|What we call ‘Progress’ is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance. – Havelock Ellis (1859 – 1939)Ouchmytoe will soon be moving to a domain. The first steps have been taken – designing of the website. While most conporates prefer their launches to be surprises…Ouchmytoe thinks otherwise. It lets you be part of the change.
You can download the new home page of Ouchmytoe here – Download Now (356 Kb, Jpeg file) – and let us know what you think. Mails can be sent to jv.rajan [@] gmail [.] com
I am also looking for somebody who can help me html-ize the design.
This article appeared in one of the earlier versions of The Colleger – the youth magazine where I have a column called ‘Jamming Session’. To subscribe to this magazine you can get in touch with – The Editor, Colleger at editor [@] thecolleger [.] com
In one of the most far reaching welfare schemes implemented in recent times, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy today distributed laptops to farmers from the Guntur, Medak and Karimnagar districts.
When this Ouchmytoe correspondent, who traveled with the Chief Minister in the State helicopter, wanted to know on what basis these districts were selected, he said: “These districts have faced the drought`s ire the last few decades. More than 250 farmers have committed suicide in the last six months.”
The CM went on to detail how lack of information on the latest farming methods was the reason behind the high suicide rate and not the accumulating debts.
“Our Govt is soon coming up with a website called www.happyandhrafarmer.com which will showcase all farming information. Whenever a farmer has doubts, he can connect to the internet, visit the site and get clarifications,” he added.
It is to be noted that recently, there have been a spate of suicides among the farming community in the region. The reasons are various – from failure of borewells, to high debts, to crop failure. The current scenario is just like suicides by cotton farmers of Telangana in 1997-98.
Since majority of the victims are from the highly productive 25-50 age group, the families left behind by the farmers are suffering. In most of the cases, the families have been driven to the streets. Mud roads, that is.
When asked what his Govt has done to ensure continuity for the affected families, the CM said: “That`s precisely why we had to ask our party workers to contribute their one day`s drinking expenses towards the cause, and get the families laptops.”
“These laptops are IBMs and not of any Chinese make. We have taken utmost care not to offend their sensibilities,” he added.
Â can`t say that this post is not inspired by Rekha. If I did, I will find myself walking to the court the next minute.
If you are 20 and below, I would suggest you stop reading this post. If you are above 20, and are married, please don`t tell your wife that you read Ouchmytoe. I could be trouble.
According to the scriptures which are yet to be released to the public (and are currently being guarded by the knights of the temples), headaches have been there since the days of Adam & Eve. After eating the forbidden fruit, the first thing Adam learnt was ‘headaches`.
An extension of the story is that after Eve had persistent ‘headache`, Adam walked up to God and said: “Hey, can you take one more rib of mine and make another woman?”
If you are below 20, chances are you don`t know what ‘headache` means. Here is a tip – it`s a contraceptive. According to the Family Planning wing of the Indian Government, ‘headaches` have contributed immensely in controlling the Indian population. The other contraceptive that has significantly cut down the Indian population is the ‘onion`.
If you are above 20 and are married, here is a tip…always approach your wife/girl friend with an aspirin, like I did.
“Here I got you an aspirin,” I said.
“But I don`t have a headache.” my wife replied.
“There, I got you!”
The only problem is…I can never remember the word ‘aspirin` when I go to my pharmacist. I always end up asking for acetylsalicylic acid!
On Friday I flew back to Chennai. The cheap airlines might have brought ‘flying` to the masses but they have also taken off the royalty built around flying.
At 5 p.m. on June 9, I walked up to the pretty receptionist at Kamat Lingapur Hotel in Hyderabad and said: “Hey, check me out!”
She almost swooned but managed to say: “Ohhh…I must say that you are handsome.” Eventually the Hotel manager interfered and conveyed to the girl that I actually wanted to check out of the hotel.
I asked the bell boy to get me an auto. “Auto?” he doubled checked.
