Just Emkaying: July 2012

Jul 28, 2012

Love in an auto - Mumbai Tidbits

I have been in the city of dreams for about  4 months now. And there are many things that are different, unique and surprising sometimes. 

One of the many things that has given me a unique perspective of things is the concept of sharing Autos with people you hardly know.

Totally Random. Yes.

I usually wait near my house to catch an auto. Now the location I work at, Chakala, is the Mother-of-Traffic-Jams. Its like a free for all rally for vehicles. Imagine being stuck on the peak of a flyover for hours. And having nothing to do except look at other cars. I happened to once see Vinay Pathak in a Hyundai Accent. But most of the other times its just legs in various attires or as far as the eye can see, without. 

Anyways, going by the sheer traffic, getting an auto is next only to getting a meeting with the President. Wait, that's a bong now so rash-gulla should do the trick...err Prime Minister.The ratio of getting an auto to stop is 5/10. Getting a stopped auto to take you to where you want to go is 1/10. So your chance individually is 1 out of 20. Add 5 more people to the equation and you get the picture. There are also the crazies, who will run all around the road, at ALL autos, and cursing loudly. 

So there is always a small gathering on different sides of the road trying to get an auto to the same locale. I can recognize many of them now, by having seen them so often. That's when it started.

The first time was this guy who got an auto and stopped a little ahead and popped his head out to ask me if he could drop me to Andheri Station, which was like mid way to my stop. I politely declined, out of awkwardness. 

The next time it was raining heavily, My shoes was already drenched. Not one single auto was even bothered to look at us. I stopped an auto but he refused, and started talking to the lady behind me. I walked away, and heard her arguing with the auto wala. In a few minutes she called out to me, offering to drop me to some place. I had no idea where that was, and I told her so. She just shrugged and left.

Next was my turn. I was in an auto stuck in the traffic, reading a book. An old lady approached us and asked where I was going. She asked me for a drop to someplace in between which I obliged. I felt good I must say. And Not a word from the auto wala. It was welcome change after the Thugs of Bangalore.

One the very same day, on my way back, there was a long wait. Just as I got an auto, a pretty young thing asked me where I was going, and said if she could join me. As laddoo's phooted in my head, I enthusiastically  agreed with my best smile and faster-than-Usain-Bolt head nodding. 

Just as she was going to get into the auto, And as the violins were getting into the flow of things, the autowala decided he didn't like me. Or my future plans. He refused plainly to take on additional passenger (Bah!) and demanded money from her. Outraged, I started going Karate on him when, she smiled sweetly and said it's ok. I was crest fallen.

Needless to say, I fought like hell with him over the meter, more so for him spoiling my potential marriage plans. I still mourn the opportunity of the kids we could've had together. *Sigh*

(For the record, my modus operandi for picking women is not offering rides in autos. Actually, I don't even have one, I think.)

The last, was recently, when the station were closed. This guy just asks me, "Dude where you going" So I told him and he said lets share an auto. I agreed. Over chasing autos all over the road (Yes, he was a mumbaikar, also equipped with the latest in cursing technology) and after finally badgering one to take us, we spoke. Of random things, where we worked an all that. He happened to stay two blocks next to my place, and he let me in on Auto catching technology.  

And so it has been, waiting and sharing, sharing and dropping and all that. Next time, maybe, the auto wala will be kind to not mess with my future.


Jul 22, 2012

Item (Aitum)

Your friendly neighborhood saloon is a very interesting place. Like in the wild, it's the water pool that all wild and friendly animals gather for a drink. All kinds of them, large, small, wild, tame and the occasional spoiled rich brat. The best place to start of in a new city would be the local chai wala, followed by a visit to the saloon.

Naresh stepped in and was immediately acknowledged with a welcome nod from the barber and his team. They were busy chatting with their respective customers. That's half the trick of a good business. A good saloon in its true sense, is like a confidence booster. The Saloon is not selling style or a hair cut, but a good time and confidence. 

Each of the barbers was in a different animated style of conversation. The owner, the most outspoken of them all was the one who was the most familiar with the neighborhood, and  was busy fussing over the neighborhood goon. Apart from another customer, the third chair was vacant. Without saying much, Naresh took up his place at the chair. A fortnightly hair cut made him feel neat, and a shave whenever he was in was appreciated.

Unlike most however, Naresh did not like to talk. Instead he just liked to observe people. What they do, how they do it and all that. It was a mental game he played with himself, guessing what was going on through their heads. He weighed up his targets for the day in the mirror opposite him, which reflected the mirror behind him, which gave him a better picture of the people around him.

