Thursday, June 26, 2008

25th Post ... and a rant.

My client wants us to come to office in shifts.7:00 am to 4:00 pm,11:00 am to 7:00 p.m and 12:p.m. to 8:00 p.m.One of the guys does not mind coming in any shift but has asked for the 11:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m shift. The other guy insists on coming in the morning shift which leaves me with the 12:00pm to 8:00 pm shift. Now all these gentlemen expected me to take it quietly and were nothing less than shocked when I said "I cant".3 pairs of eyes popping out of their respective heads, they all recited various reasons as to why they cud not take up that shift. The client says he will have to attend early morn meetings and so cant come in that shift (fair enuf).The second guy says his house is real far away and he needs to use the carpool. As of now come hail or high tide, the second guy leaves at sharp 5 and not a second later. Third guy says he has no problem with any shift “but” (there always is a but when people begin a sentence with “I have no problem with that”) his wife is scared of the dark and cant stay alone in the house when it gets late. And to my incredulous readers, I promise u that this was his exact reason.
And with that, these 3 fine gentlemen sat back and assumed that they had won the argument over me and waited for me to agree meekly. After all I had no meetings to attend, no carpool to catch and I definitely cud not say that my husband is scared of the dark and that I dare not leave him alone. And so it was nothing short of a shock to them when I replied “Surprise!!! I wont”.The reason I gave was that I cud not expect Anup to stay late everyday to take me home and neither cud I expect him to drive back and forth between office and home 4 times a day.
My client tried the guilt trip on me .He said “Anupama, you know, in 2003 I worked for 3 years in the same shift.Do you know which shift?” And unremorseful Anupama instead of meekly saying no, asked most sarcastically “24 hr shift?”. I might as well have not bothered. The sarcasm was totally wasted on the man who righteously replied “No, evening 3:00p.m to 11:00p.m shift”. I replied evenly “Well, ur wife stays at home and…” and was interrupted by the client triumphantly saying “I was not married then.” Ha! Gotcha! And I replied “When I was single I too worked like that. But marriage changes things and I cant work like that anymore”. And that was the end of the conversation that day.

Gentlemen, with all due respect, in spite of the concern u show for ur wife who stays at home,ur wife who is scared of the dark and ur wife who wants u to catch the carpool so that u can spend some quality time together at the end of both ur workdays ,u simply don’t get the point that I too am a wife. It simply does not occur to u that the way u guys like having ur wives home by sundown, working or otherwise, my poor husband may also like to have me home. You just assume that Anupama has no life whatsoever and her first and foremost desire in life is to act as a dumping ground for ur inconvenient office hours. Well, this may come as a total shock and I request u all to sit down and hold tight to ur seats but I do not live to make ur life easy. I am not a dumping ground or standby android for ur inconvenient working hrs.And while I live 15 min away from office and my husband is not scared of the dark, it still does not eliminate my need to spend time with my husband. I don’t work to make ur lives easy. I work for my livelihood. And just cos I do a lot of work, does not mean that u are free to go home. I assure you that you most definitely are not. I assure you that all those days when u left saying “call me if u need help” and I did not call u was cos I thot u needed to spend some time with ur wives and not cos I was a superwoman. I got time off for my extra work then but now am not agreeable to taking time off when u please cos sitting alone at home and holding imaginary conversations with my husband who wud be at office ,is simply not my idea of spending quality time with him. May I remind u that our team consists of 4 married people and not 3 married men and one conveniently-single single woman.

