Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Watta joke!

It was the end of a tiring weekend and I was at the end of my wits. All set to go home after a training session and of all the things I could not find my footwear! After a desperate search I burst out in to my famous non-stop laughter. Reason? I remembered the infectious line "What a joke!". The moment I thought about the scenario and said "what a joke" the whole desperation to find my missing footwear disappeared in to thin air. Laughingly I did find it after 10 mins but the whole "search pattern" changed in a moment. From minutes of frustration in to minutes of uncontrolled laughter.

I know by now you too must be thinking "What a joke" this blog update is about. So let me get serious about joking :) The next time you are confronted with a serious situation, step back a few steps (mentally ofcourse) and just say loud this mantra. You would know what I mean. We tend to think of ourselves and situations so grimly, that we often forget that all this is a part of cosmic joke called life. "Life is a tragedy in close up and a comedy from a long shot" said the best comic character you & I know..Charlie Chaplin. Our so called "big" issues of life are in reality a miniscule or may be less in the whole wide world and there is no doubt whatsoever in that. It is the lens that we wear to look at them that make them big or small.

When we look back on serious times in our lives, they tend to make us laugh at our stupidity & funnily we tend to think of happy times with tears in our eyes. I could never understand this logic. Whatever may be the logic, I wish you too do look back at happy times with tears of joy more than turning back to look at sour times. As we begin to wish 2009 a good-bye let us look at the year and say "What a joke!" to all the disappointments and congratulate ourselves for getting ahead of them.

Keep joking, keep laughing and keep the tears of joy right there:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

(In) Secure zone

Few weeks back there was a burglary in our well guarded society. After all the postmortem it was concluded that the security guards are very over worked and tired. Hence after 3 a.m they tend to get slack and fall prey to the over powering sleep. Soon after the robbery security was stepped up and one guy was made to sit (my sympathies with him) in front of the house that was robbed. It seemed rather funny why that action was taken when the deed was already done.

Soon out of boredom of sitting in front of the empty house the guard was again overpowered by sleep :) He was sacked the next day. My heart goes out to the hard working Gurkha who used to earn a few hundred rupees after spending hours doing something absolutely uninteresting & killing his otherwise healthy spirit. The diktat was changed after 2 weeks and all is back to normal now hoping that the robbers find a better society to enter and not ours!

Ditto to how our country operates. Now that 26/11 is here we talk of slack security measures and the blame game goes on & on. Never do we think about the working conditions of the security personnel. They spend days & nights doing something which a normal person cant think of doing even for an hour. Most of the wives of the security guards spend their lives in loneliness because their husbands are busy guarding someone /something else funnily to ensure their lives are financially secure.

As my husband prepares to go for yet another patrolling duty for the next few days I can only hope that, people realize there are thousands of them out there without the luxury of few hours sleep in the night ensuring that the rest of the world sleeps (in ignorance & in reality!).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Diwali bumper (to bumper)

So it is time of the year again when most Indians in India or outside would have celebrated the festival of lights with much gusto. Not different with me too, had a nice time first preparing for the festival and then savouring the time ( & goodies) spent with close family members.

I had a interesting drive (or atleast I believe I was driving) one day before the festival began. A distance of an hour from my home took close to 2.5 hours and needless to say it had it's own funny as well as frustrating moments ; with minimal movements. The first 20 minutes went like a breeze where I was cruising at almost 100 kmph on the highway and then suddenly like life stops moving for some time; I was stuck for almost half an hour on a flyover. Forget flying, one could not even walk with the number of vehicles occupying every space.

Being a lady driver in India is an interesting experience. Every passing vehicle with a male driver will swear by a lady driver in front. The jam on the fly over was no different with people behind me probably accelerating their prayers if not the car accelerator, hoping I dont slide backwards being on an upward slope. Much to their relief and much to the disappointment of the men drivers on my either side (who were ready with advice) I passed this test with flying colours!

Next turn, bigger cacophony but on straight road. It never moved for eons. Finally a small indication to move and my phone beeps. My niece on a SOS call as one of their Diwali sweet is not turning out as expected! I was imagining my obituary coming the next day "In deep remembrance of the lady who died in a car accident while giving a recipe on cell phone while driving!" Thankfully this too is dealt with thanks to the loudspeaker & slow moving traffic.

Finally all clear and I am zooming ahead when I hear the FM jockey announcing numbers for a Tambola game and if my phone number had any of the 2 numbers, I could win a set of diamond ear-rings! I could not believe myself when I went alongside and parked for a moment to message the radio guys. My happiness was short lived when a police guy came knocking saying I was not allowed to park there. Damn! There I just missed hearing the phone number again.

At last I reached the Diwali Mela for which I was more than 2 hours late, the ever re-assuring presence of my hubby was enough to put the ordeal behind me as soon as I saw him! All in all a great experience in balancing the wheel & forgetting the troublesome traffic on reaching the destination. I hope it is the same for all aspects of life; the destination be worth every pain!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Strong bridges?

