Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Sitting in office and swatting imaginery flies can be quite exhausting.So I decided to scratch down something.None of my posts are written in any chronological order.Rather they are simply penned (or rather keyed) as and when my fingers start itching to let loose a work of art ( Now don’t start shaking ur heads at me,ppl).So here goes one of those incidents which happened a few months ago and came back to my mind for no reason at all…This happened some time during the first ten days of my stay in L.A…We had just moved in to a new apartment and I was told to reach office by ten in the morn and stay late(Life at onsite is no cakewalk,jaani)…My roomies had left to office early in the morn and had given me instructions on the bus routes and changes.Needless to say,I have never been much good at remembering instructions and pretty soon had lost most of the information related to the bus stop names.
Ok…cut the crap.I forgot all the bus stop names….and trust me,out here they have real weird ones….For instance Rimpau,Normandie,Hobart,Ogden….Have got used to them now….but once upon a time, they drove me nuts….Ok, So on that fine day,convinced of my abilities to recall the stop names when I read the sign boards put up at each stop.I walked down to the nearest busstop and got onto the first bus that came along and paid my fare without incident.Now started the task of making my memory work for me.I had read somewhere that you know most things.Its just that you don’t remember them.So if u try to convince ur brain that you had forgotten something but you know it, it automatically brings up the information you need.(Hope I have managed to confuse you).So I tried telling myself that I just had to see the name on the stop board to remember it.I read all the bus stop names that we passed but nothing seemed to ring a bell.Finally at one traffic signal the bus driver turned round and said something to me which I did not quite understand.So I put on my best smile and asked him in my politest tone “I beg your pardon?”I am very sorry to say that the man very rudely snapped at me “Last stop.Get out!!!”.I grabbed my bag and scrammed.
Now to all you wise guys out there who are shaking ur heads at me and wondering why I did not make a call to someone for help, lemme tell u I had no cell fone since I had landed in the country just 4 days earlier.As for cabs, I cud not see a cab in sight.Anway, standing on the curb watching cars whizz by me,I felt quite lost.I did not even have a friend I cud call for help and even if I did call I had no clue where I was to direct them to come and pick me up.It was precisely at this moment that my eye fell on someone.A sardar.Our very own Sardarji.Now contrary to all the jokes that are cracked abt them, there is something very heartening and comforting about a sardar.There is no one who looks as Indian as a Sardar,if u ask me.
So to me this short roly poly guy was a godsend.and he looked equally delighted to see a fellow Indian.He smiled at me and I smiled right back.He came upto me and said”Namaste” and I replied with a bright “Namaste” he asked if I was from India and I replied affirmative.Before I cud appeal to his kindness to light the way to my office,the man started saying “Main aapka chehra dekhke bata sakta hoon ki aapka bahut achcha time shuru hua hai.Aapke upar bhagwaan ka bahut bada aashirwaad hai.Pichle chaar saal aapka time bahut kharaab tha.2006,2005,2004 aur 2003 bilkul kharaab time tha aapke liya.lekin is saal,2007, aapka time badalne wala hai.In fact, yeh saal aapka sabse achcha time hai.Ab se aapko koi chinta nahin hogi”The man pauses for breath while I stare at him in sheer horror.I don’t believe my ears.The last four years were bad for me? The last 4 years I have been in my own country and have never been lost even when I went out at 3 in the morn.In the last four years no matter where I was, I always had friends around to help me out and a cell fone at hand to call them…!.In 2007 I am stranded in a strange country without a cell fone and not one person to help me.I did not even know the address of the stupid office and I was late by 20 min.I see a sardar whom I thot wud be my lifeline to reach office and he turns out to be spouting nonsense at me…. and he says that this year is my best year???I was outraged and before I cud express my feelings, the man hold out his hand and says “Aaapka haath dikhayiye”.I pulled my hand behind me childishly and asked him “kyun?”.”Main ek astrologer hoon.Main aapka bhavishya bathaoonga.Dhikhayiye.Paise to aap jo chaahe dey sakte ho” I gave him my most disdainful look and said “No, thank you”.And looked round desperately wondering how in the good wide world wud I find my way to office.He continued “aap haat to dikhayiye.India mein kahan se ho aap?”.I decided the safest thing for me to do wud be to cross the road and hurried to the nearest intersection.
Finally through a lot of lucky guesses I reached office, 40 min late.As I entered office the thought which flashed thru my head was “What profession did that sardar specify when he got his US visa stamped?”
The story does not end there.I mentioned this incident to one of my closest friends,Praveen.Now Praveen and I joined our first team at Cognizant together(Well,He came a day late) and I was the chatterbox while Praveen opened his mouth maybe about once in a month at which we wud all collectively faint.Before u all let ur imaginations running away wildly with u,lemme tell you that it was cos he wud come up with some super duper homerun of a funny comment or retort which left me blinking in total shock and the rest of the crowd rolling with laughter.Especially when I tried his patience a bit too much. I used to tease him saying that his pet frog resided in his mouth and he wud not open his mouth for the fear that the froggy wud jump out and I even brought a big green rubber frog to office just to tease him.Even when I said the most outrageously funny things the man wud not even crack a smile and the one or two times he did, I knew I had cracked a masterpiece of a joke…and on the very rare occasions the man deigned to laugh, it wud come out as a great heaving " he..he..."and u wud not even see any of his teeth...For nearly a year ,I managed to con the folks on the team into believing that Pappu had no teeth...Anyway, all this was only for the first one year.At the end of the first year, tired of my teasing, Pappu gave up his attempt to maintain his maun vrat and started talking (Read,making spectacular comments) if only to shut me up which made me think twice before I teased him.He is still one of the funniest guys I know..Coming back to my mistake in sharing the sardar incident with Pappu, a few days later a mail from Pappu circulated amongst our gang retelling the sardar’s story albeit from the Sardar’s angle and I still strongly believe that it was Pappu’s way of getting back at me for all the times I tried his patience in the 2 and half years I had know him….Below is the unabridged mail ……

