Monday 26 March 2012

3's a crowd;)

Now, this is one very intriguing topic that i have been itching to write! When one of my friends suggested i read a book 3's A Crowd by Dr Vijay Nagaswami, all i could was keep recounting the number of instances i had noted marriages on the rocks, literally, quite a few! Here is one serious..ahem... analysis of why things go haywire in a marriage.

1. Mismatch error
Noticed this error in the marriage of a very close friend of mine. This male was married to a prim and proper lady of the same caste and religion, as it happens with every other Indian wedding. The main problem was in the fact that the guy was an undergraduate with many, many businesses managed on his own plus a cushion government job, whereas the lady in question was a high school drop out. Not a bad equation, i agree. 

All things went well till the wedding to the next morning, when the groom went to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He had the shock of his life when his lady love was brushing, alright, brush in her right hand and tooth paste spread all over her left hand, probably a habit from her tooth powder days!!! And the shocker continued when she swept and washed with soap water their brand new television with a broom. That was when the man freaked out!!! Will it be wrong if he/she both move astray in a marriage that holds nothing that they both can talk on? Imagine how you would have to spend every night, unable to explain the nature of your work, the challenges in your job and your simple everyday things to your better- half...

2. I wouldn't give two hoots
This attitude develops much later, people, beware! A husband who is constantly away and a wife who is left at home picking up the bits and pieces of a relationship, just doesn't care. When a prized possession is lost, one would fib and suffer. What if someone steals away a piece of pain in the butt? They wouldn't care! I know of someone who is thankful to the secretary so much for taking away her husband's much valuable time. " Who has the time or energy to listen to his baubles?", she reasons out. She is happily busy- shopping, attending parties and visiting salons. Of course, husband's credit cards are handy! 

3. Seven year Itch!
This ladies and gentlemen- is serious trouble! Either of the partners get bored seeing the same person day after day after day or bedding them night after night after night. So, just to 'spice up' their lives, why not get a third person to make things better- no, this is not a three-some, you dirty brains! Those who have the balls, can have the gals! Strangely, it is not men alone who stray. More and more women are lured by guileless men. I know, all those machismos would be now gunning for me;)
It is real fun watching a middle aged woman sexting messages to the third man, deleting it and giggling like a hormone driven teenager. Sad, i was privy to this lady in my office. She watches out for her men, i wonder how she adjusts the IN and OUT card for both the men, how she manages to arrive in office with one and exit with the other;) And it is very romantic to watch the 'lovebirds' exchanging furtive touches in waiting halls. May be the thrill and pure adrenaline and overacting libido leads people in marriage, to cheat. All i can wonder is how they react to the 'mornings after'- like " Hey, did i sleep with X or Y?" Should i take the morning after pill or not? 
4. Plural of spouse= spice!
Somewhere down the line, the spice of life just withers away...Hold on, if i were to ask you when was the last time you had mind boggling sex moments with your wife/ husband, half the crowd would be looking up at the calender scratching the errr...heads! Whacky, kinky and wild is not something we associate with our life partners. Is that reserved for dark, brooding strangers? Then our relationship is in trouble. Playing fidelity fiddles without proper sex between partners is incorrigible.

So, how do we ease out the crowd in a marriage? 
One- Before wedding, see the girl once;) ( You could run away,looking at the beauty, even the day before the wedding!)
Two- Do not live in boring marriages, just get rid of it. Do yourselves both the favor!
Three- If it really itches, scratch the right person, your true partner;) Want some spice, you can even imagine the person lying next to you better than Arnold Schwarzenegger...No, not all brawny, but he atleast is not interested in the maid:P
Four- I wish you would mark your bedroom walls with your score every month. Hope the wall paint is washable!!!

p.s.: Dr Vijay Nagaswami, please reduce your fee of Rs 3000 per sitting. I can offer free advise on same issues;)
p.p.s: Denying sex to spouse on first night is reason enough for annulment of marriage, says the Supreme Court. Beware!
p.p.p.s: This post is dedicated to my dear friend who suggested i read- 3 is a crowd. No thanks, bud! I hate crowd!

Thursday 22 March 2012

POWERful Amma and "power"less people!

