The better (looking) half : Guest Post

Today my favorite Guest Author forays into relationships and marriages and cites some instances from his experiences as to what makes them tick and last for a long time. Read on to figure out his views on what makes relationships tick.


I have been a regular reader of Just For Women (JFW) magazine. Before you conclude that I am a pervert, it is just that I want to know the view from the other side. The past couple issues of JFW have rather boldly dealt with advantages of live-in relationships and having friends with benefits. I am not going to dwell on the legal or ethical aspects of these relationships. There are two ways to look at the life we have been given. You can say that we live only once and we need to enjoy it to the fullest. You can also argue that we live only once and hence, we need to lead it meaningfully. Both of these are personal choices.

BH001Every relationship, romantic or otherwise, is an entanglement. We lose something of our self when we get attached to someone. Lord Rama chose to be monogamous not because the Hindu Marriage Act was in vogue then. He realized how miserable Dasaratha was in dealing with his multiple wives and mistresses. Rama chose to be married just once and he chose wisely. Have you noticed that after a few years together, it is difficult for us to make out whether a couple had a love marriage or an arranged marriage? It is not how you got to meet your loved one, but what you did once you got together that matters. Most marriages are finalized based on past accomplishments – salary, looks, lineage etc. Past performance is no guarantee of future success.

BH002The best love letters that I have written are the once that stayed in my mind. These were never seen and never heard. You know what, it was good for all the parties involved!

BH003There is a cop who regulates traffic at the Nelson Manickam Road junction. Very smart chap. My wife calls him “Her own Singham” for the ruthless way he deals with errant drivers. But, I am not perturbed. I know he can’t pick up and drop my wife and kids from assorted classes, parlors and social visits. He can tackle rowdies. But, he can’t tell a bed time story or wrap brown paper to the note books at the last minute on the way to school. I put up with my wife’s Singham fascination while she tolerates my flights of fancy about Sameera Reddy. A happy cease-fire prevails.

BH004So, who is the better looking half? Those of you who know about my uncanny resemblance to Thala Ajith will undoubtedly vote for me. My father has left on a tour of temples in and around Kumbakonam. My wife calls him twice a day and makes sure that he is well and is taking his medicines regularly. I don’t know about who the better looking half is, but I can certainly vouch that she is the better half of me.


Now, if that isn’t wisdom gleaned from a decade and a half of a successful and fulfilling marriage, then what is. Leave behind your thoughts and opinions on what makes relationships tick in the comments section.

My dream teammate : Guest Post


Today, my guest author takes on a topic which is a pet peeve or a pet grouse depending on what kind of colleagues you have at work. He talks about some of the characteristics that he would want in his team mates (in a lighter vein, as is his style).


The best kind of team mates are the ones with the following attributes –

a. Should be more sincere and dedicated than you. While you goof off reading useless blogs like this one, he/she should do the work assigned by the Team Lead and should also help you complete your tasks in time.

b. Should not be more glamorous than you, if you belong to the same gender. I mean, you are the one who should get all the attention, right?

c. Should be a good listener and must patiently listen to all your rants & raves about office, home, malls, marriage, love, guys, girls etc.

d. Must periodically shake your computer mouse so that your desktop does not get locked and screensaver comes in. It must not become obvious to your Team Lead that you are loitering outside the office.

e. Must use the same charger as you and should bring it to office regularly so that you can freely charge your mobiles at office.

f. Should carry lots of money and should lend to you whenever you need. You are very reasonable. You don’t expect your colleague to be wealthy. I mean, if he is wealthy, he will not be working in the same company as you, right?

g. Should not go on leave frequently. Your Team Lead will then pass on his/her tasks to you.

h. Should not get married before you do.

i. Should not get promoted before you do

j. Should not go onsite before you do.

k. Should remember your birthday and give you a decent birthday gift.


So, what are some of the attributes and characteristics that you would want in your teammates. Go ahead and use the Comments section to enlighten us with your preferences.

Guest Post : The 40 hour week – Part 2


<< PART 1 >>

In about an hour and a half, we had our bellies filled with wine and food. It was Rakesh’s turn to crib about his work this time. We all took turns, but from the extent of the stress he faced at work, it appeared that he had earned the right to the floor. We had all been there. He ranted about his unreasonable manager who had made demands that cannot be fulfilled within timelines that cannot be met while maintaining a quality of work that, considering the other parameters, was close to impossible to achieve. The repercussions not meeting his supervisor’s expectations would reflect on Rakesh’s performance review and in turn on how much money he made in a month.  All the while, Vicky and I sat there and just laughed, as friends are wont to do, at Rakesh’s misery. We never steered the conversation towards any of the serious questions that would potentially address the situation. We were there to have fun damn it, and that’s what we were going to do.

