My funny side

Tales of a reluctant reader


Two weeks back I was pleasantly surprised when my husband proudly announced that he had joined the Book Club in his office.

Mind you, he is a person who reads nothing other than his requirement specs (and technical books every once in a while) .

I had a big”cultural shock” when I discovered that the guy I married is a book hater. If I am reading a book and he is around, I am extra careful to not leave the book alone lest he hide it.Seriously!He does have that irritating habit of hiding the books I am reading. He advocates that reading books is a waste of time when there are movies to watch and video games to play.
Yeah…so I was blown away when he informed me that he has joined this book club ( I am sure he did it either to impress his boss or was forced to join).Two -three days later he came to me and asked if I could get him a copy of a book on self-directed work teams .Though a non fiction, it was a fair start.I felt hopeful and started dreaming of the days when we would read a book(fiction of course) together and discuss it over our dinner. I got on my feet and tracked the book at the local library the very next day.

Well, he did not seem very enthusiastic as he glanced at the big fat book.”Wow..this is huge”, he mumbled as he stuffed it into his bag.

Yesterday, as I was cleaning up after dinner I saw him sit on the couch with a drawn face. When I asked him what the matter was, he pulled out the book and told me that at the book club meeting this Thursday they were going to discuss chapters one to six, and he was still at page two.

Then he took out the book and opened it. As he started reading it ,there started a series of yawns and sighs.
After a while he looked up from his book and asked me if I could just read it for him.He would rather listen.

I agreed and started reading out loud from the book. To be fair to him, the book was not the most interesting thing around. Barely two minutes into it, he asked me stop and complained that I was taking way too much time. “Why don’t you read a page real fast and tell me the synopsis?” . I blinked a few times and then burst out laughing. I mean, this was too much.We did that back in schools and colleges when there was an exam to write, but why volunteer to read when you don’t want to? 😛

Obviously, my Mister was offended and he said that he would take over from there and once again dived back into the words. After every paragraph, he would count the pages left till the end of the chapter and make pitiful sounds.After sometime, he started making rather impolite references to the author. This was followed by his desperate attempts at making fun of every other sentence he read.

Finally he managed to finish first four chapters yesterday( yeah..he did skip quite a few pages), and looked ecstatic at his achievement.

Any hope that I had about my better half turning in to a book lover died right there.”Can you see if there is an audio version of it?”, he asked as he happily closed the book.

As we retired for the night, he said “May be you should read that book.You might get a topic for your next blog post”

I just smiled and thought, ‘I have already got a topic, Thanks to you’.

PS: He doesn’t read my blog, so I am safe 🙂

My funny side

Tangled


This post is all about my hair.

If you are wondering why I am writing a whole post about a bunch of dead cells when there are more important socially relevant subjects in the world, I’d say bad luck! My blog, I can write about anything I wish to ….who reads these stuffs anyway. So over to my my rants about the black dead fibers that dangle from the pores of my head down my shoulders.

No tale is complete without a flash back. So here is mine.I come from a family with a legacy of long thick hair. It is something the females in my family take pride on. Apparently I was fond of my long hair too when I was little . When I was ten, my mother had to bribe me with a trip to ice cream parlor(from as long as I remember, I always ordered orange juice instead of ice cream when I was a child. This ice cream craving calorie gobbler came into existence much later) and a movie to let her cut my long hair shoulder length.

But I pretty much outgrew my love for long hair soon after. But my mother for some reason decided that long hair was much better than the shorter version.So basically when i wanted to grow my hair long, I gave into mortal temptation and let it go. When I wanted a shorter hair style, I had to suck it up and flaunt a  longer mass.

Those days my hair was always soaked in oil. Every Tuesday and Friday evening, my mother would dutifully give my hair an oil massage. Every alternate Sunday, it was the shampoo day and once a month my mother used lice control cream on my hair(yeah…I had lice in my hair when I was at school….not a big deal…I finally got rid of it right?)

