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Maybe I should just cry

I am upset, really upset. Too bad I cannot rush to the site and hold a wailing mother and hug her tight. Too bad I cannot comfort the distraught man who has the task of burying the dead in a mass grave. Too bad I cannot ask God to spare the life of that 9 year old kid making sand castles and take me instead. Why I cannot do this, don’t ask. I guess I am satisfied by just getting upset, really upset.

I only helped monetarily, the least anyone can do. Now I am upset all over again. The guys who rolled up their sleeves, mobilized relief efforts and gave a helping hand in every possible way they could. You are my heroes!

On a slightly trivial note, things that annoyed me (keep in mind I have high expectations of others)-

1. American news coverage.

Prim and proper news reader (nothing wrong in her being prim and proper, just too much lipstick) looking politely grim, ’The deadly Tsumani claims another thousands of lives. Now the death toll has reached a staggering 30,000 and may even exceed 50,000. 12 Americans are known to be missing. We will be talking with their concerned families very shortly just after the breaking news about a Supermodel who was caught in the deadly Tsunami and the heart rendering story on how she survived. Over to the weather.’

Guy standing in front of weather chart actually smiling. Another guy looks at smiling guy and gravely poses a gut-wrenching question, "Scott, what are the chances that America would be hit by a tsunami?"

Smugly Scotty points out, "Mike, the chances are close to zero. If you look at the geographical location of our great country, blah blah……"

End of Tsunami news. More on how people dispose their Christmas decoration.

2. Therefore, it isn’t a wonder how ignorant some of my American colleagues are. Barring one single person, none bothered to ask me about this catastrophe and how it might have affected my folks. Blame it on the holiday spirit and general lack of enthusiasm to get out of it. Considering I am one of the only three desis working in this office, I was expecting a general outpour of concern. Finding none, I wasn’t deterred. I sent out an email:

Hi all,

Some of you expressed concern regarding our families in India with respect to the killer wave that took a toll of 71,000 lives. The numbers are rising as I write this. The coastal area of Madras (my hometown) has been battered from what I hear. It was a bit of a scare to me when I heard about it as my family lives about half a mile from the beach where some of the devastation took place. Thankfully, they were not affected. Nor did the water come anywhere near the house. There were a few close calls, but everyone I know is fine. Thanks so much for keeping our family in your thoughts. I hope all your loved ones are safe too.

Not everyone was as fortunate as me. Thousands of displaced families, entire villages washed away, country populations reduced in half and now the biggest fear of all, outbreak of epidemics like cholera. Most of the victims being the poor, are the ones who need help the most. Any kind of help. The international community is going a big way in collecting for the biggest relief operation the world has seen so far. It is heart warming to see many people coming forward to help. The needs are obviously high.

If you are inclined to help and are wondering how to contribute, here is a link to various organizations that are actively rendering their services-

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/12/27/quake.aidsites/index.html

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

There was a sudden outburst of concern via email and people stopped by my cube, "I really didn’t know your family was so close. Glad to know your family is safe and thanks for the link. How is your dad feeling now? " My dad? Oh yeah, That was a year ago. He’s doing great now!

Ok I thought, intrinsically nice people with big hearts and slow brains.

3. At a group discussion, while the Americans were expressing concern, my Indian co-worker felt this urgent need to come up with something funny (He’d better stop impressing me), "I guess I should be going to India for good. Lot of fishermen jobs have opened up for me. Hahaha."

That clinched it for me! I fretted and fumed, but my fury isn’t even close to the Indian Ocean’s. After all, I’ll forgive these people.


Please Help if You can


Tidal Wave Relief Fund 

Little for you, but a world to them. Help restoring their world. Hoping you and your loved ones are safe.

Can we get some privacy here?

Last time I saw it scurry past from behind the TV stand to behind the computer desk, I thought I was hallucinating. The second time I saw it moving across the hallway while I was propped on the toilet seat. I couldn’t abandon my job to see if it was flesh and bones for obvious reasons. So I just let it pass. It got confirmed when I noticed half eaten muruku (oily south Indian snack). Pi is known to eat things fully.

My neighbor and I exchanged notes. She saw many more than I did. Since her mother-in-law was in town, the rats seemed to have taken fancy to her cooking and completely ignored my house. Hmm… sorta insulting.

I tried to complain to the land lady.

‘No, ofcourse not! There are no rats in our building, Miss! You are surely going nuts.’

