Saturday, March 25, 2006

In Bed With A Tom Cat

My old bones have finally recovered from my recent office trip into the mountains. My mental state however is still undergoing recovery. So I figured before I start writing about the trip, I ought to write about the weeks I endured before it.

When I was a wee bonny baby, carrying my 50 kg bag to school each day, and studying countless books for pointless exams, I used to dream of growing up one day and going to a glamorous office. I used to wonder what it would be like to wear "civil" clothes each day instead of my dull blue and grey school uniform. And how wonderful it would be to not have to attend even a single PTA meeting ever again.

Then I grew up.

My 50 kg school bag has been replaced with a 60 kg laptop bag. Honestly that's how heavy it feels. Office is hardly glamorous considering the people I meet in the cab each day, the amount of FM I have to listen to, and the kind of food I have to eat. "Civil" clothes have become a headache unto themselves...Catty women abound the office. I have on more than one occasion observed a boardroom drama come to a climax with one cat looking at another and saying, "Nice top..Sarojini??" Meow anyone? For the uninitiated, Sarojini is Delhi's export surplus market. Everyone buys it. No one admits it. And PTA meeting. Well its been replaced with the MNC torture method - quaterly evaluation. Often I feel like my functional manager is my class teacher and my manager my daddy. I have to hear what a bad girl I have been in the quarter from both of them. And then I'm sure they discuss me between the two of them also. I can just picture it...

Class Teacher: She has not been doing her homework
Daddy: Really? You know, I give her sufficient time to do it
CT: Well, I know, I see her with her friends quite often...So I'm sure she has the time...But neither flesh nor spirit seem willing
Daddy: You're right. I'll just ground her.

And that's how I find myself working late hours.

Anyway, that's not what this rant is about. In school, I used to also dream of days when March would no longer mean studying for exams. Instead I would have the time to enjoy spring with long walks under trees with leaves of different colors. I thought this year would be one such year. Alas, it was not to be.

I received a merry mail in the last week of Feb announcing that there will be exams in March in office. Essentially to test the skills for which they have hired me. A little late in the day I say, considering I've been using those skills for a year now. There were going to be three exams...One each week of March. So much for spring.

Week 1:

An exam to test my grammar. Went smoothy enough. There were just a couple of glitches when during the exam, I was more fascinated with the invigilator's gorgeous white heels. Honest...They were super sexy. I think they were Ashley. They bore a resemblance to these Jimmy Choo's I saw in this month's Elle. What? You want to know how the exam went? Errrr.....Well....The heels were amazing.

Week 2:

A written or rather typed exam to test how well I can write. I hurt my left hand's middle finger 2 days before the exam. Don't ask me how THAT finger got hurt. Believe it or not, I was just cutting my nails. The finger was filled with puss and pained like hell. I had to get a minor incision to drain it all, but I figured I better do it all after my exam. The fear that a stich may disable my left hand from typing paralyzed me.

Anyhow, I started the exam and typed away with one hand. It was smooth like a baby's bottom. The exam. Not my hand. And I was through with it well ahead of time. Infact I even managed to review my answers once before time was up. Something I absolutely never achieved throughout my education. Feeling very proud of myself, I saved and closed both the documents I was working on. I was feeling particularly happy with myself. And guess what happened. When I tried to re-open my docs, one doc went MIA. I searched high and low, through various temporary folders, I almost dismantled the hard drive...But I never found doc 2. It was something I had been working on for 3 hours! Sysadmin wasn't much help either. He shrugged his shoulders and said...I suggest you just re-create you doc.


So what did I do? Well, I stayed back...Hurting hand and all. And I re-created the damn doc and gave it in. This is why they say don't count your chickens before they cross the road.

Week 3:

Project presentation before a tough panel. I had the luck of being one of the first presenters. Keeping in line with my luck the past 2 weeks, I didn't have much hope from it. My presentation was on Monday morning. Sunday night, I was still preparing my pitch till 12 in the night. Having planned to reach office early to prepare further, I was going to leave home in the morning at about 6 AM. That gave me about 5 hours of sleep.

Like a good girl, I went to bed at 12 midnight. The nervousness kept me up till about 1. Now my bedroom is placed in a manner that there is a balcony behind it. And just behind my head is a large window. A window with a cooler but no wire mesh or glass. In summers, its quite a relief to have all the fresh air...But this one night...Perhaps it wasn't so safe. Sometime towards 3 AM I heard a thud in the balcony. Sounded like someone had landed outside. Ma and I both got up with a start (I'm afraid of sleeping alone...Don't judge me!).

Ma (in a whisper): Did you hear that? Sounds like someone jumped onto our balcony
Me (in a whisper): Yes
Ma (very very loudly): Kaun Hai??? Who is it??
Me (irritated and loudly): Ma, what the hell makes you think its an English speaking burglar. If he spoke English, he'd be in a call center wouldn't he?
Ma (defensive and weepy): I said in Hindi also!
Me (pacifying but sarcastic): If its a thief, do you honestly think he's going to answer you????