So basically my oily hair was glued onto my head and I wore it in two braids on the either side during my school days.Two neat bows of white ribbon on the plaits completed the picture

Yes, my hair was long and thick, but it was equally frizzy. Leaving it loose was never an option.And on the very rare occasions that I did, I had to pay the price. It became so tangled in some occasions that I had to chop off a few strands with scissors

If I don’t count the salon trip I made when I was 10, my mother was my hair dresser cum hair caretaker untilI I turned 17. And of course she did a much better job that my lazy self and this made her proclaim the sole ownership of my hair .She mercilessly ignored my repeated requests for consent to crop my hair short.

During my 4 years stint in college, I always wore my hair in a tight braid. On the days I washed my hair, I would  go to bed leaving my hair loose and would wake up to find my hair in a tangled mess (which my mother has nicknamed a bird’s nest). Every time I go home. my mother used to sigh seeing the sorry state of the unkempt hair. But she was adamant about not cutting it off. According to her, long hair equaled better chance of being liked by prospective  groom and his family.

I won’t blame my mother here.I am not particularly good looking. If at all I had received complements (not counting the “return” complements you get in exchange to a complement that you had once given) from others about my looks(very rare, I assure), nine in ten times it was for my hair. No wonder my mother decided that the only way I could get a decent man was by showing off my long black locks.

After consistently sporting the same dull braid for four long years, I left my college life and for the first time in my life moved out the small state of Kerala for a job in Chennai. Sleek and straight had become the fashion statement for hairs by then. I would have happily straightened my hair if not for the fact that it was expensive and that it was not permanent.After six months or so, the once straightened stylish hair would look like a cross between street dog and German shepherd- neither there nor here. I longed for a different hairstyle, probably a layer cut. But I was so accustomed to my year’s old look that I got a cold feet every time I reached the salon.

I got married and as my mother had predicted got a husband who’s ‘ideal wife’ had long hair. I am sure I never managed to fulfill any other criteria that he had in mind for his ideal wife.So I kept the long tangly mess called my hair

It was soon after the delivery of my daughter that I decided that enough was enough. Pushing out a three pound baby from your body after enduring all those pain has it’s perks. I realized that if I could give birth, then I could do anything. I played a part in executing God’s miracle.I felt invincible.If you have ever gone through a pregnancy and child birth, you will know what I mean when I speak of this sense of accomplishment.

28 days after my baby was born, I got my first hair cut in a salon in years( and it was not trimming the ends, mind you.I got a layer cut that day). It was big step for me, a very big step.

Not much has changed since. I have moved a notch up by replacing my permanent braid with a permanent pony tail, but at least it looks a bit better :)…

PS: I have recently purchased a flat iron and am looking forward to finally let my hair down

My funny side

Spamming


I have always loved writing-be it rants or poems or stories.How good am I at ?It is a different question altogether!

After a few failed attempts to start a blog, last year, I finally built a place of my own in the vast world of the web.I started putting up my thoughts,my poems and stories and I waited eagerly for someone to drop by and tell me what they thought about my attempts.I waited for feedback, I waited for a few good words.

But nothing happened, my posts piled up. And no one seemed to be reading them, except for me. Then,I did not know about blogging communities, writing prompts and things like that.I hated to force my crude writings on my unsuspecting Facebook friends.I was too self conscious to leave comments on others writings (I still am, I don’t comment until I like the post so much that I absolutely cannot leave without commenting). So I kept waiting for a miraculous visitor to come by and reassure me.Somebody who would tell me that I was not that bad and would ask me to keep writing.

As days passed, my longings increased, my confidence diminished.I lost the initial zeal to write.And then one day I found it. It was hiding in the folder that I had always neglected.A comment, finally!

A person had commented on my post.He had graciously revealed that my post was the best thing that he had come across.He said it was well structured,engaging ,very knowledgeable and that he gained a lot of insights from it.He kept on thanking me again and again. He told me that he loved the lay out of my blog and even asked me for tips.Though I was overwhelmed by the flattery ,it left me a little confused because the post in question was just a poem and I was not very sure how it ended up being knowledgeable!Then I found it,in the end of the flattering comment there was link to some NFL T shirts and I realized with a pang that it was just a junk mail.Well, what else did I expect to find in the Spam folder?

