My trip to Hyderabad

My company thinks I qualify for AC 2 tier, if I travel on work. So, when I was asked to travel to Hyderabad, I booked my ticket in the same class. Quite an experience.

Even before I proceed any further, let me tell you that I have never ever traveled higher than 2nd class (sleeper class, for the uninitiated) and have never ever been on a plane. The closest I have been to a plane was when I visited the prairies in the American Middle West. Aren`t they called ‘plains`?

I reached the station one hour in advance – a habit I have nurtured in years of 2nd class traveling. After all, in second class, reserving the ticket doesn`t entitle you a seat. You still have to land up early, strategically place your baggage under the seat and take a deep breath (to increase your width) and take a big portion of the berth for yourself.

Apparently, all this is not required in AC 2-tier. I was told the coach wouldn`t be named S-1, S-2, S-3 etc…but AS-1, AS-2, and AS-3. I asked the porter: “Why are they named AS-1 blah blah?

He was quick to respond. Maybe somebody else like me had asked him before. He said: “That`s because the tickets for this class are “Always Sold” and it is difficult to book in this class.”

When I tried to enter the coach, the coach assistant shouted at me: “Why do you want to enter now? Want to commit suicide?”

“Sorry. I didn`t know this was the coach ear-marked for derailment,” I said as I got down and walked towards the assistant.

“No stupid. You have come an hour earlier. We will switch on the AC only half an hour before the train is scheduled.”

“Can`t I at least leave my luggage inside and come back?”

“If you want to look like a grilled chicken, go ahead.” He seemed confident and that`s one reason why I decided to sit on the stone bench.

I didn`t want to look like a grilled chicken in Hyderabad. That too dressed!

Once the train began the AC coach started getting colder and colder. A few hours into the journey and my fellow colleagues who had earlier complained of high temperature had started wrapping themselves in the curtains. Apparently, the bed-sheets and blankets supplied weren`t enough.

The assistant did no good by announcing that the knob to bring down the temperature had broken.

With no solution in sight, the passengers were asked to pair up to ensure warmth. I walked up near a pretty girl and stood there waiting for the TTE (Traveling Ticket Examiner) to pair me up with her. Unfortunately, just when the TTE arrived…an old man pushed the girl behind and stood next to me.

The old man and I spent the night huddled, on the same berth.

When I got down at the station the old man asked: “Are you new to the city? I can put you up in a nice place. Let me know.”

Wonder if there is a paucity of handsome males in Hyderabad….for they started chasing me the moment I landed.

Lessons from road traffic

Being the back-seat driver comes easily to Rekha. She ‘comments` on my driving and gives me tips on avoiding the spots of bother that I could get into. Always I rubbish her comments and continue driving. As a result, we have had long, silent sessions where neither of us spoke.

Believe me. Such sessions are good for your personal life because it gives you time to think. Maybe even compare road traffic to actual life. Here are some thoughts –

Downfall is easy when are yet to prove your worth

Two-wheeler users are the ones who are yet to prove it to themselves and others their worth. Those in four wheelers have already proved their mettle and are now in a comfort zone. While riding a two-wheeler…one needs to ensure balance. Else the fall is bad. In a four-wheeler there is balance, and no falling. The lesson is…if you are yet to prove yourself, you need to be careful else you fall from grace quicker.

First mover advantage

Bill Gates is today the richest man because he was a first mover in his area of expertise and even though competition has kept coming at him for years, by sheer momentum he has managed to be up front. Same is the case with vehicles lined up at a signal. As soon as the signal goes green, the one in the front accelerates and manages to cross the next signal well before it shows red. The others, like you and me get caught in the red signal.

Troubles are a regular feature

Safe navigation of one traffic signal doesn`t entitle you a safe passage through the next signal. Same is with life. Just because you have just set right an issue doesn`t mean that you won`t get into trouble again. Troubles are a regular feature and on all occasions we need to come out of it safe and quick.

Beware of the powerful guys

If I were riding a cycle, I would stay clear of two-wheelers. If a two-wheeler, I would stay away from cars & vans on the roads. If I were driving a car, I would be shit-scared of trucks. Isn`t it exactly how it is in life? Some people are cycles, content with what they have and what they are. Some like two-wheelers throw around their weight to a limited audience. Those with little power – like the politicians – will have a selection of the population whom they rule and the other selection whose support they seek. In real life the trucks are ‘Kingmakers` of different kinds….they like whom they like. All others better be scared of them.

More powerful a person, bigger his troubles

Ever noticed the ease with which two-wheelers ease through the traffic? The smaller you are the more happy you are because you can have your way. Small issues don`t hold you back. While the bigges are being held back by small things like traffic jam, broken down auto etc….the smaller one can continue his/her journey.

