I sit. And I think. And get lost. Must be age. Catching up.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Was Humbled .....

The cleaners in the elevators at my client's are challenged, when it comes to speaking and hearing (somehow ‘deaf and mute’ sounds derogatory). I was smoking downstairs sometime late in the morning a few days back, when one such individual came to me, extracted a dilapidated mobile from his pocket, punched some keys and gave it to me with a beatific smile and indicated that he wanted me to face the camera towards him.

To be honest, I was a wee bit chagrined at being made to come out of my reverie (we smokers day dream the most when in touch with nicotine) and being made to hold the camera .....till the moment I realised that he was smiling and gesturing with his fingers and palms in his sign language and the phone was recording it. Went on for about 45 seconds, after which he took the phone from me and pressed the “Send Video” button. And then “explained” to me that he was sending a Valentine’s Day message to his wife, who also happens to be similarly challenged.

I was dumbstruck.

We spend thousands of dollars on diamonds, solitaires, fine dining, flowers on this day every year on our wives / partners / to-be spouses (and sometimes clandestinely on others' wives and girl friends). And look at him. An unfortunate soul who cannot even ‘speak’ his thoughts, an unfortunate soul who will never ever ‘hear’ how sweet the words “I love you” sound like. But, in his own way, he explained as much to his wife.

Or probably more ?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trip to Phuket

Trip to Phuket, Thailand Slideshow: Raka’s trip from Singapore, Singapore to Phuket, Thailand was created by TripAdvisor. See another Phuket slideshow. Take your travel photos and make a slideshow for free.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taipei Tales

Day 1

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr .. it's freezing here in Taipei !!! 9 degrees with a wind that is rattling my teeth. My tooth cavity (my long lost girlfriend) has started to announce 'Hellowww ... I am back !!!" ... I need to buy a jacket. And everything is SO wrong ... the cars are left hand driven .. I ended up opening the wrong door a couple of times. The cars drive in the right side of the road, which to me is the wrong side. I missed a couple of heart beats when I had to cross the roads and saw cars pouring in from the wrong direction. And they have diagonal zebra crossings !! Christ !! Why make life so complicated !!

The babes though are a treat to watch. Roaming around in their tiniest minis with fake fur coats and Ugg boots (who am I to complain)

I am lovin it

Day 2

Communicating in English is a HUGE challenge here .. Last night in the hotel I asked for a coffee .. they called me up 20 mins later and said “Sirrrr … coffee out.” .. I asked “What ? How can you run out of coffee ?” .. He said “Yes yes, out. Coffee out. Standing out of door”

I sighed and opened the door to find 4 sachets of Nescafe 3-in-1 propped up against the wall.

Day 3

Ordering a coffee (again !!) in Starbucks :

"Can I have a Flat White please ?"
"Flaaahh whaaii ??"
"Uuumm . can I have a Cafe Latter please ? .. With NO foam"
"Aaaah .. Caffe Latte .. Cafe Latte .. with NO foam .. NO foam.." (with a vigorous nod of the head that would make you think the bloke has proved Pythagoras incorrect)
"NO foam"
"Yes, yes, Caffe Latte ... No foam ?"
"Yes, NO foam"

A blank look . ... followed by "You say YES and NO .. I confused"

I started all over again. Ended up getting a Machiato.

So much so for communication skills !!!

Day 4

So I went to buy a dress for the wifey .. ok ? The local girls are SO petite … and this being a highly fashion conscious city, the girls are even thinner … stick thin actually … and its but obvious that the dresses would also be small and smaller .. the typical size that they have is ‘XXXS’, ‘XXS’, XS’, ‘S’, ‘M’ .. that’s IT !!!

So when I asked the girl in the counter for the ‘M’ sized dress .. she broke into peals of laughter and congratulated me … I asked her ‘Why ?’ (and made sure that my facial expression made it clear that I was asking WHY, or else she might not have understood) … she said “Congratuuulatans … Congratuuulatans … you baby …” .. I understood she meant that size “M” signifies that your girl friend / wife is carrying.

I did tell that to the wifey a little while back. She banged the phone down.

Women !! .. Sigh !!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Recipe For Disaster !!

My son feeds @ 10-12 mins per feed these days instead of 30-35 mins per feed as he used to initially. So the views as below :

  • Mom In Law : The suction powers of his jaws have increased over the last 45 days. Hence quantum of milk going in now is more than the quantum of milk going in then; which is why time per feed now is less than the same, then.
  • My Mom : No no NO !!! … This is due to someone’s ‘nazaar’. Wait !! Let me burn some red chillies & sarso (which she proceeded to do and in the process clogged the gas burner as she had to throw in the chillies and sarso into the oven per se.).

Kid was taken to the doc today. He had puked in the morning … so decided to take no chance. After coming back from the doc :

  • Mom in Law : See ? I told you !!! (with glee writ large on her face) .. Doc also said its normal and that the feed time now will be less, as he is feeding more in quantity
  • My Mom : (under her breath) : Iiiiissshh !! Mrs Albert Einstein !!

