Archive | February, 2009

Recession – Byaadu for Some..Not too bad for others

23 Feb

“Haalo Saar”

I turned to look, it was the owner of the local hairdressing salon, Murthy who I’ve known for years.

“Hows Business” I ask..

“Thumba Byaadu sir. 50% down” he trails off..

Apparently people are not getting their haircuts as often as they used to.

“Once in 3-4 months saar…they dont care about looks. Previously people who came for a cut ended up getting a head massage.. but now its only cuts…”

Recession has hit everyone. Smaller businesses included. The guy running a computer parts store near my house told me that I was the only customer to go into his store for the past 2 days. All I bought from the guy was some cleaning liquid.

On the other hand, “Shettru” who runs the local grocery store has not noticed any fall in business. His customers are people from the local neighbourhood. In fact he noted that a lot of the new fangled vegetable and grocery stores in the area have shut down… “For us business has been this way for the last 30 years” he says…”IT will come and IT will go..” he says philosophically.

Restaurants have seen their business go down as well. Last week, I was at an upscale Chinese restaurant at lunchtime and could pick where I wanted to sit. Previously you needed a reservation.

However the local “Stand and Eat” joints are still doing good business. The owner of SLV in Banashankari grumbles about prices but says business is good. Thats because prices are low he says. He has another restaurant in the area that is a little more upscale. Business is down there.

I remember debating whether small businesses, be it your local grocery place, or the guy who sells vegetables at the street corner could hold up against the giant retailers who came up with better stores, better ambiance and were cheaper. Looks like the smaller businesses have survived better. The fancy ones have started downing their shutters.

“That big fellow has to employ 30 people” says Shettru. “On the other hand, ours is a family business”.

Touche !!!!

The Home Stretch

17 Feb

With less than 15 days left for the exam, the tension seems to be lessening.

Thats not right is it? Its supposed to be mounting….

“See here…” says Nikhil pointing to an article on coping with exam stress “It says watch a movie, relax with friends”

“You’ll do no such thing” says mom

“Its for the parents” I say hopefully…both mother and son give me a withering stare

But things are very relaxed. I made a deal with junior. He follows a  his schedule and I stay out of his way…. one sample paper in the morning and one in the evening…

I took time off from the office so I can work from home for three days a week. A week later, all family members are begging me to go back 😦

The tension was all in MY mind…this holds true of all parents. The kids feed off of us. So I have learnt to lay off. Hes done pretty well in his pre-boards. No worry be happy.

Golf here I come. Parents relax. Your kids are much more intelligent than you were at their age 😀

Some useful links:

CBSE Web Site

Smile your way through stress

Past Question Papers and Marking Schemes

The Hall Ticket

16 Feb

Events evoke memories. Nikhil’s preparation for his tenth board exams took me back to a time when I almost didn’t make it to mine.

Hall tickets were given. Like all my other friends, I took the hall ticket to the local Ganesha Temple where the priest “blessed” was then bought back home and mom checked every detail on the thing to make sure it was okay. The name, date of birth etc etc…

“Its very important” she said.. “the name had to be correct”

“Oh well” said dad.. “If its printed wrong, we’ll just change his name”

Fortunately everything was okay. During my younger days, my name frequently got changed to “Vijaya”.. that extra “a” turned it into a girl’s name.. so I was glad that the name was right.

After the initial euphoria, the hall ticket was kept in a “Safe Place”.

The concept of a “safe place” has been immortalized in houses round the world…. It generally means “never to be found again”…

The day before the exams, there was a suggestion to “tape” the hall ticket to my exam pad. But wait a minute… where was the hall ticket?? !!!!!

No one knew..not mom, of course not dad..not Aditya (he was 4 years old at that time)…everyone was a suspect…we looked everywhere, the house, the neighbourhood garbage pile (thinking maid had thrown it)…no luck !!!

So, the day before my tenths, I am not sure whether I will be allowed to take the exam. Not the sort of mood you want to be in when you are going to be writing (at that point in time), one of the most important exams of your life. Getting a duplicate was out of the question.

Next day, mom went with me to Chandrashekariah’s (KSC, the HM) office. After some discussions (and KSC berating me for not taking care of things), it was decided that he would accompany me to the exam hall every day and tell the external examiner that I was to be allowed to write the exams.

So, the rest of the exams went that way. I’d go and wait outside KSC’s office, he’d come out 10 minutes before the exams stated and led me to the room. He never forgot to wish me luck.

