Saturday, August 30, 2008

When we were kids..

One day in the year 1979, Asit (15), Rajiv (12), and I (12) decided to have lunch at home. My mom being a teacher left for school. However, before leaving home she gave us strict instructions: “Please see to it that you sit on a chair, keep your food on the table and eat like well behaved boys”. Yes mom! Now, we were wild and reckless but at the same time obedient. So we took a small table, three chairs went to the bedroom placed it all on top of the bed and started eating. The food was chappatis, bhaji and water. Mom came back early. I can’t forget the look in her eyes. She was stunned. She started screaming at us. We (Asit) told her “Well, you told us to place the food on a table, sit on a chair and eat and that’s what we are doing. You never mentioned where to eat”. She was fuming but we were eating.

Whenever Niyoshi, Ayu or Aakarsh ask me to tell them a funny story, this is the one that springs up. So many years have passed but it is still fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday.

Happy Birthday mom!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Marathon Party

On May 17th Kiran, Pradeep, Vinod and I had a sleepover party at my place. We started the session in the afternoon with Vinod cooking food for us and making wine-fruit-punch. We had a couple of beers and went to ‘The Club’ for swim, steam and sauna. After returning, we continued with whiskey, wine and more beers. At around midnight, we decided to visit one of the watering holes and chose ‘J.W.Marriott’. All of us were in our nightdresses and since we were too lazy (drunk) to change, we headed to the bar of this five star hotel in the same attire. I wished that things were always so pure and uncomplicated. After having couple of drinks and listening to Daniel (singer), we purred with happiness. We were made aware that we had worn out our welcome. We drove back cautiously because suddenly we realized that journey was more important than the destination. We felt rejuvenated. More beers flowed along with wine- punch, until about four in the morning. Finally, we slept. Sleep of the just. Woke up at about eleven, showered, had breakfast and decided to have buffet at this same hotel. Beer continued. Came home at around four in the evening and finally decided to call it a day. Wow!! What a party…

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Young bloggers

I am happy that my daughter Niyoshi (11) and nephew Aakarsh (8) have decided to blog. It is good that they have started at an early age. It will improve their writing skills. In addition, it will help them in their thinking, as they would want to write something new every time. Both of them have an interesting style of writing. Quite unique. I guess it is their innocence, which gives them a free hand. Best of luck to both of them.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


rumba or samba
after having Zampa

One of my best friends Pradeep, got into the wine business. Now he is as old and sweet as wine. One day he came home and produced two bottles of Zampa. One red, one white....

Initial hiccups

I'm not much of a wine drinker, but he insisted we (Kamala, Vinod and me) the terrible trio of critics, gave him our frank opinion on his new wine which he was about to launch. He didn't know he was asking for trouble.

Vinod (4 beers down) :" I went to the restaurant called 'Happy' and asked for Zampa. They gave me choice of 'Appy' or old Champa. "
Me (8 beers down ): "I didn't like the red wine. "
Kamala (sober) :" I'm not feeling too well. Could I give you my opinion tomorrow? " .


Next morning I got up and realized, Zampa the red, didn't leave the lingering bad taste in your mouth, which other red wines do. I messaged Pradeep and told him so. He messaged back saying "thank you". Vinod was a bit drowsy and hung-over and not in the right frame of mind to give the right opinion. Kamala waited. She had her first sip the next day.

The wine grows on us

After our first encounter, we realized that Zampa (especially the white) was delicious. I thought it could become a benchmark drink against which others would be compared. Vinod also, realized that he was too old for old Champa and it was time for him to change over to Zampa, if ever he wanted to feel young. Kamala and her friend Suresh took one sip and were completely sold out. I wished Kamala felt the same for me.(late night we were having the wine and after the bottles were empty, we contemplated going over to Pradeep's house and asking for more).

Price v/s Value

Gabbar : "Aarey o Sambha. Kitna inaam rakhe hai sarkar ham par? ".
Sambha :" Pure chaar bottle Zampa! ".
Gabbar : "Suna tumne. Sarkar bhi hamari value samzta hai.Abhi tak haramzada pachaas hazar bolta tha".


Saturday, June 7, 2008


It had been a long time since I saw Aakarsh. He is my nephew and lives in USA. He came down to Mumbai with Asit (my brother) and Minoo (my bhabhi). Ayushee (my niece) couldn’t make it because of her entry into medicines. This little boy is lovely. No ways you cannot like him. He had two goals in mind when he landed. (1) To play chess with me and hopefully beat me before he left (2) learn to play cricket.

