Guess what we bought this weekend

My great grand father used to roam around the grass lands of Tamil Nadu with his 1000+ goats and sheep – exactly like the protagonist in Paulo Coelho`s book ‘The Alchemist`. I am not making this up.

The only difference between The Alchemist`s protagonist and my great grand father was that ….my old man traveled in a huge group of his family and relatives.

Times were good…back then the air was clean and sex was dirty (did George Burns say this?). Being a roamer, my great grand father and his family would sleep in a ‘Kudil`. In Tamil ‘Kudil` is the term given to a semi-circular contraption that you carry around to live in. Since there was no pollution and the biggest threat in the grass lands were snakes…life was a breeze for my great grand father and his family.

This is how a Kudil looks:

His son (that`s my grand father) didn`t like the traveling job and decided to settle down in a then prosperous village called ‘Maangudi`. ‘Maangudi` when broken up meant ‘an abode of deers`. Though, now the village is dry and its inhabitants are suffering due to lack of rains…back then it was a lush green village.

My grand father built a 300 square feet house first. It had mud walls, and low doors. Narrow wooden poles held up the thatched roof. Most of the time was spent outside the house – both the afternoon siesta and the night sleep was on the verandah. My guess is…the 300 square meters was used only for the intimate moments – which anyway lasted only 60 seconds. After all, men have been known to pull a fast one on the women for ages. If you know what I mean.

In effect, they enjoyed the benefits of nature and never felt the need for…what Rekha and I bought this weekend.

My father, who quit farming as a youngster, took wings in 1969. He joined the Indian Army and in the 32 years of his service (can you believe that he kept a single job for 32 years? I will have at least 20 jobs in that many years!) rraveled to different parts of the country. Just that he wasn`t herding goats & sheep as he traveled.

He was given huge houses to stay in. Since I was a kid back then……I would say the houses allotted to my father were at least 20,000 square feet big…it took me half a day to crawl from one wall to another.

There always would be a garden, and a few trees in each house allotted…which meant summers were spent in the shade. When we had to stay inside the house…the Engineer in my father would come up with an idea, which was left to us to implement.

Most Sundays were spent with the family of five bundled in one cot…with a thin, wet bed sheet on top of the mosquito net railings. This ensured a cool breeze from the fan. The only problem: Being the eldest, it was my job to wet the bed sheet every half hour in a bucket of water kept beside the cot…and then spread it on the railings again. In effect, I was my family`s air conditioner from 1985 to 1990.

After my father retired, and we moved back to Madurai…I was too old to be an air conditioner and too young to buy one for my room.

There were occasional air conditioner related disappointments – a visit to a friend`s place, an A/C advertisement, an old A/C in the junk shop….anything and everything related to A/Cs was disappointing. Probably because my father didn`t believe in A/Cs. He was of the opinion that if God wanted us to have A/Cs he would have attached one on our bums.

Which good son doesn`t have his father as a role model? I too grew up hating A/Cs and people who used A/Cs. It helped that A/Cs cost a lot and back then the disposable incomes weren`t huge either – the time when Dr Manmohan Singh hadn`t opened up the Indian Economy and five figure salaries were manna from heaven.

And then I got married. Every time Rekha suggested that we buy an A/C, I would say: “Why? My great grandfathers slept in the open…let us open the bedroom`s window. Maybe even leave the door open.”

After four years of marriage my wife Rekha decided not to take it anymore. So when I repeated the above statement, last Friday, she said: “Well, in that case…go sleep with your grand fathers.”

And on Sunday, we bought a cheap LG AC.

Moral of the story: When it is the right time to buy consumer durables, grand fathers can`t do a thing.

Other Funny Reads

# Entering a new house
# Of what could have been….
# Getting locked inside somebody`s washroom
# A south Indian family in North Indian winter
# CBI arrests Joe King; detains him for questioning


Baby sitting isn’t a nice profession

If you have been planning to quit your high-paying job and take up baby sitting as a profession, I suggest you think again. Baby sitting isn`t that easy.

