Sunday, 18 October 2015

I am the Queen

A cool whiff of air plays with that stray hair, I adjust my crown. You haven't seen that, have you? I always wear it. I sleep with it tucked between the sheets. Every morning the moment  I wake up, I feel around for my crown. My day starts at that exact moment I set my eyes on my crown, gleaming in its glory, light rays bathing it in a riot of colors. You can find me always adjusting it, as it keeps slipping, a bit over-sized. I should get it corrected, I think, as I await my maidens to make my bath ready. 

At a click of a button, the Everest maiden gets my bath warm and I relish in the shooting sprays of warm water. Fluffy towels await me in the bath stand as I sing and dance. What is a Queen bath without a song and a dance? Lotus flowers spring up all around me and don't ask me how. Pink and purple lilies abound. Bathed and towel dried, I open the closet for selecting the apt attire for the day. Matching sets are selected next, as the imaginary maidens run around me, helping in the selection. The towering glass shows me a reflection of a beautiful queen that I am, adorned to perfection, half an hour later.

A sumptuous breakfast awaits me at the table where I choose my pick, no kelloggs please, I smile. Finishing breakfast, I walk regally to my stables where I hold my horses. I sweet talk to my favorite foal- my mahindra flyte and jump on. Our journey to the Court starts as a slow trot and then we pick up speed. Galloping at full speed we cross caverns and alleys, reaching the Courts on time. The Queen's audience should never start late. The subjects stand up as I enter and I wave my hands asking them to sit and ascend to my 'throne' with aplomb. The throne needs some drastic repair work, I muse as I find people lining up for their audience. It is going to be a long day, I think as I attend to my people.

Remember I am a queen of a tiny Kingdom and I have to slay the demonic barbarians who rule above me. My Reynolds sword gleams as I remove it from its hilt and as I glare at the men who invade my Kingdom, I go on a protective mode. I slay dragons. I vanquish demons. My sword is my ally. Together we are lethal. As I trot back to my Palace after a tiresome day, all I would like is some 'me' time at the Palace Gardens. Peacocks dance around, fountains splash water and as I sip my black chaai 'somapama', relaxing under a canopy of pearl strings, half lying, half sitting on my favorite divan of velvet and satin. 

Every night I retire to my palatial chambers for the night, holding my 'magic pad' that can connect me with the King, who is too busy fighting the war in far away desert lands. Putting the little Prince and Princesses to sleep in no time, I get back to my magic pad to talk about  the day to the King. Preening and boasting of my sword fights and the hands and legs I had chopped off at the battles and the next alignment in battle field, I recline in the four poster canopy bed, surrounded with fluffy cushions. The Voltas maiden at my right starts fanning me and I place my crown beside me. Every night as I close my eyes, drifting to sleep, I keep mouthing- "I am a Queen"! (okay...okay...a drama queen too!) "I love my people and I shall protect my country". Aren't we all ladies? We wield the swords, not the spoons. We slay dragons, those that have four limbs and two mouths. We serve our people. We reign with gusto. The world doesn't end at 36. Till the time we vanquish our Thrones in the offices, it is going to be us and the demons, fighting a war. *Raises sword* To the Queens in us!!

p.s.: Ah... this post is the effect of watching 'Rudramadevi' in 3D.
p.p.s.: I would like to thank Blogadda for selecting my blog as one among the top 5 in 'personal' category. Just give me the coveted award, or I may keep writing!!
p.p.p.s.:  I have been posted to a different station now and travel 5 hours a day. It keeps me tiresome all the time, hence kindly forgive me for the erratic posts :)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A lustful affair!

Through glistening eyes, he looked at her. How much ever forewarned, he couldn't lift his eyes off her translucent skin. She had that inner glow within her that called to him. Her radiance is always akin to the maid who found out how sweet passion could be. He ravaged her with his eyes. His eyes were roving over her contours. So shapely, so curvy. She had curves at the right places. Killer curves that made his eyes linger on her as she lay basking in the golden sun. 

This morning as he had set out about his routine, collecting the basket and setting off to the market, little did he know that he would be rewarded with this sight. The sight of his lady love alluringly calling out to him. She was the ultimate temptress and he knew, this temptation was fatal. He would have to dash barefoot if he yielded to her temptation, yet he couldn't help but turn a few furtive glances at her as she lay in all her glory, her skin pulling him to her like a magnet.

