NRI आणि वडापाव

एक NRI.. वर्षानुवर्षं बाहेर राहिलेला. मनाने तरीही भारतातच रमणारा. जगणं कोणाला कुठे आणि कसं नेईल सांगता येतं का? असाच प्रवाहाबरोबर वहात आलेला तो… भारतात मिळणाऱ्या पदार्थांची चव अजून जिभेवर जपून ठेवणारा.. मधून मधून परदेशातल्या भारतीय हॉटेल मध्ये त्याच नावाच्या पदार्थांच्या फसवणुकीवर समाधान मानून घेणारा…
त्याच्या जिभेचे मनसुबे त्याला परत परत भारतात घेऊन येतात. २० वर्षांपूर्वीचं आयुष्य परत एक महिना जगायचं हाच प्रत्येक ट्रिपचा उद्देश.. मग कोपर्यावरचा वडा पाववाला, पुढे गेलं की सामोसा, कुठे पाव भाजी तर कुठे कबाब तर कुठे भेळपुरी.. सर्व सर्व हवं असतं पण सर्व एका वेळी खाता मात्र येत नसतं, कारण हे शरीर आता या सर्वाची सवय घालवून बसलेलं असतं.
पण तरीही तो जातो.. हट्टाने दत्त स्नॅक्सच्या दारांत उभा रहातो.. त्या वासाने इतके दिवस धरून ठेवलेला संयम तुटायला लागतो आणि काहीही विचार नं करता लगेच दोन वडा पावची ऑर्डर जाते. “साहेब यात कांदा घालू का?”, “हे नवीन बघा की try करुन”.. हे काही काही नको असतं. फक्त पूर्वीसारखा गरमागरम कुरकुरीत कंगोरे आलेला झणझणीत वडा, आत एक ओली आणि एक लाल सुकी चटणी आणि तोच तो लादीचा पाव, सर्व एका कळकट जुन्या वर्तमानपत्राच्या कागदात गुंडाळलेलं मिळतं… आणि या एवढ्याशा ५ रुपयांच्या जामानिम्यानें त्याच्या पाऊण लाख रुपयांच्या तिकिटाचं सार्थक होतं.
त्या वर्तमानपत्राची ती पुडी उघडताना होणारी घालमेल, आत असलेली ती लाल चटणी अजून त्या पावात भरतानाचं समाधान, सर्वांनाच नाही कळणार. त्या क्षणी तो कुठल्याही देशात जायला तयार नसतो. फक्त तो वडा पाव आणि तो, एवढंच जग असतं, एवढंच आयुष्याचं सार असतं, एवढंच ध्येय असतं आणि एवढीच कमाई असते. परत जाताना हाच वडा पाव त्याच्या जिभेवर रेंगाळत रहातो.. त्याची जागा कुठलाही बर्गर घेऊ शकत नाही.. त्या वर्तमानपत्राच्या पुडीपुढे कुठल्याच चकचकीत प्लेट्स आणि काटे चमचे टिकत नाहीत… त्याची किंमत खरं तर पाऊण लाख आणि पाच रुपये असते.. पण ती परत परत मोजायला तो तयार असतो आणि पुढच्या ट्रीपचा बेत आखत  असतो ………
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July 4th 2015, 10pm : I remember my son and I had been watching some fireworks, that some of my neighbors were lighting up in front of their houses. We live in a nicely secluded townhouse section of my community. It was all fun and you could hear fireworks near and far that night. Finally we decided to go up to our 3rd floor bedroom. Next day was Sunday, and my wife and I were planning to watch a movie with a late night cup of coffee, once my Son went to bed.

My Son went in his room to get something. He returned with a worried look and said to my wife “Mommy the kid next door is crying outside and his dad is also running out”.. I simply ignored him whereas my wife tried to say something to him to just let it be. After brushing his teeth and lying down in bed, my Son still wasn’t convinced – “but Mommy the kid was crying a lot and there was some light too”. Two minutes later, my Son and my wife said, someone is banging on the main door. I had not even heard it! Irritated, I went down to open the door…. And that’s when it all started for us..

That moment is still in my mind today.. A cop and my other neighbor were at the door telling me to get out immediately because the house adjacent to ours was ON full blown FIRE!

