About Me

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Currently work in advertising. Wannabe potter & Baileys brewer. Trying hard to figure out my new SLR, old guitar and how Raja lost his 4th leg.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

When strangers try to help you make new friends

Last year I lost a dear friend- Raja. A three legged adorable stray who graduated to becoming my dearest office bud & sounding board.

I think the security guys in the premises were more affected than I was. He was their night companion. They'd even share some of their dinner with him. Well, those large pleading eyes usually worked like a charm.

But in all of this they were more sensitive to the loss I felt. Sweet inquiries followed for the longest time. And of course there were attempts to replace him. Like one day they literally hauled me to the back of the building to show me their new find. This dumb looking black stray they had envisaged could replace Raja. Well their intention was certainly noble but their candidate a disaster! Within half an hour of finding him they had christened him 'Kaliya' (a very creative name for a black dog). Well Kaliya was something else. Dumb to the core, non responsive and lazy. And as soon as he was unleashed, he ran away!

The less said about the second attempt the better! The third attempt is currently under way. Its been three days and the project seems to be working. We have this lovely brown and white little fellow who sits near the gate. Seems like he's going to stay. (#fingers-crossed). And on Friday the security guys promised to feed him Parle G biscuits through Saturday, Sunday so that he stays. Well if he stays, I think I'll call him Parle G.

And be eternally grateful to how people you hardly know, in circumstances you least expect show such goodness.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Remembering Anna, the frailest protector of Pampa Society

This crow perches periodically on the ledge & is not connected to the post in any way!

The word ‘security’ is loosely used in the context of security guards of buildings. And recently with an increase in crimes & cars their demand has gone up.  Their presence probably acts as a deterrent to criminals and also helps lazy bums maneuver their cars in & out buildings at the push of a horn. Anyways, we are known to create employment opportunities out of odd jobs, like the concept of ‘liftmen’, so atleast this seems more deserved.

I, for one, live in a building that is about 40 years old. For the longest time the buildings' so called ‘security guy’ was a man we fondly called ‘Anna’. Ever since I knew him he was frail but had tremendous stamina. Anna would wash cars, mind the gate, crack dumb jokes with the building kids, ensure the water was pumped, run petty errands…basically the works. He also dropped by to give the sad news of some members death or ask for Diwali bakshees or simply to say ‘gaadi pe bahut kachra phenka uppar waale ne’.  And in the night like any good family man would do he would go home to sleep.  Despite the discrepancies in the process we never felt unsafe or there weren’t any so called incidents to complain about.

And when Anna was gone, his son moved in. Younger, more energy and more flesh on the bones. And as tradition would have it he too does exactly what his late dad did. Except that I figured that the man like most Govinda movies has two wives and two families. “Kya karega madam, pehla shaadi mein mera marji nahin tha” bolke, he has three kids of it! And two kids of the second. Sunday’s are when cleans the car ‘barabar se’. This is when he actually opens the car. And I like to be present at this ritual so he regales me with stories of his life, village and kids. Most of it is lost in his thick South Indian accent, some lost in his poor Hindi skills and then the critical parts are generally narrated in Telugu. So yeah, basically I’m imagining what he’s trying to say by his expression, body language and also cause he keeps saying “samjha na madam?” at the end of every sentence. Yeah, I agree the process is hardly professional. :-)

Contrast this with the watchmen in the adjacent building – Shubhangan. Now, I digress to mention that this building came up on a lovely playground we used as kids. Crushing the soul of the locality and felling the lovely gulmohar trees that lined the walls! Sad. But one tiny glimmer of hope here is that the structure doesn’t have municipal permits & hence irregular water supply. Yaay. 

Now their security guys wear this crisp uniform, sit by the gate with a stern look, ensuring the muster is filled by ‘vijhitors’ and that nothing unintended enters the building. In fact the other day the kids in my building were playing cricket and the ball happened to bounce across the wall. They deftly flicked the ball and hid it where the little boys couldn’t find it. I’m not a big fan of the naughty Gujju brats either so I chose not to rat. One other time they abruptly stopped their building kids itself play since it hindered the smooth entry & exit of cars. Eeeks. 