She was nothing but heart ache. She was going to bewitch him, he blew an exasperated breath. This one was going to be the death of him. He shut his eyes and wariness spread over him as the familiar scene of his lady yelling out to him loomed over. This one would definitely give his wife heart-ache. He was not prepared for the tears that would continuously pour from the poor woman looking at the blemish-less skin of the pink beauty. Pans and saucers would bang and fly and he was not ready for a full- fledged war at home. This better be the last time I see her, he thought to himself.

He turned his head away as he approached her as her pungent perfume wafted by, tickling his nostrils. It has been ages since he saw her at close quarters. He would have given anything to hold her, to feel her and to breathe in her special aroma. There were days when she was the only company he had, he itched to bite into her and licked his lips reminiscing those golden days when she was available. When she would come to him willingly and when he could run his fingers along her smooth, polished skin before placing her on the board.

Even as he crossed the area shutting his eyes tight, Rani ma called out to him. Shucks! How did she know I was even here, he mused as he turned to greet the vegetable vendor. As Rani ma kept on questioning him about his withdrawal, he watched his lady-love with dreary eyes.  "So fresh and lovely. Why don't you stop by?", Rani ma drawled, knowing his frustration too well. As her eyes peered cautiously at her regular customer who was now playing hide and seek with her, she was fervently wishing he would get some interest. He was one among her regulars and she wouldn't want to lose him now, that he is this close to sealing the deal. 

As the hot sun beat down mercilessly, he was gripped in a do or die situation now. Muttering under his breath and dreading what would happen if his wife gets to see the pink sheathed beauty in his arms, he grumbled, "how much?". Rani ma was so elated that she showed him her rare million-watt smile and piped in- "One hundred only, sir. Madam will enjoy it". The hell she would enjoy. She had dared him to even one glance at her direction, he would be skinned alive and here he was contemplating taking his love home. 

The seductress- he smiled triumphantly as he walked back home, slinging her over his shoulder. Walking in the hot sun made him all sweaty and miserable. Yet, she was his now.  As she grazed his back, his skin tingled. She was his now. No one can ever snatch her away from him. She was his now, pricey, but his nevertheless. His mouth watered and drooled as he thought of what he would do to her. Smacking his lips at the vision of disrobing that pink sheath, peeling off her layers he chuckled and tramped home. 

"Did I not tell you to turn away? Did I not warn you to ward off? Look at what you have done. What have you bought?", his wife wailed looking at him. He sat back relaxed on his chair, his eyes longingly devouring her as she lay on the table. His lady love- a kilo of onions ;)

p.s.: Was really happy to post this in my FB page... 
# Selfie with onion- Hamein bachao, dhaam gatao#
p.p.s.: Another video doing the rounds- If you die of laughter, this blogger is not responsible!
p.p.p.s: Got into  trouble with picking a dress for the daughter's birthday. Why do dresses for little girls be soooooooo revealing? Are they going to shake a leg in a flick? :(

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Cuppa!

