Archive for August, 2008

No courses, no ‘ass’ignments, no tests, no reporting to professor, internship getting postponed – Ha! This year’s summer term was a three month long sleep-fest. If you’re fishing around for the proper biological term, it’s ‘aestivation period’. For the most part, that was the activity I indulged in, as the sun ruthlessly scorched the sub-tropical landscapes of the ‘Sunshine State’. And thus, Florida sweltered! Compounding our woes was the dank, sweat-inducing air all around (Baaah!!). And yet, these were no deterrents to my will to crash dead anytime I pleased. Only other activity worth mentioning was, going to work (just to make ends meet). Ennui offered me a lackluster, drab ride through the summer and I was forced to hop on to it.

There was a very brief spell of fun, though. In mid-May, a jaunt to the West Coast bailed me out of boredom for about four days. I flew to the ‘Golden State’, California, for a reunion with college friends. Some of us met after a really long time. Makes me want to go back and never return! (I’m in a mood to sing now, so, here goes – Koi lauta de mere beete hue din, mere pyaare palchhin. Thanks to Kishore da!) It was like reliving the old days. It was four days of unbridled revelry. Beginning with the flight from Atlanta to SFO, and ending with the return flight. The late-night drive through downtown San Francisco, the hilly ride to Lake Tahoe, my first snowfall (in mid-summer! Yes! It was snowing in Tahoe!), camping out in the freeze (makes for a full length post. coming soon!), the drive to the Bay Area, the GGB*, the tour of the Silicon Valley, and most importantly, time spent with some of my best-friends – Unforgettable! Priceless four days ran by in a jiffy and I was back to rotting in my sinfully boring summer-life.

My spiritless summer lasted three loooooong months, only to culminate in the onset of a dreadful semester. Yes. Fall hath begun. Courses, assignments, papers, projects, tests – I’m to walk the whole nine yards again! Scary. But, even fear could not kill the perpetual boredom that is plaguing my life. I’m still bored, and freaked out at the same time! Not only because it’s a painful semester ahead, but also because this is my last semester and I have no job, as yet, to look forward to. It is a mad, mad world out there and I could get brutally stomped over if I’m not up to it. As I prepare myself for the eventualities of my imminent professional life (or not!), I twiddle thumbs and bite nails to kill time. My life is so dreadfully boring!

To lighten up the mood, here’s a peejay that I came up with – What does Rasam (charu, saaru) become, if you put more turmeric into it? Ans: ‘Haldi’er! (Hahahahaha…….Aal saars and maydums, Please laugh! I beg aaf you.)

Also, if I remember correctly, my physics teacher from +2 had a ‘sweet tooth’ which she could not get rid of!! 😛

* GGB – Golden Gate Bridge.

A few pictures from the unforgettable trip to California:

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Strangely adaptive and pliable as all languages are, English is no exception. Incredible, how flexible it makes itself to the whims of its patrons, in their speech and their squiggles. More so among non-native users, which includes us Indians (This is not to imply that the native users are champions of English! Hello? Avar very vown George ‘Dubya’ Bush, I say! He wasn’t conferred the (dis)honourary title of ‘Butcher of the English language’ for nothing!). Despite holding a reputation for being the best non-native speakers of the language, we Indians also tend to weave English into our local vernacular in even quirkier accents, sometimes inadvertently morphing the real meaning or intent behind its usage and sometimes the word/phrase itself is beaten to death! We are perhaps even better known for that! Some of these usages would have anyone in splits, for the way they sound or mean. Let me illustrate a few such twisted usages, malapropisms, weird accents that I have encountered myself, some from friends’ experiences, and some other typical ones.