Sardarji story goes like this...

One fine day... a poor sardarji was jogging through a busy street of Los Angeles. He was little nervous that day because before starting from home he checked his daily astrological predictions. It said... "You will enjoy peace and harmony at home. Keep your senses alert and avoid any situation of enmity. Even if life flows as usual, be aware – there might be powerful enemies on your way. People you are financially dependent upon will be in a helpful mood. They may help you to save a situation."

He had a second thought about his plan to go out for jogging... invite trouble going out or stay peacefully at home? He was confused... finally he decided to go out.... Punjab ka puthar...decided to face the trouble as it comes. Hardly he has gone for a mile. "Namaste ji..." one female voice interrupted him on the way. He was very conscious about the predictions and tried to avoid the "enemy" by just not listening to that voice. He continued without turning back.

But what to do... that voice followed him. "Sardarji bhayyaaa...." He felt that the voice is coming closer and closer. For a moment, he cursed his decision to go out. But suddenly he prepared his mind to face the challenge, turned back and got shocked. "Adi paaveee… (ELT training in st. joseph's college made him to say that at least.) ek Hindustani enemy…10000 miles away from my home land…. she traveled all this way here… just to trouble me”. Be careful!!! he cautioned himself. He was searching for some filmy tricks that can be used to get rid of that girl. But could not find... "hhmmm.... I will use the same astrology technique here to escape" he decided in mind.

"Bhayya... bhayya... My name is Amapuna. I came recently to US. Lost my way to office... could you please help me?" she started screaming. He knew that this is a tricky question and knew that it will take him to unnecessary troubles if he answers that question. "from your face I can read... you have faced lot of problem in past. but your good time starts right now... right here. You have met the right person. In fact I was looking for such a person… … show your hand, you will have good fortune… I am good in astrology... just give me some $s and I can predict your future..."

She didn't allow him to finish... "escape da goyyal". Since the sardarji got onsite opportunity immediately after the ELT training he could not understand what she said. Anyway it was a good show by him... he patted his shoulder and thanked god for giving such a wonderful idea.

You might have read many sardarji jokes... but this is a real incident showing a sardarji's courage and good presence of mind. Beware you could be next prepared... :-) ………….

Chuckle….Another homerun,Wicked Pappu ,and to all u nutcases who are cheering on Pappu,have mercy on me,dudes and dudettes….!

