Sunday, 29 May 2011

Confessions of a Railway Reservation Clerk!

 A middle aged man glares at me across the counter and i show him the appreciation is indeed mutual! He asks the umpteenth number of time- "so you can't give me a ticket now?" I now nod my head sideways pursing my mouth, careful my girl, one word out of your mouth and he will seize your throat. His next question is just what i guessed- " I want to make a complaint. Where should i give a complaint against you?" I try to imagine i am talking to the Prime Minister and put up my best smile and say- " You can please contact the Station Master to lodge a complaint, sir". There, i said it. He looks at me bewildered, why is this lady unperturbed when i say i am going to complain against her? What dear Customer Inc. doesn't know is, i have piles of complaints on me and loads of punishments handed over to me. He did complain that day, the enquiry clerk in the counter did not give me a ticket at 2.30 pm on Sunday, asked me to do whatever i can and directed to write a complaint rudely. The Complaints Inspector kind of looks at me with disdain and hands over a memorandum asking my explanation two days later. Customer dear had directly faxed the complaint to GM's Office and i am taken up for behaving rude with him. Now, the concerned section wants to close the file as soon as possible and they compel me to apologize to the concerned complainant.

Cursing dear fate, i land up at his doorstep two days later with a condescending colleague. His wife supplies coffee to us and disappears. He argues what he did was right, he never knew he could not get a reservation ticket on Sunday afternoon after 2 pm but it was my callous behavior that insulted him. My foot! He books tickets every week and knows pretty well reservation offices don't function after 2 pm on Sundays. He remains stubborn and my colleague tries his level best to convince him to withdraw the complaint. Ignorant of timings of reservation office, this learned man has directly faxed complaint to GM's office, the address of which he knows as the back of his hand! After deliberations and pleading, he finally agrees to give a withdrawal letter if i say the inevitable word- I am sorry, sir! I don't remember having done anything wrong except the fact that i directed him to the SM's room. Forced by my colleague who had already deliberated with the learned man for more than two hours, i am now in a tight fix. I have to say a simple sorry, else my colleague who has come to help me, will feel put off. To avoid an unpleasant situation, i mumble- I am sorry, sir, and step out of the house. I see the lady of the house peering through the window grills of the house and i suddenly feel so sorry for her. Imagine how life would be for her with such a man! A disaster!

Scene 2:

It is a chilly morning in Reservation Office, raining cats and dogs outside. I try to get up from my seat for more than an hour to get to the restroom, without success. When i finally clear some rush, i see only one elderly man standing before me, writing a form. All other counters are free. I tell him earnestly- " Sir, please get the ticket in the next counter. I will be back in five minutes." He looks up at me, shrugs his shoulder and continues his writing. I lift myself up, rub my aching hands and start my walk to the restroom slowly, my pot belly pulling me back. Well into my third trimester, my delivery is due any moment and after using the restroom, i feel suddenly uneasy and sit back in the dining room. After five minutes there is commotion outside and i walk back to see what is wrong. 

Our elderly man is yelling at the counter clerk nearby- " why should i come to your counter? I am here and i want to get ticket only from this counter. Ask the counter clerk to issue the ticket. I will not move from here, until she herself gives the ticket. How dare she leaves the counter for ten minutes?" This happens when all the counters are free, devoid of any living being. Ignited beyond control, already in delivery blues, i start arguing with him. My blood pressure must have sure shot like hell. Supervisor dear comes running and picks up the application from Mr High and Mighty and gives him the ticket, trying to pacify him. Mr Mighty leaves huffing and puffing. Thankfully, he forgot the incident as he had more interesting quarrels on the way back home and i am saved. Amen!

