Wife to me…. “You know that thing we were discussing the other day, I think we should go ahead with it”…
Me: Racking my brains now, trying to figure out What Thing? Which Day? and What to go ahead with?
So here’s how a typical conversation happens…. Before that, let me explain the “Entertainment System” setup at home. To put it simply, we have two TV sets, in two different rooms.
I don’t watch what she does (except for some Telugu fighting scenes), and vice versa. This system has worked well for a very long time and our house is extremely peaceful.
But yes, we still talk. I will be watching TV when my wife will wander into the room with a faraway look in her eyes. She will position herself right between me and the TV and start talking. Usually I am smart enough to pause the program I’m watching, but sometimes if I’m watching a game, I try to strain my neck to look around her. This causes some trauma and accusations about not listening. Anyway, regardless what needs to be said will be said no matter what. All conversations have one thing as the end result….more work for me. So, it’s in my interest to have the shortest conversation and give the most diplomatic answer possible.
I have timed these conversations, and found that 5-10 minutes is the optimum. Anything over that will result in a disagreement.
Gayathri Stores was a landmark in Jayanagar 3rd Block along with RAN Book Stores, B N Sreekantiah and Sons, Shenoy Stores, Iyengar Bakery, Coorg Coffee Works, and Bombay Dyeing showroom among others. All of them were in the same vicinity. Out of these only Shenoy Stores and Sreekantiah remain. The rest are history.
My friend shared a WhatsApp image with me showing the place being torn down. Luckily the store itself is moving to another location down the road, but the landmark is gone.
Velu Sir is a star. Although he’s a practitioner of a drab subject i.e Tax, his stories are anything but. He’s from Pollachi in TN and has a phenomenal sense of self deprecating humor and of course stories galore to boot.
The Law Class
Whole bunch of friends from Pollachi were roommates in Bengaluru, and enrolled in evening law classes. Attending classes was mostly an afterthought especially after weekends and spirited get together sessions.
So one evening, our heroes stumble into class after an especially intense weekend. As they are sitting in the class, suddenly one guy bends over and addresses Velu Sir and says (in Tamil)… “Sir all this is so familiar.. looks like our intelligence has grown”…
Velu Sir is pensive…how can intelligence increase overnight? But yes, everything seems so familiar.
Then another member of the group pipes up and solves the mystery… “Ayoooo pasangala (boys), we took this subject last semester”…
The gang quickly and quietly exited the class…
In a way Velu Sir was glad that the mysterious intelligence was a myth…
The Fall at the Falls
Back in his student days, Velu Sir visits a waterfall near his native place. Just as he’s enjoying the sights, he slips and snaps his legs.
Fast forward to several years later, Velu Sir is newly married and the newlyweds go to the same waterfall. In his enthusiasm to “boast” about his “wild student days”, he takes his wife to show her the spot that he slipped on. In demonstrating the “way” in which he fell, our dear sir slips and falls AGAIN injuring himself again in the same place in his leg.
He told us that he made it a point not to take his children to the spot.
When we came back to India in 1995 (see how I sneakily established the returned NRI bit 🙂 ), getting a landline was a priority and boy o boy what an exercise that was.
A landline was your address proof. Mobiles were still in their infancy. So off we went to apply for one. It took a few visits to get the approval.
The Lineman Ramesha visited one day and announced that he had our “instrument”. We could only use BSNL’s instrument, any other was illegal we were told. Of course everyone had others, but that was the law (like the Radio license thing). He made a big event out of placing the instrument inside and then taking the wire out to the pole. Once that was done the real drama started. He said “Saar illi junction box fullu saar. Yenadru maadbeku idakke” (Junction Box full, something has to be done). It was his own way of requesting financial assistance. He took me to the junction box and showed me a jumble of wires as if I would understand how it worked and said “nodi” (see)…his expression was of extreme concern (good actor he was). Of course being foreign returned and all (again see how I slipped that in), I was appalled… “This bugger is demanding a bribe? What has this country come to?”…and so on and so forth..finally a neighbor intervened and the line was activated in a month at a cost of Rs. 700… There was no higher up we could call.. Ramesha was it !!!! Of course it was a crappy line, whenever we needed Ramesha would be there and would repair it for a small “fee”
A few years on (less than a decade) , we are in the same locality, competition to BSNL in the form of Mobile Operators and others forces them to “improve” their customer service, now we had the number of the Junior Engineer and the JE’s boss. Any problems arose, a call to the JE would make Ramesha appear at our doorstep within an hour and fix the problem. The “fee” became optional and disappeared altogether.
We kept our landline more for “Address Proof” rather than any kind of utility. We don’t have a landline anymore..
I remember a time when I used to blog twice or thrice a week. Then one day, I woke up and wondered if anyone really cared what I thought. Then it was onto FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and that was that.
Somehow the pleasure of writing a blog post is much greater than an FB post. The friendships that were created at that time still remain… they’ve moved onto FB…
Is anyone out there still reading this? Comment if you are so I can continue writing…
Life is full of lessons that are taught to us in small increments.
When we first moved to Bengaluru, we stayed at a rented place in Rajajinagar. Since both mom and dad worked, I would finish school and go to the Acharyas who were our neighbors, where I would stay until mom came back. Usually, there’d be milk and biscuits and snacks to keep me busy, plus Ahalya aunty being a wonderful conversationalist, would keep me engaged asking me what I learnt (that was a short conversation), etc etc.
I remember one day picking up a letter that was lying around and started reading it loudly. Aunty immediately took the letter away from me and told me gently but firmly that letters were private and should only be read by who it’s written to. I was in first grade when this advice was given to me, that was nearly 50 years ago.
A couple of weeks ago, I visited a friend who was admitted to the hospital. On my way out, I decided to take the stairs (instead of the elevator) since I was just 2 floors up and anyhow the elevator was tiny and claustrophobic. Halfway down, there was an elderly gentleman who was walking down, one hand on the railing and the other hand taking the support of a walking stick. Instinctively I reach out and grab his right arm to support him. He accepted the help gratefully and both of us walk down.
“People expect me to take the elevator” he says, “..but I like to exercise when I can”. When we reached the ground floor he thanks me and then suddenly asks “Are your parent’s alive?”. It was a question that caught me off guard. “Yes..” I said..He then continued.. “If you don’t mind I will tell you something. Talk to your parents for at least five minutes a day. Ask them whether they’ve taken their medication, had their breakfast..just speak to them”…..
He paused for a while before continuing… “It will make their day more enjoyable…”
It was 1981. Admissions happened and lo and behold we ended up in RVCE.
WHAT??? RVCE??? THAT ROWDY COLLEGE? That was the first reaction from everyone I talked to.
“Beware of ragging guru” one guy told me, “They make you take a bath in the nala” (for those not in the know, the above mentioned nala is the enormous drain that passes by the college). Another one told us horror stories of what would happen in the college bus on the way there. “I heard they make you hang out of the bus”….