Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bargaining-inevitable process here!

Disclaimer: No offense intended to the city of Chennai.

This post is a continuation of the previous one.

During my student days in Bangalore, I used to love the whole process of bargaining. For shopping, I had to manage with the monthly allowance, which was the pocket money given by my brother. Those days, the bargain shops in Commercial Street were a huge blessing to me. Just take that few hundred rupees, stuff it safely inside my handbag, the bag being the result of a bargain again and set off to the epitome of bargain shops in Bangalore. Back then, it was sheer enjoyment to go through the whole process. I enter a fashion wear shop, look around and in a minute I know my eyes are hooked onto few tops. Being very particular about trying out stuff, especially when it comes to clothes, I happily go through the ordeal of trying out both the sizes M and S for all those tops. Once the selection is done, I approach the salesman and there the process begins.

Me: Huh bolo Bhaiya, kitna hai? (Huh how much is it, brother?) :) I know a little bit of respect always works!

Salesman: Donom milke paanch sau rupiye dedijiye. (Give Rs 500 for both together).

Me: Woh bahut zyaada hai, bhaiya. Thoda tho kam karlo.(That is a lot too much. Reduce it a little bit).

Salesman: Teek hai, aap hi boliye, kitna desakthe hain? (Ok tell me how much are you willing to pay?) I guess he knows that I am good in bargaining…:D

Me: Hmmmm dosauchaalis rupiye hi kaafi hai uskeliye. ( Err..Rs 240 is more than enough for it).

Salesman: Huh!! lekin jitna mene kaha tha, uska aadha bhi nahin kaha aapne. Nahin, charsau rupiye se kam nahi hoga. (That is less than half of what I quoted. I can give it maximum for Rs 400).

Me: Nahin Bhaiya, Aap ko dena hai tho dohasauchaalis rupiye mai dhedijiye. Ek baat samach lijiye. Agar aap muche yeh kam daam par dengke, tho meri saari dost bhi is dukan mein hi shopping karenge. (If you want to sell it to me, give it for Rs 240. Understand one thing, if you give it in lower price, then all my friends will also come here for shopping).

Salesman: Lekin dohsauchaalis rupiye bahut kam hain. (But Rs 240 is too less).

Me: I reply back very innocently, Teek hai bhaiya, dohsaupachaas rupiye lelo. Ab tho aap khush honge, na? (Ok then here take Rs 250. Are you happy now?

Salesman: Huh!! He was totally bewildered. Poor chap.: D

Few seconds later, the salesman smiles, and writes the bill for Rs 250 and takes it to the counter. I pay the same amount and happily walk out of the shop. Don’t you think the whole process is worth the trouble? Adding onto that is the joy of seeing the salesman shocked and speechless. :D

Now when I have to go through the whole process of bargaining, I absolutely hate it. Or rather it is so much a part of my daily life that it is becomes inevitable. The last post ended with me relating the trouble finding an auto and completing the bargaining process as soon as I can, if I have to reach office in time. If I am not able to find an auto in the stand and will have to rely on an ajnabi auto, the whole conversation goes like this.

Me: Teynapet ponamge. Ange Karumuttu Centre irikille? (I need to go to Teynapet, near Karumuttu Centre). No point of adding words of respect. Believe me it will not work with auto drivers in Chennai.

Hmmm…This guy is for sure not going to work, I think to myself.

Autowala: Apollo Hospital Pakkama?(Near Apollo hospital?)

Me: Haan Atheithan. (yeah that’s the place). Oh speed up guy, you are losing my patience.

Autowala: Ange enge Ma? (Near Apollo where?) Now I feel really angry.

Me: Ninga hospital pakkam stop paninga. Evilom? (You stop near the hospital, please). How much? Here begins the tough part.

Autowala: 65 rupees aakuma. (It will be Rs 65). Believe me this guy is doing daylight robbery. My office is just 2.5 kms away. No surprise at his words anyways, since I am used to auto drivers over here.

Me: Rs 30 than koduthittu irriken. (I give only Rs 30 daily). Saying this, I start walking by.