I had to reboot my system twice before i could finish this post- thanks to TNEB. I singularly, happily, sparingly, affectionately dedicate this post to TNEB- Tamil Nadu Electricity Board that has made us TamilNadu Elichavayar Board;) ( for those who do not understand Tamil, elichavayar means someone who miserably trusts and is failed.)

Day after day after day, night after night, we have been praying the power cuts stop, or atleast dwindle.Much to our chagrin what started as a mere three hour power shedding has now burgeoned into 10 to 12 hours a day. Imagine spending half your productive day without power, sweating and panting in this summer when the mercury shoots above 40 degrees celsius. As average tax payer who pays all taxes on time and all bills before due, i fail to understand why my inverter fails me too...And it was with bewildered daze when i read today's newspaper that TNEB received windfall gains to the tune of Rs 26584 crores in coal allotment. All this gain and still they are running at a loss??? Well, as aam admis, how to solve the power problem?

1. Chennai Challo!
Ah..Amma has spared the capital city of power cuts. It is just an hour of power cut there, that too from eight am to nine am. So, better, pack the bags and shove our ***es out of the goddamn two tier cities and rural areas. I do envy the Chennaiites, not because of the flashy roads and cars, but because brethren, you have something that we don't have- POWER! Let us all gyrate to Chennai Challo...Chennai Challo!

2. Back in time machine
Let us go back to good old black and white days, before the British and before Edison invented the electric bulb. It would be bonfires to keep us warm at nights and every household can boast of a Florence Nightingale grappling in the dark with lamps. Our Ladies with the Lamps- sans make up, have the power to scare ghosts of the entire world into oblivion! We could all travel in a time machine and meet Mr Edison and his ilk and beg them not to discover or invent electricity, our Amma would pay for the trip, including food and stay;) will be a trip for two, so take your partner tagging along! 

3. Buy back offers and pankhas
Ammi where we grind masalas
Ammi, aatukkal walahs can earn a fortune by having buy back offers. Women of the house, get ready to sell your wet grinders, mixers and fans and buy stone pestels, mortars, grinding stones and hand fans. Manufactures can even give offers "Buying a pestel mortar? Get a mixer free!" All Saravana stores, Rathna stores and the likes can now stock ammis and aatukkals! As for hand fans? We can tap the unorganised sector and provide jobs to millions. Go the British way! use pankhas and use pankha men or women to get you air! 

4. Indian Population Control Board
If there is any such Indian Population Control Board, we can file a suit along with them against the TN government. Buggers, they switch off power at unearthly hours...errrrrr...what do we do when there is no fan, no TV and no light? Resort to the oldest game of all times;) No wonder TN's population will alarmingly increase in the next five six months...babies in the making, you see! More babies means more households and again more power demand. Ammaji, our perpetual Chief Minister, please note! 
Ah..that is our Finance Minister, at the feet of our Amma!
Power supply to poor people of TamilNadu sans Chennai city will be erratic in many more months to come. Instead of huffing and puffing, like good old citizens of our country we have learnt to live with it. Other valuable suggestions too are welcome. Any suggestions, folks?

p.s.: Our power cut schedule everyday is from 9 am to 12 pm, 3 pm to 6 pm, 6.45 pm to 7.30 pm, 9 pm to 10 pm, 11.15 pm to 12 am, 1.15 am to 2 am, 4.15 to 5 am. So how the hell will my inverter work???
p.p.s.: Amma has won Sankarankovil bye election and immediately has announced Kudankulam plant's functioning with immediate effect. Was she waiting for the elections so far? Hail vote bank politics!
p.p.p.s.: Kudos to Didi for shunting out poor Dinesh Dwivedi. Seriously makes me wonder do we need women in politics? Though i like the feel of Meira Kumar's "Baith Jayiye! Please Bhaith Jayiye" and histrionics of Sushma Swaraj in her saree over sweater style drape;)

Monday 12 March 2012


The very name brings wonderful memories...Memories of a distant past, buried away under the ugh..laundry, office, piles of homework and bills. I met her first the day after my wedding. She was standing under the neem tree and i looked at her from the balcony. She was a beauty- all milky white and shining. But i took instant dislike to her, as husband dear was neck deep in love with her!  A trait every man develops right from his diaper days, i learnt that later. They hold their wives only second to their first loves...In this case, i was burning with envy as i saw husband dear wiping her sweat(!), caressing her as if she were some delicate piece of jewelry. Grrrrrr! Men and their maniacal pursuits...

