Thursday, 24 December 2015

I Wish You a Merry Christmas

I was into my first job. I joined as fresher in a software company. I was in a project with Latin American client, an international Bank. I regularly used to interact with David, a Latino guy, mostly through emails and sometimes on call. Christmas was about to come, and I wished him "Happy Christmas" in a trailing mail, where my manager was also marked. My manager was not happy with something, and took me to a conference room. He lectured me about wishing Christmas in private for almost 10 to 15 minutes. He told me not to wish "Happy Christmas" to clients, instead say "Merry Christmas". I always get confused with Happy and Merry. That moment I was quite depressed, David was a nice friendly man, I thought I simply upset him by wishing wrongly.

Later that day, I received a Thank You reply from David. It was not simply a thank you mail, but a little more. Then we had a few email conversation, one-to-one. I wrote to him that I should've wished "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Christmas". He wrote a long and friendly reply on this, which only meant that Christmas is celebration time, party time. One can wish "Happy Christmas", "Merry Christmas" or whatever, but everyone should celebrate together, party together and be happy.

Wish you all a Merry Christmas!!

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A Memorable Mutton Briyani

Biryani is a mixed rice dish usually prepared with intense and aromatic spices, rice and meat. It is a rather complex dish, not only because Briyani is little complicated to prepare, but also for the fact that many claim their briyani as the original one. Also, there is no specific recipe for it - the dish changes from place to place, people to people. In India, briyani is not just a dish, it’s a tradition, kind of a cultural expression. Historians believe that the dish could have come to India all the way from Persia via Afghanistan. Briyani is also quite popular among the vegetarians, the preparation is more or less the same, just instead of meat they mix vegetables.

After living in Bangalore for more than a decade, I can easily claim it is the land of briyani. Bangalore is a cosmopolitan city, and one can find people from each and every part of India, that too in huge numbers. Briyani has gone deep into the food culture of Bangaloreans. The situation is similar to 'Momo in Guwahati’. There’s just momos’ and monos’ everywhere in Guwahati. There, one can’t run a restaurant without serving momo. Momo is just so deep into the food culture of  the people of Guwahati, particularly youngsters, college-goers. Biryani is to Bangalore what Momo is to Guwahati. One can find almost any kind of briyani in Bangalore. Apart from the usual Chicken, Mutton, Egg and Veg briyani, one can also find varieties of Fish and Prawn briyani as well. They serve briyani in almost every restaurant in Bangalore, be it big, small or roadside restaurants. Briyani in any form is an absolute delight. Every briyani is heavy on flavor, the moment we put a spoonful inside, it fills our mouth with rice aroma.

Along with the tongue people also have emotional attachments towards the briyani of their origin. Some of the most popular briyani as far as Bangalore is concerned are recipes of Lucknow, kolkata, Kerala; but nothing can compete with the Hyderabadi briyani. It is a brand. Hyderabadi briyani also comes in different flavors - Hyderabadi Dum briyani, Boneless briyani, Chicken fried briyani and many more similar stuffs.

Okay, enough of briyani gyan, I think now I should shift gear towards one of our memorable Mutton briyani. The incident happened about seven or eight years ago. During those carefree days, on one weekend I and Anjali went out in the evening. After little bit of shopping we thought of having dinner outside. We were at Koramangala, one of the most happening place in Bangalore. We knew about a very famous briyani restaurant there, but were confused to locate it. I called one of my friends and got to know we were pretty close to the restaurant. But my friend suggested us to avoid the place, as on weekends it’s usually overcrowded.

Despite the warning we visited the restaurant. We found that the place was not just overcrowded, it was chaos. I asked the manager how much time it would take. He replied that it would take about an hour. Looking at the crowd I felt the manager was quite generous in his response. The aroma of briyani was heavy in the air. It seemed Mutton briyani was a specialty over there. We decided better we order a takeaway rather than waiting. Even the takeaway took quite a time. The moment someone handed over our parcel I was more than delighted. The polythene bag was heavy, we had ordered two plates of Mutton briyani.

We took an auto back home. It was 10 in the night. The weekend rush was bad. I was holding the briyani bag, the wait was getting desperate. We reached home. I put on relaxing, homely clothing. Switched on the TV. Anjali brought the plates and spoons from the kitchen. Happiness around, we were all set to relish the tempting Mutton briyani. I cut open a packet, put some on a plate. The pleasant smell of briyani instantly rose to my face. I dipped into the packet with two fingers, searching for Mutton pieces. I found one and took it out. But I was puzzled to find it to be a big piece of potato. I took the whole briyani out. No Mutton pieces, only giant potatoes.

