Thursday, November 22, 2018

Roasted Turkey or Roasted in Turkey?


Mr. Watson, my boss had invited our team for a Thanksgiving dinner at his place. This meeting was to decide the fate of a few of our outstanding employees who shall be posted to our company's different overseas location.
Few of them included Syria, Turkey, Iran, UAE,  Somalia, Ethiopia, and many North African countries. Well, seeing the list, you might have realized my feelings.
I had prayed to multiple gods that week as my heart didn't desire to go outside of America. I love the USA! At least I could say so after seeing the opportunities in those countries.
So we all gathered around the dining table.  I smacked my lips as I saw the different Thanksgiving dishes Mrs. Watson had cooked for us. My boss was discussing the employee placement plan and I was busy staring at the roasted turkey that was neatly dressed on a large platter. My eyes couldn't resist that sight and it was tempting. 
"So, I will now inform you what the management has decided." The boss said, " I just need a confirmation from you once I inform you your new work location." 
My ears bypassed what he said all those time that actually made me regret.
He pointed towards me and said, "Turkey!"  I was busy drooling at the roasted turkey.
"Yes, turkey!" I told him. "Are you sure?" he asked to confirm.
"Yes, of course," I said and the rats inside my stomach were busy rumbling. My mind failed to process the context of the topic and my boss had sent the confirmation to the management. The rest of my teammates had declined the offer and I was the only one who said yes. 
I was busy gorging on the roasted turkey while few of my teammates came and sat next to me.
"I admit you are indeed a brave man, Steve," Andrea said to me. 
"I second you, Andy," Greg said brusquely.
"I mean how could you think of Turkey," Matt said, " You must be a legend. Look at the extreme conditions there and the ISIS threat."
"How could you think of moving to Turkey?" Jeff joined in. 
"Turkey." I stood perplexed. It was a late realization. The oven roasted turkey had blinded me for a moment that my company decided to parcel me to Turkey.
Because of roasted Turkey, I was sure of getting roasted in Turkey.
"Nooooooo....." I screamed at the top of my voice while my teammates were busy appreciating my courage. 

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

How to fall asleep in 60 seconds?

Eric was busy staring at his iPad as Lisanne, his wife of 11 years was getting ready for work. She was a registered nurse at the Duke Medical University Hospital. It was one of those days when she had to work night shifts. The hospital paid extra incentives for its RN's who worked at night. They both had struggled a lot when they were new to Chicago. 
"Honey, I'm leaving for Duke in 20 minutes. You need anything?" Lisanne asked Eric.
"Baby, come here quickly. Just see what I found?" Eric beckoned his wife.
"Ughh, what now? Eric, I'm already running late." Lisanne riposted.
She sat next to him as Eric showed her the video of how to fall asleep quickly in 60 seconds.
"Eric, not again. You should put these devices aside and try to get some sleep," she said.
Eric was suffering from insomnia. It had been years since Eric slept peacefully. 
But sleep never beckoned him however hard he tried. 
"Lis, the guy in the video says that we need to release stress from our arms and limbs through some breathing exercises," Eric told.
"So, I am going to try these breathing exercises and see if it works," Eric added.
"Honey, I am really running late for work now. You try to get some sleep, Okay?" She planted a kiss on his lips and left for the hospital as the clock struck 10 at night.
Eric was performing the steps mentioned in the video.  Eric was happy today as he thought he found something that he was searching for ages. 

The next morning, 8 AM.
Lisanne walked upstairs. She was rummaging her bag for the house key as she didn't want to wake up Eric.
Hope Eric's new therapy helped him, she thought as she finally found her house key.
She turned the key in the lock and opened the door. She stood there speechless, her mouth agape.
Eric was sleeping on the bed. She hadn't seen this in view for ages. She was happy for him.
"Eric, honey, wake up," she said, "Look, what I got for you?" 
She had got Eric's favourite cheesecake from the Martin's.
She quickly changed her dress and saw Eric slept peacefully like a newborn baby. 
"Eric, Eric," she called him again.
She went closer to him and saw that he was not breathing. He had indeed fallen asleep in 60 seconds. She screeched at the top of her voice as she saw her husband sleeping peacefully, forever and ever!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’ 

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Invited by the World

I am going to turn speechless as I type this blog post as I talk about the different events that unfolded during the last Summer. Firstly, my beloved wife Shama ditched me for a solo trip to Europe. It was a few of those depressing days of my life when I saw things seesawing between the past, present and the future. Future seemed bleak without my wife.  Shama left me like a fish floundering on a drenched floor. But little did she know that it was time that could decide the fish's fate and heal the pain.

Image Source

15th February 2017
Shama waited for me as the clock struck 11 at night. Being an executive in a top FMCG company, I traveled to many places across the world. Many envied me because of my achievements at a very young age.  Those were the early days of our marriage.  Shama would prepare scrumptious meals for me for dinner. She was a good wife and she showered all her love for me through her food. But unfortunately, my work demanded more attention. Shama was India's top industrialist Jagmohan Kapoor's only daughter. All that she desired from me was my time and my love.  During one of those days, she asked me about my favorite travel destination.  I would jokingly say that my travel bucket list was long. My life as a Senior Executive offered me free business trips to Australia, South America, and the North American cities but I had a dream to travel to Europe. The Euro trip had been a distant dream for me. I always wanted to visit Berlin, Paris, Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome and many other famous European cities but my work demanded my time and attention. 

