Monday, February 26, 2007

Punjabi Aunty

I work for a technology company. One day, at work, I met this fat Punjabi aunty, like the ones womanning counters in Indian grocery stores. She was decorated with giggly smiles, gaudy salwar kameez, gold jewellery and a pair of white Wal Mart tennis shoes. I wondered what a grocery store clerk was doing in a technology company. Perhaps a caterer? A female security guard? Inter-site shuttle driver? I couldn’t figure out.

I became curiouser and curiouser as I kept seeing her in the office. My curiosity peaked one day when I saw her at a technical review meeting!

Time went by. George Bush was elected President. There was Iraq war. I fell in love with Elizabeth Kuruvilla. My wife found out about my infidelity.

And then one day, I met the above mentioned aunty at Carnegie Mellon. She had come there to attend an MBA info session! She did not look like a college graduate, let alone someone aspiring to do an MBA. I played it cool for a little bit then I went over and casually struck up a conversation with her. Her name was Daljeet kaur , and I was surprised that her English was fluent and impeccable.

We introduced each other and I desperately wanted to impress her with my Carnegie Mellon credentials. I told her I was doing my masters at CMU, and asked where she did her BACHELORS.
“Delhi” – she said
“Delhi Universiy?” I asked
“No, IIT Delhi”
I almost let out a wild bestial howl. Embarrassed, I excused myself and quickly ran to the bathroom to check if I accidentally shat my pants.

Later at the info session, I came to know that she did her masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford!

Time went by. George Bush was elected for another team. War continued to be waged in Iraq. Elizabeth Kuruvilla left me for my friend Rassul Pookkutty.

I met Daljeet at our company cafeteria. She smiled and came up to me. I stuttered and asked if she got into CMU.
“Yes, she said. But I chose Sloan instead.”
“MIT Sloan?”
she confirmed.

This time I really had to excuse myself.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I wanted to write about love on this Valentines Day.

I remember visiting my friend Sanjay once. As I stepped into his home, his dad was asleep on the floor. He had a news paper spread out on his chest. There was a glistening channel of pan-parag concoction that ran from his mouth. It emptied onto a temporary reservoir on his hairy chest, and then flowed effortlessly through his arm pits to form a swamp of gourmet guacamole on the dusty mosaic floor. He was snoring heavily, which provided the perfect ambiance and drama to the wonderful scene. I first thought that he was drunk. Later I realized that he in fact WAS drunk.

Sanjay was in their kitchen helping his Amma, who was doing Amma-esque things with a pissed-off look on her face. Later as she was serving us lunch Sanjay looked at his sleeping dad and asked:
"Amma, why did you marry him?”
She did not say anything.
“Did you ever want to just leave him?" he asked.
"Yes, I do!" She replied. “He doesn't do anything but drink and sleep. He drives me crazy sometimes. But he is a loving man and I love him too."

A year after we left school, Sanjany’s dad had liver cirrhosis and passed away. His mother could not bear his loss. Three months later she died broken-hearted.

It was a sad story, but they were a lucky couple for what they had between them was pure unadulterated love.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I am saddened that my good friend at work has decided to leave. I am more saddened that he is taking away his collection of bonsai trees. I am sure they’ll miss me too coz I fed them with out fail for the last three years.

I happen to like trees, especially tropical trees like the ones we have in Kerala. Who can NOT like tamarind trees? Have you ever watched a tamarind tree go to sleep at night, and then awake the next morning? I think that's an amazing sight. All the tiny leaves curl up when the sun goes down; then, they spread out again the next morning when they feel the sunshine. That is one incredible sight.

I like jack fruit trees, too, specially the ones dressed in pepper vines. We had a big jack fruit tree on our front yard complete with pepper drapes, ants, squirrels and countless bird’s nests. It had branches bend all the way to the ground making little leafy tents for us to play under.

As a kid I liked mango trees, for it had green sour mangos, and also because they were fun to climb on. A good mango tree will be ant-free and will have stumps that make it easy to climb. You can walk along those stumps without holding onto anything. Just keep your balance. We had a mango tree that had limbs larger than 2 meter in diameter.

Acacia and Mangium didn't arrive in Kerala until late 1980s when the Bishop of Trivandrum brought them from Australia. Mangium in the late 80s generated more hype than ‘techno city’ does today. Thinking it might make good investment people cut down their coconut trees and planted these exotic flora- those brainless fools. Not only did they turn out to be worthless, they threw out more goddamn pollen than any other tree I've ever seen, and that yellow dust raises hell with my allergies. They didn’t even make good cow fodder. Even goats won’t eat it, and you know goats – they eat ANYTHING.

Cashew was another genuine tree. It is one tree that will grow in any kind of soil. There were some wonderful cashew trees in my school. I think they were special varieties from Africa that produced extraordinarily fleshy fruits. They tasted different, and made better raw material for the underground alcohol breweries we had in school. Except for their nuts and alcohol they aren’t worth diddly-squat.

That brings me to the trivia question. Do you know the connection between home brew and torch battery? Do you know why Eveready battery was considered the best by 'experts'?

Friday, February 02, 2007


  • When I stepped out today morning I saw a woman walking a dog that was uglier than me. The woman was okay. She wasn't bad looking. But that was one mean ugly dog.

  • I ate the best lemon pickle I've ever tasted. It burned my stomach for more than an hour. But Damn! That was good. I will have another spoonful for dinner and will cool it down with a glass of fresh curd.

  • A friend has been encouraging me to go for an 'Art of Living' class. I checked with my colleague if he would be interested to go with me to an ‘AOL’ session today. What he told me in response ws the best philosophical sermon I have heard in a long time

    He said:
    "Ravi Shankar, Hari Shankar, Baba Shankar.. or any Shankar...
    If you have all your marbles with you, then you DO NOT need any one to tell you how to live! Yes, a good lecture about life can be enlightening, but not for such tickets and definitely not when followers act like ticket scalpers pimping tickets!

    Life is pretty simple - You are born, you have some happy moments, you have sad moments, you grow old, you die! End of story."

    I guess I will have to go alone.