Learning : Never EVER have your mom and mom in law stay under the same roof more than 7 days. It's a sure shot recipe for disaster !!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Swan Song

Just for once, cross your hearts and answer the below :

  • Who is it that brought in aggressiveness to Indian cricket
  • Who is it that every time the media wrote him off, bounced back with a bang (even his nemesis has praised his guts http://cricket.yahoo.com/cricket/blog/stevewaugh/15/15stevewaugh )
  • Who is it that had the guts to yell at his team members “I alone cannot bat for you, ball for you. We have played like utter rubbish … and we do not deserve a change in the semis. If this is the way you youngsters play, I can only have pity on you as the Indian selectors are watching”
  • Who is it that had the guts to leave his strike bowler (bought at a whooping 950K $) out of the team to give the young teenager (Jaydev N) a fair chance
  • Which Indian captain has always rooted for the young blood
  • Which Indian southpaw has been so elegant on the left side of the wicket ? Yes, we have plenty of left handers of brute force.. But so elegant a one, no WAY.

Yesterday was his last match in IPL, probably of his career in 1st Class Cricket. If not a standing ovation, then at least he deserves a lament that we will never ever get to see his straight drives, the 'late' late cuts, the creamy flicks off his pads, the aggression, the 'stare downs'.

Dada, we will miss having you around. You are the best.

Always were.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Joy Baba Baleshwaar !!

Have you ever thought / realized / appreciated how versatile a language Bengali is and how we are in no way lesser in having the likes of a universal expletive that is so commonly found in English ?

Read on to find out.

It was a balmy Saturday evening that I was sipping a beer in Hooters in River Valley Road when I chanced upon a bunch of fellow Bongs in the table across, debating on the nuances of English as a language. Being the Chinese New Year weekend and with an insipid crowd, I could not but overhear what they were vociferously debating.

So this guy in the bright yellow Tshirt goes (and he reminded me of 'Teni Da', with his 'Listen to me, I know everything' air) "I tell you. Yes, I tell you. Bengali as a language is as enriched and versatile as any other worth its salt. Guess why and how ?"

Another one, with a roving eye (dunno what he was letching at though, the hostesses @ Hooters out here are anorexic) calmly asked "Why and how ?"

Fuelled by the apparent interest, Teni Da goes "

Just like the word "Fuck" in English, we Bengalis also have a universal versatile word and that is "Baal".

As a NOUN - Tumi ekta boro baal !
As a VERB - Ki baal bokchish ?
As an ADJECTIVE - Baal public saaala
Emoting ANGER - Mere debo baal.
SHOCK - Bichi toh taak e uthlo baal !!
FEAR - Ureh baal, ebar ki hobe?
JOY - Yes! Jitechi, baal !
SORROW - Baal saala, here gelam?
LOVE - Arre baal, I love you bollam toh. Faltu ghyanchish keno tokhon t heke ?
THREATENING - Paarle baaal chire dekha toh amaar !

I nearly choked on my drink.

Joy Baba Baleshwar !

PS : Apologies if I have hurt anyone with the use of explitives. Intention was to bring a smile on a lazy Wednesday, when the weekend looks so far.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

English - The True Blue Bong Way

Inspired by a piece on phonetics by Scribbler just a while back .. Thought would share a similar experience ... Happened about a couple of hours back ...

Was on a conference call with the client team from Bangalore. Client happens to be the biggest player in the Australian finance domain, with an India delivery wing in Bangalore. My job entails designing solutioning for the integration between the client's core business in South East Asia and some identified businesses that the client has picked up from the same area to increase market presence. In my capacity I need to have conference calls with the client's presence in AU as well as the Bangalore team.

So our man from the Bangalore office (a full blooded Bong at that) goes so on the phone ... full pelt and full volume ... "Dephekt Naaambaaar Thaaarty Phaaaiv" .. Oh God ! And I was in splits ! Reminded me of Mamata Banerjee and her diction. You guys should have seen the incredulous looks on the Aussie chaps in the room. They were shell shocked.

Have you ever noticed how most Indians shout on conference calls ? I think it more has to do with the Indian mindset that the further you are geographically, the more you need to shout so if it’s a Bangalore --> Bangalore call, it will be soft, if its Bangalore --> Columbo then it will be louder, Bangalore --> SG, it has to be even louder . I shudder to think how it would be Bangalore --> Washington.

And our man goes on "Obh oll the Finakoool phailes that are being passed thruuh the Daaaata Eeentiiigrataar ...". One of the Aussie guys put the phone on mute and asked me "Maaite .. what the hell is he saying ??"

With a straight face, I reply "He means of all the Finacle files that are being passed through the Data Integrator". They roll up their eyes heavenwards and tell me "Good that we have you maaaite. You are the only one who understands the way he speaks English. You are adding value to the project big time." And then add "Jeeeesus ... Did ya hear him speak English !"

Now it's my turn to smirk. Pot calling the kettle black. Or better a Bengali proverb which goes like this (nothing like the native tongue) "Chuuch koi Chaaalni ke tawr pod e kottto boro phuuta".

Huh !! What has the world come to ! The outbacks will teach us English ? (Why do I feel PG is choking on her afternoon tea on reading this)