  • We had a Physics teacher in +2, who would always substitute the alveolar sound ‘T’ as in ‘tea’ with a ‘ch’ as in China (“Would you like some ‘chee’?“, “one, ‘chew‘, three,….., eightch, nine, ‘chen'”). Every time she had to stress on the ‘T’, she would quite audibly and emphatically say ‘ch’. She otherwise spoke good English. Once she missed a class and the next day she explained why – “I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it to class yesterday. I had an appointment with the dentist and I had my wisdom tooth removed.” (I’d suggest reading the above quotes the way she would have said it, with a ‘ch’ for ‘t’!) Need I elaborate? Even the most inattentive guy in class felt a jolt when she said that. “What did she just say? Did she just say she had her ‘ch****’ removed? O My God!”, he smirked before bursting into an uncontrollable chortle. I cannot imagine her telling her children about the ‘Tooth fairy’! God help them!
  • The same Physics teacher once assured me, “One moment. I’ll come chew you”, when I stood up for a question during a study session as she was attending to another student! My first instinct was to frantically look for protection! “What if she’s rabid?”, I thought. I panicked too! But as it turned out, my fears were totally unwarranted. She was coming ‘to’ me, not to ‘chew’ me!
  • A prankster student disturbs our en’gross’ing mathematics class and our disgruntled lecturer expresses his vexation saying, “Hullo, lick here”, pointing to the blackboard! He meant to say, “look here”. Also, we never understood what exactly he wanted to raise when he always asked us, “Hullo, can I raise?” before erasing the board. A few of his very common utterances – “Naat nessary” (not necessary), “is eekolt” (is equal to).
  • My friend’s Chemistry teacher from school instructed them during a lab session – “Take Potassium Chloride on a deflagrating spoon and eat it. On excessive eating, you will observe…..”. My friend and his classmates almost had a heart attack, but then they realized she already ate the ‘h’ from ‘heat’!
  • Our Biology teacher from 9th standard insisted on us learning the names of the ‘fecies’ (species) of all the organisms we were studying!
  • A very common investigation aimed at identifying the owner of an unnamed notebook – “Eeyi! Who is this book ‘ma? Whoever it is come to staff room and take it ‘ma. Don’t forget who it is, okay?”
  • An ‘English’ teacher from +2 taught us John Keats’ masterpiece ‘Laa Belly Dam Sans Mercy’…..err….‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’! (O Whaat yails thee, knight-ut-arms, Yellown und palely laayitring? The sedge haas wither’d frum the lake, Und no burrds sing. And our ears bleed! As we listen to him woe-begone!)
  • Our 8th standard ‘English’ teacher wanted us to learn the ‘pony-tics’ of all the new words we came across! I know, so much for all my rants on improper English! *banging forehead against the nearest wall* It was not until later that year that I learnt the actual ‘phonetics’ of the word ‘phonetics’! Some of you may be wondering ‘Guru aisa tho chela kaisa?’, and I don’t blame you! But in spite of my ‘miss’guidance, I guess my English turned out to be fine.
  • A winter morning. A very pretty girl in my class, in 10th standard, was cold and was shivering. Even before I could feel sorry for her, she requested me to “off the fan yaa! Please!”. I could never muster up the courage to speak to her in English again!
  • Another teacher faced with the same situation, reacted thus – “Aeyi! Remove that! Remove that!” as he pointed to the switch!
  • Our principal from +2 was once very disappointed in us over our behaviour in class and conferred on us the title “Dankees und kemmels!” (Donkeys and Camels).
  • A Malayali acquaintance once introduced me to his ‘bust-front’! Now, now don’t let your mind wander away. The guy was only introducing me to his ‘best-friend’! (Thank God!)
  • Now, growing up in the company of such ‘chompions’ of the English language was a task in itself. Engineering first year: Our Inorganic Chemistry professor teaches us about the availability of Sulfur around the world – “Ouruu sulfuruu isuu avai-lay-bull innuu ouruu….ouruu A-mary-ka, very much it is.” Wow! How informative! A student once broke a beaker during a lab session and the professor yelled out – “Whaat ees that ees? Whaat hep-end? Whaat is the break?”
  • One of our college buses proudly sported the name of our institution – “### COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNALAGI” for over a month until the college administration was informed of the reckless ‘flaw’nting! Hell no! I’m not disclosing the name of our college. This was disgraceful enough!
  • On a hot summer’s day, a classmate in Engineering complained – “O My Goooood! The sun is falling into my eyes! Please close the window no?”
  • You know how some people are sticklers for the flawless Wren-and-Martin-English grammar doctrines. So much so, that sometimes their steadfast adherence borders on redundant redundancy!(:P) I hate to admit it, but my dad is one of them. He once texted me – “Your mother, Yamini, has left for Chennai to meet with your aunt, Jyothi. She, your mother, will be back in a week’s time. – Ramana”. What was he thinking? Well, may be he thought I was so used to calling my mom ‘Amma’ and him ‘Nanna’ that I forgot what their real names were. Or perhaps he figured that while filling out forms, I’d write – Mother’s name: Amma, Father’s name: Nanna, so he wanted to remind me of their real names on a periodic basis. May be I should check my passport once! No offence Nanna! I still love you! I really do!
  • And then there’s another breed which does not feature the word ‘formal’ in its vocabulary at all! A new student arrived at the university and was desperately looking for funding opportunities. My friend B suggested he email and set up an appointment with one Dr. S, who had a few openings. He told him Dr. S was a Telugu too and that he was quite helpful to Indian students, esp. students from Andhra. B was blissfully unaware of what the guy wrote to the professor. A couple of days later when B inquired into the progress he made, the new guy informed him that the professor hadn’t replied yet. B was sort of taken aback, knowing Dr. S was the kind of person who immediately replied to the most insignificant of emails from students. He asked the new guy what he had written and B almost fainted when he read the note. This was his request for an appointment, no, an order for a Graduate Assistantship (GA) : “Hello S Anna, B Anna told me you have GAs. Please give one.” I almost died laughing!
  • This happened to my uncle. He once paid a casual visit to a family he knew well. This was the hostess’ offer for refreshments – “I have many samosas inside. Shall I vomit up and give you?” (The poor lady only wanted to warm them up a bit!) My uncle promptly refused the offer. He promised himself he’d never eat anything at their house ever again!
  • I always tuck my wallet in the ‘back packet of my jeans fant’!
  • A Gujarati technician testing a microphone system at a school function – “Hello, hello, Mic tasting. Tasting 1,2,3. Hello, hello. Haan, haan! sab barobar chhe!“(Namak, mirchi, masale, sab barobar chhe!)