He came on a Friday, so being a working day I couldn’t go to the airport to receive him. Kamala (my wife) went to fetch him. Since my parents didn’t know they were coming, I called them over to give them a big surprise. They were quite thrilled. By the time I could get back from office, this boy had fallen a sleep. I waited for him to get up. Finally, I was about to close my eyes when there was a big load which fell on me and woke me up. I got up and saw this silly boy laughing at me and shouting “surprise”. I acted as if I had not seen him all this while. I said “oh my! When did you come?” He gave me a weird look and said “Don’t fool Rahulkaka. You already knew it. That’s why kamalakaki came to the airport”. I knew I had it. I was in for a big trouble for the next one and half months or so.

Next day was Saturday. After chatting with him for some time, I told him to sleep. He gave me a sheepish look and told me he was jet lagged and would sleep only if he felt exhausted. Liar. He had already made plans to stay awake the whole night and possibly the next morning till the milkman arrived. This boy is so restless that you can't rest if he is around. My biggest worry was to keep him occupied (which ultimately brought out the kid in me). It was a challenge.

Aakarsh is a boy, with whom everybody wants to talk. He comes out with amazing statements and logic. And for an eight year old, he is very sharp. Niyoshi (my daughter), finds him very cute. Kamala (as always) would go out of the way to help him and play with him. My parents can't keep mum when he is around. So here I was awake with him the whole night. Didn't know who was jet lagged. Next morning, promptly he told me he wanted to take a ride in a rickshaw. I said OK. I called for an auto and told the driver to take wherever he liked. Aakarsh was thrilled.(wherever?)That's unheard of in US. We reached Juhu beach and went for a stroll. He was visibly upset. I asked him what had happened? Was he upset because the beach was dirty? He
said no, he hadn't expected the beach to be clean anyways but he was disappointed because the rickshaw driver was too slow. I said I would drive while coming back. He took it seriously. Anyways, while coming back I caught another rickshaw driver and told him I would pay him 5 Rs. extra if he drove real fast.The driver smacked his lips in anticipation ( getting the extra money from us morons for the thing he would have done anyways).He drove really fast. Aku was overjoyed. I said, imagine only 5 Rs. for what Disney would have charged 50 Dollars.

We came home and Aku was hungry. Anu, our maid (but I would call her our family member) had made Paneer paratha for him. One bite of it and he fell in love with the food and Anu. Now Kamala and Minoo had serious competition. I started wondering if all the boys and the girls were so easy to please. But no, this guy was special. Whenever he expressed a desire to do or have something done and if he enjoyed it, he would give you a feeling as if you had done something really great. I guess life is all about feeling great.

Over the days we had lots of fun, Aakarsh and I. His reasoning and questioning are so forthright that it amazes you and makes you wonder why you hadn't thought of it earlier. He is also a very emotional boy but he keeps it private. On one occasion, he was sitting in the hall and the bell rang. Before he could open the door fully , Niyoshi by mistake open the door from outside and it banged on his head. Immediately tears started rolling down his face. Now I was watching all this but I still asked him what had happened? He immediately protected Niyoshi saying it was just a mistake and refused to tell the details thinking I would scold Niyoshi. But the tears could tell he was hurt. Niyoshi, of course , instinctively fell sorry for him and went on apologizing.

He also has a great sense of humour. Since he was coughing a lot, one day, Kamala gave him a hot pack to put it on his chest. He was lying down. But as soon as he got up, the hot pack skidded down his chest on to the floor. He burst out laughing saying "My boobs just fell! Pick them up will ya?". There was half a minute of stunned silence. Despite the ladies being around, I couldn't help myself and fell off laughing. Top it all, ladies joined both of us and were laughing even more vigorously. Now this is what I call an innocent sense of humour. One can easily be embarassed if one had a rigid mind.

Every evening I would come back from work and he would be ready with his ammunition (either a chess board or a cricket bat). He plays real good chess. He knew most of the moves. Fortunately, I used to play quite a bit of chess when I was in college. And now I had to bring all my memories back to beat this guy. We had our battle lines drawn every evening. Ageing bull against young matador. It wasn't easy though.