I wondered they’ve wrongly given Kolkata briyani. Well, one unique thing about Kolkata briyani is that they also mix potatoes, big pieces, along with the meat. But in our case there were only potatoes, no meat. My heartbeats started to accelerate. And then I thought, they might have kept all the Mutton pieces in the other packet, together. I immediately opened the other one, only to find potatoes and potatoes, no meat at all. I and Anjali stared each other in discomfort. I thought to search for the restaurant number and call them. But that would have been stupid, I guess. Without much of an option we both ate the briyani with heavy heart. It was delicious, but we missed to bite some flesh, missed to chew on the mutton bones that night.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

A Little Moment of Pride

The Assam Tribune is one of the oldest and most reputed English daily Newspaper from Assam, India. It was founded in 4th of August 1939. First published from Guwahati, it is now published simultaneously from Guwahati and Dibrugarh. It has a huge readership in Assam and is the highest circulated English daily in the entire North-East India. I grew up reading the Assam Tribune, right from childhood - schooldays - college. I could recollect the fine morning, I checked my Engineering entrance examination results in the same Newspaper. I was pretty relieved. I've left Assam almost a decade ago to earn my bread. Like many other things back home, I also miss the Tribune, the smell of its print, refreshing. I do read it online though.

Today, when I read the book review of my debut book "Story of Tublu" published is The Assam Tribune, I was overjoyed and thrilled. I felt content, a little moment of pride.

You can read the review here.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Durga Puja in Bangalore

Durga Puja is an annual festival that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Thus, Durga Puja festival epitomizes the victory of Good over Evil. Durga Puja is widely celebrated across Indian, particularly in the states of Assam and West Bengal where it is a long annual holiday. Being born and brought up in Assam I can say confidently that just like the festival of Bihu, Durga puja is also secular in nature where people from all communities and walks of life participate.

In Bangalore, every year the Bengali and Assamese associations work really hard for the togetherness and warmness of Durga Puja. As far as the Assamese cultural and community welfare organizations are concerned, the Assam Association Bangalore (AAB) is quite renowned. AAB is the nodal organization which binds and unites the entire community present in Bangalore together through various social, cultural and community welfare activities and initiatives throughout the year. The association takes great pride in creating initiatives which showcases the rich, varied and proud cultural legacy and heritage of Assam and in the process create a bridge of respect, harmony and bonhomie between the people of Assam and Karnataka by drawing similarities and parallels.

Durga Puja celebration is such an extravaganza in Assam that I couldn’t avoid mentioning about it in my debut fiction novel Story of Tublu. Located for a major part in the northeast of the country, the narrative is full of anthropological details of lives of people in that part of India some of which are well-known and some less known.

An excerpt from Story of Tublu:

"Autumn has arrived and the town turned wonderful. The fragrance of jasmine and several wild blossoms drifted through the air from the rich flora all around. The weather was magnificent, and after the monsoon the tea garden looked refreshingly green and mesmeric. Maina arrived home and she looked different. She had become more beautiful and confident. In her new shoulder length haircut, she was looking more trendier than before. Tublu was delighted to see her, but he was also anxious and felt apprehensive about something.

Durga puja holidays are always the best in this part of the world. All the schools and colleges remain closed for almost a couple of weeks. The puja celebration is simply amazing. It’s a very significant socio-cultural event and people prepare puja pandals all over the town. It’s a fabulous time for everyone and particularly youngsters, to hang out with friends. People come out on the streets in the evening, wearing their best possible outfits to experience the carnival. That’s the time when young hearts usually collide, leading to some beautiful bonding."

This Autumn is going to be different. Well, I’m putting up a stall in the upcoming Durga puja fest organized by Assam Association Bangalore, where I will exhibit my debut book.


Sir M Vishveshwaraya College Grounds Near Kemp Fort Mall,
Murugeshpalya, Old (HAL) Airport Road, Bangalore-560017

(18 - 22 October 2015)

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Sauna Slimming Belt

It was the year of 2005. That was the time when late night television advertisements like Telebrands and all, started evolving. Such advertisements were emerging as a major marketing platform for the various innovating products. Even though such products are under wide categories, but those related to health care are truly inspiring. Those were the happy days, and our happiness gradually started accumulating in our tummies. I joined gym quite a few times, but every time somehow my association with gym was kind of casual. Well, without commitment relationships don’t last long.

One night I came across Sauna Slimming Belt advertisement on TV. The product seemed to be unique that specialized in reducing the excessive body weight without following any strict exercising and diet routine. The commercial started with "Kya Aap Motapa Se Pareshan Hai?"

A beautiful and slim lady was demonstrating how to use the Sauna belt. It was very easy to use, just had to tie it around our waist,  plug on the attached wire and adjust the heat regulator. Sauna belt could also be applied to other body parts like the abdomen or thighs, and the generated heat sweat away unwanted fat. The pretty lady on the TV promised that the magical belt would show result in the very first use itself. She even demonstrated the same, before using the sauna belt she measured her waist, and after using for 30-40 minutes she measured her waist yet again. Wow! Bingo, sauna belt is truly magical.

Both I and my wife felt that Sauna slim belt was designed just for us, people who are little concerned about getting fat, but find it difficult to workout in gym. My wife was so convinced with the sauna belt that she decided to order one. Even though I was tempted but was in double mind, to order or not to order? Well, I was quite a pessimist kind of person right from childhood. In the meanwhile my wife already ordered the Sauna Slimming Belt on the phone, with cash on delivery. Immediately we received an SMS with the intimation that the invoice was sent to out email id. I was confused, but then felt spending 3500 rupees is fine, after all we both are going to be slim very soon.

