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daily blunder Fun Narration Personal

Daily Blunder | ‘Brutally’ Honest

I know it’s been over a year and a half (or rather, a year and three quarters) since I wrote a proper ‘daily blunder’. Well, there wasn’t exactly a paucity of blunders in my life to go on a ‘blunder-break’, so to speak. I’ve a database of infinitely-huge blunders that I could well publish a book on it (which is actually in the pipeline as we speak). As you might’ve guessed by noticing the frequency of posts (or sheer lack of it) in this blog, I was on a major writer’s block. It was on the compulsion (read: death threat) of a very close friend, that I chose to come out of my cocoon. Read on, if you still haven’t left this page out of boredom. 😉

If there’s one city in India which I love (second only to my hometown, Trivandrum), it is Kochi. For those who haven’t heard about the city, it is the commercial capital of the state where I reside – Kerala (India). Well, in a narrow minded mallu point-of-view, there’s nothing to like about both Kochi and Trivandrum either, but somehow, I fell in love with the city, which has been my home for the past one month. Oh btw, I got a job in this busiest city of Kerala. It’s been a month since I joined, and I’m all the more thrilled at the prospect of getting paid to use Facebook (yes, you guessed that right, I’m the Social Media Manager. At this small but growing company called NT Global).

Oh, I digress. More on the job on yet another post. 😉

So, this happened about a couple of weeks before I joined NTG. I had come to Kochi on a leisure trip with a friend of mine, Vishnu. Kochi wasn’t a part of our original itinerary. Vishnu was in search of a proper meningitis vaccination, so that his admission to a major US university would be through. We searched every single hospital in each nook and corner of Trivandrum and Kochi for the vaccine, but to no avail. Finally, we zeroed in on the elusive vaccine at a leading hospital in Thrissur. Jobless back then, I too set forth on an unplanned trip to Thrissur with Vishnu to get his vaccination done. After nearly a month of harrowing search for the mysterious vaccine, Vishnu got vaccinated in merely 20 minutes, at this hospital. Glad that our job on hand got over unexpectedly-early, we decided to halt at Kochi, stay there that night, go mall-surfing (read: window-shopping) the very next day and then return.

The very next day, we geared up for some serious ‘mouth-looking’ (translate that to malluspeak, or ask your friendly neighbourhood mallu if you didn’t get that 😛 ). Both Vishnu and I are serious literary- aficionados. We read, or rather, consume, virtually every book under the sun (provided it is captivating enough to satisfy our momentary vicissitudes). So that fateful morning, we decided to hop into a decent book store to start our sojourn.

We walked into the nearest mall, and located its sole, medium-sized book store. Like predators munching on their prey, we consummately started feeding on our staple diet of books. We didn’t notice time flying, as we carefully selected authors of our choice, browsing eagerly through books, both famous and obscure, satiating ourselves. Before we knew it, our tummies started rumbling – it was lunch time. We picked a couple of moderately-priced books and proceeded to the counter. The man at the sales counter seemed glad that we had finally decided to purchase books – he thought we’d sit there for the entire day, browsing (not that we didn’t intend to do that, but our tummies protested!). Vishnu was short of money, so I offered to pay. I fished out my purse from my pocket  to pay for our books; the cost of both would come down to around Rs 450. I fished a 500 rupee note from my purse and placed it at the counter.

 

Suddenly, the phone at the counter rang. The salesman at the counter picked it up and started talking. It seemed that the person at the other end was his wife or girlfriend or something. Unmindful of our presence, he started a very cheesy tete-a-tete with his lady love. We were exasperated. We didn’t have all day to wait. We could virtually hear our tummies which were about to burst. Vishnu gave the counter-guy one of his typical glares, magnified through his high-power glasses. The man seemed to take note of the stare, and quickly interrupted his motormouth girlfriend and cut the call. He took the books from our hand, checked the price and announced:

“450 rupa aayi, sir.” (Please pay Rs 450, sir)

I gestured at the 500 rupee note I had placed on the counter. The counter-guy looked at me, puzzled.