We live in a townhouse, which basically means when I say adjacent house, it and my house share a wall. I looked out the door and saw my neighbor’s garage in flames! I yelled at my wife and Son to come down. At that point, there was nothing to think.. The fire was huge and there was no chance to go back and grab anything. The cop simply wouldn’t let me go back in. My Son and wife came running down the stairs, all of us in our pajamas. Me, my wife and my Son, without wearing any shoes or sandals, ran down the stairs and stood at a distance, in front of the house! The lights in our house were still on.. The entire neighborhood was out of their homes, watching the fire engulfing my neighbor’s house, one floor at a time!

I saw my neighbor, the one whose house was burning, a not-so-social guy with 2 kids and a wife, who was doing fireworks just a few minutes back.. Now staring at his house burning in front of his eyes with his family. I asked him what happened, and he apologized and said it was his mistake, and that after the fireworks, he had disposed off the used fireworks in a plastic bag and trashed them in the garage without checking if they were completely put out or not!!

At that point, we all thought the fire trucks will be here in no time and the fire will be put out immediately in the garage!..

The owner of the house in front of me had called 911 by then but the fire trucks had not arrived yet. The fire was raging now at an amazing speed.. Seeing that the fire was going out of control, my wife and my Son just couldn’t control it, and started crying. I had never seen my Son crying this way.. He was overwhelmed and gasping for air while crying..! The flames were growing stronger and I was trying hard to comfort my Son and wife, telling them again and again not to worry. But I knew I was reaching my limits too. I wanted to shout or cry, but nothing came out at that time. In desperation, I yelled at the cop as to why the firefighters were not there yet..

The fire had reached all three floors. One by one, everything inside my neighbor’s house was crashing down. I was getting more and more worried about our house. We did not have anything with us at that point in time.. Everything we had built over the last 16 years of being in the US, was sitting precariously next to that burning inferno! Just one handset of our Vonage landline, which my wife had accidentally brought with her, was our only connection to our possessions at that point. Just then, my neighbor’s metal garage door crashed with a loud bang. Everything in our house just went flashing by before my eyes and I almost came on the verge of panic. By now my Son had lost all patience and even in that exhaustion of crying, he was yelling – “why aren’t the firefighters here yet Daddy? Is our house going to burn too?”.. I couldn’t bear to watch his state and I pulled both him and my wife closer. I knew I wasn’t convincing but I looked him in the eye and said, “Don’t worry! We will handle whatever happens..” And I knew that wasn’t comforting.. it was kinda’ ominous!

A distant sound of several sirens was like music to the ears at that time! It took 13 mins for fire trucks to arrive at the scene from the moment the 911 call was made, and those 13 mins felt like eternity to us and were fatal! The flames were huge now and the time the firefighters were taking to set up their equipment, the ladders and hoses was an immense torture! I had lost hopes of finding our house intact by then.

My wife took my Son inside the house of another neighbor to calm him down, leaving me with our wireless handset of our landline! There were so many onlookers.. Back then and even afterwards.. Watching that house, watching the affected people like us… But with both, my Son and wife gone inside, I wanted to talk to someone. But I didn’t have my cell phone and the handset my wife had brought with her did not have all the numbers. I called my friend, Vivek, from Maryland and described the situation to him.. He said he is going to start driving to my place right away, but it was midnight and I told him to wait.

The firefighters had started spraying the burning house from all directions. A few of them went into our house with a hose and some axes! And that’s when my heart started sinking! I started imagining our common wall on fire, my house getting sprayed with water… I was cursing in my mind, I just couldn’t help feeling angry about my neighbor’s negligence. WE DIDN’T WANT THIS.. And I knew neither did he, but it was because of him that we were where we were at that instant!

I answered questions from cops, talked to Red Cross, got instructions from our gas company who had come to turn off the gas connections, talked to our home insurance as per instructions from the cops, .. Everything in an almost robotic manner. In the meanwhile, my wife searched up numbers for a couple of my local friends on someone else’s computer. I could finally reach one other good friend of mine, Mahendra, who stays relatively close, around 1am. He said he is coming right away..

All this while, the firefighters were fighting the fire from outside and then from the inside, breaking windows, spraying the roof, spraying the front, back, everywhere! Without our knowledge, all this time, a huge fire was burning on the back side of the house! Our neighbor who lives in the house opposite to ours, one who had called 911, and who had taken my Son inside to lie down, was kind enough to bring us some tea, which felt so good at the time! Now all we could do at that point, was to face whatever was in front of us. My friend arrived by then and I could answer the “do you have some place to sleep tonight” question from Red Cross, with a confident ‘Yes’.. But deep in that question was a disturbing question – “why won’t we be able to sleep in our house tonight“?!

