Monday, July 8, 2019

My Phobia My Friend


“Hippopoto-Monstro-sesquipedalio-phobia” is the word for “Fear of long words”. Sounds absurd right?
Well, by definition phobia is an anxiety disorder that causes irrational fears. There are many crazy phobias in the world, but the latest and also the stupidest on the list is “Namophobia”, which is the fear of being without cellphones.
Three years ago in UK, a bunch of demophobics – i.e people who fear being in crowds, joined hands to come up with a solution to address their fear, which we now know it as “Brexit”
Jokes apart, phobias are serious but therapies do help if one can afford. So my option is either try to work around or make peace with your phobia.
I went for a second option. Well I have a phobia towards an imaginary friend. Not mine, but others imaginary friend.
The first incident happened when I was six. It was a Sunday night. I was playing with my friend at her house. It was just me, her and her ancient-looking granny in the house when the power went off. So we lit the candle in the living room and sat on the chairs. "If there was the power we could have played catch," I said. "We still can. See” she picked a ball and gently rolled straight into the dark room in front of us. I was confused, but after a few seconds, like a scene out of some bloody horror movie, the ball came out of the darkroom rolling towards us and stopped right at my feet. I asked her in a shivering voice “Who is in there?” she said” That’s my friend Kaya. Oh…you can't see her. Only I can”. I had a strange reaction to the situation. I fainted. I was down with fever for a week and when I woke up my mother told me that the family had shifted to a different town and I asked: "Did they take kaya with them?”
The second instance when I was forcefully made aware of someone’s imaginary friend happened 7 years ago. My friend left her 6-year-old daughter to me to babysit for a few hours. We played for some time and then I opened my laptop to work and she sat down to do some drawings. After some time she held a paper in front of my face. The coloured sketch showed a man and a girl holding hands and one more girl standing a bit far from these two. Though the sketch looked bit ominous, I said “wow, that’s nice". “This is you” she pointed to an eerie figure of a man. "This must be you," I said pointing to the girl next to the man. She said “No. I am here and pointed to another figure standing far”.
“Oh. So who is this?”
“That’s my friend. She likes you”.
“That’s sweet. Have I met her? What’s her name?”.
 “Her name is Kaya. Oh, you can’t see her”
Blood started draining from my face.  “Sweetheart do you and your friend mind if I go out and make some calls?” After an hour my friend Anita met me at the door.
“Are you crazy? You have called me 14 times. “Sorry. It’s serious. Your friend has an imaginary daughter”. 
“What?”
“I mean. Your daughter has an imaginary friend. “Are you insane?” she asked.
 “Your daughter is the one with an imaginary friend. Not me"
"It is quite natural to have an imaginary friend at that age for a girl. I don't know why that freaks you out". “Samy. Come out we are leaving.” Can I request Samy to take kaya with her, please?
Last week, I came late to home, but right in time to tuck my daughter in. So I went to her room and lied down next to her only to hear her shriek "Go away, you are crushing my friend”. I quickly got up and said, “I don’t see any toys”. “Not toy. It's my friend”. “Honey. Where is your friend?” silence “What is her name?” no response. “Is it Kaya?”. “I like that name Daddy”. And she turns and asks “Did you like it too?” Unlike before, this time I had no escape, I had only one option – to embrace my Phobia.  So, my dear Toastmasters and guests, I am not sure she is here, but if she is, I present you “Kaya”.

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Flight of Fury

I came back from vacation two weeks ago. Two weeks is what it took me to come back to normal after the traumatic flight travel. You know what is bad about flying in economy class? Its everything. But It is super bad if you are sitting next to those young parents with kids who look like they are in constant battle throughout the flight trying to calm their kids, cleaning their mess while they themselves are covered in vomit. But the worst part is when you are one of such parent. So two weeks back I was in that worst position, as I flew with my twins to Sydney.