When I said yes, he enquired: “To the railway station, I suppose?”
This had me furious. “Do people who use hair gel go to the railway station?” I asked him. Apparently he hadn`t noticed my hair gel.
“No sir. On similar lines, those who go to the airport don`t take an auto.” The boy seemed well informed.
Curiosity got the better of me and I asked the boy if his appraisals had just got over and he had been promoted. Apparently, bell boys don`t have appraisals. Before the auto driver pulled away, I managed to take revenge. I told the bell boy: “I take the auto because like aeroplanes they are also three-wheelers.”
As soon as I entered the airport, I saw a Rupa suitcase. I didn`t know besides undergarments the Rupa business house were also into suitcases. The Gujuratis had chivda packets open, Bengalis Misti Doi, Delhi Haldirams and Tamilians had idlies wrapped in plantain leaf. Those that didn`t bring stuff (after Rahul Mahajan episode, even saying ‘stuff` can land you in trouble) from home could buy it at the airport.
The waiting chairs were full and some had settled down on the floor. Few had newspapers below and some above them.
Knowing that the first question my friends ask when I call them is “Where are you?” I called up quite a few friends of mine. Needless to say, I was forced to tell them that I was at the airport waiting for my Jet Airways flight to Chennai. Though I was booked in Spice Jet, I said Jet Airways because it sounded better. To give you an example you will understand…a movie`s story remains the same if you watch it with a Rs 10/- ticket or a Rs 100/- ticket in your pocket.
The Spice Jet air-hostess looked very much like a girl I wouldn`t give a second look – at least not if they weren`t wearing those red, short skirts with slits. After 10 minutes into the flight, one of them came up to me and said: “Sir, what would you have – peanuts or biscuits?”
I am not sure if the air-hostess liked my answer. I remember saying: “Back in my place, they give peanuts to monkeys and biscuits to dogs. But I will go with the biscuits. Thank you.”
I reached Chennai in 50 minutes. From the Chennai airport, it took me 90 minutes to reach my home sweet home situated just 11 kilometers away. Ironies of life.
That reminds me, I have to remove the Air Canada tag pinned on my cabin baggage when I last visited Canada – way back in 1997!
The biggest advantage of traveling across cities as an IT professional is the bath tub you get to use in the hotels.
I have been alive for 31 years now but have never lived in a house with a bath tub. The closest I have come was when we had a 300 liter overhead tank over a concrete slab in our kitchen. I think that was way back in 1985, when I was ten years old.
I remember once taking bath in that tank. I bruised myself while getting in and out of the tank because the kitchen roof was only one feet above the tank. Had it not been for the foamy Hamam soap I had used, I wouldn`t have got caught. My mother blamed the Central Water Department (CWD) for distributing muddy water till she saw the copper tap frothing at its mouth. The Hamam Soap which I had left on top of the tank acted as the evidence. The rest of my family being Vinod Khanna fans used only Cinthol.
Let us keep this between us, but I would blame my bath tub fixation on Hema Malini. You have all known Hema Malini as Dharamendra`s dream girl. But what the World doesn`t know is that …she is my dream girl too.
I first saw a bath tub in the Lux International advertisement on Doordarshan, where my beaming, soaked-up dream girl said she always used Lux soap for her complexion. If I am not wrong, my immediate wish on seeing the advertisement was to jump into the bath tub. Time and age have dimmed my memory, and perhaps that is why I am not sure if I wanted to jump into an empty bath tub or one with a soaked-up Hema Malini inside it.
Over the years the heroines in the advertisements changed, but my fixation didn`t. At least not till I spotted ShahRukh Khan in a bath tub, endorsing Lux International.
Back to the Present –
When I landed in Hyderabad ten days ago, my first worry was – will my hotel room have a bath tub? I could have been saved all the tense moments if my company`s intranet had a provision which allowed me to book only rooms with bathtubs. But alas, these corporate don`t understand the needs of an average reservation-seeking Indian male.
