Category Archives: Life etc.

Right is back

I am partially back in action. A successful surgery at Hosmat and I am back in Palakkad now, to take rest. But being the internet buff that I am, I couldn’t ignore the call of my PC and the internet. So here I am, typing with one and a half hands, a quarter of a bone less and 13 stitches in my inner elbow.

I had quite some revelations about my conditions as well as about some of my friends through the course of this recent development. First of all, this was not a cyst and was some other “benign lesion”. It was nevertheless harmless, because, well, it was benign. The doctors just removed the head of my radius bone instead of grafting a bone from somewhere else. That spared me another cut in my body. Anyway, I had my surgery on Friday, hand was on cast for one day, I was discharged on Saturday evening and a couple of the nurses were pretty.

I was feeling a little underweight because of the piece of bone which was removed, but it was quickly compensated by the weight of the minuscule facial hair which sprang up in a matter of 3 days. After discharge, I came back to Palakkad, supposedly to take rest, but I’m taking everything but rest here. That includes taking pills, taking occasional punches from my brother for bullying him and taking food with my left hand. I have become adept at eating with left hand of late. Guess it is only a matter of time before I become ambidextrous.

I got bored easily, watching the idiot box, so I decided to clear my backlog with mails and Google Reader. But I was flabbergasted when I saw the number of unread posts in my Google Reader. It was a tad less than 100 in 5 days. Now I have to work hard to read all those. Plus I have a pending tag.

Another important thing that I found out was who really cared about me. I found out that some people who I thought were friends, were not my friends, after all. Honestly, all that would have taken to show some sign of concern, was a phone call. I’m not whining here. I’m just thankful that there was one good thing about my condition – I could separate the wheat from the chaff.

A series of unfortunate events

Thursday, 8th November – 0600 hrs
So I was taking a break from work for 11 days. Let’s just call it a vacation at my native. My agenda – Diwali on 8th, Kalpathi Ratholsavam over the next week, and a visit to Chelakkara, my mother’s native place, after about 10 years.

This has been my most expensive trip home so far. I had to take a flight to Coimbatore and my dad came about 50km to pick me up. The reason – No train or bus tickets were available as it was peak time. Forget peak time, you won’t get tickets to Kerala even on normal months. I remember seeing 93 seats available on the first day of booking (that is 60 days before the journey date), and it quickly went into wait list in 15 minutes. Traveling from Bangalore to Palakkad (or to any part of Kerala, for that matter) is a pain in the butts, mostly because you have to take a bus (because there are only a couple of direct trains) and your butts will indeed be painful by the time you reach home.

Deprived of all cheaper means of going home, I thought of taking my car. That would be a drive of 7 hours. But my mom thought that was a bad idea (Read: “Forget it! You are not taking your car alone for such a long distance.”) It almost seemed as if she sensed that I was in Diesel Mode of late. Diesel Mode is the term given by my friends to my random rushes of adrenalin wherein I drive my car like a race car driver when I find stretches of road where there is not much traffic and there is no risk of people crossing the road, for instance the Inner Ring Road or the Mysore Road. The name is derived from the role of Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious. Anyway, my mom said “No car. Period.” So I took a flight, shelling out about 2000 bucks more than what I’d spend for a train ticket.

The flight duration was 1 hour. I was wondering why it took so long, given that it is not even one third the distance between Bangalore and Delhi. I made up a theory. Coimbatore was so close that the plane would have passed Coimbatore and gone further South by the time it gained altitude. So it had to turn around to land in Coimbatore.

Mathematically speaking,
Optimum Altitude/Rate of altitude gain of the plane < Distance to Coimbatore/2*Ground speed of plane

The flight was supposed to be uneventful, but as it would always be the case with me, it was eventful. The event was that I got two free sandwiches and a coffee from Kingfisher. The “unevent” was that I got those not in the flight, but in the airport, because the flight was delayed by 2 hours, owing to the shortsightedness of the Coimbatore lads. (They said the visibility was only 600 feet and they couldn’t see farther than that. This is called shortsightedness or myopia.)


Thursday, 8th November – 1100 hrs
The 45 minute journey from Coimbatore to Palakkad was uneventful, except for the event that I immediately sensed it when we crossed the state border to Kerala as it started getting bumpy due to potholes in the National Highway. Anyway, the journey was over in a jiffy. All I did was talk. I talked to my brother, talked to my dad. Funnily enough, they didn’t talk to me much. My brother said I didn’t give them a chance to talk. One of the few things that I remember my dad saying was, “Watch out… there’s the bull temple.” There was a Shiva temple with a huge bull statue by the Highway. And my dad and mom always made it a point to say “Watch out… there’s the bull temple,” as we used to pass by. You’d usually get bored having seen it so many times in life. But not my parents. My mom may even ask to turn back to have a look, if she misses it by any chance. (I don’t know whether this has happened any time.)