This is the story of my ‘English’ life, people! All these incidents and faux pas are real and I did not make anything up, if that’s what you’re waiting for me to admit! Really, all this is true! I hope you’ve had as much fun reading them as I’ve had writing about them! I’d like to end this post with three really funny newspaper headlines and some of my favorite ‘Bushisms’ (Source: www.innocentenglish.com) :

  1. Two convicts evade noose, jury hung.
  2. Milk drinkers are turning to powder.
  3. This was a heading when Obama won Wisconsin: “Obama beats Hillary in Wisconsin. Hillary runs to Texas.”

(The real newspaper sources are unknown.)

And last but not the least, I dedicate these ‘Bushisms’ to the man himself, Dubya!!

“You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.” –George W. Bush, interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

“After the bombing, most Iraqis saw what the perpetrators of this attack were trying to do.” —George W. Bush, on the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in Iraq, March 13, 2006, Washington, D.C.

God Save the Queen and Her Tongue!!

Cheers!

A wise man once preached ‘Heed a wise man’s word and thou shalt not suffer the toils of misfortune’.  Yes, it is I, the wise man himself, who spake these priceless words! I come to impart the invaluable wisdom I possess, on the mere mortals who languish in the dearth thereof. Thou shalt learn of the verity in my dictum which shalt be illustrated through this tale. So, friends and my fellow blogsmen! Lend me thine ears…err…eyes!

Okay! Okay! I know, I would be charged guilty of abetting suicide/murder/murder-suicide if anyone read that ‘maashturpees’ in the archaic language! So, let me get straight to the point in plain English.

Approaching women and the subsequent courtship ritual has, honestly, never been my forte. I wouldn’t exactly categorize myself as being ‘mirror-cracking material’ (as orkut may have you describe yourself!), but for some god-forsaken reason, I’m just not so much of a ladies man, as much as I’d love to be. But then, who wouldn’t! This incident bears blaring testimony to my ineptitude, when it comes to women. So, read on and learn how ‘NOT’ to try snaring the opposite sex!

It was a very special evening for my friend J. He graduated from our university with a Masters in CS and also secured a job with a fat pay-cheque in Houston. He was to leave the next day. So, he decided to celebrate his success with H and myself. (H is my childhood friend, current roommate and J’s research team mate). We hit the most ‘happening’ pub called ‘Bullwinkles’, in our otherwise dead town. Being that it was a Friday night, it was cluttered and was in chaos. We snaked through the dancing crowds to the bar, which was an accomplishment in itself!! My friends ordered their drinks and I mine, a Sprite! (One Sprite plisss! Fullllu cooling I waant!)

With a live band playing, the crowd was appropriately loud. We were having a good time too, watching all the immaculately dressed sorority sisters get drunk and crazy on the floor. We were occasionally attempting our own Indian foxtrot ourselves! We were cheering and swearing on top of our voices in Hindi, Telugu and Punjabi (courtesy J)! Some of the really hot white girls around us also attempted it, further butchering the already nasty expletives! It was fun!

An hour passed. Drained from all the screaming and the labour of ‘dancing’, we made ourselves comfortable at the bar. J and H had downed a couple of beers and I, a couple of more Sprites. H received a call and J was also deeply engrossed in conversation with someone when, I noticed behind me, two girls whispering to each other. One of them, a blonde, was HOT! Incredibly HOT! She is probably one of the reasons for the earth’s melting ice-caps! (I know that was unbelievably cheesy and puke-worthy! I really couldn’t think of a better metaphor. So, bear with me.) What’s more! She happened to notice me too (or so it seemed). I believed she did. Nothing at that moment could have convinced me otherwise. The last thing on my mind at that point were the odds of my landing someone that stunning! Anyway, I was on top of the world! Some thanking of the divine ensued (Wo Gaaad!! A HAAAT girl noticed me! Thank you very much! I will break 101 coconuts at yuvar temple next time!!. *beaming, as ‘Mohana‘ raga plays in the backgorund*).