Monday, December 3, 2007


Just 2 days before I left for LA, we had a near fatal accident.My brother was driving and we got hit by a KSRTC bus...I wud rather not go into the details but it left me shook for a variety of reasons.A few months later some of my lil bro's friends were involved in a tragic accident resulting in one boy's death.It brought back the same feelings with so much intensity that I had penned a few lines to put the incident out of my mind.Today I just happened to come across the same and decided to post it.

A prayer whispered in a happy moment
with no foresight but just love beyond compare
A feather brush with death but no harm done
a stunning revelation of faith kept unbroken
bringing with it the urge to gather beloved ones close to the heart
knowledge that this would not keep them out of harm's way
That death may still be but a step behind
Thankful that the prayer was granted
The awful certainity of being meant to lose
writ in destiny with alarming clarity
Dreadful thoughts of what might have been
Wonder if not for those simple words of faith
would there have been survival or would it have turned out to be merely existing
with a loss so deep
a pain too intense for tears to form
making it easier to stay numb,not think
For thinking brings memories
memories lead to feeling
feelings to pain
Pain so unbearable
that shedding tears will not soothe
if flow they must then so hard they should
that the heart should split open
Otherwise,meant to ease,they are nothing but
acid drops from the sky

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A day later

A day after telling folks our ishtory ……He took the easy way out and sent the blog link to his friends….and I sent a mail out to folks telling them abt the news….I thoroughly enjoyed the reactions I got from different ppl….some were gratifying and some were plain hilarious …….(Especially my Baba’s Tapori gang sent in some superb comments which had me laughing in delight)
One thing they all had in common was the joy they felt at our news….and to me atleast it was uplifting…..So a big thanks to all u guys out there who make up my support system…I wud be lost without u ……I know I don’t have to say it but I want u all to know how much you guys mean to me…

To my Baba’s Tapori gang…He sent me ur comments and I enjoyed every one of them….Thanks for reading thru all my crazy stories.I expect that’s how u guys figured out that I have no bolt ! …The GRE comment was a true compliment !..But asking me to write in Tapori language is something u do at ur own risk…I am inspired to try my hand at the same but plz don’t blame me if u don’t understand that either cos my tapori vocabulary is limited to a few Hi-fi words (chuckle)consisting of things like dhakkan and fultoo and so on ! …Anyway thanks,Bhai log,more power to u…Looking forward to meeting u guys………
A lot of people asked me why I liked him…….Well, the simple answer is he makes me feel like a princess.What more does a gal want….But this answer seems to confuse ppl….so maybe I shud be a bit more explicit…People expect it to be big things but to me it’s the small things which he does for me that makes a difference……..

It does not mean he lets me have my way for everything and anything(considering sometimes I have some really wacky ideas )…but he understands my craving to start working on a craft project when I am hit with an idea and cheerfully drives me around to any number of shops until I find the exact thing I need. What made me feel like a queen is when the man told him he loves driving me out on an errand…….

I normally occupy the passenger seat in his car(which he says is my place – right beside him)but prefer to sit in the backseat when one of his pals are riding with us.When I catch him watching me in rearview mirror at a traffic signal,I feel like a queen.

Just yday the man told me he is looking forward to marrying me and spending his life with me.For a man of few words, that was one of the most beautiful compliments he paid me.

I know I am not perfect( am extremely short tempered) but when in the midst of a hectic workday he sent me a mail with the song lyrics “tum jo gussa bhi karo to mujhe pyar lagta hai”, I fell in love with him even more.

He normally does not display affection in front of folks we know but the night when I had returned after a vacation with my friends, he came to pick me from the airport .He had missed me so badly that he did not care that Sangeetha was around and held my hand all the way on the drive home.Tell me what girl wud not like that…

He has his boys nights-out and poker games…but no matter how late in the night he reaches his apartment, he never fails to call me to say good night…Its worth waiting up for.

When I go off on trips with my friends,he hates it and misses me terribly but still wont call me cos he feels he shud not intrude on my time with my gang….I love that….

Even when I quarrel with him and wont speak to him during lunch, he orders my favorite things from the menu.

These are just a few of my favorite jingbangs that my boy dishes out….but overall it’s the way he treats peoples,friends or foes……….with respect and courtesy…To many people these traits don’t matter ,but to me the old world courtesy is important and is the true sign of a gentleman…..Alas, I have met very few guys in this genre .

