Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Overheard at work today I

[Woman on her cellphone, standing next to a fax machine]: Ohhh I made a mistake. I accidentally sent it to the wrong number. Instead of sending it to your fax number, I sent it to your listed phone number.

My thought - Then how the hell did it go across, you stupid cow ? Didn't you check the damn fax report which must have said "Move away from the machine, you illiterate" ??

I think I need a few days off.

Monday, April 28, 2008

How he's grown

There was a time when I was a FOB. Well, in some ways, I still think I am; plus I've never really thought of FOB (or ABCD, for that matter) to be insulting; but I'm not as FOB-by as I used to be. Which is something I realized while going through some old mails today - from roughly 10 days in August - September 2002 (right after I had gotten off the boat plane) - yes, I have some of those mails still saved. Yes, I'm actually quite sentimental, as, I'm sure, if obvious from reading my posts!

And here is what I had written back then ...

Khair, once on the plane, I was quite happy to see the cool tv screens and all
This was probably because while I have been flying since I was a kid, this was my first international flight - unless you count Nepal, but then, that flight didn't have screens in front of every seat. Kuwait Air did.

The blankets that they gave us were amazing, just the right size and majorly warm
The same blankets now seem small and coarse. Frikkin spoilt I am.

The trip was all the more amazing because of this air hostess called Tsvetanka Piedelieva ..... definitely one of the prettiest women I have ever seen ... and extremely sweet
Tsvetanka, if you read this, drop me a line. I still think you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.

Finally, I decided to call and was lookin around for a 1 dollar coin
This was still at JFK, not at the airport in Cincinnati ...

The bath was AMAZING. Totally firang waala - with a glass door to the tub and shower and everything
Yes, I was being the wide eyed desi boy at my chacha's place.

They have this super speed net connection and a bahut cool comp.with laser printer and all. Bade hi amreekan type ke log hain
I still had dial up at the time. Which is what I used to do all my research and stuff when I was applying to universities in the US. And today, I get pissed if Gmail takes more than a second to load.

So I was telling my sis over chat as to how my chacha's kids (10 and 5 years old at the time) had waited to have dinner with me ...

and the day I came, we reached home at about 9:30 and had dinner at 10 but they both waited for me and had dinner with us only. quite sweet.

And my sis goes ...

sooo sweet ... how well mannered ... hum bhi aise nahi hain

I don't think it needs to be pointed out that the sis is given to being highly dramatic at times!

And the FOB-biness continued with ...

tu fridge dekhti to faint ho jaati ..... stocked with evrything imaginable yaar
I sound like one of those really starved kids.

then we walked to dominoes for lunch ... bada accha pizza tha ... much better than india vaala
Errr ...

And I had this new thing called smirnoff ice ... badi hi tasty thi
I guess breezers weren't as popular in India then. Or were they ? Dammit ... was I uncool even then ??!!??

New York is divided into 6 parts -- queens, brooklyn, manhattan, long island ... where I am, Bronkx and New York city). Manhattan is the major cool hang out type of joint
I don't know how accurate my Geography is, but I soooo maintain that Manhattan is still what I thought it was all those years ago. N ... I'm coming around soon, btw.

I continued to tell the sis about some long lost cousin aunt I had met ...

Also, she said that when she was in India she had come to our place and had seen my snap and then she says "maine tumhari mummy se kaha ki Gaurav ko dekhe hue bahut time ho gaya ... bada chhota and cute hua karta THA !!!" .... I did not know whether that was an insult or a compliment.
Again, Errr ...

It was good, but you're supposed to have it with this green coloured paste kinda thing which hits you so badly ... its like eating a spoonful of mustard sauce rookha !!!
*Braces self* This was me describing eating sushi with wasabi. Dammnn … what village did I come from ?!?!

Now for -insert annoying young cousin's name- .... he is this obese kid, who might be sweet, but lacks all respect .... maybe because he's american or something ..... but hes the kind of kid whose face i feel like slapping on sight.
Clearly, my love for kids has always been there.