Well, after the initial exchange of stealing glances, I threw her a firm ‘How-you-doin’ look (Yes, I watch FRIENDS!).

No response, except for a plastic smile! Did that scare her? Or did I do it wrong? I don’t know and I had no time to dwell on it.

As I prepared for the next move, she groaned, “I’m sooo tired! I wanna go home and crash. Sigh!”

And guess how yours truly responded to that – “I’m here and I’m all yours!” (YES!! ‘That’ was my ruse! *slapping forehead*) What was I thinking? Well, obviously, I wasn’t thinking!

Her response: “EXXCUUUUSE MEEEE?”

A frown of disgust compounded with anger played on her otherwise pleasant countenance. She went pink!

DAMAGE CONTROL!

RECALCULATING!

FATAL ERROR!

MISSION ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!

I just turned away to avoid her glower, waiting for a speeding train to knock me down! (Kill me! Kill me! Kill me!! – my dysfunctional brain urged).

H and J were so amused that they were literally rolling on the floor laughing. They looked like they were going to die laughing (Don’t loff. Don’t loff, I say!).

Talk about getting drunk on ‘Sprite’ (of all things!)!! *slapping forehead until it gets sore!*

Who’s the sober one again?

Great! Just Great!

Lessons learnt:

  1. When a beautiful girl tells you that she’s tired and wants go home and crash, it means she wants to go home and sleep. It DOES NOT mean she wants to sleep with you!
  2. Do not assume that all hot blondes are dumb. There are non-dumb blondes as well!
  3. Think before you utter anything. Cheesy, suggestive remarks/pick-up lines may not be received well, regardless of whether or not they are intended. And don’t throw yourself on her!
  4. You CAN get drunk on Sprite!

Ergo, remember what ‘NOT’ to do when you approach an attractive woman. Play by the classic rules of courtship. Don’t ask me “what classic rules?”. Do I look like I know?

PS: @ Orkut: Which self-respecting person describes himself/herself as “mirror-cracking” material? Ans: I do, from now on!

SUGGESTION: Please peruse the previous post in order for this one to make any sense.

KN and I were soon at S’s place and all was calm except for his yelling. His sister saw us as we entered and came running to us. Her eyes were blood-shot from all the crying and her voice sounded feeble. S’s screaming only got louder. His mother was helplessly watching from another corner as he wouldn’t let anyone go near him.

Akka sobbed as she said, “He’s hurt and won’t even let us go near him let alone help him. He’s been raving for the last one hour. He’s not making any sense. He won’t tell us what happened or how he got home. He’s been asking for my dad and you the whole time, so we called you. He’s been repeatedly asking for today’s date. He’s forgotten everything, he won’t recognize me or my mom. I’m scared K. I don’t know what to do. We called my dad and he’s on his way.”

I tried comforting her as my head spun – Hurt? Forgot everything? Asked for me? – What in God’s name is happening here?

I ran in and I must say, I was NOT prepared for what I saw in S’s room! There he was, sitting up, the left side of his face covered in blood, a black eye, deep gashes and bruises on his left cheek, with a bleeding elbow. He was raving, as his sister said, constantly asking for the date and if he got the job at TCS (He had already secured a job at TCS the previous August through campus placements and was waiting for the offer letter at that time!).

As I approached him cautiously, I informed him that it was me and that the date was March 9th. I tried to calm him down when he suddenly turned to me and said, “I know you. You live in KPHB and your birthday is on ____, _. Right?”

Shocked as I was, I mumbled an affirmative and sat next to him, to which, he didn’t seem to mind (my best friend wouldn’t recognize me! I was partially devastated!). I reminded him that he had called me earlier, but he didn’t seem to recall anything. He was just stuck on the date and his job offer. When asked how he got hurt or how he came home without anyone’s assistance, he wouldn’t remember. He didn’t even seem to realise he was hurt. He would occasionally ask for his dad, who was on his way. He would not recognise KN but would reveal his birthday and his residence. It all seemed so depressingly bizarre!

One of S’s classmates and a common friend, SC, lived nearby. So, I called him over immediately. S’s dad and SC showed up around the same time. While I was panicking, his dad was as calm and unruffled as ever (I was always so in awe of him!). He took a look at S and asked if we had given him any medication. We replied in the negative and told him he wouldn’t take any and that he wouldn’t even let us give him first aid. He asked me and Akka to stay with him and S while KN and SC were sent to hire an auto to the hospital. He called S’s other sister, who was at work, and a relative and asked them to come home at once. We had difficulty getting S into the auto, as he would resist saying he was fine and that he wants to walk to wherever we all were going! Talk about acting out of one’s mind!!