Every now and then we meet people like these- those who think themselves High and Mighty and undervalue anyone under the sun. A counter clerk is just a chit of a person who has to act as per their own whims and fancies. If not, well, they know how to teach them a lesson, don't they? Wherever i see MK Gandhi's quote- “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” I feel like laughing out aloud whenever i read this. And whenever i meet one such Customer(Kashtam-er!) all i can do is- sigh* urgh...sigh*

Interested in reading more? Check this confession of a fellow reservation clerk...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Inspection Comedies- 2

Abandoned Ernakulam Terminus
Railway station, dilapidated and worn out
For those who have already read my Inspection Comedies- 1, this topic is no surprise. Here comes the Comedy Number 2. There was a quaint railway station called Bikshandarkoil next to Uttamarkoil on Trichy- Villupuram Section in Southern Railways. Being posted in Trichy division, i had the luck(?) of working in some myriad places and BXS- Bikshandarkoil is one among the worst! The station by itself was well over 2 kms from the Trichy Chennai Highway, the only road link to the village. Commuting by bus, one had to get down at Koothur and walk the entire distance, either in stoic silence or humming the latest love song. I was a poor station clerk, sent to duty on saturdays and sundays to relieve the poorer station clerk for his rest day. R lived in the quarters nearby and would rush in a jiffy to catch the bus to Madurai, his hometown. Oh, i forgot to mention, the nearest quarters is about 300 metres away from the station! The station by itself must have been built in 1950s and with little or no maintenance, it was in shambles then.

There were no restrooms in the station, we had to use the quarters of Sethu, the Peon who worked there. One hot Sunday, i was on a full day duty in Bikshandarkoil, from 6 am to 9 pm. As i had left the hostel at 5.30, there was no lunch for me and empty handed, i walked all the 2 km stretch singing loudly. The deserted road from the Highway to the station was devoid of any traffic, except a few cows grazing. Sethu was happy to see me, i was the only other person whom he and his family could actually socialize, after R, of course. He brought me breakfast from a small mess on the highway and i waited restlessly for the afternoon lunch. Actually there are no lunch breaks authorized when we work on shifts, it is just adjustment(!) you make with Peons. I requested Sethu to look after the station and after locking the ticket chest duly, i set off on my arduous 2 km walk in the afternoon sun. I reached the mess and after a hearty meal and a few gluttonous burps, i headed back to the station, trailing slowly.

The hot sun made some magic(?), i don't know what. I started to kick the stones on the road ( Remember, i was  just nineteen then!) and started a football game with an imaginary team. Halfway along the road, i saw a tattered jeep rattling along the road. Completely absorbed in my game, i kicked the stone to the middle of the road. The jeep screeched to a halt in front of me and i looked up annoyed. Why these people are spoiling a small game i play? Can't i play li'l football with no one? The person on the front seat looked so familiar, i stood stupefied in shock! The Railway jeep was brimming to full capacity with all the Commercial Officials who had come on a surprise inspection to the station and left finding no one on duty. Mesmerized by what was happening this fateful Sunday, i stood rooted to the spot. The jeep scouted me and continued its journey on the pot holed road and i gingerly made my way to the station.

Picture of  Begunkodor station that was reopened
after being abandoned for 42 years!
I knew i would be punished severely for not being available on duty spot at the time of inspection. I was awarded(!) with an increment cut for a year and free pass cut for another year! Seriously, how can one expect a girl of 19 years to sit all alone at an almost abandoned station for 14 hours without food and rest room? Incorrigible! And one gadget deserves a special mention here- the Railway phone. There was only one departmental phone that i could use, to talk to the Station Master of the nearest station- Srirangam. This was a vintage retro inter-station phone where there was just a handle, no dial pads. You need to wind it and unwind it to talk to the SM nearby for any help. By the time he arranges food and water for you from about 8 kms away, you may well be dead and gone!
Interstation retro phone, vintage classic!

A special mention about the frequent monsoon visitors here- snakes! They scrambled into the single room building, escaping the rain and you had to be careful not to step on them when there were power cuts. With a lantern and Sethu on guard, i remember how i used to dangle from the table, hanging onto dear life. Funny are the ways of life, especially those of women who are employed as booking clerks in such deserted railway stations. Now you know why i feel like hitting some one when they say- "why should you worry? You are Railway staff with carefree life and five figure salary"!

Picture courtesy- Google search

Monday, 23 May 2011

I can DRIVE!