The first time we went with Bhagyalakshmi was for our return marriage from my husband's hometown to my own. It was a scenic six hours drive and i was happy to have Bhagyalakshmi as our company. L and her, they both were in perfect sync as we traversed mile after mile after mile. Tired, i closed my eyes for a nap. The dull voice of Bhagyalakshmi reverberated throughout the journey. I woke with a start when there was a loud thud and a boom. Hoping nothing serious had happened, i looked at L who was on the driver's seat. In a swift action that could put Jamed Bond to shame, he jumped off the car and opened the bonnet. I waited with bated breath as minutes ticked by slowly and night crept in. Still no news from L. He was busy inspecting the car's belly in the middle of nowhere on a deserted road. A nice start for honeymooners! 

Bhagyalakshmi was finished or so i thought. The impending danger of a newly married couple stranded on an alien terrain started daunting me. A cat moved aside and i trembled, still no sign of L who was studying the mechanics of the car. Good that he is a mechanical engineer, i chuckled to myself. When L finally rolled over from under the car and climbed in his seat, i could breathe in peace. Thank God, we are now going to start and keep moving, i thought. My subconscious mind kept inhaling meat cutlets, chicken curry and yummy kheer. Heady with the hallucinated aroma of hen and goat waiting for me on a platter in Mother's place, i looked longingly at L. His long fingers were clutching Bhagyalakshmi's hands as he kept whistling a latest song. Only later did i notice that L always whistled when he was tense. He was still holding on to Bhagyalakshmi... I was seething in anger, looking at his relaxed profile.

A car that was broken down, husband holding hands of Bhagyalakshmi and his wife me, seated beside him, fully tense. Mr Cool aka L, let out a small laugh and said in a baritone fit of a college lecturer- " There is a problem, i don't think the car would move an inch, i need to bring mechanic from nearby town". Town? Now where the hell we were? Somewhere near Kovilpatti, i could guess. Despite my pleas not to be left alone with Bhagyalakshmi in the moon less night, L assured me of coming back with help as soon as possible. He had left me locked with Bhagyalakshmi and left in a passing vehicle towards the town. There i was, married one day earlier, stuck with Bhagyalakshmi in the dark night. That was when i dared to look at her closer. Flicking on the light, i inspected her. She seemed quite battered, old, but in good shape. I switched off the light and started watching out in the dark.
Glow worms in the dark:)

Mesmerised by the army of glow worms swarming all around and the tail lights of vehicles plying on the potholed highway, i kept my sanity by talking to Bhagyalakshmi. She was a patient listener, kept silent throughout my angry blabbering on how irresponsible L was, leaving his new wife on the road in the dark. She seemed to understand every word i said, in silence. It was two hours later that L turned up with a mechanic on tow, his distant relative who lived nearby, a standby vehicle to move on and FOOD! Good God! Food was here! Gobbling the food without a word, i watched Bhagyalakshmi leaving with the relative and the mechanic, as we continued our journey in the cab. The look i threw at Bhagyalakshmi then was of longing and mutual understanding as we had grown fond of each other in the couple of hours together, alone. 

One of her best quality was, when she was off mood, she refused to budge!!! And she always chose midnights. Once, three of my maternal uncles who came to attend our house warming ceremony had went to the railway station with Bhagyalakshmi to pick up another uncle. Three a.m. and Bhagyalakshmi decided enough was enough. She refused to move and stood still. No amount of prodding, gentle pushing and talking to would help. She stood as a rock. Finally, it was four uncles pushing her along the road in the wee hours singing "Yelelo...ailasa..."!!! The entire household broke into laughter welcoming the gang back...From then on, she was to us, trouble with a capital T. She failed us at the most inopportune moments and places and L had to coax her to move by ahem...drinking petrol, all the time from tubes.

That was when i went crazy mad with anger and yelled at L to leave her in her place- his sister's house. We left her after a long trip at her sister's place. One last look at her, i was filled with pain. I would be missing her, but she was proving much difficult to keep. Wrought with sadness and heart ache, we left her and took a bus back home. It has been nine years since we left her and now she is no more with my sister-in-law. Bhagyalakshmi has moved to a new household now and may be torturing some poor male, who would be drinking petrol for her to move on! Whatever, she taught me how gentle and cool headed L was! Miss you Bhagyalakshmi!!! And love you!!!
Here is our Bhagyalakshmi!!!
p.s.: This post is my entry to the contest Incredible Stories by Mahindra XUV500 and Indiblogger.
p.p.s.: L named the Maruti Omni Bhagyalakshmi, because he loved the taxi Rajinikanth had named Lakshmi in the movie Padikaathavan!
p.p.s.: Though we own a much bigger sedan these days, i still crave for a journey in Bhagyalakshmi!!!