Unfortunately, there was no one interesting around. The Local thug had left, and the other person was an old chap who looked like he needed help to keep him from falling off the chair in his sleep. Now that was a good option. Sleep.

A Sharp non male voice startled him from his reverie. 

"Yes cut his hair and make him look good. Ask him what he likes as well"

He opened his eyes and at the same time caught the scent of Eternity by Ck. The only fragrance he could recognize.

She looked in her late 30's. Lovely long hair, straightened and coloured with shades of brown and gold. Make up a coat too much that said she was trying too hard, and a lovely black Salwar Kameez. It's fascinating how mirrors allow you to see so much.

Her ward, though was odd. He had a thick head of hair, was thin, and looked very different from his host. Wearing a unbranded jeans and a light blue shirt tucked out. While the owner went to work on his head, she kept staring at him and smiling. 

Naresh began to think.

She hardly looked the types to come into a local saloon. She was fair & gorgeous looking. The boy looked like a 19-20 year old, dark and with a hint of mustache. They were definitely not related, maybe he was one of those society kids that society adopts and takes care off. Makes sense, that she would take him here rather than her high society place.

The owner was done in 5 minutes, making the boy look much smarter. He added for effect "You look great with this slim face of yours, just like a movie star" which was followed by her high pitched giggle. 

A giggle.

The Boy got off his chair and went to her, she held him by his shoulders, and moved a speck of hair from his shirt and face. She grabbed some money from her expensive looking handbag and handed it directly to the owner. 

As they walked out, the boy looked embarrassed, the lady as proud as a rooster, praising her ward's good looks and asking him if he was happy.

The moment they were out of sight, the owner starts - "So sir, what would you call this? A Sister? An Aunt? What a strange team. I have never seen them in this area. And that boy looked so young..."

The other barber added "Yes, looked very suspicious. I think.."

Awkward Silence.

Finally Naresh's barber kept down the scissors and for the first time, said something. 

"Item. He is her item, her worker and her item."

* * *

Jul 16, 2012

Albert - The Super Cop

Short. Stubby. Sad. Sentimental. All the wrong words, and yet here he was, looking for the killer.

Albert was a cut above the rest. Skill wise. And yet, if you took a look at him, he was cuts below the size the rest of his more popular crew was. That's where the difference was most visible.

His training was peculiar, in the sense that he always had multiple trainers. His colleagues always stuck to one trainer who eventually would be their partners, or buddy's. He however was hated. No one wanted him, and as a result he kept changing hands. He was, how do you put it? Eccentric.

It took just one case to prove that he was anything but bloody brilliant. And had a penchant for carrots.

Today's task was a challenging one. He was always brought in, when the rest had given up. He moved slowly around the floor, looking disinterested. Hardly a place to be interestingly yapping around though, this murder scene. Signs of violence all around, blood across multiple spots, clothes messed up. In other words, the usual.

What was different, was that the body was small. The clothes were on the body, splattered with blood. The Left sneaker was off the foot, the other presumably strewn across a cupboard or table. A young one. Golden hair now red. Blue eyes still open, in terror. Fist clenched, holding on to critical evidence - a piece of cloth. A heinous crime it was, killing a child with multiple stabs of a butcher knife. Which was also lying around.

Smelt like man slaughter. Life Term.

If the Murderer was ever caught, that is. But that was his job. His fellow inspector's watched him with great attention. Albert went around the corpse, hardly even taking a proper look. He stopped and looked around. It was a stab wound, there was no signs of the body being moved around, the wounds were mildly deep, making of an unsure or a first timer. But the sneaker was missing. Why was one sneaker missing? Understandable if there was a chase, a strangling, self defense. And it was brutal. 23 Stabs. On a 18 year old.

He went around the house. Followed keenly by an entourage. Nothing.

The Garage. Nothing

The Basement. Nothing

He began to sniff around in the vegetable patch, and his ears perked up. He started running around in crazy Zig Zag motion, and frantically picked up pace. In a second he was off, chasing wildly on to the pavement right to the Garbage Bin. With one smooth motion he *whammed* right into the Bin, knocking it over.

By the time the entourage of inspectors and fellow canines caught up with him, he was busy lying in the shade, panting. Waiting for the rest of them to find his clue -

Another left foot sneaker, the same style, the same brand, just blood stained.

Albert climbed back into his kennel, and grabbed a carrot. He was the top dog after all.