The product arrived in the next few days. The first time experience with the sauna belt was simply amazing. It was a great feeling of getting slimmer all while sitting comfortably in a chair in front of the TV. Initially I was little anxious, also scared as the heat was driven by electricity, but I adjusted the heat regulator till the point I could bear. I felt that a portion of my tummy heated tremendously, kind of painful. The heat wasn’t evenly distributed. After using for about half an hour I loosened the belt. There was some sweat, and my tummy turned kind of red. My common sense suggested that it is not going to work. I wondered heating myself up this way is stupid. I was worried that the sauna belt is likely to cause blisters in my skin.

I always had some doubt about the sauna belt, and after using it I was confirmed that Sauna slimming belt is just a scam, a ridiculous gimmick of a product that would burn our skin. I’ve used it only once but my wife tried it for few more times, and ultimately she also realized the same. Later, after a few months when we came across similar advertisements on TV and came to know that they are selling sauna belts in just 800 rupees, we were really upset.

Last week, as I was searching for something, I found our memorable Sauna Slimming Belt in the wardrobe. Whatever, it was a nice feeling, I enjoyed some nostalgia brought on by our sauna belt.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Marketing Trainee Job

Life was different after I passed out of college. Completed Engineering without a job, neither scored good enough marks, and on top of that the market was going through some kind of recession. The initial couple of weeks was fine, had a great time at home. But soon life turned boring, depressing, I was anxious about the future. My dear friend, my hostel buddy Rajat used to stay a few kms from our place. Well, my parents used to live in a rented house at Ganeshguri, a place in Guwahati. Rajat’s house was in Lal Ganesh. Quite often I and Rajat used to meet in the evening near the famous Ganesh temple, smoked a couple of cigarettes, talked about our hostel days, and also talked about our uncertain future.

Later, some of my college buddies shifted to a rented house nearby Ganesh temple. They were preparing for Gate/MBA. I visited them frequently, spent hours there. Once again life turned awesome, just like the hostel days. But my friends had some plans, they were preparing hard. I was simply aimless, without any idea what to do. Being a Computer Science graduate I thought of going to Bangalore, the IT city. But some of my very close Mechanical/Chemical buddies already moved to Delhi. They called me to come. They said Delhi is a beautiful city to live. Also, there are some Top MBA Colleges in Delhi. Rajat decided to join them and booked his ticket. I was confused. Soon, some more friends decided to go to Delhi. Most of them wanted to prepare either for Gate or for MBA. I didn’t have any such plan though, I simply wanted to find a job and work. Ultimately I also booked my ticket to Delhi.

We still had couple of months time before we left for Delhi. In the meanwhile we kept looking for opportunities in Guwahati. One day we came across a Newspaper job advertisement for freshers. It was marketing trainee job. Salary was okay, good enough for us, the fatichars. Rajat was pretty much interested for the job. He wanted to do MBA and some marketing trainee exposure could be handy for him. Rajat came to my house in the morning. In his formal wear Rajat looked professional. He also had a piece of Tie with him, but he was confused whether to wear it or not. He kept it in his pocket, said he would use it according to the situation.

There were a few more candidates, waiting for their turn. Someone called me and Rajat, asked us to go inside. The interviewer looked smart.

"So you both are from same college"

We had a little bit of chit-chat, and then the interviewer asked what we want to do in life. Rajat replied that he would like to do MBA after gaining one or two years of work experience.

"In MBA you will learn only theory, but here you will learn practical, no theory, only practical,” the interviewer guy advised us. Without wasting another minute he called one of his junior and said “you guys go with him, he is your team lead. Today entire day you learn the basic field work. We will talk once you return in the evening"

I was confused, "what is field work? Is our team lead going to take us to a factory?"

Our team lead was a very friendly guy. "Today you guys simply notice how I work, just observe everything and try to understand the complexities," he briefed us.

We entered a city bus.

"Where are we going sir?" I asked.

"Don’t worry, you will get to know everything," he replied.

We got down at a familiar place and followed our team lead. All of a sudden he knocked a door. A lady, not very friendly looking one, opened the door.

"Sister, we have some wonderful home utility products. If you like we could show you and explain"

The aunty got furious, she said something rude and closed the door in anger.

I and Rajat looked at each other. We both were confused and wondered what if we encounter some known person, some of our college mates stayed at that place. Our team lead was very professional, he knocked a few more doors, but everywhere the response was more or less the same. Finally at one house the owner purchased some of the products. “No wonder, sales is the most difficult/essential part of any business. I was quite impressed with my team lead, the way he used to speak to clients, never got frustrated if someone treated him rudely.

But neither I nor Rajat was prepared for the job yet. We decided to back off. Our team lead was upset. He took us to a nearby tea stall. He lighted a cigarette and offered us as well.

“I have many friends who have done their graduations long back; BSC, BCOM, BA, some even completed their MA and are still jobless. I’m not a graduate, but I earn well enough. Initially I was ashamed of doing door to door sales, but now I got used to it. Actually, sales job is like this only,” our team lead motivated us while slurping his tea, and then he took a gentle drag on his cigarette and exhaled.

We understood each and every word he said but we were not mentally prepared for the job. We shook hands. Our team lead wished us good luck.