I can drive. I think i can drive. I....can drive. Errr...can drive. Phew! I just can't drive safely. Every time i think of driving, i almost choke on my words. I am still left in doubt as to whether i can drive or not, seriously. My scooty is an eye sore, thanks to me, it is battered and bruised, being my driving companion for almost 10 years. The self starter seldom works, i know my mate well, she loves my energetic kick every morning. May be that gives her the kick whole day long... She is someone i can always trust, how much ever i taunt her, she is as stubborn as a mule, refusing to raise above 40 kmph. The accelerator on my right handle bar hates me as much as i hate it! And the brake- oh yes, it is the best part of her. She slows down wherever she wishes to, not where i want her to. I apply the brake 10 seconds earlier and she responds to it by ramming on the vehicle before me or that lamp post on the street side. She is just my dog, always loves to rub the lamp post!

Wait, don't write me off as a bad driver. I am the best driver when it comes to my car. I know...i must be wondering how i drive my car, when i gun my scooty for 40 kmph, how fast my car would go? not more than 40 kmph again! Every time i touch the power-packed power steering, i can feel my pulse race. I can hear the heart beats thumping- mistaken, not mine, but that of the poor passengers in the car. They are compelled to remember long forgotten childhood prayers. God will be happy with me for reminding these atheists His Kindly Prayers every time i drive. Husband dear always appears calm outward, but my son...tsk..tsk...He reminisces how i clamped the brakes once and let him fly from the back seat to the front!

What made husband dear to write off my driving skills were the frequent accidents. I love to park my car right  in the boot of the car before mine! During my fledgling days driving, i had a single major doubt- " Which is the brake pedal and which is the accelerator"! Every time my trainer who doubles up as my driver yells BRAKE.........BRAKE..........i step up the accelerator. And every time he says SPEED....SPEED...i hit the clutch. Fed up with my driving skills, L has disowned me. Any more accidents and resulting loss due to negotiating with affected party and repairing the car, well, he is ajnabee! Shelling out the last 20K for a repair to the car's body, i have been forbidden from touching the car ever again. Whenever i see the car, i remember  this- NEVER EVER AGAIN.

But as you know, necessity can drive us to the extremes and i would love to drive my car again. I love the feel, the power, the pep driving a car can give you- it is just ultimate bliss. I have been missing my free (four) wheeling fun days for so long. Why should i refrain when i have the licence to drive?(Kill?) My driving fantasy might seem preposterous, but is sure on the cards. So dear God, please save all those who tread on the foot paths. My sincere prayers for all those driving in and around the city. And to that car owner whose vehicle i might hit anytime soon, my advance apologies! Never say never again!!! 

Picture Courtesy- and

Saturday, 21 May 2011

We live only to discover beauty

"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting"- Kahlil Gibran.

What is real beauty to you? This is one great topic to kill for, a whopping prize money on the cards and a featuring in Yahoo! Real Beauty. Two days i sit, raking my brains and brawns trying to conclude what does real beauty mean to me. The more i ponder on, greater is my confusion.We have read " A thing of beauty is a joy forever" somewhere in my upper primary. My English Teacher who taught this quote was a real beauty and i wondered if she would be teaching us forever. Thankfully, no! My childhood thoughts of beauty were limited to Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai- the two rivaling and reveling beauty queens.

Man...i sat glued to the TV sets watching the beauty paegents and it was then that i really took interest in beauty and the beauties- i was a beast till then! My favorite quote that time, was by Jean Kerr- "I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That's deep enough. What do you want--an adorable pancreas?"  Adorable pancreas? Ewwwwww! Doesn't sound or look appealing either. As i grew up, Aishwarya and Sushmita aged, grew crows feet and tell-tale wrinkles. Of course, i am still beautiful- aged wine, you see! I saw the inner beauty in Sushmita when she adopted Renee and then Alisah. Beauty with brains and a heart- indeed. 

-And as for the handsome gentlemen- beauty always lay in their wallets, rather than complexion or physique. Super Star Rajnikant would not have made it even to Sudarmani innerwear ad, if not for his signature style. Tall, dark and handsome is what i thought in my teens of beautiful men. And when i see my successors craving for six pack abs, i cannot but laugh my silly head off. Six pack never matters guys, what matters is the six figure pay pack! Would girls swoon on a penniless hunk or a man with money and character? The choice would be the latter of course. 

