Sunday, November 30, 2008

Point of Change

Another friday arrived 2 days ago. Nothing was special about it. 6:10 in the evening the fire-alarm of our office goes off. I jump up to realize it was yet another drill. I lock my computer & join the whole office crowd piling through the stairways to the assembly point outside. At the exit of the stairwell there was an extra crowd. Actually it was drizzling outside & many people were refusing to get wet just for a drill. But the matrons insisted or rather demanded we assemble at the assembly point. Every time at the assembly point I get reminded of school. Well after 7 mins of drenching we were allowed to get back to our workstations. Drenched & the AC on I started feeling cold. It was irritating to be hauled out in the rain. Not that I mind getting drenched but....

Like every friday in the recent past, I came directly back to home from office. My apartment-mate would be returning late since he has 'B-Shift'. First time in my life I had brought back work. I needed to map a data. Obviously I had no intention of doing it on friday night but I ended up not doing much with it.

Saturday whizzed by. & it was Sunday morning. I & my apartment-mate woke up late at around 9:30. It was 10:30 when we realized we were hungry & not in a mood to cook. So we went out to eat. The eateries were either closed or not serving food which we were in a mood to have. We ended up in "More" the closest departmental store. This is the place where we shop for our groceries. Mostly Maggie & other ready to eat stuff. They used to stock Frozen Parathas & we decided we would buy that & have it. Sadly Parathas were out of stock. We picked up maggie & were heading towards the check-out-counter when we both decided we should check out the Reliance Fresh. We walked out empty handed & landed up in Reliance. Did our shopping & yes we did get Frozen-Alu-Paratha.
We landed up home & were having Parathas when the point of discussion was the necessity of a TV. My room-mate has been demanding a TV for a long time. I had not been able to support him for I believe TV would reduce the time I get to spend reading. I still harbour a desire for further studies in some dark corner of my heart. We were also discussing the necessity of a fridge in our life. I ended up commenting you buy the TV & I would buy the fridge that very day. It's not that we can’t afford to buy these electronic necessities but we had other priorities.
By the end of the brunch my room-mate had decided to buy the TV. He asked me to enquire for the satellite TV connection. By 2 o' clock we had done our research & we were ordering Tata-Sky connection. The conversation went like this
Rep: Thank You for calling Tata-Sky. This is Mohan. How may I help you
Me: I would like to purchase a Tata-Sky connection. But I need to get the connection today
Rep: Eh... Certainly sir. Which plan would you like to have.
Me: Which-ever. I just need sports, news, english movies & music
Rep: Sir sports is a separate basket. I suggest you go for the Gold Pack
Me: Ok fine whichever you say. Just get the installation done today. Also I want to avail the Festive offer.
Rep: That would be getting over today
Me: I know that is the reason why I am asking you to get the installation done today. Also there would not be any person at home in the weekdays
Rep: Not a problem sir. It takes 4 hours after ordering for the installation to get completed
Me: Great

The telephonic conversation continued for some more time where a good INR3999 got debited from my credit card (sigh) As the conversation was coming to a close....
Rep: Is there any other help I can be of sir
Me: Well we are planning to buy a TV. Can you suggest an electronics store close-by where we can get hold of a TV costing less than 7000
Rep: What.... Sorry sir I cannot give you this information
Me: Ok fine

My apartment-mate was giving me admonishing looks. "Why did you have to tell him that we still don’t have a TV" he asked. I responded "The guy coming for installation would be shocked it there is no TV"
We went out immediately landed up at a popular electronics store. They did not have a collection from which we were confident of choosing. Landed up in another. There we didn't like the TV but got full range of Godrej fridges. I have a soft corner for Godrej fridges simply because my family has used 2 Godrej fridges in the last 26+ years & we had never had any complaints. I refused to take the red coloured 5 star rated fridge & bought a steel coloured, single door, 4 star rated, 183 lts Godrej Pentacool. Btw single door fridges are the cheapest variety.
Next stop Sony World. The conversation went thus:
Sales Guy: Hello sir. What are you looking for
Us: 21 inch TV
Sales: Please follow me..... These are the 2 models we have
Us: The right one
It took us less time to decide which TV to buy than the sales guy to comprehend that he had made a sale. Actually the cost decided for us.
A call comes in my apartment-mate from Tata-sky asking when to send the installation. He said 30 mins later please. We looked at the sales-guy & asked him to get the TV to our house in 1 hour.
The TV came 1:30 later. The fridge 5 hrs later. As of now the Tata-Sky installation guy is yet to come