Break the Walls!

Time to change! Yes, it is. It is now or never. Winds of change are sweeping everywhere- starting from the hitherto demure lands like Tunisia to Syria, Bahrain to Egypt. For us, in India, it is routine as always. We defecate in public, kiss in private...we jump queues, yet never put our foot forward when needed to. We pamper our children, leave our elders to rot in old age homes. The word change means so much to us, something that we love to hear, never follow.

Boy would i love to change our " why would i care" attitude to public property. A neta dies, we go beserk. Like elephants on masth we go on a  rampage,we set fire to buses, break window panes, hurl crude bombs and what not, in damaging public property. Whose property is it anyway? The property of US, every tax paying, law abiding citizen of this country. We should be ashamed of spitting and defecating on public road. They are roads, not our own large sized public lavatories! You may pay the tax Mr Aam Admi, but that doesn't give you the right to spit and shit. 

And what is with the respect we give to women? We call our country Motherland and where do aged mothers end up here? Old age homes? Sadly, women are their enemies themselves. Unimaginable is the hatred and vice they have against each other. So much that they could arrange to kill the other and make entries of that in their personal diary! Is it not time to change the grudges women have against women? High time...Not to forget the physical and emotional domestic violence unleashed on simple women at home. Do they not deserve better?

Road rules...ah, who follows them anyway? Waiting for the bus and boarding it in a queue, never come to us, easy. We love to jostle, freak out, pant and sweat- all for a window seat in a bus! A bus where it rains directly on your head through the roof and winds that sweep away dirt on the road straight on your face...We are never organised and orderly when it comes to standing in queues. Jumping the queue is the favorite hobby for many, these days. We love to overtake anything with wheels on the road, be it a car or a bus or a bike. Pheromones push younger lads to whiz, zip, wheel and what not? When the rule says wear a helmet- we conveniently forget it at home or better still, hang it on the handle bar, ending up cracking the skull and wasting whatever little of grey matter left inside it;)

We call our country Motherland and where do aged mothers end up here? Old age homes? Sadly, women are their enemies themselves. Unimaginable is the hatred and vice they have against each other. So much that they could arrange to kill the other and make entries of that in their personal diary! Is it not time to change the grudges women have against women? High time...Not to forget the physical and emotional domestic violence unleashed on simple women at home. Do they not deserve better?

Where is the safety of women? It is Muthalik's orange brigade that kicks and beats women on Valentines' Day or women partying in the evenings. On the other side we have rapists and psychopaths on a rampage. Instances of eve teasing are constantly on the rise, mind you, age or marital status is not a deterrent here. So far as the woman is sporting a salwar, she is eligible! 

Change is what we women in this country are hoping for...change that has been eluding us for a long time now. We need an attitude change which only education and understanding can give us. Unless we decide to change for the better, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Stringent laws that are enacted against domestic violence on women and elders need wide publicity in  remote areas. Cleansing the administration of bribery will ensure adherence to rules everywhere. Fear of punishment always works wonder with human attitude. Hope change sweeps us off our feet, for the betterment of our lives.

p.s.: This is my entry for Stayfree Time to Change contest powered by indiblogger
p.p.s.: Happy Women's Day to all. 

Saturday 10 March 2012

Pink, magenta and a betrayal

As the last of the onlookers and sympathizers trickle out of the house, all i can feel is emptiness. Father has remained strangely silent these few days. And the stoic silence paired with hushed whispers all around the house have been driving me mad. What more can a nine year old comprehend from a whirlwind that has transpired in a few days? All i can now understand is Mother is dead. As in DEAD AND GONE...

The sheets on my bed still smell of her, the closet where her sarees are neatly arranged hold a wisp of her perfume. Her sarees...How much i love them. That pale pink saree with magenta flowers strewn all around like tiny stars...How could she do it? She had used that saree to hang herself on the ceiling fan...I tried to shut out that image of her, but it comes cropping up again and again. I am having a nightmare again, i thought. One moment she smiles at me, her eyes filled with love and the next moment, she vanishes in thin air. As the curtains play hide and seek, i can see her and not see her. 