Now the quagmire of beauty and brains- to succeed, both must complement each other. This i learnt after 33 years in this world- too long a time. Real beauty is the beauty that radiates from within and shows in your outward poise and peace. I must quote Elizabeth Kubler- Ross here- "People are like stained glass windows -- the true beauty can be seen only when there is light from within. The darker the night, the brighter the windows". Now i know beauty emanates form the heart and lights up the face. I find beauty in the sweat filled hugs of my grandmother. Her wrinkles tell more tales than a painting. I can see the beauty of the blind beggar who returned my misplaced purse. I can feel the beauty of my dead Mother every time i smell her wardrobe. Look at the pictures below. Are these people not beautiful?
Mother Teresa
Should i elaborate more on this Beauty?
Pulluseri Chinnapillai- Kalanjiyam Trust
Called the Negotiator, this illiterate poor woman started Kalanjiyam Trust
that is a pioneer for SHGs in TamilNadu
Activists Arundhati Roy and Medha Patkar- Activists of Small People!

Krishnammal and Shankaralingam Jagannathan-  Gandhian Activists and  Sarvodaya Leaders,
I am glad i discovered real beauty. When will the World find it?

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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Of Babus and Babudom...

The very sight of buildings like these send me the shivers! No, it is not some haunted mansion, but the ultimate Hot Seat of Babudom. Babus rule the Departments from the cavernous dark cubicles of these mammoth structures. Britishers left us the legacy of Babudom and we do have the Feudal Lords ruling over us, poor clerical staff. Indian Railways is the largest Babudom, boasting a contingent of 1.6 million employees.  Of these, the number of Babus starting from Section Engineer to Commercial Inspector, cutting across departmental lines must be somewhat trivial. But the power and authority these Babus exert on poor unsuspecting staff is just unimaginable!

Simply entering one such office to get a leave sanctioned is a laborious process with many sub-processes! First, you enter the Branch Office where the Assistants of Babus chit chat and relax. On seeing you, some try to ignore you, some plain look at you blank and many scrutinize you, as if you landed up from Mars! Crossing all these glances, you reach the Doors of Heaven where your Ultimate Babu is seated in airconditioned Chamber. I thought the name Chamber suited these cubicles- they are worse than the Nazis' Gas Chambers! The careers of many unsuspecting subordinates are decided here- lock, stock and barrel. Glaring at you stands our own St Peter at these Gates- the Peon. Each Babu has his own peon waiting on him, a perfect au pair! St Peter's job ranges from washing Babu's tea cups to buying vegetables for Masternis. Unfortunately, many Babus have multiple Masternis and it is fun watching St Peter shuffling vegetable bags between homes!

Once St Peter decides you are fit to enter the Heaven, he hands over a small white sheet where you scribble down your name, which you promptly forgot the moment you entered the Bhooth Bungalow. The paper goes in and you start your eternal wait. You can count the number of threads on your saree, the number of times the phone rings with no one to pick up or simply the number of times the buzzer of Babu sounds. Each time the buzzer sounds, our Peter jumps up, goes in and comes back in a jiffy. People barge in and go out and you remain out of focus for a long, long time. You plead with Peter to let you in just for a second and he shows who is the boss here...You grind your teeth and say to yourself- " You shall pay for this Peter, just come to Reservation Office for a booking inside the counter". Covering your burning anger with a sweet smile, you bat your eyelashes at Peter and sit on the screeching wooden stool.

