One Day in the Life of

Yes, I am that jobless.

It was all calm and quiet from outside, almost as if nobody was home. I am known to exhibit an eerie inclination to land on friends’ front doors unannounced. Thankfully, Neethu was home. “You’re here already!”, she exclaimed, quite surprised with my early arrival for a lunch appointment. “Yeah, I was feeling bored. So, here I am.” The time was half past eleven and nobody else was home. A few minutes of catching up ensued and then, a cake arrived. It seemed like it was going to be a relaxed Saturday after all.

The telephone rang. And then it rang again. And then she made another phone ring somewhere. Meanwhile, I was leisurely flitting from car to car in Autocar, the car and bike magazine. “You’re coming with me, right? Of course you are.”, she said to me. In less than five minutes, we were in a car whizzing past the city limits to the CESS office. Yeah, that’s the Centre for Earth Science Studies. I got busy in reading the news articles pinned on the notice board at the entrance while she went in to meet someone. A few minutes later, Strange Lady comes in and starts a conversation with me.
“Are you here for a project?”
“No, I’m here with a friend.”
“Oh, the other girl! I saw you two getting off the car.”

Doesn’t that sound like a logical place where any self respecting person would stop an unwelcome conversation with a stranger who was busy reading the notices in the first place? Apparently not for some strange ladies. She went on to tell me all about her life, her education, her qualifications, her designation and then, her husband, his education, his qualifications, his designation and then, her son and his so on and so forth. Before she could go on to her sisters and nieces, Neethu came back and announced that we were invited for lunch at the canteen. So, we had a nice traditional Mallu lunch.

Next, we headed to meet someone else, who gave us a lecture on EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and basically why these folks do the work they do. We were all set to leave when Strange Lady reappeared out of nowhere and requested to be dropped off at PMG. I would have wanted to say no a thousand times over but the driver had already said yes. At least this time I wouldn’t have to endure it alone. She started with a conference she was attending earlier that morning and added that she was heading back there as well. Just to clarify, nobody asked for such information to the best of my knowledge. She went on to talk about her husband next and then her son. More information poured out about his college and applications to universities and all that stuff. The driver enquired about our destination and she went overboard with, “Oh that place? I know that very well. I'll direct you there. Don't worry.” I had officially stopped listening to her with that. She was basically one of those old women you read about in short stories and wonder how you’ve never really met anyone like that. PMG seemed ages away but it finally came and she got off, waving a very dubious goodbye.

We got back to her house, stayed there for less than five minutes and left in another direction whizzing past city limits yet again to her under-construction house. A phone call to a guy with a girl’s name who responds to my name with, “she’s a weird girl”, happened. A few hours and a few FRIENDS episodes on a faulty laptop that made everything look like infra-red vision later, we headed back. And with that ended one day in the life of Blah! Blah! Blah!

Going bananas

It all started as I thought of starting a banana chips shop at Trivandrum next year. Add half a day of coding with an unfinished statement of purpose and placement strategies running in the background and this is the level of insanity that results. Here's what followed.

Vani, possibly having reached equal levels of insanity, decides to join me.
Vani's a business partner.

Surbhi is not planning on staying far from the action and decides that she will be given two packets every month free of cost.
“Let’s take the product to North India! I will tell everyone I know that banana chips are amazing.”
“Well, we can always appoint a dedicated sales force to do that for us. Why would we give you two free packets to do this?”
She decides to change strategy. “I will tell everyone that your chips are useless. Nobody will eat them.” She wins.
Surbhi gets free chips. Launching in North India.

A certain Hippo yawns, “I booked the franchisee first for North India.”
“Are you sure about your business prospects?”
“We’re discussing it around an imaginary round table as we speak.”
Hippo appointed as franchisee in North India.

“Count me in!”, pings Aditya.
“As a what?”
“As a cook. I'm pretty good.”
“But I actually want to carry this out.”
“Okay, welcome aboard.”
“And if we do well in the first 2-3 years we'll open a branch in Dubai. And then we'll come to Insti for placements.”
“Of course. We’ll be taking MAs mostly as part of sales force.
“We'll make commercials with them perhaps or let them just cut the bananas.”
Sundar Aditya appointed as executive cook.

Er-what-arbitness expression fills Divya’s face. She is unanimously chosen to be the license provider.
Divya IAS shall provide licenses.