“Sir?”

I frowned and looked at the counter. My note was missing. Er… did I take that note from my purse and kept it on the counter, in the first place? I quickly rechecked my purse. At a quick glance, I notice that It had only one 500 rupee note and a few notes of 100. I had originally taken two 500 rupee notes from the ATM, or so I remembered, and one among them was missing. So obviously I had kept it on the counter. The counter guy had probably taken the note and shoved it to his safe.

“Njaan daa ippo paisa eduthu vachathe ullu. Kandille?”, I said. (“I’d just placed the money on the counter, didn’t you see?)

“Illa sir. Enikku… enikkormayilla…”, he replied. (Er…. No. I don’t remember, sir)

Vishnu came to my support:

“Alla, avan paisa eduthu vaykkunnathu njaanum kandathaa. Ningal eduthu counter il vachathaayirikkum,” (I saw him place the money on the counter. You must have absent-mindedly placed the note in the safe, accidentally)

The sales guy was scratching his head with the back of his pen. He opened the counter, checked the notes inside for a moment, thought for a while, and said:

“Ayyo, enikku orma illallo!” (Er… I don’t remember)

By now, I was sure that the counter guy was trying to con us. I politely convinced him that I did place the note on the table. Vishnu also went on to support me. After a few minutes of give and take, the counter guy finally agreed that I had indeed paid him. He apologized profusely for his mistake and gave me the balance amount of Rs 50. He neatly placed the books into a cover and handed it over to us, with a smile. We smiled back, and scooted from the place.

We decided to have lunch from the mall’s food court itself. It didn’t take a long time for us to finalize on our choice of food – noodles. The food court had a pre-paid system. You had to pay initially, and the food would be delivered within a short while. As I was opened my purse to pay, I had the shock of my life.

There, inside my purse, rested TWO 500 rupeee notes.

We had conned the book store. I didn’t pay them ANYTHING. We got the books for free!

If there’s one attribute I value more than anything else, it is honesty. I can’t say that I’m not a liar, but I try my level best not to lie/cheat. Pangs of guilt started attacking me. I had made a huge mistake – severe enough that the counter guy might even lose his job! 500 rupees was a huge amount in bookstore-lingo. I immediately shared my situation with Vishnu. He smiled.

“Buddy, I seriously think you need to give this a miss. We got a great deal man! We saved 500 bucks and got couple of good books for free. And we were paid 50 rupees too (the change) for accepting them. Cheers to us!”

I didn’t buy Vishnu’s reasoning. No sooner did we finish eating our lunch, I rode the escalator back to the first floor, and went to the book store. The counter guy saw me and smiled. He still didn’t realize that he was conned.

I gingerly walked up to him, and slowly made him aware of the situation, with apologies, weakly trying to conjure a smile. Surprisingly enough, the counter guy smiled. He said that such mistakes happen to everybody, and I was indeed a noble person to accept my mistake and promptly correct it. I paid him the 500 rupee note, profusely apologized once more and left the place with a lighter heart and a smile on my face. I had done a good deed, that day. God will reward me.

I reached home, late that night, by train.

The very next morning, I was rudely woken up by my mom. She was grumbling something. I drowsily opened my eyes, and vaguely tried to listen to what she was trying to say. Apparently, she had fished out an ATM receipt from my jeans pocket and was complaining about something related to that.

“… Mone, nee ingane paazhchelavu cheyyaruthu. 1500 rupa nee ATM il ninnum edutho? Ithream cash enthina eduthath? Ninakku paisa undennu karuthi ingane chelavakkaruthu. Save cheyyaan padikkanam…” (Son, don’t spend too much like this. You took a whopping 1500 bucks from the ATM? Why did you take so much money and splurge it? Don’t have the impression that you can spend like crazy cause you have money with you. You should start saving…)

My heart skipped a beat. Slumber left my eyes in a moment’s time. I grabbed the ATM receipt and looked at it again. It seems I had withdrawn 1500 rupees the day before. I had THREE 500 rupee notes with me, not two. I failed to notice the third note, which was kept in another chamber of my purse!! I didn’t make a mistake the other day, and I’d given an extra 500 rupee note to the book stall.