The little one is panting hard, his thin lips drawn, cracked and his brows sweaty. In a swift movement i sit beside him. The ceiling fan circles in a known rhythm above and i dare not look at it. I place my palm on his hot forehead and he snuggles closer to me. His face is all cherubic and angelic in sleep, just like his father, i think. Thoughts of his father who has slumped in a cot in the next room flashes in my mind and my fists roll on rebound. I grit my teeth, every pore of my soul oozing with anger. How could he do that? He has played a wicked game, separated my little one from me. As the little one moans "Mommy...mommy" in his half awake half asleep trance, all i can feel is bitterness.

I love my grandmother a lot. She is a kind woman encased in a reed thin frame, big brown eyes full of warmth and a loving cuddle always for me. She has forever lived with us, so far as i could remember. My grandfather had died when she was twenty two and from then on, it was she and my mother. Mother showered all her love on Grandmother and i couldn't understand why she fought with her so bitterly on that fateful day.

 Whenever i broach the subject to Father or Grandmother, they both refuse to talk any further on it. Why did Mother leave me? Was i not behaving well? I had scored excellent marks in this exam, sure, mother would have been really happy, if only she was alive. With both the adults of the house withdrawn and silent, all i could do now is hallucinate...I feel mother is at home. I can hear her tinkling laughter echoing in the hall. I can feel her warmth fanning my cheeks. When friends at school insist on play and games, all i do is intently feel her, think of her, wherever i am...

My son would understand someday...Why had i hung in that favorite saree of his. He is silent and withdrawn, a shadow of what he was. My mother never touches him or goes anywhere near him. Is that guilt? Remorse? I can never find out. The man of the house, my husband, is distraught, aloof and sad. I can see the worry lines on his forehead. How much would i give to ease those wrinkles...Despite his betrayal, i love him. 

I regret the quarrel we had that day. I must have listened to him. God, how much did he beg me to forgive his drinking habit? Why did i turn a deaf ear? And why did i leave him alone and slept in the other room? And why did i have to listen to those erotic moans and whimpers? Why did she sleep with him, of all men? Her own son-in-law? How could she do that to me? Her one and only daughter? Above all, why did i decide to hang myself? Questions...All i have are questions...Day after day after day, as i look at my little son's grief stricken face and lifeless eyes, all i can feel is remorse. Emptiness. Regret. Loneliness...Some day, my son will understand. He will know Mother still loves him...

Wednesday 7 March 2012


This post has been selected as Blogadda's Tangy Tuesday Pick, 13 March, 2012.

When someone says they are happily married for 50 years or 60 years, all i can do is roll my eyes upward! What a sham!!! Here is what Sirji tells Madamji and what she feels in reply. Does she have the courage to mouth it? Nah!
Sirji: My, my! You look beautiful!
Her Majesty's Voice: Oh shopping today:(

Sirji: I just love your sambar.
Her Majesty's Voice: When is your Mother coming here???

Sirji: Can i have a tea? I have a splitting head ache!
Her Majesty's Voice: Dinner plans shelved???

Sirji: I can't find the iron box...where is the iron board?
Her Majesty's Voice: Oh no...not again. I am not going to do the entire week's laundry!

Sirji: No more cosmetic shopping, grrrrrrrr!
Her Majesty's Voice: As if you bought me the entire Chanel showroom...Bah!

Sirji: Look, your brother is online! Come, talk!
Her Majesty's Voice: To Hell with the cricket match:(

Sirji: I love your Dad:)))
Her Majesty's Voice: I hate your Mom!!!

Sirji: I will be late today, have an audit in office.
Her Majesty's Voice: Gawd! Has he taken to drinking again???

Sirji: I have to work this week end.
Her Majesty's Voice: Is your new secretary too working the week end? ( Fuming!)

Sirji: We have a dinner tonight with my friends...
Her Majesty's Voice: Oh no...I AM NOT cooking for that ARMY!!!

Sirji: Are you sick, darling?
Her Majesty's Voice: That is a cute way of asking why the floor is not mopped today!