I think I will call up chacha and say namaste today ...
Apparently I was showing off my Hindu sabhyata.

Aunty wanted to meet me. I dunno why, but I always remembered her as a bit of a chudail .... but she was very sweet.
I'm actually a really nice person. Honest.

I'm mailing everything so that I don't spend too much time answering questions over the phone :)
Which reminds me – I really need to start saving some!!!

And there were many more mails, but I’m sure the point is clear :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Birds of a feather

The flatmate, as sweet a child as he comes across to be, can be quite bitchy! Observe:

Me [showing him a picture of two slightly (ok, considerably) rotund people at a wedding]: See!
Flatmate [his eyes bulging as soon as he sees the picture, and then expostulating]: Oh GOD! Was there anything left for the other guests after these two got through the buffet ?

See what I live with!! He's totally going to Hell. Yes yes, he's only going to follow me there.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Alas - it's Alaska I

Since I gave up the India posts after only four attempts, and the European memoirs in just three tries, I have decided to be a good lad and write about the Alaska trip while it's still fresh in my mind. So here goes ...

The trip began with me trying on the gloves giant oven mitts I borrowed from the flatmate, rendering me unable to show my face while I had them on. More than one person has suggested I wear them permanently. Hmph - sticks and stones etc.

We got a choice between a Dodge and a G6, and I chose the latter, which, in retrospect, was kinda sad since that is the car I drive on a daily basis. Things got worse when Khichkhich (henceforth KK) declared that he wasn't the least bit interested in driving, which of course led to me having to drive all across Alaska for four days ... but then the super plus side to it was - me driving across Alaska for four days !! By the way, don’t miss the camera case at the back of the car. That is still lying at one of the viewpoints that KK was soooo excited to stop every second at. Oh well, perhaps someone else looking for a case will suddenly become all happy. Plus ... it was HIS camera. Haha .. *straight face*.

Yes, those ARE clip on shades. Oh shut up. I had to. There wasn’t any time to get regular prescription ones made. And they helped a great deal, since the sun was super bright. Plus they don’t look too bad from afar. Like I said, SHUT UP.

On the way to Seward (to go whale watching), we pulled over at this place which was too frikkin awesome for words. Hence, a video ...

Seeing a huge pile of snow, I decided to tyaago it all and take off. This dukhi zindagi was just too much. Which is when I realized that I was the one with the car keys, which resulted in me turning around and trying to maaro some sort of a "I'm the King of the hill" pose, but looking more like a "Is there a restroom around here" pose. Do observe.

On the way back from the hill (and on our way to Seward, for the whale watching trip), we saw this sign. A leeeeetle bit late it is, no ?

This pic totally cracked me up, specially if you look at the kid's expression in the last box. It's like .. Wheeee ... orange color life jacket .. I want I want .. heeheee ... it feels so nice .. don’t I look snazzy ... WHOOAA .. WTF ?? ... are you gonna drop me into the ocean ?!?!? ...

On the boat, I decided to channel my inner buddhi aunty ... check me out giving the "arre beta, isss dukhiyari ko chaai peene do shaanti se" look. I'm quite dramatic, really.

Of course, the four layers that I was wearing - shirt, sweater, muffler, jacket - came in handy out at sea. It was highly freezing, and since I did not want to scare everyone else away, I took KK's (bad) advice and did not .. repeat .. not .. wear the gloves. Which is why I've got my hands stuffed down my pockets.

Force of the wind .. feel it, I do. Yesss. <-- This is my Yoda impersonation, for those not quite as geeky.

The majestic takli eagle. I was hoping that it would swoop down and snatch one of the kids on board. Unfortch, that did not happen. Win some, lose some.

Very Hitchcock-ian, don’t you think ? These birds were still ok - they were at least flying gracefully in formations and stuff. However, we encountered a number of demented ducks - who would choose to sit still while the boat headed straight for them, and then use their wings to run on the water like there's no tomorrow - which it would certainly not have been had we got to them in time.

