowly flowing down under my collar, onto my back and proceeding further down.

After 5 minutes of darkness, dampness and desperation, the lights came back. But the machine was not going to be used. There was no spare machine as well.

My beloved barber found a small round plastic comb and started to massage my scalp. He looked irritated. His hands were sapped of all energy. The massage was far away from what I had hoped it to be. Once he was done with it, a lot earlier than I thought, I felt the water that had flowed under my collar had hit a flat surface and had started moving horizontally. The itch had relocated.

When I walked back home, I covered the big damp patch on my posterior with an old newspaper.

My bathroom mirror is dirty as usual. The comb is still full of long/straight/wavy hair. The dandruff is back. It can stay. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Love & thy neighbor



A wall separates my bedroom from my neighbor’s bed room. A thin wall. Thin enough to carry conversation through it. This fact was revealed to me one day; at 2 in the morning.

Like some of you, the early hours of the morning has me sleeping like a log. I would be laying on my back, straight, unlike the rest of my family who would be a tangled mass of legs, arms and hair. Sometimes I get up startled because getting elbowed in your ribs even during the deepest sleep, puts your body into a defense mode. I suddenly sit up, stare into the darkness, collect my whereabouts and feel the pain in my ribs. Slowly, my eyes will get accustomed to the form lying on the bed next to me and the left elbow that gave me the rude wake up call. Muzzling the anger that wells up, I try to get back to sleep. I won’t get that deep sleep again, I know. However….

That is when, I think it happened. The mild “thud” right behind me, on the wall. And another one. And many more. In a sequence and rhythmically. It took only a few seconds for me to associate the thuds with the faint human sounds that accompanied it in the back ground. I was listening to my neighbors, right in the middle of their early morning carnal congress. At 2 am in the morning? Yes. I did look at the clock, shortly afterwards. 

I was amused because I had never listened to somebody else’s session, live. I was quite because I thought they would hear me breathing. I was jealous because of obvious reasons. The passion was raw and genuine. The night seemed to be watching both parties at both sides of the wall. Then the thuds progressed to a crescendo....

The perverted angel sitting on my left shoulder looked at me and winked. I tried to look away. But it was not going to give up so easily. It glanced meaningfully at the empty water glass on the bed side table. With trembling hands I took the water glass and placed it against the wall. Then I pressed my right ear against its mouth. (Yeah..Pervert)

I listened to them until my ears pained from being pressed against the glass’s edge. I sat back, impressed. It still went for another 30 minutes or so. Is it possible? I wondered, considering various possibilities. May be they are playing the recorded tape again; just to fool the fool on the other side of the wall! Or maybe my neighbor is the legendary stud who goes the distance; sundown to sun rise. Or may be a ludicrous lady was listening to her ipod and tapping the wall. 

That was one day among many other days. I was the silent audience on the other side of the wall many a time at 2 in the morning. Until the day when my partner got up in the middle of the night and saw me with a water glass stuck in my ear.

It has been months. The water glass has been permanently replaced by a pet bottle. I got new neighbors. An old couple. Deep inside I know; some where in this city, some body has a glass stuck to his ears at 2 in the morning.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Below the belt



If you are fat, you would not be amused by what is written below. You would be offended. If you are skinny, well....not any different. And that‘s not the purpose behind this piece. Just sayin.....

Scene: A mall in Abu Dhabi. A gent’s apparel show room. Evening.

A fat guy in a tee and big bermuda shorts was looking at the jeans displayed on hangers. His fingers travelled up slowly along a pair of denims like a villain stroking a vamps’ thigh in a Bollywood movie. Then they travelled down, even slower. The guy then pulled the fabric closer and smelled it. I got curious. I crept closer.

He must have been 16 something. A plump face with not much facial hair. Two eyes peering hard from a pudding-like face. Those eyes never left the jean; one of those latest designs that would expose your butt-crack, no matter how you sit down. I had students who wore them to college. Some of the guys would also expose a wisp of arse-hair during the process. The skinny ones took it to a whole new level. They would fix it around their waist as low as possible that it defeated logic and physics. I think the trick was in walking with your legs slightly apart so that it kept the jean in the periphery of your waist.