We took him to the local Apollo, where, upon initial inspection the doctors couldn’t diagnose what the problem with his memory was. The injuries were attended to and they didn’t seem as serious. The doctors surmised that, he must have tried to get off a running bus or someone must have accidentally pushed him out and his head must have hit something hard as he fell. They suspected post-traumatic shock which, they said, sometimes causes short-term loss of memory lasting about an hour. They said they had to perform a CAT scan, just in case, for which, he must be transferred to the main Apollo branch in Jubilee Hills. S had to be administered a tranquilizer as his raving got worse, to the point of being uncontrollable. It was around 10.30 pm then.

Before we left for AJH (Apollo, Jubilee Hills), I called home and told my parents everything. They understood when I said I was going to stay with S for the night, particularly my sweet mother who knew S pretty well, was shocked and she sympathised saying, “Ayyo, paapam raa. Vaadu tvaraga kolukovaalani repu gudikelli abhishekam cheyistanu. Gotram, poorti peru cheppu.” (“Ayyo, poor guy. I will have an ‘Abhishekam’ performed at the temple tomorrow for his quick recovery. Give me his ‘Gotram’ and full name.”) 

The ride in the ambulance to AJH was peaceful as S was out cold for while. S’s dad and I were with him. The others – KN, SC, Akka, S’s other sister and the relative – drove to the hospital. At the hospital, S was taken to the emergency ward. A couple of doctors had been briefed on S’s case. By then S was beginning to regain consciousness. They performed a CAT scan and an ultrasound diagnosis and the results turned out to be normal. There was no visible damage to the brain. Thank God! But the fact that S still hadn’t regained his memory was baffling them. The cause remained elusive. I dont know what caused them to suspect this, but the doctors asked me (as his best friend) if S was on drugs! My jaw dropped! I thought the doctors had themselves gone crazy!! DRUGS? S? Was this some kind of joke? Because if it was, then their ill-timed sense of humour was indescribably despicable. But apparently, they weren’t joking, they were actually suspecting it. Sigh! It was like asking if a cow ever feasted on meat!!

“Impossible!” I exclaimed. I told the doctors that S cannot be on drugs and that I knew him well enough to assure them that. The doctors then suggested shifting him to the ICU for 24 hrs in order to monitor his condition.

Meanwhile, S was wide awake and had begun raving again. N and SB also made it to the hospital between 11.30 pm and midnight (How they came to know is another long story beginning with a series of misinterpreted phone calls from misinformed friends and culminating in the revelation of the truth!). S wouldn’t recognize anyone except his dad, but would remember everyone’s birthdays and residences. He would pester his dad to bring him a couple of books to keep him engaged because he was ‘bored’ there! The date and job offer came up again. He didn’t believe us when we told him that he was in AJH as he sceptically remarked, “O come on! Are you kiddin’ me? Tell me where I am.” His condition aside, it is a less acknowledged fact that he was getting onto everybody’s nerves!

In a while, he was transferred to the ICU and the doctors informed us that his condition would be monitored every hour for 24 hrs. They assured us that there was nothing to worry about and that they just wanted to conduct a routine examination, just in case.

So, by around thirty minutes past midnight, S was in the ICU. S’s dad volunteered to stay back at the hospital. We convinced him to go home and rest while we stayed back. The relative drove S’s dad and his other sister home while N, KN, SB, SC, Akka and I decided to keep vigil. And vigil we did keep! It was a long night of senseless but hilarious banter, late night walks and indiscriminate nurse-ogling. We were on a roll that night. I recall very few instances through out my life when I had laughed so hard. We talked and joked all night and leered at every female nurse on the night shift (only activity Akka couldn’t indulge in!). We were in the lounge on the ground-floor where relatives of other patients were sleeping their apprehensions off while there we were laughing it off. From our final semester projects to our rotten love lives, from the current state of politcs to our college professors’ pronounced linguistic ineptitude – all provided for the corpus of our absurd R-rated jokes! We walked around the sprawling precincts of the hospital, inlcuding the hostel for nurses opposite the main hospital building. Perverted as we men are, and cheap as it might sound, we couldn’t curb our hopes of getting to watch something at the nurses hostel! (I know, I should have avoided that sentence, but what the hell!!). We checked on S every hour. He was doing fine. Also, all of us were famished, since we hadn’t eaten anything since our last meal. We couldn’t go anywhere at that time, so we feasted on a pack of ‘nutritious biscuits’ and one loaf of bread, the only edibles the hospital’s 24 hr pharmacy had left. The night was thus spent. At around 7 am the following morning, there was a spectacle awaiting us at the hospital – the ‘well endowed’ nurses from the hostel swarmed the precincts, ready to start a new day – both for us and themselves! Aaah! The sight of more than a hundred uniformed nurses is always pleasant, especially with the wind blowing! (I know, it couldn’t get sleazier! But hey, I did enjoy the white parade!)