“When you start a food business, first rule is to appoint someone who won't eat up whatever you make. Hippo? Seriously? Rahul Venkatraj - chief taster (quality control). I have previous experience in a kwality walls ice-cream factory.
“Wonderful. Work ex is always welcome. Welcome aboard.”
Aruppu appointed chief taster with reco from Kwality Walls.

Pressure comes up with, “How can you forget Bangalore? I will market it in the whole of Karnataka!”
“Why should we choose you for Bangalore?” On spot interview begins.
“I have spanned Karnataka from Bidar to Chamrajnagar, from Bellary to Madikeri!”
“Sold! Welcome aboard. “
“So I have got clearance from all of the board of directors! WOW! Can we also market banana chips cut longitudinally? That will be new!”
“Right now, we are focusing on the basic model only. We will keep you updated.”
Kshitij appointed franchisee for the *whole of Karnataka* and not just Bangalore.

The honourable BC, Dickens, makes his contribution with, “I want to do the chip design :)”
“Ah, why should we hire you?”
“I'm an experienced chip designer. My BTP is in chip design. Ever since childhood I have had a fervid desire to be a chip designer.”
“I see. Have you faced any obstacles in any chip designing that you did and how did you deal with it?”
“Obviously the design of any good chip is never free from obstacles. You might know that the famous Banana Dual Core Chip is my brainchild.”
“That’s an interesting idea. Could you elaborate on that?”
“Not, really, I'm afraid it's trademarked.”
Quick! Hire him before we lose him. “Welcome aboard!”
Dickens appointed as chip designer with trademarked Banana Dual Core chip on the cards.

“Hey you missed out on me. I need some job too.”
“You have to apply! We won’t come looking for you, you know.”
”Do we need to upload CV? I’m applying for the AP zone.”
“Ok. why should we hire you?”
“Well firstly I am a huge fan of banana chips. Secondly I am also telling you (having been a resident of AP for like 18 years) that banana chips has a huge market there, but is marketed poorly. So you’ll get multitudes of contracts just from my region.”
“Welcome aboard.”
BG appointed for AP division.

“Volunteering for TN division!”
“Ah, why should we hire you?”
“I have experience in tasting a wide variety of banana chips from various parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This way I can eat a banana chip and tell you if it was made in TN or Kerala in a jiffy. Besides, TN is a very big market.”
Impressed by the market fundaes. “Welcome aboard.”
Deepak appointed for TN division.

“You can get the bananas from my farm.”
“Do you have a farm?”
“I will in the near future and then you’ll get bananas from the rich Palakkad soil.”
Ragesh to supply raw material.

“I shall be the graphic designer for all your design needs.”
“Welcome aboard.”
Multi for all design needs.

"Gimme middle east distribution marketing and sales Qatar UAE Bahrain Saudi.", pings Noufal
"But why should we hire you?"
"Because I have conties in middle east, so I have sufficient experience and networks on ground already up and running. I have prior experience in fmcg and sufficient cheap manpower from mallu land."
"I see. What prospects do you see by expanding to these zones? "
"Well any enterprise started by Ms. Leela Aarthy would definitely have the potential to be a global brand. Ms. Leela Aarthy likes this. Middle East has a number of mallus, I mean probably more than Kerala and if you see a potential in Trivandrum and Kerala as a whole it is bound to work in the Middle East."
Noufal appointed franchisee for the Middle East.

All that in the span of a few hours. :)

Whitelighter to take over sponsorship and so on.
Shrav for internet advertising.

Unleash the Ethics

What happens when a certain agent L and a certain agent S put two and two together? The result is four, no doubt, but with an incredible mission and a mischievous smile. The day was perfect for what they had in mind. Two A4 sheets and a pen were all the weapons they needed and the middle page of the day’s newspaper served as camouflage for the same.

Agent S thought it wise to write the column details before heading to war and agent L nodded. Sl. no., name, roll no. and sign were the chosen columns and with that, half the work was done. They made sure they kept their calm all along lest someone should doubt something was fishy. Since agent L is known to take the middle page of the paper along to every ProE class and PPT alike, nobody shot a second glance at the weapons they were smuggling in. They were nearing the war zone.

The roughly 20 students present in the hall made it seem impossible to carry out the task at hand without being caught for the same. This way and that, they analyzed the case. The decision was finally made to go ahead with the mission. The next question was how. How about entering the class along with the professor and sneaking the sheet to the ones on the last row? It was too late for that because the professor was already there! How about faking a re-entry into the hall and sitting on the last row? There were too few students to pull that off. How about just passing it along from where they were? It would be impossible to convince anyone that it wasn’t a fake sheet.