After listening to my list, Shama would insist and pester me to plan a travel but I would blatantly refuse. She would remain upset because of my work.
I entered my house and sat on the couch. 
"Shama, would you get me some water?" I asked my wife. Before I could complete my statement, she handed me a tumbler of water. I gulped the water and smile at her to which she grimaced. She beckoned me to come for dinner to which I immediately obeyed her instructions and followed her to the dining table.
She sat next to me after serving the food. She had cooked delicious Chole bhature and she knew it was my favorite. 

"I was thinking that we should spend some quality time together," she said  and continued, "Maybe we should plan a vacation." 
"I agree, baby, but we have an international business audit that is scheduled to happen in the upcoming days," I said.
"So, how does it matter?" she replied.

"It does matter because I am assigned the responsibility to head this," I added.
"Fine, I see no point in this marriage," she said, "I have sacrificed all my dreams and goals for you. JUST YOU." 
"You won't even let me work. I am a MBA gold medalist and I am cooking food and washing dishes at Mr. Siddharth Singhal's house.WOW!" she said, tears copiously rolling down her cheeks. 

"Yar,  you could hire a maid," I said to her.  "Well, that's not the point, Sid! I am tired of staying at home all alone. I need a break." she replied.
"But, work is important too and this is what pays all the bills," I said and followed her to the bedroom. 
She lay on the bed, her face red and swollen because of excessive crying. I wiped the tears from her cheeks and rubbed her eyes.
"I miss the good old days, Sid!" she said, her voice low.
"I understand but I can't leave my work or take a break for a vacation with you," I said brusquely to which she got mad at me. She quickly got up.
"Okay fine, this marriage isn't going to work." she said and continued, "I am going back to my house." 

"This is your house," I said.
"My dad's house," she corrected and packed all her bags.
All my attempts to stop her from leaving me seemed futile. All that she demanded was my time and my unconditional love. I was the brightest shining star in her life and she was my world! And I saw my world crashing in front of my own eyes. 
I spoke to her dad and Mr. Kapoor didn't want her daughter to suffer in this unfruitful marriage. Maybe I had taken all her love and affection for granted. Like any other woman in this world, she had all rights to grab her man's attention and love. But unfortunately, I was a bad workaholic.  

The next few weeks and months were the most depressing days of my life. Her absence started to haunt me badly. She would refuse to pick my phone calls and never replied to my texts. Days were getting bitter and lonely. Her absence was hitting me hard.
I could not focus on my work those days because of this and this distraction was getting noticed at work. The fiasco had cost me big. At work, I was not promoted to the Assistant Vice President role during the appraisals. My boss was kind enough to provide me a long break and  he asked me to return when I got better. 

29th April 2017
Two months later when I logged into Facebook to divert my thoughts, I learned about Shama's trip to Europe. She dreamt of togetherness with me and desperately wanted to go for a Europe trip with me which I had neglected. I had completely ignored her feelings, emotions and most importantly her love for me!
"Berlin indeed is a very beautiful city. I am here all alone missing my life! Here for another 2 days before I head to Brussels," read her status message on Facebook. 
I quickly contacted my travel agent after learning that my wife was in Europe. I asked him to book a flight to Berlin. He gave me a list of airlines to select from but I preferred Lufthansa as per his recommendations based on its services.
I boarded the flight from the New Delhi International airport and reached Berlin in the next 8 hours. The airline services were incredible and highly commendable. I booked a room at the Renaissance Hotel. I sauntered across the streets of Berlin and stood visually stunned because its beauty struck me hard.  Though my real intentions of visiting Berlin was to meet my wife and let her know how much I missed her! But I was impressed by the city. Berlin beckoned me with its magnificence and rich heritage. I had subscribed to my wife's Facebook notifications so that I could reach her quickly through the Facebook alert messages. 

While I was busy admiring a German couple lost in their thoughts, I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket. 
'Shama Kapoor-Singhal is feeling loved at Brussels,' read a check-in status.
I quickly booked a train to Belguim.
I saw a series of quick mini statuses from her.
"Who wouldn't love such a pleasant weather?! With Greeneries around, I am munching dark chocolates," her status read with an image of a Belguim premium dark chocolate.
I reached Brussels in the next 4 hours.  I tried hard but I couldn't locate her. It was like we both were playing a game of hide and seek.

Days passed and I got to meet many exciting new places but not her. It was a much-needed break for me. My wife had indirectly invited me to Europe to explore it. I couldn't meet her but I got to see so many amazing famous cities. These cities were once in my to-see list but I had seen them by now. It was an unexpected trip that I enjoyed the most.

Berlin exposed the magnificent,
through museums and gardens I treaded
Amsterdam unleashed the zest of my life
Walked through the lavish green,
nature's mattress at Budapest,
Walked miles in search of my love
Vienna walked beside me hand in hand,
While Rome grabbed me through its beauty,
Stockholm's nightlife,
My taste bud delighted by Prague's street food,
Brussels offered me its rich,
large heritage of dark chocolates,
Athens showed its ancient legacy,
Swam through the lakes of Oslo,
Buried me under the Zurich snows,
Threw tomatoes in Barcelona,
An enriching experience,
With just Paris left,
will I ever meet her again?
Zillion butterflies flutter within,
Waiting for love!