"After completing high school, every candidate start searching for a good college. The search continues even after completing graduation. Well, searching good colleges has always been a difficult job. Instead of seeking for colleges here and there what if we have website which help us to find a perfect college. Yes College Dunia does the same. College Dunia is a search engine that allow us to browse various colleges in different streams. College dunia is a college searching engine where one can literally find tons of colleges within few clicks. Now we don’t need to visit colleges to get its details. You can just browse college dunia and can find every information regarding colleges, exams, results and many more."

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Daily Bus Pass

          It was the beginning of year 2004 when I arrived in Bangalore for the first time to start a career, to earn my bread. That was the time when market was reviving from recession, and  Even we freshers, also started to get interview calls. Bangalore is the most wonderful city to live in India, but for someone struggling to get a job, for people with limited pocket size, the city is going to give you some hard time. Everything is expensive out here, including the basic human needs Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan(Food, clothing, and shelter). Actually, I was always confused why clothing is included in the list. Of course clothing is important, one cannot roam around naked in the street. But everyone could afford to cover their body if they don’t consider fashion as part of their life. One can wear the same piece of cloth everyday, wash it before going to sleep and then wear the same in morning. What I mean to say is clothing cannot be compared to either food or place of shelter. The other two needs are far bigger. The one more thing which can be compared to food and shelter is travel.

Travelling is a pain in cities like Bangalore, with overcrowded buses, sky high auto fares. It’s a everyday struggle for people to reach office on time. Also, travelling consumes a major part of our salary. But thanks to BMTC for giving us the option of Daily/Monthly bus pass. During our job hunt days when I and my friends had to travel from one corner of Bangalore to another for attending interviews, we used to take 25 rupees Daily Bus pass, which allowed us limitless travel throughout the day.

          Soon I started to work and just like my friends, even my pocket got sizable, and turned into a little better shape. I was among the first to get promoted from bachelorhood, might be because of some personal reasons. Enjoying a bachelor life and living a married life is a totally different game altogether; one got to be responsible for the later. My wife Anjali, also struggled to start her career in Bangalore. Even though it was challenging, we lived within tight budget, but those were happy days, very memorable. We used to live in a small house, pretty close to the place where I used to stay earlier with my friends. My earlier housemate friends continued to stay at the same old house. Staying nearby had one advantage, I never missed  the weekend parties together with my buddies. Those days I was working with HP. I remember, just a couple of months after our marriage I joined a new project where I had to work during the US working hours for few months. I used to go office by 8:30 pm, worked till 5:30 in the morning and returned home by 6:30 am. 

My wife Anjali recently completed her BAMS and joined a Hospital far away from home, as a duty Doctor.  During the weekdays Anjali and I stayed together just for a couple of hours. In the morning when I returned from office, Anjali would get ready for work. She had to travel a long way, had to change three buses. We used to have breakfast together and then she would left. Well, in the morning Anjali used to take a Daily Bus Pass. After she returned in the evening I would collect the same pass from her and used it; I also had to change two buses to reach office. Sometimes she was late, but I kept waiting for her at the nearby bus stop. As soon as she stepped down the bus, I would approach her. We both would look at each other and smile; I would her ask for the bus pass and say "Bye, see you in the morning". After I reached my destination I always used to give the same Daily Bus Pass to some needy person. I usually got someone or the other at the bus stand.

A decade later

          Bangalore has changed a lot. The auto fares during my early Bangalore days can to compared to bus fare these days. Somehow both I and Anjali lost the practice of travelling by bus. Nowadays, there are plenty of luxurious but expensive buses running around the city. This weekend I had to go a long way for some work. I thought to take a bus rather than driving alone that long. I boarded a Volvo AC bus. The conductor suggested me to take a Daily Bus Pass. The guy briefed me with his calculation that I would benefit by taking the pass. Without thinking much I purchased it in 140 rupees. The guy asked very politely for my ID proof. I tried to remember when the last time I bought a pass like that. The situation managed to evoke nostalgia.

While returning I used the same pass, but this time the conductor asked for my ID proof in a slightly rude manner. He started to argue. It took me a minute to realize that I displayed him a different ID from the one I used earlier, in order to purchase the Pass. So BMTC has become quite strict these days as far as the Daily Bus Pass is concerned.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Onion Story

Some years back

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. Wife was not at home. I was simply lying on my bed. I looked at my mobile phone, it was already 1 pm; I thought of preparing lunch. I opened the freeze and was delighted to see some frozen chicken. I then looked for other ingredients and spices which I'm aware of for preparing chicken. Ginger, garlic, chilies, potatoes, chicken-masala, garam-masala, jeera powder, well, everything was there. But there was a small problem though, I couldn’t find even a single piece of onion in the kitchen. I thought of buying some from the grocery store downstairs. I looked at my wallet. Oh shit, I had only one piece of note in my wallet, a ten rupees one.

I took downstairs, went to the store.

"Give me some onions, bro." I asked.

"Sorry brother, no onions," The guy smiled and I got little upset.

"Aree, give me at least a couple of pieces," I pleaded.