The red light above your Babu's name says ENGAGED. Netas and their chamchas go in and come out as if through a revolving gate, but the Pearly Gates remain closed for you- a damned and doomed departmental clerk. After a nerve wracking wait of two hours, Babu finally decides to give you a darshan and St Peter comes showing all his 36 brown teeth- " You are summoned". Ah! Heavenly to hear these words, you jump up and rush into the room. Babu is busy flipping through a file, gives a curt nod for your  Good Morning. You stand rooted on the same spot and hand over your leave application. Babu unwaveringly gets it, stamps his signature and you heave a sigh of relief. Your Thank you, sir falls on deaf ears and marks the end of your meeting with Babu. Shoulders drooping, you make your move out. Every meeting with Babu beyond Pearly Gates is just the same and you regret the day you started service under Babu. Babu remains the ultimate authority. Babu is indispensable. Babu is omnipotent. Babu is omnipresent. Babu is intelligent. You, on the other hand is an MBA. You are just a clerk. You are nothing, a void. Look what changes a visit to Babu can bring on you! It gives a hefty blow to your self confidence. You feel like a vermin. 

A day will come when Railways would go into Private Hands. Babus may not like the changes, but i would like to work under someone professional, with ethics. Some one who can understand my devotion to work. Someone who can identify my merit. Some one who can reciprocate my Good mornings with a smile. Above all, someone who can feel what i feel...

All pictures courtesy- Google search

Sunday, 15 May 2011


A thumping victory, almost no opposition and Captain's Company- Amma will sure rock Tamilnadu (literally) for five years to come. Honestly, no one ever expected a demure and seemingly pleasing Amma to win such a landslide victory dethroning the exi(s)ting Royal Family. Democratically the trend of such super duper majority is not good, anything the AIADMK feels will be a LAW now. So what happens next to us, the poor common Tamil men and women? Oh, shut up and watch the game!

Day 1 after the verdict: Amma asks her CM room and other Ministers' rooms to be ready in St George Fort, the old Secretariat abandoned by erstwhile First Family. So, the whopping 200 crore new secretariat in Omandurar Gardens is now totally free! Kuppan and Suppan can tie their buffaloes in the Ministers' chambers and graze them in the lawns. How sweet! Amma is the only person to think of buffaloes in Chennai city, who can get only Shakila and Namitha posters to eat. Now, thanks to Amma, they can munch on the grass of Secretariat! Chennai's traffic woes are world reknown- now Amma's convoy will be a regular feature everyday. All flights above Chennai will be grounded, all vehicular traffic on Beach Road will be stopped and all ships in Chennai harbour will be anchored till Amma's convoy starts from Poes Garden and reaches St George's Fort. Amma's safety is our ultimate concern- you see.

Kannagi's Statue in Marina

Poor Kannagi! Karuna and Jaya have made it a point she never rests in her Eternal slumber even after centuries! Amma removes her statue and Karuna installs it. Every five years she comes to Marina and then goes missing. Probably Almighty God will have mercy on her. He would breathe in life and make her walk back to Madurai from Chennai. Azhagiri Anna would love to have the statue installed in Thirumangalam! Poetic justice, indeed. But to install Kannagi's statue, we need Anna at home in Madurai. Going by Amma's speed, i predict Anna would end up in Puzhal, either in KP Krishnan's murder case or the Dinakaran office torching case. Or may be Anna can request to have Kannagi statue installed before his cell in Puzhal, reminding him of Anni!

Amma will provide us all the freebies promised-
1.  Free laptops for all higher secondary students ( Facebook will have a field day!)
2. 20 kgs rice for all ration cards ( who will give us oil and lentils?- drink porridge daily!)
3. Free cable connection for public ( oh yeah, Karuna gave us free TVs and now we need free Cable, for sure!)
4. Free mixer, grinder and fan ( along with 3 hour power cut a day!)
5. Military force will be deployed for electricity theft ( so that Amma's aides can steal everything else. Does the military know this, by the way?)
6. Below poverty line people will get 20 litres mineral water per day ( Give them water to wash their behinds first, Amma dear!)
7. Poor will get Rs 25,000 along with 4 gm gold for marriage (! why did i marry at 24? The astrologer told i shall be wealthy if i marry at 33...I should have listened to him, then. Silly me! I lost 25000 bucks and 4 gm gold.)
8. Senior citizens above 58 will get free bus pass. ( Oh yes, they were the only people missing in the peak hour traffic. Why not add them to the rush?)
9. Kattil Thatha scheme ( Grandpa in cot scheme) for aged people abandoned by their wards.( sounds just perfect, Amma can find a place on retirement from politics!)
10. Government sugar mills will be enriched ( well, enrich Midas Golden Distilleries, as well!)