Most of us have grown up watching beautiful and sexy baby sitters. If you haven`t seen a beautiful baby sitter….you probably have not watched much of Hollywood movies or haven`t rented C-grade porn VCDs from the nearby video store.

During our days of sex-deprivation, we would wait for one of the classmates` parents to go out of town….and then look for a guy who had mustache big & dense enough to pass off as an adult. He would then be tutored and sent to the VCD store to act like a man and rent porn VCD. The poor guy would choose between titles like: “The Apple & the Worm” or “Youthful Fire” or “My Tutor” or “When We Met” (this movie was re-made in Hindi without the porn(y) scenes and named ‘Jab We Met`) or “Soft Touches” or “101 days of Slavery”.

Anyway, I wouldn`t go into the details of how we watched porn in the 90s because today`s kids know it better. What was back then a community exercise, is now a lonely pastime.

As I was saying, baby sitting is a tough profession. I know because I baby sat my 10-month-old daughter for four hours, this Saturday. Eventually, she won.

Rekha went to the beauty parlor for straightening her hair and I was left taking care of Rhea. The first ten minutes were like heaven. I had Rhea to myself and we were great pals. So much so, she even let me share a part of her lunch – four spoons of Cerelac mixed with milk.

Here is a blow-by-blow account of how the four hours went:

Feb 9, 1 p.m.:
Rhea seems to be friendly. Was Rekha lying to me about Rhea being a naughty child? Wonder if Rhea will grow up to be like her father – a very docile person. If only I can get silicon implants, I can ask Rekha to visit her mother`s place for a week and keep the baby with me.

Feb 9, 2.10 p.m.:
Why is Rhea going to the kitchen? Does she want water to drink? Do babies drink water out of the glass or like cats do they prefer drinking from saucers? Why is she hitting on the floor and crying? Follow her around in stealth mode and get to understand her better. After all, fathers and daughters are expected to gel well.

Feb 9, 2.55 p.m.:
Quick…pick her up and stop her from crying. Show her the toy ‘blue bus` that she is so fond of. What the hell…does the fondness of a toy change with time? Will taking her to the balcony help? Can babies be taken out for walks? What if she cried….would the outsiders think I was kidnapping the baby? I am sure she wouldn`t say a word to save me!

Feb 9, 3.35 p.m.:
Will she like Amul Star Voice if India`s Chote Ustad program? After all, it is all kids. Or would she prefer to watch the 18765th re-telecast of Sachin Tendulkar`s century at Lords? Oops! Didn`t know there were other uses of the TV Remote – biting & licking for instance.

Feb 9, 4.00 p.m.:
How do I cook something to eat? While the stomach growls, the mind says that any attempt to keep the baby on the floor will only invite Rapid Action Force (which is now in Mumbai, trying to protect Raj Thackrey). The apron pocket is too big for the ladle and too small for the baby. Wonder at what stage Kangaroos ask their babies to leave their pockets.

Feb 9, 4.40 p.m.:
It turns out my daughter doesn`t love me as much. All she was after was the zip of the black sweater I was wearing – and it is now broken. Besides, from 4.40 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. she kept on saying “Amma” “Amma.” I tried to find out the language, but couldn`t decide whether it was Tamil (The Father`s Tongue) or Malayalam (The Mother`s Tongue).

Feb 9, 5.30 p.m.:
Now have to tonsure my head at Tirupati. I had prayed to Lord Venkateshwara that I would tonsure my head at his door steps if my daughter stopped crying. As luck would have it…she stopped the moment she saw her mother.

Other Funny Reads

# Wife wins again. And again.
# Everybody`s Bin Looking!
# Introducing: Sleeping beauty Rhea Rajan
# Accepting gifts from relatives


Humor in everyday life – a sample

You are going to read a Yahoo! Messenger conversation between a husband and wife. The husband works for an Internet major called and wife used to be with Cognizant Technology Solutions, till she decided to give up her career for a few babies (the couple were aiming for twins).