To avoid flying with kids I proposed alternatives to my wife. Like for example I upgrade to business class and the rest come in economy, or probably sailing, or to leave them in India till they can travel on their own. Yes, my wife thought the same that I was joking. So I did not tell her my other idea of dressing them in dog costume. I asked my doctor brother in law to give some sleep inducing medicine to kids, so that I survive the flight. He was against it, because as per him, the kids may sleep during the flight but will get very cranky later. So, I asked him to give those to me, so that I get knocked out while they are cranky in the flight. Now my wife was against it.

Finally the day I dreaded arrived, we loaded all our suitcases in one car and sat with kids in another car. Now why one car dedicated only for the luggage, is because we got 40 plus 7 kilos for each of us including kids. We were 5 of us were allowed to carry quarter of a ton.  So to make the most of it, my wife packed everything her eyes laid on. At least this is one relief of not flying in first class, because my wife would have packed half of the city in to it.

After checking in a ton of suitcases and dancing in front of the security, we sat in the flight only to realise that one of the cabin luggage was checked in by mistake. The one that had diapers, tissues and extra pair of kids cloths. Immediately we started doing what any other sensible couple does, we each try to prove that the other did this. Naturally, as a woman, my wife has photographic memory, so the argument was settled in less than a minute and everyone in the flight hated me for what I have done.

As if my twins understood that we don’t have extra nappies and pair of cloths, they immediately got on their mission to drink and eat more than they do when they were on land. We had 5 hours ahead of us for a change over, and two rapidly filling diapers. Thankfully the race between the flight and diapers was a tie. We managed to buy some diapers and essentials in Singapore, before boarding the next flight to Sydney. But the problems were far from over. My son has motion sickness, so he kept throwing up on me once in a while. Apparently that’s what the kids do, they vomit everywhere except in the air sickness bag that is provided. Both kids got restless in the flight, despite the entertainment we provided and they did not let us sleep throughout the night. The nine hours seemed to have taken forever, as if I was stuck in a ground hog day.

When we landed in Sydney, we all were looking like zombies. We just wanted to reach home, get freshen up and sleep for sometime. But as the luck would have it, we spent an hour in the airport waiting for a suit case that was left over by the airlines in Singapore. We had practically ticked everything in the immigration checklist like dairy, wood, medicines, illegal weaponaries everything that is there in the list. But when the security officer asked me to open a suitcase, my son weakly steps ahead and starts throwing up. The security officer looked at us and says, okay just take your bags and leave. That moment, I was so proud of my son, I thought if only I was a drug dealer this act could have been so justified.

We arrived home bit later than expected, but it took more than 2 weeks for us to get back to normal. 
Flight of FurySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

A Long List of Shortcomings


Below is the speech that won me first place in Humorous speech contest in Toast Masters.

A Wise man once said “If you want to know your flaws / shortcomings, point one of your wife’s flaws and she will point ten of yours”. But I say why to risk pointing even one? My dear Toast Masters, Contest chair and guests, last night I asked my wife to point out my shortcomings. I know it sounds like turkeys begging for Christmas. But I had my reasons to do that. I was working on a “self-deprecating humour speech” and as a first step I wanted to list my short comings. I sat for hours, but I could not think of a single one. I was both happy and sad at the same time. Then I thought, who could be better than my wife to tell my own shortcomings. So last night, after putting the kids to bed, I asked my wife if she can help me with this. She got so thrilled. She got so excited, that I got terrified. It was a long night for me. The astonishing part was the fluency on the subject, that she took only one break, to brush her teeth in the morning. She just wanted to help, that’s it. She also wrote a speech reference for me.(Prop: Releasing a lengthy roll of paper with lot of words in it).

