The One about Ron,Joanne & Me

After moving to the new apartment complex a luxury that I have been using regularly is the gym and the swimming pool. The best way to beat the boredom was to hit the gym and relax later at the swimming pool. Every day I push myself to run the extra minute not to be fit or anything, I do it because it gives me a chance to be with some people and restore sanity in this strange lonely Haven.

As I started to go about life with the precision of a Swiss watch, I noticed two people who shared my routine. Everyday Big Ron and Joanne would be at the Gym, and then walk back to the swimming pool. Big Ron was 78 years old, had Parkinson’s disease and came to the gym to use the treadmill and for his physiotherapy sessions. He reminded me of Clint Eastwood from the movie Gran Torino. They used to sit and talk about anything and everything. Soon I joined them and the three of us shared stories, jokes and strangely enough we enjoyed each other company very much. After our Gym Session we would walk back to the pool where Joanne works as the instructor.

One day I did not see both of them on the Gym, I knew that Joanne would drive to meet her son every month. But Big Ron was supposed to be there. I went to check on him and found him in his balcony with a half empty Malibu bottle at the side. “You have been drinking” I said. “It has been 50 years since my wife left me”. He had never spoken about his family and Joanne and I had never asked him about it. I did not know what to tell him and I tried to help him inside his house. He asked me to sit down and he showed me a picture of him and his wife. “You know why she left me?” He asked. I looked back and his eyes showed his despair. The best I could do was sit and hear him out. He told me about his wife she had been his college sweet heart and had married her. Life had been picture prefect as she was expecting their first child. When Ron learnt that his kid had a speech disability, he reacted badly. He told me that he had become scared of thinking about the kids life and started to spend more time at work and away from his family. He told his wife his apprehension and she had walked out with the kid without saying a word. It was hard for me to see him feel so bad and mumbling something about an important phone call I had to make I walked out of his house.

I become very uncomfortable when people are sad, I just do not know the right words to tell them. Probably Joanne could have comforted him had she been there. I avoided him the next couple of days. When Joanne saw me alone at the Gym, she asked me where Ron was and I told her about the earlier incident. She was furious when she found out that I had not checked on him for the past two days. She headed straight to his house and was back after some time. I was sitting at the swimming pool alone. She tossed a photograph at my lap; the same one that I had seen at Ron’s house. I understood slowly. She continued “The only happiness je gets now is by knowing that there are friends who care for him I cannot and will not remind him of his family and cause further despair and neither will you.

Two days later we are at the gym together. To others it is a funny sight to see Big Ron walking, Joanne jogging, and me sprinting side by side. For Ron we are two very good people who are helping him in his old age. To me they are the only friends that I have in America. But to Joanne it is Father, Daughter and me.

Thinking Straight

We were lazing around in the swimming pool at our Apartment Complex when one guy pointed to a notice board near the gate.

He asked me what were the Girl Rules? As i looked confused he pointed at the gate and asked again? What’s the Girl Rules.

It was about 30 minutes when all at the swimming pool stopped laughing

If you want to know Why, look at the image again and read the Girl…oops..Grill Rulez!

D Music Makes me MAD

I love music so much that i absolutely hate it when I do not enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed listening to songs in languages which I will never comprehend, but I hate it when the song is composed as a jumble of retarded tones. Of late thanks to a large crowd of people from a neighborly state I am getting used to many songs that do not rhyme right, do not sound good and that do manage to increase my blood pressure.

The concept of Keyboard beats. Yes they do sound good on your Contra video game, but why does it have to be on a full length video song where the hero vigorously shakes his hips is what I do not understand. Then there are rip offs, if they had been faithful to the original it would have been some justice, but attempts to modernize it with hype beats and jingles does make it a very painful exercise for your ear drum.

The worst part is when you have the idiots sing along. DO THEY EVER REALIZE THEY SOUND WORSE THAN A FREAKING CROW?

I need Advise folks, need to survive this.