I was sitting on the promenade near the Eiffel tower in Paris. Visibly shattered and disappointed, I was cursing myself for not dividing the time between my loved one and my work. 

Shama was very important for me.  Tears rolled down my cheeks.  At the same time, my phone vibrated. It was her Facebook status.

"Done with Berlin, Barcelona, Prague, Brussels, Vienna, Milan, Rome, Oslo, Amsterdam, and Budapest. And guess what? I am at Paris next to the Eiffel tower and guess whom I saw?  That's my crybaby hubby waiting to see the love of his life :P Hahahaha!" I read as I saw an image of me sitting on a promenade.

 I rubbed my eyes and checked that it was indeed me. She had discretely clicked a picture of mine.  As I saw the photo, a familiar hand wrapped around my shoulder. Their head rested on my shoulder and I was taken aback when I saw my wife. Yes, it was Shama!

I kissed her and hugged her so tight that no earthly power would separate us again. I had missed her for so long. I traveled the various cities of the European continent but only to find her in the city of love - Paris.
"Thanks, Shama!" I said.
"For what?" she curiously asked.
"for coming back to my life," I replied.
"Thanks to you too!" she said.
"why?" I asked.
"I thought you would never come ..thank god you got my updates," she said," my sole intentions were to bring you to the places that you wanted to visit someday and were not able to because of your work!"

"Yippie, my plans worked well and you were trapped," she said and danced in joy.

I smiled and said," Shama, from now one you are my top most priority and not my work, Okay?"
She smiled when she heard those words from me.

She wanted to see the old Siddharth Singhal, the jovial, funny guy from  the IIM who loved her truly, deeply and madly. Gladly, I had realized my mistake and now I got to know her worth in my life. Her worth was more than diamond and gold. She was precious to me!
"The world has invited you, Sid!" she said with a smile.

"It's you helped me in fulfilling my dreams of visiting these places," I said.
"Again it's not me, its the world!" she reiterated.
"Shama, you are my world, my main and my everything!" I said and our lips locked again.

"We need to find the real meaning of our life. Life needs a break at times and that's when one should keep exploring the world." she said and continued," We need to fall in love with the different things and places around us and say yes to the world whenever it invites."

"You talk of falling in love with places and I have already asked my travel agent to plan for our next Singapore - Malaysia vacation," I announced.

She was very excited.

"How could you even think that I am leaving you, Sid?" she said and laughed.
"Look at the way you were crying." She laughed again and said, "I am definitely going to narrate this story to our kids!" 

And then we lived our life happily!
#SayYesToTheWorld  #TheBlindList

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

7 days to lose a girl

I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter.

This shall pass too

Over a thousand souls followed her on the paths that she trod. She arrested every man's heart at my office that it beat only her name. Things were different before she stormed into my life.  I desired a normal life with happiness and mirth. I should admit that at times I've prioritized money more than happiness.  The urge to earn money had consumed me over the period of time. This story happened over a course of 7 days. 7 days of anticipation, hope, love and a disaster.  She came, she mesmerized and left me broken. This is not just another love-hate story but a story of hope that was stolen from a guy who truly and madly loved a girl from his office. In these 7 days, he befriended her, loved her and lost her forever.  Pinky, his 12-year-old niece was his advice maven who  played a significant role in fixing and destroying his love life. She played a role of a  dating website in his affection craved life. The little demon under the guise of an angel cajoled him to do things that eventually shortened his love life. 1 day is enough to impress a girl, 2 days are enough to get her along, 3 days are enough to win her heart and just one day is enough to shatter everything.

It was a balmy Wednesday morning when the Cupid, an uninvited charlatan decided to trick me. 

Day1 - Wednesday - 6th June 2006.

Project deployments are no less than a wedding ceremony for Engineers like me. It is an important day of our life. After an ambitious 6 months of designing, coding, and testing, we were all set to release our baby into the production. Yes, projects are referred to as babies in the corporate life.  No new issues were reported in the first of kind production sites which brought a big smile to my Engineering manager's face. For days, he would not let his depression seep through the Engineers under him. I was his trusted go-to man who gave me the complete freedom to manage the team and the product development. Two important events happened in my life that day.  My Engineering manager promoted me to a Project Manager role after my impressive performance in the last fiscal year.  Well, the second event had somewhat impacted the next upcoming week of my life. Yes, the day 1 of the 7 days had begun. 