In Abu Dhabi I had seen some trousers with waists stretching up to a phenomenal 44 inches. Sometimes I have taken one of those heavy creations, opened, looked inside and felt I was looking into outer space. I found it difficult to believe that a human’s derrière could burgeon up to fill so much of emptiness. Oh, let me get back to the one in front of me, folks...

So, here he was. May be wondering if he could somehow get into one of those pairs. The fat boy leaned forward to take the largest pair he thought was in front of him. He ended up pushing the cloth stand with his gargantuan belly and it scuttled away on its casters. He looked back and caught me looking at him. I looked away. The boy went back to work. But the cloth hanger seemed to have a mind of its own. I wanted to see him chasing that metal stand on wheels but looked away thinking he would notice me. As I was turning away, I heard a crash and a “plop”.

The boy was on the floor entangled among a few more cloth stands. One seemed to be sticking out from under him at a very odd angle. I cringed. I could not see his face. It was under more cloths.
I wanted to help him but I knew that I was not built for the job. A brief visual of me trying to rescue a beached whale, all alone, flashed inside and I froze. An employee of the shop appeared, took in the scene, looked at me and smiled. He was also of my same build. I could see what he was thinking. The new guy seemed amused and confused. Our fat guy was still on the floor and the poor fellow was panting. His sharp exhales sent the clothes around his face fluttering every alternate second; like a whale breaching. It all looked surreal.

Another employee came looking. A girl. She looked at the heap on the floor, at the male employee and then at me. She then looked at me, a second time. May be she thought I was related to my big cousin who was still clawing the floor. I shook my head before her thoughts found matching words. I turned away checking out the printed skirts on another hanger.

There was another crash behind me. I turned and saw more hangers and more people on the floor.  This time the arrangement was different. The girl and the guy seemed to be trapped under the 16-something giant. There were more clothes on the giant’s face and very less around his waist. The Bermuda had slipped down exposing the biggest male butt I had ever seen in my life. (Oh no..I haven’t seen a lot of them. NO)
 He has this pink undies with yellow “tweety” prints all over it.  I could not take my eyes away. It was definitely the most grotesque sight I could remember since Jurassic park but I seemed to be transfixed by it. Like a horrible accident that leaves you frozen with your eyes wide open.

Soon one more lady appeared on the scene. From her size and her concern I guessed that she was related to the boy on the floor. She spoke aloud in a language I did not understand. She shouted at me and at the shop staff. She was huge. Her black abaya floated around her and reminded me of the Caribbean and the black pearl. She stretched a beefy hand and effortlessly yanked the boy to his feet. He stood up and the bermuda shorts fell. I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned away for the third time and started walking.

I had taken a few steps. There was more shouting from behind. I looked back again.  The lady had grabbed the shop guy’s puny hand and continued to scream. That guy looked at me with pleading eyes. “Not today, brother”, I said quietly, turned and started on a small trot towards the cash counters.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Momma



Wind played with the dust and dried leaves and took them for a short spiraling journey. It was afternoon and I was back at home on the verandah, on an easy chair. This summer vacation was mostly spent indoors as the unpredictable rain played outside. At times, the sun would beat down mercilessly and dry up whatever was left behind of the rain. Today, it was dry and sunny outside. I felt lazy.

I was not always the only lazy one on the verandah. A cat who had befriended my mother recently was often there. She would be under the same recliner I was on. She had three hyper active kittens that never left the vicinity of their momma. The only other place they would go was to our  back yard where they would share what my mother used to give them, at least twice a day. While I was watching the wind and dust, the kittens jumped in, chasing the dry leaves. There were only two of them. One was missing.

Cats, they say, are not really fond of their human friends but love the pampering. I have often noticed that it took some effort to dislodge the momma cat that was so comfortably splayed on the easy chair. A cat is a lazy creature. And it was missing from the scene. I looked around. There were only two kittens.