A few minutes later, the agents decided to go ahead with the most risky, yet most satisfying, option; the third one. There were two sets of students to choose from; the electricians and the mechanics. The mechanics won solely because the agents didn’t know who they were. The agents asked for a pen from the row of mechanics behind them saying that they had to sign the attendance sheet. Unbelievable though it may seem, it worked. The fake attendance sheets were being passed with more and more authenticity associated to them with every signature that was put and every sms that was sent to those who were absent. The mission was a success. The agents high-5ed, rather low-5ed, in appreciation.

One row, two rows, the sheets were moving fast and soon, it had reached the crowd on the other side of the class. A few minutes later, the professor, quite unexpectedly, decides that attendance would be taken! Was it a divine turn of events so that the agents wouldn’t get caught or had the professor noticed the A4 sheets making their rounds around class? That, we’ll never know.

Aimed Kills

It’s the end of the world. A giant brainwash is set to take place. Since the intelligent ones have killed each other over property rights feuds, the responsibility fell upon the mediocre ones to perfect this weapon of mass deletion. Presenting Aimed Kills*, the world’s first brainwasher!

Now, what shall we erase? It’s too much of a cliché to erase memory completely but erasing just the cerebral regions would create a whole bunch of morons. How about erasing all memory of food? A consensus was reached and it was hailed as a phenomenal idea given that food is what sustains life as we know it. The brainwasher was programmed accordingly but, given the mediocrity associated at different levels, the final product was, what can I say, not quite perfect. You see, it left some leftovers, if you will, of what it set out to delete. To add to the confusion, the one food item that remained unscathed after the process was the sober Idli.

It almost seemed as though Idli had been crowned hero of the day and it was on a double-sided mission to set things right once and for all, albeit in an oddly selfish way. What were those crunchy finger shaped snacks called? I don’t remember; let’s make them out of Idlis! And thus, Idli Finger Chips was formed. What was that saucy thing you had at a Chinese restaurant long back? Never mind; let’s make them out of Idlis. Voila! Idli Manchurian! Wasn’t Biriyani the most elaborate and spicy of them all? Who cares! Let’s make them out of Idlis. And there you have Idli Biriyani. If you don’t mind, kindly extrapolate the aforementioned line of thought to Rasam idli, Idli Gulab Jamun, Idli Ussili and Idli Curd Rice. Thank you.

Did you think that was a lame figment of a writer’s imagination? SK Mess Saturday dinner as on 24th October was exactly that.

*Aimed Kills is an anagram of SK Idli Mela.

I wish

I wish home was just a wink away.

That was my status message for the last couple of days. I guess it was bound to come up sometime but given that nothing even remotely close had surfaced for the three plus years that I have been away from home, I just assumed that it never would. Yet another first timer.

I had a nice happy Diwali with relatives and food and firecrackers. But, even so.

You know what's the bad part of festivals? When they get over and you are jolted back to reality, where you don't find sweets that you invariably overeat or firecrackers that you get saturated with. Like a bad hangover, it strikes you when you are least prepared for it.

My status message has changed now. To busy.


They called him a harmonium box but I did not let that affect me.
They played with his incurable handicap but I did not let that bother me.
They laughed at his deplorable condition but I did not let that weaken me.
They feigned concern towards him but I did not let that sway me.

But now he has lost his balls!

PS: My laptop, again! Its monitor does not stand on its own at any angle between 0 and 180 degrees because the ball bearings have given in.


The Doctor's Patient

"He's going into shock!
Quick! Call the doctor!"

What followed can only be described as a miraculous intervention by a doctor who was rumoured to have never seen death in the eyes of any of her patients. She was not going to let this be an exception to her tagline. With enviable adroitness she started her procedure executing each step meticulously, flawlessly. She flipped him over and carefully administered coolants; all the while keeping an eye on his vitals as seen on the monitor. Then, there was a chilling silence. No one dared to speak anything.

A smile played on her lips as she saw the little yellow LED on the left-hand corner blink for she knew that she had saved yet another patient. There was a soothing breeze that proclaimed the life that flowed through him. The sound of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode he was playing all along seemed audibly rejuvenated. The day stood testimony to how he was saved from a rare disorder resulting from excessive heat wave generation medically termed as Shutdown.