‘I saw them/it with my own eyes,’ I stressed pointing to my eyes.

"Of course you are mistaken. They are not rats! They are mice, my dear," she said with utter thrill. "Rats are yaay big," she offered dimensions of a cat with her hands.

Shocked at this blatant lack of concern for rodent-hygiene, and not knowing how living with mice is better than having rats eat your ration, I was confused. Then the freaky landlady had the audacity to say that I might have imported them from India.

That did it! In India we pay much less for rent, you you...! I filed a petition along with many others in the building who not only saw rats, but even provided them with maternity wards involuntarily.

The landlady came home with rat traps which were placed strategically in every corner that we humans had to be really careful not run into any.

Don’t know if it was the traps or the chemicals that were sprayed or my body odour; the gourmet rats were finally eliminated. Friends started coming home; carpets, furniture and murukus were saved. Phew! Can postpone our moving-out plans till…recently...

I wanted to exchange a set of wine-glasses that I got for my birthday. The sales girl opened the box in front of other customers to see if the glasses were all there. Out ran a few unexpected guests. Cockroaches!!! I almost fainted in embarrassment, "I’m sorry. If they don’t belong to your store, I’ll take them back. Someone gifted them to me. But the wineglasses are surely from here."

Reaching home, I trained my eyes to notice any more Periplaneta Americana (biological name that stayed in my head from 11th grade). Little tiny ones moving with gleeful abandon on my kitchen and bathroom floor. They started multiplying everyday. Pi and I would exchange gory reports on the kill for the day and revel on the cold-bloodedness of it all. We usually keep our house very clean and don’t live in a ghetto as you might have concluded by now. I was getting nighmares of waking up covered from head to toe with yucky roaches taking me to their chief.

"Wicked lady who stays in our house killed our kith and kin with tissue paper."

"Bring out Rowdy Tanrantula, our hired hitman. He haw haw", roared the Cockroach chief.

So landlady was pressured to call the exterminator before she got sued.  The exterminator guy had an interesting way to do his job.

"Take off that table cloth. Roaches love to hide behind that. Remove all cereal from boxes and put them in airtight containers. Get rid of wicker baskets and make sure you eat out more. Try not to use oil and wash your vessels every 2 minutes. Don’t keep food in the kitchen."

"Sure sir, how about we seal this kitchen and come to your house for food. Cut the sermon and do something." He immediately started spraying so much toxic vapors that it gave me a nice J-Lo like glow. One insect came out of its hiding to take a stroll, enjoying the fog and mist from the spray. While it stopped to smell the dew, our exterminator reached for my chappal and gave it one big blow and knocked the poor thing out of its intestines. I didn't have too much trouble falling asleep after that, thanks to the chemicals.

If you are lucky enough to hit my page at the right sequence, you will notice cockroaches running amok in an ad at the top. That’s quite disturbing, which really makes me want to change my domain just like I want to move into another apartment that will not have any more tenants than required.


e-Relationships

"I sent an email to your boyfriend the other day regarding his job search", I told her.

She nodded and said, "He has replied to you, I checked his email early today and checked the reply to you in his ‘Sent’ folder."

EGAD! Couples checking each others email id!! Eeeeow Gross! I admit that, in a strange mushy level, it can be considered cute even to the best of us. The best of us who have large portions of our brains missing. Everyone needs a life, an independent one to some degree.

Now, every time I send out mails to my girl friends or guy friends, I need to make a mental note on how this language would be taken by their spouse. Will I be called a bitch at the dinner table because I asked my friend if his paranoid wife has decided to stop bugging him about that bartender girl who called him ‘love’? She was cute, wasn’t she?

I can’t tell my girlfriend about this new sanitary napkin without having to face her hubby and knowing he knows my menstrual preferences.

Build trust with friend's other half and as time progresses, treat them as one entity. Very tough. Unlike my normal self, I have to pour inane niceties while gagging on the key board. ‘I hope you and your lovely, sexy, wife are having a blast. I want to learn knitting from your talented, gorgeous wife someday. I forgot all the good times we had together in college. It has been replaced by the yummy biryani I had at your place. I hate you. My husband likes you more.’

There are some poor unsuspecting single souls out there who don’t know of this practice (God bless their innocent souls) and sometimes land themselves and their friends in deep trouble.

"Oye oye! Hope sex is better this time, you old married fart!"