I had a vague recollection of my mother telling me about the rogue cat who used to visit the back yard, mostly at night. He was the rejected lover of momma cat and displayed no affection to her kittens. The jealous lover was also guilty of stealing food from the kitchen and attacking momma cat's kittens. I suspected this villain's involvement in the disappearance of the kitten and their mom.

The wind had died down and the kittens had returned to their afternoon siesta. I moved indoors and it seemed like the rain was making a return any moment. There were noisy crows announcing the change in the weather and were flying home. I thought I heard the momma cat's cry in the distance.

Morning came, wet and gloomy. Sun was still behind grey clouds. The whole world seemed to yawn as the faintly lit sky sat brooding above. The kittens were back on the chair and so was their momma. It had wounds on its face and a deep cut on its hind leg. It took turns licking its wounds and its kittens. One small fellow was still missing. I assumed that momma got in to a fight with the villain. Did her kitten pay the price for being there when it happened?

Few details emerged as the days went past.  The villain was seen one day limping around with scars on his face but seemed to have disappeared from the scene. Momma cat was back on the chair with her two kittens. Her wounds were slowly healing. 

And that is when I noticed the new visitor near the verandah. He was younger and bigger than the villain who  had disappeared. His face was already battle-scarred and beady little eyes watched momma cat and her kittens intently. Momma didn't seem to be perturbed. She got off the chair and placed herself between the kittens and the visitor. She looked back at him and growled with that steely resolve only a mother can manage.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

LOL




Cave man (CM): (Edgy, shy) Who are you, you good looking stranger?
Facebook diva(FD): (Face palm) Oh…finally I get to meet someone who doesn’t know me! Btw, I’m Teena.
CM: What do you mean by “btw”? I am Steve.
FD: (eyes wide open) It means “by the way”. Is this your first day on chat?  LOL
CM: (eyes downcast) No, I have been around for a while but I never spend much time in here. And I didn’t know that I was looking at some one very famous!
FD: You are not really looking at ME now. That is my profile pic, my avatar. But everyone on facebook knows me! LOL
CM: (disappointed) so you don’t look like this beautiful woman in the picture?
FD: well, I am not that ………….tall.
CM: All I can see is a face. Who is talking about being tall!
FD: Err..what I meant is I am shorter, I look a lil different and my hair color is not that. Oh wait; Why am I even telling you all this! LOL
CM: (smiles)
FD: But people say I have the same eyes! LOL
CM: I am sure you do! They must be blue as well! My window opens to the beach and it’s blue everywhere. The sea lies outside like an open blue book. I believe if you look real deep into any one’s eyes, you can read them like an open book.
FD: Is it so? What have you read recently? (looks coy)
CM: I am reading “Cocktail hour under the tree of forgetfulness”, by Alexandra Fuller. Being where I am right now, I don’t get to read many eyes. (chuckles)
FD: Ohh…. Was it about a few guys who get drunk and forget where they are? I think I saw the movie…was late night. Can’t remember the name! LOL
CM: (smiles) No madam, this is about Fuller’s mother living in Africa. Not a movie. What was the last book you read?
FD: (embarrassed smile) well..I don’t really get any time to read books. I have this big book shelf all full of books. But I find it more convenient to read e-books. I am a netizen, you see! LOL
CM: What else do you do netizen?
FD: I do everything, buddy! Ha ha! I am a busy body on the net and off the net. Please don’t ask me to explain..! LOL
CM: To be busy all the time is a blessing.
FD: (embarrassed smile) Okaayyyy…so on which planet are you on to be away from eyes and people?
CM: I am on Easter island.
FD: Sorry, never heard of it! But it must be beautiful there! But how come you sound so lonely? What do you do for a living? Are you a diving instructor or something? LOL
CM: We get very few visitors. I am a fisherman.
FD: Oh ho…
CM: (smiles)
FD: Anyway…was nice talking to you Steve! I wish you all the best.
CM: Why are you leaving so soon, madam?
FD: Like I said, I am quite busy even when I am on the net. I am talking to another dozen people right now. Didn’t you notice the number of communities I manage on facebook?
CM: Then how come you are alone having a frappuccino?
FD: What??? How the hell do you know that?
CM: I am not on Easter island. I am here in the same café looking at you.You are nothing like your profile pic. You have no book shelf. You are not Teena. You are Teresa.Your girl friend is Danielle. She is nice and I am dating her. I and Danielle are going fishing. I am not Steve. I am the good looking stranger across your table. It was fun talking to you, Teresa. I wish you all the best. Btw, I paid for your coffee.
FD:  (face palm)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Xanadu