By 3am, the fire was put out.. Standing there for 5 hrs at night, watching the fire, dealing with all the parties, worrying about everything was already taking a toll and I was impatient to go and check our house from inside. No part of our house appeared to have caught fire, the lights in our house were still On, the handset in my hand was still working with a ringtone.. These were our pillars of hope in those hours!

Finally at 3:30am, the firefighters told us that we can go inside and quickly grab whatever we want to get from our house! They were going to accompany us. I can’t forget that moment.. Our house stood there all that time in front of us.. with lights On, one of our cars in our driveway covered by the plastic that the firefighters had thrown on it,.. AND, now as the realization came, WITH OUR PET BIRDS STILL INSIDE!!! At that time, I felt almost sick in my stomach.. When the moment came and we were told to get out immediately, WE HAD FORGOTTEN TO BRING OUR PARAKEETS WITH US! They were still in their cage.. Looking back, I can’t really say what we felt. All that matters now was, we found them alive and well.. They had survived our smoke filled house.. No fire had come through.. I started picking up important stuff, all the while hiding my tears, thinking about our birds and the fact that they had got left behind.. and I knew my wife was in a similar state!

The firewall between the houses had protected our house. The deck was a bit damaged, basement had some water, smoke was everywhere.. But our house was fine! I slowly moved into the garage while my wife was packing our stuff.. Our new car was in the garage on the same side as the burning house, and I feared it might have melted on that side. But again to my surprise, no heat had come through! My spirits were rising as I checked each and every thing. A lot of things had gone in our favor.. The neighbor had thankfully pulled out his car from his burning garage in time (!), the structure of our house relative to the burning house had prevented much of the damage, the wind was blowing away from our house… The neighbor on the other side of the burning house was not so lucky though. His house had some major side damage but a tenant was living there, and he moved out the next day.

Finally we came out, me holding the bird cage, and my friend Mahendra and my wife carrying other important stuff. And we all went to my friend’s place that night.. It had been a long ordeal.. Little did I know, that getting the house back to normal would be an even bigger task ….!

At my friend’s house, we described the whole incident to his wife. And that was going to have to be repeatedly narrated hundreds of times to many people after that day! We slept at 4:30am that day,  and I got up at 7am to drive back to our house in the morning. It was a beginning of the path to recovery…

After that day, Insurance guys took over, we restored the gas connection, got cleaning company started, got hotel accommodations through Assured Locations, changed hotels 5 times, had big machines cleaning the air and vents in the house, drying the basement carpet, keeping all restaurant bills for reimbursements, moved our stuff around everywhere we went, kept moving our birds with us, missed many work hours, got invited for dinners by friends, still kept our weekends plans and India vacation plans going, rounded up everything made from cloth in the house and gave it to another company for offsite cleaning, constantly lived out of our bags, didn’t have home cooked food, visited our house with smoke masks, for 20 days..

The air was better now and with family gone to India, I just decided to move back into the house. They brought back hundreds of clothes, rugs, mats, curtains that they had taken for cleaning and I had the mountainous task of putting it back the way it was! That’s how I spent my 2 weeks without my family! The smell is still there, but once they change all the carpet in the house,  repaint all the house, do the repairs for drywalls, deck and the roof, we are hoping it will go away. It will take from mid-Aug to end of September.. and we will go through with it, taking one-day-at-a-time. The house next door will get built in time.. Yes, we will have that with us for a while..

But that’s the story of our month-long struggle so far.. In time, all stories fade from your memory and they should. You don’t need to hold onto unpleasant memories if they are not helpful in any way. When I said that I lost all appetite for firecrackers after this, my Son said something very profound to me.. he said, “Daddy just because someone did it wrong, doesn’t mean we should change our ways! As long as we are taking the right precautions why should we change?” Have to thank my 10yr old Son for infusing this wisdom in me! It did change my outlook back from my initial reactionary thoughts..

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Four little lives..

Four little lives were crossing the road.. I was driving the second car in a line of cars speeding on a highway. The tiny squirrel like animals quickly crossed over into the left lane in front of the first car. I was just feeling relieved, when for some unfortunate reason the last one decided to turn back and run into our lane.. The wheel of my car couldn’t stop..