Sense of direction

My father besides being the best shooter in his battalion (at least that`s what he always told us) was also a good map reader. Only a person with a good sense of direction can read a map well (know more about it here). My father, who passed on to me his shooting skills (just that I shoot off my mouth) and his good physic (I look like John Abraham, just that I am one foot shorter)…forgot to pass on to me his sense of direction.

Maybe that`s why I grew up wanting to be a Collector. Not a Bone Collector like Denzel Washington but the District Collector. I still remember the conversation I had with an uncle of mine when I was just ten years old.

“So, what do you want to become when you grow up?”

“I want to be a collector!” I remember saying triumphantly.

“Good. An electricity bill collector makes good money.” Maybe, the idea that somebody from the family could become a district collector never crossed his mind.

“Not an electricity bill collector, uncle. I want to become a district collector!”

My uncle looked at me for a few seconds…as if I had gone bonkers. Back then I didn`t understand why, but now that I know the rest of my family…I empathize with him. The fact that I was not becoming an electricity bill collector must have been shocking indeed. Now I understand the irony, but back then…I stood there confused.

“But why?,” was all he could ask.

“So that the driver can drive me around in a car fitted with a siren. I am bad with directions, you see.”

“You sure lack proper direction,” he said before nodding at my mother and walking away.

You might think that I am exaggerating but I am not. I am so bad with directions that when my wife Rekha asked me to switch off the kitchen tube-light, I would ask: “Where is the kitchen?”

When in class X my teacher had asked, “where is West Bengal?”

I had said “On the eastern side of India.”

With age my desperation at being a directionless person increased. During one of the many quiz contests that I participated in, I was asked: “So who built the first Railway line between Mumbai and Thane?”

“Somebody who knew his way around,” I answered. In a totally unrelated incident, we were announced losers at the competition.

Years went by and today I am no better. I am the same directionless guy I was when I was ten years old.

A week back, my reporting manager asked: “How can you go to Cognizant Technology Solutions to attend an interview?”

“Well…I followed a Cognizant bus in my new Swift and in no time, I was there.”

My wife is a murderer

I am a dreamer. I dream big. That`s why when I dreamt of a house, it was always the Buckingham palace. When I dreamt of a bridge, it was the Brooklyn bridge. When I dreamt of an actress, it was always…you guessed it right…Tun Tun.

The problem is I can dream only if I am happy while going to bed. Perhaps that`s why Rekha and I had decided to switch off the lights before getting into bed. The trick worked fine for a week or so…but soon enough it was Powrnami (not a girl…the full moon phase) and we could see each other even after switching off the light. My ability to dream plummeted.

My nights would have gone dream-less had it not been for this accidental discovery that if I had a conversation in bed, I dreamt big. They say accidental discoveries can also be called ‘serendipity`. As always here is a doubt…let us assume I were driving my newly acquired Suzuki Swift on a highway and discovered an accident, would that be called ‘serendipity`? Confusing.

By the way, did you hear about the joke on a bed? It is not made yet!

Getting back to the bed, what better conversation than the exchange of jokes? Who can tell me a joke at 10.30 p.m.? I can`t be listening to jokes from a stranger…so can`t dial a wrong number.

My father had once asked me not to speak to strangers. In fact, I stopped talking to my father when one fine day he pulled me to one side and said: “Don`t you ever talk to strangers. They could kidnap you, salt you, skin you and hang you as the skeleton in a biology lab.” He was always graphic.

Yes, Rekha is an option. But she can murder a joke and for somebody who couldn`t sleep for a week after watching the horror movie The Ring…a murder at 10.30 p.m. can be scary.

Now I know why my father responded as he did when I told him I had found a girl just like mommy. It was three yeas back, and I was in my parent`s home all set to reveal the secret. Daddy being the strict one, I addressed him. “Dad, I have found a girl just like mommy.”

Without batting an eyelid he replied: “What do you expect from me? Sympathy?”

Today, having married a lady who can murder jokes…I am a sleepless man. I could try out a rehab but isn`t that for quitters?

Moral of the Story: If you marry a lady with some sense of humor you will be a happy man for the rest of your life. If you don`t succeed at first, try again. Marry again.

*Ouchmytoe is testimony to Rekha`s awesome sense of humor

Never call a lady fat

A week back we had a heavy discussion on Ouchmytoe. Remember reading an article titled ‘A Fat Chance`?

As a follow up, here is a link M0rph3us left in my comments box. It is an awesome read. The beauty is…it is both funny and informative at the same time. Reminds you of Ouchmytoe? Well….

Click Here to read the article

Ouchmytoe On Desipundit

Ouchmytoe has made it to Desipundit for the second time. A post titled “A fat chance” made it to the collaborative Blog on 19th May. Click Here

The last time something similar happened was way back in Sept 2005, when Desipundit found “Why people don`t believe in contraceptives” worthy enough to be showcased. Click Here

Just two pick-ups in eight months? Not something to be proud. Or is it?

