Category Archives: comic atyachaar

One step ahead

Once upon a time, birthdays used to celebrated. Until you climb up the ladder of twenties.

There are some of us, who were accorded stepmotherly treatment by stupid cupid ( courtesy DM). It was just not possible to find or accept someone, when you spent a lifetime celebrating the ‘joys of being single’. And then comes a time, when the panic button is switched on, alarms are raised, the full fledged ‘manhunt’ begins and you feel trapped.

“You’re getting the pic clicked today or else I will….”, the Mother almost issued a suicide threat. Yours truly who spent an entire week listening to the suicide threats of Kudumbashree members in Thrickodithanam couldn’t take anymore of such threats on a Sunday morning while regaining her consciousness from sleep overdose.

Showered and powdered, I was  dragged by my collar and hauled into a photo studio. The photographer tried to hide his smile on hearing “matrimonial type” pic, exactly the kind of humiliation I was trying to avoid. Lights were switched on and the camera assault began. What more can  you expect when you are made to smile at gunpoint, the gunpoint being the mother’s pointed stares…

“Don’t show your teeth, a faint hint of a smile will do”, Amma commanded. The photographer nodded in agreement and to add insult to injury said ,”Yes, She knows how such stuff is done pretty well”. I could almost imagine the photographer hiring my retired jobless Amma and handing over the letter of appointment as an assistant. The camera assault ended and the results were somewhat close to reality. Until the next day I found myself, rooted to a chessboard with an expression that clearly stated ,”What the hell am I doing here? This is so not me”

Clicked, processed, paid & uploaded, the manhunt commenced. Just in case you’re seriously wondering what to do with your life, please find a copy of Manorama’s sunday supplement and skim through the classifieds section. If you don’t feel suicidal please don’t take the pains to let me know.

The manhunt is an interesting process. With a pregnant roomie who has just completed her first trimester my enlightenment on Men of the world has increased manifold.

The default template is incomplete without god-fearing, religious  and someone with a right mix of traditional and modern values. Teehee I know what you mean. I should be traditional when it comes to my duty towards your family and modern when it comes to me ignoring your duty towards the Kerala State Beverages Board which is totally understandable. But, when I see statements like ‘she should adjust with my parents’, the blood boils, traces of having listened to lectures on gender studies and womens’ sociology once upon a time resurface and I begin ranting. Seriously dude!!!

3 months in the district with 100% literacy and I now realize the overrated importance of ‘aristocratic family’. Brand value for belonging to some mootil, kaatil, veetil, kuttil,  kalathil , parambil… In this 21st century  there are people who still uphold the significance of these names in fetching a good bid for their sons…I’m speechless.

Then again, I’m not alone in this. All I had to do was a random search and find a whole LOT of familiar faces. Mean Cupid, I must say.


MLA’s day out

Some basic knowledge of the political scenario in Kerala is a must for reading this post. This is one of my first attempts in the rare ventures I make in a world outside “I-me-myself”.
The Characters have slight resemblance with anyone living or dead. This is a creative pursuit with minor elements of truth in the incidents.

Concerned about the lack of physical exercise and degenerating sportsman spirit among the legislators in God’s own country, the Assembly Sports Meet was held for the legislators to showcase their talents. Apart from staging walk-outs, burning their calories in verbal assaults during assembly proceedings and gaining more calories after feasting on the parota and chicken sneaked in from the fancy restaurants near the Legislative assembly during hunger strikes, this was an opportunity for the members to prove their mettle in the field of sports. Heart, sugar, pressure and cholesterol the four words which haunt anyone who has crossed 45 years of age seemed to have no effect on our beloved legislators.
Officially it is stated that the Sports meet was a part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Kerala Legislative Assembly.

The entire assembly was divided into teams led by the CM, Speaker and Deputy Speaker and other important namesake figures. It was amusing to note that people who couldn’t stand each other in the assembly premises were teamed up together and exhibited true sportsmanship with stray incidents of kaalumaaral, paara vekkal (backtracking, sabotaging etc) and the like.

The two days of physical exercise and fun culminated in a grand fashion with almost 1/4th of the Legislative assembly suffering from major and minor health hazards, stress,strains and sprains, twists and turns. Currently they are enjoying their stay in the VIP suites of multi-speciality hospitals.