To cut a long story short, 500 rupees gone down the drain.

“Amma paranjathu shariyaa. Paisa sookshichu chelavakkanam”, I sighed. (Mom, what you said is true. I should start spending judiciously).

P.S. True story.

Categories
daily blunder Fun

Daily Blunder | Bike Blues

There’s this friend of mine, Ganesh (name changed for anonymity’s sake). He’s a school-college-buddy and lives near my place. We’ve known each other for over over sixteen years now. He’s a guy I adore and admire a lot, mainly for some of his principles which he holds strong. Even though fate’s played some nasty games with him, he’s come out of all adversities bearing a characterestic smile on his face (and a tika on his forehead – our friend’s a devout ‘Shiv-bhakt’).

Like me, Ganesh always depended on KSRTC for his transport needs. That is, until he secured a well-paying job. He decided to put an end to the qualms of daily-commute by buying himself a good motorcycle. And he had no second thoughts about the model – he went for one among the best bikes in the market – The Yamaha R15 Limited Edition. Now, there are only a thousand of such bikes in the market which upped the oomph factor of the bike.

The sudden step-up from mundane commuting to stylish biking was a shot in the arm for Ganesh. He would flash his new toy, zipping through the crowded streets, showing off his beauty. He was too humble to flaunt his bike. Yet, his babe was the object of our collective envy. Ganesh handled his ‘babe’  with utmost care. He would wash and clean it every day, following every rule in the owners manual down to the last dot. In fact, he was obsessed about the R15, albeit in a healthy way.

One fine morning, Ganesh was all set to leave for office. He had an early appointment that morning, hence he’d woken up early to give his bike its daily wash. Making sure that every part of the macho bike gleamed like a new pin, Ganesh mounted his stallion. It was time to hit the road. Turning on the ignition, he pressed the start button. The familiar ignition rattle was music to his ears.

The bike did not start.

His faithful warrior always responded to the first attempt. Ganesh tried again. The ignition-noise emanated again and died down. He tried again. And again. And again.

The bike didn’t respond.

One of the few cons of the R15 is that it lacks kick start. Ganesh remembered his friend recommending him Pulsar 220 because of the same reason. He’d then decided to go against his friend’s advice. Ganesh wasn’t worried. It must be a temporary problem, he decided. He thought he’d wait for a while and try again.

He waited, and tried another hand, to no avail. No matter however hard he tried, the bike failed to respond.

Beads of sweat started pouring down from Ganesh’s forehead. He was running late for his appointment. After a few more tries, Ganesh threw up his hands in despair. He kept his bike back into the shed and took a bus to office. He was fifteen minutes late for his meeting, and his boss was certainly not impressed. After an abnormally-long day, Ganesh reached home, tired and panting. Before he retired to his bedroom, he pulled the bike out of his shed and tried another attempt, in vain. Dejected, Ganesh decided to call it a day. Bikes always have starting problems, he reassured himself. It’d be alright by tomorrow.

For the next two days, Ganesh switched back to KSRTC for his daily commute. Day-in and day-out, he would try starting his bike, only to stand dejected and depressed. How could his brand new bike fall ill despite his careful attention? Machines have the same indiscretions as do humans, he realized.

The very next day, he decided enough was enough. Ganesh called the nearest Yamaha service center. The mechanic said he’d drop by that evening. Ganesh was relieved. His baby’d be back in action within no time, he told himself.

The mechanic promptly arrived, that evening (on a Yamaha RXG, nothing less). Brash and young,  he was a Rajnikanth-worshiping chap, oozing ‘style’ in every movement. Humming a Rajni song, he gingerly unveiled an array of spanners and started work on the bike. He examined every part possible, trying to start the bike every two minutes. The ignition would sputter, and then stop. For a brief instant, the bike made a slight ‘vroom’ sound, much to Ganesh’s excitement. But then it died down, as soon as it started.

Fifteen minutes later, the mechanic stood up and took a stretch. He took a casual glance at the bike’s right side. Suddenly, he fixed his glance at one point. He beckoned Ganesh towards him. His right index finger pointed towards the side of the bike. Ganesh saw it for himself. No sooner did he saw what the mechanic pointed, a smile, or rather, a sheepish grin developed on his face.

The mechanic had pointed his finger at the petrol knob of the bike stood pointed towards the ‘OFF’ position. Ganesh had switched off his bike’s petrol knob in all his punctiliousness to keep his bike ‘perfect’. How in the world would his bike start, when its petrol was turned off? 🙂

Ganesh looked at the mechanic, who was now grinning back at him.

“Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. This is MY third time,” he smiled. 🙂

P.S.

This post is written as part of the Close Up “Fire Freeze” Contest. Check out their Facebook page, where you can post your own stories. Pour your experiences here as comments. Set the ball rolling. 🙂

Categories
Fun Viewpoint

Random thoughts on a Harthal

Jobless or ‘jobbed’, I love Harthals! <3

The Harthal, as you know, is a mass-impasse imposed upon the populace by a group/political-party (or even a random Kanjirappalli Kariyachan) to protest/support/enjoy/rejoice/burst-crackers-for/dance-away-to-celebrate/booze-up-to-commemorate [citation needed]  an issue. The issue could be something as puny as the new government rule that would pull the plug on crores of ‘extra-earnings’ accrued by ‘important people’, or even something drop-dead serious, like the death of a friendly-neighbourhood-mongrel, for instance. The size and proportion of a harthal is as variable as the harthal itself – it could cover a rather huge geographical area like the Oolampaara Metro, renowned for the global H.Q. of Intellectual Stimulation Center™ (ISC), or even a comparatively-tiny place like the sleepy-town of Kochi.

I simply can’t comprehend why people strongly protest Harthals – aren’t you people too happy about a free holiday? Years back, when I was at school, Harthal meant celebration – sitting idyllically at home was fun; especially so if the harthal did postpone an exam or two. The Harthal was, is, and shall always be a God-given boon: an ill-prepared exam postponed was joy forever! As I moved to college, things weren’t much different. But I’d have to say that my batch wasn’t very lucky, most of our exams happened on the dot; but we did have our share of ‘Harthal joys’ during our first and second year. Along with internal-strikes, Harthals stood for fun and frolic!

Alright, that’s me. I know most of you are still pissed about having lost precious working hours to this ‘monstrosity’ – and I know for a fact that you ARE NOT jobless, for a fact. So let’s get into your shoes and analyze how Harthals are actually advantageous:

  • Reluctant Breaks: Indians have a reputation of being a hard-working-populace. Half of all successful janitors, sweepers, construction workers and beggars overseas owe their roots to the our nation (again, citation needed). These hardworking men and women toil their asses off (in some cases, quite literally), to earn their daily bread (or Vodka, for that matter). Such committed workers who work ‘hardly’ for the uplift of their Motherland should be provided a sabbatical, for myriad health reasons. Researchers have proved that constant physical exertion is on the rise. Modern adage seems to comply with the golden words: “Thou shalt die with a belly well fed.”, quote modern philosophers. In such extremes of physical torture, an occasional one-day break does only good.
  • Banking A peep into the arbitrary government office and you would stand awed at the dedication and commitment depicted by our ‘babus’. Apart from their daily duties of duly ‘glancing through’ files (whose super-fast ‘transfer-rates’ put Teracopy to shame), our Babus seem to have taken the banking system under their folds. A very secure parallel banking system has been established thanks to concerted efforts over the years. The system has reached such levels of popularity that it’s quite an open secret these days. However, this system of banking involves one-way transfer. The customer can debit money through secure cash-processing machines under office-tables. (S)he gets decent rates of interest (which are at par with Islamic Banking, if not more) and that too in the form of myriad benefits. This parallel banking system has reached such massive levels of popularity and success that Private sector banks have started grumbling about deficits. Harthals are a boon for private sector banks, crumbling under the yoke of the parallel banking system (whose deposits go a long way to sunny Switzerland). Since more Harthals would mean more shut-down for these ‘parallel banks’, Private sector banks can heave a rightful sigh-of-relief.
  • Too much work doesn’t just work ! The mentality of overseas Indians have crossed the seas and spread wings among their counterparts in good-old-motherland. India Inc is working ‘hardly’ these days! So ‘hardly’ that the word ‘hard’ has lost its very meaning! As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, and too much ‘work’ (including parallel banking) ends up spoiling the broth. So much for more holidays.
  • Booze ’em up! A recent trend in the country is the widespread adoption of teetotalism. India is the country of the Mahatma, who stated that Alcohol is the biggest evil our nation has faced (Gandhiji has had his share of booze in his childhood, nevertheless). Thanks to widespread negative publicity by numerous A.A.s, alcohol sales have hit rock-bottom, today. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya is in the brink of bankruptcy and is rumored to have auctioned stashes of his old Playboy magazines for a paltry $5 billion, for want of liquid cash! Insider sources point out that Harthals are prompted by secret agencies (which have a nexus with Liquor companies like the United Breweries Group); the sudden holiday comes as a huge-blow for the hard-working-average-Indian, who, depressed by his inability to satiate his workaholic self – goes to the nearby state-owned-beverages outlet and boozes to heart’s content. Inventive idea, huh? But then why would the government declare dry days during Harthals? The forbidden-fruit demand-supply principle. To sell something quick, kill the supply and increase demand! Our leaders aren’t as dumb as they seem.
  • Television Viewership Let’s face it – television viewership is dwindling! Reality shows are seen as the last straw for TV channels in a bid to survive the blitzkrieg of new media. Once they go out of fashion, many television studios shall go bust. The Harthal is a boon to both the viewer and the Studio-Manager in this case. Studios dangle the carrot of newly-released flicks (bootlegged, in the case of local, operator-run channels), and the bored-out-of-his-mind  viewer jumps high to gobble it up. The studio gets its TRPs and the viewer smiles at his Rs 200/- of Multiplex Money savings.
  • Bonding initiative Let’s face it: Assbook, Farkut and Shwitter have killed real socializing. We don’t get to meet real people – let alone our family members. Harthal spreads out a wave of universal joblessness that we’re left with our dear and near ones to have some kickass face-to-face conversations. Harthals also mean empty roads, streets and avenues, leaving open some very interesting possibilities for PDA (and more).
  • Harthals heal the world! The Harthal is our very own innovation to get right back at Global warming. No automobiles, no factory fumes and no pollution for twenty four hours straight (not considering extra trillions of tonnes of human excreta that clog the sewerage system). Means of transportation are restricted to walks or even cycling – the best way to kill some calories and lose some flab.

If you’re still cribbing about something that the high court of Kerala has banned, you might want to sign this petition.

Bottom Line

Style of writing and ‘content’ inspired by FakingNews. *Respects* to Pagal Patrakar a.k.a. Rahul Roushan. You rock, dude!

Disclaimer

Purely a work of satire. Please take it in that sense. Why so serious, son?

Categories
Fun Life

The Inheritance of Loss 2.0

This post is cross-posted from the Tata Jagriti Yatra blog. I’d written the post during the yatra, and it was published in the blog, back then. Looking back at my archives, I thought this post is worth publishing. 🙂 You may find the original post here. There’s another post of the same name in this blog – a post that dates four years back. Even it’s on the same lines. 🙂 You might want to check it out here.