Though it was a spam and the comment was most probably an auto generated one, I kept it for a long long time. I know it is funny when you think about it.I know not a single word in it was true(of course, except for the ad link in the end).But it somehow helped me.I just pretended that it was a real person who had given his real opinion and that my writings indeed was ‘well structured,engaging ,very knowledgeable ‘

After that I kept visiting at the Spam folder to browse through the comments I get.I continued keeping them until the word press automatically deleted them after a couple of days.More good words followed, in fact the kindest words that I have ever heard.Inspiring words, flattery.Yeah, it was true that every one of them ended with an an offer for a sports kit or a T shirt or even Viagra for that matter. I got people asking me if they could share my article on twitter and trust me, I almost wanted to believe that they were genuine, until I clicked on the link and was transported to a very obscene places.

So yes, spammers out there. I know no one cares about your comments.They mercilessly delete the comments you have carefully crafted, without even taking time to read them. But once upon a time, one such comment had motivated a disappointed novice blogger.It is a huge service that you guys are doing.Even though you don’t mean a word in those comments and even though some of those comments are in languages I don’t even understand, I will never complain when you spam my blog( I have turned on the moderation of comments, so don’t you dream of making it to my approved comments list). Though the comments you leave are bizarre and they rarely make any sense, I really enjoy them.This world can be a little lonely at times and conversation with a non existent reader can sometimes do wonders.

My funny side

You are in Queue


We Indians don’t have to be told that our country is over populated.

We see it for ourselves, every single day of our existence-over crowded buses, stuffed train compartments, endless queues in every possible ticket counters, people everywhere we look!

Well, we have no other choice but to learn to fight our way through!

Want to board the bus? Fight your way through the crowd!

Want to travel in the metro? Learn to dangle from the foot board!

Jump the queues, push,shove- those who fight hardest wins!

The queue is moving too slow for your liking ? Poke the person in your front!

Just dashed in to catch a train and want a ticket before it is too late? Ask the person who is nearer to the counter to get you a ticket and smile at those people waiting patiently in the long ,tiring queue , without a tinge of shame (been there, done that )!

Vent the frustration of being held up by exchanging glares!

I mean, we are not the most disciplined people out there, at least not until we cross our country’s border!

Being that said, let me share something that happened to me a few years ago.

While I was working in Chennai,one of my friend and I had to go to Kerala urgently. Since the trip was not planned for and we were not blessed enough get a tatkal ticket, we did the unthinkable. We took the brave decision of boarding the general compartment. And like any other wise female soul travelling alone, our choice was to board the ladies compartment.

By the time we reached the platform( about 1-2 hours before the scheduled departure) , a neat line had formed on the platform.The train had not yet arrived and we were told that the line was for the passengers without a reservation ticket to board the train. There was a separate line for each of the unreserved compartment and we were quite impressed to see people waiting patiently in their respective queues. Not something that we get to see on a daily basis. A policeman was posted near the queue and was casually checking on the passengers.

I remember being pleasantly surprised by this unexpected display of regulation. Usual chaos and rush that I was familiar with was absent.This is how it ought to be, i made a mental note!

We took our position in the queue and since we had reached early , we were somewhere in the beginning end of the queue.The queue grew quite a bit in the next hour,and we sighed with relief, silently applauding our decision to reach the station early.We would surely get a seat and would be able to endure the journey!

The train arrived on time. My friend and I waited for our turn to board the train,gently picking up our luggage. Then came the twist.As soon as the train came to a halt,the whole ambiance at the platform changed drastically.Absolute chaos broke out.The queue kinda dissolved away.There was pushing and pulling in full swing. I watched with growing panic as peopled rushed inside the bogey from all sides.The policeman had mysteriously vanished from the scene.

Before I could comprehend what was going on, I was pushed away by women of all ages while they struggled to make their way in. The thought of having to stand through out 12 hours journey quickly crossed my mind and I came back into my senses in a jolt.I looked around.A sea of women had separated me from my friend.Enough of being patient and disciplined. I didn’t waste any more of my time,I regained my posture,pushed back as hard as I could and shoved myself inside the train. By the time i clambered in, the seats were all occupied.A few of the women had comfortable settled on the floor.I looked around in despair and  spotted an empty berth and climbed on it. I arranged my bag and reserved a spot for my friend and her bag.

She climbed in after a few minutes, her hair disheveled,her clothes crumpled. her spectacles popping out! Even my condition was not any better. The pack of biscuit that was in the outer pocket of my hand back was crushed into to powders.