The conversation happens at 3.15 p.m. when the husband is in office. Talking of 3.15 pm…I am reminded of – have you checked it out yet? It is an awesome movement being planned by the people of Chennai.

Getting back to our conversation, here we go –

Rekha: hi…busy?

Pppumpkincarver: Nope. Tell me…

Rekha: Nothing…was getting bored at home

Pppumpkincarver: What is the baby doing…sleeping?

Rekha: She just proved herself to be a tough 7-months-old…crawled all the way from the small bedroom to the study. (Yes, the couple have a newly agreed upon study in their house)

Pppumpkincarver: On her own? Did she crawl like an army man in the war front? Or like a tiger in a jungle?

Rekha: Like a tigress…

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Pppumpkincarver: Wow…way to go. Wish I owned a circus.

Rekha: She was about to lick the CPU…

Pppumpkincarver: Daughter of two IT professionals has every right to lick the CPU.

Rekha: ha ha ha…I had to lift her…now typing with her in hand

Pppumpkincarver: We got to be careful. Need to plug all electrical sockets

Rekha: I suggest a shortcut – take up a house in Gurgaon with no power backup 😉

Pppumpkincarver: Agree.

Rekha: You know today she woke up from sleep

Pppumpkincarver: Wow…you speak like a true mother…anybody who sleeps wakes up…

Rekha: Hear me out…and she started crying…but the tough taskmaster that I am, I didn`t go near her

Rekha: I stood in the kitchen and kept on talking to her….and she followed my voice to the kitchen

Pppumpkincarver: That`s neat. Did your family shift from Calicut to Kannur after 1498 AD?

Rekha: Why do you ask?

Pppumpkincarver: Our daughter seems to have some traits of Vasco Da Gama.

Rekha: And what is the connection with the year?

Pppumpkincarver: That`s the year Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut.

Rekha: Yeah right!

Rekha: z tttbbvb k.ikmn n jkjv www

Rekha: E/RS

Rekha: SS

Pppumpkincarver: What was that? Are you swearing at me?

Pppumpkincarver: Or are they my daughter’s first Yahoo! Chat messages?

Rekha: YES

Pppumpkincarver: Did she type the “YES”?

Rekha: No…but she typed in the junk earlier.

Pppumpkincarver: Thank God she didn`t type “Yes”.

Rekha: But I thought “Yes” would have been a very positive start.

Pppumpkincarver: …coz I wanted her first meaningful, typed word to be


Pppumpkincarver: Who typed this?

Rekha: I made your baby type this…

Pppumpkincarver: Serious?

Rekha: Yes

Pppumpkincarver: How did she use the shift button for the “O”?

Rekha: It was obviously me…

Pppumpkincarver: That is awesome!

Pppumpkincarver: Now make her type: “My papa strongest!”

Rekha: n b ty tbb zzzzzzzzzz

Pppumpkincarver: In which language does that mean “My papa strongest?

Rekha: This is Rhinglish (Rhea+English+Hindi)

Pppumpkincarver: How soon before she can send me an e-mail?

Rekha: How about after her lunch?

Pppumpkincarver: ok 

Rekha: time for her food

Pppumpkincarver: sure…how many bytes is she having?

Rekha: 5KB…without optimization.

Pppumpkincarver: Good one. Bye.

More conversations from the past

How to get into a conversation with a girl
Conversation: Osama vs Batman
Narain Karthikeyan meets Sania Mirza
George Bush speaks to Pervez Musharraf
Sonia and Manmohan caught on tape


Shopping for my baby daughter

Shopping at Mother Care, Chennai was quite an experience.

For those who have been lucky enough not to shop in the place, Mother Care is a store that caters to pregnant women and babies born thereafter.

My wife who is still in Kannur REQUESTED me to visit them and buy some clothes for our Miss Sleepy.

No price can be put on the first dress that a father buys for his daughter.

And when I say ‘no price` I mean ‘no price`.