Anyway, after the early morning darshan, things slowly started to fall into place. At about 8 am, the doctors informed us that S’s condition was stable and that they were shifting him from the ICU. But they suggested he remain admitted for another day before being discharged. He was shifted to the general ward at 8.30 am. He was now wide awake and was acting normal. He recognized all of us and pretty much remembered everything until the previous afternoon except how he came to hurt himself like that or how he got home. He complained of a sharp recurring pain in his head. In any case, he was doing better than he did the previous night, which was quite relieving.

S’s dad and S’s other sister came to the hospital at around 9 and brought steaming hot idlis with sambar and chutney for us! (Akka had called him earlier and told him that all of us were starving!) We washed up a bit and brushed our teeth with our fingers and pounced on the food. We gorged on the idlis like there was no tomorrow. It was quite gratifying, to say the least, after almost a whole day on a burger, one loaf of bread and biscuits shared among six of us. So, after an agreeable breakfast, we spent some time with S pulling his leg over his ravings the previous night. At around 10 am some of S’s classmates showed up. After exchanging pleasantries, the six of us decided to head home and possibly come back in the evening (which never happened).

All of us went our separate ways. I reached home at around 11 am and I crashed on my bed. I slept, slept and slept even more. I got up at around 7.30 pm, dragged myself to the phone and called S’s dad to check on him, ate and then slept again.

So, there! One whole day which ended at 11 am on 10th March on my bed. Pheww!!! Some log huh!!

Well, S was discharged on the 11th and I went to see him. He basked in all the attention he was receiving from friends and family. I also found out my mom did go to the temple, as promised, the next day! (I love you even more Amma!) Anyway, one question still lingered – what exactly happened that evening? He just wouldn’t remember! Would you believe me if I told you that, to this day, he doesn’t know what exactly caused his injuries or how he got home. All he remembers is that he got into a bus that afternoon to go somewhere and that is all. So, we concluded he fell off the bus, but how? Nobody knows!

For all our fears of his mental incapacitation, he recovered completely to take up his coveted job at TCS where he worked for three years. He is currently pursuing the FPM program at IIM-Lucknow. WAY TO GO S!!

P. S. : This post is dedicated to S and my friends N, KN, SB, SC and Akka all of whom were part of one of the best night-outs I’ve ever had! I love you guys!!

Also, for those who were looking forward to the ‘well endowed nurses’ , this must have been a disappointment, considering all the hype I created and the insignificant role they played. I just needed a bait and this was it! Sorry if it was misleading and Thanks for reading!

Cheers!

WARNING: Owing to the ridiculous length of this post, I have been forced to split it in two parts. Please bear with me and be kind in your responses. This post, as the utterly unimaginative title suggests, is a narrative of the events of that day and the post that will follow will be a narrative of the night. This one has exceeded 2200 words but I promise the next one will not be as long. Please do not curse! Let the suspense bring you back to my blog!

There are times in our lives when a spate of things transpire in quick succession as the day progresses and even before you know it, the day is gone!! You fail to notice that the sun hath come and gone, and then he hath risen again! Then when you look back, you can’t stop wondering if all that actually happened in a span of twenty-four hours. A day’s length of twenty-four hours sometimes doesn’t really seem enough.

This was in my final semester of Engineering. It was the 9th of March, 2005 and Hyderabad was beginning to brace itself for the impending tropical summer which, by the way, turned out to be one of the hottest summers of the decade! (Go figure!!) I digress. I’m sorry. Anyway, the day’s beginning was largely uneventful. My dad’s cataract operation was scheduled for 9 am that morning. So, my dad, mom and I promptly showed up at the hospital ten minutes ahead of schedule and the doc, as always, ran late by another ten minutes (Indian doctors!). His arrival got the hospital, which was still basking in the morning sun, to its usual buzz with sporadic greetings of “Good Morning Doctor!” from the really pretty receptionists and others around. My dad was his first patient for the day. The doctor quickly changed into his surgeon’s garb and got the operation rolling. The operation lasted an hour and a half, after which my dad was transferred to the outpatient ward where he could rest for a while before heading home. Even on a hospital bed, my dad couldn’t resist being the busybody that he always is. He knew he couldn’t go anywhere, so he already planned ‘my’ day! He wanted me to run a few errands at the bank for him.