So much for assuming that people would actually wait patiently for their turn to board the train!

 

My funny side

Love Green Club


Schools have all sorts of clubs – science club, social science club, maths club, music club, chess club and what not!

We too had quiet a few of them back during my school days. It was not mandatory to to join any of these.these. In fact most of these clubs went into long periods of hibernation and would miraculously wake up from the slumber once or twice a year to get all perked up!
But other than those rare occasions,these clubs had pretty dormant existence!

When I was in my eighth grade, a new club came in to being. It was headed by our PT sir and had a innovative name-Love Green Club.

As the name suggests, the club was formed to promote conservation of environment. The admission was free. Though I was not very interested, I was pulled in by a friend and was forced to sign up. So I went to the inaugural meeting , where in each member was handed a sapling.We then planted our saplings at the location assigned to us in the school compound. Near each sapling, a name tag was proudly displayed announcing who planted it.

The idea was pretty much simple, each students had to water and take care of the sapling they had planted. It was a romantic thought- leaving a trace back in one’s Alma mater- a green majestic tree bearing your name!

But yeah, kids will always be kids! At least most of the kids,including the mighty me, lived up to this expectation . After merely a week, the saplings were left alone to fend for themselves.
I nearly forgot the whole episode and Love Green Club became a dazed memory quite soon.

After a few months, a circular was issued by our PT Sir and co. The whole team of love green Club would be visiting each and every sapling that noon to see how well is it faring! The news caught most of us in surprise.

So off we marched from plant to plant. Nearly half of them had given up the fight and left behind not even a single mark to prove that they had once existed. Some plantlings were adequately watered and looked very healthy. The responsible students were reprimanded or praised according to the mortal status of the plants.

Soon came my turn. As I marched to the familiar corner of the school ground , I was very certain that my sapling had perished.After all, I had not even visited it after the first couple of days.But to my(everyone’s) surprise, there it stood. Weak, but definitely alive. My name was ticked off and the team moved on. But I stood there, rooted to the ground, my heart filled with a warm rush of affection towards my brave sapling.

There she was, she had survived the scorching heat,the lack of water, the trespassing cattle. She was alive. When half of the other plants silently succumbed to death, she fought.She was a fighter. I swelled with pride.Yes, my sapling was a fighter.

‘Survival of the fittest’, my mind whispered.She was a survivor, the perfect marker that I can leave back in my school.’I won’t give up on you ever again’ , I slowly caressed the tiny leaves of my sapling.
I watered her every day after that, three times a day. First thing in the morning,during the lunch break and before I left home!

Yeah, I forgot to say, after a week she shriveled up and died, may be I should have left her alone!

My funny side

Job Interview- Bloopers


Written exams- I can handle!
Online tests – they are OK!

Even phone interviews are manageable.

But when it comes to face to face job interviews, it gets a little scary. One has to face a real person, with little or no knowledge of how much proficient he/she actually is!

Not only that, one has to do a lot of self marketing and (*frankly speaking*) great deal of exaggeration, all while maintaining a pleasant body language!

Presenting to you some of my Job Interview bloopers!

This happened during my very first job interview, while I was still in college.The company was the first one to come to our college for placements and you all can guess how inexperienced and nervous we students would have been!
After fighting my way through aptitude test(*was not very tough*) and GD(*had a few allies in my group*), I had to face an HR interview before the actual technical one. The very first question asked was “Tell us about yourself“! Not a surprise question. I knew they were going to ask me that and trust me,I was prepared. But God knows what happened, I did start well by telling about where I was from, what course I was doing etc,but continued on blurting about where my father works,what my mother does, how old my sister is etc. Not exactly the kind of answer one would be expected to give. I am pretty sure I used the phrase “Mine is a typical Middle class family“,God knows why!

But then, might be they forgave my mistake, may be they thought that everyone deserves a chance!Yeah, I got placed along with 60 other college mates, and I continued working for the company in question for 5 long years!