That`s why I was mighty upset when the salesman said the pink colored 7 inch by 9 inch dress will cost me Rs 500/-.

Why would anybody want to buy a baby dress for Rs 500/- when one can get a Color Plus trouser for two hundred rupees more (at a sale, of course).

I ditched clothes and looked for a utility bag for us to carry the baby stuff around – it was labeled Rs 3000/-.

The baby trolley`s price range started at Rs 8000/- and thankfully ended at Rs 25,000/-.

The baby car seat started at Rs 7000/- and went on till Rs 16,000/-.

Somebody needs to tell Mother Care that not all fathers who like to carry their babies in a car seat rob banks!

I wondered if God was punishing me for wanting to carry the Rajan`s family name forward.

Or was he punishing somebody else…and I just happened to be in line?

And, then it stuck me.

In spite of Father Francis` best efforts I had failed to understand the story around Adam, Eve, the apple and the punishment given by God for disobeying him.

After my visit to Mother Care, Chennai…it was all clear to me.

For the benefit of those whose parents didn`t believe in God and thus never narrated the story of how God created man, here is how it goes:

God sat down to create the most intelligent of all living beings and after a lot of thought decided that Adam should be created first….for had he created Eve first, he would have been forced to create Adam according to Eve`s wishes.

Even as God worked on Adam, Eve would have said: “Why don`t you give him four hands – he will not ask me to hold the stool while changing the light bulb.”

She would have probably even said: “Can`t you make that thing a little longer?”

So, the intelligent God made Adam first. He walked a few steps back, and looked at him with pride in his eyes.

Some say that having practiced creating a human being, God then went about creating woman and came up with a better product.

I would rather not believe this – for there is no “New & Improved” tag on any woman.

Neither is there a tag which says: “With features not seen in earlier versions.”

Anyway, after creating the two, God went about his other chores like – pissing (which we consider as rain), farting (storm, typhoon, cyclone), smiling (lightening – remember the best dentists in the world are in hell and he can use their help), and cleaning his ears (the white clouds that you see are the dirty cotton he throws down with utter disregard for global warming).

Before parting, God asked Adam & Eve not to eat the forbidden fruit – an apple which grew nearby. I am glad Adam and Eve didn`t listen to God and ate the apple anyway- for if they hadn`t we would have had no blogging in the World.

But seriously, I think it was God`s mistake that he created Adam and Eve at the wrong age… as teenagers (maybe a 17-year old Eve and 19-year old Adam).

An age when you always want to break rules and see what could go wrong.

If only God had created a 33-year old Eve and a 35-year old Adam, they would have listened to him and not ate the apple.

Don`t believe me?

Ever asked a 35-year old office colleague to break a rule?

Especially if he/she is your boss?

So, our teenager Adam and Eve broke the rule and God in a fit of rage shouted: You will be punished” before walking away into the sunset.

Just then Adam looked at Eve as if he were a librarian accepting a book back from one of the students and said: “Hey, there is a leaf missing.”

Nine months later they have a baby – a baby boy. I forget his name…maybe one of the readers knows what Adam & Eve`s baby boy was called.

The proud parents looked at the baby and felt elated.

Though they never knew then that there was something called heaven (for Vatican hadn`t invented it yet), they were in 7th heaven.

Out of curiosity, Eve asked Adam, “Remember God had said we will be punished?”

“Yeah.” Adam had started what husbands today do – passive listening.

‘Where is the punishment? It has been ten month since he swore at us…and our life has only gotten better.

We have invented sex, and now even have a baby.” Eve was doing what all women do today – asking questions which are difficult to answer.

“No idea.” Adam said.

“Anyway, can you buy some clothes for our son?” Eve didn`t want her son to grow up the way she grew up – without enough clothes to wear.

“Where do I get good clothes?” The good for nothing Adam asked.

“Why not try Mother Care in T Nagar, Chennai. Heard it is good.”

See…I told you…I just happened to be in line.