 Imelda with her infamous shoe collection
Personally, Amma will now have to aircondition the cow shed in Poes Garden- the cows are tiring soon in the heat. Imelda Marcos will probably fly in to give some ideas to Amma on stacking shoes. Last time i saw them on TV, they looked outta fashion. Who else can advise Amma on shoes other than Imelda? And how can we forget Amma and UPS? Amma needs UPS to stay charged- Udan Pirava Sahothari! ( unrelated sisters) Sasi and Family will now rule the roost, we can hope to see many more pictures of the Sisters together garbed in Diamond Ottiyanams!
UPS- Sisters bedecked with diamonds and gold

Governorji will now be a much worried man, he wouldn't like to end up like Dr Chenna Reddy. It would be better if he keeps half a mile distance from Amma. Only our Amma has the guts to accuse a Governor with molestation charges. Femme fatale of course- beware Barnalaji. Oye ji...thoda Ammaji se hatke rahiye ji...Our next five years will be filled with fun provided by Amma- there will be sentimental scenes dripping with tears, you can see Karuna crying- Aiyo kolrangale! Aiyo kolrangale! flashed on Sun and Kalaignar TVs. There will be emotional court scenes where ex DMK ministers would try to defend their honour. Tens of thousands will be losing jobs with a single signature of Amma. Beware Tamils! Brace up to face Amma's Avatar- Rudravatar! 
In all this ruckus, one man will be happily drinking and making merry- our Captain. 
Quoting him, "Nan etho thappu thappa solrein, illa?" ( I am telling something wrong, ain't I?)

All pictures courtesy- Google search

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Be Indian, buy Indian- never fly INDIAN

Maharaja today!
Pic courtesy Deccan Herald
I have imagined flying in my childhood dreams- a small town girl's childish dreams where you fly in the air. When the opportunity knocked my doors to fly, i was hardly ten years old. The flight was from Chennai to Madurai, by Indian Airlines. We booked the tickets with the help of Jesu Uncle who was working there at that time and promptly boarded the flight. The air-hostesses we saw were very pretty with red lipsticks- thats all i could notice as a ten year old. Putting the seat belt is an art that you can master only after a few unsuccessful attempts and we were helped by stewardesses. I shut my eyes tight and tried to gulp down the bile rushing up my throat. To ward off the uneasiness, i tried to plug some cotton in my ears and taste a few chocolates served. We drank a juice and just when i felt relaxed, the seat belt sign blinked again and we were dumped unceremoniously in a few minutes at Madurai. Alas! the flying time was just 40 minutes. That 40 minutes of flying went somewhere long forgotten in memory as i grew up.

 Then came my second chance to fly, from Chennai to Dammam on board Indian. I was travelling out of the country for the first time with my children and was strictly instructed by husband dear- " No talking with strangers, no glancing anywhere, watch out your passport at the emigration counter". He was so afraid that i might lose the passport or few pages of it, that he told- " You can search your luggage if you lose it, you can search your children if they are lost, but if passport is gone- forget your trip". I followed his instruction verbatim and stood transfixed at the counter clerk. He might have thought why this lady in thirties watches him like a hawk, he stood up, combed his hair which was paltry(!) and then sat again before stamping my passport. Result of my over-sincerity and obedience to my man's words- L junior was chatting up with an elderly woman 200 meters away and L senior was glued to his video game back in the baggage checking section.

 After great hullabaloo, i located them both and by the time i pulled them both by hands and entered the security check, that lady over the microphone was yelling my name- "Mrs Nivedita Louis. This is the last call for your security check and boarding". I waved my hands frantically at the security men and tried to jump past barriers with my little ones towing behind. By the time the security check was over, L junior went missing again and this time was located in a gift shop selling jewelery. Cursing dear fate that gave me two kids and the man who had advised me to prioritize my passport more than the children, i got ready to board the plane, exhausted beyond words.

