Friday, November 28, 2014

The World belongs to the foul-mouthed

This happened a while ago. There was an 'official' email that was to be sent to a person I had never met. Which is nothing new, of course. I just had to make a request for a certain piece of information, and as such, it was the most mundane and ordinary mail you could think of. Sprinkle it with the adequate number of Thank yous and Pleases, and I would have sent it without a second's thought.

But a few minutes before I even composed it, someone I work with called me up and said, 'Be careful how you write. That person has a history of being offended at the slightest (in some cases, imagined) things and being rude for no reason, and has created many enemies. You wouldn't want to make a mistake.'

As a result, the email that should have gone within three minutes, went two hours later, after I bit my nails to shreds and pulled my hair out, trying to polish my single-line request so that there was nothing remotely offensive about it. The overload of Thankyous and pleases and sorrys and outpouring of infinite gratitude must have sounded like I was begging on my knees. Better be undignified than sorry, was my excuse.

Everything went smooth and our further exchanges were cordial. (Later I heard several stories about this person - with evidence - that justified my colleague's warning. Apparently, anyone who has to communicate with the person in question finds it better to fall to their knees and beg forgiveness even before they have made contact.)

Scene II. If the protagonist of the above story was around my own age, the next one is much older. If the former exploded only if there was something mildly offensive in our actions, the latter found offence even where none of it could possibly exist. We would jump backwards and ask each other, 'what exactly had I said that provoked this outburst?'

You never know whence the explosion is coming. You just know it is.

Scene III. A lady contacted us for assistance with a work. And we told her not to worry, ippa sheriyaakki tharaam. Two months later, when she sent a polite reminder, I realised that it had completed slipped down our 'list of priority tasks'. This went on a couple of times. (Every time she sent a reminder, she would begin with an apology for disrupting our busy schedules.) Finally after almost six months (in our defense, not all of them were our delays), she allowed herself to become mildly irritated, and that spurred me into action. I kicked a few ... and got the job going. She showered me with Thank yous when it was done.

The explosive ones - in other words, the crying babies - get what they need. The pushovers wait and wait and wait, and they apologise for their waiting.

As a powerful person once said, you get more things done with fear than with love. (But as someone else added, it all depends on what you want.)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Canine Transformations

The dogs in my neighbourhood become Nagavallis at night.

I know that statement requires some explanation, but if you are wondering who Nagavalli is, I suggest you quit reading and leave.

Yes, the dogs in question are strays - but on second thought, I am sure that part requires no explanation whatsoever. Every city and town, every village and mall, every residence and school has its own share of homeless canines yawning and curling up as they are wont to do. It's a very Indian love-for-animals-and-let-them-live thing. The yawning and curling up must have something to do with their upbringing.

Without venturing into the reason behind these domestic wild animals running amok in our streets, I would just say that the dogs in the street before my house are purring kittens during the day time. Or eager ponies, if you like - given the way they trot around the area, looking important and dutiful.

I wonder what those expatriates living in those posh apartments yonder find in them - I see them stop their cars and beckon the doggies to them, some even call them by name, and I've seen one lady going to the nearest shop to buy biscuits so that she can place one by one in their hungry mouths. You should see how the tails wag all over the place, colliding against each other and against other cars that pass by. Some drivers stop at a safe distance to watch the show.

But come nightfall, a fearsome change comes over them. (Not the drivers, the dogs.) And what do you call a person who becomes another terrifying creature at night? Yeah. You know who. (Forgive me, Lord Voldemort, Nagavalli still lives.)

One night when we were returning home, we saw our friendly neighbourhood canine wag-the-tails lounging in the middle of the road, absolutely not wagging their tails. Granted, traffic was sparse at the time, but the middle of the well-lit street wasn't exactly their living room, was it? There was no sign of yawning or curling either.

Our car approached them cautiously, but they didn't budge. We took a slight detour around them. Two of them took offence at our action. They grunted their disapproval, as though they were issuing a warning. As we passed, they lunged at the car, almost scratching it. We raced out of the scene for dear life.

The next morning, I saw them again, trotting by our gate, calm and kind and loving, waiting for their biscuit delivery persons.

I am sure there is a very, very interesting story behind their curious transformation. Another Manichitrathaazh in the making...?

Monday, November 10, 2014

PMS is very real, my dear countrymen

... though some people think the whole thing is as imaginary as an eight-hour labour pain.

Falling "sick" two days a month? Yeah, sure. Clearly an excuse to not do any work.

You go donate a bottle of blood and come home and take rest and eat iron-rich food etc. to make up for the loss. Women lose their blood every month (ever wonder about about the number of bottles thus lost?) and walk about and do their chores and continue as though nothing has happened. (They are expected to pretend that nothing has happened.)

Not to speak of the hormones flying all over the place when this thing starts. If you haven't experienced it, you have no idea what you're missing. A monthly journey to the edge of madness and back.

And if you haven't experienced it, better not make any comment on how PMS and the associated fuss are all in someone's head!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Low-lying clouds, threatening to close in;
Ominous, and smothering life out of life;
No one should be condemned, ever,
Even one's enemies, to this destiny.
Life confined to the tiniest space,
Imprisoned in the deepest dungeons of the mind.
Never to find an opening, nor a sliver of light;
Escape is a dream that has ceased to occur
Shuffling precariously on the edge of self-destruction...
Survival is not even an option.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Your person(s)

I don't know if this is important, or what the answers would mean. But I have often wondered.

If you are watching a great movie, who do you call/text to say 'you need to turn the channel on right NOW' - because you know they will enjoy it as much as you do?

If you are reading a great book, who do you recommend it to as soon as you finish reading or even while you are reading?

If you heard some astonishing news, who do you rush to inform?

If you heard that someone famous died, who do you call up to ask, 'Did you hear??'?

If you heard that someone close to you died or is ill, who do you call up to share the shock and grief?

If you have just been delivered some devastating news, who do you talk to, just to talk?

If you are ordering pizza for the night, who do you text 'Pizza for dinner!' for no reason at all?

Who gets to hear your good news first?

I know my answers. Do you?

Wait. Did you just say 'Facebook' or 'Twitter' to most of the above?

Worse, did you say 'No one'?