The one about Two Birds

Life has been hectic. So hectic that I keep thinking about work at the GYM or even while watching a movie, I was so engrossed about the tasks that I had to for the day that I never noticed my roommate stop at the nearby motel. He asked me to wait downstairs while he went to meet a friend.
I tried to take my mind of work and started to gaze around. I saw two birds, one inside the hotels reception and the other outside in the parking lot. I was intrigued by the chirping and started to visualize what the conversation could have been about. I thought the bird in the hotel was a bit arrogant and trying to show off some tricks of a ladder and kept chirping loudly. The second bird looked on silently and hopped to the window, it had been trying to nibble at a few crumbs that was thrown to it by passer by’s. The first bird did something that resembled a maniacal laugh and started to show off its prize possessions: the toys, the pipe that fed water when it wanted, the plate full of bread crumbs, a beautifully decorated mirror. It had all the luxuries in the world. It performed a couple more astounding tricks with the toy ladder as well. It seemed very happy and my guess is it would have told the second one “Look at me, what have you got”. Yeah pretty much like the Hindi film dialogue” Vijay, mera paas yeah sab hai, tumhara paas kya hai?”
The second bird kept watching the first one intently, and let out a single shrill chirp and flew away. I don’t know what it said but after that the first bird shut the hell up. No amount of cajoling could make it do any of the tricks. It retreated to a corner and looked as if it had been slapped.
I was wondering for some time as what the second bird would have said to make the first bird shut up. I played back the scene over again the beautiful mirror, the toys, food, water and then it struck me “the cage.”
The only thing the second bird could have told the first one is “Dude I can Fly!”

The one about Life @ Covington

No matter how many sky miles you have clocked, every time you cross the Atlantic there is a small voice in your head that screams its head off. Well mine did, and I found the best way to fight it. Of the 30 hours that I was stuck in the tube with flashy air hostess I slept for 24.

And as always at the airport on entry the customary Immigration questions were followed by a secondary check and special interview with United States customs, I do not know what these guys have against me, but every time I come here I am like stripped to the bone, or refused a visa.

I had to cross the Atlantic, clear 2 immigration checks to blog about life at Covington, a small town in the state of Louisiana. It’s been about twenty days here. For starters the place resembles towns in the psycho films which has the most devious minds around. Everything is too quiet that I can hear my own breath at times.

Everybody whom I meet smile, I do not know why they do that and have the customary greeting “How are you today”. I am not sure if I have to answer them or ask them how their day was. Anyways no one ever waits to hear my answer they walk off after asking me so why ask in the first place. I have been practicing these so that I can ask them first, but today a lady asked me something which I am yet to figure out.

I am here as a part of the Team that supports a fortune Oil Major in its inventory operations. I know that my company is pretty bad at building good software, but over here at the on site you get a birds view of things. Sample this, the clients have a boat scheduled to leave with items at 1.00 and it has not left till 2.30 guess why, our application doesn’t generate the list of items that are supposed to be on the boat. This is when guys like me come to party; they wake me up from my slumber and ask me to do something so that the boat can leave at least by 5.00. Like most support folks I have been trained to answer with standard responses like “I understand your problem, but am extremely sorry for the inconvenience caused and so on.” It is a miracle that no one has abused me yet. So naturally I am assuming that I am pretty good at this.

Other than the time I ogle at my computer looking for issues to resolve I have enough time to down some beers , spend time at the GYM (that’s right time to get girls going gaga), watching girls do stunts at the pool, and attempts to cook. Thanks to my roomie I am spared of the last task and left with the job of cutting vegetables or doing dishes afterwards.

Thats all about life at Covington…

P.S: I am hoping all of you are having a good time.

The one about Women

Guys are supposed to be cool, savvy and handle emotions pretty well. But with 26 years behind me I found out something very “not cool” about us the “Boys”. We are emotional freaks. I mean we find love in a minute, pick up fights in seconds. It is just that being “Men” stops us from crying out loud or show the sentimental side of ourselves.
Women have an active social life, they talk more, they react to everything, but their emotions are quite controlled. I have had my share of disappointments; the last couple of years have added a lot of grey in my hair. But to the outsider, you wouldn’t find a more carefree person in the world. To my surprise I found out that many “Men” I knew reacted the same way. Parties started to resemble Groups like the ones in the movie Fight Club.
So my new post is actually dedicated to a few women, who by showing excellent purpose in life have managed to convince me that it’s time for us to see them in a new light.
• Grandma: Can you imagine a woman who expressed disappointment and threatened to walk out of the house if she was not allowed to study in 1955. She couldn’t walk with slippers on her marriage day, and took the hands of my grandpa for support. She is someone who can be fragile and strong at the For 50 years she put the family first. When a tragic twist of fate took my grandfather away, I didn’t know how to face her. To my surprise, she came to me fighting back her tears and wanted to know if we had eaten anything. Lessons learnt from her Selfless love, and courage.