Raghavendran, my Engineering manager had summoned me to his cabin. As I peeped through the transparent glass of his cabin,I saw a charming woman of around 27 amicably conversing with him. 
"Who is she?" my mind aimlessly drifted apart.
Could she be the new HR manager, I thought to myself. 
Raghavendran caught me shamelessly ogling at the girl.
"Ashwin, what are you doing there? come in," he said and I obediently hearkened.
"Meet Ashwini Singhal, the automation engineer who would be joining our team," he said. She smiled at me and  greeted me, "Hello sir!" 
"Call me Ashwin!" I retorted.
"Introduce her to our team and explain her the different modules that she would be automating," Raghavendran explained.
"Is the workflow manager going to be under the scope of automation," I curiously asked him to impress the newcomer. 
"I think so, why don't you discuss," he replied and we left his cabin. 
She was walking ahead of me. I witnessed her long hair neatly braided to her hip. It was swinging like the pendulum of a clock.  I then introduced Ashwini with the other testers and developers in my team.  At a closer glance, I witnessed her brown eyes and her arched eyebrows.  Her eyes possessed a charm and it looked attractive due to the heavy application of kohl and the mascara. I admired her as she spoke to each of my team members. Her smiles certainly killed me and I could feel the Cupid's bow piercing through my heart.  She had a sharp chiseled nose and any man would fall for her long lips that were painted red. A complete bunch of joy she was! And my soon-to-be package of happiness. I stared into her eyes as my ears bypassed her voice. "Ashwin! Ashwin!" she called.
"Hey, tell me." I recovered quickly trying not to distract myself because of her beauty.
"Where is my seat?" she asked.
There was a vacant cubicle next to mine and I asked her to use that.  That act of mine could have surely broken many hearts in my team, of course, the guys!
I sent her some documents to read and asked her to get back to me in case if she had any questions.  Although she was an integral part of my team, we both were reporting to our Engineering manager while the rest of my team reported to me. That gave her special privileges. Maybe!
I was shamelessly smiling like crazy as she was going through the documents. I was discretely leering at her. 
It was the first time I was meeting her but my heart had sensed my cravings the moment I looked at her for the first time.  Apart from clearly her doubts, we spoke for hours about ourselves.  She was slowly getting comfortable with me. That was some skill that I possessed. Born to impress, I would brag about myself. Of course, secretly!
My older sister from Washington was in India for her vacations.  I hugged her the moment I saw her. Di was my favorite and my best friend from my childhood days. 
"Now stop hugging your old grumpy fat sis and focus your attention to your cute sexy niece," I heard a soft voice from behind.  The little girl stood there with her arms crossed and she grimaced.
"I'm not impressed, mamu!" she announced.
"You have to be," I said and hugged her. I loved my niece Pinky the most. 
"I love you, mamu!" Pinks planted a  kiss on my chin. Everyone called her Pinku while I called her Pinks.
"My sweet little angel, even your mamu loves you," I said and continued, "I was desperately waiting to meet you."
It was a perfect Wednesday for me. Lots of unexpected events unfolded that day.

Day 2 - Thursday - 7th June 2006

That day I left for office quite early.  Never in my life, I was so excited to go to work! Maybe this is why they say that life veers upside down after a woman steps into your life. And Ashwini was the woman in this case.
"Ash bro, good morning, " a colleague of mine greeted me.
"Look I am telling you for the nth time not to address me, Ash,"  I brusquely told him. 
"Do I look like a kid who catches weird stupid pokemon or do I seem to you like a burned charcoal?" I asked.
"Chill Ashwin!" he said and left for his cubicle.

"Hey, Ram," I called him and continued, "Good Morning to you." I smiled at him to which he glared at me. I had clearly ruined his morning. My team members looked at me while I was exposing my cruel side at him.
I was eagerly waiting to see Ashwini and she didn't make me wait long.  She arrived thirty minutes hence.

"Hey Ashwini, Good Morning!" I greeted her.

"Hey Ash!" she smiled and said, "Good Morning to you too."

"Ash?!" had clearly annoyed me but my heart had helplessly forced me to curve my lips into an animated smile.
"My friends call me Ash!" she said and continued, "It is such a sweet name." She said with a smile on her face. She always looked beautiful with a smile. My heart had already accepted the way she was.  My next task was to find out if she had a boyfriend.  In this social media frenzy world, all girls had a guy to chill out with. Somewhere my heart wanted me to believe that she was single.
"You know what?" I asked her.
"Even my friends called me Ash!" I said, smiling at her. My team members laughed sheepishly. I remember my colleague from the other team, Ram listening to this when I uttered those words.
"Nice shirt, Ash!" Ram said and left for the cafeteria. I couldn't complain much.
Two hours later, I asked her out for tea. I had to make the most of it and had the most difficult challenging task of finding her if she was single.
"I love chai's and the tapri chai outside offices are too good," she said and asked curiously, "Do we have a Tapri here too?" 
"Of course we do," I said and continued, "Shankar is famous for his tea." 
I and few of my team members were regular customers of Shankar. While the others would drink tea and I would smoke Marlboro light. 
Shankar raised a cigarette stick as soon as his eyes grabbed my attention. He failed to notice the lass with me. 
"Shankar, God knows why do you do this to me every damn day," I said and asked, "Do I really look like a smoker to you?" 
"Sorry, bhaiyya! confused ho Gaya mei,"  he apologized.
Ashwini was watching all this as she stood next to me and sipped the chai. 
"Ash! that's okay if you want to smoke then I am completely cool with it," she said and continued, "I can wait near the gate until you are done smoking."
"See, his stupid act even convinced you that I'm a smoker," I said to her.
"Oh no no, I didn't mean that way!" she said, "And I am sorry!"  She smiled at me.
"By the way, what's your last name?" I asked her. 
"It's Singhal!" she replied.
"Paradoxical!" I said and continued, "Your boyfriend must be cursing himself."
"Well, my last name actually justifies my current relationship status," she said and continued, "No guy had the guts to ask me out for a date." 
My heart skipped a beat as she uttered those words. A billion butterflies started fluttering inside my stomach as I confirmed that she was single. 
We sauntered outside the campus for a brief period.  
I reached home at around 9 that evening. I had my dinner with my Di and my niece. After that, I headed to my room. That time was dedicated to the stalker in me. I quickly logged into facebook and searched for Ashwini Singhal.  She looked gorgeous in all her photos. I couldn't believe when she told she was single.
My little munchkin Pinks was fidgeting with her iPad next to me.