When I suggested rotating shifts, u, second guy, balked at the idea saying rotating shifts is of no use. Well, let me explain it to ur pea sized brain. It wud mean that all of us share the inconvenience of the odd shift and the workload. But I don’t expect u to understand that especially since u are used to sprinting out of office at sharp 5 as though the wolves were after u ,leaving me and the third guy to do the work.And its our combined kind natures that kept us from calling u up even when it meant that we worked late.
Third guy,u have been the best teammate I cud have had and to give u ur due ,u have stayed and shared several late hr tasks with me ,even though at ur house ur wife refused to leave the kitchen , that being the only room with a tubelight and the remaining rooms having light bulbs.Do not think that I don’t appreciate it even when I am unable to sympathise with ur wife’s fears.All I can suggest is that u find some kind of babysitter for wives( the kind they have for kids of working parents) and drop her there when u come in on the late shift,though I agree that it wud be tough to find such an instituition as there are not many wives out there who are so scared of the dark that they refuse to move from one room to another.Frankly,is ur wife underage?
To my client,I appreciate that u have seen reason and have agreed to my request to rotate shifts.
Closing this rant,gentlemen,no amount of sighing in my presence or complaining abt ur carpool will get me to agree to the odd shift.So u may as well spare ur breath,cos I too am a wife.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Humpty Dumpty and Madhuri

Picture this. A pumpkin on two legs imagining itself to be as graceful as Madhuri Dixit and trying to do a tumka .(For the ignorant ,it’s a kind of hip gyration in which u try hard to dislocate ur hip).Or Humpty Dumpty trying to a sexy belly dance, trotting up and down the wall…
Deadly, is it? Well…that’s what how it seemed to me also.
5 months of staying stuck to my chair in response to the complaint my client had abt me taking frequent breaks has started showing its impact .A nice roly-poly roll of fat on my tummy…and every other part of my anatomy looks the same. Like my cousin lamented its humiliating…..albeit the humiliation is still pretty private…but something tells me that if I don’t fix it or ignore it then someday its gonna be rather public..
And so started a desperate attempt to do crunches…Typically crunches are supposed to be when u roll forwards with ur head and shoulders towards ur tummy…and are the best exercise for the tummy…but only if u can do crunches….Now when I did crunches,my head came off the floor and there the crunch stopped, except for my grunts, of course, which rose and fell thru an amazingly flexible decibel range guaranteed to give any pig a run for its money. My shoulders stayed glued to the floor .Now before u guys start saying “What , u so fat?”, lemme tell u.No…its just that roll and ….my helpful hubby who decided that I had to get the maximum benefit out of each crunch and had me clasp my fingers behind my head. And that was it.Then he tried to get me to do another ab exercise which involved me lying flat on the ground, lifting my legs up, holding them in the air and then bringing them down slowly. Pretty simple, right? Except for the fact that my legs refused to leave the floor. I tried till I was red in the face but even my feet did not leave the ground, forget abt my legs.Anup wud not believe me when I said I can’t lift my legs up in the air and to help me ,he caught hold of my ankles and pulled my legs up and held them straight. I warned him not to let go since it wud mean my legs crashing down and hitting him in a very sensitive point. So he let go gently and wisely moved out of the way while I struggled to hold those legs up and he wanted me to bring them down very slowly. That was much better and I had more control over my legs. But once they went back to ground they simply wud not come up.
Anup said this way I wud never get myself a flat tummy. I took that as a challenge and went off to Google and find an exercise which wud help me take off that doughnut around my waist and did not involve crunches. That’s when I hit upon something called Rhimba’s dance routine. I checked on youtube for a sample of her video and lo,behold!There is this ultra fit female who dances every dance imaginable and did it so beautifully and effortlessly, that it reminded me of my love for dancing when I was in school. I was crazy abt dancing ,and still am…I don’t think am an awesome dancer but so far no one has complained that am terrible…or maybe they were being kind.(and am determined to take advantage of their kindness) Its been years since I did a jig and I decided that this was the time to put on my dancing shoes, do something I loved and get back into shape. And so I came upon these 2 belly dancers, Veena and Neena, who demonstrated a fat burning belly dance routine.Atleast that’s the title of the video. Now before all of u conjure up images of sexy belly dancing, lemme tell u, that this routine is more like the group dance routine I did when I was in 3rd std.Hop, skip and jump with ur arms stuck out in various angles. In spite of it, I decided to start with it and its 2 weeks since I started and so far I did it 3 times. I must say I was in far better shape in 3rd std than I am now though I did not know it at the time. And so on the first day, I hopped and skipped and bobbed up and down on my toes and sweated and panted like never before while my husband turned the TV off and decided this was much funnier than the soccer match he had been watching. My heart was racing as though it was in a private running competition with some athlete. If that does not burn fat, then I don’t know what will. When I completed this routine I came upon another routine which promised to improve flexibility and keep all ur body parts in tiptop shape using basic belly dance moves. Belly dance is supposed to be very very good cos it targets individual muscles or so says Neena.(or was it Veena?Dunno)Anyway, I stood in front of the mirror and tried to pretend that the different parts of my body were independent of each other. I did pretty well at gliding my head front and back and to both sides. But when it came to the point of pretending my tummy was independent ,well, I must say things did not look so good.Veena and Neena were happily making a wave out of their respective tummies saying “in and out and in and out “with the rest of their bodies absolutely still including the fixed grins they both sported(As though making waves with their tummies was the ultimate fantasy of their lives or sumthing) whereas my tummy seemed to be acting like a nice round boulder and not moving in or out unless I moved my feet as well(in which case my entire body from top to toe moved)..And though I did not have a fixed grin, I definitely had my tongue hanging out…So that’s something. I looked and looked in the mirror and I cud not see even the tiniest wave coming out of the boulder. Anyway we gave up on the tummy and then moved on to another exercise which required me to make a snake out of my arm. and though I was not as good as them ,it was loads better than the tummy.(The day my arms refuse to move independent of my body, I give up on life.huh!).I did not complete that routine. And consoled myself saying that after I burn the fat, I’ll be able to make waves using my tummy.
The next day my legs acted up. The fat burning routine had a lot of exercises which u had to do on ur toes with a voice chirping in the background “Jump jump ,twist,jump jump twist”.They are supposed to be good for ur calves.Well,for the next 3 days ,I had to be wobbling around cos my calves were aching so much. So no dancing for 3 days and then the fourth day I forgot to dance. And so it was a week later when I got back to the hop, skip, jump routine….and then there was work and a lot of other commitments…Ok .Am making pretty lame excuses.
And starting today am determined to stick to my fat burning routine and get rid of the roll….come what may .Some day ,I too shall hop , skip and jump effortlessly with a goofy grin on my face like Neena and Veena …Some day, I too shall make waves with my tummy… Some day, humpty dumpty too shall dance like Madhuri :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008