Oh…he has his maddening traits too….like the way he wont iron his clothes (the lazy bum…He looks real good when he wears properly pressed clothes) …the way he insists on watching every damn game on the darned idiot box…the way he falls asleep over what I consider an interesting book to read….(poor dear)…but on the whole……with all his imperfections ,to me, he is the best…and there is no one like him …. !

Mushy,is it? But its true….

To all you guys who heard the news and then told me that he is a lucky man …..I am a very lucky woman !

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

God and his sense of humour

“Ha ha ha…!” God guffawed loudly, slapping his knee. He had been hard at work since morning painting a spectacular sunrise. His palette was joyful mish mash of brilliant orange, melon red, fushcia pink, azure and every other colour you can think of .It was no easy job creating a sunrise considering that each day had to be different and God had painted some jagagillion sunrises .Today he had finished another masterpiece and sat down to take a break .He sought out his favorite cloud and was sitting on it looking down at a girl complain to her roommate about their colleague at office. The girl knit her brows in frustration and mumbled “why can’t he just mind his own business, the ogre!” Little did she know that the “ogre” whose biggest crime was to help her get settled in a strange city ,would end up being her much loved husband and one day she would thank God for him. Meanwhile God had all this planned out long before she was born and was enjoying her description of her “ogre”.

“My Lord.”God turned round to find an angel stand beside him holding up a tree she had just finished painting with the fall colors. “How does this look?” asked the angel. God looked at it thoughtfully and dabbed a spot of orange on one side of the tree from his own palette. He cocked his head to one side and nodded. “That’s perfect. You are getting pretty good at this, Kalyani.”.Kalyani, a plump round angel with snow white hair and glasses, smiled shyly.” Thank..kk you “ she stammered.

God turned back to his aggravated creation who was by now muttering to herself “Who does he think he is, the sophisticated dude?!!!”.It aggravated her even more so that “ogre” did not expect anything from her in return for his help which was a rather rare characteristic in human beings and according to her made him too good to be true.

God chuckled again.Kalyani looked over His shoulder and said “Who is that, my Lord? “God replied “I made her some time back. I could not find a bolt that fit for her nut and had to let her go without a nut”.The angel exclaimed in horror “You what?!!!....You let her go without a nut?...My lord…she could have created havoc down there. ”.God shrugged and brushed off a few flakes of dandruff from Kalyani’s shoulder which floated down to earth as snow.”Well...she was already late and I have been keeping an eye on her. Apart from a few scrapes she has been getting along fine”.”Ok.So now what is she complaining so loudly about?”asked Kalyani, wrinkling her forehead. God smiled widely and said “I just introduced her better half into her life. And you know how these creatures are….”

“Ok.So where is he?”asked the angel. “There …that tall guy:”, God points with his paint brush.

The angel squints down at the tall boy walking along looking a bit sad. “But he looks so sad and she so glad, My Lord. Are you sure you mean for them both to go together?” God smiles. ”She learnt the tough way that you don’t need a reason to be happy. She will teach him to be happy. Since she does not have a nut I need to give her to someone who does not realize that she misses a nut, and keeps her safe. Her Poppa and Mama have been praying for me to keep her safe”.
The angel thinks this over and says “but, my Lord, don’t they realize that You keep her safe and they don’t need him to keep her safe? “.God smiles again “They do. But you know, they like to see me .So I just put a bit of myself in him and sent him to them. Keeps them happy. “God shrugs again.

The angel shakes her head and says “You do so much for them, my Lord. You paint beautiful skies, sunrises and do they appreciate you…? Huh!!” “Oh ,they do, you know, quite often” God gives a satisfied nod and humming a tune, turns back to design the sunset for the day while Kalyani looks on in mystified silence.

Trouble bubble-blow it away!!!