Picture posted by Rupi Kaur in her Instagram that it removed saying it violated its community standards
             Imagine this- you are at a presentation. You are the star of the show and everyone focuses on you as you stand up, smooth your pants and walk to the podium. That is when you feel your legs giving away, the usual pang of pain starts as a small pin prick and radiates around your lower abdomen. You grit your teeth and hold your breath remembering your Lamaze ball…breathe in and breathe out. Or was it Kegel? Tighten, loosen. As you struggle inwardly hoping against hope that your placenta just shuts down, you put up your dazzling 100 watt smile.
            You start your presentation as the entire hall is silent and when you turn your back to the audience to start the slideshow, finding it the most opportune moment, the dam breaks loose. You continue smiling as you clench your legs tight praying that the fluid trickles slowly. No dear, Gods are against you today. As you feel your flimsy panty soak up, a cold sweat breaks up and you stand like an automaton. That is when your darling boss comes over, shakes your hand and asks you to take your seat. You walk back with grace and sit on the chair with disdain. No, God is not so sweet, girl. The meeting gets over in another half an hour and as the men file out, you sit regally like a queen, soaking in your fluid with an idiotic smile.
            Phew! That was very lucky. No one ever saw your pant soaked in red. You escaped. Thank Heavens you were not travelling in the city bus. Or you will be traveling round and round the city afraid to get up and show your stained behind to the Romeo who has followed you for the last four months. We are a strange country, strange people. We gave the world Kama Sutra, yet we never talk of sex. We worship so many Goddesses in temples and keep our women locked in the backyards. Talking of menstruation to the little girls, educating them and teaching them the use of sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups is easier than herding camels in the Sahara!
            Tampons- the name gives me the shudders. Imagine inserting some foreign body into yourself as you squat or hang on to dear life withstanding the heavenly scent that emanates from Indian toilets- our bleaches and cleaners smell worse than poop! Privacy for women- do we have it anywhere? You go to cinemas with elderly aunts. You go to weddings tightly guarded by your brothers and cousins who boss over you and see if you carry yourself womanly. Remember the ‘gyaan’ that these brothers have about our ‘womanly trouble’ is that women got something to do with that blue liquid that turns gel when using a napkin! Again you have a hoard of aunts with jittery teeth who ask if you still are unmarried. Or worse still, they look out if your stomach has the tell tale marks as you change into saree after saree. There will be times when you feel like climbing to the terrace and shouting at the top of your voice- “I am a virgin and I am still unmarried”.
            There is this particular problem of fishing out a sanitary napkin and taking it to the loo unaware. Every time you hide that lecherous thing in the folds of your skirt, your brother huts your head and asks if you stole his favourite chocolate from the fridge. Or worse still, your father questions how many times you walk to the loo. The sickening one will be the mother who enquires if your skirt is torn. Yes, mother, you will pull your face and show bharatanatyam abinayas and still she pokes and pokes till you reach your boiling point and grunt- “I have got my periods”. That is when she realizes your volume and says- “Hush! Why should you bellow like a mad pig?”
            If hijacking a fresh napkin to the restroom is a climb to the Everest, disposing off a used napkin is plain landing on the moon. Hiding the smelly thing, wrapping it in a carry bag, it has to be black or dark blue, mind it, covertly trashing it, you feel relieved the moment it leaves the trash bag of your house. Did I hear you laughing? No, the ordeal isn’t over folks. Our disposed napkin lands at the kitchen garden of our neighbor or straight on the car of our ground floor tenant and then starts the mother of all fights! Can this get any worse? Yes, sweet heart, it can. If your street’s stray dogs decide that they’re done with the bitches and want more fun, they shred your disposed napkin, lay it bare in broad daylight in the middle of the street as your face goes beet red. Or should I say, redder than the ‘impurity’? All for a piece of napkin!
            The novel idea of menstrual cups that are easy to insert and that can reduce environmental pollution to a great extent has to catch up in India. Looking at the tutorials on how to insert it and the various types available in the market, you are already queasy, with your head reeling and stomach somersaulting. 

             Holding onto the toilet seat, hanging on to the handle, inserting this cup may sound easy. But then you are having your periods, period! Cramps in your legs and your core feels as if mauled by a godzilla on loose and you have to 'insert' something into its course? What if you have to use a public toilet where our predecessors have left their poop for us to sit on? It is said a cup can be reused for up to five years if sterilized properly. Sterilize? Yeah. The fun is here. You have to beg your mother or mother in law for a ‘separate’ vessel, ‘separate’ stove, ‘separate’ place to dry it. Thank Heavens if you live alone.  You can wash the cup, boil the cup, cut the cup and even drink from it. To Hell with the environment.  Get us some privacy first, I say! And to all those advocates of the cup, call me blasphemous, the Cup is not for me :P

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The ever elusive time

Punctuality. Spelt 'punk'tualittty. With extra stress on the 'punk'. Time conscious. Punctual. So many adjectives that baffle the average Indians like us. Indian Standard Time and the select few people who love to stick to it like a leech on the skin suck, big time. There is this one generation of people, whom we call 'oldies' by all standards who covet the hands of the clock as their love. That one word which I have been hating right from childhood is 'time'. I have spent hours brooding about 'on time' and 'just in time'. If there is one word that we Indian women despise other than 'guests' is 'time'.