 It was refreshing to enter the plane but oh...wait a minute- this lady, why is she still working? The stewardess who stood at the entrance with a wide grinned namaste was probably sixty or more, skinny, almost all the veins were visible and i felt really sorry for her. By the time we settled down in the seats and the next stewardess served us drinks, i was mad- all the stewardesses on that particular flight were above forty and looked scary with garish makeup. Junior L was batting her eyelashes and looking merry at them and i was fuming. The service was slip-shod and so slow that i almost slept before the lunch arrived. And the seats- how convenient! Cattle class is flights are fit for livestock really, i have seen cows transported in open trucks to Kerala squeezing every inch of their muscle inside the truck! Economy class seats are only for size zero people, not healthy people like me! Squirming and turning in my seat, i was so relieved when the flight landed. Or was it thrown? The take offs and landings of Indian leave a bitter taste in one's mouth. The pilots almost throw you at the airport, not land softly.

Beautiful and energetic- Srilankan
Picture Courtesy- Google search

Next time, i changed over to Srilankan, so far the best airline i have travelled. The food is great, even cattle class seats have independent TVs with remote. That gives children to be engaged and parents can heave a sigh of relief. There are Tamil movies shown, stewardesses have a great colgate smile with Ayubhuvan. Their costume is marvelous, L Junior loves to dab peacock blue eye shadows just like " Srilankan airhostesses". Srilankan is making huge profits in South Asia when compared to its voluminous neighbor Indian. We don't have the time and plans to develop the airline. All we have got is a few good pilots with fake licenses, few bad pilots with good licenses, few old stewardesses who may die any moment on air, few middle aged ones who are fit (fat) to fly! No wonder, Indian is cash strapped! May be i should resign as Railway Counter staff and work as Stewardess in Indian- I have all the required qualifications- i am not so tall, i am not so slim, i am not fast, i am not patient enough. So i am the Most Eligible Lady to be Stewardess Indian!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Catch Me If You Can

I wake up, glance at my watch and switch on the TV remote. The first visual streaming in was ODTV that showed a gory scene with blood splattered all around. Oh, what the hell...a bad start to a good morning. I look dreamily at the pizza hand delivered from Karachi. I live in Babbotabad, White House, near Saudi Mosque, Clifton, Karachi, just a stone's throw away from Karachi's Military Compound. I have fallen in love with Babbotabad, its quaint lifestyle where i drive my flashy lamborghini. Burp...the pizza delivery boy's service is too good here! I close my eyes and try to figure out what to do today- may be fly in my private jet to Dubai for a turkish bath session. Mmmmmmmmmmmm....sounds so refreshing. Did i forget to tell you? I now own an airline company from an undisclosed Central Asian Republic. A bath and then a board meeting of D Company in Hotel Burj Khalifa's pent house is today's agenda.

Since the purported death of Osama bin Laden, i have tried to remain more discreet- i wouldn't want choppers descending on White House! Tiger and Chotu must be in the second floor, i think to myself. Life has been so easy, thanks to ISI who have bestowed highest of the highest degrees for our family members. Who would have thought- Zubeena who never set foot in a school is today Dr Zubeena, Ph D. Mahrukh is an engineer...I myself Post Doctorate in OCCF ( Organised Crime, Counterfeiting, Forgery)! I simply love the ISI and the Republic of Pakistan. Reminiscing my life in Mumbai is my favorite pastime and here i go again, remembering the hotttt Bollywood heroines who performed for me in Dubai. Sallu Mian is my favorite Hero, he told Aish how much we like each other! I was so happy watching the tapes Sallu Mian and Aish talked of me...And i  remember fondly my dear Munnabhai with a gun. Munna is my all time favorite, his love of pistols and women- we both share same aspirations. My Bollywood connection is a kismat connection!

Munnabhai sporting my pistol!
This lady was kissed and she told!!! Sallu Mian- Never trust women who kiss and tell!

OBL was my best friend till that date when Black Hawks descended on Abbotabad and murdered him. Had he listened to me- bought an airline and positioned one chopper ready to take off any moment, Navy SEALs would not have got him. He would be now playing Tora Tora happily with his sixth Omani wife in Corbettobad than being mauled by blood thirsty sharks in Arabian Sea! Luckily for me, my chopper always waits at my beck and call at the top floor of White House. I heard yesterday the Indian Army is planning to carry out a Covert Operation to take me down- but Allah Kareem, their choppers are so bad- they cannot even cross into Pakistani air space in their choppers! Ask Dorjee Kandu, YSR, Actress Soundarya...Pawan Hans or Military choppers, Indian aircrafts take off well, but land seldom!

Oh...but i have to be careful about the rockets of ISRO- every time they launch one, it barges staright into Bay of Bengal. May be they would try to send a commando force aboard a PSLV and land it in Babbatobad. That i must be careful of. I love the masala reporters of Indian Press- so much that i often invite them to White House to have chit chats. I am a big fan of Barkha Dutt, she is a great OCCF and can liaise with my tradesmen and may be help in selling pistols to Ministers! I can give a live show on any Indian television, but never get caught! I can attend any cricket match and watch it from the VVIP box, but never get caught! I can buy, sell and broker any business in India, but never get caught! I may be invisible, but omnipotent and omnipresent....I am Dawood Ibrahim....Catch me if you can!!!

All pics courtesy- Google search:)

Monday, 2 May 2011

The forgotten ensemble

Tamil Pavadai- thavani
If there is a dress that can keep you innocent-looking even in your forties- it is this! I was crazy about our very own Tamil Pavadai- Thavani ( half saree), though i learnt to wear it properly after lots of help from my friends and a dozen safety pins. The most beautiful pavadai thavani has almost died, its very existence challenged by our North Indian counterparts- the lehenga and churidars. Dressing is one's own private choice, but seeing the present generation's aversion to the Tamil traditional costume, i am worried. Its not uncommon to see many colleges in rural areas make wearing sarees and haf-sarees compulsory. It is of course appropriate, lest we shall never see young girls in it.

Jimikki- jhumkas!
A few months back, i had a trip to my native in South Tamilnadu, a small quaint town in Western Ghats and was surprised by the quantum of churidars and jeans i saw. Not a single pavadai thavani! It was Heaven to simply open my cupboard and take out my magenta colored pattu pavadai and navy blue thavani! It was my favorite dress- the Best my Mother bought for me and i relished wearing it a decade back. Festooned with two braids carelessly waving in front ( rettai jadai!), a tiny jimikki tinkling in the ears, a long trail of jasmine flowers tucked behind the ears, a long pendant chain with white stones, anklets clinking with joy, glass bangles the same shade of thavani clinking, a red bindi on the forehead- it is just awesome remembering those days!

India's National attire;)
I shuffled the thavani for hours- wearing, changing and again shuffling till there was a perfect V at the back and spent another half hour in clamping safety pins to cover up- a dozen at least! Thank God, i promoted soon from half-sarees to sarees, else my Dad would have become bankrupt buying safety pins for his chellaponnu's thavani! Pattu ( silk) pavadai and georgette thavani was equally appealing to me as the faded denim and casual tees. We get to see denim clad girls hanging jasmine flowers up to their hips from their hair in local festivals and village belles fetching water from street taps adorned in nighties these days. Excuse me ladies! Nighties are night wear strictly meant to be worn at home. One can see women in nighties dropping kids at school, buying grocery in Annachi ( local grocer shops manned by South Tamil men) shops and funny enough i found a lady attending mass at a Church covered head to toe in a pillow case @ nightie! No wonder, sooner or later, nightie might become our National Dress!

I am sad i have overgrown my pavadai thavani days, but i am definitely happy to be wearing its long time cousin- the saree. Be it kanjeevaram or venkatagiri cotton, Italian crepe or zardosi worked designer piece, i simply cannot resist the temptation to feel it, to touch it and savor wearing it! Luckily for me, my little angel L is an ardent lover of sarees at age 5! We have already decided which sarees she inherits from me- she seems to be craving for the high- end kanjeevarams more- her Dad says " Like Mother, like daughter!" This is one happy legacy i am damn glad to be passing on to L- all my sarees and that magenta pattupavadai and blue thavani!