When I looked through the tears welling in my eyes, the side mirror showed me a black dead, lifeless patch of what once was that tiny little life.. And then I saw as I was speeding away, one of them returned back to check on the lifeless body of the fallen one.. It was a heart wrenching sight frozen in my side mirror, one that lingered on in my mind throughout my journey that day!

And I thought, life is all about the choices we make.. Why did the last one decide to turn back, even after crossing over to the safe side..? I guess I will never know. I just seek forgiveness from a life that was lost and from the one that came back to check…

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Yellowstone Scare!

A few days after we booked our Yellowstone trip, internet bloggers posted videos of Bisons and other animals running away from the park. They were suggesting that this might be due to an impending explosion of the Super-volcano on which the Yellowstone park is sitting on! (

I did not reveal this to the family or friends.. But frantically started reading all kinds of articles about the Geography, History, and Science related to this place, and just decided to go.. It’s like you never believe such things will happen to you in real!

Two days into the trip, while coming back from Grand Tetons National park, my son and I went inside a gas station store. There on the way to checkout, a fellow customer asked me – in front of my son (!!) – if I had heard that a road in Yellowstone had MELTED that morning and all the roads going north into the park were closed. On top of that he pointed out that he had not heard of anything like this in the 30yrs he had lived in Yellowstone!! Whaaaatt?! My son almost panicked and I was trying hard to contain his emotions! 😉 The store owner confirmed having read and heard the news on the Internet that morning. (

Now with absolutely no signal or internet access in the park, and having to travel north through the park to get to our hotel, my mind was picturizing all the disaster movie scenarios while designing elaborate backup/escape plans. Thankfully my son did not say anything about this to his mom when we got back into the car. Somehow that evening while driving back through the park to our hotel, I saw too many cars leaving the park rather than going in – further fueling my imagination!!

Knowledge can be a pain in the a$$ sometimes! 😉 I had read that the super-volcano had exploded at a frequency of about once every 650,000 yrs and the last one was 640,000 yrs ago!!!! So the next one was due anytime!! With the bisons running away and one of the roads just melting due to the heat from all the volcanic activity – which was unheard of, at least to that local guy at the store – things were heading straight into a Hollywood disaster movie plot 😉

Anyway, apart from making me think and worry, nothing of disaster nature happened! We eventually reached our hotel and did not see any widespread panic like I had imagined.. I saw the road that had melted. For the next 2 days, every crater, every mud volcano, every geyser appeared to me as if it was planning to explode but I kept quiet!! 😉 Didn’t want to start mass panic in the family.

We got out of the park on Aug 13th and that’s when I told my wife why I was a bit ‘occupied’ for the last 2 days! As for Yellowstone, I don’t know what happens next!!!! (

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Chasing a dream..

It is strange, that the closer you get to realizing your dream, the farther away your mind takes you.. The closer you get to moving the mountains, the harder it gets to WANT to move them.

It’s a paradox. What you want is not always a reality. Sometimes what you want is a dream, a dream that you don’t dream of becoming a reality.

I don’t know if I am chasing a dream or chasing an almost dreamlike reality. Are all life changing plans this way??

Today when I am close to taking the first real steps to a dream I have been following at a distance, it suddenly feels like being inside the fog you have been chasing in a forest.. The dream was always somewhere inside the fog and now that I am inside, it is staring at me right in the eye..

I don’t know if I liked the fog from outside, or being in it myself.. All I know is that, there is a difference!

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The predictability about this world,
ends with the unpredictability of the people in it..

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Continue reading

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Managing a kid.. alone – Weekday morning..

With wife gone out of town on a business trip, I was left alone with a kid for 5 days..!

This morning, I had Dr appointment @8:30, son had school @7:50..

So I wake up @6, get ready, try to wake him up.. finally after a few tries, success! He goes in the bathroom, just stands in front of the mirror even though I have kept his brush ready with toothpaste, a little shout wakes him up, hands start brushing, then I push him in the shower, half asleep he simply stands under the shower, I intervene, put soap on him, he lets the water wash it away!, I jump in again after some time with a towel, I have kept his clothes ready on the bed (hey, I hate to choose my clothes! And now I have to choose for him too!), seeing the speed of his movements, I put his clothes on him. Thanks to the weather there are 3 layers of clothing, uh oh the jeans are too tight.. “Okk, take them off, put on the other one”, “Go down to the kitchen, without any stops in your room (!)”, he happily ignores the warning and starts playing with his Lego in his room, I give my fatherly roar and things start moving in the right direction (!)..

