Thursday, 25 April 2013

In Search Of Maid

One of my wife’s colleagues, Mr Parthav recently shifted to a new house, along with one of his friend. They both are pretty new to Bangalore and after few fruitless attempts, they requested my wife if she could discover a maid for them. Without proper contacts, such kind of activity could easily turn out to be a long hunt and to find the perfect maid, would be an endless exploration.  My wife said that she would talk to Sunita, our house maid regarding that. But it seemed even Sunita couldn’t find anyone for the job and she herself was not very much interested, as those guys used to stay a bit far from her place.  But after a few days she said to my wife that she would like to give it a try, at least for a week and if she's comfortable, she would continue with the job. 

Last weekend, my wife received a call from Parthav and he wanted to know if our maid was ready to help them.  She said that she would forward the maid’s number to him, as it would be better if he could directly speak to her. Parthav was little worried and asked if she understand Hindi? My wife replied that Sunita is originally from Nepal and not only she understands Hindi, she even speaks quite fluently, but under horrible little influence of her typical Nepali accent.  

So Parthav dialed her number and after he heard “Hellow” over the phone, he replied "Sunita?"

She replied "Yeah, it’s Sunita out here"

Parthav got little confused and wondered "wow, in Bangalore even the "Bai’s" maid’s can speak decent English"

He said "actually I got you reference from Dr Anjali"

Sunita replied "Aha! I know her quite well. So, what is it regarding?"

Parthav was in a little confused state and with some hesitation he asked "are you ready to help us?  How much would you charge?"

Sunita replied "Hello! What are you talking about?"

Parthav said "Actually we need you just for an hour in the morning, there wouldn't be much work, only few utensils and yes, I would want my clothes to be washed with perfection. Also ..."

Sunita interrupted "Hang on, hang on. Excuse me, I am not from the housekeeping and I am a dietitian"

Parthav was quite embarrassed and as soon as he asked for an apology, he disconnected the call. My wife Anjali, works for a healthcare company and she has to deal with hell lot of dietitians, nurses, as well as doctors, on a regular basis. She  was so amused and couldn’t stop laughing out loud, after she realized that by mistake she forwarded Parthav a different Sunita’s number. She even had a mock of Parthav and asked him "Are you mad? After she introduced herself, how couldn’t you make out that, no way she could have been a maid?”

Thursday, 18 April 2013

One Memorable Software Bug

Many of my college friends including me, had to struggle a bit for our first job, as there was no campus placement  in our college that time and the situation turned out little more challenging, as we passed out during some kind of recession period. Gradually market improved and eventually guys were started to get placed in different organizations. Life was pretty cool during the initial phase of our first job. Well, money can definitely bring hell lot of happiness.  During that time, my good friend Diganta completed his CDAC course from Hyderabad and got placed in a well known software company, based out at Pune. Diganta is quite a cool and friendly kind of  guy, but he is not the kind of guy who used to spend little extra time over the telephone. In fact, when he was at Hyderabad, I couldn't remember even a single instance, when he bothered to call us. We had a huge gang of our college buddies, out here in Bangalore.

Diganta already shifted to Pune and joined the company he was placed in. One evening, all of a sudden we received a call from him and we talked for a long time.  We were really amused for the fact that, one after another, Diganta talked with each and every one of us. He talked for almost 2 hours and we were so delighted, but also very much confused, as it was a little different kind of Diganta we experienced that night. After his call, we discussed among ourselves “What happened to Diganta? He almost talked for 2 hours.”

Next evening, Diganta again called us and talked extensively with everyone, on various topics one after another.  We were totally confused and I seriously doubted that he must have got some free phone, from somewhere. But how the hell could that have been possible? STD rates were pretty high those days and within our knowledge, there was no such scheme where STD calls was free. 

We had hell lot of doubts and ultimately I asked him "Dude, what's the case?"

Diganta said "What case?"

I replied "I mean, all of a sudden you started calling us and that too, talk for 2-3 hours"

Diganta said "What should I say? You guys never call me and when I call you guys,  you complain. It's OK, if you don't like then I will not bother you guys any more"

I said "It’s not like that, we just want to know the truth. Do you have any offer like, free calls at night or so?"

