The Flight to Paraguay

I am amazed at the things people will throw their time and effort into. Look at this person. He is obviously smart: he sold tickets on his site,  he had two agencies and he created a whole ecosystem to support his airline. He even had advertising on the radio promoting his airline. He only forgot one small thing: The actual airplanes.

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/10/25/fraudster-fools-folks-with-fake-flights/

When you start a restaurant, do you first get the food ready or  prepare the food based on how many people get there? Maybe that was the problem that stumped him with the airline business. Nevertheless, here is a person who has product management, brand management and marketing skills doing the wrong things. People I tell you.

I wonder what happened to the Paraguayans who came to the airport lock, stock and barrel. What a lot of bother for them.

PS: Sounds like a nice title for a short story. Any weird ideas occur to you around this theme, please let me know. I would love to read them.

The Art of Braggarts

“Do you like to feel important and busy?”

I can rely on the daughter to ask me scorching questions like this, at the most unexpected of times. I hemmed and hawed, for truth be told, I have a paragraph answer to this question. I told her that I did like to feel a bit important and be busy doing the right things. Before we could go down the path of what classifies as the right things, I send the question back to her in the same tone she asked me: mildly curious to see what the answer will be. I mentally prepared for either a serious conversation or a perfectly goofball-ish one.

“What about you? Do you like to feel important?”

She laughs with a sound that reminds me of a train on a bridge. “Everyone likes to feel important and busy amma. Do you know how kids like to brag about how busy they are?”

“No..how do they do that?”

“Some kids brag about their homework. We honestly don’t have much, but everybody likes to say ‘Oh! we have 6 pages, we have 9 pages.’ Some of them even take empty sheets from the printer, so their stack looks bigger than the rest amma! Like it matters.”

Wow…I had no idea that training starts this early. She is, after all, still in Elementary School. From there to walking around with print-outs looking important in company hallways does not seem that big a step. I am now agog to know more. “What about you? Do you brag?” I ask her.

“Sometimes, but not much. I do a little bit of homework bragging. Everybody is a bragger in some way or the other, you know?”

Well, I knew some people are better at bragging than others, and also that tools such as Facebook are always there to give the reticent a little nudge. I hmm-ed meditatively.

She continued, “There are Homework braggers, Dress braggers, Thinnest braggers, Fattest braggers (mostly boys by the way), Can-break-pencils braggers, Im-the-Smartest braggers and I-am-the-fastest braggers (also, mostly boys). One boy in my class: he is a can-break-pencils bragger. He bragged that he can break pencils on his nose. So, we asked him to do it, and he said he needs to go to the bathroom. He goes there, breaks it, probably on his leg, and comes and says he broke it on his nose. But his nose wasn’t even broken! ”

Braggart Art
Braggart Art

I am sure there are more bragging classifications as we mature. The Busy Bragger, Award Bragger, Most Liked Bragger and so on. What brag types can you think of? The Art of cooking up more bragging categories? I am sure this will be an interesting exercise.

The Car Chase

The morning was pure adrenaline. We witnessed a high speed car chase. One of the cars navigated a steep bend at speeds best not attempted,and plunged into the deep, watery depths below. The rescue team that arrived with a great deal of noise onsite was not happy with the scenario. Luckily, the driver was fine: slightly wet and disturbed about the car, but otherwise perfectly fine.

The car was a blue car, probably a spy car, and the curve it was navigating before hitting the watery depths below felt like it was straight from a movie. Wait a minute. It was. There is a scene exactly like that in Cars 2, the Disney Pixar movie, where the spy car Finn plunges into the ocean. That is the scene the toddler was hoping to recreate this morning I am sure. He was driving the toy car at a great speed around the toilet seat, and the car lost its balance and plunged into the (thankfully clean) toilet. Before he could flush the toilet and create more fuss than was already reigning, the rescue team comprising of the grandparents with sticks and gloves arrived on scene, blaring their sirens er.. instructions.

 

Spy car chase
Spy car chase

The car was picked out of the commode gingerly. It was then washed and cleaned in Dettol. The same treatment was accorded to the driver, who unfortunately had watched the car splash impressively into the toilet from a close angle, and had water splashed down his shirt. The car has since been dried and put to rest in a comfortable position.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I would like to get back to some normal tasks.

 

The Affectionate Amby

I suppose this always happens in the world of fashion. You look at skinny models in high heels tottering with the confidence of a skyscraper on skates, and you see the perfect lines, and flatbeds where ordinary people settle for curves.  Then you stop to wonder what the competition is about. Sometimes, you pause enough to look down at your own feet and the sensible footwear below the matter-of-fact trousers with extra pockets for carrying the cellphone. Then you think, why isn’t there glamour in practicality?

Why aren’t the world’s most stunning personalities cased in things that the everyday man and woman wear while they go about their lives?

I often think that way in the world of cars too. I remember the first time I showed my mother a Ferrari on the streets of USA. “Where else in the World, other than California, would you find a Ferrari parked on the street between a BMW and a Mercedes Benz?” I asked her, clearly excited to be showing her the sights.

In her typical fashion, she looked critically at the car, and said, “Looks like an expensive car.”

“Of course ma! Do you know how much it costs?”