My dad’s errands, thankfully, didn’t last the whole day as I had initially anticipated. I was out of the bank by around 1 pm and was contemplating on returning to the hospital. I was walking to the bus stop when I ran into one of my friends B, who was on his way to the lab where he and a bunch of my other good friends were working on their final semester projects. Incidentally, the bank was just a stone’s throw away from the lab where they worked. He invited me to the lab where he said the rest of the group was. He said their work in the lab wouldn’t take long and that they were planning on shifting base to N’s place afterwards anyway. So, I called my mom on my dad’s cell to check on my dad and also informed her of my plan. She didn’t object to my leaving since my brother was on his way to the hospital to take my place. At this point, I can sense vibes from unforgiving readers thinking – what kind of a heartless, irresponsible son leaves his father in pain! Please! My dad was doing absolutely fine and I didn’t leave him writhing in pain. So, cut me some slack! My intentions are not to be judged! I am none of the adjectives stated above. Besides, my brother was there.

Anyhow, as promised, my friends wrapped things up at the lab and soon enough we were at N’s. It was mid-afternoon by then. We realised that none of us had broken bread since morning. So, we decided to hit the local restaurant for a grab and then go catch a movie. Little did I know that this was the juncture where time and fate decided to play a twisted little game of their own (I’m sure they both smirked as this happened!). Three of us – B, SB and I – hopped onto SB’s modest Honda Activa. The other two – N and KN – decided to cruise on N’s pre-historic Suzuki (or that’s what we all thought it was!). We had come to a major round-about where we hadn’t noticed that the traffic police was on the prowl for unsuspecting violators. Yes, you guessed that right! Two is company, three is a crowd. Three on a two-wheeler – violators, we were!

“Oye! Bandi pakkaki teesko!” (“Oye! Pull over by the kerb!”) bellowed a stocky man from the far side of the road. It was a cop walking straight at us. My first impulse was to jump off the vehicle and make a run for it, and not look back!! But I decided to stay put. SB, who was in the front, was already panicking. We were left with no channels of escape, so we pulled over. The cop immediately confiscated the keys to the vehicle. Thus began the saga of haggling over keys and negotiating the penalty for riding with two pillions. The cop was relentless. His citation ran a whole grocery list of violations and the penalties added up to Rs. 850 (or was it a thousand?). At the back of my head, I was praying for some bard to fly out of thin air and drape the three of us in a cloak of invisibility! But in reality, we resorted to a fair bit of imploring, offering what little we had and threatening to use influence, to persuade him. We effectively employed three of the seven prescribed means of persuasion (thanks to our holy scriptures, the Agni Puranam in particular!): Saama, Daana and Bhedopayas. But our ‘police uncle’ seemed cruelly rigid in his enforcement of the law! The ‘honest cop’ that he was, he didn’t budge! Instead, ‘he’ decided to employ the fourth means on us, the Dandopaya!! Sigh!! How were we to know that our ‘saintly’ adherence to the scriptures would come back to bite us in the @$$ like this! Kharma! Kharma! Well, the vehicle was seized and we were asked to reclaim it from the police station when all dues were paid. We even tried to play the ‘student’ card – “Sir, students sir. Please Sir!” (with a drained, forlorn look of helplessness with lips about to pout) – which often did the trick with traffic cops, but this guy was as unyielding as ever!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the road, were N and KN intently following the goings-on on our side. They were watching everything as if it were a movie. I guess they were only waiting for someone to fetch them pop-corn (Poor guys! Not that there was anything for them to do at that point anyway)!

Now for a change of scene – At the traffic police station; this time, all five of us ran from one officer to another for over an hour constantly begging them to reconsider the penalty and return the vehicle. SB tried calling a relative for help, but to no avail. Thanks to our persistent beseeching (playing the ‘student’ card now and again), one of the officers finally agreed to write off the citation for 550 bucks and not a penny less! Exhausted from all the pleading, we gave in (like we had a choice!). Poor guy, SB had to shell out a major part of his fees for a computer course he was taking. As the money changed hands, our hearts dropped to our ankles and my head went ‘Swaha! Iti!!’

Starving as we still were, after the whole misadventure, we trudged our way to the nearby bakery. For obvious reasons, the movie was now out of the question and we decided to go our separate ways after the meal.

On that note, ended this part of my day and I was least expecting what was to come. Sigh again!!

INTERMISSION!!

