Sunday, 29 March 2009

5 Things you should never do in public

There are times in your life when you could actually commit a murder. Some people go out of their way to rub you the wrong way or sometimes they manage to do it just by being themselves.

Here are a few of them.

1) Spitting in Public :

There are actually 3 types of Spitters

a) Casual Spitter : This one cares about no one and just spits because of habit and just because he wants his mouth to work for no reason. He will keep spitting the whole day regardless of the necessity of doing so. They are harmless in a sense.

b) Experienced Spitter(ES) :  These are the ones who eat paan, Paan Masala which gives them an opportunity to colour the world. Especially so, when they are travelling in India by a bus and an innocent bystander gets a nice dollop of their colourful spit on his clothes and gets coloured regardless of whether its Holi or not. 

He is actually like a painter in his own regard and the walls, the road and people's clothes are like a blank canvas to him, itching him to colour them Red and with what precise aim. They are practised spitters and will do so whenever they have an opportunity to display their hidden talents.

c) Specialist Spitter : Their technique is to reach out into the depths of their being and make a lot of efforts to bring out a gob of Phlegm (Wyack). They take intense pleasure in making noises (akin to a car engine when its refusing to start) and out comes a chunk of green which they spit out.

2) Urinating in Public : I can understand that nature calls have hit most of us at odd times and odd places, but there is something called as holding it in or rather finding a private place to relieve yourself. 

Who wants to step in puddles of urine on the sidewalk. Also when you are happily walking on the road and suddenly you get exposed to frontal nudity you want to run like hell or beat up that ass then and there.

3) Digging your nose: This is a complete no no for all adults. I can understand children indulging themselves in this hobby but why should it fascinate a grown up is beyond me. 

I have seen adults do this in public without a care in the world and with full concentration. It is as if they are panning for gold or digging diamonds from a mine. Once they hit jackpot, out comes the treasure and it is meticulously rolled into balls and I stopped looking after that.

I have seen an entirely new breed in the
UK. They follow the same principles of digging till making balls. After that, I've seen so many of them lapping it up as if it is nectar (Gross). I feel like saying this to them 'If you lack certain vitamins, there are ample varieties available at the pharmacy. You do not need to be such a miser to eat your own excretement. Remember we are not ANIMALS!!!'.

4. Touching Yourself: They are especially men (I am not doing any discrimation). They will ambush an unsuspecting public by suddenly touching themselves for no reason whatsoever. If any adjustments need to be done please do so in the privacy of your home. We do not want to turn red with embarrasment when you are in a mood to play around. Neither do we find this certain type of action arousing if there has been any miscommunication on our part.

5. Ladies there is a thing called a Purse :  This category thinks purses are useless and a sheer waste of money. Who needs one when you can actually make good use of your undergarment. These women use their undergarment for holding keys, money, handkercheifs and what not. An unsuspecting bhaji wala (Vegetable Vendor) is usually a victim of these women. After buying the vegetables they just whip their hands inside their blouses to bring out the cash. If all of us start doing that then very shortly brands like 'Leiber', 'Dior' and 'Prada' will have to close down their shops and start designing 'Bras with wallets'.

There are many more things which are a complete no-no when you are in Public. The length of this list is endless as more people commit innovative faux pas.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Happy Gudi Padwa to you all

I would Like to wish all my blogging friends a very Happy New Year.

Gudi Padwa marks the beginning of the New Year to the Maharashtrians. The advent of a new year heralds new hopes, new dreams and greater chances of prosperity and wish fulfillment and so it is celebrated with a lot of joy and pompousness throughout Maharashtra. Gudi Padwa, also known as Ugadi, is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, which according to the Gregorian calendar would fall sometime at the end of March and the beginning of April. This festival is supposed to mark the beginning of 'Vasant' or spring. According to the 'Brahma Purana', this is the day on which Brahma created the world after the deluge and time began to tick from this day forth. According to Hindu mythology, on the day of Gudi Padwa, Brahma created the universe. It is also believed that it was on this day that Lord Rama killed Bali. It is one of the three and a half days in the Hindu calendar when each and every moment of the day is auspicious.

Unrestrained merriment marks the celebrations of Gudi Padwa. There are several rituals and customs that are associated with the celebration of this festival.

After waking up early in the morning, people clean their homes and decorate the floors with beautifully drawn rangolis. Some even prefer to keep a pot with coconuts, flowers and mango leaves just outside their home. They clad themselves in new clothes as well. Tasteful sweet dishes like shrikhand and jalebis are savored by the people. The ardor and excitement of the people on the occasion of celebration of Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra is great.