Have you been wondering what does change got to do with all this? Or which was the point?
Fact is I changed to not object to the TV.
The arrival of the fridge would be just the first step for more changes & to a lesser extent the TV would too

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Phone Call

Our young protagonist is found at the best of his moods when he is eating. Who is our protagonist? Well he is young man. An extremely rich single male usually referred as 'Khoka'. It was of-course not the name that his father had given him. His father had the lion share of the diamond mine 'Khoni'. Khoka was just 21 years old when he became an orphan. His father's best friend venture capitalist 'Boro-Babu' took Khoka under his wings. Well he actually cut a deal with him. Khoka can stay at home. Surf the net as much as he wants. Play as many new versions of GTA as he wants. Order as many Pizzas as his hearts desire. All he needed to do for this was to give 50% of the cash he inherited to Boro-Babu. Khoni shares & some fixed investments would be his security. , while the returns from Boro-Babu would be credited in his expense account. Boro-Babu sweetened the deal by promising to transfer Khoka to a fully maintained furnished apartment right in the heart of the city. The icing was an official role for Khoka where he would be shifting through possible ventures. Khoka was dim-witted as per his late father but he was not a fool to miss-out this opportunity.
So one sunny afternoon we find Khoka munching on the last slice of the cheese burst pizza watching the MTV GPL, when he gets a phone call on his N85 mobile phone.
"Hello" he said gruffly bit astonished that he cannot recognize the number
"Good afternoon sir" responded a cute voice” I am ruby calling on behalf of XYZ Bank"
"Yes tell me"
"Sir, we really appreciate that you have maintained a fantastic balance in your account for the last few months. We would like to send a privilege credit card to you."
"Sir there is a lot of benefits for using our privilege card. You shall get 1 point for every 100 rupee you spend. & these points can be exchanged for special gifts at the end of the year. As a welcome gift to you, we would put up your name in the privilege lottery for this month. The winner of this lottery would get to go any domestic destination of his choose free of cost. We have partnership with a range of restaurants where you would a minimum of 10% discount on the bill. We have special fare for people buying tickets using this privilege card......"
Khoka wanted the phone conversation to end. His final piece of the pizza was getting cold & the cheese was on the verge of dropping off. & 10% discount in restaurants. That can not be bad.
"Ok send me the card"
The card arrives in less than a week. The courier guy actually arrived with the delivery boy from Dominos & hence had no problem in reaching the flat.
Slowly Khoka realized that he would get phone-calls at all possible times of the day, especially when he was eating.
He found really innovative methods while searching online at

He had great fun taking to task all the telemarketers who had unknowingly called him up

But this lasted for only a few days. Over-indulgence in junk food led to obesity & indigestion. The latter led to minor heart-burn which led to a minor heart-attack. Unfortunately he was alone (as he was at most points of time) & collapsed on the kitchen floor. He was found dead next day by the cleaner. Only his face bore any mark of the painful death.
BoroBabu took care of all the final rites. He had a deep pang of guilt & cursed himself for not taking sufficient care. But he was also busy with his life. He lamented to his friends "A sad family. Had everything... But none lived long enough to enjoy it to the full"

I have mentioned the inspiration of the story. Sadly I realized that I can-not write as good as "wannabe".
I had got reminded of a telemarketing phone call that an ex-colleague of mine had.
He had taken a lifetime pre-paid connection from Airtel. Vodafone calls him up to get him to take a new-connection. My ex-colleague responds that he is fully happy with his present connection (not sure now) & is not likely to change his plan till his current plan lasts.
Telemarketer: How long would you be in this plan Sir
Ex-Colleague: 20 years
Telemarketer: Ok Sir. I would call you after that