We come downstairs to the kitchen, now I am panicking, just 13 mins to go.. And I have to make his breakfast, pack snack for school, make his lunch sandwich for school, give him some used socks for his daycare project, pack my stuff,… Breakfast for me? – “no, I can’t afford to have my breakfast (!), no I can’t afford to have tea”- , then put on jackets, put on shoes (darn this winter!), turn on security, lock the door, get in the car and drive to his school…!

I frantically opened the note I had saved in my iPhone where my wife had put down a menu plan for each day, “ok, fruit yoghurt, juice, spoon,.. oops, what about his breakfast? Oh, am I awesome or what?.. ” I had boiled some eggs last night and kept in the fridge.. Doh, still have to peel them, ok, cut, salt, pepper.. “No, don’t try to help me..! Help me by NOT helping me!!”…, “first get here RIGHT NOW and eat your breakfast (!), oh toast, yes,
sure..”.. 4 mins left..

“Have to make his lunch sandwich, ok get the burger patty, heat the pan, turn the burner ON, ok press and turn, press and turn… why isn’t it turning ON?? There! It’s ON finally!!”, .. 2 slices of bread – toasted, butter, cheese, mayo, 2 slices of tomatoes? Why?! “Man! Why doesn’t tomato grow in sliced form?! Now I have to cut it…, is this knife? I can’t even cut into milk with this knife!! Why is Tomato so hard to cut?!!”,… “no, no, daddy that slice is too thick”.. “So what? It IS STILL A SLICE!! You need to eat more tomato (!)”…, now my son starts taking things in his own hands.. Starts packing his juice in the backpack.. thud.. the juice packet falls on the floor… “what in the world..?”…

With all the kid’s juice marketing, you would think that those juice packets are at least fall-proof upto 4 feet?……. “GET the tissue, can’t you even put the juice in your backpack without dropping it out of your hands??”, … “CLEAN UP!”… it is 2 minutes over.. I get the burger patty from the pan, it is hot, but my  sensations are almost disappearing so I don’t mind.. like a cranked up machine, I make that sandwich, put it in a ziplock and throw it in the backpack.. “but daddy, mommy puts the spoon and the yoghurt in a ziplock too”.. “IT DOESN’T MATTER, why does it have to go in a ziplock?…”, ….”uh uh.. ok ok.. where is that ziplock.. there, HAPPY??”

“Now come on, will you AT LEAST start putting on your jacket?”, “Go down and start putting on your shoes.. I am ALONE here, you have to help me!”… then a little dose of importance for the kid.. “we have to work as a team.. since Mommy isn’t here…” I knew this was falling on deaf ears.. I knew it was quite a pathetic attempt to infuse some sense of responsibility in him… but I had to do it.. to make the atmosphere a little more amicable…a little more constructive!!

Kid rushes down, goes into the garage, starts wearing shoes while I pack my things.. I don’t know what I was wearing, I did not eat anything, but like an automaton, I am going through the motions.. I rush down to the garage, and see the kid struggling with an inside out sock.. “what? all this time and you managed to just STRUGGLE with one sock???!”.. let me do it.. I get the socks, push his feet through, and finally pack the socked feet in the shoes.. he runs to the car and gets inside, I just wear my flip-flops and carry my shoes in my hands.. “daddy, I forgot my backpack.. and my Ninjago.. “, I go back in, get the backpack and thunder back, “you don’t need to carry your Ninjago, stop it now”..

I jump in the car and we disappear in that foggy morning…. “Daddy, when is Mommy going to come back…?”……… Without a word, I drop that package at school and start my onward journey.. In the silence of that morning, the car wheels running, and the fog slowly lifting up, I began wearing my socks and shoes whenever a traffic light went red.. I looked around to see if I can find small bits of food lying around in the car.. so that I can stuff it in my mouth.. maybe something my son might have dropped earlier… something on the floor.. something…….? anything..?

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The Addict..