Uncle and Niece
Image source

"Mamu, do you have any girlfriend?" she asked me.
"Why do you ask me that?"  I asked her.
"Tell me first," she said.
"NO," I answered.
"Then why are you stalking this girl on facebook?" she caught me red handed.
I didn't see that coming. "She works with me at my office," I told her. 
"Well that doesn't give you the rights to stalk her," she replied. The last thing I didn't want was to get embarrassed in front of a kid. 
"Well, I like her!" I admitted.
"Let me see her properly." She pushed me and grabbed my laptop. 
"Well she is just okay looking," she said and continued, "Not as pretty as me." She winked.
"I concur with your statement," I said to which she said," My future aunty is actually very beautiful." 
"And her name is Ashwini?" she confirmed.
She laughed and said, "Ashwin and Ashwini matches." She burst into a sudden laughter and my sister downstairs asked me if she was alright.

"Relax Pinks!" I told her to chill. 
"Ask her out, mamu," she said for once.
"Is this really going to work, Pinks?" I asked her. 
"Well if you don't tell her up front that you like her then how will you know if she is interested in you," she said. 
"Well, my boyfriends tell me directly that they like me," she said.
"What?" I asked, perplexed, "You have a boyfriend?" 
"Yeah!" she confirmed.
"You are just 12,"  I said.
"So what?" she riposted.
"United States of America I see," I said and continued, " Good going Pinks."
I should have been ashamed of myself that at 12 my niece has a boyfriend while at 29 I didn't have any girlfriend. 

"But how can I know if she likes me or not?" I curiously asked her.

"Let me talk to her," she said.

"That's never happening, "I said.

"Mamu, please... I am bored sitting at home," she pleaded.
"So, you'll ask me to introduce you to my friends?" I confirmed.
"I mean your prospective girlfriend, my future Aunt," she said and winked.
"Not happening!" I said to which she blackmailed me. "Well let you momma and my momma meet her then!"
"Fine, I will plan something and maybe we could meet tomorrow," I said to her.
This tiny brat had a pivotal role in my life at least for the next 5 days. Helping others was her passion.  "With great powers, comes great responsibilities, love helping others but I am not Spiderman," was her Orkut and Facebook bio. At that tender, I used to play with my friends in the nearby garden and kids of this generation have iPads, Playstations and don't know what not they have!
Pinks wanted to be the architect of my love life but handing over my love life in the hands of a 12-year-old was not a good idea according to me but I was a daredevil too!

Day 3- Friday - 8th June 2006

That day Ashwini looked beautiful in the Indian attire. She was dressed in a blue Kurta.

"Hey good morning Ash!" she greeted me and said, " You are looking good today."

"You are gorgeous too," I smiled.

Usually, in IT companies Friday is supposed to be the fun day. Seldom people feel like working. And in a young team like mine, my team members would leave early on Fridays.
While talking to her, I expressed my nieces' desire to meet her.  
"But why would your niece want to meet me?" she asked curiously.
She happened to ask me about the most beautiful woman I'd met till date and I took your name and that caught her attention.
"Well, thanks Ash but I don't think I am pretty looking," she said and blushed.
"I would love to meet her too," she said and asked, "What's her name?" 
"Pinky Sethi but Pinks to me!" I smiled.
"Are you free tomorrow?" I asked her.
"Yeah! why?" 
"Let's go for Mission Impossible III," I said and added," I will bring Pinks too!"
She packed her bags and said, "I would love to meet Pinks and how do you know I love Tom Cruise?"
"Well,  I guessed so and should  I change my name to Tom Cruise," I said and winked at her to which she smiled.
That day I left my office early.  Ashwini lived in a PG in Kalina. 

"Mamu, is she meeting the great Pinks?" Pinks asked me as I entered my home.

"Yes," I said to which she giggled. 

"So you are taking two girls for a date tomorrow," she said," You're one lucky dude, mamu!" 
"Dream on, kid!" I said.

"If not then I would inform this to your Didi and your mommy," she glared at me.

"Whatever!" I said.
Pinks instilled huge hopes in me. I never thought I could impress a girl and maybe express my love for her but now with Pinks support, I soon envisioned Ashwini as my girlfriend. Saturday was going to be the game changer. 

Day 4 - Saturday - 9th June 2006

They say, to fall in love, luck is essential. But not everyone is lucky enough to find the love of their life.  Cupid strikes his arrow when you least expect it.  Ashwini was the chosen one for me, at least I began to think so. 
"See you guys in 10 min." Ashwini texted me. We were waiting outside the Cinemax with the tickets.

(To be continued...)

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nawazuddin Siddique Superhit movies

Nawazuddin Siddique Superhit movies

Walking down the stairs, I witnessed my dreams crashing in front of my own eyes. I was summoned by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and was asked to vacate the United States in  5 days.  My visa extension case was not approved and as a result, my American dreams got nipped in the bud.  I had packed all my bags and I saw Ashwin, my best friend from the MS days standing in the hall with both my bags.  He was my trusted confidante and I am sure he would miss me the most.  I was supposed to join my Indian company after reaching India. 