Our household work is always well-timed. Planned and executed to precision. We have the capability of using all the four burners of the stove effectively, while the washing machine churns by one side and the mother-in-law chews our head on the other. We battle with everything under the sun- doing the morning dishes, tea spilled on the kitchen counter, the kaamwaali bhai who is on leave, sulking kids who think their mother is a genie at their beck and call and finally the mother of all time bound woes- the cylinder that sputters and dies in the middle of a morning marathon at home. 

When you practically push the kids into the waiting van and heave a sigh of relief with a socks dangling from your arm, comb perched atop your head and ribbon hanging around your neck, the man of the house calls out for his chaai, with eyes glued to the newspaper and the headlines of 'memont of reckoning'. You wish you were in the Nagpur jail instead of mixing chaai. A hasty bath, quick dab of makeup, carelessly draped saree and equally hasty breakfast, you literally run to your bike and realise you forgot to fill the petrol tank. As you summon the neighborhood autowallah who is a Robinhood reincarnate, the minutes tick by and your fate that day is sealed. 
By the time you sprint into the sanctum of power that you longingly call your office, rushing past the pearly gates, Saint Peter aka your supervisor rocks in his high chair and looks at you in disgust. His voice rises a few octaves as he bellows, "you must come to office well in time. Do you know what is the time now?". To prove that you are late, he turns his wrist and stares hard at the antique piece that he calls a watch. As if on cue, all heads turn to your side, men click their tongues with false pity and women sharpen their ears for some gossip juice. Your day- ruined. You are never on time, you see.

If reaching office on time is a nightmare, simpler pleasures like a movie night out is a distant dream. If you have a toddler at the crook of your arm, never ever try this stunt. Packing for a movie night with a toddler can drive you crazy as you keep packing and packing. Hot water in a flask, food substitute, bowl and a spoon, milk in a flask, bib, diapers, towels, baby powder, liquid soap, the list is longer than your grocery bill. A diaper forgotten will bring you back 'pooped' memories from nowhere! If you have two kids, God bless you, lady! You can be the referee to a free-for-all instantly.
The domestic God is always invincible when it comes to getting ready. A quick shower, dress up and  a dab of perfume, he is ready and shining. Here you are, oil-dripping hair, sweat oozing face, adorned in a nighty that would have seen a hundred washes trying to figure out which attire would be comfortable for the odyssey while he eyes his watch...meaningfully. Getting ready on time- bah...never happens to the women. Forget it. 

p.s.: I hate Mondays, period. Why do we have to put ourselves to the torture that is called 'office'?
p.p.s.: Special mention to the education minister of Jharkand- Neera Yadav. Milady. Please don't garland anyone's picture, ever. 
p.p.p.s.:  Why do you always have to be the subordinate of Kim Jong Un? :P

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Hell met- helmet!

A rule is a rule. I hold onto the 'fryer' like a lifeline. Pulling the strap, I find the latch gone. Who is worried, anyway? Latch or no latch, I am going to sport the 'fryer' anyway. The "Fryer Movement- Part X" is in full sway in our state, the policemen gleefully filling the Government's coffer by paise and their personal pockets by bigger notes. The fryers are selling like hot cakes on platformds and pavements. All of them with ISI marks, mind it. Or are they JSI marks? ;)

The helmet melas organized by the retailers is the new 'happening' place in town. You can see bare bottom sporting jean clad youth amidst the humdrum yapping about the 'bestest' helmets in town. Quirky models, with visors, without visors, vibrant colors, in any price range, the mela is a huge hit. The neighborhood goes gaga over the who's got the hottest helmet. Little do the ladies of the clan know that whatever be the model, it will be the hottest! 

Imagine the plight of the head locked inside the hot air capsule. A merciless sun scorching you from above and your head pinned inside a fryer with absolutely no entry for air. Wow! Bring them on, I say! Had they invented the helmets earlier, our forefathers could have gone back to the stone ages, climbing trees and scratching their heads, losing whatever little grey matter they had. 

There is another ilk of 'scientists' intent on finding new varieties- the one that can support your basket, complete with shoulder stilts, one with air conditioner, one with an exhaust fan, mobile charger, solar panels, 'vettiver' stuffed for cooling your 'brain'- if you have one!
Now that can be easy for your neighborhood vegetable seller!