Even when the bell boy dropped my luggage in my room and waited for the tip (which I never gave), I was wondering if the room had a bath tub. The moment the boy left ruing his bad luck, I opened the bathroom door and to my excitement found a pure white, sparkling bath tub waiting for me.
It was 8.00 a.m. and I had to be in office for a 9.30 a.m. meeting but then, don`t they say that in the world of bath tubs…meetings can wait.
If only I had removed my black, leather shoes before jumping into the tub….
Now it is the time to answer my own question “Why am I telling you about my airplane high-jacking incident?”
Answer: I have arrived in life. I have booked a ticket in Spice Jet.
Living up to their expectation, Spice Jet handed me a print out with some haldi stain on it. When I asked what it was, they said: “True spice, sir.”
Before I take you along this article let me tell you why I am so excited at having bought an airplane ticket.
The Rajans have always been middle class people (though they are yet to protest seeking reservation).
When I board the Spice Jet airplane from Hyderabad on 9th of June 2006 (a watershed in my family!), I will become the first in our family of 1546 members to get a boarding pass. Or that`s what I thought until, the Spice Jet lady said they stopped issuing boarding passes in order to cut costs.
As far as modes of transport go, the Rajans have always been below average people. Apparently, my grandfather used to travel between villages on a donkey. The donkey`s name was ‘Tiger` and the whole village used to refer to my uncle as ‘the one that rides a tiger`.
My father decided on doing away with riding-the-tiger tradition of our family after he saw a train for the first time. I only remember the main aspects of the story and here is how it went: It was 1957…and my father, then ten years old, was studying in class three (Yes! The Rajans have a history of failures in elementary school). On a fine Monday morning his class teacher decided his class on an excursion.
They could go to the rice fields (where all students anyway worked on Saturdays and Sundays), or they could go to the dam nearby (but then there was no water), or they could visit the Zamindhar`s palatial bunglow (but half the class would have to remove their footwear half a kilometer away) or they could go see the steam engine train which arrived at the Mana Madurai railway station on all Mondays.
The intelligent teacher chose the last – a visit to see the steam engine train. The only hitch was…the station was 22 kilometers away.
The students packed their lunches and hiked a distance of 22 kilometers. They decided to stick to the railway track so that they could cut down on distance. After four hours, they reached the station tired but excited. Back then, the trains didn`t stick to a time table. If they said the train would arrive…it would arrive. Nobody asked the time. Not even the station master.
My father and seventy of his class-mates waited with their teacher at the only platform available – Platform No 1. They waited for what seemed like ages…and then…a black, long thing rolled into the station…billowing smoke from the top. My father and his classmates had never seen anything like this. Was this a train or was it some monster which was going to attack them? My father thought it was a black serpent and he closed his eyes. The train`s customary hoot scared him and his classmates further and they scattered into the town for their lives.
Three hours after the train had left the station, the teacher was still searching for his students. Even today, if you go to Mana Madurai station (which is now a Railway Junction) …you can see an old, frail man looking for his students.
Now, that you know my family….I am sure you understand my excitement in owning a Spice Jet ticket.
Coming soon an article on “Making full use of the bath tub”
The first time I tried, they said I shouldn`t sit ON the plane. The last time I tried, they said there were no vacant seats available.
I remember, in one of my attempts I was arrested by the Nepali Govt. I remember being tortured by the Nepali Police officials for close to five days who then dumped me at the Nepal-India border (do they have one?). As luck would have it, the Border Security Force picked me up and sent me to the Red Fort in Delhi. I would later come to know that all high-level terrorist interrogation happened there.
I remember refusing to divulge anything (more because I had nothing to divulge). After another 4-5 days of torture I was sent back home for lack of evidence against me.
