A Stone’s Throw

The missiles were landing continuously. One even hit the window hard. Everyone looked up startled – we thought these were times of peace – where were these coming from? The shopkeepers stepped out, and spent a silent moment pondering who will muster the courage to stop this attack.

All eyes were fixated on a six year old boy with mischief writ large on his black eyes, and a large pebble in each hand. As he aimed and threw a larger stone this time, he gleamed with pleasure and looked around for accolades. There were none forthcoming, and the poor boy, in his mistaken stake at fame continued with renewed vigour. The saloon owner stepped forward and “Ahoy”-ed the boy, and said:

“Can you stop doing that please? Thank you!”

The boy said “Sure”, and simply changed the direction of his stone-rain.

I could not help thinking of the same situation in India. Fat chance the boy would have got a “Please” and a “Thank you” in the same sentence for his deed! He would most probably have had an assortment of expletives muttered before being asked to cut it out! But, the point is this: the boy listened, and the fact still remains that an adult did manage to stop a boy from pelting stones at his shop window.

Just the vast difference in the manner it was handled was interesting to note.

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VM Vs ME

Life always gives everybody moments to cherish and nourish. I am sure most call-center representatives talk to customers with a gargantuan effort to stop from splitting their sides at our stupidity. Today, I have the supreme satisfaction of livening up a family’s dinner table with my knowledgeable call to my cell-phone’s customer service.

I have a cell-phone with keeps blinking to my face that I have n voicemails. I tried telling it, that I KNOW I have n voicemails, I just can’t retrieve it! My voicemail has been password protected (and my password works no longer) to ensure that nobody else retrieves my voicemails. I am trying to think of one person who is interested in messages left for a pearl-aged mother of a 2 year old, and draw a blank.

After a couple of indignant phone calls from my friends who had to repeat the message again, since I had no method of listening to their winding messages, I called customer service, and it went like this:

She: Sure Ma’am. Resetting your password should be easy to do.
Me: Gee….thanks

A minute later, she said I am all set.

I breezed into the voicemail, and the automated conversation took an ugly turn:
VM: Please enter your password
Me: —-#
VM: Please enter your password — in a more indignant tone, but that’s entirely my perception
Me: —-#
VM: Sorry you are having trouble, please try again later. Beep.

The blasted thing just blew me off! Perseverance thy name being me, I persevered.
I huffed and puffed, and called customer service again. Several calls later (Both to customer service and my VM), I was getting more and more piqued with the utter callousness with which the system cut me off while I was interacting with it.

The system kept cutting me off on my face. I pick my battles, but this one was rubbing itself on me the wrong way. I was ticked off, and intended to show it a piece of its own abyssmal behaviour. So, I called VM, and when it asked for the password, I disconnected – Ha Ha!!

Throughout this drama, I had Mike sitting on the other side displaying a remarkable restraint from popping out of his chair and laughing. I know what his family hears at the dinner table tonight!

PS: I still can’t access voicemail, so, don’t bother leaving me a message!

Till another Renaissance

I.D.Iot was a proud man. His single contribution to the world of Science was purely unimaginable. He had a series of startling discoveries to his credit, and his genius mind had put every single grain of truth to use to change the world in the most remarkable way. I.D.Iot prided himself on his thoroughness and had painfully documented every startling discovery in his vaporizing sheets. The idea behind these vaporizing sheets was simple. He help the passkey phrase, and on whispering the passkey phrase to soap bubbles, the sheets would appear – a ton of information regarding atoms, elements, wormholes, time warps and what-have-you.

I.D.Iot was around for generations. He had mastered the art of travelling to the planet near a black hole where time barely passed, and consequently aged slower than most mortals. He was an amiable man with a humble demeanour, and his intentions were always noble. He had in him, as much knowledge to destroy as to create. He never once thought of destruction. He was considered God by virtue of all the above.