“You are awful” came the reply when I asked my mom if she read a particular post of mine titled White underpants with bright red hearts. Chuckle…and yet she checks my blog every day to see if I have written anything. My biggest fan and my strictest critic all rolled into one. There was a period when things were too busy and I cud not write anything for nearly a month…and she still checked the blog every day….When I asked her if she did not get tired of checking, she very matter-of-factly said “Well, Its just like washing your bum or brushing your teeth.You just have to do it. You cant stop washing ur bum saying you are tired of it, can you?”. Well, I don’t know if it is a compliment to have reading my blog taken as something she just has to do or if it is an insult to have reading my blog compared to washing one’s bum. And now you all know which side of the family I inherited my crazy sense of humour from. I told her then and there that I wud use that reply in a post of mine and she said “No!! Don’t do that. My reputation wud be in tatters.” On the contrary, Mama, I think you will be famous. Chuckle….

It’s a nice blue-sky-smattered-with-dainty-blobs-of-clouds kinda day.Its ages since I had the time to simply sit and gaze up at the sky. Its my day off for working thru the weekend. And I think with pity of all those people sitting in the office and not knowing what the sky looks like today. Even worse, not even thinking abt it. Well, tomorrow am gonna be going back to join them but still like they say ,Tomorrow’s another day. So right now I’ll sit down and enjoy my time lazing around and doing next to nothing.
I have finished that automation process to a certain extent and it just needs a week of tweaking to get it completed. I have sent it out to the client and while its an awesome tool (even though I say so myself) and saves so much of manual effort, I know I wont be getting much of an appreciation considering my resist-any-change-attitude boss.But the one thing I will get is more time for my puttering around with beads.Anup has finally got used to selecting beads and I must say is real good at it. In fact he is much better than me at it. He picks up all the unique beads which look good with anything and everything and keeps me from going overboard when I see coloured beads and he knows what spacers are. And I have started developing an interest in basketball matches which is of no use considering that the basketball season is ending. But honestly, u can’t live with a man who watches every match on the telly thru the whole season and not develop an interest in it. Yesterday in the midst of working I looked up to see a basket being made(highly technical jargon for managing to get the ball in the basket….I can hear u snort!!!) and spontaneously said “Beautiful!!!” and Anup looked at me in a way which I imagine is the way Moms look at their babies when they are born. Or maybe it was the way Edison looked at his bulb.( er…the light bulb).You get the idea?

