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Tag Archives: Friends

Puppy Loves and Broken Hearts

I propose the hero of this post to be a tall, lanky lad with a sharp brain, witty remarks, an eye for details yet oozing with oodles of innocence and child-like enthusiasm. A happy-go-lucky chap who believes in following his heart, who quit his boring desk job to learn and take up the career of his dreams, who believes in originality and individuality and who refuses to follow the rest and sees beyond the usual forte in his profession. A person with inspiring aspirations. A fit and handsome fella. A mamma’s boy. A fierce friend. Let’s put his age as 27 years but give him a salt and pepper look to match his different personality.

Oh my,my, when I read it again it looks like a matrimonial ad! Too good to be true. A very desirable profile. Our hero must be juggling girl friends! There comes his life’s only tragedy. How much ever he tries he either fails to impress girls or chooses a wrong one.

Episode 1:

After being a shy boy in school, he decides to become a cool dude in college. Cool dude = Having a girl friend! I am told that and I quote as with every college, either you don’t find a beautiful girl in the campus (I think this is a myth because beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder; so can’t help it) or the one you like is taken. So before you approach a girl you need to do, what the corporates call as BGC, Back Ground Check.

When the Step 1: Finding the right person (indicative picture below) and Step 2: BGC is cleared, you move onto the next step of approaching her.


Picture Source: Internet, Random Site.

There’s a catch here too. Again am told that this is where friends play a crucial role of Setting Karna / Set Pandradhu. This is how the play is staged:

ACT 1:

Scene 1: Hero’s friend talks to the prospective Heroine about the hero who finds her interesting and would like to be friends with.

Scene 2: If the heroine likes the introduction, on her nod (of approval), hero emerges from behind, exchanges pleasantries.

Scene 3: Friend departs.

ACT 2:

Hero and Heroine hang out and try to find compatibility.

Looks like a variation of Speed Dating!

“Why ACT 1 at all?”, I ask. Apparently when it is to introduce someone else it is very easy (Daayein haat ka khel) but when it is for oneself it is nerve-breaking –


Picture Source: Internet, Random Site.

Translation: How do people propose, I hesitate / feel ashamed to ask the street hawker for an extra puri.

So armed with this formula our good guy helps his friends but has no luck in finding his dream girl. As the Valentine’s Day approaches, pressure increases and on the so-called Rose Day, he zeroes in on one girl. “Aww, what beauty, she is my angel”. He nudges his friends to go and 2 of them immediately get into the battle field. The play goes as scripted – They approach her, she sees him standing a few paces behind, she nods, hero arrives and they start chatting about Dadar locals, Anna’s idli and masala tea.

The next day is the Propose Day (Where do these college fellas come up with such weird days? Why not propose for more days on the Propose Day such as Propose-a-day Day, No-Ogling-at-Girls Day, No-Social-Networks Day, Dogs’ day, Clean-your-neighbourhood day, Ring-the-bell-next-door day, Mango-stealing day, Go-to-work-on-time day, Take-the-stairs day; add your own to it). He decides to ask her out. He musters courage and blurts out. She is taken aback and says , “I thought you just wanted to be friends, ” Hero’s mind-voice, “Zandu Dost Log, you screwed up the introduction yesterday”. “And moreover, I already have a long-time boyfriend. I’m sorry”.

His love bubble pops. First wicket down.

Episode 2:

As he raises his sad face and looks ahead, there, near the gate, another angel. Woah, it must be his lucky day. A second opportunity. The three of them run to the gate. The girl is in deep conversation with two other guys. So our boys wait for the coast to clear. But those 2 never seemed to leave. Slowly the 3 of them inched closer to eavesdrop. The illusion cleared; the mirage broke; the bubble burst – The 2 chappies were ‘setting’ her with their friend standing behind and they succeeded. The hero’s story ended even before it began!

Disheartened with back to back failures, the hero gives up on this exercise.

Episode 3:

A few years later, he sees his 3rd angel in a team across his bay at office. But with no college friends around for the ‘setting’, he has very little luck and courage in talking to her. And he had put his papers too, so he never took a step. A year after he resigned, he suddenly felt a (rare) courageous moment and regretted for not talking to her back then. Now with a revived energy and many bollywood movies’ lessons and songs running in his head off he goes to his old office. It’s deserted. He learns that most of the folks are holidaying in Goa. He walks past his team towards the adjoining bay. There again, many seats’re empty.

“These guys too have gone to Goa, is it?”


“What about the girl?”

“She, obviously, has gone!”

“Oh”, thinks our chap patting himself on his back, “a fun loving girl. Good choice.”

“Didn’t you know she’s getting married today?”

Bubble bursts! Again, the story ended even before it began!

Episode 4:

A few more years later, the fourth one. He’s crazy about this girl. He did not have so many butterflies in his stomach with his previous 3 crushes. She filled his heart with joy. His eyes lit up just with the sight of her. Her presence mesmerised him. He guarded her all through her short stint in India and followed her like the Hutch pug.

Once, after a hard day’s work, she dozed off in the taxi on the way back home. Our hero and his friend had gone to escort her home. After reaching, he didn’t have the heart to wake her up. He just sat next to her, with eyes glued, watching her sleep, oblivious to the taxi driver’s abuses and his friend’s filthy looks. Had his friend not woken her up, our chap (told with great conviction that he) would have bribed the taxi driver to stay put there till she woke up!

Mereko kya ho gaya rey, is this how it feels to be head-over-heels in love?”, he wonders.

But even with this strong emotion and the madness, this time he chooses to end the story himself. He doesn’t approach her at all. “Nahi bataega mein“. She is his model for his shoots. A Cleopatra from Brazil. He is contented with the photographs he clicks of her and buries his burning desire. And now, all day through he keeps humming,

“You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful, it’s true. I saw your face in a crowded place, And I don’t know what to do, ‘Cause I’ll never be with you.”   [YouTube Link to the song]

You see, with an international crush he can’t stick to bollywood songs anymore!

Disclaimer: All characters appearing in this post are definitely not fictitious. If you find resemblance to any real person(s), then, ‘Bingo!’. If you haven’t then what name do you suggest for this good-calm fellow? I suggest a Sanskrit version of good & calm – Sushant!


The Bombay Halwa

This post was long due, probably should have been the first post. An incident that leaves us, the school buddies, in splits every time we talk about it. An incident that’s 12 years old and yet fresh and vivid in our memories. A post dedicated to the girls involved –

Unlike now(I’m sounding like a granny!) where eating out is more of a norm than a luxury, it wasn’t so in 2002.  And we did not have as much pocket money to eat out every other day too. But this was a special moment that was approaching. 10th standard Board Exams. So along with the exam preparations a bunch of us, class mates, started putting aside our pocket money of Re.1 and Rs.2 for the ‘Treat Yourself’ Day.

After the last exam we jubilantly threw our books and bags (you imagined the picture of students throwing their graduation hats, dint ye?) and merrily walked to the the eatery of our choice. Before we entered we counted how much each of us had so that we order within the amount. We were 8 of us with around Rs.25 each.

Woohoo Parrrty Time!

We occupied the best table and my pal Shrinidhi and I started scanning the tattered, antique menu card. We went to the rate side of the page first and then matched it with the menu item. We had to be within our budget you see, can’t indulge in something exotic with 25 bucks. The one item that caught both our eyes was this –

Pav Bhaji          Rs. 5

Woah, that’s what we should order first. That’s damn cheap for a restaurant of this range – echoed our expressions and we announced to the girls , “Let’s start with Pav Bhaji”.

“8 plates Pav Bhaji, please”.

We then resumed scanning the card for the next item to be ordered.

Bhel Puri        Rs. 10

Sev Puri          Rs. 10

Dahi Papdi      Rs. 18

We settled on 4 plates Bhel, 4 plates Sev and 4 plates Dahi Papdi. We could all share and eat, that’s the whole point.

We brought the roof down with our yells and laughter,  licked clean the plates,burped loudly, and finally called for the bill.

’Twas Shrinidhi and I again to receive the bill and our eyes popped out looking at the amount – Rs.272. How in the world? It had to be Rs.192. We found the culprit right away –

Item             Price           Quantity       Amount

Pav Bhaji      Rs.15               8               Rs.120

We called the waiter and told him, “There seems to be a mistake in the bill. It says the first item is Rs.15 but the menu card said it’s Rs.5”

The waiter was taken aback and he returned with a menu card, this time a new one, with clean pages and no rate revisions and pointed it on the Menu. The Menu ,now, clearly said

Extra Pav         Rs.5

Pav Bhaji          Rs.15

You’re bad at Match the Following said the waiter’s looks while his mouth uttered, “Ma’am looks like you saw it wrong”.

“Oh Okay, Thanks”, said we and turned to the table and continued chatting. He waited for a minute and left. The moment he was out of the earshot I said, “People we are 80 bucks short. Quickly devise a plan or we need to get ready to work in the hotel today”. The girls frantically searched their wallets for more money but how will it appear when we had counted each rupee before entering the restaurant? We settled on the escape route of calling up a parent to bail us out. Next question was who would that be? Shrinidhi’s dad said Sandhya as his office was a few blocks from the restaurant and he could get there in the shortest time.

And again unlike now, (granny talk) where even 4 year olds have mobile phones we were in an era where 1 land-line was shared between 4 households. None of us had a cellular phone. So Sandhya and Shrinidhi immediately jumped off the chairs and rushed to find a PCO. After reaching the place they realized that all the money was with me and they were penniless. Miraculously Sandhya’s pocket had 3 coins – 50 paise each. 1 call was Re.1, so they could make only 1 call and it had to get through. They dialed Shrinidhi’s dad’s mobile number. No answer. It could be that he is driving and hence couldn’t answer, they thought. What’s the point in calling up or walking to his office now? So they called her mom.

“Mom, Hello. Dad’s not answering the call. Could you ask him to come over to the chat shop in Mylapore right away and bail us out? The bill amount is more than what we have. Please Mom.”

“Are you crazy? Where do I find him now? He might be out to meet clients.”

“Then you come over, please”

“I am no way getting into your foolishness”


Beep. Beep. Beep.

Line got cut.

The guy at the counter was fast asleep. The shook him and woke him up.
“Anna, we need to make just 1 more call. Would you please let us call? We are just 50 paise short. 1 quick call, Anna, please”

“Out, both of you. Out of my shop”

Not knowing what else to do, they loitered around the shop.

Meanwhile in our parallel universe, we were trying to somehow prolong the payment. 2 girls suggested that they would go out and see what the first two were up to. When the 3 of us still sitting inside could not pretend of being in deep conversation anymore we asked for the Menu card once again.

“I feel hungry again, how about a Roti?”, said Neeraja indicating that 1 roti was only Rs.8.

“What subzi would you like to order with the Roti, Ma’am?”, ridiculed the waiter. “Wait my dear boy”, I thought, “I ain’t leaving you any tip”. But that’s only when we leave.

For now, back to the menu. Not a single curry was less than 25 bucks. So I tried to save our skin by saying, “No I ain’t that hungry. Let’s order a dessert”.

Bombay Halwa – In House Speciality         Rs.15

“1 Bombay Halwa, please”

“Just 1”

“Yes, that will be it”

He immediately served us a small halwa with 3 spoons. We started eating the sweet minuscule amount by minuscule amount. We were competing as to who could cut the smallest possible bite. After what seemed like ages and after the halwa became half its size, I saw the much awaited Blue Bajaj Scooter materializing near the window. Uncle Sundar! The sight of him filled me with so much joy and in a reflex i popped in the remaining sweet into my mouth.

We breathed a sigh of relief when he paid the bill and thanked him profusely. I gave him the money that I had and told him that we will pay him the remaining amount soon to which he said, “Don’t bother about that. Enjoy your vacation and next time you go out to eat make sure all of you visit an ophthalmologist first“

After he left, I got a sound thrashing on the road. No, not for the menu fiasco but for this –

“Bitch, you gobbled up half of the halwa in an instant without giving it to us!”

Majhya Maitrinichi Mumbai! (My Friend’s Bombay)

If you ask Mumbaikars about Amchi Mumbai, you would get different views. A youngster would tell you about Hanging out at Marine Drive, Shopping at Colaba and Bandra, Sharukh Khan’s house at Bandstand, the Gorai Creek, the newly built Bandra-Worli Sea Link, numerous malls and would also boast of the 1st Starbucks Outlet in India!

A middle-aged or a senior person would talk about Siddhi Vinayak, Mahalaxmi, Haji Ali, the new Buddhist Pagoda or Mumbai being the Financial Capital of India, NSE, Nifty etc.

But when I told my friend that I want to visit Bombay, her version took me by surprise! She said, “There are so many places to eat, do come over!”

Vada Pav at Borivali , Pav Bhaji at Tardeo Sardar Hotel, Roadside Chat – Paani Puri & Sev Puri, Bhel Puri at Sonawala Building, Mongolian Pot Rice, Tapan Yakee sizzler & Chicken Wings at 5 Spice, Almost all dishes at Mainland China, Mom’s special – Kanda Poha, Prawns Masala, Fish Fry, Shrikhand Puri, and the list goes on!

Did I miss out the desserts? Joshi Budhakaka’s Halwa and Kaju Katli, Mom’s Carrot Halwa and the amazing Til ka Laddu, Chikku and Tender Coconut ice creams from Tender Fresh; phew I need a heavy dose of Digene after all these!

Turns out that each one of the items she recommended were utterly delicious; I can vouch for the ghaas-phoos(vegetarian, in her terms) and she would for the all the meat.

The entire trip turned out to be a walk through Dream Land –
With people coming to the airport at 4 a.m. for a flight that’s gonna land at 6.a.m, for you;
Spending an entire day in search of an out-of-market cheap phone’s battery,for you;
Making sure they mention ‘non-spicy’ to the waiter even when you forget, for you;
Taking the best efforts to make the stay comfortable, for you;
Parceling a box of yummy home-made Laddus, for you;
Keep you entertained in family functions so that you don’t get bored;
Each member of the family giving you a separate farewell gift (Apart from the Laddus!)!

One of the most memorable vacations ever, how I wish it’d been for longer; Oh, ye lovely folks, Thanks a bunch!

A Hasty Jesty Feast

A small reminiscence dedicated to my college buddy.

“Words once uttered cannot be gathered”. Just read on to see how aptly justified this is in the case of my friend SoGoneYa (well-known for her spontaneity, ending up confusing things) who uttered them in great haste and at present, is worrying at leisure.

Here are few of her genuine nonsense!

Having realized that she had left a book in the bus that she had alighted from, she screamed hurriedly thus: “Please stop, naan bakula bussa (bu as in book) vittuten”!!

In order to be the first one to answer the question: What are the 2 ways of storing data, pat came the reply from her: “Small Indian and Little Indian. “(Ans: Big Endian and Little Endian!.) Having done this not once, not twice but many a time, she earned the nick name – http://www.AlwaysShoutingWrongAnswers.com ! (Courtesy our classmate Cow In Den.)

Engrossed in copying her assignments for the day, she responds to our Sir calling out her name for marking attendance: “Yes Ma’am!

Here comes the icing on the cake – Waiting for our college bus at the bus stop, with a shocked look on her face, stretching her right hand to one of the boys, Fried Deer – one of our classmates, SoGoneYa exclaimed loudly: “Hey Fried Deer, zippa podu da!!”. Embarrassed to the core, with all eyes at him and with giggles filling up the air, the guy stood dumbstruck. Giggles turned to laughter, intensifying the humour, when she yelled out again emphatically, “Hey Zip your bag yaar, your books might fall off!”. As if this was not enough, she made us laugh further with all innocence in her questioning: “Why are you folks laughing??”. To our utter amusement it was she who was embarrassed when we pointed out the implications of her words.

All names have been changed for My well-being!! 😉

The Chettinad Adventures

Food, Ritual, Food, Sleep, Food, Outing, Food, Sleep – this was our routine for the past 2 days in Kulipirai, Karaikudi District where we went to attend our college professor’s Authentic Chettinad Marriage!!

Chettinad is famous for Delicious Cuisine and so are the Chettiars for their huge bellies and bigger hearts. We got to know the reason why! The cuisine is so rich and varied that it is really hard to resist eating the food and your protests of not able to eat more would go in vain in front of their love and affection. They keep you serving and always comment on how less you eat (You would have eaten 3 times more than your regular meal when this comment comes along and you would go on to eat 2 more servings!). During functions such as marriages those take place in their palace like homes (yes most of them cover up to 8 grounds in size, that is enormous indeed!) preparing for the culinary fest is a tedious task. You would get something or the other to eat round the clock. You would not pity the cooks at all as the taste, flavour and variety of food that you get to eat will override your senses and you would get lost in it. Every two hours the dining hall would be bustling with activity, a new À la carte would be in store! Kandharppam, Masala Paniyaaram, Vellai Paniyaaram, Pal Paniyaaram, Idly, Vada, Idiyaappam, Thengai Pal Aappam, Podi Bhajji, Adai, Athirasam plus a Non-Veg Platter too on which my knowledge is negligible! Phew – Tired of reading?? Imagine how tired you would be of eating????

The Food Fest was scheduled for the 22nd and 23rd of May. College group, I guess around 20 odd people, reached the serene, pious village of Kulipirai in the early hours of 22nd May. I call it pious because the villagers are all God-Fearing and simple. It is sure that you will find at least one temple with huge, clean pond for every mile you travel. I call it serene because the houses are huge and far apart. Less noise, less clutter. Only a handful of them are left in the vast houses; the younger generations have migrated to bigger cities and countries.

Visit to Pillaiyarpatti and Kunnakudi temples was the agenda for the day. Seeing the main deity of Pillaiyarpatti– Lord Ganesha was totally an enriching and fulfilling experience. He was simply magnificent! I was in ecstasy!! Kunnakudi had a temple on the hills dedicated to the younger brother of Ganesha, Lord Subramanya. It was called the Shanmuganathan Temple and that temple was equally good too. The day was hot and humid and our hunger was allayed by a Coke, Maaza, Mineral Water, Nannari Juice, etc. We reached home for lunch and had our afternoon nap. Then it was time for snacks and a small ritual in the evening. We pulled each others’ legs and chit-chatted until night after which we had sumptuous dinner. And who said you shouldn’t eat more at night??? Sleep follows food and we lay in a line in the extra long hallway under an intrinsically painted high roof. We were under a colourful Sky!

23rd May had an early morning muhurat for the marriage. We were all up by 4 a.m and were all dressed up (beautifully ;)) by 5:30 a.m. The bride’s house was similar in structure and design as that of the groom, in fact all houses were symmetrically, structurally, aesthetically, geometrically (All had Geometric designs, they weren’t modern art I say!) same. It was a quiet and a simple wedding in terms of rituals and a loud one in terms of jewels and accessories and of course food! We couldn’t spot a single lady without Diamonds! Bevy of Beautiful Ladies!

It was soon time for us to leave and we headed for dinner and packing the bags. Our bus to Chennai was scheduled at 9:30 p.m from Pudukottai (Town). So, the hurry-burry and last-minute rush to the Bus Stop to catch the Bus to the town was normal. Now where’s the fun? Adventure? A boring anecdote with an ultra-boring climax??? Naah.. That’s where I pop into picture!

As we reached the bus stop my friend, Srikanth, gave me my mobile phone. He said, “You dropped it in the Marriage Hall”. I exclaimed, “Oh my! Thanks a lot; I never knew I missed it!” He said, “Oh man, I shouldn’t have given it to you, I should have made you go berserk!” Uneventful closure of Hungama 1. [Notes: Srikanth wanted me to add this piece – Srikanth, my friend pledged his life took great efforts and greater risks to get my mobile back. He was very quick dynamic and acted swiftly to retrieve my mobile back. It was a timely help lest I would have lost my very dear mobile. He is a great person yet is very simple after doing such a big help to me. I m thankful to such a great and a modest person. If I were the President I would nominate him for bravery award or Bharat Ratna (cha no smilies here in lotus notes!!!)…]

Getting water and medicines for Ashok who was down with fever, in a shop near the bus stop started Hungama 2! Bus came and we were still in the shop getting the change. In the excitement of getting into the bus before it starts, we rushed ahead and boarded the bus with vigour! We got window seats and settled comfortably for the next 45 min ride. Ashok was sitting next to me and pointing out how irresponsible I am to lose the mobile and not even know that I have lost it. He was on and on and on (One of the few occasions where he gets to speak more than I do) and I was gazing out of the window enjoying the cool breeze and the still night in our over speeding bus. I couldn’t retort as fault was on my side so I just said bluntly, “Hey, I haven’t lost anything big right? Mistakes happen, people tend to forget and there is always a first time. I am not foolish enough to lose big things and will be careful in future ok.” I returned my gaze to the pitch dark view when something dawned onto me and I suddenly screamed, “Guys, Did I take my suitcase from the Shop?” Ashok gave me a filthy look! Everyone searched frantically underneath their seats to see if I have kept the suitcase somewhere. No luck. I had left it behind. People of the bus were staring at us curious to know who missed what. I was wondering, “Now what do I do? If I get down, go back and pick it up I would definitely miss my bus back to Chennai as there are no Auto Rickshaws in that place I would have to wait for the next bus to and fro.” My friends were scolding me – Irresponsible Goose. Senseless Idiot. @#$%^!@#$$

Asha recovered immediately from this haze and she called up couple of other friends of ours, Karthi and Ganesh, who were to leave almost half hour after us and asked them to pick up the luggage. Karthi reached the stop immediately and the bag was intact. He took it back to the marriage hall as he was leaving by car late at night. But Ganesh thought that he could pass the bag onto me in Pudukottai itself as our busses were scheduled to depart in an interval of half hour. But by the time he reached the bus stop Karthi had taken the bag. Learning this he went in search of Karthi and got the bag from him and in the process he missed his bus to the town. After 10 minutes the next bus came. By that time we were almost in the town. Nevertheless we were all happy and relaxed that the bag was found is en route to our place. I was kidding (and trying to justify) saying that since Ashok was unwell, I was sad and depressed, I was praying that he gets well soon, I was unable to see him suffer so much (all this hype for a simple fever); with all these things running in my mind I forgot about my luggage. Filthy looks from everyone. By now it was time for the next enlightenment. Ashok blurted out, “Madam, where are the tickets?” I stopped mid-sentence, open-mouthed, eyes widened. Feebly I said, “In the suitcase” Filthier looks from everyone. It was Anil who reacted on reflex this time. No no, he dint give me a slap, he immediately rushed to the nearest Internet Café, struggled with an ancient, mouse-not-working, keys-faded, dust-settled system and got a print out. My mouth closed with relief!

Our bus driver started on dot, on time. I asked him to wait for 5 minutes for Ganesh but he said that would create a traffic jam and he wouldn’t be able to wait. We had no other go. Ganesh told us to proceed as the bag was light and a small one and he would transport it to Chennai. So I came free-handed to Chennai amidst everyone’s scolding and got more from my mother the next day. I rushed to office immediately after coming home in the morning shift as I had to collect the luggage from him in the evening. Friends in need are Friends indeed!!! All of them came to my rescue!

Eventful 2 days and a very tiring Monday! But Robert Frost said – Miles to Go Before I Sleep! I don’t have miles only Inches – I need to measure my waistline!!! After consuming cart loads of food I bet on a 2 inch increase, alarming isn’t it?!

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