Thursday, May 31, 2007

Your name please..?

Ok, I have a problem. A serious problem. And sometimes, it can make me very uncomfortable. I do not know if this is a universal problem or whether it affects very few people like yours truly.
I have, many times, discussed with myself the cause of this problem. And have wondered whether it is my fault or the fault of external forces like rapid growth of population!

I call this problem name-nesia. Ok, I do not know if there is any other name for this problem, and if there is, I don’t think I’d remember it anyway. And yes, you guessed it right. My problem is, forgetting names!!
Look, i can remember faces, I have absolutely no problem with that. I can recall faces that I have seen when i was only five! But you ask me their names and I go blank! Seriously, I don’t think I have grown so old that I tend to forget things like most people in their old age do. I don’t yet have grey hair, tough I sometimes wonder what my world will be when it first appears, but that is a different problem altogether.

Coming back to name-nesia, have u ever been introduced to a person and in the process of your conversation with him have you forgotten his name? Do u spot someone on the road and remember her as your science club mate ummm…. Soniya, Ruth…. What’s her name??? (Soniya and Ruth don’t even sound like each other, they probably don’t come from the same religion either - this means you have reached the higher levels of the problem).

But nope, I don’t blame you. There are tens of thousands of names in this world and your poor brain will have to grapple with the sea of names floating around in your head and churn out the one name that holds good for the person in front of you. I’d truly understand if you’d forget my name!! (and hope this is mutual!!)
Anyway, here’s something that happened to me once when I was in college. There was this junior, a very friendly, charming girl who’d always make it a point to come and speak to me whenever she’d spot me in the campus. Yes, in the beginning I did ask her name (she already knew mine – I was famous in college, u see!!), but thanks to name-nesia after the second meeting (what did u say your name was? Oh yes, right, sorry, I forgot), she was for me, the junior-who’d-always –speak-to–me-whenever-she’d-spot–me-in-the campus. Hey, I liked the girl. We even used to exchange anecdotes from our classes and have also had lunch together a couple of times in the college canteen. But you tell me, after all this, wouldn’t it be a wee bit late to ask her name again!?!?

So once it so happened that I was with my friend (who’s name I know perfectly well, even now, thank you very much) at a mall and the junior (I feel really guilty calling her that but I still don’t know her name) happened to come there. As usual she beamed and greeted me, ‘Hi Aparna, how are you?' And as usual I replied, 'Hey, I’m good, how about you?’ ‘I’m good too’, she answered and looked at my friend, expecting an introduction. ‘Hey meet my friend, Reshma’, I told her. ‘And Reshma, this is..’ Damn! What do I call her? My junior? Now wouldn't that look snobbish? But what else do I call her??
I suddenly wished I was Prof D’Costa who’d have taken the junior’s attendence hundreds of time. I wished I had refused my friend’s offer to go shopping together. I wished a fire would break out somewhere and her attention would be diverted and I could grab my friend’s hand and run outta there. I wished I had remembered her name!!
‘Smitha’, the junior beamed looking at my friend.
Thank God!! ‘Yes, Smitha, she’s my junior, and friend ofcourse’, I laughed nervously. But Smitha didn’t notice and continued talking to Reshma. Whew!!!

Ok, I have a confession. I’m not really sure if her name is Smitha. I kinda remember that’s what she said. Anyway, after this incident I hardly met her owing to our exams and then we lost touch. But I do remember her as a very sweet girl who always had a smile ready for me. And like Spearson…uh…. Shake-ear… uh.. Shakespeare would say, ‘What’s in a name??’!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Grief Case

‘Everything doesn’t come with a price tag’. I read this piece of fact ages ago. Nope, not in any book preaching morality but in Archie comics. I was too small to realise the essence of the line then. But as years passed it made itself more and more familiar with me.

Now let’s leave that aside. What would you do, if you lost your luggage? I know the question sounds out of place here. But then again, maybe it doesn’t. We are anyway speaking about price tags and our baggage usually contains expensive items for which we would have paid lots of hard-earned money. Losing our bags would, undoubtedly irk us, what with the fact that the contents inside sport obscene numbers on their price tags. But what if you lose a bag that hardly cost you a cent? What if the contents inside were neither purchased by bundles of cash nor by plastic? I lost a similar bag.