It’s a special day and am gonna get myself spring cleaned today. Just relax and go with the tide….Ooooh..La…la…..

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A tryst with a beautiful soul...!

Have u met one of those people who have a beautiful soul? The kind that literally turns ur head and makes u want to know them better. Makes u smile even though you don’t know them personally.Well, Jake was one such soul. He lit up the room as he loped around smiling up at people, even though not many returned his smile.
We were at the Big bear discovery centre and hubby was asking the receptionist for some directions. All of a sudden, the receptionist pointed to something behind hubby and started laughing. When hubby turned around, he found his wife standing with her feet planted firmly and knees locked while a huge golden retriever stood pushing himself against her thigh, both mutually enjoying a love fest of head scratching. And before u guys get round to asking the question, let me tell u the answer.No, he did not. I was scratching Jake’s head and he was NOT scratching my head.

Jake walked in with his family, consisting of a dad and a couple of boys .He was a strong fellow and the little boy could not hold him back well enuf as the strong golden retriever jumped about in excitement and rushed to say hello to everyone in sight. Most people shied away from the huge creature while I stood in total shock. He brought so much colour into the room. How could one resist that deep honey coloured coat and that big wide smile. Those bright warm eyes spoke so much and that plumy tail waved a hi so gracefully. There is no other way to say this but that I fell in love.
I normally do not go towards a dog here in the USA but rather wait for the dog to come to me.I have learned from experience that most dog owners here are a bit worried about a total stranger petting their dog as this is a country where everyone sues everyone else for everything they can think of. There are a few people who don’t mind and are sure of their dogs. This time I did not wait. I could not. I walked forward holding out both my hands and felt a bittersweet joy surge thru me. His owner smiled at me and asked Jake to hold out his paw for me. As I took his paw, Jake immediately put his other paw on my hand as though making a deal then and there. His owner said “Oh ,he likes u.He does that only to people he really likes”. Jake was as delighted as I was. No one else wanted to pat him. I buried my fingers into his thick coat and rubbed him while I chatted to his owner.Jake pushed himself so hard up against me that I had to literally push back at him to keep the pair of us from toppling over. I did not want to let him go.I wanted to go down on my knees and hug him. He was so huge that he wud easily come upto my shoulders if he stood on his hind legs.His owner exclaimed “There, U seem to have made a friend”. Both the dog and I had identical wide goofy grins on our faces.

He did not want to go and I did not want him to. But his family had come to take him on a hike and while we were content to stay that way, they obviously were not. They asked him if he was ready to leave and he obviously was not given the way he was trying to embed himself in my leg.Finally, with a wrenching reluctance that ran soul deep, I gave him a final pat and said “Good boy, Jake.Go!”.That’s when the intelligent animal turned round, looked at me and pattered off obediently with his folks. And to me, it seemed as though the sunshine had just walked out of the room.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I want to be the person my dog thinks I am.