"Sorry, we don’t have even a single piece of onion in the store"

There was one more small shop nearby. The shopkeeper there was kind of weird, a lean and thin middle aged man. I usually try to avoid him, but then, we only had two shops in the locality. I crossed the playground and went to the shop.

"Do yo have onions?"

"Yes" I was more than delighted to hear that.

"Please give me some, I have 10 rupees with me," I asked.

"No 10 rupees, you will have purchase minimum of 15 Rs," the shopkeeper said strictly.

"Sir, I only have 10 Rs with me. Please give me some."

No luck.

"Okay then, give me of 15 rupees, I will pay you the remaining five in the evening"

Still no luck.

"At least give me a couple of pieces"

Pretty disappointed, I thought of visiting the nearby ATM. I walked for half a km and was outside the ATM, waiting. Those days ATM’s were quite limited, and on top of that we used to stay a little away from the main road. As expected, I couldn’t withdraw money from there. I’m kind of pessimistic by the way. So again I had to walk for another half a km to the next ATM. After withdrawing money I went to the nearby grocery store. I was confused not to get onion there as well. On the way back home I entered a couple of more shops, but nowhere I could find onion. Ultimately I went back to the same shop in our locality.

"Please give me a kg of onion," I asked.

"One kilo onion is of 150 rupees," the shopkeeper said sharply. It took me by surprise. Accordingly to my grocery knowledge it should have been of 30 or 40 rupees. I took half a kilo of onions and returned home.

It was a hell of a chicken I prepared that day. It was extremely delicious and I ate to my full. Later, while flipping through the TV remote I stopped at a News channel, there was some discussion going on about the soaring onion prices. Even though I was kind of relaxed after I realized it was not only me, the entire India was struggling to get their share of onions, but I also felt embarrassed about being so ignorant. I should watch News channels more frequently I thought.

I'm born and brought up in Assam. In our place, street hawkers selling ‘jhalmuri, peas, nuts, chanachur’  mixed with ‘chopped onions/chilies, spices and coriander leaves’ are very common. We grew up relishing such roadside refreshing crackers. I didn’t find  people selling such foodstuff outside Assam though, not in Bangalore at least. But I'm pretty sure it’s available all over Kolkatta. When I visit my homeland, every time I go out in the evening the "jhalmuri and other similar street refreshments keep grabbing my attention. More than the yummy factor it's nostalgia that overwhelms me.  One advantage about eating such spicy and crunchy snacks is that, one gets aware of the soaring onion prices much before the News reaches the media. Actually, in such situations, the jhalmuri/nuts sellers mix nicely chopped Muli(radish) along with the onions. The amount of Muli they mix is directly proportional to the price rice of onion. It is also a common practice that during these limited no onion days, the jhalmuri sellers would keep some finely chopped onions secretly tucked in one corner, for their special and regular customers.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Fifteen Minutes Fast

          Every morning it's the same story with us; we have to struggle a lot to make Jia ready for school. It is a tough job, particularly for my wife Anjali and our helper Rinku. Jia’s school bus usually comes by 8 am at the nearby pickup point. Quite often we have to call the bus driver and request him to wait for a couple of minutes.

It was a perfect morning, Jia was ready for school, Rinku went to drop her at the bus stop. The wall clock in the hall was displaying 8:10 am. Well, we use to keep it fifteen minutes fast. So Jia was on time and we felt it wasn’t necessary to call the driver to wait. Rinku took more time than usual to return home. To our surprise Jia was also with her in her school uniform. So Jia missed her bus yet again, but how come? She was on time. Anjali called the school transport authority and complained about their irregularities. I was getting ready for office. I looked at the wall clock in the hall, it was displaying 8:20 am, then I had a look at my mobile, it also displayed the same time. I was surprised, as my phone should have displayed correct time. 

           The story started about a couple of decades ago. I was in my tenth grade. Few months before the board exams my father brought me a wrist watch. My father believed that the watch would be helpful during the exams, to complete my papers on time. It was a simple yet trendy looking Titan timepiece. I started to wear wrist watch for the first time in life. I adjusted the time and kept it fifteen minutes fast. I thought it would help me to do my things timely. My friends always used to say "what's the point, dude? You already know that your watch is fifteen minutes fast, how is it going to help you? If someone change the time without your knowledge then it would work.”  Even I knew that keeping my watch fifteen minutes fast is not going to work, but then somehow it became a habit.

I used my first watch, yes the Titan one, for almost a decade and throughout its entire lifetime my watch had to resist the force by pushing time fifteen minutes ahead. I remember one incident during my hostel days. I was in first year of Engineering. Dinner was served exactly at 8:45 pm in hostel. Mr Hiranya Kumar Das, one of our seniors, who was very tidy guy; also, quite punctual with his dinner timing. He was always among the first guys to have dinner. One evening on his way to the dining hall Hiranya dropped by our room. As usual few guys were gossiping and Hiranya also participated in the conversation.

"Come guys, let’s go for dinner," asked Hiranya after a while.

"It's too early for us; wait for sometime, we will go in half an hour," one of us responded.

Hiranya couldn’t wait that long and went upstairs. But soon he returned to our room, angry, upset with the cooks. He picked up my wrist watch from the table, "shit, it’s 8:50 and still dinner is not ready," he was getting hyper. Actually, he went upstairs after having a look at my watch few minutes back.