No! He doesn’t bother calling me back. I knew it was going to be total time waste. Any where else, the walking away strategy works in bargaining, but over here it doesn’t work with most of the auto drivers. Hmph, I sigh to myself. Soon enough, I find another auto. The same conversation above follows: Whatever it is, finally end up getting an autowala who will take only Rs 30 but the whole bargain lasts more than 5-10 minutes.

All this trouble is saved, if I find an auto in the stand because all the drivers there know me and I can avoid the tedious bargaining process with them. Also, if I have time to spare, I can just wait near the stand because one or the other auto will be back there in few minutes as that is how their normal practice goes.

Phew! A timely sleep does save a lot of trouble!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Timely sleep saves a lot of trouble!

A portion of my bed where my arm rests, starts vibrating at sharp 7.45 am. It is the alarm from my cell phone. Soon enough, I reach out for the cell phone with one hand coming out of the covers, slowly searching for the snooze button.
Now why do I keep it in vibrate mode? There were times when I had kept some ring tone and while sleeping, the loud ringing alarm sounded like a lullaby and I never got up in time. Not that I enjoyed reaching office late, but the only option back then was to sign the late register. Three times I do that happily and the fourth time I am late, it becomes a half day. I guess those days, every month I had exhausted the three days allowance easily. :D. Once or twice, I even had to go for half day. Now what happens on a day when I am late for office and I am aware of the already exhausted 3 days? Simple, I will continue sleeping knowing that I might as well go to office in the afternoon since anyways I will have to take half day.

Now back to the snooze button. I always end up adjusting the alarm a little early before the actual time for me to rise and shine. Most of the days, it is 7.45am to get up maximum by 8am. I have no words to express the glorious joy with which I sleep after I hit the snooze button. It is like the feeling of total bliss, knowing that you still have some more time for that sweet slumber or for that beautiful dream to continue. Most of the times, it is the latter which I go for even though sometimes I try both of it. Now what happens is that how ever I try to make the dream continue, it does not move from the point I woke up to reality. So as my normal practice goes, I start making up the dream. I try to imagine that whatever I fantasize while sleeping is actually a part of the dream. Wicked, isn’t it? There is some happiness in that too.

Once I get off the bed and if the time is 8.00, I have enough time to do all the stuff I normally do along with some exercise and roommate bonding. Exercise would include a bit of yoga plus stretching and bonding would normally be talking with my roomies. I know talking is not really what bonding is all about, but I would be glad even if that happens. Three of us stay in the same house but seldom gets to meet the other person. One girl works in a call centre as a team leader so it calls for night shift. In essence, when she comes back from work in the morning, I leave for work. The other girl (again team leader) works in a BPO and enjoys the benefits of day shift but again both of us don’t get to talk that much. The so called reason being, the fact that she is always on her phone talking to some or the other person.

Now, if I get off the bed even a minute after 8.30am, the whole exercise and bonding process goes for a toss. I will have to rush and go to the bath room. By the time I finish all the activities inside, it takes totally 40 minutes (no compromise with the time I spent inside the bathroom even if I am late). I rush out, get dressed and run to the kitchen for breakfast. The time is 9.15am. The servant lady, who cooks for us break fast and lunch, keeps my cereal ready. I gulp it down in a minute. Sometimes, the cereal can be really hot and then I curse myself for sleeping that extra half hour. Few words would follow like this, “ooh ahh” Also, I would ask her not to keep it so hot. How I wish I could speak proper Tamil to her after that. Obviously she understands a bit of my broken Tamil and would mumble something to herself.
Suddenly, I would realize that there is no time to waste. I would just force some water down my burnt throat, pick up my lunch box, umbrella and handbag and rush outside the flat. Normally it takes exactly 12-15 minutes for me to reach office by auto. A few miles away from the apartment, is the auto stand. I would be praying that there should be an auto waiting for me. My bad luck can sometimes be so bad that there would not be even one auto, which would mean that I will have to walk another extra mile to find one. The problem is not only finding an auto but then I will have to complete the whole bargaining process as soon as I can, if I have to reach office in time.