My ma, still sprightly for her age...Climbed on the bed and tried to peep through the window onto the dark balcony to see if she could spot a thief. Since she chose to stand over my hand, there was nothing I could do to help. When I finally managed to get my voice back, I squeeked, "Ma, switch on the bedroom lights..Atleast you'll be able to see outside." Relief poured through my veins as Ma got off my hand and walked over to switch on the light. As our tubelight flickered to life, both of us now peered onto our balcony. We saw nothing. Finally we decided to call it a night. Time - 3:30 AM.

Sleep took over me again, although I was still palpitating at the thought of a burglar in my balcony. Suddenly, there was a loud CRASH and something jumped at the suitcase just behind my headboard...AAAAHHHHH...There was a very loud MEOW and both Ma and I screamed in terror! A cat ladies and gentlemen. A TOM CAT. A BIG BLACK TOM CAT. I don't know who was more scared, the cat or us! The cat streaked out and ran into the other room. Ma and I completely taken aback at this surprise visitor. Time - 4 AM

Ma heard me groan. I reminded her of the ordeal I had to face in just a few hours, and how the lack of beauty sleep was just going to make me cranky. Seeing disaster about to erupt, Ma told me to lie back in bed, cover my face with the quilt and go off to sleep while she hunted out the tom cat.

So while I covered my face, Ma went and got a broom to drive out our midnight intruder. I could hear her thrashing about with the broom. At one point I heard a loud "Stupid Bitch". I couldn't help but smile under the quilt...Evil laughter more likely. As if the expletive wasn't bad enough, Ma started whispering sweet nothings to the tom cat and went "here kitty kitty kitty...Here kitty kitty kitty".

At this point I felt a lumpiness in the quilt. I thought Ma was messing with me. Besides which I wanted to breathe and laugh at the whole "kitty" bit. So I uncovered my head. THE CAT WAS SITTING ON TOP OF ME 2 INCHES AWAY FROM MY FACE.

Me: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I quickly covered my face again. Ma ran into the bedroom. The cat got scared and started running up and down my body. I was screaming under the quilt. Ma got into action mode and started trying to hit the "kitty" with the broom. The cat was fast. ma wasn't. She hit me more than the cat. I felt like I was the victim of a village exorcism ceremony. Ma with open hair and broom in hand...Hitting me...Black cat tearing up and down me.

Ma ran and opened the back door to allow the cat to escape. But our kitty wasn't the brightest spark in the woods. He tried to escape from the same window through which he had come. Unfortunately, he was a little too fat to through the sill on the way out. Garfield anyone?

My traumatic night came to an end when the cat finally escaped through the backdoor. Time - 4:45 AM

She'll be back I know. Seeking her vendetta. V for vendetta.

Wake up time - 5:30 AM
Cab pick-up time - 6:15 AM
Presentation time - 11 AM

How did the presentation go?

Well, I don't remember any shoes, and I didn't loose and documents. So that's good news I suppose. I'll find out more when I get my results in April. Maybe at another pseudo PTA meeting!

Friday, March 10, 2006


Some time back I was tagged to write a work of fiction. I duly completed the tag here. After the post, some very polite people asked me to continue the I've decided to do so today...See this is what mom was talking about when she said "Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it!"

It was him. There was no mistaking it. He smiled at her then. That same aggravating grin she remembered from all those nights ago. Was it a month back, or a year? It felt just like yesterday. She hadn't been the same since then.

"So, fancy meeting you here", he said. "I wondered where you had dissapeared to. I had got your number from Deepa and called you a few times but I always got the answering machine." She was still thinking of what to say...should she tell him that everytime she came home from work and heard his voice on her machine, she either dropped the laptop bag on her foot and once even accidenlty nuked her cell phone in the microwave. Naah...that hardly gave the right picture considering what had happened.

"Well, I had been a little busy...the company needed me to set up a new office at a foreign location", she replied. "There! Ha!" she thought. "What do you think of that now eh?" Ofcourse there was no point in telling him that the foreign soil was no further than good 'ol Bangladesh. Details hardly mattered.

"So what are you doing here? I thought I recognized the hackles at the back of your neck from a distance..." he asked. "Its a river...with rapids...people usually come here for the rafting. What do you think I'm doing here? Annual reports?" she retorted.

He said "Well you never know..Anyway about the other night...I hope there are no hard feelings." "No hard feelings", she thought, "Sure, for you maybe". Instead she decided to play it cool and said, "Oh absolutely not...these things happen all the time. No big deal. I've hardly given it a thought." "Grapes?" he offered again. "I wasn't kidding about going off Vit C at night you know...Do you know what it can do to you? Atleast as a guy you should avoid it", she said. He seemed to squirm on his rock at that...and looked at the grapes though wondering if the price of the grapes would be too high. She almost burst out laughing...All grapes did was make her burp a bit...but what the heck. He deserved it.