“Aachooooo…!!!” .Naanu, the angel wiped his nose.”Oh dear, maybe I should ask God to do something about those storks. They go down to earth and come back with so much dust on them. Really…! They keep giving me an allergy”.Naanu walked along the rainbow path which God always left in his trail so that his angels could find him easily when they needed him. He finally found God sitting on his favorite cloud looking rather solemn.
Naanu said “My lord, those storks ar…” God interrupted “Ah…Naanu…come …sit here”. God patted the cloud beside him.Naanu was a bit surprised and sat down next to God. God lapsed back into silence and Naanu wondered.
Soon enough he started hearing a girl’s voice say “But why, God, why is it that some people have to go through so much trouble that it makes them angry at you? Makes them lose faith? I watch all this happening and thanks to my wise teacher, I don’t lose faith in you. But I wonder how all these people will survive if they lose faith….Thoughts of the last birth are not very consoling, are they?”.Naanu looks at God worriedly and a peek over the edge of the cloud .He sees a girl sitting with her feet in the sauna pool. She continues her talk with God all the while swishing the hot water around with her bare feet.”I suppose everything happens for a reason and that the reason may not be obvious to us at the time”. Here God breaks into a smile and nods approvingly.

“And I know that each trouble that comes along our way strengthens us. We may think we cannot handle it but later on we realize that we did manage to handle it….Hmmmm”the girl is lost deep in thought. A black cat with white paws sidles up to her and rubs itself against her. The girl smiles and rubs the cat’s head. She continues “Its kind of like You are opening up a secret casket and showing us our hidden treasures…..treasures which are hidden within us….that we are not aware of…”

She looks at the cat “Socks, what do u think?”.God sits back with a satisfied smile and waits.Naanu wonders what he is thinking. He looks down at the girl with interest. She starts talking again “It’s a bit like the story of the ugly duckling. The duckling never knew that he had become a beautiful swan until someone complimented him…..”
She sits up excitedly “Maybe God is paying us a compliment in the way of troubles. You know, kind of like telling us that He knows we can handle it.”She looks at the cat who looks bemused.”Listen Socks, it’s like this. When the client gives us a new task , we often don’t know what’s the first thing we do to tackle it. But the client has given it to us and not to someone else. Which means the client thinks we can handle it, that we are capable….Don’t you realize? The client paid us a huge compliment by giving us a difficult task. It implies that he thinks we are upto it. Wow…!!!”.She mulls over her theory some more and thinks its sound. The cat meows. The girl smiles down at the cat and hurries back to her apartment to tell her friend about God’s compliments.

The black cat looks around and then vanishes with a pop. The next second angel Kalyani appears next to God on his cloud and smiles. She says “My Lord”
God laughs in delight and says “She does manage to come up with all kinds of wacky ideas, doesn’t she?”

My crazy musings

One day God had just finished putting the nuts and matching bolts on his latest little creations and wiping his fair brow with his hand, he told his angel “Go get me the one from the warehouse”. The angel replied “But my Lord, You never put any of them in the warehouse. Once they are done, you send them along to the dispatcher storks.” God replied “Well, last week I had a bit of a problem with the shipment. That Devil sent me one bolt short and I could not tighten the nut on that little one. I left the Devil a few messages on his blackberry telling him that I wanted an explanation”. Angel asks” What did he say?”. God replies with an amused smile “Well, He said that he had sent the correct number and that he suspected that St.Peter had nicked one for himself. Says Peter has been behaving oddly ever since that book Da Vinci Code was published”

God roused himself out of his musings, frowning and told the angel “Now run along without dilly dallying or I am gonna send you out to help the testers in Farmer’s team”.
Needless to say, the angel scrambled in the direction of the warehouse shuddering at the thought of the Farmer’s team.

In the warehouse, the angel found the little one propped up in a corner. She had not yet had her mechanism started. The angel carried her carefully back to God. God picked up one of the bolts and proceeded with his golden spanner to the job at hand. An hour later, having tried all the bolts in his tool box, God exclaimed in dismay “None of the bolts fit her, Oh dear!” The angel asked anxiously “Shall I take her back to the warehouse?” God shook his head “No. She is already a week late. Tonight she has to go. Her mom has already eaten a lot of chicken and mangoes tonight and I decided that this would be the perfect day to send her. Never mind. She may be a bit different from the others but she will learn to fend for herself. Now run and make sure she reaches the dispatchers”

The angel gave a quick nod and took off helter skelter to the edge of heavens where the storks were ready to take off each carrying a bundle in their big beaks.”Oh dear, none of the dispatchers are free. God would be so furious with me if I missed to dispatch this one”. He asked the oldest stork called Patchie “Patchie, This one has to go today. Would you take her down for me?”Patchie looks at him scornfully. The angel says slyly “Well, If you do, then I can make sure that you miss your crab duty this month”.Patchie shudders. The idea of not having to have his slender neck caught between a pair of crab claws was definitely worth carrying the extra load. God had made crab duty mandatory ever since He caught a couple of storks flipping a blindfolded crab about after tricking him into playing Blind man’s Bluff with them.

