Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Phone(y) Conversations

I don’t eavesdrop as a habit, but sometimes you just can’t help overhearing conversations.

It is funny how people (especially the ones in a relationship) can be classified into different categories based on the way they talk on the phone.

The loudspeakers:

There are some people who converse like it is a necessity for the whole wide world to know about what is happening in their life. You can hear these people’s conversations at the other end of the corridor. And every single word out of their mouth is at the mercy of your judgment. It is free publicity of their affairs!!

5000 watts Loudspeaker: “Tumne mujhe kabhi kuch diya hai? Mere liye kabhi koi gift bheji?”

Everybody around that girl knew that she was on the verge of breaking up with her boyfriend. Also any guys trying to get into a relationship with her were warned of her high-maintenance attitude!

The secretaries:


There are few people who have inbuilt mechanisms that would make them good secretaries. They literally get into the phones and talk. They lower their volume to such decibels that you cannot hear a single word even if you are sitting right next to them. Wonder how the person at the other end of the line catches what they are saying!

The teenage-girl types:

The people in this category love to show off what their conversation is probably like. You get to see very animated expressions even though you may or may not be able to hear what they are saying. And that more or less conveys to you, whom are they talking with and what they are talking about.

Very-girly-girl : *turns a soft shade of red*
“I thought you would like it if I wore that”
“You are very naughty…”
*turns crimson red*

Umm… the rest is left to your imagination!!

The screechy house-elves:

This category is applicable only to women. Women who turn hysterical on the phone, screech, scream and abuse on the phone, and more-often-than-not break into tears while talking can be fit into this category. The phone call that might have started at a normal pitch, threatens to do permanent damage to your tympanic membrane.

The switch-gears types:

This is the category of those people who change the language of communication, as soon as they find other people within earshot.

I know a friend, who suddenly makes a switch from Hindi (her mother tongue) to English while talking to her boy-friend, if any of us are within hearing distance. Her trick may work at her home, going by the fact that her mom doesn’t understand English. But, with us, it is just plain stupidity! Most people, like me, can understand both Hindi and English. (And if she tried talking to her boyfriend in his mother-tongue, I would still understand.) So, either which ways, I can always follow the entire conversation. Try how much ever I may, I can never block out her voice, given to the high pitch, and end up knowing all the stuff that she is trying so hard to block away!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Typically Shivani(sh)

I think I can sleep in/on anything that has wheels and is moving. The number of wheels the vehicle has, doesn’t seem to bother me. I have fallen asleep within minutes on a bike, in a car, in auto-rickshaws and buses all the same. I think I could fall asleep even on a bicycle, if I ever tried taking the pillion seat on one.

Why am I writing all this?

November 10, 2010. I fell asleep in the bus I had taken to get back home from office. It wasn’t my regular bus (which I obviously did not know when I got in) and this is what happened:

I was asleep even before the bus reached the Gachibowli flyover, which is at a distance of just 5-7 mins from the office. I could blame it all on my cold (it is supposed to make you feel dull and drowsy), but I won’t, because my track record would prove otherwise.

Not sure of how much time I spent sleeping, but when I woke up I realized that I was in some other part of the city, in a direction that I have never travelled before. I had taken the wrong bus home and I didn’t know where I was going.

“Excuse me.. Excuse me”. It was four times before the girl sitting next to me realized I was trying to talk to her. My voice, which wasn’t any louder than a hoarse whisper, fell on deaf ears till I literally waved my hands in front of her.

“Err… where exactly are we? And where is this bus going?”

“We are approaching Krishna-Nagar”, she said giving me a ‘are-you-drunk’ look.

*little voice in my head, panic mode* “Where in the world is that? How am I going to get home here?”

I was lost. Unsure of what to do and where to go, I asked another girl who helped me recognize an area where I could get down and go home from. God bless her!

Another time, another place:

On my way back from the township swimming pool, I got into the wrong bus. This time I had read the bus number, only the number, not the letter following it. Wrong bus, wrong route = a tour of the entire city. The bus conductor and driver were having a gala time, laughing at my expense. I had proudly proclaimed that I will get down where I want to, after paying the fare for the entire journey to and fro because I didn’t know where I wanted to get down, when the bus had started a return journey!