 It is quite exhaustive with date and time stamp and dates back to our first meeting. I will give you few examples

  • Cant remember things. True, because she gave tonnes of examples for this and I don’t remember any of them.
  • Cant find things…No….This list is full of husband stereotypes like cant’ remember, can’t find things, doesn’t do dishes, doesn’t’ take care of dogs…wait that’s not true… coz I love dogs….and…. we don’t have dogs!!… Oh sorry…its not dogs its kids. My mistake. Must be true then.
  •     Wastes money on unnecessary items. This is about the Google Home I bought home. I was not happy with that either, because every time I ask a question, I get two responses. The second response is always from…any guesses??… from Google Home. I returned to the store and got full refund when I sighted that this box is not as accurate as my wife. Don’t believe me!! Sunday morning, wanted to play cricket, I asked “Okay google, what is the weather like”.
  •    “Doesn’t know how to argue”. Argument is a multi-dexterous skill that involves recollecting past events and linking to the present events and building a case on it while one is angry. Unfortunately evolution skipped this skill for men. So I don’t want to argue, I don’t remember when I have won. The last time I won an argument, I was made to believe that I had won an argument. Honestly,I believe we men have more odds of winning a lottery than winning an argument.

So let me not follow the script and share with you just two of the interesting shortcomings.


1)      Why do you care, you are not going to go out!
2)      28 degrees, sunny, Parramatta

But that morning was wet. For me, because I spent scrubbing the bathroom tiles.

Anyways, in the morning, I woke up late with a slight headache. Not sure why. I took a quick shower, and when I came out, I was surprised. Because my clothes were pressed, lunch was packed and the kids were looking clean. The best part was my was all cheerful and happy. That made me realised, it is very easy to make your woman happy. You just have to listen, pay attention… sometimes. Sometimes she might just have a point.

A Long List of ShortcomingsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review of Novel "Delhi" by Kushwant Singh

Delhi by Khushwanth Singh is fanciful, chimera and extravagantly explicit and yes of course, in between the writer also did his best to squeeze in some historical events. But overall the novel gives you a feeling of watching a late night show on History channel (if any) that shows sexual escapades of Royal breed. If you are haunted by such fascinations then this might be the book you want to read. It's a tour of sex and history and between these you will be forced to read some of the sexual escapades of the writer (as he says) with a teenage American, aged Europeans and not to forget his horrific hijda whore with the beautiful name "Bhagmati".

Apart from desultory vacillation that he makes to embarrass you with his irritable details of his own biology, gastronomy and his descriptions of his bhagmati. Delhi is a fine novel. He weaves a magical screen to show you the magnum opus history of Delhi. In front of you the empires raise and fall. The Mughals take over Hindus, Sikhs takeover the Mughals, British take over every one and finally the Lawyer Politician take over India. He also cleverly uses the lives of common people like a poet, soldier, a builder to narrate the historical incidents. The narration entirely being in first person, the characters come alive in front of the reader to tell their stories.
It's a page turner that gives the grotesque view of the aggrandizement and plunder done to Delhi by Mughals, Nadir Shah, and partly by British who attacked Red Fort on 1857. Also showcases the thinking of quintessential Indians varied across different time periods. Overall it's more of an adult novel that mixes sex and history and presents you in not so elegant manner.



Review of Novel "Delhi" by Kushwant SinghSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kites- All Style and No Substance

I would not think twice to rate 1/2 out of 5 points for this movie even if it had hit the screens a decade or two back. This is no different from other recent bollywood movies which followed the mantra of "All style and no substance". Since QAQT and probably even before that, audience have been constantly bombarded with boringly clich├ęd concept of a couple eloping and the goons chasing them down to death. The only difference that the director has to offer is that this happens in the backdrop of Mexico.

Hrithik should grow out of those biscuit ads. He has nothing new to offer in this movie except his toned body and few super fluid dance steps that he had done for the ads Sony Ericson, Coke and Hide & Seek. Even if Hrithik was half cautious about his story selection as he was for his ads, he would not have chosen to do this. In this movie he is a Dance instructor, he also has a part time profession of marrying girls to get them into LA on a false Visa. This is how he meets Barbara Mori. Her introduction is good and different. She looks beautiful, but did less of skin show than our heroines. The story is built around the name "Kites". H (Who is Mr J in this movie) and B.Mori meet and separate like two kites in the sky. Situations pull them together so close as if they would never be separated but in the next moment they go so far as if they were never meant to meet.