As for the hall ticket….thats still a mystery…
Cross posted on Vijaya High Chronicles

The Sound

11 Feb

“Did you hear that?” my son asks me. As usual he is standing in front of me blocking my view…

“Hear What?” says me.. trying to watch the cricket match beyond him.

“Theres something or someone going ‘uhoo uhoo'” he says

“Dont be crazy.Nothing like that”

And then I hear it as well.. sounds like a tired sigh. I try to isolate that sound but it seems to come from nowhere. Every time I hear it, it seems to come from another place.. the sound is unmistakable… and it is timed.

“I told you so” whispers junior

Was it a ghost, was it an owl? or maybe someone in the cupboard?

Early morning the next day, I am sitting having my coffee and I hear that sound again. Except this time it comes from the phone stand. I approach the stand wondering if something is hiding inside the draws.

5 minutes later I hear the sigh again…

Its my wife’s mobile phone !!!!! Low on Battery.. going “uhoo uhoo”

Mystery solved. I wish it would just beep like my Nokia.. but this is a Motorola.

Exam Haiku

7 Feb

Exams on in March
Kids look forward to summer
Parents want time off

Getting up Early
Worst is having to study
In the cold mornings

In Police “Custody”

7 Feb

Vaarning.. local lingo and local englees speakings

As I see motorcycles without lights, and bicycles bearing three times the allowed number of passengers cruising past the cops, I get carried away to simpler times when the cops had little else on their plate and would spend the evenings tracking down bicycles without lights and people riding doubles.

One such even occured when Madan, Mubasheer and I were coming back from the movies. Yes, there were three of us on one bicycle.

Our technique was perfect, everytime we approached a junction, two of the “illegal” passengers would get off and walk past and then get back on after we passed the policeman.

On that fateful day, not only were we overloaded..we were “Under-Lit” (no lights). If anyone has ridden a bicycle with a dynamo, they know what a pain it is. It derives its  power from the wheel.. it also makes the bicycle that much more difficult to ride…and gives you a hernia…so normally it was not used.

So that evening, we had successfully evaded getting caught and and were finally on the home stretch. We were passing by an usually empty junction where suddenly a policeman jumped out of the darkness and caught us….

The three of us were dragged to the Ashoka Pillar Police station where we had to wait for the constable’s boss… the “daphedaar” to direct his attention at us.

“Yenro? Tribbal riding hogtha idra… baddi makkala” (Loose Translation: What I say, you are doing triple riding??? you sons of loans)

We were quivering…shaking…I was thinking about jail…the movie we had just watched was a story about some guy who ended up in a Mexican Prison. Imaginations ran wild.

Mubi was giggling. He always had (even today) the ability to see the funny side of things…. he pointed out that the daphedaar had his zipper then all of us started answering in a half giggly and half nervous voice.

“Ayya Caaanstablu… forty three” he called out to the villian who bought us in… “eee nanna makkala hatthira hatthu rupayee fine iskolappa” (take 10 rupees fine from these sones of mine… “hello father”)

“Yenu saaar..” Mubi pipes up…”namma hatthira hatthu paisa kooda illa” (rekspected saar.. we do no have even 10 paisa)…then he suddenly said… “cycle alli idhe saar” (money is in the cycle)…

“Aaa Sari… hogi thogondu baa… ley 43… karkondu hogo” (ok go and bring.. hey 43 take them)…

Now how the guy let all the three go downstairs I dont know.. but along the way Mubi explained that we were going to make a run for it…while he took the bike and ran…we were supposed to run in different directions…

“You can never get a good job if you have a police record” I remember someone telling me this…now not only was I going to have a police record I was going to be a fugitive as well…

“” I hissed…” I was too scared…”. Fortunately Mubi was scared of me becuase I was his only hope for passing Sanskrit exams… so that plan was not carried out…

Of course there was no money in the cycle… so we just stood there with stupid grins on our faces… the constable was about to say something…when… Suddenly there was chaos, a group of people were dragging a man to the police station… from the abuses that were being hurled, we deciphered that the guy had been caught red handed while stealing….

Behind the group was the inspector…”Yay 43… ivanna volage karkondu hogo” (Take this guy inside)…

Suddenly we were all forgotten…all the attention was on the new situation…and the entire procession made its way indoors…

As if on cue Mubi slowly started pushing the bicycle and then picked up pace..jumped on it and cycled away with Madan and Me sprinting behind him…we looked behind to see if the Rakshasa (sorry constable) was after us.. but obviously we were yesterdays goods…

Did not go near Ashoka Pillar for the next 3 months….