To be continued....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Birthday Birthday all the way!

It is commonly said that November born people are very beautiful, intelligent and famous. One of my friends whose birthday falls on Nov 6th used to quote all those film stars names like Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen and so on. I am not bothered about all that but am very thankful to all those born in November. The inexplicable reason being the much sought after cake cutting and treat part. :D. In the past one week, there were four birthdays celebrated in the office. Cake cutting forms the usual part along with a small gift from the team. It began with pri’s birthday. Pri is a friend working with the automation and electronics team. Her birthday was on November 4th. As goes the normal practice, we gathered in the conference room and gave her a surprise. Wait a moment, was it really a surprise?

We just brought her into the conference room. Surprise!

mmmmm cake cutting... It's chocolate truffle!

Me slowly taking a piece of cake... : )

Pri opening her gift! That's my moto slvr near her gift :)

cute isn't it?...made up scene but! The bouquet was lying in somebody else's desk. He took it and gave it to Pri posing for the camera....:)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Gone are those school days…

It has been six years since I passed out of school but the memories are fresh enough to make me wonder whether those days are really gone. Those were the days when I enjoyed the most. No tensions, no worries but just enjoyment. Did I know the meaning of the word ‘stress’ then? Certainly, our teachers knew it. Our batch was labeled as the most notorious one in the history of Mount Carmel Anglo Indian Girls High School, Tangasseri and we lived by it proudly. Our ICSE and ISCE results also were the best. If I look back now, I am unable to remember the number of times we were punished as a whole. It was easy to find happiness back then in small things. Imagine the fun of imitating our teachers’ right in front of them. Of course they enjoyed it, otherwise they would not have asked us to do it. Dancing, singing, making merry was all a part of our daily activities.

Gaping out at the big sea, through the classroom corridor, I always thought that one day the waves would rise up and gulp down the whole school. What a stupid thought, I know. Nevertheless, to declare that the sea was a very beautiful view would be an understatement. A mile adjacent to our school stood the Infant Jesus Anglo Indian Boys School. Ahem, yes when there is a girls school, a boys school can’t be very far away, Is it? Anyways, we used to love and enjoy the attention the boys showered on us. At the end of the day, travel in the same tempo van back home, singing and playing all the way.

I still remember the time when Mrs Cabbot, (our biology teacher) asked in the 10 STD whether any of us have seen the male reproductive organ. She saw one hand rise. Poor D (class topper), she never knew what she was getting into by raising her hand. Or she must have thought that there might be quite a few hands other than hers raised up. The teacher demanded, “How and when”? She awkwardly answered, “Recently, my cousin brother was born. I saw his”. Anyways she was asked to go to the board and draw the male reproductive system. What a laugh we had! Imagine all the girls giggling and she standing near the board and trying her best to draw and draw.

On entering the plus one, we started to look out and enjoy the sight of good looking boys. There was this day which, was much awaited by both the schools. The ‘Plus Two Day’. It was a tradition followed in which every year, all the plus two girls and boys from both the schools would meet up in either of the schools and the students would perform for the audience. The audience would be the plus two teachers and the plus two students again. It would be a platform for interaction between both the schools. Unluckily, in the 2 years of my plus two, we had only one plus two day but we had lots of fun on that day.

We were all seated together, in such a way that one boy was sandwiched between two girls. Nobody was talking and it was a really awkward situation. Each person was waiting for the other one to talk. Of course, we girls wanted the guys to start off. There was this gang of five boys with musical instruments who was to perform for us some song. One of them, approached S and asked her, “Can you show me the way to the green room”? Now S is another one of my best friends and the laughing riot of our class. To describe her, I would use the words simple, beautiful, hilarious and jumpy. S got up and answered,
“May I ask for what”?
The guy was totally dumbfounded but he soon said, “I need to keep this guitar there safely”. In a moment, S snatched the guitar from him and replied, “Oh that’s all? I will keep it here next to this pillar”. We all started laughing like anything. The guy had a blank expression on his face. He watched helplessly as S placed his precious guitar next to the dusty pillar.