If we were to start pondering over the reasons as to why we worked our jobs, the possibility of never doing anything else for the rest of our lives and the fact that as time went by, we would realize the futility of the situation and by then it would be too late to do anything else to improve our situation, our day would be ruined and by god we were not going to let that happen. So, to us, it was satire, our own brand of dark humor and we enjoyed it.

The restaurant had certainly delivered on their promise of great food. A little pricey, but hey that’s why we worked and made our money right? It was time to watch a movie. It was our ritual every Saturday: sink into those big armchairs in a multiplex and watch a movie all the while reveling in postprandial somnolence. The movie was a good one too. And when it was done we came out of the theatre happy and content. It had been a day well spent.

It was time for the long auto-rickshaw ride back home. We weren’t ones to drink and drive. Through all of the chaos that surrounded us, we kept our conversation upbeat. We were still a little inebriated from the drinks in the afternoon and I must confess, it helped us stay upbeat. When I finally reached home, I knew it was time for a shower. I needed one to function, not that I had much to do. So, off to the shower I went and the steaming hot water felt like a blessing. The thing I enjoy most about a shower is that it somehow has the power to induce thoughts that you would normally never give heed to. It unleashes the eccentric genius in all of us, or so I have always believed.

As the mist fogged up the mirror, I could no longer stare at my spectacular self and therefore I moved on to thinking about the happenings of the day. I thought about Rakesh’s situation. It was something that everyone stuck in the vicious “40 hour a week” cycle knew about and encountered sometime during their tenure. It was terrible how supervisors had unreasonable expectations from the people who do the actual work and how not meeting those ridiculous expectations would have a direct effect on one’s livelihood. Surely, they are not to be blamed completely for this.

They have superiors too: people who are driven by blind ambition bordering on greed. These people, who sit in their luxurious homes and expect the underlings to do all the work, share none of the profits excepting the measly salary they give to them.

These were the people that made policies in their monstrous organizations that took away any semblance of a life that their employees have. These people who expect to turn their underlings into robots who do the same thing over and over for no specific purpose that benefits the underlings themselves. These people who expect their employees to sit in one place, from morning till evening with little time to spare for their personal lives. These people who know workers can be bought off with measly perks like being able to watch a movie once in a while or have a nice meal giving them the illusion of indulgence. This had caused regular, middle class employees to endure long commutes, extended hours, unattainable goals and the repercussions of being unable to meet those goals.

The hot water started to cool down. The geyser had run out of it as my shower had drawn on too long. Suddenly, I realized that the subject in my thoughts had faded. Who was I thinking of again? Was it Rakesh or Jishu?

The resemblance in their stories was uncanny. The influence held by the powers-that-be over them was resolute and unshakable thanks to the situations in which they were both placed. My head was getting crowded and the water was almost running cold now.

I had to conclude in a hurry as to who I was thinking of. Sadly, I was out of shower time. I was sure, as I turned off the water, that I didn’t know the answer.

And as I write this, I would like to ask: Do you?

Guest Post : The 40 hour week – Part 1

My cousin and daresay, a person who knows his ‘words’ more than me has graciously decided to provide my blog with one of his short stories. Split in two parts, the same shall be published. All you readers are requested to read the same, and provide him with your valuable feedback in terms of content, style and narrative.



The auto-rickshaw had stopped at the signal, promptly enough, in response to the light turning red.  Of course, being in India, we were well within our rights to stop a few feet beyond the stop line and it was something everyone took advantage of.

My friends and I were on our way to lunch at a new restaurant, as we had heard great things about it. Good food, swanky interiors, courteous staff and a wide variety of aperitifs and digestifs too. It was going to be a good Saturday afternoon. We were going to do something we knew all too well and associated quite firmly with the weekend – Indulge.  Very justifiable considering it offered the perfect solace from the 40 hours of skull drudgery we put in every week making our “livelihood”. Our conversations revolved around the usual topics: Stock markets, businesses, hierarchical changes in big corporations, sports, movies and a fair amount of gossip.

Vicky was in the middle of a particularly juicy narrative about a kitschy Bollywood movie he had the misfortune of watching, when we were interrupted by a young boy who appeared right next to our auto-rickshaw. He was begging for alms, a sight not uncommon in India, particularly in and around neighborhoods where people went to spend their money for leisure.