• Radhika: Dear little Goofy, I still do not know why people call her that. The second most amazing woman I have met. Great friend, multi tasking, good cook, and someone who finds happiness in spending diwali with kids @ ettimadai. Never will let you feel low, and will never ever give up on you. Too good to be true.

• The First Girl: Well I am still scared to use her name, Confused, Beautiful and Idiotic. In fact learnt so much about girls from her. So anyways no matter what she still figures in my top 3. Lessons learnt “How to handle Girls”, patience.

• The Second Girl: Fun, Fun and Frolic. A total opposite of the First, but in the end taught me a valuable lesson. “Trust”.

• The Last Set: a girl whom I have never met, Mother, Aunt. Self styled, never care for what they say attitude and are sure as hell to get their way with others.

So guys if you are feeling down and out don’t pick up the glasses and wail. Look around you think of all the women who have helped you, hurt you, supported you and then be Men enough to acknowledge them and then empty your drink.
P.s: I am one more year older today.

The One about the Trip

“One Sleeper Class Ticket to Salem Please” I managed to yell over the counter. The guy behind the counter didn’t even bother to look up. He pushed the ticket through the small gap and was already typing the next ticket out by the time I turned around. I liked to plan my journey well ahead and with the Online Ticket reservation system, I used to book tickets well before the actual date of travel. This meant no long queues in the railway station. No pleading with TTE’s. Today everything was different, this was not planned, that meant no reserved tickets and doing everything else I detested.
I managed to pull myself out from the long queue and saw that I had less than one minute to reach the platform. I ran to the overcrowded platform. According to the Information Board the Superfast Express was supposed to arrive at 2.00 PM, and here I was waiting for it at 2.30 Pm. Half an Hour Later the train slowly pulled into the station there was not an inch of space in the General Compartment. Plan B: A small adjustment with the TTE and I did manage to get a Reserved ticket in the Sleeper Class Coach. (The Power of Money).
Again, after months of travelling in the AC Coaches, the transition to the sleeper class coach did take some time. The noise, everything kept moving one way or the other, the people, the garbage, the emergency window, the dangling alarm chain. Garbage was strewn all around the seat, people kept chewing betel leaves and spitting over the windows. I wanted to cry out; I held on to my bag and wanted to be somewhere else for the whole time. I tried to keep myself occupied by thinking about the reasons that I had taken up the trip.
It was my roommate’s engagement. Well it was not just an Engagement. It took him twenty eight long years to get a Girl friend so this was something which we could not afford to miss. We had not got our tickets confirmed for the journey to Coimbatore so we were not sure if we should be booking our return tickets. Six of us did make it and by the time we reached the engagement hall all the formalities were done with. We managed to down some beers, eat some food and talk and laugh about all the old times. We did manage to squeeze some time and visit our old college, nothing much had changed. Images of First Year Hostel, Friends, Ragging, Sports, First of many loves, Fights, Outings kept flashing.
And for a Superfast train we covered 200 Km’s in Four hours. Well I did feel a lot better thinking about all the good times, in fact made me feel so good that for the first time I didn’t mind the overcrowded coach, dirty seats, and the creaking berths.

The Year That Was

@Work: There were times when my cubicle became my home. 70 hours a week at office. I did gain a lot of respect from my peers for indomitable spirit and can do anything attitude. did learn a lot of technical concepts, Worked (patiently) with complete ********, got a hike, lost out on promotion. A mixed bag, really. But in the end I can say I scored well but a familiar sense of disappointment looms large.

@Home: I had decided to spend more time at home with my family, but I didn’t even come close. Did enjoy a vacation with my cousins and their kids, but that ate into my holidays and the little time i spent at Home was filled with my outbursts about incompetent colleagues, and my non existent social life. I had them more worried when i was with them than away. I had failed big time.