Our own teacher kicked off the injury/casualty series by twisting her right arm. Sources say that when teacher visited the hospital to set her arm right, the hospital authorities mistook it for a surprise visit and was accorded a ceremonial welcome. Teacher was groaning and writhing in pain and it took a while for the hospital authorities to figure out the problem. How I wish all this suffering would haunt her with memories of the plight of the parents of the Kilirur girl, those new-Born’s at SAT who died coz of carelessness and her,” I don’t care attitude”, the hundreds in the state who still suffer from the consequences of chikungunya which spread all over the state while people are wondering whatever happened to the funds received from the centre to curb the epidemic.

The man who is responsible for all the money, those land scams and everything to do with the money flowing in and out of the state (read party offices) suffered from a muscle strain. It is alleged that CM himself was venting his frustration on the money-man coz of the hot-soup he landed all of them into, with respect to HMTHDIL land scam.

The famous MLA from Kazhakootam also strained a muscle. This must have been done deliberately by someone who suspected he would change sides again and become an (obstacle) opponent to his own team. Preventive measure you see. You never know when this man will change sides.

The man who has managed to keep a decent image so far, managing the water resources of the state deserves kudos for playing till the end without any consideration for his injury.

It was no surprise when the CM’s team which is known for scoring numerous goals ( goal adi is a term used in Malayalam to point out blunders) over the years, won the football match.

The disobedient spoilt brat of the lot, the proclaimed atheist, the manipulator in-charge of education in a 100% literate state landed in the ICU with his sugar levels going down at the end of the two-day long sports meet.

Sunday saw the 50 years (of making public a fool) celebrations with cultural events being organized and the legislators exhibiting their talents in just one field they are adept at, acting.
We can very well imagine the DRAMA that must have been staged with improvising dialogues and making use of this opportunity to express their aggression against one-another.

Yours truly was wondering how to conclude this post when today’s newspaper came in as a blessing.

The cherry on the cake was…

More than 100 out of about 140 MLA’s refrained from attending a seminar on “Qualitative changes in Assembly Proceedings” as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The turn-out was less than 20 with many of them citing reasons like injuries suffered during the sports events and the rest stating obviously unreasonable reasons.

When the number of sittings of the assembly has reduced drastically, including the days lost in boycotts, walkouts and dharnas , while the common man is left in the lurch why would they attend a seminar on qualitative changes? The only qualitative change maybe observed in rising standards of quibbles and carps, physical assaults and in our own terms kayyettam, vaakkutharkkam, koolithallu, vettumkuthum etc. The tactics employed are cost-effective and yield instantaneous results. Ini enthonnu quality? (What more qualitative changes do we need?)

Fools like me read all this in newspaper, laugh our guts out on the mockery and step-back from reacting. Why?


Another Journey in Life

Long directionless post ahead!