He: So are you here on an office trip or otherwise?
She: I'm here with some friends
He: Office friends?
She: Yes
He: Boyfriend?
She: None of your business!
He: Oh c'mon...Don't be shy
She: Who are you here with?
He: Oh I'm here with my team
She: Female subordinates?
He: I like to think of them as equals
She: Yea right!
He: Your rock is so much smoother than mine
She: Stay by your rock. I came here first
He: Ok ok...Man...people will think you're some kind of victorian prude
She: Prude? Prude! What the hell! What kind of a nut are you?
He: Actually, speaking of prude, I am a Jane Austen fan. What do you think of Pride and Prejudice?
She: *Asshole...I'm not spoiling my beautiful night by discussing Jane Austen with him under a moonlit sky. Besides all I know of Jane Austen is some movie with Aishwarya and a white guy dancing to some really bad songs*
He: *If she would ony loosen up...I've even pretended to like Jane Austen. What more could a woman want!!*
She: I have to go. Good night
He: Wait. Before you go. There is something I've been wanting to do all evening

Hmm...thinking of 2 possible alternatives now. Will get back to this later.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tagged, Yet Again

I have been tagged by Lalit to come up with a list of things I hate...I can't believe he would take such a risk!

But since I so admire Lalit and his perseverance, I shall do justice by his tag.


1. Memoirs of a Geisha - I saw it yesterday and I had this heavy cloud of gloom and anger over my head till today morning. Don't get me wrong...Its not the concept of women servicing men in this movie that bothers me...maybe the Japs do it and so its their business. Its the idea that a 30 yr old man can develop feelings for an 8 yr old girl. That he takes her under his wing and lets her grow up to be a Geisha. And despite being in love with her, he lets her virginity be auctioned...C'MON !!

2. Mamma's Boys - It seems very cute when a guy will tell you how he adores his mother. You think, well...atleast he knows how to respect women. But nothing bugs me more than a grown man who needs to seek permission from his mother for everything. Love her yes...but do you have to "love" her? Be a man and learn to make your own decisions too every once in a while.

3. People Who Are Rude to Servers and Hosts at Restaurants - This category of people truly anger me. The person serving you is just serving you...that does not make him/her your servant. A little respect won't hurt. And if you still insist on being ready to savor your dish with a seasoning of spit!

4. Bosses From Hell - When I say boss from hell, I don't mean the boss who expects you to work late or pick up their laundry. I mean the boss who will pester you for dinner and will offer to drive you home at 10 PM even though you can take company transport. I mean the boss who will pay you embarrasing compliments at important meetings, and who will mis-use a position of power and responsibility to seek special "favours". Ideal solution is to just puncture the wheels of the Lexus when he is not looking...well, either that, or post his pic and cell number at a men-seeking-men-for-sex site.

5. The New Budget - PC has really gone and done it this time. He's now taxing us every time we use a debit/credit card to pay for anything. He's also taxing us if we withdraw 10 grand or more from our ATMs. Wait a second...pretty soon we'll go back in time to the days of Sholay and we'll all have our own personal munshi ji. What the fuck man! Its my are already taxing my income and every bloody thing I buy. Now you want to tax me to withdraw my own money? What am I supposed to do now? Carry 2000 bucks with me everywhere if I need to go buy groceries? Ofcourse if I get mugged and murdered for my money, I will be told I should have been more careful and was probably asking for it by carrying around so much cash. C'mon PC...I was expecting better than this regressive move.

6. The Vagaries of the Indian Justice System - Jessica Lal was murdered at a party infront of more than a 100 people. Witnesses were threatened, and today the accused have walked scot-free and one even runs a night club. Yes we are all protesting, but for how long can this mockery of the legal system continue? A medical student from MAMC was raped in broad daylight, the culprits were arrested and then released. Does any one know what happened to them? Every one knows what happened in Godhra. Yet the accused have not been brought to justice. If these lunatics want to fight wars to prove their religion is better, what better way to do it than rape and murder little girls right??

7. Delhi Auto Wallahs - These guys have their own mob scene going on. As soon as you step out of a mall, a hoard of them will descend on you like a swarm of locusts. They are better off than most of us; some even carry 2 cell phones. The cell phones are snazzier than mine. They are so choosy they will refuse to take you early morning when you are rushing to your bus stop. They will refuse to go by meter. And when you do sit in the auto, they will "adjust" the mirror so they can leer at you throughout your journey.

That's my lucky seven for the day. There is so much more to hate...but really...what is the point right?

I am tagging Safari Al, methinks, mind curry, and vaibhav.