The worse part or best part is- this phenomenon is not universal. Thank God for some not-so-much-in-love or as I would say smart couples, there are some who don’t share their work ids. So it leaves me in a more perplexed state. Who are these angels and is work id safe enough for my emails? Who am I to tell people not to share something as pure as emails with their loved ones? Next I might get psycho and go on a tirade about couples sharing blankets. *shudder* You know, I can do without all this stress. I should just stop emailing.

Confession- With head bent and toes curled up making designs on fictitious sand, I’ll concede that I was practicing this religion before I renounced it to save my relationship (with hubby and friends alike). Just in time to avoid marriage counselors and drugs. One weak moment to prove your trust and desperate attempts at bonding can cause new couples to give out passwords as a very first romantic gift. In those days of tender love, this email deal doesn’t even come close to embarrassing me as much as other random things I have done. But then, I shall not digress. My then boyfriend, who became my now hubby used to check his emails after checking mine. He would get some boring-repeat junk mail from his school alumni egroups, whereas I would get juicy-interesting emails from the vast population of male admirers. I didn’t say mine, did I? He was aghast at the way I replied to my buddies (I repeat, my buddies) and he'd let me know of his displeasure and how I ought to write decently. I was aghast at his stupid controlling behavior. I could have-

a) changed boyfriend

b) changed password

c) both

d) none of the above

I did only (b) and made his life even more miserable by not doing (a). He lives in this eternal curiosity as to what kind of emails I get, forever trying to hack in. Tch, tch!

Psst- He will vehemently deny this.

Double psst- I don’t get any more juicy-interesting mails, but I will deny that too.

Triple psst- So guys, what are you waiting for?


Cell Phone Case Files

....continued from previous

As requested by the manager of Chilis, I lodged a police complaint for stolen phone.

Detective Sneeze (or maybe Squeeze- something like that) calls up home.

DS: Miss, you have made Perry Mason proud with your detective work. They caught Rodrigo and got a confession from him.

Me (totally taken by this Perry Mason comparison): I wish Rod boy knew English. I would have figured out this whole thing myself. Met him in an alley and grabbed the cell phone.

DS: Lady, thank your stars or else I would be dealing with a murder case now; your murder. It is a good thing we got involved at the right time. Rodrigo confessed that it was his roommate- Luca's phone. He has no reasons to steal one as he had just got one last week. He saw it lying around when you called and picked it up.

Me (head spinning): So it was Lucas! Lucas was framing poor Rod! Aha! This makes perfect sense.

DS: Now the problem is Lucas says he did not do it and the cell phone is nowhere to be seen. Must be in a dumpster somewhere. He tried to do away with the evidence. So Lucas is your man. What do you want us to do with him?

Me (suspicious about the question and wondering what the right answer should be): er.. Can I get an apology from him?

DS: Apology? You the Pope or what? Chilis will fire him if you consent. Do you want him to get fired or have him walk away with the crime.

Me (feeling like the Pope): Son, what harm has poor Lucas done? He took my cell phone, which I left on the table. To have him lose his career (as a table cleaner) will be a harsh punishment for such a petty crime. Leave him alone. You don't know how many times I have been tempted to steal those lovely overpriced sweaters from the mall.

DS (ignoring my kindly words of wisdom): I would let Chilis fire him as I do not want him to go scott free. I have another interest in this case. I have evidence against Lucas that he has illegal papers and am planning to send him back to Mexico.

Me (shocked): Woah! For using a cell phone, he will be deported! Ok fine, get him fired. (knowing that death treats from Mexico won't be as dangerous as Lucas following me everyday to work with a dagger)

DS: Good, that will teach him a lesson. And regarding your cell phone, you may want to go for the Motorola V 300. The V300 thrills the senses with stunning visuals, amazing sound, and a unique feel, from the soft touch finish to color display. Catch the action with the integrated camera. It's 199.00, with 50 dollar mail-in-rebate, it comes to 159.99 dollars. T-MOBILE is a registered trademark of Deutsche Telekom AG. voicestream, the voicestream wireless logo, whenever minutes and T-MOBILE CONNECTION MANAGER are either registered trademarks or trademarks of VoiceStream Wireless Corporation or T-Mobile USA, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. All other products or services referenced in this site are the trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Thinking to mahself while waiting for DS to take a breather: What the heck!?! A cop that moonlights as a sales rep?! Now I have seen it all. *shaking head in disbelief and wondering if a complaint can be lodged against detectives for wasting my time*

I have a newfound respect for cops and detectives in this country now, especially when they take your silly case so seriously. It's almost like they have nothing else to do.