Patchie looked at the angel and nodded .He opened his mouth a little bit and the angel carefully looped the handle of the bundle around his beak.Patchie blinked twice and waddled to the edge of heavens swaying under the extra load. The angel looked worried and started to call out “Carefu…..” when Patchie lost his balance and toppled over the edge!!

Only the thought of crab claws around his neck kept Patchie from dropping his extra burden right down to earth. Flapping his wings hard against the wind, he flew towards the earth Four hours later having delivered one bundle, Patchie flapped his wings wearily struggling to not drop his burden. He knew the angel would not take kindly to him if he dropped the bundle half way to its real destination. The sun would be up in a few minutes.Patchie felt himself being pulled towards earth ….alas, instead of setting the bundle down carefully at its destination, poor Patchie dropped it!!!

“Aaaaaaaaaaarghhhh…aaaaaa!!!” the mama-to-be screamed so loudly that poppa-to-be fell off the bed in fright. He stood up in the dark and looked around wildly for the thief. “My tummy hurts” wailed the poor mama-to-be. Poppa-to-be looked at her in consternation and muttered under his breath “should have thought of all this when you were gobbling up mangoes and chicken as though it was your last meal”.”Whaaaat!!!”wailed mama-to-be. “Nothing nothing…” he said and hurried to get her to the wise old doctor who lived down the street.

The wise old doctor put on his glasses and poked mama-to-be on all sides .Finally with a loud triumphant “Aha..!” he pulled out from her tummy the bundle Patchie had dropped .

“Waaaaaah!” wailed the bundle and the wise old doctor hurriedly handed over the bundle to the poppa. Poppa opened up the bundle in wonder to find a tiny baby looking up at him with black eyes. And when the baby smiled, he cried out in delight “why, she has such a nice dimple!”

…….and to all you dorks out there who still have not figured it out, that baby’s name was Anupama.Gotcha…!!!

Yeh hai meri Kahani

One fine sunny day,Anup embarked on his favourite but risky hobby of rock climbing.He had just reached the top of a mountain which provided a breathtaking view of the beautiful valley below dotted with sheep.But what kept the man rooted at the spot was not the view or the sheep, but rather the beautiful goddess who was running after a sheep.She so resembled the girl in his dreams that the man stood staring slack jawed (looked quite silly, I should imagine.)The man walked forward in a trance seeing nothing but her….
And fell headlong into a big fat hole screaming “yeeeeeeooooooowwww”….and landed on the floor in his apartment, shaken up. …..(if u still have not figured it out, then let me explain it to ur small teeny weeny itsy bitsy brain that the Goddess was me and if he dares to deny it….on his head be the consequences)

A lot of poeople have been asking abt how my Baba and I got together. Well, in spite of the fact that I think all u nosy parkers out there shud be more concerned about the Indian political situation than abt my love life,I still decided to “bare all “ (not in the literal sense, boneheads!)

Well, the very first time the poor man set his eyes on me , I had just reached LA after an endless flight ,tired and looking like a sweep(though the darling man denies it,I sure felt like one). The entire flight consisted of 11 vomiting sessions all a result of gorging on mangoes .Now I am not greedy but I was convinced that I wud not be seeing a mango for the next 12 months.
I was new to the team and knew no one except Sangeetha who traveled with me and had assured me that her ONC(Anup!!!) wud be at the Airport to meet us.He looked the handsome hunk he is (Wud not smile and looked like the angry young man with brooding eyes aka Amitabh Bachan ishtyle…made me rather nervous, I confess)but unfortunately I took him to be a passerby and since good gals do not gawp at people (no matter how good looking they are!!!) I walked right past him to greet his roommate, Suresh,warmly.It was only after getting into the taxi with Suresh I realized that the poor dear was part of the receiving committee.Cripes!!!

Now I was a woman who was convinced of the solid sense behind the idea of staying single and I gave any male approaching me with any ideas a wide wide berth and never took any favours from anyone if I could help it.In short,I was not looking for love. Period.

