A good bargain

While I had clearly been informed that under no circumstances would I be allowed to meet the person who received the kidney I had donated, curiosity got the better of me. I got in touch with Haneefa, the ‘agent’ who I had approached back in my village, Koprankudi in Idukki district, Kerala, and requested him to at least give me the name of the patient to whom my kidney would be donated to.

Haneefa, while fully aware of the rules regarding the donor-recipient confidentiality, empathized with my situation and shared the name and address of the recipient. It was time to see what Appan Menon’s problem was and why he needed my kidney.

My story was simple. Achan had left behind a plethora of gambling debts that needed to be cleared and the tharavadu was already mortgaged. Since I was the only survivor of Achan’s drinking habit and had only the house to fall back upon, I had no choice but to sell my kidney for the princely sum of 7 lakh rupees. The money would be just about right to save the house, and I had to rely on hard physical labor at the timber yard working alongside the other paapans and elephants to earn my living. A few well-meaning acquaintances had advised me against exerting myself physically immediately after my surgery, but I had no choice. At this point in time I had decided that I would cross that bridge when I come to it.

After the initial tissue sample test where my samples matched those of Appan’s, I was advised six weeks of complete bed-rest before the surgery while he would be readied for the kidney transplant. And although Haneefa had arranged for a lodge where I could stay for this duration, I simply had to hunt down Appan and find out his story. After all, a part of me, albeit a really small one; my kidney, was going to be part of his future, wasn’t it.

By sweet-talking a couple of the ward boys in the hospital, I managed to get Appan’s address and there I was, two days later, standing outside his flat, ringing the bell. The door was opened by somebody who looked 50-ish, and was visibly on medication, given the sluggish way he moved and talked.

To his queries as to who I was, I told him that I was a cook looking for a job and had heard from the watchman (with whom I had made discreet enquiries before I walked up two floors to the flat) that the owner of this flat needed one. After a few preliminary enquiries, I was ushered into the kitchen and asked to make some sugar-less tea, and serve the same with some Marie biscuits.

Pretty soon Appan warmed up to my company and started sharing some of his old stories with me. He had run away from home in Malappuram district in Kerala when he was 16 yrs old after his childhood love with his maternal cousin Malu was discovered at home. An orphan, he had lost all contact with his extended family and had since migrated to Dubai, courtesy a sympathetic pastor he had come in contact with in Kochi to where he had fled to as a teenager.

He had made more than his fair share of fortune the hard way working first as a server in a hotel and by sheer dint of his hard work, perseverance and ability to build good relationships with almost all those he came in contact with, he had managed to settle down well. However, he could never forget Malu, his love for her which prevented him from ever thinking of another girl again. Even as he was narrating some of these old stories to me, Appan’s eyes teared up and his voice choked. It was clear that he missed Malu, his extended family and his childhood support system that the extended family had provided to him as a young orphan.

One fine day, I decided to take charge of reclaiming some of Appan’s lost memories. Using my network of friends from among the lorry drivers of various transport companies, I managed to get the address of Appan’s tharavadu in Malappuram. Given that the family was a well-known one in the region, this was accomplished without too much difficulty. Without telling Appan anything, I packed his bags and asked him to accompany me to his car, whose chauffeur had already been given the address with instructions to keep the destination a secret.

Six hours later, when we finally turned into the driveway of a palatial bungalow was when Appan finally realized where he was. Although he recognized the general direction in which we were travelling earlier, not in his wildest dreams did he realize where the final destination was. And the look on his face when he was greeted by his elderly strong grandfather when the car stopped was nothing short of sheer, unadulterated joy. Pent up emotions from more than three decades of missing his family and their bonding broke open and he started sobbing like a small child amidst at least a dozen or so uncles and aunts who were still staying together as a joint family.

