Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Water is the Enemy...

I have realized that water is the biggest aggressive enemy I have. Some of you may remember the post when I dived headfirst into a swirling rain water drain ( ). But what the water Gods have been doing to me over the last few days has been terrible, just absolutely terrible. And eventhough I try to maintain a cheerful view to life, sometimes its just not possible.

14th August, that wonderful day when I was supposed to land in Delhi, get picked up from the airport by PS and R, proceed to a rollicking party in Gurgaon, is when my tale begins. Its not for the fainthearted so read on at your risk. The only thing I can guarantee is that not a single eye would remain dry on reading about my plight.

I joyous Swapnil took the flight from Bangalore airport (incidently, the new airport is phenomenal and I for one think that the long drive to reach it is worth it. It brings back some stateliness to flying again. In the middle I think flying was becoming more akin to boarding a bus with no happiness and romance left with it)

I landed in Delhi in the worst jam ever caused by, what else, torrential rains. After waiting for an hour for the luggage to come out I waded into a sea of people carrying huge amounts of luggage as well as ankle deep water. The water Gods then played another cheap trick with me. Now PS and R were stuck in traffic coming from Gurgaon and somewhere near the airport they took a U-turn and I was supposed to walk out or take an auto to reach their car. The rain Gods suddenly stopped the rains and gullible that I am I walked out. Almost immediately it started pouring like crazy and I ended up soaked to the skin sitting under a small tree with a raincoated policeman of Haryana police with a wicked looking gun waiting for the rain to stop. I waited and waited but the rain did not let up.

There was no chance of reaching R's car and so reluctantly we decided to cancel the party plan as there was no way they could've rejoined the wall of traffic oozing glacially towards the airport. By the end of the night they had been in bumper to bumper traffic for 4 and a half hours that night. It should ideally have taken 20-25 minutes to reach the airport from where R stays in Gurgaon.

My tale of misery was not over though as I waded through water to reach the nearest terminal where I had to request B and his wife to come pick me up at 12 at night and had to crash at their place. In the morning B, who was already under the weather a bit, fell quite ill and I felt quite guilty about contributing to it. The entire long weekend went in bed for the poor chap.

As if that was not enough water was still running its vendetta when I came back.

I reached back to Bangalore yesterday night at 1. It was raining quite heavily and though I avoided it by taking a taxi instead of a shuttle service, I should've known that I couln't avoid its wrath so easily. But I had no premonition and no clue that it was going to launch a sneaky guerilla attack at me!

It had rained so much over the last week in Bangalore that when I walked into the basement garage this morning all excited about going to work after a long vacation (yeah, right...) I found myself wading through ankle deep water.

But that wasn't even the beginning of my troubles.

As I opened the door and sat inside I realised that there was a rather peculiar smell in the car. The smell of stale, stagnant, dirty water. Over the past week water leaked into the carand pools of it were lying casually in my beautiful beautiful hard earned car. Apart from the smell and decidedly dreadful looks of the carpeting, the central locking, air-conditioning and most dangerously the brakes were shot.

Not a great start to my new year (It was my birthday yesterday. I had great fun in Delhi. Thank you :) )

Now, someone tell me how to apprease ze water Gods!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Countdown and awkward recognition...

Just a few more hours before I fly to Delhi :) And have I mentioned how much I love looking at Delhi at night from an aircraft? A splattering of jewels mysteriously arranged in concentric circles.

Awkward recognition:
I am at an office of my company where I don't have access to the doors (Standard security procedure of autolocking doors which open only with proximity cards granting access). So if you have to be in this office for a meeting or something you have to wait for someone to have pity on your plight and let you in. Similar thing happened to me today. I was waiting next to the glass door with a pitiful I-so-want-to-get-inside-and-start-working face (This, the i-am-so-interested-in-what-you're-saying face and the you're-right-I'll-start-working-on-this-immediately face form the triad of faces which are absolutely essential in working life) when I saw a figure approach. Instantly I increased the pleading look manifold and implored him to open the door with my eyes. The guy stopped, turned towards the door and opened it.

