Monday, June 26, 2006


Hot tea on a wet morning!

Yes, that is what I am doing right now, having a cup of steaming hot tea(with extra milk & sugar, North Indian style), while it is raining outside. Monsoons have finally arrived here in Bombay, it's been raining heavily(though intermittently) for the last two days now. While we all will start cursing these rains pretty soon, right now it is a welcome break from the unbearably humid heat of Bombay over the last couple of weeks.

When it started raining on Saturday evening, I decided to take some affirmative action of my own. My bai was supposed to come in by 9 to make dinner. Seeing the weather, I felt a deep craving for pakoras. So I called up my friendly neighbourhood grocer and ordered for the following:
1. 1/2 Kilo Besan
2. 1/2 Kg bottle of Kissan Tomato Ketchup
3. Bread

I'd already checked and found that I already had onions in my kitchen. Preparations complete, I picked up a book and started waiting for my bai, while watching TV simultaenously. 9PM- No sign of her; 9.15PM, still no sign...9.30PM- Where the hell is she??? Finally, at 10, I get a call from her,"Aap ghar pe hain???"(are you at home???) "Of course I am, you ass, what do you think???". "Baarish bahut ho rahi hai aur merre paas chhata nahi hai, to main agar nahi aaoon to chalega kya?"(It's raining heavily and I don't have an umbrella, so is it OK if I don't come?). As if I had a choice...So, my pakora dreams went bust and I turned to the saviour of all bachelors across the world- Domino's! Having ordered my stuff, I turned back to the TV, continuing with the World Cup match. After some time, the hunger pangs in my stomach indicated that it was 'slightly' more than the promised half-hour now... checked the watch to find that 45 minutes had passed since I ordered. Finally, the bell rang and I welcomed the pizza delivery guy with open arms and an empty stomach! "Won't I get the pizza for free now?", I asked the guy mildly. The man made a rondu face and said that since it was raining heavily, he could not drive fast without risking his life and limb. So, he would be grateful if I didn't press for the free-bit. I relented, gave hima 500/- Rupee note and asked for the change(which incidentally I had instructed while placing the order). Surprise no. 3(No. 1 being the bai ditching me, and No. 2 being the pizza guy being 15 min late)- No change! Promising to be back with the change in some time, he went away(thankfully without taking the 500/- ka note, the significance of which you will soon find out)! I sat down again, to savour my pizza, but fate had something else in store for me. I had barely taken two bites when I discovered a long thread of hair inside the pizza... a woman's hair definitely, unless it was a guy with REALLY long hair!

Called up Domino's immediately and blasted the girl who took my call. She offered me a free pizza, but I insisted on her connecting me to their manager. She asks me to hold, and asks someone,"Kya karoon, yeh customer bahut barh-barh kar raha hai!"(What do I do, the customer is blabbering unnecessarily)! I lost it then, didn't say anything to her, made her connect me to the guy in-charge and scared the daylights out of him, including threats of calling up their Delhi HO and e-mailing to their corporate HO! Don't know whether it will make any difference to them though, it's an issue of attitude, an issue of treating customers like sh#$ while proclaiming that they are kings, an issue of not giving a damn about the basic precepts of service industry! Still, maybe I should write to them...

Sunday morning arrived with a fresh blessing- I finally got to have my pakoras, fresh from the kadhai! Mmmmmm... heavenly!!! Went to watch Krrish in the afternoon. I really don't know what to say about the movie. All I will say is that special effects do not a movie make! A good movie needs a story, and the art of story-telling, combined with good acting and a great music score! Unfortunately, none of these factors are prtesent in Krrish! It's looooong, it's ohhh-so-boring, Hrithik looks good but hams throughout the movie, Priyanka is irritatingly bad(you can compare her to Kareena in Khushi... yes, that bad), and Rekha... ohhhhhhh, what has happened to you??? The less said about the boring songs, the better! And how can I forget the horribly obscene product placement of Bournvita, Tide and Lay's!!!

The length of this post would have told you that the hot tea is long since over, and it is time I got a refill. It's the weather, can't help it! Let's enjoy the rains before they make our lives messy again!!!

May the Force be with you!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


PITS & more!

I know I know, it's been more than a month since I last wrote. But in my defense, though the 1st 3 weeks' absence was due to my usual excuse of lack of time and mind-space, the last one week is another story altogether. Have been wanting to write since last Monday, had to narrate my adventures over the last weekend during our off-site conference in Lonavala. Unfortunately, my bete-noire of old has been conspiring to stop me from writing. His name- TECHNOLOGY!