My second interview was with another software giant, yet again through the college placement cell.With a job in hand, I was not very nervous.There was no technical interview, clearing the aptitude test and an HR interview would have been enough to get the job. The interview went on in it’s usual course.I gave a better,refined answer for “tell us a bit about yourself“, this time more about myself than about my family and our financial status 🙂

But then,the interviewer asked me a weird question-‘If you are given the funding and opportunity to create something innovative, what would you what to do!’ A very wrong question to ask a person whose favorite genre is fantasy! I did not hesitate before speaking animatedly about how I would want to make a machine that would have complete control of the precipitation.It could make it rain or snow when ever or where ever in the world. It would solve all weather related issues like drought ,global warming and what not! I kinda talked about using laser beams(I still haven’t figured out why) and high energy radiations(I even have no idea what it is) and combination of ‘bio degradable’ chemicals(yes, I am Eco-friendly). After listening all my elaborate explanation without any interruption the interviewer took a deep breath and told me that may be I shouldn’t limit myself to the software industry  :)!

Yeah, there are even more stupid things that I have said. Like once when asked what I measures I take to overcome the stress in a job, I told the interviewer that I load my drawer with chocolates and eat when ever I am stressed. Not a very professional answer I suppose. But believe me nervouness make people do the most embarassing things !

PS: This post does not include the ‘technical interview’ bloopers as they would be either too hilarious or would make no sense based on if you know Java or not 🙂

My funny side

Ghost in the Ladies Hostel


The news spread like wildfire from room to room. Some of the girls took it with their eyes wide open when some others just giggled in mockery. By nightfall, every inmate of the hostel learnt about it – there was a ghost roaming around in our hostel premises.

The girl who had first seen the apparition was from my class. A very practical,no-nonsense kind of girl and no one had any reason to disbelieve her.Her account was simple and straightforward. It happened on the Friday when we had the informal Farewell party for the graduating seniors.The venue of the function was our mess hall and the party had run well into the early hours of saturday morning.

Around 1 am, the girl in question happened to see a female form with long flowing hair ,wearing a white dress , walk down the path to the back hostel.The ladies hostel compound has a front hostel and a back hostel in the same gated compound.The main gate gets locked at 6pm and the respective grills of the front back hostels get closed at around 9 pm.So it is technically impossible for a girl to be seen outside the front/back hostel buildings after 9pm.

The story was received with great enthusiasm. It led to many heated arguments and interesting exchanges of stories.The late night talks in the following days solely revolved around non human existence and super natural beings.Each and every one of us racked our brains to find any old forgotten tale that we had heard at some point of our life about ghosts and related beings. I must admit that it was quite fun listening to spooky stories during the odd hours at night.But what was not funny was having to face the night alone after getting bombarded with such accounts. A lonely trip to bath room in the middle of the night, going to the mess room to get a bottle of water etc started seeming a little risky.Yeah, all these kinda felt funny in the glorious light of the day, but at night the old hostel building and the odd shadows around started giving us creeps.

Yes, there were more sightings in the following days. One girl reported that she had gone to the bathroom at night and heard some sound from the neighboring bathroom.Of course, when she opened the door, the bathroom was empty and she had definitely felt a presence behind her. Another girl insisted that she felt as if someone passed through her body while she was walking in the hostel corridor. Somebody else experienced sleep paralysis, she vividly remembered how she felt the weight of another person on her body. Yet another girl was sitting alone in the mess hall at night writing her assignment , when she heard a banging noise,she had fled the room when the noises became more prominent.

The news soon travelled from hostel rooms to the college class rooms. Few of the fellow students started recounting some historical facts(?).If the rumors were to be believed, the very place where our college and hostel stands belonged to Shaktan Thampuraan, the king who had reigned the region ,which is now called Thrissur ,during late 16th century.The very spot where the men’s and women’s hostel stands was used as execution points and burial grounds respectively.

The scary ambience and the whispered talks continued for about a week. That was when the whole saga of the Ghost Stories was debunked! Few last year architecture students ,staying in the back hostel,had returned from their class trip around 1 am on that fateful friday.Since they had the permission letter signed by the hostel warden and the Principal ,our watch man had let them in. My class mate had seen one of those girls while she was walking towards the back hostel building. Yes she had long hair and she was wearing a light pink(not white) salwar.The girl had seen the ghost in a flash ,definitely not long enough to register the hand bag and the suitcase that she was carrying! All these girls had left for their homes the next day and had returned only the next week, because of which we had full seven days to speculate and develop exotic theories!