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I normally don’t watch Surya TV because of its pandi lineage, but a few days ago, because of a technical snag I was forced to, and – pandees, please forgive me – I liked what I saw – a comedy show (I won’t say ‘reality show’, because all shows on TV are reality shows – news, weather, chat, discussions, contests, cricket…the only stuff on TV that has nothing to do with reality is Bollywood. And, of course, DD). OK, back to the show, a thalla explaining to an interviewer payyan how she had not-so-accidentally triggered the Titanic disaster. The payyan is shocked. He breaks down, screams at the thalla, “you killed my parents, do you know who I am, I am Rojan”. (Got it? ROse-JAck. Like MOSI, the best known ambigram in Malluland, from MOlly – SImon, cue CBI theme song). Wow, Subtlety in the Times of Priyadarshan.

Old joke: What is the name of the Shiny – Wilson kid?

That reminds me, Meleparambil Aanveedu is being remade in Hindi with Shiney Ahuja reprising Jagathi’s role, VK-aayirundaalum nee enikku mohavalli thaan.

(3rd para courtesy Sajeev. Return paara: Many years ago, driving through Chennai, Sajeev and I passed an auto with B. SINDHU painted on it. Smirk, only a mallu would name an auto B. Sindhu, said I. Silence. I knew something was wrong, I slowly turned to Sajeev, pasted my besht smile and asked him, What is your wife’s name? Dead pan…S. Bindhu. Boo Haa Haa)

I always wanted to do a spoof on Casablanca, set in a Triplicane maamy mess called Rukku’s Café…


Got the characters all figured out – Rukmani, the cafe owner; Vikku, her old flame; Valsa, Vikku’s wife; Samy, the cashier who plays table-top tabala…Valsa’s life is in danger, only Rukku can save her…you know the story…“Maybe nat today, maybe nat tomorrow…”. Eppadi? Anybody wanna collaborate?


The bombs were supposed to go off at 7.00 pm; I had a train to catch at 7.05. I reached Ernakulam North by 6 and at the entrance I saw a group of cops talking to a man carrying something that looked like a bazooka-in-a-bag. Wow! the cops have caught a bomber…wowowow, gotta get out before he turns into a suicide-bomber. Outside the station, there were many Odiyas waiting for the Howdah Mail, mounts of unattended luggage and the typical railway station low-life – perhaps the platforms would be safer.


By the time I got back to the station, the bazooka had morphed into a metal detector, the cops were standing around admiring their handwork, and mallus were streaming into the platform, sniggering at the metal detector and anybody who walked through it.


The platform was crowded – the usual mix of IT kids, grand parents, vadakkans-on-honeymoon, commuters and the ubiquitous Odiyans – and the crowd looked strangely unaffected by the seven o’clock shadow. I walked to where S5 would stop, facing the unsecured car park, decided it is not safe, and started walking up and down the platform… it should be more difficult to hit a moving target. After the third lap, I suddenly remembered  ‘An Appointment in Samara’ and plonked down on a bench.


A certain merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market to buy some provisions. A little while later, the servant returned looking white in the face. In a trembling voice he said, “Just now in the market place I was jostled by a man in the crowd, and when I turned I saw it was Mr. Death. He looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Please lend me your horse, because I want to go to Samara where Mr. Death will not be able to find me.”


The merchant agreed and lent the scared man his horse. The servant mounted the horse and rode away as fast as the animal could gallop. Later that day, the merchant went down to the market place and saw Mr. Death standing in the crowd. He approached him and said, “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?”


“That was not a threatening gesture,” said Mr. Death. “It was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, because I have an appointment with him tonight in Samara.”


The journey was fun. Our coupe was a PC version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Ms.White went off to sleep after Palghat and the jawan (Grumpy) ordered lights out. I was Happy, the buzz from the afternoon beers had returned with the adrenalin draining, and slept like a baby till Basin Bridge. By the time I stepped out of the coach at Central, the crowd was already marching towards the exit, I also fell in, humming M-I-C-K-E-Y  M-O-U-S-E…

“I received a letter this morning from a young stranger named John Figler, of Crown Point, Indiana…


…John Figler is a law-abiding high-school student. He says in his letter that he has read almost everything of mine and is now prepared to state the single idea that lies at the core of my life’s work so far. The words are his: “Love may fail, but courtesy will prevail.”


This seems true to me – and complete. So I am now in the abashed condition, five days after my fifty-sixth birthday, of realizing that I needn’t have bothered to write several books. A seven-word telegram would have done the job.




That was Kurt Vonnegut in Jailbird.


Last week a stranger who read my blog ‘end-to-end’ summed me up as follows:

  • A great friend of your friends
  • You love yourself
  • Young at heart
  • Loves your son dearly and probably his mother too
  • Used to be a flirt, now like the company of women
  • Like wine and dine
  • Lazy
  • You’ve a good sense of humour
  • A voracious reader
  • A movie buff
  • Lover of music
  • A happy soul at the end of the day

I needn’t have bothered to write all those posts. A dozen bullet points would have done the job.


After 15 years in marketing communication, I have moved to product management (promotion of butterfly valves and ball valves)…

New horizons, new hopes, etc., and a whole lot of new stuff to learn…

Wish me luck.

Last week, over tea at GRT, a 40+ colleague confessed to the gang that he dreaded going home as his wife had suddenly become very cranky. Group Therapy Session. Emapthy, Sympathy, Did you try Homeopathy? Stock explanations – lonliness, tension, frustration, sagging…er…morale, self-doubt. ‘One doubt, also Samshaya Rogam?’, enquired a veteran, and the 40+ lost control, “(text deleted by Symantec)”.

I Googled for mid-life crisis and stumbled upon this very scary photo…

and some scarier truths “Aging makes men look more authoritative, accomplished, distinguished. Sadly, it’s not that way for women” (Rush Limbaugh, US’s leading RJ. December 17, 2007. Full rant here)

I started composing a post titled Bell’s Belles on my misadventures with call centre chicks, learnt that today is Bell’s birthday, Googled, stumbled upon Saul Bass who designed the iconic AT&T Bell System logo, also many famous movie posters, and title sequences for films such as It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which incidentally inspired the opening sequence of Catch Me If You Can, the movie based on the misadventures of Frank Abagnale Jr. Where was I? Gotta stop this hyperlinked stream-of-consciousness stuff.

Tomorrow, I am 42. Boo hoo…

Midnight. A lone Jacobite in the CSI Airport. Around me are IT kids waiting for the New York flight, pawing their newly acquired brides – celebrating their first moments away from daddy, mummy, bhaiya, bhabhi, munnu and Kuttan Pillai (the driver, stupid), …and getting into that New York state of mind.

Was in Mumbai for two days – kampani pani. Went book hunting in Flora Fountain. Picked up Tom Robbin’s Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates (More about the Sultan of Simile later). Had beer at the Pizzeria on Marine Drive, took a leak at Jazz by the Sea (the club next door – the loos are labelled Lou and Louise).

Got swindled by a Mumbai cabbie…again. Flashback. More than 12 years ago. En route to Biju’s place, the cabbie asked me ‘Idhar ka admi ya bahar ka admi?’. ‘Bahar ka admi’, I proudly announced. Wokay, out comes the doosra card…History repeated itself.

Last month, another B’bay trip, I shared a room with Sriram. Guy snores. And mutters in his sleep, and trashes about…pandi melam pandemonium…kept me up till 4 am.

Next morning, I wake up late, open my sore bloodshot eyes, and Sriram the early bird, informs me, “Bum, you snore.”

Around me the snore symphony has started. Gotta join them. Bye…

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