This is Porpy, the porpoise - I know, imaginative name, right ?!? She and her sahelis were dancing around the boat for some time. We concluded that this is what we would have to be content with, since Helen the slutty whale had enticed all the other whales away to her lair of sordidness and debauchery, which is why we never saw any.

Sidenote - in case you're wondering about the names, don't even get me started on Roopmati, Khushi, Bulbul and Rajnigandha - the receptionists at the various hotels at which we stayed.

These two pics were on the way back - proof that the sea breeze, accompanied by sightings of otters, sea lions, bald eagles, mountain goats, sea gulls and highly disturbed ducks leads to even totally relatively sane people going a bit balmy. It is little wonder that pirates were as strange as they were.
On the way back from Seward, we decided to stop at Alyeska, which is basically this place that’s really high up and you need to go via cable car. I really don't know why I agree to do these things, especially since I think I have a mild fear of heights.

KK's pose is to be seen and not commented upon.

Enthu cutlet that I am, I decided to run down the mountain and sing the "yetiii .. yeti I love you" song. Sadly, only my cool moves are seen in this video, which, I am sure, you are simply dying to watch. Go right ahead, dear readers.

What goes down must come up - Newton's postulate to the 4th law of gravity. And since I did go down, it was but obvious that I would come up. Here I am, looking a bit like Anil Kapoor actually ... as he is running up the mountain to save his lady love or some such. Can't you just hear the drumbeat in the background ?

That pic says "Explosives - Keep away" ... I am not entirely sure as to why is there a cannon right by a ski trail. Alaskans are crazy.

Oh how luurrrvely - a perfect way to end a perfect day - sunset from the top of the mountain, which could also be seen (the sunset, not the mountain!!) from inside the restaurant (Seven Glaciers) that we had dinner at.

We got back to the hotel at about 10:30 at night, at which time KK - raat ki raani that he is - ventured out once more, while I crashed into the wonderful bed and drifted off to sleep. Very fairy tale-ish, I know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm going to be rich !!!

I received an email this morning, from Mr. Hon-Hing Wong, the Managing Director of a bank in Hong Kong. Apparently, some German dude saved a buttload of money in his bank, and has since kicked the bucket. As a result, Mr. Wong is more than willing to share 35% of the wealth with me, in return for my services posing as Mr. Schnieder's next of kin. Wow ... I am SOO lucky ... of all the people in the world, I've been chosen !! What are the odds !!

Here are bits of the email:

I am Mr. Hon-Hing Wong , Managing Director of ****** Bank Ltd, Hong Kong. Iam contacting you with respect to a portfolio amounting to $35,520,000 USD(Thirty Five Million, Five Hundred and Twenty Thousand United StatesDollar) deposited by a German Merchant named Mr. Mathew Schneider.

Wait ... why is the "m" in Merchant capital ?

Mr. Mathew Schneider, has since passed away without stating his next ofkin because he deposited the funds in our establishmentat a point he was finalizing divorcing his wife and had no kids coupledwith the fact that he was an orphan.

Now this is the true German spirit ... an orphan child has been able to make such a wonderful amount of money in his lifetime !! I'm sure that cow of a wife only married him for his millions. Well, she ain't getting a damn thing. Haha ... in your face, you money grabbing harlot.

This sum of $35,520,000 USD (ThirtyFive Million, Five Hundred and TwentyThousand United States Dollar) is still in my ssession in my Bank lifelessand unnoticed ...

In my ssession ?? ... "po" kahan gaya ? Po has po-ed ?? (little Tam joke there! ) ... and it's quite fortunate that the sum of 35 million bucks is lying in a bank, unnoticed. I never knew bankers in Hong Kong are so frivolous with keeping track of their accounts. Well, good for me!