"Machha, take care of yourself da," Ashwin Ravikumar, said to me with a strong accent. 
"Of course, I will!" I said.
 I had a direct flight from the Newark Liberty International airport to the Mumbai International airport. The best part about flying in a direct plane was that you could sleep the entire journey without having the trouble to board and deboard at intermediate destinations.

"I will miss you da!" Ashwin said.
"The feeling is mutual, Ash!" I retorted.
As I stepped outside, I saw him running into his room.  He quickly came out with a DVD.
"Machha, tell me your favorite actor name da," Ashwin asked me.
"Ughh? for what?" I asked. 
"Dey machha, tell me da,"  he requested.
"Nawazuddin Siddique," I said.  He quickly scribbled something on the DVD and dropped it into my laptop backpack.
I didn't actually read what he scribbled but whatever he did would be right. I believed him and trusted him a lot. 
I hugged him for the final time before leaving for Newark. 
I boarded the United Airlines flight in time.

I reached the Mumbai airport at 8.50 PM the next evening. I was so happy to step into India after 5 years in the USA. I saw my kith and kin standing outside at the arrivals.  I was thrilled and exhilarated to see my family. I ascertained that they would have missed me the most all these days. Now, it was my duty to spend some quality time with them. 
"Machha, I reached India da," I whatsapped Ashwin.

"The USA misses you da, ;-) " he replied back.
I was quickly settling down.  We had visitors every day at home who came to meet me. Some were friends while some were my relatives!
It was one of those when my nephews and nieces were at my home to visit me. I had lots of visitors at my home that day in the form of cousins. My 11-year-old nephew's curious eyes grabbed the attention of a DVD on my laptop back. I was in my bedroom working from home. I had sought special permission from my Indian boss so that I could work from home because of the terrible jetlag.  Eventually, I slept for some time.
My 11-year-old nephew called my other nephew and nieces. 
"Let mama sleep," my younger brother silenced them. 

"But chinna mama, see this DVD!" My oldest nephew said to my younger brother. They referred to him as 'chinna mama'. Chinna in Tamil means small and mama was referred to uncle. 
"Nawazuddin Siddique superhit movies!" My brother read the text written on the DVD loudly.
"I think its a movie DVD," he said. 
"Mama came from America and must be tired," my brother said to my nephews and nieces and continued, "Let him take some rest, okay!" 
"Let's watch this movie," he said and took them to the main room. My Uncles, Aunties and my other cousins were seated in the main room. My mother was busy narrating my American journey to them.
My brother inserted the DVD into the DVD player and played the movie.
"Monamour!" read the title of the movie.
"Whose movie is this da?" My uncle asked my younger brother.
"Nawazuddin Siddique's, Chithappa," he replied.
"Directed by - Tinto Brass!" read my brother. 

"Never knew Nawazuddin also acts in Hollywood da," My cousin said to my brother.
"Anna, I think its an old movie," my brother replied to my cousin.
"Dey Thambi, isn't he the guy who acted in movies like Jurassic Park and the Life of Pi?" My other cousin asked my brother.
"Ayyo Akka, that's Irrfan Khan that you are talking about," he replied to my cousin.
"Now, let's watch the movie guys," he said and silenced everyone. 
Everyone in the room was busy watching the movie.  The first 15 minutes of the movie didn't show the presence of Nawazuddin anywhere.
"You sure, this is Nawazuddin Siddique's superhit movie," my cousin curiously enquired him.
"I think that actor is him," my brother was referring to a character that was heavily covered in makeup.
That character soon removed his clothes and the actress was lying naked on the bed. She beckoned him and the guy reached her bed.  He grabbed her from behind and cupped her succulent breasts.
"That's definitely not Nawazuddin!" One of my cousins said and shooed away all my young nephew and nieces to the other room. 
My brother forwarded the scenes and there were too many steamy racy sex scenes. He shut the DVD player and there was deafening silence for a few moments.
"Raghav!" my mother screamed at the top of her voice. She had clearly lost her cool. I jumped out of my bed and went to the main room. 
I saw shards of the DVD on the floor. My father had destroyed the DVD.
I saw raised eyebrows and few bemused pairs of eyes. I was caught in a fix! I knew I had to answer many questions.
"Ashwin, I will kill you the next time we meet!" I said to myself.
How embarrassing it is, I thought to myself as I confronted my parents in the other room while my cousins were busy discussing Nawazuddin's acting skills.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

A woman's body is a temple

Ab initio, faith has played a prominent role in human lives.  I am stunned to come across a multitude of religions across the several countries of the world. My job lets me trek the globe in pursuit of fascinating things for my fabulous viewers like you. I am Dick Johnson, Numero Uno travel and award-winning video producer of the Discovery Travel channel. After traversing the breadth and the length of Brazil, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Mexico, I am here to expose my global audience to the Indian culture. After the success of the season 1 of my TV show 'Being Dick!' I am here to shoot the essence of India. 