I remember it was a dark chilly evening.. I was lying there under the stars.. a mental struggle still brewing… but I was helpless.. An ambulance siren sounded in the distance and grew louder as it approached.. Within minutes I was being whisked away on a stretcher and the next moment, I was reading the names of hospital wards as I was being carried inside. Finally we stopped in front of a large door.. Through my lifeless eyes, I read the sign there.. it said – “Facebook Addicts”! And then, I was pushed inside, in that darkness… and that’s where my flashback started…

Three years ago, my colleagues introduced me to Facebook.. I had started Twittering just a few months before that.. but this was new. For some time, I stayed away but as it outgrew Twitter, I started frequenting it more.. and that’s where my story starts..

I am sure most of you have heard about Facebook! – unless you are one of the last remaining DNAs on Titanic..! Still living in the year 1910.. edge of the deck with your arms spread apart (with the titanic tune playing in the background)…!

Anyways, this Zuckerberg kid had created something really amazing.. viral as they say! Everybody was on it.. the whole world was beginning to talk through Facebook, and so I started too! Whether I was on vacation, stuck in traffic, frustrated with my job, .. I posted it to Facebook. I shared my deepest secrets with it, poured my heart in front of it..

Basically, I understood dramatization, blowing things out of proportion, making a big deal out of nothing. So when the coffee machine in the office was broken, I called that Apocalyptic! I shared my opinions with Facebook, opinions about everything – right from my pimple to a film star’s dimple, from my  housemaid to the President of United States, from the stone that hit the roof of my house last night, to the comet that plunged into Jupiter..! And in a matter of few months, I became a successful Facebooker!

Facebook gave me uninterrupted boasting and advertising rights! And in return I got some “Like’s” and some Comments. Nobody could “Dislike” me!! And I liked that 🙂

I shared my crazy ideas, questions, hallucinations.. I tried to make it entertaining to everyone on my friend list! And after I got my iPhone, I suddenly got immense power in my hands! One day as I woke up in the morning, I wished, beds had robotic arms that could brush your teeth! Voila, thanks to my iPhone, I posted it to Facebook right that instant and all my friends chimed in with their ideas on top of that! It was almost like American Football.. one good post and everybody would pile on..!

Unfortunately I was not the only one with smart comments. One day, a friend of mine said he returned a toaster back to the store because it was too demanding.. its manual said, do not leave it unattended. And he wasn’t ready to make that commitment at this point in his life! And I think he got 50 comments and 20 Like’s on that.. I was jealous, now why didn’t I think of that….! 😉

I remember, Facebook once sent me a message to confirm my relationship with my wife, because she claimed on her profile that she was married to me!! So I had to verify and then click ‘Yes’ to legitimize our marriage in this new ‘marriage registry’! 🙂 I replied with another post, where I wondered about the possibility of getting multiple claims such as this. I can assure you, this was one of my most successful posts on FB!

Facebook continued to grow.. I saw husbands and wives communicating over Facebook! So instead of calling each other over the phone, they would send a pseudo-public message to each other over the Social network! Hey, even I used to fight that urge to talk to my wife over Facebook, even if she might be in the kitchen upstairs!

Things got so worse that I couldn’t appreciate any type of moment without sharing it with Facebook. I would be sky diving and I would want to Post it from that height, I would be on a roller coaster and I would take out my iPhone to take that picture and post it…. Sometimes my wife would beat me at posting the pictures on Facebook first, and steal the whole Comments show..! That would make me so mad.. It was a rat race.. but most of the times, I was ahead of the game with my iPhone and my dedication.

But, a lot of jealous people were lurking in the shadows…..

…It was a dark winter evening.. I was roaming in a park with my iPhone and, my family..! As usual, I was advertising on Facebook, that I was taking a walk in a park under the starry sky! My wife had given my iPhone a couple of angry stares already..! But I was a die-hard facebooker..

All of a sudden, there were police sirens.. and I knew it, I knew it.. !!.. my wife had called the Anti-Facebook Squad! I started posting frantically.. “Oh no, there are Cops all around me, they have guns.. “, “Somebody, Please, in the name of Facebook.. please help ME!!!.. “, “Please call 911“.. My posts kept going every second.. oh, if only I could take a video of this for Facebook.. God, this iPhone camera… Then there was a popping sound.. “Oh no! I am getting tasered!”..I posted.  I was fast losing my sensation, but my muscles were addicted, they kept posting.. “I think I am dying.. “, “Please Help“.. “Please Help..“… “H. e..   l…   p p p“..  As I hit the ground, my brain was still calculating – Wonder how many comments will I get on this one..

And then there was silence… the same silence that started all this flashback..