Diganta replied "Well, in that case, next time I will always call you guys at day time. Will that be fine?"

The conversation went just like that for almost an hour and eventually Diganta disconnected the call. Before disconnecting, he said that we guys have changed, as we were not interested to talk to him anymore. He said that even his Mom and other family members also used to complain about, why he used to call them so frequently?

Next evening again the mobile rang and Diganta’s name displayed on the screen.  We were 100% sure that something terribly fishy was going on and we immediately asked him about it. 

Diganta started to laugh and said "Nothing guys, I just want to talk to you people"

He had fun for few more minutes and then he revealed his secret. It’s one of the most memorable software bugs that I could recollect. At Hyderabad, Diganta was using a Pre-Paid SIM card of a particular operator. He was about to relocate to Pune that time and he had some talk time left with his SIM, so he took the SIM along with him to Pune. Initially he didn’t use his Hyderabad SIM much, as the roaming charges were pathetic. Till the time he arranged for a new SIM in Pune, he had to receive a few calls on his Hyderabad number and he got very disappointed, as it charged him even for the incoming calls. Once Diganta got his new Pune SIM card, he still had 20 Rupees talk time left on his Hyderabad SIM.

He thought to utilize the remaining   talk time and called his home. He was under the impression that the call would drop automatically, once the balance would have reduced  to zero. But the call never dropped and in fact, it lasted for a couple of hours and they had to voluntarily disconnect it. After the call, Diganta checked his balance and it showed 20 Rupees. Diganta was very delighted, but he also anticipated that very soon the balance would become negative. Any way, he didn’t have to worry much, as it was a Pre-paid SIM. 

Once more he tried his luck and called one of his friends. Again that time the call didn’t drop automatically and they had a long chat. After the call, Diganta checked the balance and it displayed 20 Rupees on the screen. He was overjoyed and out of excitement he screamed and couldn’t stop laughing out loud.

Next few days, he experimented it with several mobile numbers and called his friends across India and every time his balance used to show 20 Rupees. He was damn excited, as he almost got the "Aladdin Ka Chirag" Magic Lamp, only the Jinni didn’t bother to appear. 

Diganta noticed that for every incoming call he received, his talk time balance used to get reduced, but in case of outgoing calls, it seemed the Jinni inside the mobile device did some kind of magic. Diganta realized that there was a serious bug in the operator’s billing software and he wanted to have maximum out of it, before it got rectified. Unfortunately he didn’t have any girl friend that time, but it’s OK, as he used to make long and frequent calls to his home, relatives and friends. He even tried some ISD numbers, as few of his friends were abroad that time. It seemed the software bug didn’t discriminate among national and international numbers. 

Diganta enjoyed the unlimited free calls for almost a month and then one day the validity of that SIM got expired. It was quite a difficult situation for him, as he was so much addicted to the bug. Those days there were not many options to recharge Pre-Paid SIM's and I think the only option was to buy recharge coupons. He asked one of his friends in Hyderabad to buy a recharge coupon for him, but unfortunately the Jinni inside the handset couldn’t help him any further with that SIM. Out of frustration, Diganta managed to get one more Pre-Paid SIM from Hyderabad and one of his friends couriered it to him.  Again the Jinni came back to business and Diganta got busy with the phone calls. It continued for another couple of months and then the operator might have identified the bug, as ultimately the mobile Jinni stopped to perform the magic.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

One Long Night With My Father

During my childhood days, everyone in our house used to feel the deep sleep of my father at night. His melodious snores was audible from every corner of the house and I just wondered, how my mother faced such sort of high pitch music alongside. Whenever relatives used to visit our house in bulk or whenever we used to visit them, in particular, on special occasions, quite often some permutation and combinations was required for the optimal solution of “Who would be sleeping with whom and on which rooms?” On such occasions I always tried my best, so that the optimal solution wouldn't have ended up with, my father sleeping beside me.

Those days it was so much fun whenever any relatives used to visit and I remember one such occasion, when a hell lot of relatives visited our house. That night, all permutation and combination that I could have calculated failed and ultimately, I had to sleep next to my dad. I think I was in my 9th or 10th grade that time and my elder brother was not at house, as he already joined his engineering college. After dinner we had a wonderful gossip and eventually everyone went to sleep, while I prepared myself for the big challenge ahead. 