Pretty soon, Malu made her way through the commotion and managed to see Appan for the first time in three decades. And when Appan learnt that she hadn’t married all this time and continued to love him as much as she did when she was a teenager, he couldn’t control himself and started sobbing all over again. It was only when Malu , his uncle and aunt consoled him, saying that it was only today that their family was ‘whole’ again and that they had finally regained a long lost son that he accepted the reality as it was.

After a week or so of staying in the tharavadu, it was time for Appan to come back to Kochi as the surgery was scheduled four days later. By now I was convinced that my kidney was being donated to somebody who had seen his fair share of sorrow in life, and was somebody who deserved a second chance at happiness. With his homecoming, Appan had finally achieved ‘closure’ to what was a sad, lonely, depressing chapter in his life, and I was sure that this second innings of his life would be lived happily and contented.

The day before the surgery, I left behind a small note cooking up some arbitrary reason for having to go back to my home town and got admitted in the hospital. The surgery itself was quite uneventful and since the doctor informed that it was successful almost immediately after I regained consciousness, I felt happy for Appan. I also told the doctor not to let Appan pay any money whatsoever to Haneefa or anybody else for his new kidney and although the doctor knew the rules which forbade payment or any consideration in return for a kidney, he agreed to strictly go by the rule book in this case, based on my instructions.

I was discharged the next day and managed to peep into the private ward where Appan was recuperating. It warmed my heart to see that a couple of his cousins had come over from Malappuram to assist him with his recuperation and ensuring that I was not noticed by anybody in the ward, I made my way out of the hospital, back to Koprankudi.

So what if the moneylender would take over possession of my tharavadu, I was only losing a house, but helping somebody get back to a home. End of day, it was a good bargain after all.


Tharavadu – Ancestral home handed down over the generations

Achan – Father

Paapan – Mahout or elephant keeper


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 “Tell us about the time you performed a random act of kindness, where the recipient of your kindness never found out about your good deed. How did the deed go down?” and I took the liberty of writing down this fictional short story around the same.


celebrationDei machas, how about catching up tonight for a quick round of drinks followed by some dinner at my place? Both drinks and dinner are on me…The big day has finally arrived. I am free.

I hit on the Send button on the Whatsapp group with a couple of my best friends and my cousin as its members.

I was quite sure that they would be shell-shocked at the sudden invite, that too on a weekday, given my propensity to plan all such drinking sessions well in advance and the tendency to schedule it only on weekends when all of us would have a chance to indulge in a drinking binge, if required, and wear off the hangover the next day when none of us would have to go to office.

But today was different, and tonight’s celebrations were for a special reason. After a good two decades of slogging my posterior off in a job which provided me with no sense of achievement (except probably for adding a moderate sum of money to my savings account at the end of the month), I had finally managed to achieve a substantial break-through in my life. I had finally finished off all the substantial financial commitments of my life and today was the day when the last of them had been fulfilled. I had finally paid off my daughter’s tuition fees for the last semester of her Post-Doctoral studies. I was now a ‘free man’, at least when it came to having to earn money to live.

Over the last five odd years, my living expenses had catapulted to all-time highs with my daughter’s medical course fees and her marriage expenditure on top of my regular household expenditure. It was in these years that I thanked my wife for having instilled a high degree of financial discipline in me and having run a tight ship financially since the time we got married. All these years, we curtailed all unnecessary expenditure and had strategically invested our savings in a manner where the outflows more or less matched all the significant financial milestones in our and our daughter’s lives. And today, finally, a lifetime of this discipline had reaped rich dividends, both literally and figuratively.

After having paid the last instalment of tuition fees for my daughter’s medical education, my wife and me were left with enough savings which yielded a more than sufficient stream of monthly income for us. We had finally reached a stage where I didn’t necessarily have to work for a living, per se, at least financially. I finally had time to pursue my own passions without having to worry about whether I had enough money to sustain my family for the rest of my and their lives.

This called for a celebration. And what better way to celebrate than by having two of my best friends and a cousin over to dinner and drinks? After all, they had stood by me through all these years and understood what it is that my wife and me were trying to do all these years.


