Tuesday, May 15, 2007


All my life, I have been afflicted by a severe combination of foot-in-mouth disease and logorrhea (verbal diarrhea).

Just today morning, I was talking to junior colleagues with whom I have a strictly professional relationship, and indeed, needed to impress on them the fact that I was a colleague they should look up to with respect and admiration.

So as we sipped our cups of coffee I told them three anecdotes, one after the other, as they listened respectfully…preparing to be amused. And all of my stories ended with someone or the other throwing up. I don’t know WHY vomit kept cropping up in my conversation…I had told those stories before, and actually in one of them, no one had even felt mildly sick before. It was all very mysterious.

By the middle of my second anecdote I kept thinking to myself, stop, stop right now…you know you vomit at the end of this story, make an excuse and leave right now!!! But NO…I had to stay and tell the story to its sickening finish. And start on a new one.

I saw one of them pour half his coffee down the sink with distaste by the stomach-churning climax of my last anecdote, while the other one looked rather too pale for 10 in the morning. I clamped my hand over my mouth to stop further words from spilling out and walked away. I’ll probably be called ‘Vomit girl’ or some such thing by those two till the end of our time here.

It happens to me often.

My female boss and I had gone out for an informal dinner this one time, and I kept making bizarre, lesbian innuendoes …and each time I said it I would think, “Bloody hell, what was that???” Like someone else had said it. The comments shocked me to the core, God knows how she took it. Needless to say, we’ve never gone out again.

During these attacks, my mouth runs on and on for 20-odd (very odd) minutes and my brain flaps around in alarm trying to get the mouth under control again.

It’s a painful, embarrassing affliction for those who have it, and can cause a lot of damage in public places. We are usually social outcastes by the age of 30 when the symptoms become full-blown.

I extend a heartfelt request to all my readers…if you come across anyone similarly afflicted do not treat him/her like a pariah. Try to understand the disease and accept us inspite of it.

We will thank you profusely and constantly, in between stories about the time you forgot to wear your pants, and how you wee-ed in the classroom when you were six.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


My husband and I are rather noisy people, so the house is in an uproar every evening until we decide to turn off the lights and go to sleep. Once the TV, the music, and our shouted conversations held OVER the noise ( lowering the volume seems too much trouble) falls silent, the guy in the flat above ours starts pacing.

He paces and paces and paces. And the ceiling goes creak creak creak. I’m sure he actually starts pacing long before we shut up…and he probably walks around long after we drift off.
One night I had a bit of trouble sleeping, and I began to wonder what ailed this person. (for I’m not sure if it’s a man or a woman, though judging by the heavy tread its either a man, or a woman built like a rhinoceros.) My imagination ran wild - unpaid debts amounting to crores, a murder on his conscience, a toothache, indigestion, the pain of having obnoxious neighbors downstairs, or the embarrassing fact that he’s built like a rhinoceros.

It could be anything. For you never know how a person reacts to misfortune. What I find fascinating is how little you can gauge about the magnitude of misfortune from the reaction it provokes.
In my 27 years, I have acquired a fairly large circle of friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and I have seen them go through almost the entire spectrum of misery.
Some of them came across as normal and vulnerable like the rest of us, until misfortune struck. But when it did, and kept coming, they just rose to the challenge with immense dignity and braced themselves for the next blow without any drama at all. And I bow in deep respect to these people. At these times, I am awed by the magnificence of the human spirit.

That is quickly dispelled of course by the other lot. The sort who moan and complain about every little thing , who are so enamored of their roles as tragic heroes at the center of the Universe, that they fail to put their trifling troubles in perspective. (Unfortunately, I am one of them, but in my defence, atleast I know that.)

And the most bizarre thing about this is - you often find people of the first group consoling those of the second… Hellen Keller (in sign language) to Bridget Jones “I'm sure he didn't mean it when he said you look fat! Don't cry! If I wasn't blind I'm sure I would have thought you most beautiful, dear.”

Which brings me back to my midnight pacer. Of course, one should not indulge frivolous melodrama, but this is a dilemma I have often faced while comforting friends who are upset. Does it really matter what caused the pain, if the pain itself is genuine? Does one walk away if she is wailing about her skin breaking out just before her wedding? Does one lavish sympathy on a person who is to all appearances holding up marvelously in the face of great tragedy and does not need your pity?