Traditionally, families are supposed to begin the festivities by eating the bittersweet leaves of the neem tree. Sometimes, a paste of neem leaves is prepared and mixed with ajwain, gul, tamarind and jaggery. All the members of the family consume this paste, which is believed to purify the blood and strengthen the body's immune system against diseases. The Prasad that you will get in any of the Maharashtra households on the occasion of Gudi Padwa is very different. It is made out of tender Neem leaves, tamarind, Ajwain, gram-pulse and jaggery. According to popular belief, this Prasad strengthens your immunity system and you can fight diseases better.

A 'gudi' is a pole on top of which an upturned brass or silver pot called a kalash is placed. The gudi is covered with a colourful bright green or yellow silk cloth adorned with brocade (zari), and decorated with coconuts, marigolds and mango leaves that symbolize nature's bounty. The floor before Gudi is adorned with rangoli. Gudi, meaning Brahma's flag (Brahmadhvaj), is hoisted by people on the day of Gudi Padwa, as a symbol of victory of good over evil. On Gudi Padwa, you will find gudis hanging out of windows or otherwise prominently displayed in traditional Maharashtrian households.

Gudis are also displayed as they are expected to ward off evil and invite prosperity and good luck into the house.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

House wifely Husbands

Things have been really rocking in our corner of the universe. There has been a switch in 'Job Profiles' of the (oh! so typical) dutiful wife and the bread winning Husband.

I know, I know, things are changing in India too. I have met Hubby's who cook and help their wives with chores in the house and take pride in the fact that, they are very different from their fathers. Frankly, no matter how much modern or free thinking Indian men are, very few can actually let go of that typical mentality of bossing over their wives and generally having their own way.

This is not a 'Male bashing Session' but just a general observation on my part and thoughts shared by countless number of women friends.

Where was I? ..umm...yeah the job profile switch...

Getting back to it....

Yesterday, we had invited over friends for dinner. They are 'S' the Hubby('A' s classmate), 'M' (his wife) and two kids. They are Indians and live just next door to us.

With the recent recession, things have been slow for both 'A' and 'S' on the job front. They have picked up projects, but are still waiting for a juicy offer. They both work from home. Whereas, 'M' & I have steady jobs. We both step out of the house everyday and come back in the evening after a hard days work.

The entire burden of household chores now falls on our hubby's shoulders. Right from cooking, cleaning and dusting the house to shopping for groceries and paying utility bills. Its a welcome change for both 'M' and me not to be haggled by household stuff. Its such a liberating feeling.

While having dinner, the men had this conversation

A: How was your day??
S: It was good...just a bit tired.
A: why? what happened?
S: Oh had to get up early in the morning, drop the kids to school and they had made a mess in their room.
A: hm mm
S: I was busy cleaning it till noon.Even forgot to have my breakfast.
A: arre, but why did you not take a break?
S: I just wanted to get it over with and then had to make lunch also...'M' comes back at 2 o'clock from work and she would be hungry.
A: Hmmm 'Aquarius' takes her lunch so I just make something for myself.
S: The work is endless. After I finish making Lunch I load the washing machine and then go pick kids up from school...
A: Yeah even I had to finish some work for my client...
S: I am just so caught up in work that I don't realise how my day gets over...
A: yeah!! I can understand...its the same for me. Quite tiring....

'M' and I just gave each other knowing looks and secret smiles....finally the 'Indian Woman' has arrived !!!!

P.S: Names have been changed for privacy and this post is an appreciation and acknowledgement of all the hard work 'S' and 'A' are doing. This is also a hint to the 'Typical' Indian man to take some pointers from them.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Secret of a Happy Married Life

Once I asked Friend, "What is the secret behind your happy married life?"

Friend said, "You should share responsibilities with due love and respect to each other. Then absolutely there will be no problems."

I asked, "Can you explain?"

Friend said, "In my house, I take decisions on bigger issues where as my wife decides on smaller issues. We do not interfere in each other's decisions."

Still not convinced, I asked Friend "Give me some examples"

Friend said," Smaller issues like which car we should buy, how much amount to save, when to visit home town, which Sofa, air conditioner, refrigerator to buy, monthly expenses, whether to keep a maid or not etc are decided by my wife. I just agree to it"

I asked, "Then what is your role?"

Friend said," My decisions are only for very big issues. Like whether America should attack Iran, whether Britain should lift sanction over Zimbabwe , whether to widen African economy, whether Sachin Tendulkar should retire, whether IPL should be played in India or S.A/UK etc etc.

P.S.: Borrowed from a email forward by a friend.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Superman needs to go on a diet

Please check out the video below...I got this as a forward from a friend. I died laughing...

A few thoughts came to mind...

1) Why does he look like a bad version of Elvis?

2) What does 'H' stand for?

3) Where are his Red Undies??

4) He does need to go on a diet real fast....stop eating Rice and hogging on Idlis.

5) I simply loved his dance routine.

6) How come Jayaprada could keep a straight face while dancing with that Joker?

Any more thoughts folks....I am so eager to hear your reactions.