My friends laughed in chorus and revealed to Hiranya about my fifteen minutes fast story. Hiranya was little embarrassed and he burst out his embarrassment in his typical hostel friendly manner, with some good enough motherly words.

          In the year of December 2005, my elder brother gifted me and Anjali a pair of wrist watches on the occasion of our marriage. Both were of 25 Hours brand. My Titan piece was still ticking, but I thought it was time for a change. Since then, I’m using my second watch. It’s almost a decade and my 25 Hours timepiece is working perfectly fine. The first battery lasted for three years and thereafter I had to change the battery every year.
My 'fifteen minutes fast' habit got induced to Anjali as well. It wasn’t easy for me, but later, somehow I managed to overpower my age old tradition. I understood it nicely that keeping my watch fifteen minutes fast is not going to help me in any way. But Anjali got pretty much addicted to it and I think it will take a few more years for her to realize this.

          So that particular morning I dropped Jia at her school. I apologized to her teacher that Jia missed her school bus. She accepted my apology with her charming smile. I then drove to my office. Later in the afternoon I was surprised to receive a call from Jia’s school transport coordinator.

"Hello sir, Jia’s bus has already reached her destination. The driver is waiting for the last five minutes but there's no one to pick her up"

I was quite angry. I immediately called our home landline and blasted at our domestic helper, Rinku.

"It’s only 12:15, I usually go down at 12:20, wait there for ten to fifteen minutes. How would I know that the bus is going to come so early today?" clarified Rinku.

I doubted that our wall clock battery might taking its last breaths. After returning home in the evening I looked at the wall clock; it displayed time with a difference of 40-50 minutes. The battery seemed to be miserably exhausted. I went to the nearby shop to have a new one. I changed the battery of the wall clock. I adjusted the time and kept it fifteen minutes fast, as usual.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Last Khep

The evening times were more fun during our hostel days. As it started to get dark everyone came out of their room one after another, went downstairs to the nearby dhaba, popularly known as Honu/Manoj dhaba. Some of the popular evening snacks those days were Singara Bhujia; well, it’s nothing but mashed somosa shallow-fried with chopped onions, green chilies, egg and finally decorated with chopped coriander leaves. Some of the other popular snacks were Maggi, paratha-sabji, bun-omelet, boiled egg, single fry, double fry and a few more.

After the sumptuous snacks, guys used to buy cigarettes from Honu/Sahabuddin’s shop. Snacks, cigarettes and everything else was always on credit for most of us. After returning to the hostel guys usually used to relax at the staircase. Someone would light a cigarette and then immediately someone else would request "my first khep, okay", then another would say "my second khep", "third khep". Khep is an informal term which is frequently being used among the buddies from our place. Even though the term is applicable in different situations, the meaning is more or less the same. In this case you must have already understood that the burning cigarette should first go the guy who said "First khep" from the original hand, then it should pass to the second and then to the third khep guy. The booking was usually up to third khep, and after that someone would usually  say "okay, my last khep". Last khep is actually interesting, it sounds more decent and also with the guarantee that you are going to have that last puff.

As I said the term khep can be used in some other situations as well. For example if a guy is trying on a girl, his friends wouldn't hesitate to comment "asshole is trying a khep".

Friends who try the khep thing pretty often are tagged as 'Kheparu'. We all have experienced Kheparu friends at some point of life. I remember we had some hostel buddies who were not regular smokers but were always the first ones to say "first khep" or a "last khep". 

Those were the days when the joy of friendship simply blossomed around the campus. The long meaningless gossips, the cigarette sharing, the late night teas and what not? Wishing all my friends a very Happy Friendship Day.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Story of Tublu, excerpt 4

The fun simply continued and then one of the seniors lit up a cigarette.

'Do you guys smoke?'

Tublu was silent but Raja replied 'Yes, I do.'

The senior offered him a cigarette and asked him to light it. Raja was about to do that when few other seniors warned him about the dire consequences if he lit the damn thing. Well, as per the hostel rules, the juniors couldn’t smoke in front of the seniors until freshers’ night. A little later, the senior who had asked Raja to light the cigarette got furious and picked up his hockey stick.

'You bloody Mother fucker, if you don’t light up this cigarette, I will bloody smash your head,' the senior warned Raja, while holding his collar. Raja was sandwiched between the seniors. He had already received some tight slaps on his face and the music was still playing on. Raja was aware of such ragging tricks, but still he panicked. Then, all of a sudden, he lit the cigarette and had a long drag. There was absolute silence in the room. Raja exhaled his smoke, making some perfect interlacing rings. Everyone kept looking at the smoke rings till they got vanished in the air. Tublu was scared to death. The seniors were silent too and then Raja took his second long puff. The seniors asked Raja to explain why he chose to lit up the cigarette.

'Well, I had no other choice. In either case I would have been bulldozed. My brain stopped working and I just wanted a drag,' replied Raja.