Throughout my stay in India, I shall present you with the various things that constitute India. Together we are going to witness awesomeness! Right now I am traveling to the Vaishno Devi Mata temple which is a Holy Shrine in India and a popular pilgrimage. Vaishno Devi Mata is considered to be the mother who fulfills the wishes of all her children and this child from San Fransico, USA is going to bow to the mother to see my dreams come true.  The holy cave of the mother is located at an altitude of 5000 ft from the base camp and I have already walked 6 km and 6 more to go to see the mother.  There is one thing I love about Indians and it is their love for their faith. Here people of all religions live together in unity and Indian men respect women and women are treated and respected as a Goddess here! Isn't that incredible about this country. As I walk, I see thousand men and women walking along with me. This is so exciting and new to me. India indeed is incredible! As I walk, I see young children selling flowers for the mata darshan. 

Millions of people visit the Vaishno Devi  Shrine every year making it the most popular shrine in the world.  I witness several Indian fans of mine trying to befriend me throughout this journey. I have never considered myself a friendly person but today seeing the amount of love being showered upon me, I have started to believe that love is a universal emotion. Finally, after 2 hours, I near the mata. This is so new to me! I can't believe I am doing this in India though I longed to do this! 

As a part of my visit here, I shall be interviewing random people and converse with them about their country and what all changes they want to see in their country.  Vaishno Devi mother is surely going to bless my show making it successfully once again, I thought! As I walked inside, I witnessed the sight of a young man of around 30 witnessing the darshan. He joined both his hand and closed his eyes.  He must be having a big dream for sure, I realized! He opened his eyes and looked at the goddess mother.  He smiled at her. It was an amazing sight to see. I captured all these moments in my camera.  I've never seen such respect for a religious deity ever in my existence of 54 years.  I started to have a good impression of him. A man who can love the Vaishno Devi Mata will surely respect other women! Bravo, let's catch the guy! I and my crew quickly follow him from behind.

He finally gets to meet his friends who patiently wait for him outside. Must be an awesome group of friends I reckoned. My eyes were fixated on him. I was mighty impressed by this person. This is the man who can give my show a flying start to the season 2.  As I and my crew step closer, I saw these group of friends leering and ogling at the foreign female tourists. They were passing lewd comments at her.  The man whom I admired moments ago was the captain of this gang. 

"Bruh, look at her boobs.. so big!" he said to his group of friends and continued, "I wish I could bang her tonight... how awesome it would be no!"  I stood there stunned as I listened to the words he spoke. I was disappointed at the fact that my own eyes and my mind had deceived me. 
My entire perspective and perception of Indian men were defeated in a single second. I was visibly disappointed and decided to cancel the shoot. That was the worst day of my life! 

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

The Hola Girl

22nd March 2010

My weak soul refrained from entering the cabin of my project manager that was filled with the acrid smell of tobacco.  

"Aao beta," he said after he spewed the tobacco spittings in his dustbin. It was inappropriate of him to exhibit such a behavior despite enjoying a managerial position in a top IT company. 

"Sir, you had called me," I riposted, my face displaying shades of disgust after what I had just seen. 
"Beta, I want you to work on the automation of the core components of our application," he said and continued, "I have already spoken to Rajan from the Apex Automation team."

"So, start researching on this, okay!" he said, pinching a small lump of tobacco out of his tobacco box. He yanked his lower lip and placed this lump between his gum and simpered displaying his tobacco stained teeth.

Clueless, what to say, I acquiesced to his demands and left his cabin. I had made several attempts to and fro from my cubicle and the Human Resources cabin for a project change.  People had warned me 2 years back that this Sigma Project only had an entrance and no exit. I gave a deaf ear to all their advises because of the young IT Engineer in me who was supercharged, pumped up and hungry for working in the corporate world. I had yielded to all his pressure because of the fucking 10% increment that he had promised me.  My work life was like a newly wedded bride who arrange-marriaged an unknown stranger and still displayed an animated smile to the world presenting her fake happiness.  That day I cursed myself for not being able to raise my concerns or voices to my boss. Indirectly, working on the automation project implied working late hours after completing regular office works. It was an additional responsibility.  

'FUCK,' I screamed at the top of my voice as I inserted the bike key into the ignition. 
"Why did I commit to his demands?" I screeched and cursed myself as I rode the bike on the sodden deserted roads. It was 11 PM. I had consumed the leftovers from the other day and that was the major disadvantage of staying away from the family and I was used to this life!

"Sample automation framework," I typed into the Google Search bar of the chrome browser.  At the same time, I heard a  chat notification on the Facebook chat.  "Heard, he nominated you for the automation initiative," Anamika, my best buddy from work had pinged me. 
"How do you know?" I replied.
"Rajan from Apex. Don't you know he is a radio," she said and I decided not to entertain her in the chat. I politely refused to acknowledge her. 
I surfed my facebook feed. 
"Abhishek Tyagi is with Garima Jain at Phuket," read one of the statuses and "Enjoying honeymoon'  was written under it. 
"FUCK," I said. People these days are so obsessed with social media these days, I thought and scrolled down. As I quickly scrolled down, my eyes chance upon the first profile listed on the Facebook Suggestions section.