@Social Life: My social life has been a disaster. I would spent a zillion hours staring at my laptop. Total Internet consumption for the year has been a staggering 160 GB. There was this trip for a colleagues wedding which was fun, only because I kept boozing for 16 hours out of the 20 hour trip. Haven’t gone out for a movie with friends in the last year, didn’t buy a single shoe (I have about 8 pairs now). Lost in touch with some very good friends, I was too lazy or rather acting like an ********. Never bothered to call, didn’t wish a single friend on his/her birthday. I did get a couple of new friends, who really have been a big help in maintaining some sense of normalcy at work. All the computer staring has given me a new problem “Myopia”

@Goals: My MBA Plans went up in smoke. I didn’t get a scholarship that meant i couldn’t afford the MBA @ Thunderbird. Worst part didn’t even send them the signed offer accept/reject letter. Couldn’t bring myself to sign and reject the ticket to freedom from here. I did buy the new GMAT prep book with a hope of starting afresh sometime in June, but haven’t touched it sense then.

@Entertainment: My private music collection has grown almost three times, watched about a 100 movies in the laptop, Completed two games in my Laptop. Reading habit didn’t vanish, became a member of 2 libraries. Stopped going to one when the librarian started asking me money for a book which I didn’t take. Started to build my book collection, got a new Book Shelf.

I begun this year with a lot of confidence, but as the year draws to close I know that I flattered to deceive again.

Ironically, As i finish typing I hear Metallica Sing
“What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never be
Never see
Won’t see what might have been
What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee UNFORGIVEN”

The one about the EyeTest

There was this eye camp at office, and I did go to get an eye check up. The optician makes me stare at a computer and almost blinds me with her flashlight, then after a while he asks me to read the alphabets on a board about 3 meters away. I reeled them off at 2 alphabets per second. I was ready to give my triumphant smile, when she pointed out that I had the last row completely wrong, she fits a lens over my eyes, and the letters became much clearer. I had read P as S Q as O and X as H. That’s right, you can smile now, I need glasses.
So I did plan to go to an eye hospital and get myself an in and out test, and set off. On the way I had to give my camera for a service. I stopped by at KFC for a Zinger meal, and though it was a hot afternoon the food court was full. There were a lot of attention grabbers as well. (Read hot chicks). Just as I finished ordering a burger a smoking hot blonde walked in. Naturally, a lot of heads turned, she came and stood over the counter and until she left the place nothing else moved.
As she walked away I couldn’t help notice her dress, Ever seen the new Size Zero ad? She wore something like that. There was a caption at the lower back, I picked it up even from the distance. It read “I am fun”. She was about three meters ahead, and the letters smaller than the ones on the eye camp board. So there you go I passed the eye test with flying colors, and it is relif to know no glasses for me.

And if you haven’t noticed the new design for my Blog (Thanks to the WWW), you need them soon.

The one about Kabaali

Yesterday, we decided to sell off our old fridge. To begin with, it was weird to sell off something which we took for rent. But we called up an agent and he agreed to send someone to take the fridge away.

My roommates were busy and had to go out, so i was the one who had to wait for the guy who was supposed to pick up the fridge. i was given the Contacts number and name ("Kabaali"). I told the agent that our apartment was at the second floor, and it would take some effort to get the thing down. His response was "Elaam Kabaali pathukuvaar" (Kabaali will take care of everything). Two hours later, i got a call from Kabaali, he couldn’t find my apartment. He wanted me to come to the street corner, where he was waiting with his vehicle.

I went out to meet him, and when i reached the corner i found a couple of very tough looking guys next to a mini truck. I was about to ask them to follow me, when my phone rang again. It was Kabaali and he had found my apartment and was now waiting at the door. i was now really started to wonder what this guy was up to.

I doubled back to the house and found a tri cycle parked near the gate. I went up the stairs, and i found a small guy who looked out of breath at my door. Kabaali, was nothing like the person that i had imagined. A small wiry guy stood there, and was looking as if he had climbed the himalayas. He asked me where the lift was? i told him there was none for our apartment.

He wanted my help to get the fridge to the ground floor. I half heartedly agreed, cursing my other roommates for making me do this alone. We took the fridge down the first step, when i heard him yell, we kept the fridge down, and was holding his hand and telling me it hurt. So after 20 minutes with little help from kabaali i got the fridge two floors down. it took me 10 minutes to climb the stairs, i reached my bed. 12 hours later i am Feeling pretty heavy in the arms, and boy cant move my back.