A good morning indeed

It was a pleasant sunny morning, just like Bangalore mornings are wont to be during the early days of summer in the first week of March. There I was, taking my usual brisk morning walk on the jogging track of the integrated township I stayed in absorbing the usual morning sights and sounds which comprised mostly of well-groomed canine friends being walked by their masters, the regular joggers with their iPod earplugs and workout music, the elderly couples (and a few solitary old men and women with lazy spouses who didn’t join them) and the overweight couples who lived an otherwise sedentary lifestyle due to their ‘desk jobs’.

And then, I noticed her, right near the entry gate of the township. A little girl, Tanya, not more than 8 yrs old, walking briskly towards the gate with what looked like a thermos flask and a few plastic cups. I remembered having seen this girl when her parents introduced themselves to me a few days ago, when they newly moved into the apartment opposite mine. If memory served me right, both her parents Raghav and Indira had recently moved to Bangalore, both of them having taken a transfer in their respective jobs, and accompanied by Raghav’s old father, Venu.

Tanya reached the gate accompanied by her grandfather Venu, and immediately set down at least three separate cups on the footpath just outside the entry gate. She then went on to carefully pour out milk from the thermos flask into the cups. And as if by magic, three cute little puppies appeared from behind the large plastic waste disposal container kept outside the gate. The puppies, hungry as they were, immediately started lapping up the milk that Tanya had poured out. She then went on to put her hand into the small jute bag that her grandfather had carried, took out one of the few biscuit packets in there, opened up one of them and started lining up the biscuits on the footpath for the puppies.

In this day and age, where most of us don’t even have time to even absorb, let alone enjoy the sights and sounds of nature around us, this small gesture of the little girl warmed my heart quite a bit. Venu, who noticed me taking in this entire scene soon greeted me and came up to me. ‘Good morning!’ he said cheerfully.

Wishing him back, I expressed my appreciation at what Tanya was doing. Proud of his grand-daughter, Venu said, ‘Oh, this is nothing. You should see the smiles on the faces of Tanya’s young students after their English classes.’

‘English classes!’ But then, she is hardly eight years old. Who does she take classes for?’ I asked.

Venu smiled ‘Oh, her mother Indira managed to convince the domestic help and the some of the housekeeping and security personnel to send their kids for basic English classes conducted by Tanya. She doesn’t teach them much, other than just the alphabets and basic spoken English.’

Impressed by the initiative, I asked him, ‘Wow, that is something! At her age, I was busy running around open grounds, playing with my friends and busy reading comics.’

‘She does all that and more. It’s just that she makes it a point to spend at least two hours of her free time every day to help out others in some small way or the other. In fact, this whole milk and biscuit routine for the puppies started only yesterday when she noticed the puppies squealing in hunger when her school bus stopped outside the gates to drop her off’ he said.

‘I guess all the values that my wife and me imbibed in Raghav when he was young, and all the good work that Indira’s parents put into her upbringing have been hard-wired into little Tanya. Genetics and DNA do have their benefits, as she is displaying right now’ he proudly said.

‘Come Tanya, we have to get back home. Your school bus will be here in 45 minutes and you still have to bathe and have your breakfast’ he called out to her.

‘Sure grandpa! Now that these puppies have had their breakfast and milk, I can have mine as well’ Tanya jumped up and came running to her grandpa.

Walking back, I was left thinking if only more grandparents and parents nowadays spent more time teaching their young ones to be as considerate of other humans and all living beings in general, the world and its future would be that much more happier and secure.

It truly was a good morning!


This post has been written for the Housing.Com blog campaign conducted in association with IndiBlogger.

Oru Police Station kathai

Apologies in advance to regular readers, but only Tamil speakers will be able to read this post due to the extensive use of Tamil words in this story.


One day early in the morning when I got up and was drinking the chuda chuda filter kaapi that Amma had made for me, there were these loud knocks on the door – dhud dhud dhud.

Idhu yaar pa, kaalan karthaleyai Amma grumbled as she hurried to open the door.

As soon as she opened the door, she took a quick couple of steps back saying shiva shiva!!!

When I went near the door to see what it was that made her react like this, even I was shocked.