Hours later,back at the hotel room(which he had reserved for us),Sangeetha and I had freshened up.Anup wud be coming over to pick up Nithya (another teammate) who had stayed behind to settle us in.I was dying for some coffee and decided to experiment with the coffee maker. Fearing the thing would burst any moment, I managed to make 2 cups of very very watery coffee with hardly any sugar in it when Anup knocked on the door. (The bad coffee was not my fault considering the hotel guy was a kanjoos who skimped when he provided the sugar and creamer).Then he offered Sangeetha his mob to talk to her folks home saying it did not cost much.I had already asked Nithya to ring up my folks and let them know I had reached .Anup offered me his phone when I was making coffee and I refused saying it was not necessary.(I did not wanna be obliged to anyone)He looked at me and asked me “Why”.He said it did not cost him much and it was ok.
Drat the man.!!! Cant he just leave me alone.I did not need his help.I studiously avoided his gaze and concentrated on my coffee making and said nothing.And the aggravating man had to sit on my bed and I was forced to give him a share of the coffee which I was sure tasted as bad as it looked.The guy nonchalantly drank it as though he had never tasted anything better in his life.I felt slightly better until I tasted it and then wished the earth wud swallow me up.Embarassing is not the word for it.Mortifying is a better one.(Later on , he confessed that it had been awful and I compensated by making him a proper coffee without using any darned coffeemaker)

As such I had still not been introduced to him.His being a mallu automatically made me put up a great wall of china. Well , I cud not exactly go hide under the bed as I wud have preferred to.Having him in the room was like tiptoeing around a lion.Not that he was fierce but I was on my guard like never before.
Anyway ,sitting less than a metre away and avoiding looking at him was pretty uncomfortable when he had been kind enuf to pick us up from the airport and buy us lunch.I ventured to be polite and asked him where he was from in Kerala.By now Sang had confirmed that he was a mallu.The guy replied saying Chenganur and asked me why.God !!! Didn’t he realize I asked him cos there was nothing else to ask and having to ignore him in such close quarters was pretty uncomfy.I was just attempting to make polite talk.Boy….!
We had an invitation to lunch at Malini’s house for the following day and Anup said he would drop us there on his way back from playing cricket.Well, I did not need that guy anywhere near me but I cud not very well say that , cud I?
The next day I was woken up by the phone ringing and picked it up to hear a voice say “Sangeeta, Anup here”.I simply mumbled “Anu” .He asked if we were going to Malini’s house and I replied saying since it was already noon and we had not yet gotten out of bed, we were not going.He hung up saying OK.and a few min later I got a call from Nithya saying Anup had called up asking her to speak to us as we said we were not going to Malini’s place.She said Malini had already made lunch expecting us and it did not matter if we were late and that we were to give Anup a call whenever we were ready and he would pick us up never mind the time.Honestly.!!!Couldnt the guy leave us alone!!! What was he ? The ultimate good Samaritan .Didn’t he know when he was not wanted.Besides I wud have preferred getting some real sleep to going and meeting Malini.I needed time to collect my wits before office tomorrow. Telling Sangeetha exactly what I thought of her ONC, I dragged myself out of bed.A shower later and feeling better, I waited mutinously while she rang up the Samaritan and told him we were ready.
We came out of the hotel to find his car parked across the street.I was furious to find Sangeetha hide behind me when I expected her to get into the front seat next to him..After all he was her ONC.In between muttering angrily at her and resigning myself to sitting next to the monster, I accidentally ended up trying to open the driver’s door which happens to be on the left side in this topsy turvy country.Imagine my mortification when the man looked out at me in surprise and asked me with Sangeetha laughing in the background if I wud like to drive . I scrambled round to the other side .My skin still crawls when I think of my embarrassment. Anyway, with songs from the Dhoom blasting away I relaxed the slightest bit and decided to be civil to the ogre. I asked him if he was into hindi music and a few other questions. To everything he had this nonchalant sophisticated attitude which drove me up the wall. Who did he think he was….The ice cool dude being kind to us lesser mortals?.....Grrrr….!I decided he cud stuff his sophisticated self and that I wud not even try to be civil to him. and kept quiet in a huff.