I will like to seek for your permission as a foreigner to stand as the next of kin toMr. Mathew Schneider so that the fruits of this old man's labor will not be use for financing weapons which will further enhance the courses of war in the world in general.

Yes yes, noble thoughts indeed. I am all for stopping such developments, specially when I could use that money to build my very own amusement park right inside my house mansion! But how to look German ? Abhi tak toh people have said I look Venezuelan (sach mein ... two Mexicans and a Colombian have told me so!!! ... taco taco) ... perhaps I could grow a tiny moustache ?

There is no risk at all as all the paperwork for this project will be done by my attorney and with my position as the credit officer guarantees thesuccessful execution of this project.

Oh ... needless to say. It already seems totally fool proof. Just tell me where to sign and let's get this show on the road, Mr. Wong.

Awaiting your urgent reply. Email: mr_hingwong28@yahoo.com.hk.

Cool. Abhi bhejta hoon. But I'm confused - your mail came from mr_hingwong2007@yahoo.com, but I need to reply to a different mail id ??

Hang bloody on ... is this a scam ?!?!?! Phewww ... bach gaya.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Having a senior moment

I've had my car for just under two years. Only twice has someone else ever driven it. No one but me has ever gotten gas filled into it. Today, I forgot which side the gas tank is on.

I'm 27. I guess it's already starting to go downhill.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Zen from movie trailers

It's better to be disliked for what you are than to be loved for something that you are not

- Falling from Grace

I have a feeling there is some deep meaning to the line, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

I'm going home

Yes, Mr. Grecon, I'm finally going home; she said, her voice full of happiness and excitement.

Mr Grecon smiled. He had known Zabinira for the last seventeen years or so, since the time she first started to work in his warehouse; and he had found her to be extremely hard working and young at heart for a lady her age. Him enquiring about the exact number of years she had been on the planet, and she coyly refusing to ever let that fact slip was a standing joke between them. Still, he was pushing 52; and she was easily twenty or so years his senior.

Finally, huh?, he responded.

Yes ... yes!!, she replied, her mind clearly thinking of the long journey she would have to take to be with the man she had loved all her life - Jovas - who was still about 3000 miles away, but whom she would see within a few weeks. They had been in touch through those letters once a month, her only link to him for so long.

Are you sure you don't need any help from me?, he enquired.

Oh no Mr. Grecon, you have done far more than I could ever have asked. Right from helping me sell all my belongings, to getting my paperwork ready, to giving me the courage to make this journey back to the person with whom I belong. Bless you, Mr. Grecon, you truly are a wonderful man.

Will I see you again?, he asked, already knowing the answer.

In another life, perhaps; she replied with good humour.

You know, I will never be able to come back; she continued, without a trace of sadness in her voice ... Everything I had has been used to make this trip, but if it means being able to spend my last few years next to my Jovas, then it's worth it. I wish I had a camera to capture his face when he opens the door and finds me standing there. I'm going to breathe my last in his arms, Mr. Grecon. What more could I ask for ?

Now now, said Mr. Grecon with a twinkle in his eye, you will live to be an old lady, I'm sure of it. I can hardly see a wrinkle on your face yet.

She smiled as her hand explored the contours of her face. They hugged. She was ready to go back.

Three weeks later, she stood in front of that old apartment for a long time. Her body was exhausted from the journey, but her mind was reliving all the memories she had in that place. Jovas, her true love, who wouldn't let her go hungry even when he hadn't eaten in over five days. His handicap had never allowed him to have a "normal" job, but they had persisted ... even in the face of acute adversity, they had each other. And then she had had to go away. But .. but that was all in the past. She was here, and that's all that mattered. Even though they would still have to live in poverty, they were together once more.

Her eyes welled up, she took a deep breath, and imagining what his embrace would feel like after all these years, as her fingers moved to the bell.

The bell chimed. He opened the door.

Good morning sir ... my name is Jovas Mislun. I have finally come to be with my Zabinira. She works for you, doesn't she ?