…When I got up, the darkness was fading away.. I sat up from my hospital bed.. Out of sheer habit, my hands reached out for my iPhone.. it was nowhere to be seen, they had taken it away from me.. I looked around.. it was a bright sunny day outside.. My wife was sitting next to my bed…. silently punching keys on her phone! ..Posting my latest status… to HER Facebook account…..!!!

…Our Facebook War had just begun….!

From that day onwards, I started building a new killer iPhone app.. one that would talk to a chip installed in your brain using radio waves, to post your thoughts directly to Facebook… This was the birth of “FyberDyne systems”!!! But, Apple’s App store wouldn’t budge.. they blocked the app.. the battle continues… even today…

Posted in Fun And Entertainment, In a lighter vein, Posts, Speech | 1 Comment

How are you?

If there is one question I face everyday in my life, it is the “How are you” question.. I have to think about that every single time! I bump into that in the office elevator, in meetings, in grocery stores, in my son’s school, at the hair cuttery, and even in a bathroom.. no, I am not kidding!! And then I have to come up with various kinds of answers! If you ask me, “How are you” is one of the most abused questions of modern times! I am not sure how many people who ask this question are really interested in the answer! Even I am not sure if I am either! I think when two people face each other, they have to say something.. just like 2 Ants..! Have you seen 2 ants bumping into each other and exchanging some words? 😉 This is similar.. and this question is one way to address that situation.. !

Everyone has his own way of dealing with this question. Some people just smile or nod.. so basically they understand the need of that other person to address them with this question, but they don’t feel the need to return the favor! Most people fall in the “I am Good, and how are you” category. I think that’s a reasonable category. Some people might say “Not too bad”, which is supposed to be “I am Ok, but not so good”.. Then there is the “Been better” category, which means “things are bad, but not so bad”!!

Of course, it depends on the relationship between the two people. But there are some who really grab the opportunity, no matter who they are talking to. So I was in my office kitchen one day, just getting my first cup of coffee.. This “distant colleague” of mine walks in, so I just threw the usual “How are you” at him hoping to get a short answer… but no, he started telling me how he spent his weekend, how he took his family to see cherry blossom and oooh, the weather was nice, it was sooo wonderful, but how the flowers did not look fresh, how they differed from the ones he saw 25 years ago, how global warming is causing all this, how my drinking coffee from that disposable cup is the culprit for ruining the planet.. and his cherry blossom!!!.. and on and on.. I was standing there, fast losing my appetite for that morning caffeine, hoping to get back to my desk, cursing myself on why I ever asked this question to him in the first place! And I was wondering, what my response could be, next time someone asks me this question that morning…! Yeah, “been better”! ?

This “How are you” can happen anywhere.. I was in AOL at that time, and one day, I was in the office bathroom.. A colleague walks in and is using the urinal next to me.. we had met in the morning, and exchanged some pleasantries already.. but still he throws this question over the privacy wall to me – “hey, how is it going”… huh? Now in the bathroom too?? Didn’t we just talk about it an hour back?! Now what am I supposed to say here? I just ended up giving him the smile+nod treatment!

Most people don’t care what you say to this question, but some do – like this incident that happened on a Monday, as I was walking in, at my workplace. The security guy says “How are you?”.. I wasn’t too happy that morning since it was a Monday.. you know, you are not supposed to feel good on a Monday, if you do, there is something terribly wrong with you! 😉 I said “Not too bad”.. I thought two negations should settle the question to an acceptable degree! But no, the guy insists that I should be more positive, and say that I am feeling wonnnnderful! But I refused to say that, because that wasn’t the truth and I did not want to mislead myself into thinking that I was indeed feeling wonderful! But he wouldn’t budge and settle for anything less! Finally, I just said I will see what I can do next time.. but Mondays are Mondays buddy!! ….I must say, this was the only time when whatever I said in response to this question mattered to someone!

But overall, you get so used to this question though, that it almost becomes mechanical.. you start answering even before someone asks you this question sometimes! I have done it – so someone says “Hi” and you reply with a “Hi, I am good” and then realize – oh, he didn’t even ask me how I was doing!! And now, you are NOT doing so good after all! 😉

But we continue with our habit – ask when you don’t want to know, you tell when nobody is really listening.. ([For the Speech] And btw, sorry I did not ask you all, how you were doing this afternoon! So how are you all? ….Well, never mind! 😉

Posted in I think.., In a lighter vein, Life, Speech | Leave a comment