'Driving Mr. A'

People who live in India or lived in India and learnt driving a car on the busy roads of major cities know that its nothing but the 'Survival of the Fastest'.

We Indians, have a unique way of manoeuvring our vehicles through people with road rage, endless number of pedestrians, street hawkers, crazy kids on bikes, aunties on 'Activas' with 'as slow as you can go' syndrome, the beggars and lastly the cows and dogs littering the road and bringing traffic to an absolute standstill whenever, they have the desire to just hibernate in the middle of the street.

Added to this chaos is the endless horn blowing by some mindless freak. As if the red light at the traffic stop is just a minor hindrance in his way.

Its been a pleasant experience walking on the streets of Lancaster. I am never in fear of being run down by some smart ass with a foot on the pedal.

We moved from the University 6 months(after 'A' finished his MBA) to town. We felt the need of a car after lugging groceries in the shivering cold. This prompted 'A' to get a UK driving licence. Here the process of getting a driving licence for the car is quite tedious. You apply for a learners licence then you have to first learn the rules and give mock tests online and then go for a written test. If you pass that, only then can you give the practical exam. Thankfully they drive on the same side of the road as we do.

'A' having cleared his written exam is now taking driving lessons for the practical test. He has been driving in India since he was 18. Learning these new rules is unnerving him since, the Brits have really strict rules. I have known people who have been driving for 20 years in India but who failed the practical test 3 times.

Unlearning the Indian driving tactics and adapting new ones is not so easy . The errors are not so much in the way you drive but are more so about the rules. Where to stop, when to stop, how to signal, how to approach a turn, a traffic signal or how to even stop your car. 'A' is at his wits end. Thankfully the instructor is a gentle soul quite unlike the instructor of one of our friend has, who gets frantic and frustrated and loses his marbles entirely.

I too will be going through this arduous process quite soon.

This post is making me miss India so much. I miss the traffic, the smells and the noise of horns ...nostalgia makes me think of the song...

' Babu samjho ishare, horn pukare...pum pum pum..'
'Yahan chalti ko gadi kehte hain pyare pum, pum pum.'

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Hairy Tales

'A' and I have this long standing tradition of arguing just before I plan to have a haircut. Its a finely tuned ritual with each of us playing our well rehearsed parts.

'A' never wants me to cut my hair and says I look better with long hair. I tend to disagree (Well, what's the fun if you give in). The other reason being I think I look better in shorter hair, younger and also its manageable.

After completing the ritual, I got dressed and left for work, an hour earlier. Being quite impulsive on a lot of things, I can never ever book appointments for any of the beauty regimes. Never did that in India and am not about to change here. So I popped into a swanky looking Hair Salon. After looking at the charges I started praying inwardly ...Please god, please let them not be free for an appointment. The cost of one haircut could feed an entire Indian family for a whole month.

God heard my prayers and I moved on to my ever dependant salon whose charges were decent and did not put me in ' Pounds to Rupees' conversion mode. Thankfully I was the first customer and so the stylist (new country , new name ) as usual asked me what I wanted. I told her to chop off the hair that keeps falling on my eyes and makes it really bugging when you are trying to work. That really brought out a horrified look from her which quickly changed to a look of pity (poor women, completely clueless about fashion.... tch tch ).

I told her to suggest something and she spoke about 'flicks' and 'layers' and other such jargon's which completely muddled me up and I ended up just nodding my head and agreeing to what she said.

After washing my hair their was an elaborate array of clips on my head holding up my hair. The stylist started clipping my wayward strands in to some shape. After that came some 'Mousse' to curl up my hair and then blow dry.

I looked up in the mirror and I liked my look and I bounced off to work with a big smile on my face. All this happened two days ago.

Today after washing my hair I performed the same procedure and to my utter frustration in spite of spending considerable amount in making up those curls my hair is sticking at all odd places and is completely 'uncurlable'...

Why o' why does it always happen that you look great when you step out of a hair salon, but you can never ever do that same magic on your own limp hair??

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Funnily enough

As traditions of weird things happening in my life, I had a hilarious experience today afternoon...

If you have read my blog post 'Me, Myself and Me again'. Point No. 16 in that blog, raised its ugly head yet again. But, being in 'phoren' lands its nature was a bit different.

Lancaster is shedding the blanket of cold and is now welcoming spring with open arms. Today the weather was very pleasant. Bright and sunny with just a tad of chill in the air. I took this opportunity to spend my lunch break in sunshine. There is a small park just walking distance from my office. Check out the picture below:

I was sitting here on the bench in the bottom left hand side of this picture.

I was happily reading a book basking in the wonderful sunshine when a 'firang' chap (decent looking maybe in his 40's) asked me if he could sit on the bench next to me as all others were already occupied. I scooted to the extreme left so he could sit down.