I noticed that within a few minutes, my father went to sleep and I could hear his mild snores. The volume started to increase after every successive minute and a little later, it reached the threshold level. That time I kept watching his nostrils for a while and just wondered, how such monstrous sound comes out of those tiny holes? I tried to sleep, but no way could I have slept under such blustering explosions. I had to do something in order to get some sleep and I gently pressed his nose and tried to block one of the nostrils. I was little delighted as  the volume reduced for few seconds, but very soon I realized that his one nostril was capable enough to raise the volume to the threshold level and that time the music was little different. 

Again I tried to sleep under such miserable condition, but I couldn’t. I tried my luck once more and that time, I experimented with his other nostril, by gently blocking it. But without much surprise the result was similar, as the monstrous sounds evolved through the single hole and that time the sound was again a little different. 

I had almost given up and somehow tried to sleep, but without much luck though, as I could only manage a series of few second naps. I went for a final attempt and my intention was to disturb my dad's sleep for a while. That time, I blocked both his nostrils and there was complete silence in the room for a while. But immediately, the room exploded with the blistering sounds and at that moment, the explosions originated from his mouth. Very soon the sounds reached the threshold level, but I was not able to bring him back from his dream world. With no other options left , I decided not to disturb him any further and simply lied down on the bed. 

After that night, I never gave it a second chance. But about 15 months back, when Jia arrived into this world, my parents visited us. Again at that time, I didn’t have any other option and I had to sleep beside my father. I was little horrified with the kind of explosive sounds, I had to encounter in the night. But to my surprise, he never made any kind of lullaby for me and next morning, when  I asked  my mother about the drastic change, she said to me that somehow my father stopped to snore, long time back.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Indecent Confession

The ragging phase was over and we recently got our fresher’s that time.  We all were accustomed quite well to the hostel environment and everything seemed to be so perfect and exciting. During those days there was no cable connection at our hostel and internet connection was out of scope. There was not even a single cyber cafe in the entire college campus and the few cafe's in the city, used to charge about 60-80 rupees/hour. Those days, it was not considered as a crime, if anyone wouldn't have known some of the terms like MP3, Email, URL, Browser etc. Situation turned quite rapidly and within 2 years, after we joined college, the entire scenario was changed.

Similar to our school days, in engineering hostel also it was quite customary to rent VCR for 24 hours.  But we didn’t have much opportunity to do that, as the situation transformed so fast that we couldn't realize when, renting VCR/Video cassettes became out of fashion. We were into our first semester, when we had our first and last opportunity to enjoy a VCR fest at hostel and I think, that was my last opportunity in general.

It seemed, most of the hosteler were only interested in the spiritual kind of movies. Well, they could have easily watched the regular kind of Bollywood/Hollywood blockbusters in the theaters. Everyone eagerly waited for the spiritual late night fest, but on that particular evening, it was a kind of shocker for us, when some of our immediate seniors came to us and said that the first semester guys would not be entertained for the fest. We were so depressed that moment and when we asked for the reason, they said that some of the senior most guys were not very comfortable to participate along with the junior most guys. 

So, ultimately we were requested, rather we were warned, not to be present anywhere near the common room. Some of our senior friends advised us to sleep early and we actually tried to sleep early that night. Our room was little far from the common room but Nair’s room was quite close to it. All of a sudden during the midnight, Nair came to our room and he looked quite disturbed. He said that the volume in the common room was too loud and the entire 2nd block echoed with the sacred chants. Nair was very much disturbed with those sounds and he couldn’t concentrate on his sleep. He desperately wanted to somehow watch some part of the movie, else he could have gone mad that night. I still remember, that time I cracked a joke on him "Dude, pure Mallu blood running inside your body"

Few of us went along with Nair to his block, to inspect the situation and we were so excited to hear the holy chants, crystal clear. After sometime, we went back to our room and discussed "We must do something about it"