Have you seen Rodrigo?

My cell phone got stolen. Bah! The perils of possessing a real cool device. Ok, fine, I’ll admit…I lost it!. I figured this out after two whole days. Shows how exciting my social life is. I also have a reputation of never picking up calls, just because I never hear the damn thing. I have set it to the lowest volume possible since I don’t want to cause disturbance here at work and never revert back to audible volume afterwards as I forget to do so. I just deal with abuse from friends and family. What the heck, my friends will call and then email me to pick up the phone. It’s been working fine. I maintain that my phone is for emergencies only (one sided emergencies). If you are dying, look for someone else who picks up phones.

Today, I wanted to use the phone, but couldn’t find it. My total lack of responsibility regarding anything I own is baffling, I do not panic. I knew it must be lying on the floor of my car or my office bathroom. Humming a tune, I go my car and look around casually knowing that I’ll find it. Such is my arrogance. When I don’t see it immediately, the humming stops but the arrogance remains. I casually search the bathroom, my cubicle, the carpets, my boss’s pockets... still no phone.

As a last resort, I call my number thinking I would hear a faint ring from somewhere near.

Guy with accent: Hello!

Me (taken aback for the first time since this phone episode started): Excuse me, you have my phone.

Rude Guy: No no no.

Me (rolling eyes and checking number dialed): No? You are holding my phone, Mister. Where are you located? Longitude? Latitude?

Guy: No no no

Me (huge sigh): What do you mean, no?! I lost my phone two days ago and now you have it. You may want to have the charger and headsets too. Let me know where I could drop it off!

Guy (not lured by this proposition): No no no.

Me (thinking he had better vocabulary than my friend’s one year old) : You speak English?

Guy: Spanish. Si si.

Me (phew, that explains! Finally we were making some headway): Espaniol eh? Phone Que pasa? Numero mine. Police cops Gracias!! What is your name?

Guy: Rodhrrrigo. What is your name?

Me (He knows some English. Does he think I am trying to have a friendly conversation here?): I am Nancy Drew, nice to know you. Where do you work? Work?

Guy (finding solace in familiar English words): Chilis. You work in Chilis?

Me: No I don’t, Mr.Burrito, but I very soon will be in disguise working for Chilis to get that phone from you.

Guy: No no no.

That does it! I hung up on him and went scouting for a Spanish translator at work for me. John agreed to help out with his rusty Spanish.

‘John, we went dining at Chilis on Tuesday night and I feel I might have left phone there. Mr.Rodrigo has been using it to call a lot of people. He spoke to a girl in California for an hour!!! With my phone!! I found that from my phone company’s website. So please tell him that I will drop by tonight and pick up that phone. I can’t have him calling anymore people, I am running low on minutes. Tell him to use it only on weekends.’

We tried calling and it went straight to the answering machine. Either my cell phone ran out of charge or Rods got smart suddenly. I called my phone company, put the phone on hold so that it is not misused anymore. I also called Chilis and asked them investigate on their employees, a Mr. Rodrigo in particular. Yes, he gave me the name, I told them. They sounded very helpful (in English) and said they would get back to me later today.

Till then, don’t even bother calling. If you do see Rodrigo, teach him some English, will you?


Thus the Tinda was born

This happened a year ago when blogging and bloggers intrigued me no end. We didn’t have the modern day ‘Blog-meets’ and hence couldn’t happily land into a yahoo site with pictures attached to names. When bloggers blogged anonymously, they felt the dire need to remain so. And I remained eternally curious.

Sometimes, by extraordinary luck and great penance, I would get to know the real name of a blogger and the first thing I would do is Google them. I have an inconceivable faith in the powers of google . Hopefully I can dig up some dirt on the victim and most of the times I am rewarded. A hazy link that takes you to a support group website where our protagonist has asked some techie question is enough to make my day. So you can imagine my shock on searching for our very own Patrix (real name withheld to protect the identity of Pratik) on Google and actually coming up with links filled with explicit information. Wonder of wonders, there was a not-so-flattering photo too!!!

So he went to IIT Bombay, eh? That explains his posts which resemble the Baron’s guide. Reading more about Pratik had my jaws drop to the floor and my eyeballs pop to the screen (yeah, like Tom in Tom and Jerry). This is NOT what I had imagined! Jeez! Holy Guacamole! Wowiee Powiee! I immediately called Starfest, my partner in crime, to discuss this in an excited frenzy, totally flabbergasted at the find.