“Doesn’t matter what it costs! It looks like we can’t fit our groceries in the trunk. So, what is the point?”

Sigh: There is a reason, I find glamour in practicality. It is called ‘instilled values’ folks.

Anyway, applying practicality to cars, it looks like the show Top Gear finally sees sense in my argument. Those who have traveled in an ambassador car in India would be thrilled to note the humble car mentioned. For what else is a car by looks, a horse by power, a bus by capacity, an optimist in attitude and a dog in loyalty?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/top-gear/10157181/Top-Gear-series-20-episode-2-BBC-Two-review.html

The Amby
Ambassador alias Amby

The Hindustan Ambassador is the King among Taxis. The only car where restaurant signs can be reused in a car: Seating Capacity: 30

The Car, that in most families, is known affectionately as the ‘Amby’.

I have a story about the time my grandmother came to my sister’s wedding in an ambassador car, but I will save it for another day. That is an entertaining read for sure.

P.S: I have since seen the video clip of the Amby winning that race and it seems to be because all the others crashed into something or into one another. Nevertheless, the Amby it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbP-GhH5Ci4

!(The Mad Hatter of Modern Times)

I have been known to do things that are, to put it as simply as possible, nuts. Take for instance what I did last evening. It was that tricky time between twilight and night. The sounds of the night had started and the sounds of twilight had retired, but night had not fully fallen, nor twilight completely faded. Among the community of the street lights, the ones looking forward to a night’s work were glowing, while others were flickering hesitantly.

I saw an elderly couple walking on the road when I was walking briskly towards them. When they were a few yards away from me, one of them started jogging mildly. What do you think I did in response? I wish I had a points system for the person who guesses best, but I don’t. So, at this point, please remember your answer and if you have the time, please let me know in the comments. Or better yet, maybe you can try the same and let me know the result.

Here is what you do when you see an elderly couple jog/walk towards you on the road. You pull yourself to a hard stop in the middle of the road, bury your hands in your palms and look down, smiling and waiting to see what happens. It is important that you think you are invisible. That is critical to the reception you will receive.

Hide-n-seek
Hide-n-seek

I noticed the other person had started jogging too. This jogging couple looked mildly worried as they passed me, and they made a sweeping, swerving motion, giving me a wide berth to give stage to my many eccentricities. I looked up and burst out laughing causing them to jog faster than before. They looked like they’d seen the Mad Hatter of Modern Times, and my laugh was construed as Hysterical. It is not true I tell you. Simply not true. I am in complete possession of my marbles.

Let me explain, it is important to me that my readers do not write off my sanity this early. Regular readers know I have a toddler son. What they don’t know is that he likes playing hide-n-seek. Ask any mother, and she gushes at all the new skills her offspring is picking up. Even so, I did not have high hopes for him, given his sister’s hide-n-seek history. It is chronicled here for future reference, and a picture attached.

(Read here: https://nourishncherish.wordpress.com/2007/02/26/hide-n-seek/)

Hard Places
Daughter’s hide-n-seek

The son takes it a step further. He does not go through the trouble of finding a place to hide. He simply puts his head down, hides his head in his palm and smiles in the middle of the road. It is the seekers duty to look all around him and then feign surprise a minute later at finding him. Obviously, a strategy as sophisticated as this has its own jokes in the family.

Going back to what happened to that hapless couple that night: The problem was that I mistook them for my parents. I thought they were imitating me by trying to jog, and I thought I will one-up them by hiding like the little fellow. All a laughable mistake of course.  But I did not see them laughing. They looked worried and hurried off.

Now, I hope their counselor finds this blog and counsels them wisely.

 

RIP Mr. Bharathan

In the days of yore, kings and queens vied with each other to send their children to study in the Ashram nestled among Eucalyptus groves and blue hills. The rain filled clouds were said to induce the human condition to be inspired and to inspire alike. In that ashram lived a quiet, unassuming man the princes and princesses loved. Apparently, he could make a mere child soar like a kite, fly through a roaring fire toughening them to battle fire-breathing dragons later in life and stand upside down on a pyramid of people. It was rumored that when he threw a disc, it could slice through the air with a sound of a thundering Astra.

All year long, the disciples practised and when the kings and queens came to watch, they were amazed at what their young could achieve. The teacher was really making children jump through hoops of fire, stand upside down on a pyramid of people and running with them wearing immaculate white as they stood in formation for a gymnastics performance.

ring of fire

This man was none other than dear Mr Bharathan, our Physical Education teacher. He was a pleasant, contented man and most importantly, he was always there for and with us on the field. He was there urging you to run a little harder, bend over backwards just a little bit more than you thought possible during gymnastics, play badminton with you, or check out your bruised ankle.

He was an excellent companion on the blue-school-bus rides. He sat through the exuberance of winning a tournament smiling and listening to us singing songs of victory. He was also there for us through the quiet rides back home after being beaten badly by a rival team, with a nod signaling that all was not over yet: with strategy and more work, there was a possibility of a comeback.

He imbibed the ‘Never Give In’ spirit as only a true sportsman could. Thank You Sir for all you have done for generations of Lawrencians. We will miss you, as we practise what you taught us all those years ago in the Sports field, in our everyday lives. May your soul rest in peace.