Till now everything was perfect. I was about to drop the pleading face, thank him and be on my way. But now comes the twist. He beamed at me and gave me a huge smile and a "Hello, Swapnil". And I stared back- absolutely no clue who this person was and why he was treating me like a long lost brother.

Stuck in a situation like this there are two ways to get out. One, be honest and stick out your hand and say "Hi, I'm really sorry but I can't seem to place you". Awkward and a bit embarrassing, but ok. Second is to beam back, say "Hi" and walk on. No one has a clue that the guy is totally unknown. The guy is happy you recognize him and he WILL open the door for you again.

But what approach did I take? I committed THE cardinal sin of door-opener-recognition-no-quid-pro-quo-recognition syndrome.

I squeaked out a Hi and then very VERY ostentatiously tried to read his name from his ID card. Terrible. There was no way I could have made it clearer that I didn't recognize him. And there was certainly no way I could have made the situation more awkward.

Sigh. Thats one person less who'd ever open the door for me here.

I better go practice my pleading face some more...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Feluda stories...

I've recently been reading an anthology of Feluda's mystery stories. These are a set of whodunit type short stories set around 1960's to 1980's written by Satyajit Ray

A synopsis of the series:
Pradosh C. Mitter, nick named Felu-da (the 'da' comes from bengali for big brother - da), is a private detective based out of Calcutta in the 1960's. He, along with a faithful sidekick, his cousin Tapesh (Topshe) solve various crimes happening not just in Calcutta but even in exotic (ahem) foreign locations like Kathmandu in Nepal. The crimes range from standard murders to international espionage to smuggling of historical idols (in going with the 60's era where smuggling was the ultimate crime. Ah, the innocent days when people hadn't heard of heinous crimes like serial bombings, organized terrorism) etc.

They are primarily (and in my opinion too heavily) inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Now apart from the stories themselves what I find interesting about these stories is the extremely indian setting. For instance I may have read any number of mystery stories but till now I didn't come across any where the murderer takes advantage of a scheduled load shedding power cut to commit the crime! (For those living in countries where there is no power cut ever, load shedding is ). The description of bazaars, indian eating habits, Odomos while staking out in woods, superstitions, numerous complex family relations and little tongue-in-cheek snide remarks about westerners (What? They can call us the land of snake charmers and elephants and we can't make fun of their li'l idiosyncracies?). Interesting to read but a bit watered down for the children audience it aims at. Satyajit Ray specifically mentions that he wrote these stories to be published in a children's magazine called Sandesh ( consequently there is no violence, passion etc etc that is the hallmark of a mystery story going on to be a thriller. (Have I mentioned that lately I've found myself reading forewords of most books I read)

An interesting if not particularly arresting read. Though I am told by knowledgeable people that the original Bengali version is very very good and a lot is lost in translation (pun intended) to English

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dilli approacheth...

As another friday approaches various thoughts come in one's mind.
- Will there be an earthquake tonight to prevent office from opening while everything settles down (pun intended) by the evening so that evening revelries can be dived into?
- how quickly would the bosses leave so us lesser mortals can quietly slink away?
- is it possible to fall sick in the morning tomorrow and be hale and hearty (again miraculously) by the evening?

But even more significantly this friday is the last one before I take a vacation back to Delhi.

Yes, Independence Day, Rakhi and my birthday shall be celebrated with gusto in Delhi.

Did I mention - YAY!!!

So this Friday is being kept completely empty dreaming dreams and planning plans of my trip to Delhi. This trip is going to be a bit different as I have to go to a relatives place outside delhi with mom. This could potentially be the boringest home vacation ever (A fact that has been making certain individuals "feel better" {scowls and shakes fist}).

So I better grit myself and plan the few days I have in Delhi to have obscene amounts of fun. So much fun that it should've been made illegal - too late now!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New Cell Phone...

My current cell phone is on the verge of collapse. Its software is hanging 2-3 times an hour and I'm missing important calls (Yes, those credit card calls ARE important).

I'm on the hunt for a new one - it has to be slim, cheap and simple. And yeah I don't like Nokia

Any suggestions?