Even after that incident, nobody took the initiative to talk. Time was running out. Suddenly, S jumps up literally, claps and shouts aloud, “Come on guys, lets play something”. The guys looked at each other with frightened faces. All the girls started laughing like anything. Soon the guys joined us in our laughter. This gesture kind of lightened the moment and all of us started talking and laughing. Even in tuition classes, which is the only other place where we get to interact with them, we had quite a bit of fun because of S. On one such occasion, in our Math tuition class, few guys were sitting besides S and my other friends. Now one guy who was trying to keep his bag accidentally hits S’s butt. Few minutes later, she jumps up from her seat, turns around much above that guy’s dismay and shouts, “This is the second time you are hitting me on my buttocks”. The whole class including the professor stares at both of them and starts laughing. S sat down totally embarrassed realizing what she did. That is how she is. She first acts and then thinks.

Now S is doing her final year exams for her medicine studies. Very soon she would become a much deserving doctor considering the kind of helpful person she is. We always tell her parents, that when one patient would come to her clinic seeing the person’s helplessness, she would not only treat him for free but also give money and make sure that he gets medicines also for free. Whoever comes across this blog is likely to wonder what syrals means? Each letter of the word is the first letter of my best friends’ names. I guess I have taken enough of my office time to joblessly write this post. Back to work now!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Life is beautiful!

I really think life is beautiful. It has got nothing to do with proclaiming something out of the blue. I am saying it because it is a feeling that I have always had....hmmm not from childhood but since the time the whole searching process began. Frankly the search still goes on, the search for the real purpose of my life. Though I feel I was close on arriving at the profound answer. Back to what I started, the beauty of life. Recently I came across one more instance when I just had to shout aloud, “Life is beautiful”.

Few days back, I got a call from my friend R who rang up to talk about another friend L. Now to describe L in few words is a little hard for me. Still, I would say that simple, beautiful and happily married would suit her along with the tag of my best friend. The last part is something that I will cherish forever.....I know that because we are friends for the past sixteen years and am quite sure it will continue for life. S and R also forms a part of this forever friendship group, though I will talk about them later. (Just a mention for safety sake, otherwise I might get murdered by them, if they come across this blog.)

On 21st of October, R calls and tells me that I am an aunt now. So engrossed I was with my job and tensions, that I actually asked her how. Neither did it occur to me that L was nine months pregnant nor the fact that her delivery date was due. Her next few words were these. “Edi patti, thendi, L prasavichu”, literally means “You dog, beggar, L gave birth”. “It’s a girl!” she said. My joy knew no bounds. I started screaming in the office like this. “yehiyaeeeeeee, yahooooooo…wowieeeeeeeeee….then what followed was “oops. I am sorry, sorry, really sorry, sorry. Sorry friends!! Actually my friend just delivered a baby girl”.

I rushed inside the conference room and dialed L’s mobile number (for some privacy, since I had decided no more hue and cry). When L picked up, I was literally not able to speak anything. Here is the conversation that followed.

Me: hey dear I just came to know. Congratulations! I don’t know what more to say.
L: Oh thanks!

Me: I can’t believe that finally its done. You are a mother now. And, I am an aunt now.

L: Isn’t it so beautiful? Everybody over here is saying that she looks like me. My eyes, my nose, my ears. She is so small!

Me: Oh really? I am so happy for you. I can’t wait to see her. Is she sleeping? Wake her up! Hold the phone near her mouth. I want to hear her sound. (She was laughing at that moment…must have thought that I am crazy.)

The baby: miaaahhhh…mmmm….hiummmmm…mihimihimhi…..muuuuu(the baby actually made sounds like that….Can you believe it?).

How does it feel like to be an aunt? I can’t really tell. Maybe I will when I will soon be visiting L. The much awaited moment, when I will hold her baby in my arms. Life is beautiful! Isnt it?