Sometimes when am reading, I come across some bit of wisdom or the other which sticks to my brain like lint. I wonder if it is the same way for everyone or if its just that my brain acts like some kind of lint picker and homes in on such random bits of advice. Just yesterday I read this book called The undomestic Goddess. It was one of those books which are fun, exaggerated and utterly forgiving to women. Or call it chicklit.Thats when this jewel popped out at me. The mom of the tall dark handsome man advices the distressed heroine thus “Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing all the answers. Its not necessary to always be clear about where you are going. Sometimes, its just enough to know what you are going to do next”. To this the damsel tearfully asks “And what am I going to do next?” .And with a smile, mom replies “You are going to shell peas”.
In a nutshell, the protagonist is a high flying young never-make-a-mistake lawyer who had given up 7 years of her life to her work and was rewarded by being made a partner in the firm.5 minutes later she finds that she has made a mistake which loses her client 50 million and the shock of it drives her into running away. She is fired and becomes the butt of all lawyer jokes on the internet. And inadvertently lands a job as a housekeeper for which she is ill-fitted. While she struggles to come to terms with her world being turned topsy turvy and cope with the rejection of her former colleagues, she also learns to take pleasure in the simple luxuries of life, such as smelling a freshly baked loaf of bread. After days of beating herself up for her mistake, she finally discovers that she had never made a mistake and had actually been set up by one of the senior partners in the firm.
Sounds idyllic? It really is not. Women today are more or less like her. We drive ourselves to achieve everything and pride ourselves in doing it all and doing it well. We believe that we have to know it all, fix it all and always be on the go. Though it was a caricature, a lot of things in the book were too close to the truth.Atleast for me. I beat myself up when I make a mistake at work, at home or lose my temper .Maybe not so much ever since the disappointment of the last year-end appraisal. I beat myself up for losing my temper maybe cos I have a husband who is so good at controlling his temper that I have awfully high standards to live up to. Before marriage even when I did lose it, I knew when it was with just cause and when it was not. If it was not, I wud apologise.But after marriage ,I seem to have a conflict of conscience. Even when I know I am right, it rankles when I know Anup is not happy;Not that the dear man has ever demanded that I do as he pleases...For him,my staying happy has always been a priority.. Its tuf cos am too used to doing what I think is right and if I don’t think something is right or necessary, then I do not do it. But as per my hubby, some things have to be done for the sake of loved ones irrespective of whether it feels right or wrong. If that is the case, then why bother to think? Why is it that you bend only for your loved ones?
In the soul searching which followed for several days, I wondered if I was wrong. If all I believed in was wrong. If it really did not matter that you were able to look in the mirror at yourself, knowing you have done right simply cos everyone around you were happy with you. I wondered if I lacked compassion. Compassion – the literal term of the word is to share willingly in another’s suffering.
Maybe I do or maybe I don’t .I even wondered if I was missing something, if I lacked compassion cos I did not see the suffering which is supposedly happening. I searched deep inside me. My instincts which had never failed me when I listened to them still tell me that I did nothing wrong except to lose my temper. They still tell me that my words were not wrong but that they were spoken in anger which was wrong. Like some wise soul said, sometimes when you are angry, you have the right to be angry but it does not give u the right to be cruel. So I asked myself if I had been cruel.No.I had not. I had merely defended myself.
Sometimes its tuf to see clearly thru the fog of other’s expectations to what is right and what is wrong. I beat myself up for not knowing the answer to this riddle. What is right? Is compassion and kindness about being still and unresponsive even when someone abuses you? Does compassion mean going totally out of your way and doing what does not feel right to you, simply cos it may alleviate the suffering of a loved one? It’s an instinct in all of us. The instinct to protect our loved ones from pain. I shud know. I pray for life to be kind to my lil bro,He is just starting out on his career and I worry abt him.I wish I cud walk beside him and warn him about the parasites, the people who stab you in the back, the people who use u to meet their needs. I pray that he has an easy life and all his struggles be mine. And while I do that, I know it will not be so. I know he has to go thru the rotten tomatoes himself to grow strong. I know he has to make mistakes to learn and get hurt but become stronger in the process. Still it does not stop me from praying.
I am only human and I make mistakes. Its ok to make mistakes. I don’t always have to be perfect. I don’t always have to have all the answers. Even when I make a mistake am still a good and worthy person. Just because a person I love thinks am wrong, does not necessarily mean am wrong.
Recently, I read this book written by a lady called Anne Quendlin.The book was about her dog, Beau.It was a small book. The kind which wud take me less than an hour to read. In it she quoted some great soul as saying “I want to be the person my dog thinks I am”. Maybe it was cos the quote was so quaint that it set me thinking. What kind of a person did my dog think I am? Anne went on to say that her dog expected her to roll with the punches and take life as it comes. When I thought of my own dog, I really don’t think those are her expectations of me. She probably expects me to sit by her all day long while she sleeps and when she does wake up ,I shud have a few treats at hand, take her on a nice long walk, root amongst the grass and then scratch her ears, play with her, chase the odd cat so that she does not have to and then sit beside her while she goes back to sleep. She does not expect me stay up late, meet my deadlines, cook awesome meals, look beautiful and be nice to anyone else except her. She just expects me to be happy. Pretty uncomplicated,huh? To her its just enuf that we know what we are going to do next.
To my dog, if I have a treat for her, I am compassionate, beautiful and the best thing in the world after a drive in the car with the windows rolled down.Boy,oh,boy. Anyday, I’d choose my dog over people.