Nair said that we could go to the backside of the common room and watch through the window from behind. But, that would have been too risky, as our common room was in a small hill and the back side of it was complete jungle and no one used to go there, even in broad day light. The consequences could have been little severe, if any of the seniors would have caught us. But we were spirituality, so deeply influenced that moment, that I and Nair were ready for the adventure. Mehboob immediately backed off and advised us not to go for it, but Nair had gone crazy that night and was desperate to have few glimpses of the holy shits. But there was a small problem, as Geetam was also very much eager to go along with us. Now, Geetam was a chatter box and he was the kind of guy, who couldn’t keep  any secret inside his stomach, for long. We were seriously worried to take Geetam along with us, but he was adamant. Finally we three went for it and somehow reached the backside of the common room. That was a horrific decision, as we could have been easily attacked by the snakes, but I think that time we didn’t have enough knowledge about those snakes. We took our position behind the window and the television was clearly visible. The common room was completely packed and we were delighted to see those particular senior most guys, as they took the central position and we even heard them cracking jokes on a particular scene. We watched for around 10-15 minutes and after I and Nair were done with it, we were about to go back to our rooms. But Geetam was not finished yet and requested us for another 5 minutes. 

We waited few more minutes, but Geetam was unable to finish it on time. 

Nair said to him “Leave it Geetam, lets go back. You can finish it after going back to your room”

Geetam got very irritated and said "You ass hole, you guys are already done with it and now you are not allowing me to complete"

Every more minute we spent out there, was almost like a nightmare and the fear of getting caught, haunted us badly. We decided not to disturb Geetam and allowed him to take his own sweet time, as he would have definitely taken more time under pressure.  Finally Geetam said that he was done with it and we went back to our room. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Memorable Shillong Trip, Part-2

It seemed, Bhushan didn’t have any prior, zigzag kind of road experience and unfortunately he had to puke all throughout the journey.  We reached Shillong by 1 PM and to be honest, the weather was not up to my expectation, as the sun was out and I couldn’t feel the need of either jacket or a sweater that moment. We booked our hotel rooms at a place called Police Bazar and we noticed that there was no fan in any of the rooms. One of my friends who visited Shillong many times had a mild laugh and said “Dude, you wouldn't find even a single fan in Shillong” But some of my Shillong friends used to say that now a day’s some people already started to keep fans.

After a heavy lunch in a nearby restaurant we went back to our rooms and after some rest, slowly and leisurely everyone started to consume the fluids that Tunga bought on the way. After a while, the weather became very pleasant and by 4 PM, the weather was beyond pleasing and all of us were inside the blankets. The same friend burst into laughter and said "Do you guys need a fan?"

Shillong is a famous tourist place and there are hell lots of attractive spots to visit. Few of us thought that if we had come that far then we must visit a few places, instead of lying down inside the rooms. As that was my first visit to Shillong, so I was very much excited to explore, but some guys were not at all interested to go out. At last, few of us decided to visit Shillong Peak that time and we had to move fast, as it was already started to get little darker. As soon as we came out of the hotel, we were very much delighted to feel the typical Shillong kind of weather, we used to hear from others. It was drizzling and the weather was pleasantly cold outside. 

We took a taxi to Shillong Peak and the driver was a cool and friendly kind of guy. On the way we discussed about the weather out there, how it changed all of a sudden, as it was quite sunny and hot about an hour back.The taxi driver tried to take part in our discussion and said "Bro, Shillong weather is like a mystery, just like the girls out here. One can never predict, how they would turn out the very next hour."

 It's OK, I think it was just a joke. 

Shillong Peak is quite fascinating, as it was cloudy and the weather out there, was so pleasing that moment. We enjoyed some burned corn and spent almost an hour there. Later we went to our hotel and had a blast that night.

Next morning we woke up little late and after breakfast we checked out from hotel. We visited the great Elephanta Falls and the Golf Course.

After lunch, some of us did little shopping and I was very much interested in some good metal collection. Those days internet was not easily available, like now a days and it was a pain to get good music collection.

Shillong is a kind of heaven for Rock/Metal music lovers and one could find literally any kind of collection out there. In the evening we took cab to Guwahati and as soon as we reached Paltan Bazar at 9 PM, we already started to sweat.
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