Some time in 1991.
0800 hrs. Monday.

I am late. I woke up late. The quick trip back home over the weekend and the late train back didn't help. Sleepy and bleary-eyed I amble across to the bathroom. I open the tap. There is no water coming out. Instead it screams like a banshee; an inwardly wound whoosh of air into the pipe pregnant with a big vacuum somewhere in its entrails. I put my finger into the snout. It gets stuck there. The scream stops. I wonder how am I going to get some water! Class starts at 8.30. 

Water authority in Trivandrum city was still served by pipes that survived the colonial period. The age of those buried aqueducts becomes vocalized between 7 am and 7 pm. That’s when you could feed the taps with anything and it will devour it all. They reminded me of scary science fiction movies where alien trunks from UFOs hovering above the city sucked people into its bellies. My mind quickly went back to the Instructor who would be giving the morning class. I suddenly realized that aliens would never scare me. Once the worse had already happened, you are not afraid anymore.

1600 hrs. Friday.

It is almost dark, thanks to the monsoon. The clouds have invaded and the rain that lashed the ground has formed puddles everywhere. Five of us lived in a 2-house-combo within a single wall approximately 500 feet above sea level, on top of a small hill. (Another reason why water had to fight a failing battle with gravity and age to reach us, our house) There was no proper road that took us to the house. It was more of a crude path drawn into the rocks that polka dotted the way up the hill. It took some skill for you to execute the journey since most of the rocks were boulders smoothened through years and required the traveler to walk, hop, jump and grab when ever required. Friday evenings saw some of our friends indulging in such rock-jumping to reach our house which always welcomed visitors. Watching those guys from our vantage point on the compound wall was like watching a video game. We named our abode "Xanadu" after Mandrake the magician's inaccessible fortress.

0800 hrs. Saturday.

One of our guys was a martial arts student who had occasional delusions about his super human strength. This idea often prompted him to get up on a Saturday/Sunday morning and do flips and splits on the terrace while the rest of us were still sound asleep. There were other houses near by and the closest house also had an ethnic sky-view bath outside close to the boundary wall. It was such a Saturday. Mr Bruce Lee had climbed the stairs for his morning exercise. There was a muffled scream that penetrated our sleep and we woke up wondering if our friend had broken his freakin' neck or something. Later we came to know that it was our next-door-girl who had screamed. She did it when she was  in the sky-view bath sans clothes and noticed   a guy leaping into the air from the near by terrace. Bruce lee had in fact jumped off the roof and had sprained his ankle. His face reflected mixed emotions: pain and perverse pleasure. 

1000 hrs. Sunday.

An unwelcome visitor to our house was calling out to us from somewhere on the rocky road to Xanadu. We went to inspect. This guy was frozen in his tracks half way across the path. In front of him stood a skinny mongrel who bared his fangs and it looked like it was smiling. Stray dogs were many and they were territorial. They assumed that the whole area was their ancestral property and it was true. The only way to escape was to pick up a rock quickly and pretend to throw it at the smiling mongrel. You should not run at any cost. But if you got the timing all wrong, then you have to try scaling the smooth boulders to escape the canines; which was very difficult but a lot of fun to watch from our vantage point. That Sunday belonged to the mongrel. The creature sent our "friend" galloping over the rocks, back to where he came from.