This one looks a bit scary- though air conditioned;)   

As the days go by, traffic policemen are having a 'honeymoon' with the 'helmet haters'. The helmet haters and policemen play the game of cat and mouse, chasing in the bye lanes. I myself am aware of the mazes around my city, where a person can ride without a helmet, safe and sound. Travel without the helmet is unsafe, agreed. But how difficult it is to travel with a weight of two kgs plastered to your head with the greasy sweat around your hair line. Those men in forties who wear the helmets are losing their precious tresses that come one fine morning, their head might resemble a helmet- a shiny one better than the fiber thing ;)

Let's make Armstrong proud- we have helmets heavier than him, we are sun-walking at 40 degrees C, not moon walking like him. And would someone mind telling me, in accidents do only head injuries cause death? Asphyxia can be a reason for death, some helmets smell worse than my colleagues unwashed socks! If there is one person who is happy with the helmet, it must be the 'husband'. The ear muffs of the helmets are active filters that close out whatever blabbering he has to endure while travelling by his bike. And hence, my lord, accidents, averted!!

p.s.: To that policeman who smiles at me looking and my unbuckled helmet- may you fry more in the sun!
p.p.s.: My current assignment is killing my creativity. All I can think of are 'subject to all commercial formalities' and 'duly following rules in force' :(
p.p.p.s.: A hearty welcome to our PM on his seventh visit to our country. Hey Ram!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

A wedding and a funeral

He looked once more at the calendar that whipped with the wind. Numbers scattered around his head. What was the day today? He tried to remember through the haze. What was he doing now? He shook his head, trying to clear it and came up with nothing. Nothing made sense. This should not have happened. Destiny is a bitch. He smiled to himself. He must actually be happy. Today was the day. 

She couldn't do this. Looking at the scattered sarees, neatly arranged jewellery, she moved away to the window. A cool breeze was blowing and she stepped out on the balcony. He must be happy now, she thought. He would now be doing his Sunday chores. If she had been a little more brave, she would have held his hands by now. Destiny is a bitch. She smiled to herself. She must actually be happy. Today was the day. In a few hours from now, she would be marrying someone. The man whom she knew nothing about.

The road ahead glistened with mist as he tread on the solitary road. He loved it here. The chirping of birds, the gurgling brooks by the road side, the mist, sudden rains and crisp mountain air. She loved it here. She had always been his love. The nimble fingers, trembling lips, locks of jet black hair in waves around her ever-smiling heart shaped face. She was a temptress. He yearned to hold her. To pull her into his embrace. God! He loved her. With all his heart and his soul. His poor battered soul. He wanted to listen to her voice.

A last dash of blush, she was ready. She looked at her reflection in the mirror. Tall, slender and languid, with her favorite maroon silk saree draped around her, she looked angelic. She traced her fingers on the mirror, along the contours of her face, trying to remember his features. They were more angular, weren't they? His dimples were the best. The way he reached out to her. His gentle perfume. Memories burst like a dam, flooding her with sensations that she could not comprehend. Would she love to hear his voice once? One last time? Her mother was skeptical when she begged her to see him once before the wedding. It was stuck down with a stern look. Incredulous. Her mother may hate him, very well, for reasons unknown to her. Yet, she couldn't ever forsake him. Could she? She couldn't even see him once? She gulped down her sorrow as always and walked away, tears brimming in her eyes.

She punched in his number on her mobile, her eyes darting towards the lock of her door. The shrill ringing of his phone filled her ears, as a lone tear started its way from the corner of her eye. 

He heard it. The ringing of his mobile. At last! His head seemed to clear as he skittered to his room. He had not received any call for a long time from her. He was yearning to listen to her sing song voice for a long long time. Was it her? She had promised to call him before the big day. Palms sweaty, he flicked the phone open and breathed out a Hello. "Papa!" was all he heard before falling down on the floor motionless. Somewhere, he heard the tinkling laugh of his angel. Her wavy hair around her angelic face bounced as she held him, rocked him to sleep. His daughter.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The six yard wonder and me!