Building bridges is the in thing in India at this point in time. One can see construction happening at the most unexpected of places. “Fly over” is a relatively over used term. Now we have more fancy words like “express fly over” , "elevated bridge” ,” mono rail bridge”, “ metro rail bridge “ and may be a few more about which I have not yet updated myself.

How a 60 year old country can keep her infrastructure projects alive and kicking even after so many years is a wonder in itself. Months after months we have new development projects being kicked off, whether they see the light of the day is a question in itself. Yet what amuses me is when can we safely pass on to “maintenance” stage and get over with development of basic necessities.

One other classic behavior of Indians is to build important transport points far apart and then wonder how to connect them. We build airports so far from the basic commutation like trains & buses and then start projects to connect each of these. Funny as it may seem, it is like getting a printed circuit board without the circuit in place.

Let me not crib more about our (wonderful) systems and talk about something which is a pleasant outcome of this exercise. As most of you may know the the Bandra- Worli sea link in Mumbai is a recent marvel which even I could marvel at close quarters. It is simply a wonderful experience to zoom across on top of the sea with the waves lashing below you. A typical travel time of almost an hour or more has been reduced to a mere fifteen minute memorable drive (of course for which you need to pay, but being the commercial capital of India, I am sure most Mumbaikar’s don’t mind it!).

After this wonderful ride and me raving about it to all my near ones, I got the jolt of my life the next day. I heard a friend had not visited his brother living across in another part of the city for a full three (YES THREE) years. And to think, just one bridge separated their homes. Really made me think what type of bridges do we need more urgently? The one connecting roads or hearts? No wonder so many pillars are coming crashing down, we need to get the basics right in any case!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The great Indian appearing act

The welcome in to my office parking lot every morning would be very warm. As I park my car a familiar hand would wave from far “Good morning Madam”. Smiling at him and also acknowledging my good luck I would think “What a nice cleaner guy, every morning without fail greeting me inspite of me not availing his service”.

After several months I decided to employ him to clean our car. Needless to say he was elated to hear my decision. “Sure Madam, I will clean your car every day except weekends”. Happy that I finally had someone to clean it regularly unlike the previous one at home who appeared at his will, I agreed to the “no cleaning on weekend” condition. “Madam, I will start from Monday but I need advance”, was his next statement. It was like a thunderbolt for me, paying advance for something which had not even started. “Yes, people here leave jobs and go off without paying me so I have started taking full advance”. Wow! I thought this is planning, risk mitigation at it’s best. Wondered how many project managers parking their cars there analyzed so deeply even for their projects. I too agreed to give him the advance, being convinced by his rationale, but paid him only 90% of the agreed amount.

Imagine my state when the following days I never saw this guy for couple of weeks. The wiper would be in standing position announcing that the cleaning was done but not once I could spot this guy. Finally I had to send a word looking for him & asking him to clean from inside. This was also an agreed condition “Inside cleaning once in a week”. The friendly good morning was no where to be seen once his role changed from probable candidate to employee. Again after some days he started appearing again “Madam, balance”.

I have started believing that these characteristics are inherent in the Indian genre. When you see familiar promises being doled out by the politicians before elections one cannot but think “Are we really so stupid to believe all the promises”. But do we have a choice in electing some party that is intelligent? The next time around they will be back reminding me of the cleaner saying “Madam ,balance”, unless of course I take the responsibility of cleaning my car. So the big question is will we ever be ready to take responsibility for our country?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Look at my Gold cup

It is time where we are hearing about medals and accolades coming in for India in more than one way. Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupati winning a grand slam, Yuvi Bhambri for his junior title in tennis, A. R Rehman ofcourse getting all the praise for his music in Slumdog millionaire. Proud moments . I feel proud of them despite of all the possible obstacles that we see in India they have made a mark for themselves in the world. Fabulous and I can feel the smile in Mother India’s heart- for a change her children are getting the right type of attention!

Though I am no where close to even holding a tennis racket or a baton to wave; the feeling is similar when my parents proudly show off the little achievements I have in my account to all and sundry. A tad embarrassed nevertheless happy it is so amusing to hear talk like “My daughter went abroad on work and got me these shoes”, “She took me for my medical check in her whirl wind tour”, “She sent me tickets for coming over”

After years of staying away even a little walk down the familiar roads are enough to speak volumes on how proud they are of their prized possessions – their children. There is a different sparkle in their eyes and an extra confidence in the otherwise careful step. Right from the watch man to the familiar grocery fellow, there is only one thing conveyed – Look my child is home! It almost feels like they are carrying their hard earned gold cup of life in their hand.

Yet I don’t think I deserve all the praise & attention. Finally it is with outsiders that I leave the responsibility of taking care of the ones who treat me like gold. Just like my neighbour’s tell me “Take care of my old mother she is all alone” I say the same words to people who are total strangers to me. Personal achievements, career progression, expensive holidays, really have no meaning at that point when you leave them for whom you are the world. At that moment I feel worse than bronze internally.