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