In a conversation with my mom,there came up the topic of the deity of Pisharikavu temple.The deity,Pisharikavillamma, is said to be of roudrabhavam( fierce in nature) but at the same time the most tender Mother.I wondered naively,when does the Goddess become fierce? What invoked her wrath?When her tenderness was mistaken for her weakness and abused?
Was that when she blazed with fury?
Chuckle ...I will never know...will I?As the poem Unfold the Rosebud goes..

It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God's design
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
It is not known to such as I.
God opens this flower so sweetly,
When in my hands they fade and die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God's design,
Then how can I think, I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine;
So, I'll trust Her for Her leading
Each moment of everyday
I look to Her for Her guidance
Each step of the pilgrim way;
The pathway that lies before me
Only She truly knows
I'll trust in Her to unfold the moments
Just as She unfolds the rose.

:-) I'll leave you on that note...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

White underpants with bright red hearts!!!

After a long 3 weeks with no sign of it, sanity makes a comeback at office and its time for another wacky post. God speaks people. There is this trick I use to keep my spirits from sagging under some of those rotten tomatoes that comes my way. I did not intend to make it public but for some reason, I have had signs which I believe is God telling me to share my wisdom with poor wretched souls in desperate need for a smile. I remembered this in the midst of a mail to my friend across the seas. But alas, before I cud finish the mail, the wicked pumpkin of a client had me work on a lot of jobless jobs…U know , the kind they give u to keep u busy just when u have managed to get urself an hour to write a post.Ok…am rambling here. What had me sit down in the midst of my cooking and write this post, is an ad that just came up on the TV with a female prancing around in a red bikini swimsuit with white polka dots on it. hats when I told myself like the Goblin told Spiderman “God speaks,Anupama” and now u are being treated(or rather subjected)to this post. Now u may wonder what a “ female prancing around in a red bikini swimsuit with white polka dots” has to do with God speaking to me.
Well, here is the tale….Long long ago…Ok…that makes me sound terribly old which I assure u am not. So not so long ago, when I was in college, we had this absolute terror of a professor called TK.Now don’t ask me to expand that cos I don’t know. What I do know is that this absolute sadist of a prof came up with another scary idea to torture whatever itty bitty bits of our lives were left. He came up with this absolute brilliant idea of giving us a circuit each and having us figure out what it was supposed to do and as the topping on his dessert , we were to take a seminar on the circuit in front of the class. Now unfortunately, as much as I love my name, it was my name which had me come in as the first to be subjected to the experiment. I duly went and collected my circuit from TK and promptly took it to my brainy friend to decipher. Together we pored over the circuit. We stared at it from every conceivable angle, turned it upside down and even held it up to light hoping the secret would reveal itself like the treasure map in the movie National treasure. Fat chance. To this day I suspect that the circuit really did not do anything except provide TK a means to torture us.

I had just one night to prepare or rather resign myself to being skinned. After running from pillar to post asking ppl if they had the vaguest idea of what the circuit wud do, I cud feel myself panicking. That’s an understatement. I was freaking out and badly enuf to worry that I may ….um…pass out some funny smelling wind in terror in the class. (ok! Ok!!fart!...was just trying to be dainty) Oh boy. That is just not good. That’s when I put on the brakes and stopped the snowballing. I pulled myself up and trying hard to breathe evenly ,told myself that I had got myself out of worse scrapes and cud handle this. The trick was not to be intimidated by TK.Intimidated?More like keeping myself from turning into a blithering blubbering shivering mass in front of him. So I put aside the circuit and put my brains to work while my roommate looked on in pity. She ,by the virtue of her name ,had 23 souls standing in line before her before it was her turn to be up on the chopping block. And voila! I got it.
The guy was really I decided that I wud mentally undress him and pop him into a pair of nice white underpants with red hearts all over it...I know, I know. am horrible...but if u knew the guy then u wud think I was pretty sensible...and so I practiced a few times and then turned in excitement to my roomie.Here’s the plan……