An excerpt from my debut novel, Story of Tublu. It's a contemporary fiction book, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The story has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

You can grab a copy from Amazon or Flipkart.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

My Association With Yoga

Yoga came into my life quite early. I did my schooling in a private school till my seventh grade and later moved to Kendriya Vidyalaya. My old school was popularly known as "Menon School". It was originally started by a Malayali couple. They lived a major part of their life in Bongaigaon, my hometown in Assam, before they returned to their native place in Kerala. The school was run by Mrs Menon. Everyone called her Head Madam; she was quite well known for her strictness and discipline. Yoga was preached seriously in Menon school, the credit definitely would go to our Praveer sir, the yoga teacher. He used to live a disciplined life, was prompt in helping others, always greeted people with his charming smile. Praveer sir also had his own yoga school and all his students showed him great respect.

I also remember those Sunday morning yoga classes, all thanks to the Mahila Samiti of that time, of which my mother was an active member. The all women organization took the initiative of starting Sunday morning Art and Yoga classes for enhancing extra curricular activities of children. It was quite annoying to wake up early morning even on Sundays. But we didn’t have a choice, particularly few of us whose mothers were the key members of the organization. After the Art school we rushed to our home, riding bicycles to watch the Mahabharata serial on TV, which used to come at 9 am.

When I joined Kendriya Vidyalaya, my association with yoga turned slightly different. Yoga was still a part of school curriculum. That was the time when we were little surprised at the school authorities, as they started encouraging our classmate girls to wear slightly longer skirts rather than knee-length/above knee-length ones. Also, Salwar Kameez was mandatory, part of school uniform for the girls on yoga days, which was weekly once or twice. But many of the girls often violated the not-so-strictly-followed rule. The boys enjoyed some eye candies during the yoga class, particularly while the law breakers performed Chakrasana

But soon these things turned embarrassing for us. I remember one incident; few of the senior girls were practicing long jump for the upcoming Annual sports. We were waiting for our school bus. Our friend Santosh was very interested to have a closer look at their practice session. One after another the seniors ran towards us with full speed, strength, and then jumped to leap as far as possible. We enjoyed every jump, particularly for those who were wearing skirts. We clapped on every occasion to cheer them up. Everything seemed to be fine but then all of a sudden a couple of girls approached us.

"Dudes, what are you guys doing here?" one of them asked.

"Nothing, our bus hasn’t come yet. We are simply watching your performance. You girls jump really well," we replied nervously.

"You boys can watch us, no problem with that, but just look at the position you guys are sitting at. You can watch us from a different place; common, you boys are no longer kids, you’re quite grownup now"

I think yoga was compulsory till our Eight or Ninth grade, I don’t remember exactly. In the later phase I often bunked the yoga classes along with few other friends. I couldn’t realize how yoga got disassociated from my life. The recent development is more about political yoga; I mean the kind of promotion, the kind of debates going on. Whatever the reason maybe, it’s nice to see yoga becoming a brand; nice to see yoga getting an international recognition. I think we should take it as an opportunity, it’s high time we start practicing yoga. After all, everyone knows the benefits of it, and our own health comes first before anything.

Wishing you all a very happy International Yoga Day, specially to all yoga teachers and the passionate yoga practitioners. 

Picture courtesy: Google Images

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Ek Shaukeen Bangalorean Auto Driver

Yesterday I went to collect my Asus Zenfone 6 from the service center. I purchased it from Amazon some four to five months back. Right from day one I had a feeling that they sent me a defective piece. The battery drained off super fast, generating tremendous heat. The service center was pretty far from my office and the route is also quite confusing. Instead of driving I thought to take an auto. I got my phone without much wait. Except for the touch screen it seemed they replaced everything inside the phone. Well, Amazon indeed sent me a defective piece. Now my phone is working absolutely fine. 

The auto ride back to my office was pretty interesting.

"What's the time?" the auto driver asked.

"3:30 pm" I responded.

"Accha, isiliye mereko bhukh lag raha hai,"  my answer only made him realize he was  starving.

We chatted for a while and then he asked for a help. Actually he recently purchased a LED TV with the option of ten interest free installments. The dealer asked him to submit ten post dated cheques, The guy was very confused and worried to give duly signed post dated cheques without even mentioning the amount. Being a veteran EMI wala, I took the privilege to clear his doubts, and felt contented as well.

"It's a general procedure, no need to worry." I said.

The auto guy was happy but he had one more doubt. As soon as I reached my destination the guy showed me the bill, together with his confusions.

I tried to clear his doubts. In the meantime  I was pretty amused, kind of embarrassed as well. The auto guy had purchased a TV worth Rs 70,000.

"Iiitna megenga TV?" Expressing my shock was simply inevitable.

"Ab, shaukh hai, to kya karein?" smiled the auto guy. He was kind of obsessed with modern day big screen trendy TV's, build with latest technologies. The guy said he had already sold his previous TV for Rs 2000/-, which he had bought for 10,000/- just a couple of years back.