Tinda? Bhai? Laundiyabaaji and bakarchodi?? Shocking indeed! Here, apna hallowed Patrix was trying to portray a pristine image and just look at him!! In real life, he is such an ..er.. interesting guy! Man! ‘There is only so much you can lie about yourself. People are bound to find out’, we sympathized with Patrix, patting our backs in glee.

In his college dairy, Mr. Paramveer Singh obligingly points out – ‘M**** in nothing else but a towel, with original intentions of going to the toilet, now running down the corridor.
reason:
shivalites with burning mashaals yelling like african natives chasing him down the myriad dark corridors.’

Another source, Mr. Vipul Kansal, says,’ jab mumbai ka king kong pratik m**** daaru peeta hai tab woh saari junta ke manoranjan ke liye nude belly dance karta hai.’

Now that’s an image that will not leave my mind that easily. Though it was all scandalous and eye opening, we found it highly amusing. I would trip on carpets and choke on food controlling my laughter. Star and I promptly started using references to the site, trying to taunt Patrix out of his wits. Calling him Gattu, Tinda, Laughing Buddha etc in comment boxes, hoping that he would get embarrassed and fall at our feet in agony, promising us riches if we stopped harassing him! Imagine our further confusion and rage when he hardly responded to these gestures and when he did, he appeared clueless . We regretfully concluded that he either was too ashamed to admit this or he had a bad bout of amnesia. We sent the link to all the people we knew and did some image damage, ‘Go and get the real scoop about Patrix, the wannabe nerd!!!’ *evil maniacal laff* Folks who didn't even know the story started alluding to the Tinda. It became an out-of-control fashion statement and was being used totally out of context. *sigh*

Then one unsuspecting day, it came as a shock really. It occurred to me that Patrix never even saw the insides of an IIT, bah (courtesy: one of his posts). He went to some obscure Architecture college in Bombay. He was really clueless about THE Tinda. This was in fact a different Pratik with the same freakin last name!  How many of those do we come across living in Atlanta, I say?! Google, how could you do this to me? Er..now what!? The damage was done… Tinda became a household name and poor Patrix had nothing to do with it!

It was time to find a nice hiding spot.


Christmas time is here again... Bringing lots of Cheer again!

Time for lights that bring with them- some really disgusting holiday décor. There should be a law against mutilating a perfectly lovely house with strings of lights thrown in all directions. Puffed up plastic Santas and fake snowmen should be illegal. While driving back home from work, I come across rows of lit houses, each outdoing the other with their gaudiness. Flashing lights, blinding lights, lights in the shape of unknown organisms. What significance do amoebae have in the Christmas story? I do agree that lights bring out the spirit of the holidays and sometimes if skillfully placed, can even be breathtaking. My peeve is only when Christmas decoration tends to look like an extended Halloween embellishment. Phew! With that out of my head, I can rub my sore eyes and breathe lightly till I have to drive home again tonight.

My dread for holiday season doesn’t end there. There is the ‘Christmas party’ or the politically correct, ‘Holiday party‘. The other day I had to attend one- Pi’s office party. Selecting a perfect dress is always a tiring/time-consuming job for me. I will wear almost everything in my closet till I fall down with fatigue and finally end up with what I had worn right in the beginning. This time, I made a smart choice of wearing the dress I had worn for my office party the year before. Finally I got an opportunity to wear it again and get some paisa vasool. It was a knee length sleeveless dress with a slightly plunging neck line. Put on some make-up and wore high heels. Donned a fancy jacket that didn’t protect my bare legs. Endured the cold, shivering from the parking lot to the restaurant. Was to meet Pi here, who would come directly from work.

Left the coat at the front and stylishly (as much as I could manage) tic-tocked to the table. One look at his colleagues, I wanted to turn around and dash out in the cold again. Every single person was in jeans, sweater and sneakers. The most formal person was in khaki pants. I stamped Pi on his foot and grinned sheepishly at everyone. "I just got here from the Grammys."

Note to self: Next time, wear only burka- a denim one.

Was seated right across his boss’s wife. She kept staring at my cleavage that I wanted to tuck my napkin in there. I shifted nervously in the chair. Boss lady asked me, ’Aren’t you feeling cold?’ What concern, I thought. ‘Seeing you all in sweaters, I feel rather warm, thank you!’ I proceeded to tell her the Birbal story.