The next day when I walked into class, I seemed to be walking into a huge wall of sympathy which was almost tangible….Everyone there was quaking on my behalf while I remained as cool as a cucumber ,confident that I cud pull this off. My friends were terrified for me and were even more worried when they saw that i was not worried...When my gang questioned me on my preparation, I told them I intended to make up the purpose of the circuit as I went along.Cos anyway it wud be wrong .So why bother. There was quite a long shocked silence during which my loyal friends wondered if I was cracking under the pressure or was plain stupid. Am sure they came to the conclusion that it was not possible for me to crack any further since I was certified crazy. But I was planning to make things up? That was dangerous. There was no predicting how badly TK would rip me apart with his questions. When they asked me I told them coolly that if the man asks me a question I will simply strip him and pop him into white underpants with red hearts...Needless to say, the gang was rolling with laughter...
The second period, TK walked in and my palms turned cold and clammy. But there was nothing for it but to go up there and get over with it. For all my bravado,I just hoped my knees wud not give away. With 29 pairs of eyes on me I get up from my seat and walk towards the black board and am heartened to find that my knees seem to be working.TK looked around for a chair, sat down and squirmed around a bit to get comfortable .I took a deep breath, called upon God to give me the nerve to carry it thru, and started. I confidently went thru my idea of what the damn circuit was which i knew was nowhere close to the real thing....I knew the worst was yet to come...i looked at everyone in the eye, including TK and took a good 25 min on my explanation. Then when i finished i turned round and there the guy was staring at me. I looked at TK and he stared back at me with a totally unfathomable expression. For one wild moment there, I wondered if by some really big time fluke I had got it right. Then decided that was just not possible. It took me every bit of my iron will to hold that gaze.

TK turned round to the class and asked if anyone had any questions. No one had. Truth be told, all of them just wanted me off the podium so that I wud not get ripped to pieces. I was and still am touched by their concern for me. And then the wicked man says”Ok.Then I will ask some”. There was a collective gasp from the class and sounds of people shifting uncomfortably in their chairs. I cud feel myself beginning to panic. TK proceeded to ask a question in which all I understood was the word "What”. I stared at him in sheer horror and felt my knees shaking.
I tell the last possible moment I remembered my trick and used it on him...and at the second question, I gave him a helmet with ostrich feathers too... (It was pretty easy since I had seen a ridiculous head gear recently in a movie).and so there he was...the terror lounging sideways in a chair, sitting elegantly with one leg slung over the other, wearing a pair of white underpants patterned with bright red hearts and a nice wavy headgear overflowing with ostrich feathers. I managed to keep myself from grinning widely but I must say, it really took away the terrifying effect TK had on people, atleast for me. I heard a twitter and glanced at the back row. My friends were sitting with stifled giggles and funny wooden faces.TK followed my gaze and I flashed a quick reassuring smile at the gang. That cracked them up even further.TK apparently thought that they were laughing at my answer which made as much sense to me as his question did. But I knew better. The rest of the session was a breeze…

A lot of stuff we have gone thru in college or school wud have seemed overwhelmingly important then and funny now. But the terror that TK inspired in all of us was real and still is. If I had not done what I did then, today all I wud have been left with what wud be an absolutely humiliating memory of how I became a shaky shivery dead loss. But as it is, a sense of humour and a wacky imagination served me well and all I have is a funny memory and feelings of having trumped one over TK.There are friends of mine who broke down and sobbed for an hour after their seminar. So u can imagine how ruthless the man was.
I used that trick several times later in the direst situations of my life where my sense of humour was at an all time low but I was still required to smile. And this trick has never failed me.
White underwear patterned with bright red hearts…fond memories…Chuckle!