The boy evoked the appropriate amount of sympathy in me. I asked him his name while I reached around to my back pocket. “Jishu” he replied quietly.  I had nearly pulled out my wallet when Rakesh stopped me. “Don’t encourage this stuff man” he said

“It’s all part of a big racket”. He then went on to recount an article and a movie he had seen about this phenomenon. “These guys are just a small part of the entire picture” he said “They are just the lowest rung of a ladder and this pathetic form that you see is just a costume that they don for the express purpose of cheating us out of our money. These people infest strategic parts of the city from morning till evening, squatting and not doing anything particularly productive AND they get paid for it. Didn’t you see that movie?”

The movie he spoke of was one that I had watched as well. It showed a complex network and a well set hierarchy behind the “enterprise” that begging had become in India. The children, women carrying babies and disabled people we see on the street, each reported to a person who took most of the alms from them. The pathetic creatures we saw on the street were beaten down, tormented and tortured if they did not make the specific amount of money that their “supervisor” set as their target. Worse still, a supervisor could maim and mutilate a beggar when he felt that the beggar’s frail frame and stained, torn clothes were not enough to get people to sympathize and give their money away. Once the supervisor got his cut, he in turn gave nearly all of it to a faceless person who sat in a plush house doing none of the work, winning all the profits and losing all of his conscience. All these beggars got was a chance to watch a movie or eat a decent meal once in a while, if the supervisor/evil overlord felt ever so inclined.

It was quite a conundrum I was in as I pondered if I was making a completely immoral person richer. What I kept coming back to was that, his cut aside, this child would still get something. Besides, the 5 or so Rupees that I was going to shell out made no difference to me whatsoever, but the one rupee this child may get out of it certainly made a difference to him. As I lamented over all of this, the cranking of the auto-rickshaw’s engine interrupted my thoughts and almost immediately, we were off. Signals stay red only for so long. It was too late and in a few minutes I had forgotten about Jishu and by extension, the entire incident.

<< PART 2 >>

Guest Post : Idiots’ guide to nails

If you thought that this post was about nails that you can hang calendars on, please stop reading right now. You are not high tech enough for us. You can go and join Infosys, perhaps. They do have a vacancy for the CEO post.

The Saturday edition of The Hindu Metroplus carried the rather startling statement that nail polish needs to be matched with the eyeliner that you are wearing. I would not have been surprised if this had been published in the Times of India. TOI is known for making unsubstantiated statements. I will be writing to the Editor of The Hindu not to repeat such mistakes. It is now my job to clarify what to do and not to do with your nails.


Please pay attention. Put the ‘Do Not Disturb’ status on your doorknob so that nobody bothers you when you read this.

These tips will be useful –

a. If you are doing it yourself, you are cutting your nails. If someone is doing it for a parlor, it is called a manicure (for your finger nails) and pedicure (for your toe nails). Notice the language – If you are doing it, it is a ‘cut’. If someone else does it for you, it is a ‘cure’. No wonder beauty parlors are flourishing.


b. The beauty parlor assistant will talk about filing, shaping, varnish and coloring as a part of a pedicure/manicure procedure. Even a carpenter can do it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t accept VISA cards.

c. Girls find pedicure/manicure very relaxing. Don’t ask me why. The fastest way to gain your girl’s heart is to offer to cut her nails while she relaxes on the sofa listening to some soothing music. But, for God’s sake, don’t chew her nails. She can do that herself.


d. Have you ever seen your mother with long nails? Try scrubbing utensils with long nails. No wonder your mother would have kept her nails closely cut. A girl with long nails is likely to be high maintenance. You will not catch her washing clothes or scrubbing vessels. You will have to do that for her. Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you.

e. It is said that pedicure/manicure was done in ancient China and Egypt civilizations. You know what happened to all those civilizations. If your loved one insists on frequent parlor visits for these services, you could advice her not to and you can claim that fungal infections can happen if the cutting instruments are not sterilized properly. The only risk is that she might go to an even more expensive parlor that uses a disinfectant.


f. The very first nail polish brand was developed by Cutex sometime in 1914 and this was said to have been inspired by car paint. Have you heard the analogy about how both cars and women are expensive to maintain? You now have additional proof of the same.

g. After a hair cut, a girl unhappy with her look will have to wait for nature (and perhaps Ervamatin) to get back her hair. However, with nail polishes, they can easily change their mind. They have ‘nail polish removers’. Every girl has a few bottles of nail polish and a liter of nail polish remover.


h. Every nail polish brands talks about color, shine, long lasting, speed of drying and nail protection. They talk about everything except the fact that some of the ingredients are actually carcinogenic.

So, what’s the best nail coloring for you? Marudhaani (Henna) on your hands and feet?