Note to self: Americans are a conservative lot. Wear such clothes when hanging out with desis.

Introductions start much to Pi’s embarrassment. Now he has to introduce me as his over enthusiastic wife who apparently didn’t get the memo. ‘This is Pat. Pat, my wife, Alpha.’

‘So you are new guy they hired. Heard a lot about you’, I said taking a wild shot as I hadn’t seen him earlier. He was here with his girlfriend, I observed cleverly.

I could see Pi frothing at the corners of his mouth like a cobra had bit him.

‘Alpha, Pat is a woman’.

I’ll be damned!!!! With barely there hair, crisp shirt and pants, Pat looked like a guy out of high school. It so happens that my second guess was at least right. That was her girlfriend!! Thank Goodness!

Note to self: Lesbians can look like boys. Ambiguity in conversation works with strangers.

I decided to keep shut based on Pi’s expressive suggestion. Conversations went from teenage children to grandchildren. Cruises and PTA meetings. Clam chowder and crème brule. Baby sitters and Christmas presents. Very invigorating, I scratched my head and rolled my sleepy eyes. To include me, one of them asked, ‘What do you do?’

‘Apart from making a fool of myself full time, I am Transportation Engineer.’

‘Ohhh wow’ they cooed. This has always been a factor of surprise and a good conversation piece, Pi being a Transportation Engineer too.

"Yes! Isn’t that freaky…blah blah" I blurted out my well rehearsed lines complete with expressions.

Pi heaved a sigh knowing that I couldn’t mess things up now. But he still had an hovering ear perked up, just in case.

Note to self: Feign headache and completely avoid Christmas party next time.


Take your kids to Florida!

Floridaaaaaaaaaaaaah! My first tryst with the United States when I landed here 5 years ago to look for guys apart from pursuing a masters degree. Just remind me why I left the Godly state of shorts-in-winter to a place where outdoor swimming pools are seen only in movies. Just freakin remind me someone!!!! *ominous glare at Pi*

Anyway folks, that’s where we were last weekend soaking in the sun, splashing in the tepid waters of the Gulf of Mexico, jet sking…. in DECEMBER, mind you. I had forgotten how blissful it is not to bundle up every time you walk into the balcony to look at the stars or throw trash.

The main highlight of this vacation, apart from the weather, the relaxation, Mickey Mouse, the greenery, meeting good friends and all the blah that would put us to sleep, is the fact that I finally walked into a strip club.

Tampa being the Mecca of sexy nude lithe bodies dancing on laps of fat lusty men (you could reword that to suit yourselves), all my girlfriends jumped at the idea. A chance to see all this live! Our respective hubbies were shell shocked, especially Pi. ‘No way! I’m not going in with my wife. Sorry!’

‘Arey! What’s with you? Here’s a wife allowing you to feast your eyes and you are such a chicken…tch tch! Now all my friends will be convinced that you are scared of me. You better come.*snarl*”

‘I know I won’t get any action with you around. What’s the bluddy point?’ he asked concerned.

Oh well, I didn’t really buy that. If you know Pi, you would be convinced that it was for moral reasons and not for the cool front he was desperately trying to portray. What if his mom came to know? What if the stripper reminded him of poor Pooja Bhatt from Sadak?

Totally ignoring Pi’s point of view, all of us headed inside… after paying the entry and getting weird looks from the hefty bouncer. Aptly named, I thought… seeing how they were stripping us out of our money.  Just to let you know, this was an impromptu plan and we were all headed back to our resort from the beach. So we were in shorts, wet hair, sandy undies and salty red eyes. It came as a surprise that they even let us into the world's second best Strip Club (so they claim).

We entered. A dingy place with dim lights, mostly blue. L-shaped stage with three poles reaching all the way from the mirrored floors to the mirrored ceiling, slightly different from Disney. A flat chested, big bottomed, slightly paunched woman, completely devoid of any clothing except transparent heels, was dancing around the poles moving from one pole to another without any emotion. There were chairs placed around the central performing area where distinguished people (drooling men/lesbians), who wanted to get up close to the strippers were seated. Every now and then, the stripper made way to one of these gentlemen, did a split and grabbed her tips with her non existent boobs.