PS: Me and my laptop.

Of friends and family

Of friends...
...and family.

Did this happen to any of you?


When a '1/T' written on the blackboard looks like a capacitor to you, you know that you are having hallucinations!

The Road Trip

03/01/09 Saturday

400 hours:
The blaring horn of a Van is heard.
“Wake up! Wake up!”
“No! We shall assemble at 500 hours. Let me sleep.”

600 hours:
One more bike needed.
Lesson #1: Get hold of borrowed bikes from the owners on the previous day itself.

800 hours:
Breakfast at mess.
Guys’ bags in the girls’ hostel. There was no bag raiding. Honest. Only Screwbey Doo can get ideas like that!
One Bajaj Pulsar.
One Yamaha Fazer.
One TVS Victor.
One Scooty Pep.
4 girls.
4 guys.

815 hours:
One phone call to mom.
Kaboom! Kaboom!

And, that’s how we set out on a road trip to Pondicherry. The fun was just about to begin. There was Saturday morning traffic and there was dust. There were confusions about directions and there were imaginary gunshots. A couple of pictures were taken at VGP to show off the mega pixel strength of the different cameras. Vani’s uncle’s ostriches tried to add to the entertainment element but sadly, they didn’t even dig their heads into the ground. One round of Lakme Sun Expert followed by a water break later, we were back on East Coast Road.
Lesson #2: Take a lot of Sunscreen along. Moreover, apply profuse amounts of the same.

The rented Victor was a unique experience in itself. It would drive on auto-pilot mode; one speed only and no human intervention was required to maintain that. The pressure was on Pressure to drive it during the forward half of the trip. It revealed its screwed up self even more when its tyre burst. Two bikes and four of us spent half an hour at a repair shop where we ended up deciding that we would have to make it a road trip to Mahabs and not Pondy, over Slice and Lays.
Lesson #3: Rented bikes are invariably, screwed up.

One attempt by an amateur MRI on a bike ended up being a vain attempt at a wheelie. And he was banned from driving a bike ever after. Peace.
Lesson #4: Check for driving license before handing over a bike to over-enthu looking person.

The tender coconut water by the roadside was salty. Welcome to Pondicherry.

Lunch overlooking Rocky beach followed! Well, we tried to overlook and see the Rocky beach but there was a wall separating us from the view. Imagine a 6-7 pages menu with only half a page of vegetarian dishes. And, imagine a bunch of vegetarians coming to terms with this harsh reality.
Lesson #5: Continental dishes can look real yucky.

From there we headed to Paradise beach where the much sought after ferry ride was closed just ten minutes before we reached. Even Tam fundaes did not work at this place.
Lesson #6: Tam fundaes might fail. Be prepared.

A couple of phone calls later, we embark on this unique route through a village to reach Sand beach. One of the best beaches I have been to, so far. The waves were shallow and soft. They seemed to say, “I will only touch your feet; I will not startle you.” Some crazy Coked people ended up collecting shells too.

Tip: If someone has a sleeping bag with them and happen to be peacefully resting on it in an almost mocking way, be unanimous in zipping the person up in the sleeping bag.

Warning: Shampooed people might end up laying a cowboy hat, after a while.

A castle was made. And sand was thrown at whoever thought about attacking it. All hail her Vainness! And shells were collected. And a bike key was lost.
Lesson #7: Use a keychain for a key. Try not to lose it. But if you lose it, try your luck with other bike keys.

The return drive was more like every bike for itself. The air was cold and the rare roadside Rs. 3 tea was heavenly. And the drive continued with loo stops and water breaks. It was fun to tie a red scarf for a Poisonous guy who ended up looking like Little Red Riding Hood.
Lesson #8: Take necessary warm apparel along.

Good ol’ insti CCD marked the end to the wonderful trip. Lol level laughs and bike bitching followed and culminated in a group photo with wide Colgate smiles, in spite of the tiredness, on everyone’s face.

Post-trip discussions continue even three days after the trip. Need I say more?

PS: I am going more bike crazy than ever!

The New Year Post

I had my first ever New Years' Eve outing this time. With a 15 km ride on a Pulsar, dinner at Food Village, an auto driver who desperately wanted to beat the Pulsar and later, listening to free trippy songs a DJ dished out and a countdown that I could barely hear followed by a dirty beach where we did absolutely nothing and a few circus stars on the roads, 2009 happened.

Happy New Year 2009!