This post is entirely hypothetical in nature, although it contains more than just a small amount of ‘wishful thinking’ on my part. This post was 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 how I would celebrate some wonderful, improbable, hoped-for-good news.

My acceptance speech


To begin with I would like to thank the director of this movie for considering me worthy enough of bringing to life his main protagonist on the screen. The amount of effort, dedication and passion with which he created this character made it very easy for me to portray it with panache on the screen.

Next, I would like to thank the dialog writer and editor of this movie for making me sound and look so wonderfully elegant in the role. Some of the lines spoken will remain with me forever and will haunt me for many more nights to come. And the slick editing has ensured that all the best parts of my acting prowess have found a prominent place in the final cut.

Huh, what is that? What did you say? Yes, I know that I have been awarded with The Best Actor of the Year award. So what if they are not the Academy Awards or the Emmy Awards? So what if they are only the Razzies?

What, they are awarded to the best ‘worst’ movies and acting performances of the year!!!

Sheesh, you sure found a nice time to read out the ‘fine print’ to me, didn’t you!!!


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 give an acceptance speech for an award that I had received.

Shoes I have walked in


I still clearly remember purchasing two pairs of Adidas shoes with my first pay-cheque. Not that my first salary was substantial, but that probably was the only time that Adidas ran a Flat 50% Off sale in Bangalore J

Of the two, the one I really liked was the one with a primarily black-grey background with reflector silver strips all over. In the nights, when any vehicle’s headlights hit the shoes, they looked like zebra-skin on my feet, and at that age (I was all of 20 yrs old, highly impressionable, and desperately trying to make an impression of being a ‘hep guy’) these shoes were ‘god-send’ for me. And the other pair, well they were a little simpler in comparison, a navy blue background interspersed with white stripes.  I well and truly loved both these pairs of shoes.

Back then I led quite an active lifestyle, with either basketball or cricket making it to my Saturday early morning schedule to which these shoes became a permanent fixture. Coupled with some other outstation trips which involved trekking in hills in Chikmaglur, some on and off jogging stints, some stints at the local gym, these shoes saw more than their fair share of wear and tear in their day.

After a while, corporate life caught me by the jugular, but these shoes didn’t lose their sheen or importance in my life. They were a regular fixture on all my weekend outings to restaurants or pubs and also followed me to various resorts at Coorg, Munnar, Goa and other local team offsite events organized by my first employer. Even after I quit my job and started pursuing my CAT coaching classes, these shoes adorned my unemployed, struggling feet.

They then came all the way to Indore with me and made numerous trips on the winding road of the hill, Hanuman Tekri on which the IIM Indore campus is located. All those midnight walks down to the gate, and back up the hill to the student hostels; these shoes were a constant companion whether I was in a good mood, bad mood, pensive mood, reflective mood or just plain and simple, drunk.

The first pair, the one with the reflective strips finally saw their demise after having walked an approximate 5 kms per day for 25 odd days in the sweltering coastal Tamilnadu summer of 2005 during my summer internship with a confectionary company. I was involved in a marketing project which involved me trudging the ‘markets’ of coastal Tamilnadu and these shoes stood me in good stead during all those long, sunny walks in that one month.

The other pair of shoes came all the way back to Bangalore when I finished my B Schooling and got back to the corporate groove of things. Once again, they were a regular fixture on my weekend outings and the occasional Fridays when I used to wear t-shirts, jeans and sneakers to office.

These shoes saw me getting married and shifting location to Hyderabad, and what’s more they also came with me across continents all the way to the US of A. They saw their first international airport outside India at Frankfurt where they walked with me for almost all of a kilometer and a half between the transit gates there. And that is when I guess they decided to give up on me.