I left my home in Goa at about 12 on 17th June. I had three bags with me – one a suitcase with my stuff in it – clothes mainly. The second was a handbag, which all women carry. My purse, I-pod and cell phone were in it. The third was a carton box.
As I explain the contents of this bag, I’m sure all you readers will think of the times when your mum packs your bag with all home made goodies which she reiterates will not be found in the place where you stay. So here goes.
My mother-in-law packed the carton with home made ghee – rich and aromatic, mango pickles with that awesome smell, fresh coconuts and ripe pears from our farm, roasted cashewnuts, mulika – a delicacy made out of jack fruit and lots of other home made stuff. The main content of the carton was a huge box (karndo) filled with my hubby’s favourite corn mixture (corn chuda). My mum- in-law prepares the most amazing corn mixture. So much for precious items in the box.

Now you guyz tell me. If u had a carton filled with all these stuff made with so much of love, would you not go crazy when you lose it? I did!

My flight landed in Bangalore airport at 3. I was among the first people to reach the baggage claim area and yes, as you guess it, was the last to leave. Because the carton was missing. I waited like an idiot, expecting the box to appear like magic. But nothing happened. The staff of the airline who I complained to claimed to ‘understand my suffering’. DUH??? He wrote down my complaint, gave me a photocopy and assured me that I would get the box the next day –the staff in Goa probably did not load it or have loaded it in some other plane, was his explanation. I wasn’t so sure about this and asked him to give me a call as soon as he enquired with the Goa airport.
I waited for his call. No call that day. I tried calling. And guess what, nobody was picking my call. I presumed they had left for the day.

I tried the number the next day but to no avail. I called their customer service and asked for the Goa airport number. And surprise surprise, the Goa airport staff of this loser airline hadn’t even received a complaint. Now my temper flew up. For no fault of theirs they got a bashing from yours truly. ‘How can you all be so irresponsible’? I screamed over the phone, only realising that it would do better if I 'd say a thing or two to the B’lore staff. I hung up and called the Bangalore office again. It was Lord’s mercy that somebody finally picked the call and I registered my complaint. Again. Of course, the person on the other end got some foul words as well from me for not bothering to enquire about my lost luggage. He meekly asked me for the contenets of the pack. Now you tell me. If I’d say food, do you think he’d laugh at me? Would he take my complaint less seriously than If I’d said, say, ‘jewelry’?
‘It’s got some frozen food’, I muttered and banged the phone. Oh yes, I also told him to call me up once he found out where the box was.
No calls the whole day.

19th June:
I dialled the number again and asked for the manager.
‘Who is speaking madam?
‘Sorry ma’am, the manager is not here’.
I guess by then the whole of the staff knew my flaring temper and me and decided to keep the manager out of this. For their own good, of course.
‘Then can u connect me to the assistant?’.
‘Sorry ma’am he is not here either’.
‘And his assistant?’ my anger was almost at it’s peak.
‘Sorry ma’am. Please call after 10 minutes. The concerned person is not here’.
My poor phone probably never faced more banging before. In fact, my phone has never faced any banging before this.

That evening I received a call from a staff of this airline from another city. He told me that he found a carton with my name on it. And below my name was written ‘Goa to Bangalore’. He apparently went through the records and found my cell number and called me.
Phew! At last (and at least) I know my bag was safe.
Ok, now guess what. The bag was loaded in Goa, had reached B’lore but was not unloaded. It reached all the way to this city from B’lore.

The chap told me there was a flight to B’lore that evening and he’d send the bag in it. Bless him.
I called the B’lore airport. Asked them to deliver it home. Sorry madam. No such provision here. I almost screamed the four letter word (I just wish I could) . And made it clear that I wanted it delivered home. Concerned person was not there, so I was supposed to call in ten minutes. What the hell!!!
Ok I finally got the concerned person who agreed to send the box home. I asked him to call me before he sent it just to make sure I’d be home to receive it.

My hubby could finally eat his mum’s famous corn mixture!
But hang on here.
No sign of the call. No sign of the box.
That was yesterday.

This morning I called up again to ask them why my box was not sent.
‘Concerned person has not come’.
It’s 21st today. I lost my bag on the 17th. The pears have probably rotted. The ghee (which was frozen) has probably spilt all over the place. The coconuts must have dried out. The mulik must have shrivelled.
But I still want that box! For the corn mixture, for everything else in it, for the rotten pears, the overflowing ghee, the dried up coconuts, the shrivelled mulik.
Coz that box came without a price tag. But with all the love a mother packed in it for her son and daughter-in-law.

UPDATE: I got my box on the 22nd. And guess what, some items in the box were missing. That included the pickle and mulik. And when I called them up, guess what they said, 'concerned person is not here. Call after 15 mts.'