Alarmed by the fact that my dad’s pot-belly is shrinking and that I am growing side-ways during the vacation, mom packed me off to good old Trivandrum. Post jinxed era, dad is here all alone, cooking by himself and reliving his good old bachelor days.
Another reason cited was, mom wants me to cook for dad and avoid certain consequences in the future like,
Face the wrath of my future Mother-in-law coz Mummy didn’t teach her daughter cooking…
Worried that daughter may not be able to find her way to a man’s heart through his stomach…
Fearing that her daughter’s face will be disfigured if, daughter tests her culinary skills on her husband…
And post-retirement, she doesn’t want me sticking around after a divorce and 4-5 kids to look after.
With a dozen Five-year plans lined up, happily I embarked upon the journey to Trivandrum.
Carelessness and I are inseparable. Even after Dr.AJ’s continuous, everlasting and persistent efforts, she hasn’t been successful in detaching us. This time around I forgot to take my toothbrush. So also, I created confusion with the coach numbers. I accept it’s my mistake, but you know, mothers of 20 something’s can’t stand carelessness for the obvious reasons. She was furious and gave me those stares, which sent a chill down my spine. I always get these chills; from that very day she screamed at me and spanked me for trying to climb the iron railings in our balcony on the 3rd floor of the quarters. Numerous incidents of spanking to scolding to stare-and-scare (you just can’t ignore those meaningful looks moms give, can you?) followed till date, many of which I conveniently chose to forget (a reason for them continuing).
Just like the ticket in waiting list got confirmed, God decided to hear my prayers this time, which was to have some sane and interesting co-passengers. It’s always been nuns or sabarimala pilgrims or some sidey guys or Fraud ‘Fraud Mallus’ who wouldn’t open their mouths but exhibit in full-swing what is known as attitude or jaada in simple terms.
There was this old-couple who shed all inhibitions and smiled at me and we gelled along really well. The Old lady, was a teacher who had resigned, to take care of her grandchildren in Bangalore. Her techie kids had no other option. I adore those kids for the grand-parental attention they get. But, further into the conversation, perceptions changed and she was telling me about how, the kids are going to be admitted to school this year and how lonely she is gonna be, in a strange city and all those worries which affect a grandmother alas babysitter role.
As we were deeply immersed in the tete-a-tete, a young couple entered. Obviously techies, newly married on a journey to Kerala. This answered the prayers for interesting co-passengers, coz sane people ain’t that interesting!. In a desperate attempt to conceal their evidently mallu looks ( the epidemic which is rampant), the funny glasses and straightened hair beyond expiry date, which resembled coconut husk were an interesting sight. After the initial PDA’s which embarrassed the elderly couples and interested singles out singles like me, the girl settled down with a book, cuddling up to her spouse.
The guy was bored and was looking around the lush greenery in adjacent seats that wouldn’t escape his wandering eyes. The girl would look up every 5 minutes and ask,” hey, what are you doing”.
Either the book was boring, or the girl understood her naughty man’s antics, soon both were whispering and giggling like the silly college girls. The only statement that was loud enough for all of us to hear was, ” Ho AC was much better” . I guess every train traveller does that, to glorify AC compartment when they travel in a Sleeper.
Soon, I got bored of them and my eyes fell on it. I’d missed it for 4 months straight and this was one of the initial indicators to enlighten me, that I’m actually going home. Malayala Manorama contains good gossip and useless yet interesting news. I had this habit of reading only the obituary page, ever since I learnt to read Malayalam, though gradually the other pages apart from the one with passport size photographs interested me. Some of the interesting news I found were
* Mohanlal pinmaaranam. ( Mohanlal has to withdraw from the fire-escape magic act or whatever)
* Pashu maala vizhungi, shastrakriyayiloode puratheduthu. ( A cow which had swallowed a gold chain was operated upon and the chain was removed from the cow’s stomach along with a plastic rope and another chain)…
* Don’t remember the headline for this one… A 17 year old committed suicide because his favorite hero didn’t win Idea Star Singer 2007. (it’s obvious that either the boy was nuts or the actual reasons are being hidden)
I was reading through several other interesting stuff and fell asleep.
Soaring temperatures are making me insomniac. This sleep was a welcome relief. Suddenly, I woke up when I felt something was wrong with the fans. The couple who, occupied the upper-berths had conveniently tilted the fans, each one to their sides, leaving the rest of us sweating and sleepless. ( Now you understand why I’m cribbing so much about the couple). A little bit of consideration for fellow-human beings, that’s what we all ask for, yet refuse to give others

By morning I reached home and the road, thanks to the welfare efforts of our Government, almost broke my back. I’m not talking about the main-roads, this one leads to our residence, maintained by our Residents’ association, more or less miniature versions of the bigger crooks who dominate the Government. Retired jobless uncles and the even more jobless youth form this association which has just one accomplishment in the annals of its history, Tarring the road which winds down a hill, ages ago.
As a part of the Japan-aided drinking water scheme, the road was dug for laying the pipes. To fit in these pipes the other main water-supply pipes, telephone lines, sewage lines etc were broken. Presently the work has come to a halt, coz of some rivalry and arguments that crept in. The road is a disaster and majority of the residents dread driving through that road.
For that matter, laying of pipes and widening of roads, PWD in Kerala is never jobless though their fruitless (oops fruitful) efforts are visible only in the half-dug roadsides and the pools during rainy season. Walking through the roads equals to practising for long-jump or in extreme cases learning to swim and you can only drive a JCB on these roads.
I reached home, lamenting over the sad-state of affairs, freshened up and took over the kitchen. Mummy I miss you!!!!!! Anyways, Dad was my guinea pig for the day and I was busy showing off my culinary skills. I asked him, ” Dad how is it?”
He said that it was nice.
Remembering the reasons cited for sending me home now, I asked him,” Dad, did mummy know to cook, when you got married”?
I shall never forget the look on his face when he said,” I just got used to it. I never complained and judged her cooking”. What conclusions do I draw from that statement? Men, please learn *wink*
I had a phone conversation with mom, describing the journey and putting another reason in her list of things-I-should recollect-next-time-I-have-an-argument-with-him, and she started off another lecture on how careless I am blah blah.. making me feel all the guiltier.
I thought this much was enough to blog about, in this deserted land, when someone knocked on the door. I knew this one belonged to the pests in Tvm species, the salespeople. This boy started flirting with me and displayed this book of world facts. With few rude responses (which I felt very bad doing so), I drove him away.
Once again, I logged into our PC and my glance fell on a post-it stuck on the mother-board, with some vital info on it. What was written on it seemed vaguely familiar and realization struck like a lightning. That was my id and password, which I’d given my mom to check on an important mail, when the wi-fi in our college went on strike. Pheww!!!!!!! Being careful can also be dangerous isn’t it?
Well, I’ll stop the directionless rant here and need to ask mom about her extremely careful action.
Consequences if any, will not be retold here!!!
Forgot to mention: Heard a lot about the FM boom in Trivandrum. I switched on the FM and listened for a couple of minutes. The RJ’s are doing a good-job of murdering our Mother-tongue.