Actually, I shouldn't be too surprised. It's been after my life since time immemorial. I barely used to pass my computer programming exams. In fact, I passed my Xth Board exams in computers by taking our computer teacher's help in writing the program given to us in practicals. Not something that I am too proud of, but it's a curse that I have been blessed with, so I have to do whatever I can to survive. I think I once mentioned the reaction of my old friends to my first mobile phone. The day I got the phone, I messaged some friends in Bombay, informing them that I had bought a mobile(This was MUCH after the rest of the civilized world had started using one, btw). I got at least 3 messages in reply, asking me about whose help I had taken to send a SMS. Yes, it's always been that bad! I once read a beautifully apt term for it- PITS, that is, Persistently Intimidating Technology Syndrome!

This time, it is the internet acting funny with me. First, my blog page has decided to start taking it's own decisions. The left hand side-bar has disappeared, taking along with it all my links, my archives, as well as half my blog page.Anyways, as the great Lord Budhha said, "Time is the biggest healer", so, leaving the job of repairing the blog to this master-healer, I thought I would at least write something last Monday, but surprise surprise, blogger wouldn't open. Day after day, the same problem continued. Then finally, on Saturday, blogger finally deigned to open it's doors to me. Counting my blessings, I started writing this looooong post on our off-site escapades. But I had conveniently forgotten how technology has a way of getting back at me. Half-way through this novella, I had to rush off on some urgent work within the office only, but when I came back after 15 minutes or so, what do I find??? My computer had automatically shutdown for some virus updates, taking everything that I had written along with it! I know when I am licked, so I decided not to write anything more on Saturday, and the detailed Lonavala battle will have to wait for my official autobiography to see the light of day. However, I can't help writing about 3 highlights of the trip:

a) There were around 30 of us from the channel, including our sales team from around the country, people we didn't know even existed! After the gyaan speeches by various HODs during the day on Friday, a colleague and I were supposed to organise an Antakshari at night. However, there was a DJ blasting music, and a dance floor waiting for us, so sensing the mood of the people, we decided to postpone it to the next day. Had a blast, dancing and drinking, for 3 hours, and when the music ended at around midnight due to stupid rules, our CEO threw a googly at us. Since, no one was in a mood for leaving the room, and everyone was in high spirits, he asked us to have the Antakshari there and then. Never one to avoid a challenge(as long as it is FUN), we accepted. The group was divided into two teams- Sales and Non-Sales, with our CEO and Business Head being a part of the Sales Team. Imagine the scenario: a bunch of drunk, boisterous people as participants, equally(if not more) sloshed anchors, and a totally out colleague as the scorer, who lost track of the score in the first round itself. I conducted the show with a glass in my hand throughout, and since our Antakshari comprised of various rounds like identifying the mukhda from the antara(which we sang), dumb-charades to identify songs etc., you can imagine the bedlam that happened. At one point, I actually shouted at our CEO to maintain discipline, and at another, he threatened me using the 'I' word(your 'increment' letters are due)! The Non-sales team(where my loyalties lay) won, and everyone dispersed to keep the night going on in smaller groups.

b) Day 2: Presentations to the HODs by small groups, on how to make the channel no. 1 in 6 months. As expected, when our team's turn came, the laptop refused to work, and so we had to look around for another one. Meanwhile, I wrote 'Rukawat ke liye khed hai' on the white board and prayed! The presentation started. Each slide of our's had a Hindi film song as the heading, and when the 1st slide came on, we got a request from the audience(Kunal. I'll kill him for this). "Sing it out", he said. I don't like letting people down, so I sang "jhalak dikhla ja.." in typical Himesh Reshammiya style, with mike, but without the cap. Similarly, the singing continued for all the other slides. At the end of the presentation, I don't know what came over me, but I deviated from the prepared script, and just blurted out that there were a lot of people and processes related issues, we all knew what they were, and we had to address them fast, before it was too late. Otherwise, all these presentations and plans would just remain dreams. Two repurcussions: the crowd started clapping, and our business head got senti and didn't take it too kindly, rebuking me in public that we had not taken the presentation too seriously. The larger point got missed in this whle spat, and our claim of being a fun and irreverent channel died an unfortunate death that day!

Day 3: On our return journey, we decided to play an impromptu game of dumb-charades in the bus, again Sales vs. Non-sales. After a couple of rounds, the Sales head got very excited and challenged us that the next movie that he gave would be almost impossible for us to act out. It was my turn to act, so I went with some trepidation. He gave me the movie with a smirk on his face. I went up to my team, and acted out just 3 things: Hindi, old movie, I love it! We got the answer in just 2 attempts- my team knows me too well. The first guess was Khamoshi, and when I shook my head and indicated'the other one', bingo! Anupama! I have never seen anyone so zapped as our sales head was at that time!

I am going to end this post here, don't want to stretch my luck. Just because the net has not crashed till now doesn't mean that it won't do so in the next one minute! May the Force be with you!

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