There was a police constable outside the door. Saar, idhu number 67 thaaney, he asked

Aamam sir

Unga peyr Ramanathan aa

Aamam sir

Unga vayasu 19 aa

Aamam sir

Neenga koncham B-2 station varaikkum varanum saar. 9 mani kulla vaanga sir he said and walked off

Getting over her shock Amma asked me Dei yenna da panniney? Yedhavadhu vambuley maatindu irukeeya

Illa ma, naan onnumey panneley I insisted, all the while trying to recollect anything that I might have done to bring the cops to the agraharam, and right to my doorstep this early in the morning.

Ayyo, yellarum pathirupaaley, andha pakkathu veedu Maragatham maamikku idhu onnu podhumey unna pathi vadanthiyai kallapa Amma started grumbling.

Staying in a Brahmin agraharam in the 1960s meant that everybody knew everybody and everybody was interested in every small nitty-gritties of your life, at times more than their own lives. And a cop knocking on one of the doors was more scandalous than the Puratchi Thalaivar traipsing around with that young actress, his favorite heroine.

Rama, poi sollathey, edhavadhu vendathathu pannitu ippo police gittey maatindeya da, Amma asked again, jolting me out of my reverie.

Appadi ellam onnum illai Amma, I pacified her. After Appa had passed away two years ago, leaving Amma and me to look after each other, I had cut down on all those boisterous fun-loving friends I had at college who had a penchant for getting into trouble due to their stupid antics, more so with that monster of a Yezdi bike that Santhanam had.

But it had been more than a week since I had even seen these friends, let along hang out with them. So then, why were the cops after me, I wondered.

In any case, a couple of hours later, after I had bathed, done my Sandhyavandanam and had my regular breakfast of three crispy nei roasts made by Amma, I made my way to the B-2 station, a good twenty minute walk from my home.

Once I reached there, I walked up to the same constable who I had seen earlier – Sir, neenga enna station kku vara soneenglay, yenna vishayam sir?

Vaanga Ramanathan, vaanga, okkanthunga he said.

Surprised that I was offered a chair, I was still curious. Sir, enakku college kku neram aachu. Yedhukku vara sonnenga nnu sonna nalla irukkum, I said, trying to get to the crux of the matter soon.

Neenga moonu vaaram munnaley…..illa illa naalu vaaram munnaley….he began.

I started sweating profusely. Damn that Santhanam and his bike. I should have never taken it for a spin that day around a month ago.

How was I to know that ball rolling out of that gate would be followed by that stupid puppy? Try as much as I did, I know that I must have hit that puppy and maybe even killed it. Shit, this is what I get for being over smart and trying to ride bikes that I am not comfortable handling. Look where it landed me, at the police station!!!

As these thoughts and images of that small puppy were flashing in front of me, the constable continued neenga naalu vaaram munnaley passport kku apply panniruntheenga illaya, adhodu verification kaaga ungala station vara sonnom.

Aana naan passportkku apply pannaleye sir, I replied.

Unga peru Ramanathan thaaney?


Unga address New No 67, Old No 59, Periyar Kurukku Santhu, Shastri Nagar, Kumbakonam thaaney?

Illa sir, yen address New No 76, Old No 67, I said

O, sorry sir, oru chinna thappu nadanthidichu, naan thappana aaley verification kaaga vara solliten, he apologized.

Smiling, I breathed a sigh of relief and said parava illai sir, appo naan poren.

As I walked out of the police station, I decided never to ride that monstrous Yezdi of Santhanam again. All the thrills the bike provided weren’t worth the heartburn and tension that it also brought along with it.


This post has been written for Project 365 : A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was to write about whatever I like, but using regional slang, dialect or accent. I chose to write a story mostly in Tamil for this prompt.

Murphy and his law … or maybe not

Pineapple-CakePadmini, or Puppy as she was called by all her friends was a nervous wreck today. October 7th this year was quite unlike any of the other years.

Vaishnav, or Vy, as her eight yr. old son was called by everybody had insisted that they celebrate his birthday outdoors in the lawns of the residential complex they stayed in. Puppy was quite surprised at the fact that Vy put his foot down and insisted that his birthday be celebrated the way he wanted to. The silver lining in this whole situation was that for some reason Vy wanted his birthday to be celebrated with very little pomp and preparations, spending as little money as possible and he even volunteered to help his parents with the entire preparations including setting up the table and decorations on the lawns, and he had also promised to help out with serving food to the guests who turned up at the party. His only condition was that Puppy would bake the birthday cake herself.