Just out of politeness I made a bit of small talk about the weather and got back to my book. Suddenly this chappie got a burst of enthusiasm and started chatting with me and telling me about his trips to Australia, France, India and Malaysia.

He spoke about 'Varanasi aka Benares, and how he saw a funeral pyre there and how much he loved the experience of travelling in India. I was listening to him politely and all was fine. Then the conversation veered towards the unexpected. Here is how it went

Chappie : I am going to have a bit of alcohol now...
Me: [(Things going around in my brain -TGAIMB )OMG he is going to booze in this park in the middle of the afternoon].
Me: OK then, I got to go back to work as my Lunch Break is nearly over.
Chappie : Oh Please, I won't drink if you are embarrassed
Me: TGAIMB - who gives a help I gotta escape right now.
Me: Anyway I gotta go, it was nice talking to you.
Chappie : Do you come here everyday.
Me: TGAIMB. Oh man!!! I can never come to this park again. WTF??
ME: Sometimes
Chappie : Would you be here tomorrow around 2 o'clock then??
Me: TGAIMB - In your dreams buddy...Piyakkad kahin ka...
Me: Possibly....
Chappie : Well see you tomorrow then..
Me: smiling (as if I've swallowed a centipede...)

I just started walking when he spoke again.

Chappie : Oh by the way....I hope you are not married or anything...

I was about to roll on the floor with laughter....I turned back and gave him a biggggggg smile and said 'Yes I am' and just walked off.

Well, this was another unique experience to add to my list of unique experiences.

Now, I have to be just on the lookout for that guy (Lancaster is a pretty small town) and abandon the idea of going to that park for at least a month or two.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Coffee on the Canal

Today was a weird weather day. I woke up to snowy showers. By the time I got ready it was sunny. In the afternoon it started snowing heavily again and when I reached home after work it was sunny again. I did not want to miss this first glimpse of the approaching Spring.

I woke 'A' from his deep afternoon-evening siesta and dragged him to a pub which is on a canal at a very picturesque location near our house. I clicked some photos of our coffee date.

Here are a few of them. It was sunny but bitterly cold.....some might call us insane to be sitting out in the cold but it was a marvellous impromptu outing.

The Pub

View across the Canal

'A' all Bundled up.

Delicious Cappucino !!!!

I am wondering who roams topless in this cold :)

On the way to the pub.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Do Indians need Shock Therapy ??

I came back home from work sometime back and found an Indian friend (From Delhi) having a cup of coffee with 'A'. I joined the conversation and we started talking about 'How the Thullas (Policeman) make life miserable for Businessmen in Delhi". How at every junction a person needs to grease the hands right from Policemen Clerks and Bureaucrats to get his work done. Be it a simple a telephone connection or to paying his sales tax.

'Corruption', It has become such a part and parcel of life that we just turn a blind eye towards it. When things come to such a stage when you need to pay money to open the doors of your own shop, then where and when is it going to end???

I had an interesting experience at work today. Our company won a lawsuit with another company and I had called up to enquire about when our payment was to get released.

Imagine this happening in India. I am calling up xyz co and speaking to a babu (Clerk) who works in the accounts Department.

Me: Hello I am calling from ABC Co's accounts department. Just wanted to know whether you have received the court order...

Babu: Kaunsa court case.....??

Me: Case number .......

Babu: Tum logon koi kaam dhande hai ki nahi....nahi dete paisa kya kar loge

Me: Sir I just wanted to know when you will be releasing our payment...?

Babu: Kaunsa paisa kahanka Paisa....Hume koi court order nahi mili ka result abhi aaya hi kahan hai

me: Arre court ka order aa gaya hai...

Babau: Madam aap kaunsi duniya mein hai....India mein itni jaldi koi case ka result aata hai kya...abhi 5-6 saal baad phone karna...

My actual experience went like this

Me: Hello there I am calling from ABC co. Just wanted to know whether you have received the court order.

Accountant : Hello Yes we have received the court order and I have already handed it over to our Finance director.

Me: When can I expect a payment??

Accountant: Our director has already written to the court and the matter is in his hands now.

Me: Please could I get his email address so I can write to him and get a feedback.

Accountant: Sure why not...his email id is.....

Today I did not have to argue or call up numerous times. I got my answers in that one phone call. The accountant never tried to dodge me.

This experience gave a jolt to my thinking and really made me feel aware of how different things could be. We blame it on our culture. We are waiting for someone else to change the way things function. Educated people like us also grease a policeman's hand (When caught without a valid drivers Licence)by paying 50 Rupees to make our life easier. We also have that 'Chalta hai' complacent attitude which needs to be abandoned.

Have we become so immune and apathetic to injustice that we have forgotten how better and easier life can be without corruption. When things will get done not because you had to pay additional money, but since it was your right.

Oh!!!what a wonderful day that will be. To live in such a India!!!

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