 Picture courtesy: Google Images

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My First Mobile Phone

It was the year of 2003. I just passed out of Engineering college without a job in hand. Those were the days when mobile phones were still considered a luxury. But for me it was becoming more of a necessity, particularly for the smooth processing of my job hunt. My elder brother transferred me money to get the phone. I had a few choices but I opted for Nokia 3310. Even though I was already familiar with the epic snake game which was inbuilt in all Nokia handsets those days, it was only after I had my own that I gained expertise it the game. The game was more than just time pass, it was an addiction, it was a reason for pride. I had a wonderful four years of relationship with my first mobile. It slipped from my hand many times and almost every time the battery came out. But my phone was strong enough; as soon as I reconnected the battery it came back to live instantly. During the last phase of our relationship its entire keypad turned absolutely blank and colorless, but I was so much used to my darling that I was able to text any message and was able to dial any number, without any slightest pinch of discomfort. Most of my friends already had various colorful trendy handsets by now. Well, I was also tempted for those latest sexy models and waited desperately for my phone stop working. But the wait was getting kind of never ending and ultimately one day I took the painful step and betrayed my cellular.

Over the years I had many short term relationships with various trendy models, but with my first one it was a different matter altogether. A couple of months back I ordered an exotic looking, wide screen with a high resolution camera - Asus Zenfone 6, from Amazon. I felt some negative vibrations out of it from the very first day itself . The battery drained off exponentially and the heat it generated was scary. My friends suggested to ask for a replacement. Out of laziness I delayed and by the time I realized the urgency, I learned that Amazon only give ten days window for such replacements. Without any other choice apart from visiting a service center I simply continued. Pretty soon I got used to recharge my phone three to four times a day, sometimes even more. Couple of days back the situation turned worst, my phone lied dead and no power could bring it back to life. So I went to one of the Asus service center far away from my office, they have only three in Bangalore. They kept my phone and said it would take minimum fifteen working days for the fix. 

I missed my first mobile phone and wanted to have it for the time being. The same evening I went to a shop; I couldn’t get the exact model but I’m pretty sure it is one of the cousin sisters that I have now, an old Nokia model with only the basic features of voice and text.

Grab a copy of my debut book Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Story of Tublu, excerpt 3

In Tublu's hostel, life was a little different; loud music kept escaping from almost every room, guys desperately looked for a matchbox holding cigarettes in their hands, and blistering laughter, and frequent boozing – not to mention smoking ganja (grass) – was popular. There was a huge gang of grass devotees in Tublu’s hostel. Tublu also tried it a few times, but he somehow couldn’t tune in to the frequency of grass, the way he had tuned in to nicotine and alcohol. He was scared of marijuana and was very cautious while smoking it. During their freshers’ night, one of Tublu’s favorite seniors had advised him not to develop an affinity for ganja. Even though the senior was totally drunk and was behaving like Socrates that night, Tublu took his advice seriously.

'Drink as much as you can, there’s nothing much to worry. The maximum it can do, it will damage your liver. Well, in that case you can go for a liver transplant. But this ganja fucks your brain and, someday, when each and every part of your brain is terribly fucked, what would you do? You can’t go for a bloody brain transplant, my friend,' the senior said to Tublu.

An excerpt from my debut novel, Story of Tublu. It's a contemporary fiction book, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The story has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

You can grab a copy from Amazon or Flipkart.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The Wanderer

He is a traveller. He's from the city of Mumbai, but he doesn’t like to stay long in the same place. He’s a passionate blogger and quite active on Facebook as well. He regularly updates about his ongoing travel stories. Also, uploads some of the lively photographs captured by his lens. Travelling is not just a hobby, in fact, it is his oxygen. Everywhere he travels he gets involve with the culture, the architecture, the food, the views and the romance. He loves to take photographs of almost everything - Mother nature, human being, food, street and the list just goes on. It seems he already travelled half the globe, but this simply won’t quench his thirst, his thirst for travelling.

Mr Deepak Amembal is a wanderer. I am quite jealous of the kind of life he's living at the moment. A few months back he completed his long motorcycle trip across India along with his group. They even travelled to Bhutan and Nepal. They traveled 13000 km in 72 days. While not travelling and blogging, Deepak Sir loves to read books. He indulge in all these passions full time now that he has retired from a day job that has provided him with funds to satiate his passions. He’s an avid blogger and his blog Mumbai Daily is very popular. If you visit this blog, I'm pretty sure you will get the smell of Mumbai. Apart from Mumbai Mirror, Mr Deepak is also active on two more of his blogs, Instant Words and Pets forever.

I'm so happy that Deepak Sir read my debut fiction novel. Well, it seems he liked the book and enjoyed it wholeheartedly. I am grateful to him that he reviewed 'Story of Tublu' on his blog.

"I enjoyed reading it. It felt as if I was sitting with him for a couple of evenings as he narrated this wonderful tale. Despite it being a love story it is not mushy. The idiom is Indian, nothing fancy in the language which is day to day and practical. I also liked the fact that equal importance was given by Jahid to the girl’s thinking and actions. The pace is consistent and the end of every chapter wants you to continue to the next as soon as possible. It is refreshingly Indian in its language and laid back pace"

To read the complete review please click the below link:

 Image courtesy: Mr Deepak Amembal

Grab a copy of Story of Tublu from Amazon or Flipkart. It is a Contemporary Fiction novel, published by LiFi Publications Pvt Ltd. The book has its share of drama, that entertains; humor, that makes one reminisce; love, friendship and emotions that defines the amazing journey that is, life.

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