Yet another incident, this time in the car:

Mamma had gone to get a couple of things from the store. I was sitting in the car and waiting for her. I drowsed off with all the windows open and the keys in the ignition, even after I had been asked to take care. I woke up only when mamma got back. Thank God for my sharp senses that I opened my eyes quickly and was able to fib that I was only resting my eyes. Otherwise I would have got a good dose of her scolding that day, (what with her purse and everything lying inside the car.)

Maybe Khumbhkaran was an ancestor of mine...

P.S: Next time I intend to get lost only when I have a map with me. :P

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Auto-cracy ( Aristrocracy of auto-wallahs)

Time and again people keep cribbing about how the auto-wallahs cheat them and how they swindle them.

Every single time we are ready to get cheated because we have to reach somewhere in time, or there are no other travel options. Whatever the case be, the auto-wallahs generally get the better of us. Once in a while I find the occasion and the time to set these auto-wallahs right. A little bit of crankiness is all it requires.

This Diwali, trying to get an auto back home from a friend’s place.

Auto-wallah 1 : Kahan jaana hai madam?
Auto-wallah 1: Rs. 120
Me: Theek hai bhaiya. Bas raste mein jo police station aata hai, vahan se hote hue chaliyega.
Auto-wallah 1: Police station? Kaunsa wala madam? (he still hadn’t got the point yet)
Me: Jo aapko pasand ho. Aapki hi report likhvane jaana hai.
Auto-wallah 1: @#@$$$%$. Kya samajhte ho apne aap ko. Raste mein khade ho kar auto-wale ko darate ho.
Me: Aap kya samajhte ho apne aap ko. Diwali k din logon ko thug-te ho.

Auto-wallah 2: Kidhar jaana hai?
Auto-wallah 2: Rs.150
Me: Kitna? 150? Aage jao bhaiya.
Auto-wallah 2: Kitna denge madam aap?
Me: Rs.40. Utna hi hota hai meter se.
Auto-wallah 2: Par madam aaj Diwali hai.
Me: To kya hua? Kaunsa aap havai-jahaz mein bitha kar le jaa rahein hain?
Auto-wallah 2: Arey madam, jo hai ussi mein bitha kar le jaunga na. Kitne log hain? (there were 5 of us there)
R (my friend) : Kyun bhaiya? 1 ho ya 4 ho, kya farak padta hai? Sabki alag alag Diwali lenge kya aap?
S (another friend) : Bhaiya phir to Diwali offer bhi lagao. Sabko kam-se-kam 15% discount bhi dena.

Everybody inclusive of the auto-wallah burst out laughing.
He settled down on an additional baksheesh of Rs.10 to the meter.

There are a few auto-wallahs who would answer back in the same cranky rhythm that you set.

Auto-wallah 3: Itna hoga madam
Me: kyun bhaiya? Aaj aapka janamdin hai?
Auto-wallah 3: Janam-din samajh k hi de diji-ega

This was one time I was stumped. Could not think of a proper reply to throw back at his gloating face!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Of Sizes and Shapes

120 pounds, 65 inches, size 6… In this new era of washboard abs and size zero - incense stick figures, I sound like a heavy-weight champion :O Maybe I should compete for the world’s fattest woman. That’s how I feel even with only 4 sizes smaller and 17 bigger sizes categorized in the size chart.

All throughout my years of adolescence I kept worrying about the baby fat I had. Looking back at pics of that time, I classify myself as a baby-elephant, at least going by my current stats.

Another 1-2 kgs shed, and my insides will be sticking to each other, there will be no space for the food through pass through. I will disappear into nothing-ness. I am beginning to remind myself of those cartoons, where a vehicle tramples you and you go flat, waiting to be inflated with air to get back into shape.

I am soon going to get myself a personal - no not trainer, a personal tailor to stop making my dresses look like gunny bags. I am not going to be able to shop for branded clothes anymore. They sell only size 8 and above in India for adults :-/ And I don’t fit into clothes meant for the kiddos and teeny-weenies. I feel like I am grotesquely deformed.