August. 2011.

Some of us are going back to our college for an alumni reunion. Xanadu is also on the agenda. We hope to conquer the rocks one more time. The house , we hope is still there. There are a lot of memories strewn along that rocky path. I heard that the monsoon is already there and waiting for us.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Valentine thoughts: part deux


My dear Son

Do you know that today is "fathers' day"? More importantly, do you know that I am writing this letter to you from an old-age home crammed with similar souls?

My memory is still sharp enough to remember that I was dumped here because of my alleged escapades on internet and a frivolous complaint over telephone from a pizzeria waitress. Without even giving the benefit of doubt to a deserving old man, I had to pack my bags and surround myself with more old age. This mail is to just let you know that I had saved enough money to buy an ipad and my usb modem was safely tucked into my "Cobra" boxers before I got into your car.

Life has a different flavor being in the company of many like me here. The collective angst of old men is a force to be reckoned with as you would soon realize. Our brains scamper in all directions but come back with ideas that will make young studs like you cringe. I must thank you for giving me this opportunity in self-discovery. The pizzeria was a mere sign of the times to come. My son, I am at home. Finally.

Rachel, who lost her husband and has four kids in US of A, is a sprightly thing with money in the bank and time to kill. Conversations with her can't be categorized as an intellectual discourse but more filling than the 3 course lunch I get. How can you ignore a girl who thinks a "belt" is a thing that comes off a guy!

My latest profile on facebook is a bit intriguing with a new name in "Musli- prowess" and a profile picture of Robert Downey Jnr. Finally I have an image that appeals to the 18 to 80 year old. ;-)

The pizzeria girl is not even in my thoughts now. I order Thai food from the near by restaurant and they have these short haired staff who like the way I move! On an average, a call to place an order for sauteed prawns take around 15 minutes. No one needs to teach those kids about the benefits of repeat patronage.

My buddies convey their regards to you. They say that you put me here and added color to their life. We even formed a band called "Vintage warheads". Our covers of the Beatles throw our girls into a trance! Your wife's emotional operas pale in comparison.

Today is Fathers' day, Son. Hope your kids are fine. I am writing this with a finger on the ipad, a hand around a plump waist and a song on my lips. My wine glass looks lovely in the candle light. I think I miss you. But again, I could be wrong. Old age can often mess with your thinking, eh?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Snakes


Susamma was in a dilemma.


The neighbor's wife was older but slimmer. Never seemed to care about silk sarees and seemed to be in possession of just one; "ONE" mobile phone! And she never wore any gold. Which chromosome is she missing?

That first day, early morning when Susamma arrived into this world screaming, legs kicking, her beaming granny gathered her up in her frail but gold-bangled arms and marveled: "Oh she is a chunk of gold!". That sort of did it. Lil Susamma latched on to the first word she heard and decided to dedicate her entire life worshiping the precious metal. The rest is history...still in the making.

So back to the neighbor's wife who didn't seem to care a rat's ass about wearing the precious metal. On the other hand, Susamma carried a minimum weight of 400 gms of the yellow stuff at any point in time including the occassional funerals of a relative. She took pride in carrying the scars on different locations of her pleasantly plump body; all caused through abrasions caused by her gold ornaments. Well...one exception was the dark snake like mark around her waist caused by a tight, heavy waist chain. But no one ever saw it except for Thomachayan, who never seemed to be bothered about it at all especially when the sighting was may be once in six months. While Susamma went through a lot to carry gold and the scars, her neighbor's wife had none on her silly slender body and still men seemed to be interested in her. Susamma scratched her head with a hand that jingled with four gold bangles; each weighing 16 grams each.

Susamma's despair was tripled by an incident that had concluded 2 days back; Thomachayan's friend's daughter's marriage. The horde of gold bearing women at the venue resembled a splotchy sea of yellow and in the midst of it all stood her neighbour's wife Nancy, in all her gold-less glory; wearing just one platinum chain. In her plain and simple raw silk saree, she was graceful as a swan among pudgy ducks with bad make up. Even Thomachayan was found silently adoring that woman. Susamma died a thousand deaths that day and wished a thousand more to her neighbor's wife. Contrary to her habit, Susamma left the party early before the roly-poly women folk dispersed.