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Know It All

It was raining last evening as I was walking towards Margosa road to draw some money from the ATM. I saw people huddling under trees and shops to protect themselves from the rain. There was this particular family that intrigued me. Much as they were intrigued by a room with glass doors where people went in and came out either with a slip of paper or with real money.
There were a couple of people in the queue before me and as i was waiting for my turn, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation doing its rounds between the members of this family. There was a man and a woman (wife and husband, I assume), a girl about ten and a boy about eight. They were obviously waiting there for the rain to stop and were sitting just outside the ATM.
Their conversation was in Kannada (which I have traslated here)

Woman : What is that, everytime each person comes out he has something in his hand.
Man: Yes looks like paper.
Girl (with an annoyed look) : Arre, didn't you see, they come out with money.
Boy: Money? But there is nobody inside the room, who gives them the money?
Girl: Ayyo, there is some machine inside, that gives them money.
Boy (laughs) What are you talking like a manga (monkey) for?
Girl : Ok, then you tell me, how do they get that money.
Boy: That money is from their own pocket.
Girl: No, they put it in their pocket. Observe carefully, idiot.

I wish I could listen a little more but it was my turn to go in. And as I came out, I heard the boy whisper, ' she has no money in her hand'. To which the girl replied, like she knew it all, 'she put it in her purse'.

Something about the girl made me smile. Maybe her observant eyes, I don't know what. Infact, sometimes kids do fascinate me when they have that triumphant look on their faces. Like the time I saw this little girl in Forum. She was on the escalator heading downwards. And you could make out from the look on her face that she was feeling good and proud about the whole thing - she looked like a queen being carried everywhere in her palanquin. And kids continue to fascinate me with those expressions- be it in a quiz show on TV or when they win a cricket match in the neighbourhood or get a pat on the back for being a 'good boy'.
There is some kind of joy that these little expressions exude- joy that have an uncanny way of touching that cord in your heart.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Instant Justice

I read this piece of news on indiatimes :

ALWAR: In one of the quickest trials ever, a fast track court in this Rajasthan city Wednesday sentenced B.H. Mohanty, son of a senior Orissa police official, to seven years' imprisonment for raping a German woman. "The court found Mohanty guilty of the crime under section 376 (of the Indian Penal Code) and has sentenced him to seven years' imprisonment and also slapped a fine of Rs.10,000 on him," a police official said. Mohanty's counsel Rajeev Bhargava said: "We are presently studying the case and would certainly file an appeal against the judgement in a higher court soon."
Mohanty, an MBA student in Delhi, had raped the 26-year-old German research student on the night of March 20. Police in Alwar arrested Mohanty on March 21 from the Khairthal railway station on a complaint by the German woman. He was produced before a local court the next day and was remanded in judicial custody for 15 days. On March 31 a medical report was presented before the court and trial began on April 1.
Last year in May, a 47-year-old German tourist was raped and robbed by two auto-rickshaw drivers in Jodhpur. The two were found guilty and given life imprisonment by a fast track court in 16 days.

Ok, so now we know it is possible to get justice in India in record time. Gee, aren't we so proud of our country?

But wait a minute. What has happened to those thousands of Indian rape victims whose files have been shoved under more files, dirty and untouched?

Yes, I'm quite pleased that the German women have got the justice they deserved. But what wrong have the Indian victims done? Maybe they should have been born German or something else.

I ask a simple question.
Why are processes delayed and justice denied when the victim is an Indian? Why do the perpetrators go scot free?

Is it because Indian women do not deserve justice? Is it because the judicial system is worried of a tarnished reputation when the victims are from another, more powerful nation?

We can only hope that Indian victims will be given equal importance as victims of other nationals.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Weekend Wows

The silly giggles, the light banter, the late night chatter – all this and more transpired Saturday night. We had a pajama party! And boy, did we have fun!

My hubby had been to Mysore for the weekend. My friends, Seema(also my cuz) and Shraddha came home to stay with me.
We started cooking at 8 in the night for dinner. We joked, pulled each other’s leg, patted ourselves on the back, threw in some witticisms, took lotsa photos and finally managed to finish cooking. And guess what, the food turned out awesome! Surprised? Don’t be. We are great cooks. Lol.

It was time for movies. We dragged out the spare beds from under the cots and sprawled them in the living room. Relishing the custard that made the fitting dessert for the night, we made ourselves comfy and watched three movies, back to back. Well, actually two and a half coz one of them was kinda boring and we decided to save the time for the girly girly chat. And chat we did!
It was seven in the morning when we finally called it a day (er, night?) and slept like logs who’d just finished the most grueling tasks of their lives.
We had breakfast, uh, brunch, uh lunch at about 12. We hit the sack again to watch another movie, hindi this time. It was on TV and the intermittent commercial breaks were welcomed as they gave us more time to talk.
It was almost five in the evening when my friends left for the day.