Monday, November 24, 2008

From Flurys to SouthCity

Is Life a journey? With many stops. Some beautiful & some ghastly.
Well i have come to believe that Life is actually a collection of journeys.
Some start with great plans & lofty views. Some just happen to begin.
The journey may pass through the desired places or it might take a turn to a destination which was not imagined in the wildest nightmares. But again some journeys takes you through such points where u r left gasping for breadth
Do the journeys follow one after another? No. They start at random points of time & end after running the course. At any given point of time one may be traveling in different journeys.
I would have loved to say that they are not co-related but the truth is contrary to that
The reason why i say that multiple journeys take place simultaneously is because the origin of the journey is so varied.
The end is often sweet. Sometimes it does not make any difference. Sometimes it leaves one with sorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Princess & the pauper

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person alive or dead is purely coincidental.

Once upon a time in a not so far away kingdom there lived a Beautiful Princess.
She was the youngest child of the King & was the most pampered person of the family. Not that she did not deserve it. She was the sweetest, cutest, fun-loving girl you can imagine. A smile on her face was what everyone loved to see since it lighted up the whole room. And none allowed even a drop of tear to fall from her eyes.
The Princess was becoming an adult from the wild-eyed adolescent & wanted to see the world. The Queen allowed her to roam around the palace & in the market place. The Princess would wear simple clothes & try & meet people from different spheres of life hiding her true identity. She wished to really know the whole world. She also enjoyed meeting new people & having simple fun.
One evening while returning from a friends place on the other side of the river she realized she was totally alone on the road. The woods were on one side & the river on the other side. Strange & ferocious animals are said to be in the forest. All of a sudden a bloodcurdling sound came from the forest. The Princess horse panicked & throwing The Princess from its back it raced away in the twilight. The Princess was completely frozen in fear & had no idea what to do. She suddenly notices a young lad trotting from the direction her horse had run away. He was also leading her horse back. When the young man comes nearby The Princess notices that he is from the Guard of the Roads. The young lad politely helps the The Princess on her horse & offers to accompany her to her house. The Princess is obviously shaken from the incident & the young man tries to divert her mind from it. He starts pointing out the stars which had just started blinking & showing her the patterns they form. He points out the far-off hillocks & describes them as sleeping giants. Slowly The Princess forgets her ordeal & smiles. She is at the young mans cordiality & the ease with which he was talking. She tries to find out more about him. He tells her that he is the son of a poor ironmonger. His mother had died at child-birth & his father had tried to raise him. As his father was not a very healthy man, the young man had started helping his father early on. Working at the shop had made him strong & a local noble had taken him under his care when he had turned 16. His father still ran his shop but the young man augments with his earnings by guarding the roads. Since he is not afraid of the forest & the infamous animals he is usually posted on this part of the road.
By this time they were entering the residential area just before the palace & The Royal Guards ran up to them. They said that her mother was anxious because she was late. The Princess & the young man parted there especially since the young man realized that the she must be some-one special or else Royal Guards would not know her. Just as they were parting The Princess said "I would be traveling by that road again next week. I hope you would be there to protect me if necessary".
The week went by in a flurry. There was an attempted robbery & the young lad had fought valiantly with three robbers to thwart it. The traveling party had praised the young man at every inn they stopped. The Guard of the Roads gave him a stronger horse to patrol & the noble who had first spotted him got him better arms & protection. He was looking good when he was spotted on the road or at the edge of the bridge. People were comforted seeing him on the road & the those who had heard his story were glad to meet him. Often kids would run behind his horse. Ladies would offer him a sip of water or food. Men would talk with him as man. The young lad was humble enough to not let any of this to get to his head. Not that he was not enjoying the attention he was getting.
In all this he was looking forward to meet the beautiful lady he had met once. He could not believe that he would actually come across her again or that she would recognize him. One evening while standing near the bridge he notices The Princess crossing the bridge. His heart missed a beat because she was looking even more beautiful than before. But he is also frightened that she would not recognize him. As The Princess nears the his end of the bridge she exclaims "Aah my valiant rescuer. I hope you are going to accompany me till the town". The young man is exhilarated & replies "I have been waiting all week to do so". They ride side by side in silence for sometime & then The Princess stared asking him more of his life. He was overjoyed with the attention from her. He started opening up to her as he had never opened to anyone before.