(At this point, you may stretch a little and take a break, for the story doesn’t end here. I promised you a whole day’s log and that’s what you’re gonna get! So, if you’ve come so far, you might as well follow it to the finish!! O Come on! Don’t give up now! I’ll make it more interesting. This is where the ‘well endowed nurses’ come in too! So, read on!)

KN lived not too far from where I did. So, the two of us took a bus to get home (the louwelee 225D Veera!! I’m sure those from Hyderabad know what I’m talking about! Aaaah!! The Luxury!!). At this time, the sun was about to retire for the day. On the way, KN decided he wanted to meet his brother at his hostel, and asked me to join him (the poor brother was condemned to a hostel for the last few months of his +2! You know how the drill is for IIT-JEE, EAMCET, K-CET, this CET, that CET blah, blah, blah!! I felt so sorry for him. It’s really not fair stripping a kid of his/her life in the name of competition and a-happy-life-afterwards esp. a few weeks before his/her ordeal!! It is a fad across AP to send kids appearing for these exams to a hostel (of a very reputed poaching….err….coaching centre) during their last few days to make their studying more ‘rigorous’. Gaaaaawwwwd!! Spare the poor souls!!). Pheww!! Anyway, I hesitated at first but then finally got talked into it. We got off at a stop near the hostel. I told KN I had to call home and tell them I was going to be late. Needless to mention, my parents were already home and of course, my dad was fine!

I called home from a PCO. My mom answered. (All original conversations were in Telugu)

“Hello Amma! How is Nanna (dad)?”, I enquired.

“He’s fine. Where are you?”, my mom was a little concerned since I hadn’t shown up all day and now it was past 8 pm.

“Not too far, I’m in KKP. Ok, listen! I’m gonna be a bit late. I’m with KN and on my way to his brother’s hostel nearby. We should be done soon. So, I’ll be home in a while”, I assured her.

“Okay. O by the way, S had called for you. He called like four times in the last 10 min. He seemed a little worried. His sister called too”, my mom said. I could tell that she was sort of misgiven about the whole situation. S being one of my best friends.

“What? 4 times in 10 min.? What’d they say? Did they tell you why they called?”, I asked, apparently worried and about to break sweat.

“No. But they wanted you to call them back immediately. I tried asking, but they said nothing. Why don’t you call them right away and find out what the matter is?” she suggested.

“Yeah…..sure……I….I’ll…..call them…..Ok….Bye”, I stuttered and hung up. I usually dread such phone calls which ring with a very dubious tone, and keep me on tenterhooks about the actual matter!! Not to mention, calls at unearthly (late night) and unholy (around dawn) hours which usually carry dreadful news!! My skin was completely blanched at that moment.

KN who was next to me the whole time was now concerned, “What’s the matter? Is everything okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something.”

I told him what had happened and picked up the phone to make another call. This time to S.

His sister answered.

“Hello Akka! This is K. My mom said you and S had called home like four times. Is something the matter?”, I asked, dreading the answer. My mind had already wandered far and was infested with God-knows-what-happened kinda thoughts.

“Yeah, K. Can I call you back in like 10 min?” she said in a trembling voice and she was about to break into tears.

Even before I could say something, S grabbed the phone from her, “K? Is that you?”

He sounded sober to me, but apparently something was wrong.

“Yeah S, this is K. What happened? Is everything alright?”, I asked.

“Yeah! Yeah! Nothing serious but can you come home at once?” S requested.

“Certainly! I’m on my way! But are you sure everything’s okay?”, I queried, still concerned.

“Yeah! Don’t worry. Just come home. I need to…….”, S tried to assure me and left that sentence unfinished when, in the background, I heard his sister suddenly break down and he started yelling at her in an incoherent manner. In the midst of all his yelling the phone went blank.

That wasn’t quite reassuring! I just stood there sweating bullets.

“What’s happening?”, a really worried KN asked.

A crude narration followed. KN suggested we go to S’s at once and make sure all was well before we jumped to conclusions. I agreed and we started walking to S’s place, not too far from where we were. Through the walk, I was completely preoccupied. My head was about to explode with all the questions – Why did they call me so many times? Why did S insist on my coming at once? Why was S’s sister crying? Why was he yelling at her? S was never worried about anything and I had never seen him angry (or even frown, for that matter) in all the years that I knew him. He was always this jolly guy, without a care in the world. But why did I sense a kind of apprehension in his voice when I just spoke to him? I was so lost in fear and my train of thoughts that, time and again, I’d stop suddenly, looking into the emptiness, deep in a reverie until KN would call out my name or rock me back to reality. I had too many questions, but no answers. Only way to dispel my fears was to get to S’s place as soon as possible!!

P. S.: I’m sorry, the ‘well endowed nurses’ will appear in the next part. The incentive was tempting wasn’t it?