I wouldn`t have been arrested if I hadn`t bought a kilogram of apples in Kathmandu. Rajesh Rangarajan, a frequent traveler and a good friend had told me that the Kathmandu apples were tasty. He also told me he always carried a pocket knife with him so that he could peel the apples and eat them during travel. In what was a major case of miscommunication, he forgot to tell me that he bought his Kathmandu apples in New Delhi and always traveled by the Red Line busses.
As soon as my Kathmandu to New Delhi flight was on air, I got up, stretched a bit and took my cabin baggage from the storage space just above me. The cheap zip made a lot of noise and by the time I pulled out the plastic bag containing the apples and my knife…everybody had started shrieking.
“Please don`t kill me. I have a baby waiting for me at the New Delhi airport,” the lady sitting next to me cried.
“You shouldn`t kill me, I am still a virgin,” shouted a young man sitting right in front of me. For a while I wondered why I would kill these people. When I didn`t get any answer, I started wondering why a virgin should not be killed. Even as I was contemplating, I felt something heavy on my head and collapsed.
Later, I would come to know that the passengers had thought those apples were bombs and I was planning to highjack the airplane.
Anyway, after ten days of interrogation (by both the short Nepali police and the tall Delhi police) I started hating airplanes. I would have forgotten the incident but for this leper begger who has been camping just opposite my house for the last five years. I wonder if he is actually an undercover police officer keeping a tab on my movements….
But why am I telling you all this?
They say traveling makes one a broadminded person. In my last 3-4 days in Hyderabad I have gained a lot of broadmindedness.
First and foremost, never ever empathize with the locals. Here is why – Before I left for Hyderabad a colleague told me that Hyderabadis pronounce ‘Satyam` as ‘Satcham.` I kept this in mind when I boarded a call-taxi to office on my first day here.
“Take me to the Satcham office in Hi-tech City,” I said.
“Yes, Satcham,” I said. I was visibly proud that I had struck the right chord with my Telugu call-taxi driver.
“There is no office called ‘Satcham` in and around Hi-Tech city.” He seemed confident.
“No, there is. In fact Hyderabad is their head-quarters and their domination in the city is such that every shop provides discount to its employees.”
“Ohhhh…you are talking of Satyam. Tho aise bolo na sahib.”
I have a feeling he shifted to Hindi thinking I didn`t know English. Now, I have decided never to empathize with the locals.
My second lesson was, never tip a person for an effort which is not beyond the call of his/her duty. If I hadn`t thought about tipping, I wouldn`t have been in the embarrassing position that I am now in.
If you own Hotel Kamat Lingapur (in Begumpet, Hyderabad) or work for it, please note that anything and everything below this line is fictional. I should have carried a disclaimer before and after this post but then….this is no Da Vinci Code. Or is it?
When I got down from a Taxi at Hotel Kamat Lingapur on Monday morning, a young strapping lad who could have any day punched me in the face and yet got away said: “Good morning, sir!”
I turned and looked at him. If there were a third party witnessing the earnestness with which this young lad was picking my luggage, he/she would have thought I had come back to my younger brother`s house after 15 years or so…and the bell boy was actually my younger brother taking my luggage inside his house.
I was sure, if Rekha had been traveling with me this young lad wouldn`t have smiled. Instead he would have muttered under his breath: “Come on vacation or re-location?”
Anyway, he carried my luggage into the lift and from the lift to the door and left it on the king size double bed that adorned my room. Falling back on Harrison Ford whom I once saw tipping some Indians for carrying his bags up a mountain….I whipped out my wallet and flipped it in style. Lined inside my wallet were 18 five-hundred rupee notes. I thought for a moment…what do I do now? I had no change…but right in front of me was a bell boy with more expectation in his eyes than Pamela Anderson ever had. In such moments of distress, I try and imagine what Rekha would do and go by it. I closed my eyes…..and I could visualize Rekha shooing away the bell boy because she didn`t have change to tip him. I did the same.
After the incident, I have seen the boy four times in the last four days…he never smiles. If there were a third party witnessing the way we avoid each other…he/she would think we are brothers who parted over some property!