Vettukathi tales

Now people don’t run away seeing the title. I have no intention of a verbal assault or cracking PJs here. This is our sad story, in search of a vettukathi.
The other day, mom and I were shopping in Mathikere market. Along with the usual vegetables, fruits, leaves, and all that stuff which my mom wants to feed me and make up for the 3 years, we were also searching for a vettukathi.
There was this man, who was selling knives and other such dangerous but essential tools for a household. My mom coolly went and asked,” Vettukathi ondo”?
Freeze
Many heads turned back. Well, in a predominantly mallu area, where everyone tries to hide the fact that they are mallus, even though they claim you can recognize a mallu by his or her looks, such questions can surely be a head-turner or crowd-puller.
The shopkeeper said, ” Vettukathi illemma”. He was not a Malayali for sure.

Another day, we went to this supermarket, owned by Malayalis. The salespersons were all Mallus. With the looks-and-logic phenomenon, I could identify the presence of quite a few Mallu shoppers. By the way, even if a Mallu adjusts to the metro, or metamorphoses into a Fraud Mallu, when his taste buds develop a craving for some puzhukkalari choru or other exclusively Kerala stuff, he or his family will inevitably enter a Malayali owned supermarket. Amidst oldies, middle-aged couples, newly-weds and to be coupled ones, who were definitely making an effort to unrecognize the recognizable mallus, we mother and daughter were shopping too.
My mom who is just getting used to the sophisticated ways of a metro asked the sales-boy..”Table cloth ondo?”
Yes, yes… and after a fifteen-minute long rummaging through the stuff kept there, he produced a packet of table mats.
“Ithalla ‘meshaviri’ (table-cloth) ondo? “ mom clarified.
“Oh.. athilla”.

By then a few mallu couples had come to the adjoining counter.

“Kodil ondo”? Mom shoots the next attention-grabber-head-turner question.
The salesman looks at the other salesman who in turn looks at the other one and the chain reaction of blank looks continued. An elderly person who was also a salesman came to us.
My mom repeated,” paathram pidikkana kodil ondo”?
Now he understood what was that big thing my mom wanted and he produced the desired kodil.
Mom was happy, except for the fact that she was a bit embarrassed by the looks she got.

Then came the final question,” Vettukathi ondo”?
Ultimate shocker FREEEEZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Now even I was a bit embarrassed as to, what made her think there would be a Vettukathi in a supermarket.
I was whispering to her, “Ma how can you expect there will be a vettukathi in a …….”
My words were swallowed by one of the boys who said, ” Ngaa chechi ond”.
My mom gave me a triumphant look that conveyed the message See, I told you.
After rummaging for another 15 minutes he produced a normal knife.
” Ayyo, ithu pattila”, and reminded of her success in being descriptive about the kodil, she continued,”Thenga vettan pattana vettukathi”.
Now another man produced a larger knife within the same time as my mom finished her sentence.
Saddened by the fact that he couldn’t be of any service to us he said,” Ayyo chechi ithu vechu thenga vettan pattum ennu thonanilla”.
Now it was my turn to beam and give the I-Told-you-so look combined with the embarrassment.
My mom finally gave up. We paid our bills and returned.