4 (posts per week) X 4 (number of weeks in a month) X 8 (number of months) = 128. Thats the total number of articles I wrote in the last eight months…and only two were good enough?

Desipundit, thanks for the hint!

My wife is selfish

“Why don`t Oysters donate? Because they are shellfish!”

* * * * *

I would have never known this but for my NCC friend Jayachandran`s decision to marry. I am glad his marriage opened my eyes to the ways of my wife. The connection? Read on.

Being a working day, we had to leave office early on Thursday to reach the marriage/reception hall by 7.30 p.m.. Since I was not dressed up to Rekha`s tastes, it was unanimously decided by Rekha that I get down at our house and change while she visits the nearby Archie`s showroom and buy a gift.

I remember seeing a glint in her eyes, when we parted. The glint could have easily meant: “Wow, I just managed to save Rs 500.”

Anyway, as were the orders, I went up to my house…took Rekha`s favorite shirt and changed. Some times she insists I wear shirts that match her churidhaar but I was glad this was not one of those occasions. When I opened the door I realized that I hadn`t worn a trouser. Rekha had never mentioned it…

For a brief while I wondered if I could wear a trouser. Would Rekha be upset? She hadn`t said anything about it. I dared to take the chance and wore a black trouser. But the story here is not about me wearing or not wearing a trouser.

When I reached Archie`s showroom in 20 minutes, they were packing the gift.

“What did you buy?”

“A nice little gift.” She said.

“I know you bought a gift, but what is it? Jayachandran is a good friend and this is not one of those…have-to-be-there-so-we-are-going type of marriage.” At times, I can get really rude.

“I bought ceramic cups worth Rs 300,” she replied with all the anger she could show in front of the packing girl. I even noticed her toes curl in anger.

If you are married, you might want to take a look at your wife`s toes when she is angry. Most of them curl…and those that don`t would have lost their toes to freshers out of the College of Pedicure, Mumbai. Just make sure you don`t go under the bed-sheet to take a look at your wife`s toes.

“I think the gift`s worth could have been the same as it was for your friend Deepa Christopher.” I still remember feeling my tears roll down my cheeks when Rekha gifted her a make-up kit worth Rs 1000 for her birthday.

“But Deepa is a very close friend of mine.” My wife replied.

“So is Jayachandran. In fact, he is a 10-year old friend.” I curled my toes inside my shoes. Pity Rekha couldn`t see them.

“I didn`t know you had friends who were 10-year olds? Wouldn`t that make this child marriage?”

That really upset me. I decided not to speak to Rekha till she apologized. We didn`t speak in the car, at the marriage, during dinner, before going to bed, on Friday, today….

A fat chance

Why are married women fatter than the unmarried ones?

Answer: That’s because when the single women come home they see what is in the fridge and go to bed. But when married women come home, they see what is in bed and go to the fridge.

* * * * *

I completely agree. Married women tend to put on weight. I am not hinting that Rekha has gained 10 Kgs since our marriage. Could be 11+ Kgs, for all I know. One can never be sure when it comes to weighty matters like these.

I would have never known. Like all decent men, I had decided to stop looking at girls after marriage. When I realized I was finding it difficult to let go of the habit, I thought I will stop the bad habit of staring at girls by starting with Rekha. It seemed like only yesterday when I stopped looking at her (doesn’t time fly when you are having a good time?)…when yesterday she looked at me straight in the eye and asked: “So, how is this dress?”

“Good.” I have come to realize that ‘good’ is a safe answer with all girls.

“Do I look fat…or am I just so…so?”

“You are just so…so.” Even as the words escaped me, I wondered if I had blundered.

Apparently I hadn’t, because Rekha’s expression didn’t change. She glanced at the mirror again and said: “Looks like I have put on a few Kgs.”

“A few tons would be more like it,” is what I wanted to say but didn’t.

Girls can never let a husband keep his thoughts to himself. They want them out…even if it means laying the foundation stones for a big fight. “I think I am just the right weight for my height.”

“Definitely. If only you had been eight feet and three inches tall.” I couldn’t believe I had said that.

“But you are also fat for your 165 centimeters,” Rekha was now aggressive.

“Yeah I am.” I agreed. The best way to put off a lady is to agree to whatever she says. Don’t believe me? Why do you think there are so many hen-pecked husbands around?

As a result of our conversation which began when Rekha was in front of the mirror…now I have to go to the gym. Rekha says, they are going to have an office meet in a month’s time and I need to be fitter than what I am now.

I did try and take my revenge. “Aren’t you also fat? What steps are you taking for yourself?” I asked.

“Drop me at the Ashta-Lakshmi temple tomorrow morning. Need to ask God to make my friends fatter,” she retorted.