About other actors, every one is wasted except the villain. He has got strong negative shades which is a plus point. I don’t see a reason why Kangana had accepted this role; even an item song could have done more justification than playing Hrithik's girl friend.

Scripted by as many as four writers (probably the dullest and the most vacant minds one can find), kites is woefully predictable despite its jumbled screen play. The dialogues are written in a sophomoric mood (Even though there are hardly any). For an instance Hrithik convinces Barbara to come with her by saying "I have a dream, you have a dream, we have a bigger dream”. I don’t think any one even in their normal thinking condition would go for such pick up lines in reality. Bullet wounded Barbara says "I wonth die, I wanth Babies". And the moment you might feel like falling off the seat due to sleep is the scenes when the chemistry between H and M is established by sharing each other their ridiculously over-sentimental back-stories about dead parents.

The fight sequences are sordid but okay and all the blasting of cars like toys are unnecessary and doesn't add value. The climax fight has been reduced to a Sten gun firing and yes your guess is right Kangana suddenly pops up with a gun but still does not shoot H for ditching her. Hritihik does all hi-fi stunts to reach the villain only to know the spot where the heroin has committed suicide so that he can also go and jump off the cliff. I was also looking for a nearest cliff to jump off after seeing this movie, but wasn't lucky enough. I don’t recommend this movie. It bores you to death. Every scene of the movie is a flop show. Movies like this are national waste and this movie is for universal audience so should we coin a new term “Multi national waste”???
I spent 200 bucks in Innovative Multiplex of Marath halli only to get a feeling of watching a movie in a laptop. I dont know why is it named Gold class, the sound effects is sad, 30 mm screen look and the seats are positioned far from the screen. So I vote for NO GO for the movie as well as for the theatre
Kites- All Style and No SubstanceSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Review on MTR

Heaven is best described as a rendezvous of hunger with a tasteful cuisine. It happened on a Wednesday afternoon I was near the Lal bagh gate amidst the roaring Bangalore’s traffic, under the scorching sun. Hunger and thirst were at their high. All I needed was a quite place to sit and fuel myself with some carbohydrates. As my eyes scanned for a hotel, they fell on a small red hoarding amidst the loud and boastful ones as if it was shying away from the rest. The abbreviated name on the hoarding said “MTR”.

“Mavalli Tiffin Room” has its roots dated back to 1924 creating a legacy out of its carte du jour. MTR takes the credit of inventing “Rava Idly” in the troubled times of Second World War, when there was a shortage of rice - the main ingredient of Idly. The chefs experimented with “Suzi Rava” and rest is history. I had heard the popularity of MTR for its mouth watering dishes but never experienced it. I stepped in to the building; the insides reflected the architecture of early 1900s. Rows of black and white photographs of what looked like freedom fighters and thinkers discussing over coffee at MTR decorated the right side wall. Satisfied with the hotel’s legacy, I purchased the lunch coupon (which was the only available option at noon) and went upstairs. The dining hall in the upstairs was dimly lit and was already crowded with Indian families and few foreign tourists. The waiters wore traditional attire of Karnataka Brahmins a white dhoti and no shoes.

I settled down in a table and was served a chilled grape juice in a silver cup. The sweet and sour drink did more than just quenching my thirst; it woke up the connoisseur in me. As I finished the drink, the glass was taken back may be to indicate the authenticity of the metal. After that, the South Indian concoctions topped with calorie-intensive ghee continuously replenished my plate. The Dosa was excellent and with each bite it released a mix of ghee, coconut chutney and sagu teasing my taste buds. The Payasam was good, the curry tastier and the huli with rice reminded me of my granny’s cooking. The rasam was simply outstanding. By the time curd rice arrived I was awfully loaded but still adjusted my stomach to get a taste of it. The dessert fruit salad topped with vanilla ice cream was as usual good.