Back home, she gathered all her gold from her box, body and book shelves. After meticulous calculations, she put them all back. That night Thomachayan saw the snake around Susamma's waist and a jubilant Susamma sold all her gold the next day for a few pieces carved in platinum. The next day was a beautiful sun drenched Sunday. She wore her shocking red silk saree, wore the platinum, and walked ahead of Thomachayan to the lift. Her timing was perfect. There she was.

The slender neighbor in her lilac cotton churidar. Around her slender neck was a string with a pendant that had all the colors in the world captured inside. Susamma's jaw dropped. Unintentionally, she mumbled, "what is that?". Nancy smiled and said; "Abalon". Susamma, confused, looked back at Thomachayan whose adoring eyes had left the abalon and had wandered over to Nancy's abalon abs.

Susamma's hand absentmindedly went to her waist, barren without the waist chain. She almost heard the snake hissing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Despicable me


The forwarded mail was inflamed with just anger and indignation. The one who sent it and the ones who saw it before me had entered their names. The signature drive was on. The youth, the old, the wise and the ignorant; my whole country was waking up from their sleeper-cell-slumber in response to a frail man's war-cry. His name was Anna Hazare.

I resisted my temptation to ask my colleague: Who is this guy? Oh don't! Better sense prevailed. What if he thinks that I am such an ignoranamus! Silently I googled and found what I needed to know. Thank God for internet. No one knows what you do not know, what you pretend to know.

For a moment I wondered what would have happened if the Lokpal bill had been a reality a few years back. I shuddered at the mere thought. I had paid the Panchayat, the Sales tax department and many more to get my pet project on the road. Any aspiring business man would have done the same thing. There is a time when principles swell up your throat and you push it down just to ease up matters. I am not the only one. I was just following the norm.

But this mail was in my face. Shimmering in the white virtual glow on my computer waiting to be dealt with. I had to join the millions who would add their names to the ever growing list. Together this would shake the foundations of the servers around the world choking internet bandwidth. A few netizens would rub their hands in glee while raking in thousands in exchange for mail id's they sell to an online viagra seller.

I signed it. Forwarded it to a dozen Indian friends of mine. They were all in their early 40's. Viagra might help. Just thinking about it, I felt aroused.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Remember the guy with the red baseball cap who sat opposite to you while you enjoyed your favorite bbq chicken pizza? I don't think so. Some men aren't conspicuous in a girl's life even if they wear red caps and yellow Tees. When it is a 70 year old one wearing glasses as thick as your arm and a few white wispy stuff adorning his head, it certainly isn't much to look at. But I was looking at you, hard. It took a full minute for me to focus and conclude that you were indeed a girl and you were hot.The short gray hair on the back of my shriveled neck stood up when I saw your ruby red lips as you bit into the medium pan pizza. If an old man is to be judged by what goes on in his mind, I should have been given an electric chair.

As usual, this February also I thought of walking past your house to get a glimpse of you. But my decades old prudence held me back. Some memories are still afresh in the gray matter. Some memories are hard to erase; especially when they involve you. Even if you are pushing 70.

Social networking had been a boon to the super senior lover boys like me in more ways than one. I remember befriending you last February posing as an amateur male underwear model. My facade fell down when my fellow pensioner friend tagged me on our reunion group photograph. Since his eye sight was a notch lower than mine, he tagged the wrong guy. Yet the damage was done. When you removed me from your friends list, I slept broken hearted and forgot to put my dentures in the glass. I woke up with an aching heart, knees, jaw etc and a dry drool measuring approximately 15 cms on the pillow.