Thursday, 8th November – 1230 hrs
As I reached home, I had to add something else to my agenda. Designing the system that my brother was doing for his final year project. He didn’t know what the hell a design was. He would say he has done something and I just have to refine it, while in fact he would not have done anything. He would ask me about UML. Don’t ask me what UML is, because I honestly don’t know anything about it. When I tell this to my brother, he’d just ask me to tell him whatever I know. He sounds like a Project Manager at times. I get annoyed, but he gets a backing from mom, “Help him da. Who else does he have to turn to?”
“Oh right.. Engineering is a subject like the Hindi you teach. It is so simple that a Electronics Engineer can solve the doubts of a Computer Engineer.”
“I would help him if only I knew.”
“But I don’t know either”
My brother interrupts, “Look..you just have to draw a component diagram, explain each module and their interactions. I’ll take care of the rest.”
I ask, “What else is left for you to take care of? Correcting grammatical errors?”
My brother says, “No. MS Word will take care of that!”
I roll my eyes.So I was not spared this time either. My brother was bugging me when I wanted to rest in peace. Not inside a coffin, mind you.


Friday, 9th November – 1800 hrs
Diwali went on with some minor attractions like me showing off by lighting crackers in my bare hand and throwing them to burst them in the air. The next day I went to a concert in Kalpathi. I and my mom decided to walk the distance. By the time we reached Grandma’s house, I was really thirsty. No points for guessing the reason. I was talking all the way. You’ve heard “Walk the talk” but I apparently believed in “Talk the walk”. The concert was not very impressive, so we returned home soon.


Saturday, 10th November – 0900 hrs
The next day was a turning point in my vacation and in writing this post. I was not finished with half of my agenda. But as fate would have it, I’m forced to wind up this post midway. I don’t remember what went through my mind when I decided to take a couple of pull-ups in the bedroom loft. That I am not very heavily built, and can take only two pull-ups at most, is a fact which I forgot. (On second thought, this is what was going through my mind when I did that act which can be deemed extremely unnecessary and foolish.) I pulled myself up; when I reached the pinnacle, a piercing pain grew in my right elbow, and I immediately let go. I was literally slithering in the bed due to excruciating pain for the next 2 minutes. After the pain subsided, I noticed that it still was extremely painful whenever I twisted my arm. I was not able to eat with bare hands; I had difficulty in brushing my teeth. I was horrified. What happened to my right arm? I went to the hospital, and found out from the doctor that a cyst has developed in my elbow. It was probably there for some time, but the pain developed when the bone was exerted. I have to get it removed through surgery. I’ll get admitted soon. The doctor advised me not to type, but I wanted to publish this post, although it is incomplete. So I changed the title and am posting it now.I will update after my surgery. This is a very minor surgery, but please pray for me.

Homecoming

For records, this post is delayed by at least 20 days. Talk about being lazy!!! Sigh!

It is a magic held by any undergraduate college. When you visit your alma mater, you cannot but have that heightened feeling of nostalgia.

NITC

I went to the college where I learned so many lessons of life, the most important one being how to live. I passed out of college (luckily, never “passed out” in college) in 2004. That’s more than 3 years now, so there were only two people in the college who I knew personally (Or, better to say non-academically) – Dhanaraj, once my senior, now a faculty, and Paro, who’s a student there. Well. I met another guy I knew – Ravi. I was perplexed, because it was a canonical impossibility, but he clarified that he had a back paper in final year, and was still in campus because of that.

Oh…the back papers. I remember I had escaped narrowly in a couple of my courses – all those ones without any mathematical problems – Computer Organization and Architecture, Digital MOS etc.
So this was more like a professional visit, (I’ll disclose the reasons, if fate permits, at a later time) but I still couldn’t resist a stroll around the hostel area, and around the library, computer center and DB.

One thing I noticed was that NITC hadn’t changed as much as I thought. The impression I had in my mind, after the news given by some fellows, was exaggerated. It was a welcome sight. There were a couple of new disciplines, a few new buildings, a few modified ones, and everything else was more or less intact. As I strolled around, old events kept flashing in my mind. I’ll try to reproduce them here. It’ll at least make this post more readable. 🙂

As I entered, I saw the gates which were not there when I was in my final year. (I had seen the pictures from Ajith’s blog though) Inside, the Rajpath looked the same, except for the fact that it was well paved now.

The Rajpath with a new look

 The Rajpath…with a new look

It was a Sunday evening in August. We were returning to campus after a weekend visit to our respective homes. The pavements were so slippery with moss that people seldom walked on them. However, Antony was not among those faint at heart. I warned him, “Don’t walk on the pavement. You’ll slip”. He shoved off my warning with an air of nothing-can-happen-to-me. 5 seconds later, he fell on his ass.

Back in hostel, the others were narrating this incident to Dinesh, when he told, “He seems to have a black tongue. Two days back, the same thing happened to me, and 5 seconds before my fall, Deepak told me that I will slip.”

I got infuriated, “Come on, man. You fell because it was slippery, not because I said it was slippery. Grow up, man.”

I saw the new Central Computer Center building. Again, I had been misinformed that they had built it on the basketball court. I used to think what a pity it was, because the court was close to my heart (or something close to that) as I used to play basketball (or something close to that) every day (or something close to everyday). But whoever said that, was wrong. The basketball court was in tact. However, to my alarm, I saw buildings coming up in the football ground. Where will they have the Monsoon cup from now?

Football Ground

Where is the Triangular Notice Board?

FBG…Triangular Notice Board….gone…all gone

As I went through the Main Building, I was in for another shock. The Triangular Notice Board was gone! It was where we all used to vent out our feelings.

Monsoon Cup 2003.
Badshaz (Used to call ourselves “Bad”shaz, for an air of superiority) were the reigning kings. Just on the eve of the kickoff, we stuck one poster on the triangular notice board.

First year – Semifinalists
Second year – Runners up
Third year – Winners
Fourth year – We need competition!

February 15th 2001
The day after Valentine’s day.
A poster read:

Henceforth, we will mourn every February 15th as the Broken Hearts’ Day. This day will be dedicated to all those hapless souls who no girl cares about.

I went to the department, met a few professors and then, Dhanaraj. We had a lengthy chat, which was mostly enlightening for me. I learnt that Papachan and Mamachan were still open. It was another wrong tidings given by someone that Papachan and Mamachan were closed because of bad business as all the back gates from college were sealed now. Also, someone had told me that the Kattangal economy had crashed due to the sealing of the gates near the D Hostel, which meant that guys had to go all the way to the front entrance and come back to go to Kattangal. But living up to the true NITC spirit, they are still taking the pains to go that extra mile. That means that there are as many motorcycles now as there were bicycles at my time and as many cars now as there were motorcycles at my time.

As usual, we had bunked our 9 am class and sitting in Mamachan having breakfast. We were having a heated argument. (For those who don’t know, Papachan, Mamachan and Chechi were the local hotels)
KK: Papachan is the best. The food is so delicious.
Me: Chechi is better than that. The food is incomparably good.
KK: But Chechi is not clean. Nobody can beat Papachan at that.
Me: Papachan will take a lifetime to bring you food after you order. You’ll die of hunger by the time he brings food.
KK: Grrr..
Me: Double Grrr…

Ragam 2000
Mock Press competition was under way. The guy was enacting Jackie Chan.
Guy from audience: What is your purpose of visit?
Jackie Chan: To visit Papa-chan and Mama-chan.
(Although, I felt that this question was a pre-planned one, the answer still was amusing.)

I went running after my purpose of visit, which took almost till lunch time.
Had lunch from canteen, since I didn’t feel like walking to Papachan, with my heavy laptop.
After my lunch, I decided to take a stroll. The first place that came to my mind was D Hostel – The lair of the famed D-Tops, and of course the Wallstreetguys (Contrary to popular belief, the name has nothing to do with Wallstreet, nor is it related in any way to economics!)
The hostels were changed, but D Hostel was in tact, although it had lost it’s trademark dark-red colored walls. I sat below the mango tree outside for quite some time, relishing my moments there. I went in to visit my room. It was locked.
Outside, the 4’s Arena ground was still there, with all the nets and all. 4’s Arena was a kind of mini-soccer, played with 4 on each side, and slightly modified rules.

4’s Arena Final
Fierce match. Rain-soaked. (And I think it was floodlit) I was watching that from behind a goal post. That was my first mistake. I forced myself to the forefront of hundreds of viewers. That was my second mistake. I was directly in line of Sameer’s shot. That was my third and final mistake.
Since this was a small field, it was more like Table Tennis; you needed to have a good reflex. Sameer mishit his shot. The ball was above the bar by a good 1 foot and it was coming straight at me. I was not fast enough. The ball hit directly in my abdomen. I had this burning sensation in my stomach for the next 3 hours. My T-shirt carried a patch of hexagons and pentagons for the rest of its life.

I then went to MC, which brought out another nostalgic feeling of ordering Bread Pakoda and Tea at midnight. Now that I check my camera, I realise that I actually forgot to snap the MC. How could I do that?Anyway, I returned, tried to finish my business, but couldn’t, so I went back to city, came back the next day and finished my business. By evening, I was back in Palakkad, mission accomplished, and with a truckload of renewed memories.

On the quest of the Deathly Hallows

I’m falling into a state of depression. I can’t believe the last book of the Harry Potter series is out and I have already read it. I just can’t take the idea that I won’t get the chance to wait eagerly for the next book.

Being a faithful follower of Harry Potter, I won’t spoil any of the plots of the book. I thought I’d just mention how my day went on 21st Saturday.

I pre-ordered the book in the bookstore nearest to my apartment, obviously to reach home as soon as I bought the book and start reading the book. Unfortunately, the earliest opening time anywhere in Bangalore was 6 am. And, to my dismay, Crossword Indiranagar, where I was to get my book was to open only at 7 am.

So, me and KP decided to go at 6.15 am and wait outside the store. The others were not interested in Harry Potter. We left them to their pathetic life devoid of imaginations and fantasies. (Take no offence if you are reading this, guys, but your life is really pathetic, trying to spoil the plot to us with snapshots from a traitor which came on the internet on the previous day, and jeering and calling a spell casting as a mere stick rotation)
But typical to the nature of bachelors, we started off 15 minutes late. I was wearing my favorite Harry Potter T-shirt and shorts. By the time I parked my car near the shop, it was already crowded, with a queue of 30+ people. I felt a tiny bit of guilt for not showing my fidelity. I should have reached at 6. I should have been in the front.

That feeling faded away soon when the shop was opened and the first group of about 10 customers were let in. From then, it was a feeling of longing. A part of my brain even thought about gatecrashing, throwing the receipt to the counter, taking a book and running out. We couldn’t get in for another long 30 minutes.

I got the book, took a bookmark from the counter and started reading the book on the scene(until KP collected his copy and came outside). I was engrossed wholly in the book even as I walked towards my car. I heard someone call out, “Take your time, dude. You have all day to finish the book.” I grinned at the group of people sitting near the pavement, waiting for their turn to get inside.

We drove back, I parked my car in the most lopsided manner that could be possible and rushed to my apartment. I continued from where I had stopped. By 10.30, I had finished about 100 pages. KP, being a voracious reader, was thrice as fast as me. I skipped breakfast, and went for lunch only because I was really hungry. I even considered taking the book to the restaurant to read it while having dinner. I had already lost about 4 hours because I fell asleep afternoon after having a heavy lunch. Throughout the day, I was interrupted (to my great annoyance) by a number of phone calls. I never received so many phone calls in one day. It had to be this day! Sigh!

I finished the book at around 2am, had a quick browsing of the internet and started my reread. I won’t tell anything about the story, but I’d say this is one of the best books in the series ever. I’d say third best after GoF and PoA. The book is really fast-paced, and we are in the thick of the action from the first chapter itself.

Ecstatic though I am after knowing (or living, rather) how the saga ends, I also feel strangely depressed. It is as if someone has abandoned me in the muggle world and I don’t know the way to get back. My only hope remains in the two films that are remaining. Nevertheless, I can only feel grateful that I lived in the times of Harry Potter and Joanne Rowling.

Another ghost story

Thursday evening was pleasant. I was back from office early that day and was planning on going out. I decided to take an auto. I walked the small distance through the alley where my apartment was. My muscles were spraining; I should walk more often. I reached the main road. Oddly enough, it wore a deserted look. The velvety brown of the evening sky was already fading into the blue silhouette of the moonlight.
There were no vehicles or human beings, or even dogs (There will at least be 3 stray dogs per street in Bangalore) in sight.
‘Oh dear, will I have to walk till Airport Road now to get an auto?‘, my lazy legs complained and my mind translated it to English.
I uttered a non-verbal spell (well! I didn’t utter in strict sense since it was non-verbal) to summon an auto. Even I was surprised to see an auto coming almost immediately behind me. I waved to him to stop. He didn’t seem to notice and passed me. Then the auto screeched to a halt about 10 feet ahead. I ran towards the auto.
The driver had a frightened look in his face. He looked at me, then looked down towards my feet, then again looked at me.
I too looked at my own feet, just by instinct. What was wrong with my feet?
‘Elli hogbeku saar?’, (Where to, sir?) he asked, anxiety resonating in every syllable that came out.
‘KR Puram’
‘I’ll go through the main road, is it okay?’
‘Okay’, I replied, not understanding what he meant by the last statement. I didn’t know of any shortcuts or alleys to my destination.

I got in and he started moving. He didn’t speak anything till we reached 100ft road. The looming silence instantly changed into ear-shattering din. I heard something like a gasp of relief coming from the driver.

He turned his head when we had stopped at a traffic signal and asked something like, “Kannada maathadubeka?” (Do you speak Kannada?)
I understood what he meant and replied, “Kannada gothilla” (I don’t know Kannada)
“Hindi?”
“Oh. Hindi is okay”
[ Rest of the conversation was in Hindi, mostly a monologue. Translated to English. Everything in italics is whatever I thought, but didn’t say. ]
Driver: I almost escaped from that ghost today.
Me: What?
Driver: A ghost. She asked me for a ride. Said she will pay 200 rupees. Scared the shit out of me.
Me: *Oh really?*
Driver: She came in a car, said she wanted to go to ***** (I didn’t get the name of the place when he said it.) Offered to pay anything. These lady ghosts…once they enter our body, they will never leave us. Ask us all sorts of things. They won’t go until you die. You will be doomed.
Me: *Duh*
Driver: I just mustered enough courage to say No and get the hell out of there.
Me: Oh. Was that why you were driving so fast?
Driver: Obviously….She wanted to take me to a deserted place and possess me. After that, I would have no control over myself. I’ll lose my family and kids and will have to go after her. She won’t let me enjoy family life as I would have to satisfy her always.
Me: *[Evil grin]* You looked at my feet.
Driver: I was checking whether you were human; whether you had feet.
Me: Hehe. *Muhahahaha*
Driver: No sir, I was so freaked out. Really. In my village, we take special amulets and all from the priest. We are safe there. But there are no such safety precautions here in city.
Me: *All ghosts migrated to cities now. Yeah, I can see*
Driver: I think she was a Muslim ghost. That makes it even more difficult.
Me: Why so?
Driver: Because Hindu mantras won’t work on Muslim ghosts. You need Muslim mantras from Quran for those.
Me: *Boy! This is getting better and better*
Me: What did she look like? Was she wearing white saree?
Driver: I don’t know. She came in a car. Her hair was loose and wildly bushy. Her face was white.
Me: You mean fair skin?
Driver: No sir. It was white color. Like white paint was smeared. Only her eyes were brown.
Me: And she was driving a car.
Driver: Yes.

I suddenly remembered the ghost from the movie “The Ring”. Then the thought suddenly hit me squarely in my mind..like a 10-pin strike. It might just have been some ordinary lady who was careless enough to go out without removing her facial. The poor lady was mistaken for a ghost! Imagine her perplexed face when the driver had sped from her at breakneck speed!
Hell of a ghost story for me!!


I didn’t speak much for the rest of the journey. He was saying something, I just kept replying “Mm.Hmm”,”I see” etc. idly without listening to what he was saying.

We reached my destination. I checked the meter and gave him the money.
“One and a half meter charge, sir”
*Bloody hell! This guy had the nerves to ask for more money even in this condition.*
I argued, “What is the extra half for? Your ghost story?”

Terabithia and Imagination

I’m back with another post so soon! *BROAD GRIN*
Honestly, I thought that the chances of India winning the Cricket world cup was more than me posting once in a month. Thanks to some amazing blue-shirted superhumans (or subhumans), I’ll never ever have the doubt again.

I’ve been thinking about my blog of late. I realized that I’m confused about what to write. In fact, the only fact which I’m not confused about is that I’m confused about everything else. I was confused from the moment I created the punchline for my blog. That’s evident from the punchline itself. It’s always been cerebrations from my confounded mind. It’s always evoked laughter; either it was funny or it was so silly that you laughed at my plight. The only difference in the latter case was that the readers laughed away as they unsubscribed me from their feed reader thinking that this blog was a pile of crap. Because I see a steady dip in my readership of late. I think it is a vicious circle. A dip in readership makes me diffident and I don’t post often. That results in a further dip in reader count.
Anyway, instead of whining about this, I’ll write about something better.

The post actually starts here!
I remember I promised about several movie reviews long back. I’m afraid that’s not gonna happen. (Go on! I don’t mind you heaving a sigh of relief!)
It’s actually going to be about another movie (no..not a review), and how it reminded me of my childhood.
The movie is Bridge to Terabithia
When it was released, I tried to get tickets for that in PVR once, but they were sold out. Later, several of my friends said that it was pathetic and not worth watching. But being an avid lover of fantasy that I am, I couldn’t say no to a free show of the film yesterday.
My immediate response after the movie was over (It was just 1.5 hours) was “Yaaaawn!”
The movie indeed was not that good.
But all our senses are so deceptive. I couldn’t help thinking about the movie after watching it.
Then I started realizing that there was something different in the movie.
It is not the normal movie-ish story. Our mind is so corrupt that we expect stereotypes in “good movies”. And stereotypes are exactly what is missing in this movie. Even the bullies are not stereotypical.

The movie, simply put, asks you to keep an open mind and imagine…imagine as much as you can. It tells you that you can weave fantasy too. The way Lesley and Jesse imagine things up… I suddenly remembered all the fantasy which I created when I was a kid. I used to go to my dad’s ancestral house for summer vacations. It was a rural area with lots of paddy fields and more macadamized roads than asphalted ones. My grandmother and uncles used to live in the house which was surrounded by trees for about a mile in all directions. All were our land, with cultivation in a part of the land. I used to love the uncultivated land, because it was the best one to explore.

The protagonists in Terabithia swing across a river to woods, where their imaginary land of Terabithia starts. They have all wonderful creatures out there including a giant troll. (which, by the way, are an important ingredient in any fantasy! Sigh! I had enough of trolls)

Even I had a treehouse constructed atop a mango tree in my Terabithia. Although I didn’t imagine trolls and all, I imagined myself to be living atop trees (Don’t get the wrong idea now. I’m still human!)
My treehouse was a kind of outpost made of sheets of wood perched on the mango tree. There were multiple entries (I took a cue from the hideout of the Three Investigators). My uncle had made rope ladders with knots, or you could use the plain old way through the tree trunk. I even had ropes to swing like Tarzan. It was real fun. Everyday, I would climb the tree to my outpost and consider myself to be the guardian of the jungle, keeping vigil on everything around. My company was a small kitten whose name I don’t remember now. I used to make stories where little animals used to come to me with grievances and I, being a good ruler, give proper judgments and advices. I even used to invite my little brother atop, posing as a doctor treating his ailments. Everything was complete…even the background music which I hummed myself when I did something kingly.

I miss those days. This movie made me miss those days, which were forgotten till yesterday. It brought about a sense of nostalgia into me. The movie was not good from a reviewer’s perspective, but it was good from my perspective. It was a touching story.

I wish I had some good friend like Lesley in my childhood. I fell in love with Lesley and her Terabithia.

Friends Forever?

I had never seen the last season of “Friends” completely, albeit being a big fan of the series. The stupid jokes of Chandler, the I-want-a-girl-on-a-bread ideal of Joey, mental-case Monica, kinky Phoebe, confused Ross and “daddy’s girl” Rachel. All were so unique and so together.

I saw the entire last season on DVD last weekend. And now I wish I hadn’t seen that. Not because it didn’t make me laugh, but because it made me cry. It turned out to be a “sitcry” for me rather than a sitcom.
I just couldn’t bear the six energetic friends separating, because they were running after their own lives. I couldn’t bear to see the helplessness of Joey towards the few last episodes. Reminded me of the scene in “Dil Chahta Hai” where Saif Ali Khan looks helpless when his friends part their ways.
I broke down into tears. (And I’m not embarrassed to say that!)

There are some things in this world which are very important. Friendship, bravery, courage to face any obstacles in life. Family and friends are very important for me. Perhaps, that’s why I cried.

I’ve had lots of “friends” (My mom reckons its a truckload), ‘had’ with emphasis, because I’m not in touch with several of them.
Why did this happen?
Was something wrong with me?
I contemplated. I asked my own mind.
Was there a problem with me?
I didn’t think so. There wasn’t. The problem was with everybody.

I would do most things for my friends. “Anything” would a hyperbole. I am yet to find a human being who is 0% self-centered.
That was the problem!
The answer was already known. There are no unassuming people in this world. At least, none that I’ve met. (Of course you have to exclude your immediate family; they may be unassuming towards you, but not to an outsider.) People (including me) consider their own benefits before even thinking about anything else.

I am not trying to preach here; but I keep on thinking about these things every now and then. Maybe a tad of selfishness is necessary in today’s world. I’m not here to debate that. But I think we are missing something in the rat race for a better career and caring about self.

Can I live without friends? Answer is an absolute NO.

Own Goal

I know I haven’t posted in ages and I’m really sorry. I promise that there will be one in a couple of days.

Until then, keep laughing at this joke. This is a real “own-goal” cracked one of my friends under the influence of alcohol 😉 I think it will be a classic.

DAT: I am Don Corleone.

KP (with an expression of superiority and pride in his face, jumps the gun) : I am Michael Corleone.

DAT: Well, Hello, my dear son.

[Everyone else roll with peals of laughter]
[After some time KP realises what the laughter was for]

KP: Oh Shit. Bloody f***

Woes Reloaded

I know I haven’t blogged for a long long time, and I’ve lost half my readers. But I was busy with work…honest!!
Well. Now I’m back in India…without a paisa, with torn sandals and with a lot of headweight.

A few extra pounds
The woes started even before I reached India. I was royally pissed off right from the moment I started packing for my return. After I finished packing, the new rule about the liquid/gel/aerosol came into effect. That warranted some repacking. (Not because I was carrying liquid explosives or anything 😀 ) After several grueling hours and trying all combos, I was finally able to pack some stuff. I mean, the challenge was real and tough.

1. No liquid items in Cabin baggage. Most of the high-density items (heavy but less in size) were liquids, conditioners et al.)
2. Check-in weight limit is 50 pounds.
3. Cabin baggage is too small in size.

The results were:
- My check-in bags were exactly 50 pounds, but had lot of free space.
- My cabin strolley was literally stuffed with maximum items, but still underweight. (like me :P )
- Same was the case with my backpack.
- I had to return back two packets to their owners. I said I can't deliver them to India, use FedEx!! They said, FedEx gets washed away like it did with Chuck Noland in "CastAway".
- I had to ask my colleague, who is coming next week to carry one of my own items.


Around the airport in 80 minutes

Well. If you thought that was all, here’s more.
I reached O’Hare airport and checked in (to my relief, my baggages were exactly 50 and 50.5 pounds each. I was a bit doubtful about the rusty balance which I used back in my hotel room.)

Check-in finished…Security check also went through fairly smooth, except that they asked me to remove every single item in my pocket. ( The next thing that’s gonna happen is these psychopathic jehadis making an explosive from cotton, and passengers being asked to travel naked.) I went towards the gate. Went into the lounge…(What can I say.. This was about the only thing that was good in my journey.. I travelled in First Class.)

I started recalling the check-in process. It took a moment for that blow to strike my mind. Then it struck lethally. It was horror..It was insanity. I frantically checked my passport.
The I-94 stamping…
My colleague said that I needed the I-94 stamped when I was departing from US, otherwise I would get some royal treatment from immigration department when I come back next time…
It was not there.
I went and asked the American Airlines officials near the boarding gate. They said something silly which didn’t convince me. They asked me to go to the check-in counter to be sure. I went all the way back. At the check-in counter, an official didn’t allow me into the check-in desk. He said, the immigration things are to be handled by the immigration dept and they are in terminal 5. I had to catch the Airport Transit train and go there.
I met an officer there; she was a kind lady. She said there was no process in place to get it done from them, not for Indians. She explained that this is probably taken care of during check-in.
I went back to terminal 3, and this time managed to sneak inside the check-in queue and to the desk. The lady there explained everything to me. There was no stamping required in my passport. The I-94, which was now detached from my passport and reattached to my boarding pass, would be collected at the boarding gate. There will be Home Security officials to scan my Visa at the boarding gate. I can go to the gate without an worries.
I asked the questions again and again, just to be sure. The lady kept her cool anyway.
I was relieved… so much that the entire security check process, which I had to go thru again, was not that annoying.

So I went back to the lounge. The lady at the lounge reception, Sandi Dukach, (I had told her my issue, just before running out like a crazy man) asked if everything was in place. I told her the problems I had to go through.
She said, “Better be sure than be sorry.”
Exhausted after the end of the race, I replied, “Yeah!”

I was lucky that I had checked in well ahead of time, otherwise I would not have found time for this race.
Oh..I remember the name of the receptionist because she has a striking resemblance to actress Susan Sarandon, a fact that I told her too.

Insomnia
Back in Delhi, I checked in at Hyatt. No woes with the customs, luckily. I was planning to check out at 4.45, since my flight was at 6.35 am. So I scheduled a wake-up call at 4 am.

In the night, I was bitten by the insomnia bug, because of jet lag. I kept waking up at regular intervals of 15 minutes or so. Then there was a huge gap, after which I woke up. I checked my watch, it was showing 4.15. So much for these junkies. They don’t even give a wake-up call properly. I took a quick shower, then I called and said I would be checking out in 15 minutes.
Then I called my taxi-wallah, and asked him to come in about 20-25 minutes. He was perplexed, “At this time? But your flight is at 6.35, right?”
I checked my watch. It was showing 4.35.. But PM, not AM. The goddamn watch was still in World Time mode and was showing the time in Chicago. Actually, it was only 3.05 am in India. I apologized to the driver for disturbing him in the middle of night. Then called the receptionist and apologized to her as well, saying I lost sense of time.