A few of the things worth mentioning:

One of the movies we watched was Fear, which got over at 3 in the morning. I realised I hadn’t kept the plastic bag outside for the milkman to put in the milk. We did not want to be woken up in the wee hours by the call bell and decided to hang the plastic bag. And guess what, we were scared. It was 3, dark outside, we had just watched Fear where the psycho tries to kill a family by barging into their house…. But what the heck, we are brave girls. Two of us huddled together and slowly opened the door. Armed with a pillow in case of emergency, we bravely hung the plastic bag. Closing the door just as cautiously, we breathed a sigh of relief!

Dinner. It was just too good. We congratulated each other as if we jointly won the Academy Awards for the Best Chefs on Earth.

Breakfast. Or atleast that’s what it can be called, since that was the first thing we had after we woke up, regardless of the time. Apart from the everyday kinda breakfast, we cooked hash brown (our version), coated with loads of mozarella! A very fatty way of beginning the day, I say.

Lunch. It was simple. We had ganji. For those who don’t know what ganji is, it is rice mellowed by the water used to cook it. And accompanying that was ghee, salt, and mouth-watering, spicy, yum yum yummy Andhra pickle.

Our chit chats. We reminisced our good old college days when we had loads of fun. We laughed like crazy and talked at the top of our voice though the whole neighbourhood was fast asleep.

All in all, it was a weekend to cherish. Thanks, palz :).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A sure TRP cure

Indian Idol 2 went the Saregama way. And why not? When the latter, the 'star' of Zee saw one of the renowned mentors, Ismail Darbar, stage a walk out, the TRPs shot up. And I won't be surprised if the same happens to Indian Idol 2.

Emotion, drama, tears - these are the mantra to ensure a rise in TRPs. Mere talent of the singers in a no-no. In September last year one of Fame Gurukul's best singers, Shamit Tyaagi, was mercilessly voted out by his best friend on the show, Arijit Singh. Tears rolled down. TRPs whopped up.

Consider all the never ending 'K' soaps (and all the other 'X', 'Y', 'Z' ones, which don't start with a 'K' and never end like one too!). The moment the producers discover that the audience is bored, they fashion a murder or a rape or a deadly accident. And what happens? TRPs rise up. Present Ma'am, Ekta Kapoor.

Atleast reality shows could have spared us this melodrama. But nope, they want huge rating points too, don't they? And what better way to garner this than inundate the show with lots of mushy emotions?

Like they say, It happens only in India ~~~~

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Record Made. A Record Broken.

All eyes were on Mark Boucher as Bret Lee flung at him that speeding ball which could retain or break the Aussie record. Interestingly, the record was made just a few hours back and not decades or centuries ago when the passion for cricket was just as intense. With determination writ largely on his face, Boucher attacked the ball with style and force to script another awesome record on the very ground, on the very same day.

Sadly, I wasn’t following the match run to run. I first came to know of the humongous total that the Aussies assimilated, through AajTak, which was flashing it as ‘Breaking News’. I, for one, could only gape at the ‘434’ which, I later realised, did not seem ‘surreal’ considering it was the Aussies who garnered it. Poor South Africans, I mused.
Hoping to catch some kind of action I fervently changed to the sports channel only to find that the lunch break was going on.

We had rented a DVD yesterday and so, after the usual Sunday nap, we (unknowingly) watched another 'inspiration' of a ripoff, ‘Out of Time’. (I thought of renting the DVD since it sounded like the title of my blog. Lol). The hindi ‘version’, btw, is ‘Zeher’ in which Emraan Hashmi convincingly replaces Denzel Washington as the smitten chief of police.

The moment we finished watching the movie, I suddenly remembered the match. Expecting to see a beaming Ricky Ponting exulting over his ‘Man of the Match’ award, I reverted to the sports channel. And what do I see! SA needs six runs out of five balls with two wickets in hand! OHMIGOSH, I almost screamed. For a full half minute I couldn’t get myself to close my mouth!

It was Bret Lee’s over. Lee sure looked thinner and desperate. Tension was mounting in the Aussie and SA spine. Lee secured the ninth wicket. Anything could happen. Any damn thing could happen.
Boucher faced Lee’s penultimate ball. The crowd was watching with bated breath. And the rest, as they say, is history.

This got me thinking. Even the invincible are vulnerable. What say?