I decided to go a bit easy on him when the boy helped us move into our apartment and carried all the heavy luggage (I bet he used up a bottle of iodex after that but to sop his ego lets say I was impressed by his musclesJ)…A tentative friendship formed but for some reason I never got really comfy with him. Maybe cos he seemed a bit reserved or maybe it was the feeling that friendship was not welcome.
Well…Now we come to the part of where and when I faltered in my good resolutions.
A month after I came to LA, we had a long weekend (3-day weekend) coming up and my friends in Scranton had planned a trip to Las Vegas which was just 5 hrs from LA.I had booked the bus tickets online but knew I had to collect them somehow beforehand as the tickets were on a first come first serve basis. With no way to do so I decided to take the risk of collecting the tickets on the day of the trip. But first I had to figure out the bus route to the boarding point and turned to Anup for help. He immediately offered to drop us which I refused stubbornly saying that we wud manage. (Huh!!! After all I was an independent woman and if I cud screw up the courage to step on escalator stairs , then I cud find my way to the boarding point ..Ah..well…with a few directions from someone)He checked my ticket bookings and asked me if I had got the tickets.I looked down and muttered that I had not.He said I may not get the tickets if I wait till the day of the trip even though I had paid for the tickets.I told him I wud take care of it(rather haughtily) and asked him to tell me which bus wud take me to the boarding point.He said we cud find that out after lunch .

After lunch , the man was not in his seat and I got busy with work.All of a sudden , the man was sitting on my desk and holding out bus tickets.That simple act shook me up no end.I did not know what to say.I sat blinkng at him stupidly .It had taken him close to 2 hrs to go and collect those tickets and trust me, I was touched that he had done it for me. I asked him why on earth he had done it .He shrugged and asked me how else wud I have got the tickets. He acted casual enough as though he wud have done it for anyone but I cud not help feeling special then.(I dunno why men think they have to act like cool dudes all the time)It was a bit tuf to believe that the man wud have driven 2 hrs for just anyone.

My work required keeping odd hours and my normal workday ended at around 10 or 11 in the night leaving me half starved.Anup wud drive down to pick me up and drop me home.Once or twice the man bought me a sandwich and wud sit listening to me chatter while I ate.(It was bad enuf having to stay late without having to go home to horrible dinners cooked by my well meaning roomies.So in order to spare their tender feelings,I wud gobble the sandwich sitting in his car)Soon a habit was formed.He would buy me a chicken sandwich and I wud sit in the car gobbling it up and chattering abt everything under the stars.When my work hours became more regular, w chatted on the phone.

So it went on for sometime with him one day telling me I had the freedom to bash him up if I wanted.(I suppose that was a green signal but me being the egghead that I am , it never occurred to me.)A few days later during one of our nightly phone calls, I told him it was late and he shud go sleep. The man replied saying he wud go to sleep if he got a ….um…ah…eh…a good night kiss. Needless to say, I was stunned. Well, I was not sure if it was a proposal or if the man was merely playing games with me….Anyway I hemmed and hawed and finally hung up. The next day I nervously waited for him to say something abt it but lo! The man behaved as though nothing had happened. As usual , when he dropped me home I said bye and then he said “Wait a minute.! What abt my good night kiss?”
For someone so reserved, I tell you, he was pretty bossy. I hemmed and hawed. He said “Answer with a yes or no”

Well, now comes the great confession (author drawing circles on the floor with her big toe and twisting the ends of her duppatta around her finger)…I did not wanna say yes…(Cos I really was not sure) but then I did not wanna say no( cos I really was not sure)…So I told him”None of the above options”.(smart of me,ha?)
He said “Nothing doing.It has to be a yes or a no “. Well…. we carried on repeating the above 3 lines some 15 times, before I screwed up my courage and asked him what after that.He replied saying “Lets see where it goes.” My stay at onsite was for 6 months and so we decided to test the depth of our feelings by making a commitment for 6 months…It did not take 6 months…
Less than 2 months later, I had no doubts abt the fact that I am the luckiest woman alive….:-)

Most women are lucky if they can find someone who can make them laugh….but only very few are blessed to find a guy whose world lights up simply cos u smile at him.
I am !!!!

And to all you perverts out there who are more interested in what finally came of my boy’s request, well….Like we wud tell you…HUH !