Then I killed time by watching some Spanish movie (Do I know Spanish?) in TV till 4.45, then checked out.

The Joy of Flying
In Delhi domestic airport, I encountered another problem. Jet airways allowed only 30 kgs total check-in allowance. I started arguing. I took a connecting flight and my baggage weight is as per international norms. How am I supposed to rearrange the contents during transit! This was ridiculous. I refused to pay any extra amount for my baggage. I tried to convince the lady at the check-in counter. And I was successful, thanks to my charm and ability in wooing girls. (Ahem! Ahem!) She finally said she’ll waive the excess luggage because it was me. (Oops..because I was a business class traveler)

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani
For the sake of my readers who don’t know Hindi: the title means “Still my heart is Indian”

I reached Bangalore at long last, had a good sleep. When I woke up in the evening, I was really hungry. Moreover, my “headweight” was because of 3 months of no haircuts.
I decided to go to the salon and then to a restaurant. But my sandals were torn. I had to wear shoes just to walk about 20 meters. When I reached the barbershop, I realised that I had no money. (Indian Rupee, that is) So I decided to walk towards the nearest ATM. (My car was in my friends’ house) I walked all the way only to find the ATM was out of order.
So I came back, didn’t have a haircut, didn’t go to the restaurant and thought about ways to use my credit card. I called Pizza Hut, ordered a pizza. It is a pity that they have stopped Potato Wedges. That was one of the best things there. After eating my pizza, I tried to sleep…But I couldn’t…It was 12 AM you know!!!

Stranded

I don’t go looking for trouble…Trouble usually finds me

This time trouble found me at O’Hare International Airport, supposed to be the busiest airport in the world.

I could say why.. 4 domestic and 1 international terminal. About 40 boarding gates per terminal. One flight taking off or landing every 42 seconds! PHEW!

As I’m very interested in figures, I’ll add some more.

Crowd – overwhelming
Flights cancelled on Thursday evening – 63. (Did you see it right? It’s sixty-three)

I was about to go to Sacramento, CA, on Thursday. I took lots of effort to reach O’Hare airport that day.

After pushing my way through the crowd, I finally reached gate B1. I stood near B1 for another 1 hour, simply because all the seats were occupied. I went to check the flight status one last time before it was time to board. To my horror, it was shown as cancelled.

I started to panic now. What to do? I was really looking forward to meeting my aunt and cousin after a long 5 years and to watch my cousin’s dance debut. I went to the United Airlines representative near the gate. She told me to contact the Customer Service Desk. I went back. The queue for the customer service center was one gigantic snake which didn’t seem to end. Anyway, I had to stay in the queue.

I started looking for other options. I tried to find out the number of UA, but couldn’t. I called my uncle, but there was nobody at home and his cell was not reachable. There was no other option. I had to wait in the queue.

After about half an hour my uncle called back after hearing my voice message. I explained the situation and asked him if he could get their number for me. He called them instead and looked for alternatives.

No seats available for Friday also. But Saturday was too late for me. So I decided to cancel my ticket and book another one with Southwest Airlines from Midway airport. Unfortunately (yeah…right!!), UA had no tie-up with Southwest, so they couldn’t process that. The very way the UA person talked was as if they didn’t give a fart about the plight of their passengers because this was a FAA directive. So I had to cancel my journey with UA and book anew with Southwest. My uncle did an online booking with southwest.

Now it was almost 2 hours since I’d been standing in the queue, and I was not even halfway through the queue.
As I was talking to my uncle, I got another distraction from behind. The lady who was standing just behind me suddenly screamed and threw her cellphone down. I literally jumped from my place and at first thought that it was because of me. Then she told me that the f***ing phone was drained…that too when she was in the middle of a call with UA representative. She was going to Pittsburg, which was also cancelled. It is okay to get frustrated. But throwing your expensive cell phone was too much.

Anyway, my uncle was able to cancel my UA ticket online, and because I had no checked in baggage, I was able to quit the queue and go back home. I took a taxi. Reached hotel at around 12 am. Slept. Woke up at around 3 am. Drove to Midway airport. 3 hours sleep and no dinner/breakfast. That was a real bad experience.

Luckily, I had a stopover at LA airport. I had my usual veggie sandwich/French Fries/Coke at a McDonalds there.

Reached here finally. Will write about the rest in the next post.