Sirji: This tote bag is just made for you. So nice! Pick this!!!
Her Majesty's Voice: I noted that is the cheapest one in this whole freaking town!

Sirji: Get me the bag, let me buy groceries for you.
Her Majesty's Voice: God, is he going to while away an hour smoking and chatting with that no- good neighbor???

Sirji: I am proud of you, darling. Our children have scored well because of your hard work...a hug and a peck on the cheek...

Her Majesty's Voice: lie down on the sofa and watch TV all the time, while i have to learn 13 th table nth time! Imagine how much you saved on a private tuition fee!

Sirji: Yuck! I hate this power outage. What to do now...Pretty boring!
Her Majesty's Voice: Oh no...I am already tired:(((

And here is what Madamji mouths and what Sirji thinks of it...
Madamji: Good morning dear!
His Master's Voice: I am not entering the kitchen to help you today!

Madamji: There is no power from six am today...
His Master's Voice: Please my Lord! Don't make me carry ten pails of water upstairs...

Madamji: This shirt is just awesome for you. You look adorable!
His Master's Voice: Am i getting my pay check today???

Madamji: Honey...i would like to do some window shopping today morning...hug and a smooch
His Master's Voice: Not again! There is no room in the closet for my dresses!!!

Madamji: Ouch...I have a splitting head ache, dear...making a wry face and smelling of eucalyptus oil...
His Master's Voice: more take away dinner? Noooooooo....( albeit smiling sweetly)

Madamji: Your Mother is a genius. I love her laddoos...
His Master's Voice: Is your Mother on her way here already???

Madamji: Hold Junior for a moment, will be back in a second...
His Master's Voice: Bah! Must i change his diapers???

Madamji: Tell me how is this new dish. I tried it out with the neighbor.
His Master's Voice: Why is that woman testing her culinary skills on my grocery???

Madamji: I am inviting my friends over for a lunch tomorrow, dear!
His Master's Voice: Wow!!! I can invite my friends for a Sunday brunch!

Madamji: Looking longingly at the silk saree in the mall...Isn't that color lovely, darling? How would i look in that???
His Master's Voice: Smiling sweetly...I know that saree costs a fortune, i am not falling in your trap. You would be akin to an oversize water melon in that green organza!!!

Madamji: Listen baby...Vimala's husband bought her a new diamond necklace for their wedding anniversary...
His Majesty's Voice: That Sonofabitch...I wouldn't mind buying her one;)

Madamji: We are starting on a low carb diet from tomorrow.
His Majesty's Voice: I know you are too lazy to cook a proper breakfast.

Madamji: Can you please get me some vegetables from the shop?
His Majesty's Voice: I knew you'd ask me when i switched on the TV!

Madamji: Take Tommy for his night walk, dear. I am busy doing the dishes...
His Majesty's Voice: Wait, i shall wring its neck one day...

Madamji: Dry these clothes on the washline, honey!
His Majesty's Voice: Don't you 'honey' me...I can't find the clips. Where are the clothes? The washline is dirty. I got an urgent call from office.

Madamji: Shall we dine out this week end, darling?
His Majesty's Voice: God...i am going to lose one more cricket game to her wild dinner:(((

Madamji: Have you paid the telephone bill? Power bill? What happened to the insurance premium? 
His Majesty's Voice: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!! loud snore!!!

Ah...a toast to the "They lived happily ever after" part!

Thursday 1 March 2012

Desert Roses

Our country is blessed with water and lush greenery. Nature has bestowed all its blessings on us. We can feel how lucky we are, with a visit to the desert outbacks in Saudi Arabia. Married to the sweetest man on the whole planet ( Yayy! I reserved a new ring, there, sweetheart!) i had envisaged Saudi Arabia where he worked- dull, gloomy, sandbox where miles and miles of sand lay till the yonder. Dammam was no better, which screamed of shopping malls and traffic bottlenecks. The adventurer in me always wanted to explore the Land behind the Iron Curtains- the men who toil on such desert soil and i died to see how the Sheiks survived sans the oil. As luck had it, husband dear finally budged to my hours of sobbing, nit- picking and ' i'll be back home' dramas. We finally embarked on a road safari of 2400 kilometers, crisscrossing the giant desert country, from its north east to the south west. Dunes of sand stretching forever made my eyes tired and i closed them with disdain.
These are the only creatures that roam the deserts happily...
As we traveled further south, the scene changed drastically. The Asir mountains welcomed us to its green shrubbery and pleasant climate. We rested our tired souls in Abha, a hill station in Asir. Yes, you read it right, a hill station in Saudi Arabia! Right from the hotel manager to the room boy, everyone was from India and we were pampered silly. After a short rest we planned to visit some nearby farms. Being an ardent lover of gardens and fields, i was thirsting to view anything green, be it shade cloth or plain grass on a meadow. As our vehicle drove by, we suddenly came across a dead end. My...a dead end with a small iron gate. The adventure lover in me wanted to open the gates and jump in to see what housed such an earnest gate in the land of castles and towers. Just then the door opened and he stepped out. Must be in his early forties, i thought. Inquiring what we were looking for in such remote place, he stood all six foot of terror. We managed to explain in our broken Arabic that we were looking for some farms and fields. Beyond him, i could look at the greenery! Bending and jumping, i almost tumbled inside the farm as he let us in with a wide grin.
That is a HUGE cabbage!
Cauliflowers! Cabbages! And what not? Roses too...The farm screamed of hard work and i couldn't look any farmhands. The Algerian had been living in this remote part of the desert for years. He took us to his humble house and offered tea which we promptly refused. The proud look and gleaming eyes that his beet red face radiated with, is something that i can never forget. Sweet are the labors of hard work. We chatted away, as he explained how he fetched pails of water from a nearby lake every morning. By the time we left, i was proudly sporting a fragrant damask rose in my loose hair. As we waved goodbye to the man, i knew i would never be meeting him again, but the checked shawl, calloused hands and pleasant smile have haunted me. He taught me a priceless lesson- hard work and perseverance. The land he tilled was not his, the water had to be carried uphill and the loneliness he endured living alone in an alien land for years...but the gentleman was not bogged down. He took enormous pride in his cauliflowers and cabbages and roses.
Remembering the Algerian, there is one more person who shattered the myth that Arabs never are designed  for hard labor. We met him in yet another desert safari to Al Baha. As we circled the roads of Baljourashi, i started skimming the area for farms, my usual craze. Much to the chagrin of my annoyed better half, i jumped out of the car and fled to a rickety gate, sensing some greenery inside. As my kids followed Mommy dear in her mad, mad adventure, there surfaced an Arab with his farmhands. His Ray Ban aviator shades and 555 held fingers brought me back to my senses, as i screeched to an abrupt halt behind husband dear. The look he gave me was one that i would remember for years together. Such venom! The Arab resembled our own Amjad Khan. I was wondering if i would be doing a la Hema Malini in Sholay...Pleasant surprise, he spoke little broken English, as he queried- " Hindi?" That is how Arabs call us Indians. As we replied in the affirmative, he animatedly talked about- you know who- SALMAN KHAN and AMITABH BACHCHAN! He had been to Bombayyy and he loved Hindi films. He let us trample his tomato farm, taking pictures and chasing the goats in the farm. And then it was time to leave. He surprised us totally when he said- "One minute".

Tomatoes in the desert, Baljourashi

Look, Mommy! We got a box full of tomatoes!
Terrified and stupefied in shock, we waited as he asked his Indian farmhand to collect tomatoes in a carton. He explained how he took his produce for sale in the local market and how his tomatoes were famous in the area. We left the farm beaming, armed with a carton full of ripe and fresh tomatoes. The big friendly Arab aka Amjad Khan is an epitome of Arab hospitality and kindness, to me. They are usually closed and drawn to outsiders. When we asked him to pose for a photograph with us, he refused saying it is against The Belief. What a man! My desert safaris made me realize there do exist simple and plain men in the Sand Box, ( Saudi Arabia) who love their hard work and savor the fruits of labor. They are a paradox. All Sheikhs don't drive flashy cars and sport rados and rolex. There are such men who bring a welcome change of green amidst the never ending piles of sand...

Thanks to Expedia, i could relive those precious moments when life taught me not to generalize men and value  hard work. So, keeping my fingers crossed and my bags packed...where is it indiblogger? USA or UK???

p.s.: This post is my entry to Around the World with Expedia Contest by Indiblogger
p.p.s: Dear Mr Amitabh Bachchan, even Arabs adore you! And Salman Mian, you can now bare that shirt more often:P