We girls were totally entertained while our guys had their eyes riveted to the football game playing on the big screen television. Another girl with a better body and better moves started her act. Some of us got daring and pulled out some dollar bills and sat on the coveted seats upfront. She came closer, smiled and thrust her boobs on my face! I would have preferred giving it to her in her hands. ‘First time? Don’t be scared. Are they your husbands?’ she asked us laughing at our finesse in placing money at inappropriate places and our husbands’ constipated grins. I turned to look at Pi. Pi got out some more change and handed it to me like my mom would do in Tirupathi to place in the arthi plate.

A few more strippers later, we were done with this place. We had a fill of boobs and butts to last us a lifetime now.

Maybe I should have tried saving one of these unfortunate women from this brutal profession. The pretty one that kissed me.


I was almost there

My project submittal went out of the door yesterday and since then, I have been dreaming about this day. A day all by myself with no plans. Bliss! No needy hubby, no harried boss, no cranky clients, no bothering colleagues. Last night I slept with eager anticipation, beads of excited sweat peeking from my forehead. Can't wait.

  

I wake up at 6 am (of course, it was a little late considering my agenda) and jump into my gym clothes. Spend some time running, till I get tired. Then I walk at 8% incline for some time. Even that gets me warmed up quickly; so I start ambling in the treadmill at 4 mph and at 2% incline. Perfect. Look at the time lapsed. Only 4 minutes?? Bah! I guess 5 minutes should do for today. I will spend extra time with the weights and crunches. …34, oof 35..oof 36..pant puff 37…collapse! I will not die staring at a ceiling. Very unglamorous. So I collect myself, go to vending machine, get myself some Gatorade (smart choice) and a Snickers bar (not such a good choice, but after all it’s a dying wish. So justified.)

 

After the gym & shower, it is still 7.30 am (cutting myself some slack for distractions in the swimming pool area). Back home, I pull out my painting supplies and scout around my 1 bed-room apartment trying to find a place to carry out my artistic venture. It takes me precisely ½ hour to conclude that I have a very tiny apartment and I cannot bloom as an artist if I don’t own a house with a studio in the attic with Venetian windows throwing light at the perfect spots where my easel would be placed. I let out huge moans and sighs and settle for the breakfast table after spending another ½ hour shifting the microwave, the mixer, the toaster and the water jug to the floor. I have a vision on how my painting would look like. It will depict the seasonal changes (yeah, I know it has been done million times before- but mine will be abstract) and I will hang it in the study area. People will be wonderstruck and heap praises on the artist and I will smugly say, ‘It’s not a big deal at all. I have done better. The entire collection of good one’s, I burnt.’

 

Yikes, Its 9.30 already! Yes, if you must be wondering- I paint awfully fast. If you see the end product, that’s what you would conclude anyway. With glowing satisfaction that I painted something other than my nails after precisely one year, I am feeling all heady and ready to take over the world.. err.. mall. On the way to the mall, I give my much-neglected car a much-needed wash and shine. Feeling like a good owner, I promise to treat myself to an extra pair of jeans from Express. Aha! I am like a lioness. I pounce on my prey and drag it to the bushes (in this case, changing room). If I like it, I will devour it. I shop till I can take it no more. My hands are aching carrying all the shoes, purse, clothes and cutlery. I can puke at the mention of ‘sale’. But I have one last thing to do here. Buy a little something for Pi, like a cookie. I know this will not pacify him for the damage I have done, but it will make me 2% less guilty.

 

I catch some lunch on the way and head to the library. Do some more research on Financial vehicles that would help me save up my change from this mall expedition. I make a list of potential stocks and mutual fund companies and feel much better about my situation and the fact that I won't go bankrupt in another year. I check out some, ‘How to write Fiction’ books instead. All geared up, I start my best seller, ‘Once upon a time, long long ago…

 

After a satisfactory 30 pages down, I start cooking a meal. I have ambitiously invited 10 of my friends for dinner. Last minute pizza option sounds alluring, but the satisfied look on people’s faces after they’ve lapped up my stuffed brinjal and licked the last of the tropical dessert seems more appealing. I start to cook my 5 course meal, while cleaning up my apartment simultaneously. I have changed the bed sheets, put new rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom, changed into my favorite kurta, set the table when the door bell rings, “Beep beep…beep beep..”

 

Strange doorbell, I think to myself. Hey, we don’t even have a damn doorbell. Thinking hard, I realize I have been thinking and realizing in my sleep.

 

I shut the horrid alarm off! SIX F***ing A.M.???? Is this a time to wake up on a holiday?


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