Over time The Princess & the young man started meeting regularly. The Princess would invite him for her rides through the country-side. They would talk on varied stuff. More they started having good time together the more they started coming closer. They even started sharing their innermost secrets. It was only then did the young man know that his new friend was The Princess & wished to rule the country after her father.
Full 6 months passed before either were sure of their feelings for the other. They enjoyed the friendship & the ease with which they could be with each other. Neither accepted the fact that they have grown from acquaintances to friends to perhaps something even more.
The Queen was bit concerned with The Princess spending so much time with a Guard of the Roads alone though he was a "good boy" as per the reports. When she asked The Princess, she replied that they are good friends. Also since he is a good guy when she thinks of marriage she might give him a thought. Later The Princess shared this with the young man as she shared every thing with him. The young man was thrilled. He had never hoped that The Princess would consider him more than a mere friend. He resolved that he must grow in stature to be in a position to ask her hand. He knew that no-one would oppose if The Princess decided to marry him, but he wanted to rise on his own caliber. He wanted to proof that he was worth more than just a simple Guard of the Road
One morning the young man noticed an announcement at the village inn. The Royal Army was planning an expedition. They were looking for some able young men. He jumped on his horse & cantered to the Royal Army Office. He was inducted in the mission because the officers of the Royal Army had heard of his heroics. He went back home to tell his father that he would be leaving the country soon. His father was bit disheartened to know that his son would be away & a bit frightened for what might happen to the young man. But he hid all his emotions & supported him because he had not seen his son so enthusiastic in any thing before.
The young man next went to The Princess. The Princess was sad because she would no longer have a trusted friend. She asked softly "Must you go?" The young man was burning with desire to prove his mettle & replied "I need to complete this". They parted promising to write to each other regularly.
The 1st letter was from the young man. He described how they were training hard. The reply from The Princess was giving him courage & confidence. He described the beautiful lands they were traveling through. The lush green fields, the starry night sky. She described her life. Slowly they realized how much they missed each others company.
Couple of months after the brigade of Royal Army started training they went out of their kingdom. They were attacking some kingdoms on the south. The southern kingdoms had always been a problem for their kingdom & they wanted to deal a fast & furious blow to them. They did not know that the southern kingdom already knew of their plans & were ready. What should have been a fast & short attack ended being a long drawn war. The young man was too busy fighting just to stay alive. He had fought in his childhood & also against robbers. But her was not mentally ready to to fight in the war. He just could not align himself with the concept of killing to just stay alive. When he had some free time he would try & comfort some of his comrades. He could not sit down to write about all these to The Princess. The Princess complained in her letters that he was not writing enough. The young man wrote back that he was not articulate enough to express what he was going through. But he insisted that The Princess keep writing. The letters which he carried right over his heart was the only thing that kept him going.
The Princess met the son of a noble in the annual archery competition. He was in the top 5 & definitely the best among the gentry. This Guy had studied under the best teachers in the kingdom. He was smart as well a good orator. The Princess found him interesting & a great person to be with. When The Guy invited invited her to a fox-hunt she was not sure if she should go. She in her letters asked what should she do. The young man suggested that since she is getting bored she should go.
The Princess had a very good time in the fox-hunt. She started looking forward to spend further time with The Guy. The letters from The Princess were filled with excited writings on what they had done. The young man could not but help feel pangs of jealousy & sorrow. Jealousy because he was not in a position where he could be with The Princess. Sorrow because he can never achieve what The Guy has already achieved.
The war entered a very terrible phase. For every inch of land to proceed or retreat there would be scores of rotten bodies. The young man was totally deranged at seeing the blood-bath around. His sporadic letters were the only place where he could vent out his emotions. But they were as dark & unhappy as the environment he was in. The Princess did not like those letters & made it a point to state that in hers. Her frequency of writing also got reduced. She was too busy to reply to the young mans letters

Here I would stop.
I would not end this story. Simple reason it is up to the reader to decide what ending he/she wants.
You are welcome to have a romantic ending or a dark gory one. You can also have Ulysses-Penelope ending or a practical ending. The choice is yours.

REQUEST: I would be really overjoyed if you could post your version of the ending as a comment