Jul 15, 2012

Colonizing the Colonizers

Someone rightly saidMahatma Gandhi said "Be the change you want to see in the world"  
Silent prayer to Google and Wikipedia. 

I bet they never saw that kind off change coming. Or that we'd follow them back to their country and populate it like rabbits, and infest their streets with restaurants serving Tandoori dishes. (1.5 million strong and counting)

Music  - Raghav Sachar to Jay Sean, Juggy D, Rishi Rich? Ring a bell?
Food  - Tandoori Chicken, Dal Makhani, Tikka
Transport - Jaguar. 
Business - Arcelor. Corus. British Salt, Tetley etc etc (FYI  - Top 5 Investors in the country, Tata group alone counts for 2.something of your GDP.
Television Series, Movies, Politicans, Law and policy makers and so on and so forth.

Get the drift? I hope you do Dear fellow. I have absolutely no inclination to research, my people in Cambridge and Oxford are looking into it.

Now we have our sights set on your sport. Football. (It's all part of the 200 year plan. Started with Venky's and Blackburn. Now Airtel is in on it.)

I'll make you an deal. Give us the Kohinoor back, and we'll spare your fish n chips.

Madan "Cheeky Fellow" Kamath

PS - No offence Intended. In the immortal words of Russell Peters..." ...do you realize there's not gonna be no more white people? There's not gonna be any more black people. Everyone is going to be beige....Eventually we're all gonna become some hybrid mix of Chinese and Indian. They're the two largest populations in the world. So you can run from us now."

Jul 6, 2012

Why You No Marrying, Beta?

On one of my last conversations with mum, (who invariably has two topics on her mind all the time) the topic of debate was marriage. (So you know which topic was left - weight loss)

Sometimes I wonder if single men give off some kind of vibe that set's your parents biological clock to get you married ticking. 

So we were talking, or more she was persuading and I was batting like Raphael Nadal (Yes, batting) scrambling from one defense to the other, before she had me stumped with a blinder. 

"You have to get married next year, or there will be no girls left" 

I quickly did a one handed Google search - had the Mayans figured out the survival rate of eligible women after the EOW in 2012? And worse, had the reports reached mum before me?!! (Sacrilege on my self styled social media expert status, no?)

Mum doesn't try too hard. She just throws doubts in my way and just waits for a confirmation of some sorts. I bet if I so much as nod on this end of the phone, she'd figure it out and blow the bugle. And Tata Safari's of random aunties would pop out with Grandmothers-sisters-chachi's-betas-cousin's-husband's-doctor's-veterinary college professor's-brother's-dog's-mother's owner's best friend's daughter's hand for marriage.  

Mental Note to Self - Must find if there's a defense-against-the-mum-who's-trying-to-get-you-married-arts class near Versova. 

Anyways, coming to the topic, the things parent's say to convince you if you plan to get married or are refusing to get married are unbelievable. And the conviction they say it with...Uff!!!

Like, when I told my parents that I would let them know if I ever found someone I wanted to get married to, my Dad goes "I don't care who you marry, as long as she is from our community and she's a homely girl" 

Ah. I see some of you nodding heads. 

And this - "We need to get the word out and find a good girl for you, these day's their very hard to find."

Gee, how perceptive of you guys, thanks!!! I can stop random Friend requests and socializing now.

"If we start searching now, it will take a couple of years to find a match"

I can see that set of eligible profiles in your back pocket, Dad.

"You are getting older, people are asking about you. You have a great job and a good salary. What's your problem?"

So now your bullish on this commodity on the market that's...how do I say it, matured?

"Other guys your age are having kids and handling responsibilities while working!!! Why are you so stuck up about this?"

Responsibilities. I rest my case

"Just meet this girl. She's smart, educated, good looking and everything. Just your type"

Isn't Jessica Alba already married?

"What's wrong in just meeting her once?"

Righty!!! I am feeling mighty lucky today. Lottery anyone?

"What do we know about this girl friend of yours huh? Different background, culture. How will she fit in to the family? What will your uncles and aunties say about us?"

Uh huh. They'll keep gossiping, even after feasting on the marriage dinner. We'll get even when their Darling springs the North Indian surprise at them in a month or so.

"Why won't you just listen to us and get married ?"

A four letter word - Love

What happens once you get married? Now that's a topic of many a movie and recently, a commercial for an insurance brand :) Not to mention the entry of the greatest proponent and secret power behind it all - Grandma.