Now he lay dying. His time was up. He was tired and could not muster the energy to take up the time travel to rejuvenate himself. He had wanted to pass on to his most trusted follower access to all his learnings. His memory was failing him – but he knew the key to the vaporizing sheets had to do with the theme that “Everything was made up of atoms”, and that’s what he muttered when he died.

His disciples tried hard to get the sheets, but failed. Instead of using the knowledge they had from I.D.Iot, they spent time trying to retrieve his work. Time passed and only the mantra got passed down from generation to generation: none of the knowledge.

The idiot mantra was unquestionable.

The querulent few who did question what atoms were made of were quickly rebuked as mavericks and the world settled into a state of knowledge inertia. What we don’t know can’t hurt us. IDIOT was there to protect the world.

And so it goes, till another Renaissance was born.

Trying to contact…

We are trying to contact Karthik.

Any South Indian knows the futility of this statement before they hit the full-stop. I am a bit fuzzy on the statistics, but it surely figures in the top 10 list of most frequent names. You see my parents-in-law and his parents became friends when they last visited here. Time passed…Karthik changed apartments and moved on. Now I want to contact them without their contact information.

I have a friend who works in the same company Karthik works for, and I shot him an email asking for Karthik’s contact information. So, he must’ve dutifully contacted the Karthik and within the hour, I had all his phone numbers.

My husband (H) called him and this is how the conversation must have looked:
H: Hello…..May I talk to Karthik?
K: Yes…..that’s me
H: Eh……how are you? So, did you guys move?
K: No…..why, and who is this?H: Introduces himself – ** Still not sure because he doesn’t sound anything like Karthik**How is Chitra doing?
K: Who Chitra? My wife’s name is Lakshmi.
H now feels that the conversation is not going as well as it should. So, he volunteers more irrelevant information
H: Oh, doesn’t Chitra work at Google?
K: Chitra may be working at Google, but I am married to Lakshmi.

At which point, H would have found it prudent to end the conv. BTW, the above piece of conversation is purely fictional. Point is: We got a different Karthik.
So, I shot off another email to aforesaid friend, and qualified it saying: He speaks the Coimbatore dialect of Tamil.

So, now what would my friend do with this useless piece of information? Stick a mike to another Karthik and ask him to say a few words in Tamil to validate?

I can’t stop myself from giggling while imagining the following:
1) The quizzical look on Karthik’s face when my friend approached him for contact information. He must have thought that his parents sphere of influence extends far & wide, and given him the numbers anyway.
2) The increasingly embarrassing conversation between the husband and the above Karthik.
3) Friend sticking a mike to all the Karthiks in the company and asking them to say a few words in Tamil (Thankfully, there was only 1 person by this name, and we had already established that he is not the person we were looking for)

Salmon

We had just moved to Coimbatore (a city bustling at the foothills of the Nilgiris), and within a few days had several offers from prospective maids. We recruited the one who was amongst the first few to approach us, and had a strong recommendation from our neighbour. She was a sturdy lady in her sixties, and weilded a broom like a brickbat. She was a lady of few words, and generally nodded her way through the home. If she had to sweep, she would, whether or not you were in the wake of the broom’s sweep. If you were prudent and nimble, you would jump away from its wake.

Usually, we were up about the time she came, and so were in possession of our mental faculties to escape the broom. One day, my brother, after a late night movie was sprawled out in front of the TV on a straw mat, and was asleep when she arrived. She had decided to give herself an oil massage before coming, and stepped into the home beaming like Durga Devi. She was dark complexioned, her eyes were red (probably with the heat and fury of her oil massage). With the shining oil, all she had to do was stick out her tongue, which incidentally was extremely red thanks to the betel leaves that she relished, and she was all set to attract the most ardent devotees!

My hapless brother was probably smiling in his dreams when he stirred at the sound of the broom swishing around him, and to date I can visualise his extremely adroit move that was pretty much how salmons travel upstream. He leaped from his supine position on the floor to the sofa in one graceful move and his eyes didn’t blink for an entire minute.

PS: Don’t ask me why I came up with this post, I was reading about the migrating patterns of salmons, and this incident came to my mind!