While Puppy loved the fact that her little one was growing up to be money conscious and loved cakes baked by her, the fact remained that she had never dared to bake a cake as big as was required to feed at least twenty five hungry guests that the invitees would make up. Despite her misgivings, she gave in to Vy’s demands and geared up for a tough baking day on Oct 7th.

However, fate, the universe, the stars and all planetary alignments ended up conspiring against her on that day and despite following the instructions of YouTube chef Sanjay Thumma to the ‘t’, her cake ended up a sorry soggy mess which was barely able to stand upright. The party invite began at 5 in the evening, and here she was at 4.30, ready to burst out into tears. She didn’t have the heart to tell a hyper-excited Vy that she had ended up ruining his favorite pineapple cake, but she didn’t have a choice. She knew that for kids in their ‘tweens’, prestige and their image in front of their peers meant more than anything else, and she didn’t want Vy to cut a sorry figure in front of all his friends at his own birthday party.

Everything seemed to be going wrong today, of all the days…

Surprisingly Vy took it quite sportingly when she showed him the 4 Kilo mangled mess that she tried to pass off as his birthday cake. He looked at it thoughtfully for a while, just dipped a finger in the whipped cream on the top and licked it, and then turned around Amma, don’t worry. You have done more than enough to ensure that I have an awesome birthday. Just wait and watch.

He then took her smartphone and started typing away furiously while walking back into his room. Puppy assumed that he was probably messaging his friends on Whatsapp telling them not to expect any cake in the party. But five minutes later, he came out of his room, wearing an old white sweatshirt and his boxer shorts.

Puppy knew that he probably was disappointed and was trying to hide the same earlier, but she didn’t quite expect him to cancel the party itself. Just as she began to apologize and asked for her phone to call up the nearest French Loaf outlet to order a new cake, he looked up at her Amma, I suggest you get into clothes which you don’t mind being dirtied. I have a surprise planned at today’s party.

The entire situation was getting more and more mysterious for Puppy and she wondered what Vy was talking about. In any case, by now, she had decided that she would do anything to compensate for the bad cake and dutifully changed into an old sweatshirt and track pants. In the meantime, JP, her husband had arrived home from office and had also been instructed by Vy to change into something that he didn’t mind dirtying. Being the sport that he was, JP, went ahead and did exactly what his son asked him to.

When the trio went down the elevator, they sure made up for a funny sight in their old clothes with an ‘almost ready to collapse’ soggy cake in hand. And in five minutes when they reached the Events Area where Vy and his friends had decked up a small table and the thirty odd chairs with various streamers and balloons, they saw that all of Vy’s friends and the parents who had accompanied them had all turned up in similar attire. Puppy’s questioning look to Vy was answered only by an all knowing smile.

This was just getting crazier and crazier…

Vy then put the cake on the table and stood in front of it. Friends, aunties and uncles, first of all thank you so much for coming to my birthday party. I will ensure that all of you will remember this party for a long time to come.

As you can see, Amma managed to bake up a storm, quite literally, in the form of this pineapple cake, which by the way has the tastiest whipped cream I have tasted in quite a while. But then, unknowingly, she has given me a wonderful idea to make this party the most memorable one I have ever had.

Saying so, he put his right hand into the cake, scooped up the cream and went up to Puppy

What are you guys waiting for? Attack!!!!

He took the fistful of cream and pasted it all over Puppy’s face, and all his friends followed suit with each of them grabbing fistfuls of cake and pasting it on their parents and on each other. Before the parents could figure out what was happening, they were all doused with the soggy cake. The next three odd minutes saw mayhem with kids, parents and even pet dogs attacking each other with cake in their hands, and as Vy mentioned, it turned out to be the funniest, most memorable birthday party their apartment complex had ever seen.

Puppy couldn’t control her tears; tears of joy which streamed down her cheeks for her wonderful smart little son had managed to convert an unmitigated disaster that her cake was into a fun, laugh riot of a birthday party.


This post has been written for Project 365: A post a day where the idea is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong – and then suddenly, you knew it would be alright.

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 >>