I hangout a lot by the window with my headphones plugged so I see a lot of this and it makes me feel grateful I had Anna when i grew up. We had our ample play time while he stood by the gate ensuring we didn’t run on to the road. I’m sure he’s hanging around some gate up there too seeing to it that little children get their well-deserved play time. R.I.P Anna.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

simply picardilly: Hope three's a charm and it’s going to be only charming from here on

simply picardilly: Hope three's a charm and it’s going to be only charming from here on

Hope three's a charm and it’s going to be only charming from here on

Somehow *every* time I think of a vacation, Goa is the first place that comes to mind and I invariably end up going there once a year. There’s something about the people, the cheap alcohol, the buzzing beaches, the blazing sun that makes this ‘susegad’ thing a so very delightful experience you wanna keep going back to.

All in all my Goa escapades have been amazing except that the last two times there've been in minor incidents of sorts. We usually rent a car to go around since the 'don't drink n drive' rules are far relaxed there.Now in 2010 my really close friend Charmaine and I headed from Calangute to this far flung place called Saligaon. We were traveling in the night driving past dark, narrow roads with deep shrubs on either side when a vehicle pulled up from the opposite direction and while making way for it I reversed into a ditch! Luckily we were pitted right outside a wedding party. That car just wouldn’t rev on three wheels. And I felt absolutely foolish asking these nice boys all dressed in wedding finery to help us. But they did. Muddied their nice shoes.  Dirtied their clean hands. Dusted off and went away without giving me the customary jazz about women drivers {at least not to my face ;-)

And last year was not as dramatic except that it involved a truck driver who like randomly reversed paying no heed to my honking or his rear view mirror that gave him a full view of the car just two feet behind him. And yeah for all the Konkani I speak to everyone somehow the language eluded me on this specific instance and I was caught mouthing English n Hindi abuses about him and his anatomy. He gave me a ‘What alien language is this you speak?’ expression and drove past. Well, my ego was more squished than those silly headlights.

So these two instances bring me to mention that I am tad superstitious when it comes to things like this and I think there will be a third such ‘incident’ if I make my next trip there. And this time luck may not be so kind, yeah. Pessimist or stupid, call me whatever you want but I am not teasing the Luck Gods.

So all of last night after I turned off Final Destination 2, I was straining to think if there’s an antidote to things like this. And all the thinking led me to a tucked away memory dating back ten years. Three of us friends were returning from Goa by bus. Suddenly somewhere near what I think was Chiploon we heard a huge sound and discovered that the bus had rammed into a tanker. Some people hurt. The driver and cleaner fled. 50 of us stranded on a laid back road trying to figure out ways to get home. This ended well atleast for the three of us with a sweet couple giving us a ride back right up to Santacruz. It’s like they say about God manifesting himself to help when you least expect.

So I’m guessing this adds up to make three ‘incidents’ and the curse is wiped out! Hahaha. So now I can happily prance into Goa again with a lily white record.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My first boss

Advertising is a fairly difficult place to be at junior levels. Actually I guess any job that involves interacting with people is bound to have its share of rough edges. Everyone who can, including the dispatch people, gives you attitude that can really rile you up a great deal. But yeah, you soon learn how to handle it all. And even maybe dole out advice to the new recruits!

I joined as a trainee after 3 months of training and a final presentation to senior agency people huddled in a big (‘big’ here is relative since the other one was really tiny) conference room. This can be quite intimidating especially if the objective (so it seemed) is also the same! Later that day, I was introduced to my boss – Satpal S V. He was wheatish, plumpish and extremely affable. Everyone who knew Sattie (as he was fondly nick named) told me I was lucky to have him as my boss since he was easily the sweetest person around in servicing.

With me he was faaar from sweet, but instead mighty stern. And I would really get envious of my other colleagues’ cool and friendly bosses. But soon his façade gave way to a chilled boss who let me hangout with his friends at the 4 o’clock soirée at the tapree opposite the office building.