Judging by the mileage the hefty gentleman puts in every night, he is in deep pain. Maybe he deserves our sympathy just for that…without making judgments about what caused it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Knock knock knocking on...

Ok, Ok another one...

Knock Knock.

Who's there?


Amos who?

Amos Quito.


More Knock knock...


Who's there?


Boo who?

I'm sorry I scared you...please don't cry!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Friday, May 4, 2007

What goes around never comes around...

Favors are a tricky, tricky currency.

Barring simple cases of give-and-take(like you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours), what goes around doesn’t always come around like you expect it to.

Say, I donate a kidney or two to a friend in dire need. I have in effect saved his life, haven’t I? But does that mean he will burst into tears of gratitude every time you meet, or jump in between you and a speeding car every few months or so? Probably not. He will thank you from the bottom of his heart for your kidneys at the time, but will probably never even pretend to match what you have done for him.

Or, a rather different example: Say you’re the boss in the office. Your juniors keep asking you for time off, lesser work, etc etc. You grant it to them as personal favors (“ I really shouldn’t, but just for you”) in your misguided quest for popularity, expecting them to call you a swell guy, the big guy who is the pal of the little guy. Then one day you get wind of the fact that all your employees gather around the water cooler and discuss you in very uncomplimentary terms.

How awful do you feel at their ingratitude?

But my point is not that the world is full of ingrates, though it is true. My point is you’re also at fault if you were doing them those favors for the wrong reasons, i.e. so that they would be beholden to you for the rest of your life in the first case, and be popular in the second.

If you do any one a favor in expectation of returns, you will always be left screaming ‘bloody ingratitude’. Unless, of course, you are Don Corleone and lead an army of (exceptionally good looking) Sicilian thugs. As a rule, I should say...if you want to do someone a good turn, even though he hasn't asked you to, and that good deed involves a lot of time and effort...do HIM a favor and don't do it. There is nothing as annoying as someone going to a whole lot of trouble for you when you didn't particularly ask him to in the first place.

For favors that you have been asked for, which you need to go MILES out of your way to do, I think there are some cardinal rules you should follow. (I will follow them too as soon as I’m done here.)

1. Do someone a favor only if:

(a) You want to: That way if he turns out to be the biggest ingrate alive, you’ve still done what you wanted.
(b) If he/she deserves it, and is thus the right thing to do: this way you’ve done a good thing by doing him a favor, ergo have earned brownie points with the Universe.

For both of the above if the person concerned accepts the favor, claims it was no favor, and then proceeds to plant a whopping knife between your shoulder blades - you still know that you had done the right thing.

2. Once the favor is done, try not to harp on how much you’ve helped a person. The person undoubtedly already resents being indebted to you, it only makes matters worse if you rub it in his face every other day. Just make sure he KNOWS this is WHAT you did, and try to get over yourself already.

3. Lastly, and most importantly - be prepared that the recipient of your favor will never consider the favor quite as large as you think it is. If that guy who took both of your kidneys comes around with a birthday present the year after the operation, but doesn’t show up at your funeral ( when you have inevitably died of complications from not having any kidneys left) - don’t be upset.

So, bottom line is don’t think of doing favors as an investment that will repay you with interest…it’s more like an echo, if the conditions are right it’ll come back to you(to the delight of one and all)…but in most cases it won’t.

Otherwise it’ll be you looking like a jerk, while they get to ignore you…until the next time they need a favor.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

1001 Nights.

Abhipraya and I were having a back and forth comment-conversation about the Arabian Nights, and I thought this comment too thought-provoking to keep hidden away in the comments section.

Its about two brothers (Sultans if I remember it right) who because of some crazy situations and equally crazy thought process decide that women are evil and hence will marry a new woman everyday and kill her the same evening. Their minister is responsible for finding wives for them. Soon there is no one left but minister's daughters. And the eldest daughter convinces her father to get them married. And she comes up with this idea of telling the stories minus the climax everynight and thus stays alive for 1001 nights.The story tells in detail on why women are evil and how beating them and killing is the only way to keep them in check!

Any idea if those two sultans were strung up by their ankles and slowly emasculated with a blunt knife by the end of the 1001 tales?;)

Quite charming.