Today is February 14th. The day cupid plays tricks with every one who is still in love or searching for love. Baby, I am still love stricken. But I am also stricken by diabetics, blood pressure and a certain illness that makes me change my bed sheets first thing in the morning. But I can't slight that pudgy lil angel who flies around with a bow and arrow. I can't deny the fact the sight of pearly white sinking into a piece of pizza makes me think sinful thoughts. How ever I will never ever bother you again. I will never be an unwanted profile presence even in your virtual world. I am taking my cold heart some where else.

To an old age home, to be precise. It wasn't my choice though. My wife told my son that I have been mis-using the internet connection he provided to see me from his house in California. He saw my profile on facebook and decided that enough was enough. Darling, all my bags are packed and I am ready to go.I am joining my brothers who share a similar fate. I hope to find a fresh meaning in life. I hope to find a pizza parlor there as well. I hope they get customers with pearly teeth ( a full set).And then, one day, I will wear my red cap again.

P.S. Do you know why I am jealous of pizzas? They are held with both hands before those teeth sink in.

Queen's English



That kid was old enough to run around and play. His young mother was with him, doing her surveillance with motherly attention and love. She was talking to him, encouraging him. In their own special language, or that's what I thought; until I was in earshot.

She was talking to him in English. The kid was responding in his own language, like any other kid of his age; a dialect you would understand only if you have spent time with them. However the mother spoke a different one. It was the Queen's English. Perfect in grammar, composition, in that easily place-able Indian accent.

It took only a few seconds of casual observation for me to understand that she was a malayalee. The rubber band in her curly oil stained hair, the soiled salwar,the cheap sandals on her feet and the long, heavy gold chain that adorned a slim neck. It was almost 8 in the morning and the street was already busy. On this by-lane, the mother and son had come to out to play? It didn't look like the perfect time.

The mother was asking the kid to leave his toy car and come back. She kept telling him that they would come later to play. Too young to understand his mother's banter, he went on. The mother didn't really seem to mind. She was more concerned about demonstrating her English language skills. Her furtive glances around seemed to seek the approval of any one who was nearby. She wanted the entire neighborhood to know that she could converse with her lil kid in English. Wasn't it admirable?

I continued walking. Meanwhile the "English speaking" mom had scooped up her kid and had started walking back to their house. I could still hear her talking loud. "Son, we will come back later and play, do not worry". The kid was responding in his mother tongue this time. I felt relieved. You can't mess with some instincts when they are young.

There are many nationalities living nearby with their families. None of the parents speak to their kids in English, even if they all are studying in Anglican schools. Only Indians are more "English" when it comes to casual conversation with even kids. I don't think it was something the British left behind. It is just us Indians pretending to be something we should never be.

We should learn a thing or two from that lil kid. I should have written this piece in Malayalam, to start with.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mirror mirror...




If I claim that for the average narcissist, Facebook "offers a gateway for hundreds of shallow relationships and emotionally detached communication", a few would even bethink removing me from their "friends list". Such reaction is likely to happen in spite of all my hypocritical glory, I am aware that social networking in general allows me great control over how am I presented to and perceived by other users.

In a survey conducted by a psychologist, young people with narcissistic personality traits were found to parade facebook activity that was distinctly more self-promotional.There was this "pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-importance."

The survey's results showed "significant positive correlations between narcissism and self-promotional content in the following areas: Main Photo, View Photos, Status Updates and Notes."

Male narcissists were more self-promotional in their "About Me" descriptions, using this section as an opportunity to highlight their intelligence and wit.

Female users with narcissistic tendencies tended to use images in their self-promotion, uploading content that "included revealing, flashy and adorned photos of their physical appearance."

I couldn't help remembering how a few people I had known but not really "known", had been ostentatious and loud on networking sites but timid and shy in real life. Their insecurity grew wings and flapped wildly, perched on a facebook flagpole.

On facebook, even the trivial takes such gargantuan proportions. Why should the rest of the world be vexed with Jane revealing that she is "Out having a coffee with out cream"? Tarzan says he is "swingin again". It is all your fault, girl.

By the way, I have to go now.

"Out driving a tank".

The Covariation model