I was left thinking, when a non-mallu understood what a vettukathi was, why not the mallus in the shop?


Spiritual Foundations and Confrontations

This post has drawn its inspiration from here.
For a 7 year old, who shifted to Kerala from Bangalore and knew kurichu kurichu Malayalam, the Catechism classes in Malayalam used to be a night-mare. To add to my woes, I was a KV student, which meant no Malayalam was taught in school.

My parents decided to put me in Class 1 for catechism while I was in class 3 in school.
The teacher, a frail woman, with thick glasses perched on her long nose was teaching “Dhaivam Snehamanu.” (God is love) when I entered the class, hiding behind my dad, tightly clutching his fingers.
MJ,” Hello, I’m MJ. This is my daughter. We want to put her in your class”
Teacher” Oh! No problems. Let her join”
MJ,” She doesn’t know Malayalam properly”
Teacher,” That’s alright”.
MJ says to JJ,” Ok, you sit in the class. I’ll come at 10.30″ and leaves.

Teacher was entering my name into the attendance register. “What’s your baptism name”?
I was clueless. This was the first time I was hearing something like ‘ Baptism name’. Now did I possess another name? I was already disgusted with people not getting my name right.
I spoke for the first time, “I don’t know. I’ll ask my parents”.

The teacher asked me to recite some prayers. I loudly recited Our Father, Hail Mary etc with the same enthusiasm as multiplication tables (Remember, I was not so good in math, saw you might draw your own conclusions about that statement).
End of the day, I was called by the headmistress. A fat, old woman clad in a brown habit looked scary. She was the Mother Superior. (MS)
MS,” Your teacher said, you’re smart enough. I think I’ll directly put you into second standard”.
I nodded my head and got the second standard textbook.

(Apparently, the teacher was apprehensive about teaching me in English, and though she didn’t know or understand a word of the English prayers I recited, I was given a good-feedback. I know she cheated. The teacher just wanted to get-rid of this soul and my spiritual foundation was shaken because of two subsequent promotions, rather double promotions… I never attended first and second standard, and you talk about how a strong foundation makes up a good structure… Guess my spiritual structure is hanging in the air.., coz I never learnt the basics)

I didn’t have to use the second standard textbook for long. Due to the over smartness, I was promoted to class 3 the following Sunday. This time the class was handled by a young man, on whom they rested their last hope, coz he was educated in an English-medium Christian institution.
He was teaching me the 10 commandments. When it came to the one which said, “anyante bhryaye aagrihakkarauthu“, like many other jinxed mallus like me, the version was ,”aniyante bharyaye aagrahikkaruthu

I had to give my catechism exams in 2 months time. This was supposed to be a written exam in Malayalam. There was no provision to give the exam in English. I had learnt a few letters in Malayalam symbolizing them, like when you joined the upper tails of number 13 you get the letter ‘Dha ‘. Horrified by the forthcoming circumstances, MJ and AJ embarked upon the task of teaching their daughter the script of their mother-tongue.

I wrote the exam.
Two Sundays later, I got the answer-script. The marks read like 6+ 14 =20. 6 for the number of questions attempted, rather questions copied to the answer-script, and 14, grace marks for good conduct. (I guess that would have been the highest grace-marks until date). This entire math was done just to make me pass.
Therefore, JJ’s foundations were laid at the mercy of few kind people who promoted and gave her grace marks.
Gradually I learnt to write in Mangaleesh. The answers read like, “Lazarinte one of the 2 sisters Ishone welcome cheythu.”
“Dinar aarnu annathe currency”
Dhoorta puthran , avante pithavinte vasanthiyilekku thirchu ponnu“.
The eternal confusion between parishudhathmavinte daanangal and phalangal( was balangal for quite some time).
Every year people would have a good laugh seeing my paper, especially coz, I wrote the answers in a colloquial way. I was totally illiterate in Malayalam grammar. Anyways, the 6:14 ratio now proportioned to 14:6.

Few years and many Sundays passed.

Every month, the priest used to mention about how parents don’t care about the spiritual development of their kids, and emphasize on materialistic things, indirectly, meant
‘Catechism classes and Tuitions are parallel lines.'(Obviously, both were held at the same
Time). There was even a system of internal assessment, which meant all you needed to do was suck up to the nuns. There was a lot of confusion, partiality, and rivalry in these matters. Spirituality was now being turned into something, which could be attained by gaining marks. Isn’t it ridiculous to judge a person’s faith based on how much he/she scored in catechism. I found it even more ridiculous, when it was the other way round. Your spiritual display fetched you marks. Coming to mass early fetched you marks, attending prayer-meetings fetched you marks, and we were even given some sheets to fill in, to determine how regularly we said the rosary and all that. I’m pretty sure people cheated on that too. In a society obsessed with marks, this too enjoyed its temporary hype. New concepts, new techniques, new methods etc, were devised to make kids interested in spiritual matters.
My First Communion was actually held under iffy circumstances. Since, we KVians had classes in April and the prep classes also happened during the same time, I used to attend the prep classes only once a week. My preps for Holy Communion were done in a crash course mode (read, 2 hours prior to my first confession). I was damn scared as to whether I’ll be given communion after I confess! Sorry, me not interested in divulging the details of my first confession here, though I’m pretty sure the priest would’ve been rolling with laughter after that.
So my holy-communion was also at the mercy of few nice people

Fast forward…

Class 11.

I guess the church was faced with threats of inter-caste marriages and its ‘vazhithetti pona kunnjaadukal‘. The students were scheduled to have a debate on inter-caste marriages, probably, the church was following suit with the DPEP system of practical and interactive teaching, I guess.
Since, I was over-enthusiastic about this topic, I asked our Parish priest that, on what circumstances does the Church accept such marriages. He gave me small lecture on it and then I saw his serious expression changing into that of suspicion. “Why are you asking all this now”? Poor priest must have thought another kunjaadu had gone astray. Before he broke into another SHORT lecture on how I can cause shame to the family, spoil their reputation, and result in all of them getting, kicked out of the Sabha, I clarified the matter.
Acho, we have a discussion, atha“. I gave the sweet-innocent smile and escaped.
The discussions happened in full swing, and it was obviously a biased one. Fools like me who opted to support inter-caste marriages realized, we had no scope of presenting our arguments. Moderator uncle was a devout Catholic. Anyways, the limelight of the day was the spontaneous thanksgiving prayer.
Dhaivame innu njangal padichethallam jeevithathil praavarthikamakkan njangale sahayikkane.( Oh God, help us so that, all that we learnt can be put, to practical use in our lives).
All those 12 pairs of closed eyes, which pretended to pray, were wide open and people burst out laughing.
Most of us girls make this silly mistake of blurting out seriously, at some point of time, in our brainless childhood that we want to become a nuns. The memory of nuns who hear, such ambitions, would never fail them, even if they were in the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

After growing up and when you learn to use your brains, if you are a seemingly meek and sweet girl ( I’m not talking about myself), the nuns in the convent will get ideas as to how to drag you amidst them, giving you visions and versions about the “CALL”, so as to see a ray of hope in their clan, which is facing a threat of extinction. The day you finish your 10th standard exams, they will start recollecting your childhood days, your AMBITIONS and try to literally brainwash you.
Since, ours was a small Parish, and I was among the minority, educated in a non-Christian institution, I was often subject to critical observations. Like, not wearing a chain with a cross pendant, or a rosary, or a rosary finger-ring. Does the number of crosses and rosaries displayed on your body, determine the strength of your faith?
Once I ended up fighting with a Sunday school teacher for some derogatory remarks, she made against another religion. I voiced out, “You can teach us about our faith, but you have no right to pass a judgment on other religions.” This confirmed the doubt of the nuns that, this KV educated kunjaadu was going out of control. From then on, the so-called internal marks never crossed the minimum required. I still do not understand how education in a Central School would deter my faith.
I think even God; decided I must experience what it is like, to study in a convent institution. Honestly, there is a lot to write about it… few more days to step out, and I want to step out in one piece, in the same mental and physical condition that I had entered the portals of this institution. I do not want to take any risk to forfeit the caution deposit that is going to be refunded. (My extra pocket money for this month). As I was writing this post, I got this certificate, which said “JJ of …….. Has been awarded for contribution towards chapel.” Such a thing was unheard of in my existence of 20 years. Anyways on account of the due recognition, I’m not defying the testifiers.
Few posts can wait to be published! 🙂 ‘Draft zindaabad
Convents, catechization, complications, confusions and confrontations…on their way!!!!!!!


The Jinxed Josephs

St.Joseph would be perplexed if he happens to see this. Before the Josephites figure out and come in search of me, let me state, this has nothing to do with any St.Joseph’s educational institutions all over the world.
The Joseph’s family is jinxed since November 2006. Blame it on the efforts initiated by the Government of India and few invisible, dubious conspirators to disband familial bonds in the country by playing soccer, with Central Government Employees as the soccer ball…Nagpur- Goa- Trivandrum and Bangalore are the Goal posts in this game… It’s a Central Game, 2 or 4 goal posts, no matter. Yaha Sab chalta hai… Rules are so easy to bend.

In spite of the dire straits we are faced with, ignoring the factors responsible, we the Josephs stand unflinching and intrepid, unfazed by the tribulations. You guessed it right, this has something to do with transfers

A brief history of the Jinxed Josephs

Main characters

MJ : Father
AJ : Mother
JJ : Obviously, the ekasanthaanam, the only daughter, yours truly.

Nov 1st 2006 :MJ gets a transfer order to Nagpur
Nov 24th 2006 : MJ is due to leave for Nagpur
Nov 22nd 2006 : JJ ends up in Hospital (Entry heroine 1). MJ is compellled t0 stay back
Jan 4th : MJ shifts from Nagpur to Goa
* Commercial break 1*
April 2007 : JJ leaves for GOOGLE Hyd to do her summer internship ( Blowing my own trumpet)
Jun 3rd 2007 : AJ has a role to play now,, (Entry of the heroine 2)
AJ fell sick and MJ is on leave. Goes back to Goa in the last week of July

August 1st week 2007 : AJ is hospitalized for chikanguniya, because she was the only one among the Josephs in Kerala. MJ is back in town
August last week : AJ is advised bed-rest, and both husband and wife are on their way to Goa to spend their very late post-marital honeymoon, coupled wiith bedrest and recuperation..

Re-Entry JJ
Same day : JJ is diagnozed with Jaundice and MJ and AJ take a diversion to Bangalore( honeymoon disrupted, why do I sound like the villain in the movie…or a bitchy Ekta Kapoor ishtyle character who plays speed governor, barrier, happiness destroyer
* Commercial break 2,hospitalization, bed-rest for JJ, uneventful days*

Dec 2007 : JJ is back in college. MJ gets his transfer order back to Trivandrum, but the sigh of relief didn’t last for long because the relieving order was delayed
Feb 28th 2008 : MJ gets his relieving order finally
3rd March 2008: MJ joins Trivandum office
6th March 2008 : AJ gets her transfer order to Bangalore
I’m as much confused after writing this as much as you are after reading it.
Are we really jinxed or is it just a testing time…?

But we the Josephs are ready to face the trials and tribulations unitedly. Needless to say…
At the moment, JJ is
*Doing three projects simultaneously- Survey on sexual harassment against women in India, Comparative study of Stock exchanges in India and another Project on BPO sector and employment Generation all of which, has to be completed by the weekend. ( Not even over the weekend).
* Going through some tough times in life ( as you can read in few prev posts)
*Irritated by a phone which is jinxed, adding on to the non-living Josephs assets which are jinxed, which includes a PC, a stereo system, a washing machine, the landline phone etc.
* Missing home badly, thinking when will all of us stay together again?
* Dying to have the ChakkakuruMaanga curry AJ has made back home.

And finally as Kareena said in Jab We Met
” God! you have given me enough excitement in life for the past few years especially past few days, can’t take it in anymore or else I’ll die of stress or Heart attack. . Make my life boring for sometime….”

Signing off…

Coming up next :
MJ and AJ idiosyncrasies, in the jinxed era…


A common man’s woes

The members of “I don’t know how NOT to behave rudely” club need to be sent to Alcatraz. Rudeness for no reason can get into the nerves of any sane person. When people realize that they are at an advantage, do they have to show off that they are at an advantage by being rude?
This is the incident which prompted me to write this post.
Staying at home away from home, Canteen is our ultimate source for food. Now, it’s better not to talk about the increasing prices and decreasing quantities. Today, it was too much, maybe, because I was too hungry, and the lady at the counter gave me half a plate of what I actually paid for. I just demanded, please give me some more and she snaps,” How much will you eat”? As if I’m a glutton who finishes off all the food available there. By the way when I’m paying for it what’s her problem? What position do you find yourself, under these circumstances? You literally beg for food? (OK!I’ll stop over-reacting here).

A common man, who has to confront authorities for matters regarding his day-to-day existence, paying bills, paperwork, getting certificates, issuing licenses,passports, booking tickets, sending applications etc, seriously begins to wonder….

Has the government recruited retards in the services, where people choose to remain blind, deaf and dumb when it comes to providing any service to a common man? Their signatures on documents seem to be more precious (rather expensive) than getting an autograph from Matt Damon.
Yet their eyes are wide open to check the amount of bribe you’ll be able to offer.
Their hearing imparities are cured for few seconds, when you grumble or murmur against them.
When they can hear, they speak up, and snap at you, for your actions.
And when you oblige, they can actually sign on whatever paperwork needs to be done.

When a common man approaches authorities, does the government rule state that the action plan should be something like????…
* The authority should read the same file, the same page, maybe even the same line without batting an eye-lid for 20 minutes or longer and keep the customer or client waiting. ( We expect wholehearted committment from you in your work).
*The authorized person has to look cross when he sees the face of a person, who is unfamiliar in the territory. ( Beware of strangers in Government offices, since you deal with a lot of sensitive issues)
*A familiar person, who has been knocking at your doors, since time immemorial to get his work done has to be ignored deliberately.
*When the facial expression of the client changes visibly and you fear, he may pull all your hair out or you feel there’s a threat to your life, you may kindly oblige and ask him to be seated. ( We care for our employee’s well being).
* When you find the facial expression has come back to normal and you heave (rather the customer heaves) a sigh of relief, you may switch to Action plan 2.

Action Plan 2:
* You have to attend or make 20-25 phone calls when the client is seated in front of you.( you’re expected to be a multi-tasker while working).
*You listen to what the person has got to say for about like 5 minutes, excuse yourself by just getting up from your seat and walking off, to take a break. (All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy).
*You have to take long breaks and keep yourself updated on all international, national, regional, local and even next-door affairs. ( Employees are expected to keep themselves acquainted with day-to-day happenings)
*You may come back and ask him to repeat his queries and problems all over again. (In case, you want to hear more in detail)

*If you find a small loophole in the person’s case, you may send him to another authority or person concerned (supposedly concerned) and brush him off.
* Any further questions from the client should be answered with an ignoring nod or an “I don’t know” (in a tone, putting pressure on all your vocal chords)… Afterall, we (employees) have no time to waste.
*In case you can’t find any loophole, make sure he comes back to you again and again. (for client loyalty is our mission).

Exceptions:
*If the client is a young girl or a woman, you may jeer or pass lewd remarks.
Or you may, even go out of your way to help the fairer sex till you’re threatened by The Women’s commission and other similar organizations, though it may take time for them to plunge into action.
*For issuing licenses, make sure the client has walked up and down, in and around for a minimum of 30 days and a minimum aggregate of 30 kilometers in the RTO office.
*While issuing certificates, always make sure, to keep a hand outstretched beneath the table for that extra-earnings. So also, you needn’t bother whether a birth certificate is being issued after the person’s death.
* When it comes to paying bills, longer the queue and the slower it moves, greater is your efficiency.
*When the purpose is issuing tickets, never give change and the long queue efficiency principle applies here also.
*After all, you have your job for granted; there is nothing to worry about.

*The so-called suggestion boxes or complaint boxes (if there are any) are meant to be show-pieces.
* Any authority dealing with redressing of complaints or common man’s problems have to follow the above-mentioned rules.

Finally, if a person chooses to work, without abiding by the said rules, he may ignore the ridicule from his colleagues and counterparts and win the hearts of, many a common man.

In the end, the common man feels like a helpless idiot, being sent from one person to another, from one office to another, till his tolerance levels are tested to the maximum.
There can be an outburst, he can complain against this injustice, he can keep pestering the authorities till his work his done, yet the common man chooses to remain silent and go through all this torture, because he knows all this is going to fall on deaf ears.
Yet, we keep grumbling!!!!!
I’m sure each one of us have some experience to share be it in the passport office, the RTO, the Police station, Railway authorities, Corporations etc…

(PS: These days, I have only been grumbling and complaining but where else can I do so?)