It happens every Friday morning. By the time the clock ticks to 9.30, my room looks like an island ravaged by a crazy dinosaur. The sight of blouses lying astray on the cot and sarees piled up in a corner gives my servant shivers as she enters to clean up my room. Even it doesn't spare me when I return back home in the evening, to a room that bore the brunt of my blouse hunt. 

Ahhh...the blouse hunt! Such a beautiful cliche'. Finding the blouse amidst the pile that was once your organised cupboard is no easy task. You have to wade through that olive green skirt, erst while snow white and now muddy snow brown turned antique inner wear, lehenga top, letters written by your friends two decades ago and your naphthalene scented bharatanatyam attire to reach the saree of the day. It always happens that your mind freezes on blue- this day you feel like having a blue coffee, wearing blue accessories, crave blue berry jam and even wish you could turn the entire household to electric blue. Only now luck has it that you can't spot that royal blue chanderi cotton you really want to flaunt that day.

You pull out the blue saree finally and along with it come down a meteor shower of blouses in varied colours and hues, except for the matching blue blouse. Now starts the treasure hunt. You look for clues. No, take deep breaths- inhale, exhale and stand before the mirror, trying to figure out when was the last time you wore it. Was it on second friday of the third month or third friday of the second month? You may even go the gym and be back alive, yet never repeat the same saree in six months time. So probably, the blouse must have been somewhere down under. Or rather did you send it to the dry cleaner and the fellow cheated you out of it? 

A cold sweat breaks up on your brow, as you rummage the cupboard, your hair dripping wet with water from the shower and the underarms wet with sweat. Did the thief steal your blouse? That four thousand rupees worth aari-work blouse with  beads and zari beckons you like a light house on a rainy day. As a tired sailor, you sail around your cupboard, still unable to trace it. By the time the third rack is emptied and its contents scattered on the floor, the blouse behaves and decides to stop the hide and seek, showing up under the heavy benares saree. You heave a sigh of relief...and then starts step 2 of Project Saree, pulling it around your torso.

Always remember- the blouse has a mind of its own. It is a free thinker, no less than Socrates and Aristotle. You can never tame it like a wild tiger. You have to whisper sweet nothings, coo softly and blend your body into it. You have to hold your breath to button it up and if you just blow your breath somewhere in between, poof...both the sides go out straight to your back. You have to call it again. It is the Leonopteryx that only the Na'vi can tame. If you are successful  in taming the widening blouse, you can very well be the Neytiri of Pandora! Once you complete the buttoning process, next is the toughest part- tying the saree.

The six yard wonder blinds you- literally with the bling. It can put Bappi Lahiri's chains to shame with the thousands of sequins attached to it. The higher the bling factor, the pricier it gets. Operation Four Folds starts now, trying to fold the pallu into four with equal distance and placing it on the shoulder, you have to do all the circus with your right hand and left hand placed together. It needs a bucketful of perspiration and half a dozen safety pins to hold the saree in place and by the time you are thinking you are ready, you find the top most fold too lose to your liking. The process starts again...Ufffff...the saree....But the moment you step out of the house, this is one dress that gives you poise, dignity and grace. All this struggle to look graceful and you rock, indeed!
Graceful...ain't it? :P

p.s.: I think I have been ignoring this page and I am truly deeply sorry for that, cloud nine
p.p.s.: I am loving Sushma Swaraj Ji. She is definitely one kind lady- anyone got visa applications or passport blacklisted, do appraise her. The lady has a heart of gold, I say!
p.p.p.s.:  AP Government has started levying taxes for street lights. What an idea Sirji! Keep going and tax those fellas for the oxygen they breathe :P

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

Saturday, 28 February 2015

To Avijit and Rafida- letter from a sidewalk

Deserted and dark
I stand testimony- a sidewalk,
To the blood splattered,
dreams shattered,
the freedom lost..

Outstretched hand,
she stood alone
guarding her dead life
That lay sprawled
all over me

Rooted in me
Is this tiny life-
All green and strong.
Heroes never falter,
Death remains defeated...
on a stony footpath in Dhaka.

You are planted dear blogger
And grow we all shall..
Fighting back
Writing with might
For you and her.

Written for the bravest woman - Rafida Ahmed Bonna, wife of slain blogger Avijit Roy.