One day he casually probed “Do you know any other Picardo? in Jamshed…puuur?(sic)” “Yes” I said “My dad’s bro is there. He has two sons – Pradeep & Sandeep?” And the world couldn’t be smaller when it turned out that Sandeep had been his friend and classmate back in Bihar. Then on, I was not just a subordinate but also the adopted little (figuratively;-)) lost one who was promptly bailed out when the creative threw tantrums or studio refused jobs or client insisted on some insane headline option. And trust me, these are instances when bosses tell you to ‘go figure your life out and not escalate issues’.

In a couple of months Sattie soon went on a four week break to get married. In the interim I was boss-less and clueless! No one to go running to, crib to, seek help from. But I would like to believe I pulled through. Pure evidence the fact that I’ve spent 10 years here now! And reasonably happy ones at that.

Well, Satpal did return from his leave. But not for long. About 6 months on I lost my 28 year old boss to a massive heart attack. God rest his soul. It’s been about 9 years now. Everything seems so long ago yet fresh in my memory. Leave you with something he would constantly say that I have imbibed with good results - “rapport bana logons se, phir kaam apne aap hota rahega”

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Don't worry about change

Beggars are common sight in our city. Infact, these days they operate in gangs. So its typical to find atleast half a dozen of them hounding you at signals.

When I was a child it was simple. Dad kept change handy and every time a beggar approached a small coin was put their palm. "We are blessed with so much, God has not given them so we must share whatever little we can" was told to us. And I unflinchingly followed this till a few years ago when papers started this whole brouhaha about how beggars are actually not deprived and are actually quite well off and organised and blah blah. This was promptly followed with a film that went on to detail their life. All this played on my mind and I decided not to dole out alms. This was with a caveat. Basically no alms to the able bodied, but I'd make exceptions for the old, disabled and kids.

This seemed to work fine. Till today. This woman in tattered clothes pressed her palms against the window and refused to budge. She looked really frail and wore tattered clothes. And somehow I didn't have the heart to drive ahead or shoo her off. The signal seemed long so I offered her a croissant I had in the car. It look a lot for me to do this (I am ashamed of myself). To my surprise she asked me "non veg hai toh keep it madam" I was stunned and went "sorry, nonie hai, kuch paise leejiye" By the time the signal started and I was to take a u-turn so i asked her to quickly come across the road and I'd stop for her. She took the change from my hands, thanked me and went "mera bhi chota ghar parivaar tha madam, i have seen very bad days, ab better hai...bhagwaan aapko hamesha khush rakkhe" and she went her way.

She's seen days worse than this! And she blessed me! I stayed parked there for a bit. I cannot be more grateful for everything I have. And I'm sure it dosent make a damn difference to my life and lifestyle if I give alms to each and any beggar. It doesn't matter what he does with it. Point is that I have much more than he will ever have and just because I am parting with some change doesn't make him accountable to me for what he does with it.

So I refilled my change kitty in the car...after 4 years...bring it on ...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trivial craving of the denied mind

Well its been over 3 weeks that this cold has percolated my system and refuses to leave. I mean it started off being the occasional sneeze to the runny nose and now its a full blown bout of cough, sore throat and a point blank denial of all the lovely things in life.

The doc couldn't figure out why I was not healing despite a good 10 days on his prescriptions. So when stethoscope & tonic didn't work he recommended some detailed tests. Now even those were normal (much to my happiness & his dismay) so he had to find out something else to stick the blame on. While i was expecting him to sign me up for more tests all he did was start off on a list of 'Dos' & 'Don't Dos' (sic).

So it basically was another kind of test. A test of my patience and resilience! I'm to be off soft drinks, salads, ice creams, cheese, chocolates, oil, nuts and basically all the things good for the palate but apparently bad for the throat! And yes, I'm also supposed to drink only hot water!

Today was day one and a half! And by lunch the only thing on his list that I had stuck to was the hot water. Virtually all of the contra-banned was consumed! And now I am craving a glass of cold water.