I wonder if it was that long walk at Frankfurt International Airport that did it or whether it was their first sight of those lovely sneakers arranged on the racks at the Sunnyvale Walmart that did it, but finally, after 8 long years of being my constant companions, this pair of shoes decided that enough was enough and they just died down on me. I finally had to abandon them back in the US of A where my friend promptly picked them up and threw them in the trash, given that I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Even today, when I think back of all the experiences that I have had wearing those two pairs of shoes, there is just too much nostalgia involved for me.

Am sure all you readers have your own favorite pair(s) of shoes as I had with these two pairs. Go ahead and share your experiences in the comments sections and enthrall all of us with your experiences with footwear.


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 my favorite pair of shoes and where they had taken me.

Pants on fire

I never lie. I don’t have to resort to lying. I live a life with so much integrity that lying as an option is unnecessary for me.

There I just did it again. Once again, I had to lie, just to make myself look good in front of the world.

I am more than sure that all of you reading this blog had been taught as infants or at least in kindergarten school that lying was bad. We were all taught via various stories, anecdotes and fables that honesty was the best policy and lying was something that should not be resorted to under any circumstances.

But then I am sure that in the process of ‘growing up’, both physically and mentally, we all kind of figured out that there were lies and then there were ‘white lies’, the type that didn’t quite harm anybody and could be used to save our skins whenever we got ourselves into some mischief and into a tight spot. I know that I have used more than my fair share of white lies as a kid given that I was quite boisterous and used to get myself into trouble almost every time I went out to play with my friends.

And then as we grew older, we began to rely on lying (or at least some of us did, I am sure) as a mechanism which used to help us avoid unnecessary situations, arguments, people or discussions with people we knew. As teenagers we must all have lied about bunking classes, studying late into the night, petty quarrels we had with our friends, and more, and I am sure that as you read this sentence, you are taken back in your memories to those small little lies uttered back then.

And while I don’t necessarily condemn or condone lying of any sort, the fact remains that looking back at those days, at those harmless little white lies we told as teenagers, I feel kind of stupid and immature. While the inconsequential lies don’t matter, the ones we told our friends about liking a particular movie, a particular book, a particular dress that he/she had worn, just to be part of the group, just to ensure that we weren’t sidelined by the rest of the group, they just don’t make any sense anymore. Among many of the unpleasant things that we all did to belong to a group, this form of lying was probably the most harmless.

'Oh, just crafting lies I never even have to tell...'

While I don’t resort to too much lying anymore, the fact remains that for a lot of us, especially those who have lofty professional ambitions and want to scale the corporate hierarchy in a hurry, we don’t have an option but to resort to lying. After all, no supervisor would like it if his subordinate went ahead and actually told the truth about the unmatched shirt, trouser and tie combination, he wouldn’t appreciate the truth being told about how badly the presentation with the client went simply because he didn’t quite understand the client’s question. I mean, after all, he is the boss, and as good subordinates, we are all expected to listen, nod in agreement, clap in appreciation, and praise in moderation. Whoever told us that ‘honesty is the best policy’ forgot to add the small * at the end of the sentence and add the caption “conditions apply”.

And this is not just in corporate offices or professional situations; I personally know a lot of people who resort to lying as a way of living even at home just to ensure that their marriage is not affected by unnecessary tiffs every day. And therefore, a true blue SRK fan grins and bears a three hour marathon session of Sallu Bhai’s ‘Kick’ just because he had lied about the same during the courtship period with his newly wed bride. Husbands who end up throwing the dal prepared by their wives into the dustbins and make do with a club sandwich from the office vendor have to go home and lie about how tasty the dal was if they intend to be fed at home ever again. Some lies, such as the ones above, are not only necessary but also compulsory to ensure that divorce rates and marital violence statistics stay well within acceptable limits in India.


So, what’s your story? How often do you resort to lying, and what are the kind of lies you tell? Go on, don’t feel shy, use the Comments section below and tell us. Just remember, you don’t have to lie here J


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. And today’s prompt was “What was the last lie you told? Why did you tell it?”