Friday, July 20, 2007


R: Do you want to play Dumb Charades?

Me: Yes, let's! But we'll need to get the others to play too, not just the two of us.

R: Yes. Because that would be dumb.

Me: It would be a charade.

R: Yup. We're all done here, aren't we?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


1. You may be as much in the right as it is possible to be, but the customer is the customer. You don't have the right to tell her she's irrational, unprofessional or mediocre. You don't have the right to grab her lapels and shake her into comprehension. You don't have the right to scream and shout and kick her shins, even when she's beating her fists on the floor and throwing tantrums about your being unable to resolve her mistakes, even when she offers no gratitude for the help you offer. Yours but to offer the assistance you can, keep your temper and know when to walk away from games of "who blinks first".

2. Hope dies eternal. Walking away is difficult. You always think, around this next bend will be a solution for us both.

3. Serenity prayer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bombay, Meri Jaan

Suddenly, I am yearning for Bombay. Even the rain and waterlogging. Remembering my first weekend in Bombay, drenched and happy, sitting at Yankee's and singing loudly, chasing away customers. Gokul's tiny pieces of cheese and boiled eggs, served with cheap one-for-one alcohol. Leo's chilli beef and beer. The thrum of Colaba. Sitting on Marine Drive at sunset, drinking oversweet tea and smoking, existentialism in the air. Even those fucking trains. I miss the late night clack of the handrails in the trains when I was the only passenger. The feel of standing at the door and watching the city pass by, faster than fairies, faster than witches, bridges and houses, and lots of shit-filled ditches. I miss the solitude and anonymity the city afforded me, the people, the things we did. Bandstand in the evening. Churchgate station. Go 92.5 FM and Good Morning Mumbai with Tarana and Jaggu. And the chai wala who would make you half a cup of adrak wala chai, kum shakkar, in a city made to order. The sandwich wala who had a cell phone and would deliver a sandwich up to the 9th floor for you when you called down. My little place in Juhu, with windows opening onto green leaves and aerodrome hums. South Bombay at night, roads wide and empty, fluorescent lamps gleaming. Trying to buy shoes on Linking Road. Imagining J trying to buy furry handcuffs on Hill Road. Our trips to Apple Cake, where we embarassed the Bong waiter and P in one fell swoop. And where was it that P ate cake before dinner and they laughed at us? And oh, Pot Pourri, dammit, hallowed site of so many of our sessions. And Toto's and the Shack. And karoke night at Starters. And taxicabs. And all the places where we sat and bared our souls and gurgled with laughter. Zara hatke, zara b(n)achke, yeh hai Bombay, meri jaan.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


1. Why was the dyslexic devil-worshipper upset?

Because he'd sold his soul to Santa.

2. Did you hear about the dyxlexic, agnostic insomniac?

He stayed up nights wondering if there was a dog.


Following weeks of waking up late and heavy-lidded, I awoke relatively early today, to a glorious, sunny day. After an evening of excellent company, great food, random hysterical conversation and great waves of laughter, not to mention copious quantities of wine. In time to listen to my favourite weekly radio show: Breakfast With The Beatles. Morning coffee, newspapers and pottering, the day stretching out in front of me. Perhaps some chores. Perhaps visiting friends. Perhaps just sacking out, watching movies and reading. Perhaps posting about my trip to the Grand Canyon. The possibilities shimmer and hang in the air.

What in the world could be better?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Whose Right Is It Anyway?

A colleague and his family, on their way for a break, had a major accident this weekend. My colleague, following his GPS, took a detour off the highway onto a small road, which turned into a single lane road. Not realizing this, my colleague, who has an unsafe driving record, drove onto the left side of the road, which, he thought, was the passing lane. By the time he had realized it wasn't, and that he was driving in the lane for oncoming traffic, it was too late. Head-on collision, everybody injured, some people air-lifted to a hospital, cars totalled. My colleague's two little children have had steel pegs put in their legs, and his wife is still in critical condition. Nobody seems to know the condition of those in the other car. My colleague is relatively unscathed, though frantic with worry and guilt.

So now, he has been charged with "failure to keep right", and has to respond with a guilty / not-guilty plea. If he pleads guilty, he assumes blame for the accident, and will, in all probability, have his license suspended. (In suburban USA, this is equivalent to having your limbs cut off - you are effectively paralyzed.) If he pleads not guilty, and his guilt his proved, this might happen anyway. However, with a good lawyer, there is a chance that he may get away with something more minor. And thereby keep his license and keep driving.

My heart goes out to him and his family, still in the hospital far away from home, wondering how it will all go. But does this man deserve to drive again? It scares the shit out of me to think that through no fault of my own, someone might come barrelling down the wrong side of the road and plough into me. That what happens to me may not be a function of how safe a driver I am, but of how effective the system is at taking and keeping unsafe drivers off the road. That ultimately, what I do may have little impact (unfortunate term) on what happens to me.

Let's hope the system works.