I’m no stud. Plagiarizing the title of Kiran Desai’s booker-winning piece wouldn’t make me one either. I’m that random guy you’d find on every other sleepy, small-town in India. I’d be sitting next to you on the public bus, sipping tea (aptly paid by a couple of borrowed one rupee coins) by a chawl, or even aimlessly roaming about on a crowded city road. “Another brick in the wall.” as you (a.k.a. ‘the stud’) might put it. You’re welcome; your gratitude for my praise is duly accepted and acknowledged. And before you brush my compliment off, dismissing me with the ‘brick-wall’ figure of speech, let me shed some more piece of info, buddy. I’m a tad different. I’ve this not one among these regular red bricks you see piled up by construction sites. I’ve a distinct shade of orange.

It took me a nation-wide train journey to fully comprehend the implications of my difference – A journey, which not only made me bankrupt and awakened me to the point of enlightenment. Bankrupt, because the organizers snubbed out my humble pleas for sponsorship and I had to bust my life’s savings for it. Enlightened, because even though I’m penniless, I’ve found my calling, and I’ve learned hundred times more than what they teach you at those B-schools.

Apologies for the digression and the hyperbole – but then again, you might’ve had an insight into the nuances of my simple mind. And allow me to get back to where I started off – the booker winning book’s title. I plagiarized the title because it was the phrase that made the most sense to me, given the chaotic circumstances. With your due permission, I shall elaborate on what actually transpired.

Okay, so to cut the human excreta, this train journey which instilled high hopes in me, not to mention romanticized notions of the country, was marked by the four letter word L-O-S-S. Materialistically speaking, I lost more than what I gained. Did you hear the song about a raspy-voiced guy singing about the things he’d lost in the past seven days? If not, shame on you. Feed yourself some staple food from your country’s watched movie industry, st-ude (st-ude = stud + dude, for further references). And since it’s been exactly seven days into this ‘Yatra’ and I’m sort-of maniacally-obsessed by the song, being the random movie-obsessed guy that I am, I thought I’d make the fact public, just like the raspy-voiced guy.

It all started on day 1, with an irreparable tear on my brand new Alen Solly shirt. Obnoxious optimism (with due regards to Mark Twain), made me attribute the primal loss to bad karma. With the smile back on my face, I leaped onto the train and set off. Then on, virtually, there was no looking back. Each day meant the loss of a new item. My favourite Nokia 3110c, my toothbrush, an unopened Reebok tee, an IIM Bangalore watch, my towel (lost to laundry), countless pens, medicines, and God-alone-knows-what. When I say the list is endless, it actually is.

It’s bad. Or rather, it’s *insert-expletive-here*. Each day, you wake up to check your purses, bags, and pockets, only to realize that you’ve another lost item. And the panic starts. You feel the trepidation in your arms, which is surprisingly infectious. Your arms, legs and your entire body, in that order, feel this blitzkrieg of adrenaline. And then, you start foraging. Your mind’s eye rushes through your memoirs of the past couple of (awake) hours, tracking your (invisible) footprints. And then, like the Na’avi from Avatar (watch the movie, if you haven’t), you leap off in pursuit. You overturn all the bags, books, blankets, soiled socks, stinky towels, and every other thing that blocks your line of sight. At first, your roommates are empathetic and willingly join-in. But with time, they realize that this is cest la vie for you. And then, you’re at the butt of ridicule. Progressively, you disappear into the ambiance as a lone maverick being, showing proof of your existence by making periodic appearances at the announcement desk beseeching the announcement of your latest loss.

If serious doubts about my optimist claim have started cropping up in your mind by now, chill. The sole reason why I never stop my search is because I know I’d find my stuff someday, somewhere. And yeah, I’ve already found most of them. Yet, each day beckons to a new loss, and I’d have to balance the pursuit of loss with the pursuit of inspiration, which I admit, is quite tasking. Yet, it’s no daunting task.

‘Cause if a brick like me can multitask, so can a stud like you! ☺

P.S.
If you find some of the items that I’ve mentioned anywhere around (not necessarily in the train), do give me a buzz. I’d certainly appreciate it, not just verbally.

Bottom Line

I actually ended up finding everything I lost on train, while plenty of others didn’t. 😛