I kind of miss the fat I had. At least it was easier to sit. My bones didn’t hurt me back then. Long back I used to look in envy at women with curves at the right places. I still envy them. Wrong or right, I had curves back then. Now I just fit into the category of “column” amongst the 12 body types that exist? Straight parallel lines, no curves.

Did I say ‘Shapes’ in the title? Sorry. Erase that. Straight lines aren’t considered as shapes.

Where has the era of shapely women gone? Where have all my lipids dissolved? Why has the day dawned where I am cribbing about my stats and my shape (as usual) and still wondering if it is worth losing another few pounds…

P.S: I haven’t given up eating on anything yummy like chocolates, ice-creams or doughnuts!!

P.P.S: There was a time when a small bell would ring in my head if I indulged too much. I can’t hear the bell anymore 

P.P.P.S: Hoping to return all round and cherubic after Diwali.

The last P.S : Initially this blog was supposed to be a blog telling people to ditch the size zero idea. It’s come to this because I don’t find myself eligible for it anymore.

The Greedy Algorithm

Willy was leaving for the US. It was her last day in the city, and I had gone to help her with her packing. Her grandmother is a renowned astrologer, and though I don’t believe in palmistry, I like to get my palm read by her. It’s fun. No two people who have read my palm have ever predicted the same future for me. In fact, even Willy's grandmother’s prediction has had variations with the years that have gone by. Anyway..

That day she told me that I was destined for a love-marriage. She went further and wished me good luck for finding the man of my dreams and also said that she could trust my choice. It gave me a warm feeling to know that a lady who is close to 80 had enough faith to trust the choice of a 20 something girl. People at that kind of age generally go, err, a little off the track and they don’t trust you to anything.

Willy : Paatti, you trust Shivani with her choice, but if the matter of a love-marriage came to me, you would have so many issues about it.

Granny: No, my dear. We wouldn’t mind…

Willy : (cutting Granny off, mid-sentence) Oh, ya? Then why this long list of the things-i-shouldn’t-do?

Granny: (finishing off her sentence) we wouldn’t mind as long as the guy is a Thanjavur Vadamaaal Iyengar. That’s the only condition we have.

THE ONLY CONDITION as explained to me turned out to be this:

Thanjavur is the place where their family comes from.
Iyengar is the caste
And Vadamaal is the sub-caste.

My question here is what makes parents closed to the idea of their kids falling in love? Why is it OK as far as it isn’t your child?

Observation says that the parent’s idea of a perfect bride/groom for their progeny is a person who is from the same caste, culture. A guy whose family is probably related to you in some way (read - a family your family can keep a tab on, a family whose private matters are public to you).

They say, “It will be very difficult for you to fit into their culture. It’s different from ours.” Were we all brought up following a rulebook of what our culture is or what is permissible in it? Were we brought up with such rigidity that we cannot adapt to a few additions to the rites and rituals that we learnt?

Does it really matter if you don’t know what happened to the Paternal Aunt's Son-in-Law's Sister's Grandfather's younger Brother's Wife's Paternal Uncle's Sister-in-Law's Grandson of the guy you are to get married to?

The guy in question has to be well settled. He should own a house and a car before he is married. Why? Am I marrying the guy or his possessions? Am I not earning enough to support myself, and even him if the need arises? Did our parents have everything before they were married? Did they not build up their own homes? Then why this notion of a person well-settled? Or is our generation not capable enough?

Oh! I almost forgot. The horoscopes. Why is it so important that all your 36 virtues have to match? Wouldn’t you be able to spend your life with a person who probably has only 24 planetary positions matching with yours?

And to think of it, all this has really not got anything to do with the person in question. Why do all these extra requisites become important than the person or his/her character or the kind of understanding that you share?

You may be in love with a person. But if all these conditions aren’t fulfilled, then you are doomed for life. You are going to be strung around somebody else’s neck. You may try and explain as much as you want about why the person you love is perfect for you but it won’t work. Parents are greedy when it comes to their kids. Everything has to be prefect for them. Nothing short of the best will do. Only that the kids don’t think of it as the best for them.

Your parents may not be asking for dowry, but if these become the major criteria for a marriage, then it sure fits the definition of what I call as the Greedy-Algorithm-of-Matchmaking.