While exiting the restaurant, I got a glimpse of the kitchen which was clean and hygiene and reminded me of the cooking methods followed in Brahmin marriages of South India. It goes without saying that MTR can be loved if you are a veg lover. This place is a perfect treat for food evangelists, and gives you an authentic Bangalore eating experience. However the Sunday mornings are chaotic where scores of locals (especially morning walkers of Lal Bagh) rush into savor the Tiffin items. The brand though stands for its taste, tradition and quality, but is often rebuked for long waiting times and notoriously surly waiters.
A Review on MTRSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Battle of Sexes Part-2

I would have done with my Analysis (of part -1) by now, if only the lady respondents of my survey returned with their answers. The questionnaire had only one open ended question which was "What woman really wants?” After a month's time, I called up every one and I got just one answer:
"We are not done yet, need more time".

Anyways, to make the analysis comprehensive and convincing, I wish to take some more time and ponder over few more incidents that have left me as baffled as I was with the previous one.

"You are such a narrow minded male chauvinist" she said and her nose flared in anger. "I am in no mood to argue" I said. "Okay then convince me". Without waiting for my response she went and slumped in the chair near the swimming pool.

She was my colleague in my first company ; a manufacturing firm. We were in a resort and along with us were 40 other employees carrying various ranks. (The team outing would have been more fun without the team building games that were forced on us by HR). I walked to her and took the seat next to her.

she:I never tasted whiskey and this is the time (suppressing the anger)
Me: Believe me. The cheaper one doesn’t taste better and the better one doesn’t have any taste.

She: (Coying)But I want to know what happens after taking a glass or two.
Me: You can watch me and I will not charge you for that.

She: (Smiling) Very funny. But what's your problem if I want to drink.
Me: (Long lecture) I never said I have a problem. But what I am asking you to think twice before you do that. We work in a manufacturing firm. Those guys you see (pointing the guys dancing next to the pool). They are from different culture, education and background. You think they are broadminded enough to accept a girl who tastes liquor? They will judge you wrong and what happens here doesn’t just stay here. We will be with this people every day. So better think before you act.

The party took a wild swing as I was talking; some one dragged me to the dance floor. The next day morning, a phone call woke me up and started my lazy Sunday.

She: (An affectionate tone)Vardhan
Me: Hey Tell me. How come you called me?

She: I am very grateful to God. Yesterday, you saved me from the impulsive feeling.
Me: Why did the God take all the credits then?

She: What?
Me: Never mind. It's a tough joke.

She: (Breathing heavily) You don’t understand Vardhan. I am so glad to have a friend like you. I am happy that I asked you to accompany. If it were others....(I cut her words)
Me: Never mind yaar. Anyways if you still want to try out whiskey, we two can go out some time.

She: (Dead silence)
Me: Hello? Hello? You there?

She: (After a long pause)...Yes
Me: Oh.... (Smiling) I thought the line got cut.

She: No (Serious tone). But now it will. Don’t ever talk to me again. (Thumping of the receiver)

That's it I never did get a chance to know what went wrong between us as she was in a different (Manufacturing) plant. Down the line, both of us took different paths. One of us is more successful, happy and settled in America and another is not so lucky. To be clear, she married some software geek and got settled in US.

Coming back to the point.My offer was as genuine and pure as Vat 69. I never had a different thought process running in my head while I spoke to her. If only my mind could process dual things at a time, I would not end up being a sole reader of my blog. Anyways this discussion also will share few lines in the analysis part that comes after I completely understand about the psychology of women. I can bet a fortune that the analysis might not come to the light in my life span. So allow me to come up with one more post to gain a better hold on the subject (No pun intended).

Battle of Sexes Part-2SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend