Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The midsummer train tales


Half way through the summer, as the sun scorches and variety of under arm odors gas us, we run in the crowded platform where the piss perfumed compartments await us. Summer- brings with it travels and travails that we wish we could avoid. The platform teems with people, spit pan and banana peels, where the fan pushes in hot air from under the asbestos, baking you into walking human cookies. Yet when you stand near S3 and read the chart running your fingers over 22F and 24F, along with your name, you feel a high that even dope can’t give! You’ve got tickets, in a bay where there are two young girls! That too from Chennai to Mumbai in this peak summer! 24 hours in wheeled heaven!

Getting confirmed tickets in peak summer is by no means an easy task, tougher than scaling the Everest or getting an appreciative nod from the missus! So how do we hit the lottery? How do we get a confirmed ticket in the summer? The art of procuring confirmed berths in summer is perfected by few and a careful study ahem…of these successful people will help you learn the ropes.

You have to be a voracious reader, reading newspapers left to right without missing a single letter every day. You have to keep yourself abreast of every Railway budget. One fine day, your proficiency in Railway rules would earn you a berth, so keep reading. The advance reservation period is so unpredictable like the weather forecast. When you expect that to be increased, they roll it down and when you expect a decline, they increase it to 120 days as of now. It is better to take the help of the parrot astrologer down the street who can tell you if it is 60 or 120 days the moment you decide on your travel.

Once you decide the date and calculate the advance booking date, using all calendars- Gregorian, Grecian and Roman, next comes the task of deciding how you do it and when you start the prep work. The day before opening day, you line up at the reservation office sharp at 8 pm, armed with water bottle and a newspaper. Beware of the hijackers. The moment you close your eyes sitting in the rusting chair, these hijackers move front and back the row, the more you sleep, the farther behind the queue you would be. The best way out would be to shake your legs once in a while when you sleep. Or better still, don’t take a bath two days prior. You will be a sitting mosquito magnet pulling mosquitoes that hover miles away from you. Your swats and turns will ensure no one dares jump the queue.

Don’t worry about the morning when you wake up, while still in the queue. Ensure that you wash your face with the water, not your mouth. You need that special oral perfume to ward off the queue jumpers and your special breath ensures you get the ticket in a fraction of a second from the already fainting counter clerk. Always check if you are seated in the correct queue. There are separate ones for women, senior citizens, representative and self counters. You may even check with analyzing the people in the queue before or behind you- the balding heads, snow white hair and wrinkles mean that you are in the senior citizen queue. The extra bouncy hair, kohl laden eyes and blemish free complexion means you are in the senior citizen…oops…ladies queue. You can be sure you are in the representative queue if you happen to notice ear stud sporting, fair complexioned guys spitting pan all around the place and armed with applications for Navjivan Express, squatting on the chairs.

Leaning and craning your neck, you watch man after man leave the queue with success and you pray your favorite God that you will tonsure your father-in-law’s head if you get a confirmed ticket. Please make sure that he does have a sprinkle of hair, or the God’s wrath may turn on you! By the time your turn arrives, the reluctant clerk will either get a phone call or will get a nature’s call. Thank your lucky stars and open your mouth to say a ‘Good morning’ with a toothy grin. Your breath will ensure he issues your ticket first and then dashes to the restroom to puke out his brains. Awesome! You’ve now got your coveted berth, the counter clerk has even given you change. Congratulations!

Do you intend to get a ticket online on the opening day? Please make tasty vadumangai (dried mango) pickles and send to your second uncle’s fifth cousin in Dallas or Houston when he comes on vacation. A simple missed call will do the trick. When the poor fellow calls you back with saliva dripping from his mouth remembering your wife’s yummy pickle, you draw the net around him. Just tell him you need a ticket on opening day and exactly at 9.00 am Indian time, which makes it midnight for the hapless prey who nods still in a daze. Bait him in, US servers are far quick and should you not capitalize on that? Just add a pinch of sentiment in your chat. Tell him how much you miss him, hallucinate him as Hrithik Roshan with his six pack abs, even if he is filled with a family pack.

If US relatives don’t work, look at single guys in software field. These are easier preys, in twenties and handful of money, they know not what they want. All they know is you have a drool worthy daughter in her teens and whatsapping her the ticket details will be their dream come true. You may or may not repay the card money, who asks money from you anyway? Ensure the lady blocks his number the moment you get the IRCTC SMS to save further trouble. Or if you feel getting online ticket on opening day is the basic qualification for your future son-in-law, just go blind eye. After all, your daughter might get confirmed tickets for her summer travels!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sequel to the art of being idle

This is obviously part 2 of the earlier "The art of being idle", dedicated to all Sarkari staff. I am in love. With the Government offices, the salubrious climate where no one is working, but everyone seems to work and absolutely in Divine love with the ettukal besari (8 diamond stone studded nose rings) sporting Divas. Here are few more specimens that you ought to know, if you want to engage in a booming laughter, of course!

Artful dodgers

These people are the easiest to locate. They will be the busiest in any section, typing away like mad on their computer screens, their eyes never shifting from the keyboards. Only when you watch them carefully you can see the concealed mobile phones where they whatsapp the near and dear, kept kissing their keyboards. Why would a lovely lady smile when she types the total number of wagons holding different commodities? Ain't so funny, right? Unless the wagons contain gold and she is getting a share of it, why would she smile like silly?

The moment you bring them a file, they point out to the sea of files on their table, wave over wave of dust settling on them that you will be hit by a dust cloud the moment you are anywhere about 10 metres from the lady. Dodger looks at you with pleading eyes, bats her eyelashes and fans her non existent sweat as she says she is too preoccupied with her work. If you insist, well, she says 'aye, aye captain' and goes to the next office at once, where the airconditioner welcomes her with open hand and condescending coworkers pull out chairs for her with smiles. Mind you, dodgers are always the beautiful of the pack, they look cool, dress pweetty and have that killer smile, which when you try to imitate looks like an eerie smile of a zombie!

You insist further, she escapes to the restroom. Now, these are the real restrooms, where the banter of women starts from their mother in laws and ends with the sons of the mother-in-laws, who are the gentlest of the souls next to the Mahatma! Try however hard you might, you are never going to get work done by dodgers, period!

Fanatical Fashionistas

Should I preen more here? The fashionistas- each section has one of them, mind it, only one of them. They dress up like a small child lost in a fancy dress contest, resplendently dressed, boisterously made up and walking the corridors as if they are shooting for the Vogue! The less said about their dresses, the better. Tuesdays and Fridays, you can see each vying with the other as brand ambassadors for Pothys and RmKV silks, the summer has brought out the cottons. You name the variety, you see it. Venkatagiri, Chanderi, Kanchi, Bengal cottons competing with each other, fashion tailors weaving their art as intricate blouses and these divas flaunting them. 

As for the make up, you would be amazed at the perfectly chiseled brows, lashes replete with mascara, eye liners applied with road-rollers and lipsticks ranging from fifty shades of red to fifty shades of nudes. As for the hairstyles, your eyes will pop out at the range of lose hairs flying everywhere. Your lunch on a friday in office is never complete without a fistful of hair entering your food pipe. Hair hair everywhere- be it your file, or your key board or your lunch box, the fashionistas ensure you have a taste of their Khula hair! 

Don't you dare to look at them at 5.45 pm. The mascara and eyeliner around their kohl laden eyes, lose hair and lips stripped off gloss and lipstick, give them the look that can kill. Their looks in the evenings could kill the ghosts from the Exorcist! Mind it, rascala!!

Unworthy awardees

Every section boasts of one such specimen. He will be the front 'runner' for every award. He is proactive, creative and the boss' henchman. Entire office switches over to 'silent' mode the moment our hero walks in. He has everything in his finger tips- starting from what soap the missus of the boss uses to what tic powder the boss' dogs prefer. His main duty is to the boss's wife, his dog and himself, not necessarily in the same order. Every year, his name will feature in the awardee list and each year he stoops to new lows to reach new heights. 

You can seldom see him in office, though. He will be busy attending to household chores of his immediate boss, than pondering over some dirty file in office. You will be left wondering in which way he impressed the boss, while you, the hardworking ant of the office is left with your tattered pride to pick up. He follows never kiss the boss' *** and tell. I betcha he does it with clinical precision! Never ever enter into 'Who is big?' contest with these kind, unless you want to end up buying choiciest vegetables for the missus of our boss;)

Power packed Politicos

This tribe- the farther you remain from them, the better. To them, every tile in the office floor is a chess board, every one of the staff, pawns. Their game is chopping down anyone in their way of achieving their goal- the goal of becoming an assistant level officer. You would wonder at the levels of power packed in their games, if such politicos are a couple in your office, the game gets interesting. Black, white, black, white- the moves enthrall you, weaving you inside the game and by the time you know of the game, you will be a lost pawn! 

They know every Tom, *** and Harry. Their contact list in phone screams of the who's who in town and they would be sharpening their claws and waiting for their next prey. If you know nothing of them and walk into their booby trap, you are OVER! My best advice would be- avoid them as the bubonic plague;)

Petty Pilferers

Ah! I love them. Their talk is so sugar coated that at any given point of time, if they ask you to die, you will very happily chop off your head and hand it over to them in a golden platter. Such is their skill in looting your work and getting credits for what they never knew. The knuckle head is so talented that you will never know when he undid your underwear and washed it in public;) My! My! Such talent in overshadowing other's work and stealing credit for anything about which they know neither the a's nor the b's. 

Never disclose anything you know to them, their tongues are like the iguana's. It can stick into your brain and pilfer whatever little is available in your already shrinking cerebellum. On borrowed feathers they do a 'nach baliye' while you, who should actually get the credit for will be left with a nagging boss and equally nagging wife!

Ah...the people in a government office! I can never get tired of writing about them. They are the creatures that fascinate me. I have a longstanding affair with studying these specimens at close quarter and this study may please be named- " psy (office)chiatry"! Watch out and tell me about other specimens you have come across. Would help me with writing one more blog post, dedicated to our Head Office :P

p.s.: Still stuck at the Capital of our state and I wonder if the gas I am inhaling is oxygen or hydrogen sulphide! Would have been happier if it was nitrous oxide;)
p.p.s.: I've decided not to be HOT, the climate is hotter than me!
p.p.p.s.: What is the basic criteria for passing a promotion exam in office? Simple, you ain't need no brains :P