Saturdays and sundays we used to play cricket. He loved it so much that he used get up at 6, wait for the first ray of sun light which was his first ray of hope, wear his cricketing gears and order me to teach him to play cricket. Asit was so happy that he took our videos and posted it on his blog. Niyo and Anu also joined us from time to time. Niyo is a good hitter and Aku is a good catcher. We lost lots of cricket balls but he made sure they were replaced. This went on for most of the holidays. Like I said ealier, here is a kid who brings out the kid in you. Pepole who cannot find time for fun are obliged, sooner or later to find time for illness.

Aku, Niyo and Anu jelled very well. They had their share of fun and had lots of secrets to share. I'm sure at our expense. It was a great joy having him here in Mumbai. Like beauty, joy is one of the highest vibration on this planet. The time we spent together brought out the joy that was already inside me to life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My friend Michael (an episode)

It’s 4 a.m.. My eyes have opened. No need for alarm nowadays. I’m trying to remember or at least figure out what happened last night. No clue. Never mind. I drag myself out of the bed and go to the kitchen. I open the kitchen cabinet and half a bottle of rum is staring at me. Inviting. Should I or should I not? Oh , what the hell! I take a big gulp and it sails down my throat. There is a glow somewhere in my brain. I feel better. My new day has just begun. I carry the bottle with me to the bedroom. Suddenly my head starts spinning. I fall face down on the floor. But before I hit the floor, I get a sweet smell of rum and then the pain shoots thru my face. It’s blood. I have fallen on the bottle before hitting the floor.

It’s 6 a.m.. I’ve woken up after two hours. There is a throbbing pain. I put my hands on the face and they become sticky with blood. I look myself in the mirror and there is a big gash on my forehead. I go to the bathroom and try to wash my face. Suddenly, I realize that I’ve created enough noise but my family has not got up to check. I run to the living-room only to find it empty. I panic. I find a note lying on the table saying “good-bye!”. I sit on the floor holding my face and begin to cry.

I’m Michael. Age 38. employed (so far). Married to a lovely wife who has produced and even lovelier doll. I adore them. But now, I’m alone. It has been long 20 drinking years. There is enough alcohol in my blood. Most of my friends have deserted me. One or two (still having hopes on me) are with me. And now my family is gone.

I look around and take stock of things. I’m completely busted. I enter the kitchen and start taking out bottles, one by one, from the cabinet. There are eighteen. I bring them all to the bathroom and start smashing them. There is still great pain but I ignore it. I’m determined. After I’m done, I close the bathroom door leaving the broken bottles and the smell inside. I take out cotton from the first-aid box and apply to my face. I take out my wallet and shirt from the cupboard and walk out of the house. I hail a cab and ask the driver, who gives me a horrifying look, to take me to the hospital. I reach the hospital and go straight to the operating room, catch hold of the doctor and ask him to stitch my forehead. He takes a deep breath and tells me to wait for a few minutes for the anaesthetist. I say I can’t wait and plead him to stitch my forehead without anaesthesia. He is bewildered and comes closer to have a better look. I move back a little worrying he would smell alcohol. He starts stitching. I’m prepared to endure any pain now. If my family can endure it for ten years, why can’t I do it for ten minutes? After an agonizing ten minutes, the job is done. The doctor gives me few pain-killers which I put it in my pocket. I pay the doctor, thank him and head home.
It’s 8 a.m. now. There is a stink coming from the bathroom and it doesn’t bother me. I check my forehead and it is stitched as if a cobbler has fixed a shoe. Again there is a shooting pain. I need solitude. I need time to reflect. I walk out of the house and head to the beach.

The beach is hot but I feel nice. I stroll for about twenty minutes and then decide to lie down. There is still pain but nothing as compared to what my family has gone thru. I close my eyes and decide to rest. I see two pairs of watery and pleading eyes begging me to stop ruining my life. I feel sad and tired and soon fall asleep.

I get up with a start and realize that the sun is boring into my skin. There is sand all over my body. I must have slept for a long time but those two pairs of eyes had never left me. I get up and head back home. When I reach it’s 1 p.m.. I return to the carnage. I look at myself in the mirror. My face is full of sand and the forehead (or whatever it is called now) is swollen. I start the hot water in the tub and undress. When I’m naked, I check again in the mirror. But now there is different person staring at me. I smile and he smiles back. Is this a new Michael, I wonder? I can feel it but I can’t prove it. God, give me time to prove it to those two beautiful pairs of eyes! I want them back. Suddenly life has a new meaning. There is great urge inside me to clear things. I’m determined. I start picking up broken glass pieces and clear the floor. After getting rid of the stink and the bottles I get into the hot tub. it feels good. I lean back, smile and start cleaning myself up…..