Young, enigmatic, big eyes, arched eyebrows, cute nose, full lips, and an oval face refined her looks. She is such a delight to the eyes, I thought to myself. Her arched eyebrows had already wounded me and I stood there watching her photo like a defeated warrior even before knowing her properly.  I was astonished to see that we had 147 mutual friends. And then I confirmed that she must have been a blogger.  The crazy fact about blogging was that any random blogger would send you a Facebook friend request even if you liked their blog post just once. Adding and Accepting friend requests from unknown bloggers was becoming an integral part of my life. Without any ado, I clicked on her profile picture and glanced through her photo albums. NO, I was not being a stalker but my eyes never missed beautiful lasses like her.  I clicked on the 'Add as a Friend' button and continued admiring her beauty. A loud beep on my phone woke me up at 8 AM. 'Divyashree Sharma has accepted your friend request'  I read as she just stepped into my virtual world along with the others!
I wrote her a 'hi' to which she never replied. On further research, I realized that she was a published writer and had lots of anthologies and books listed under her Goodreads. A Plethora of talent she was! 
I tried connecting with her again but she never replied. To gain her attention, I even liked her recent posts and even commented on a few of those but she never replied.  My mind decided  to distract myself but somewhere my heart was still confident that she would talk to me soon. But how soon, even my heart wasn't aware of this! 

23rd November 2010.
'Divyashree Sharma has her birthday today. Wish her on her Facebook profile.' beeped my then-famous-expensive Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. 
That was Facebook's way of reminding people about their friends birthday. 
Though I had added her long back, we had not even interacted even once.  This was a perfect opportunity for me to gain her attention. I decided to write something unique that would instantly impress her. 
"Happy Birthday to you Divyashree, from your FAVOURITE Facebook friend :) " I typed on her Facebook wall. 
And I quickly typed 'Happy Birthday :)' on her chat and as usually she never saw it. 
Hours later I received another notification from Facebook that Divyashree had replied to my post. I was craving to see that but that was going to be a special moment in my life, I thought! 
"Thank you!!!"  read the reply.
"WHAT THE FUCK!" was my instant reaction. "Just a thank you?!" 
I decided to focus on other things. By then I had also completed the automation project and got promoted as a Senior Software Engineer. 

23rd November 2011
Me - Happy Birthday Divya <3 :)
She - Thanks!!!

23rd November 2012
Me - Happy Birthday Divyashree!  :-)
She - Thanks!!

23rd November 2013
Me - Happy Birthday Divyashree Sharma 
She - Thank you!

23rd November 2014 
Me - Happy Birthday!
She - Thanks a lot!!!

23rd November 2015 
Me - Happy Birthday to you
She - Thanks!

23rd November 2016
Me - Wishing you a very happy bday
She - Thank you!!

23rd November 2017
Me - HBD
She  - Thanks a lot!

During this period of time, I had seen several projects, many managers and many promotions. I got promoted from Associate Software Engineer to Software Engineer to Senior Software Engineer to Associate Lead to Technical Lead to Team Lead to Project Manager. ALL in these 8 years but one thing never changed and it was her trademark reply to my birthday posts on her wall - Thanks!!, Thank you!! and Thanks a lot!  She seemed different from the other Delhi girls. 
The funny part about this was that I even shifted my base from India to London.

One of those days, I was casually surfing through  Instagram. I was checking the Instagram stories. I saw Divyashree's story."HOLA" to which I replied 'Hola!"

Anyways, I never thought of getting any reply from her.
"Como estas," she replied. I was surprised initially and couldn't believe my eyes.
Me - Muito bem. Mucho tiempo Divyashree.
She - si. Muy Bien
Me - Todavia escribes?
She - Translate, please
Me - Do you really think I know this much? Lol
She - You were Googling it? Lol 
She - I was wondering.
Me - I have an inbuilt Google translator in my keyboard.
She - What's your name?
Me - Georgy
She - You are Indian?
Me - Yes, I'm! Mumbai Indian but living in London
She - I am from Shimla but studied in Delhi. Have you ever been to Shimla?
Me - No, but I've heard that its good.
Me - A land that shelters beautiful girls like you ought to be beautiful no ;) 
She - hahaha 
Me - Why does your face look shrunken from the last time I saw you?
She  - last time you saw me?
Me -  I mean in the photo. 
She -  I was just wondering what if you know me somehow and I am not able to recognize you.
Me - We are friends on Facebook 
She - Seriously? 
Me - Yeah and we have spoken before.
She - Really?
Me - I used to write happy birthday on your wall and you used to reply 'thanks' without a smiley. 
She - What's your Facebook name? and how do we know each other?
Me - We both had 147 mutual friends when I added you.  That must have got inflated to 500 today. 
She - Georgy what? 
Me - Bush! :P :P
She - Not funny
Me - Georgy PK
She - Oh yes, I know you!
Thank God! she recognized me! I jumped in joy. 

Me - What do you do for a living?
She - I am a journalist with the Times of India.
She - I moved to the mountains for peace. I love Shimla and I live with my family. 
Me - I bet you must not be more than 23
She - I will be 26 in a few months. 
Me - And when is that? 
She - You must be knowing that... birthday wishes :P :D
Me - Yeah, that's how I talked to you all these years through these birthday wishes.
She - Hahahaa ... I don't usually talk to people... I must be high on something that I did today. 
Me - Today miracle happened yar
She - but its good. We got to know each other.
That day we spoke a lot. I compensated for all the 8 years that I didn't talk to her. This talk was supposed to happen in 2010 but got delayed by several years. I was turning young once again. For some weird reasons, it never felt the same. I never garnered any feelings for her but I wanted to befriend her and that was what something I desired the most.

Me - Do you know Sagittarians like you and me are the flirtiest of all signs
She - I don't even know to flirt. Teach me
Me - Shame on you, Sagi!
She - Teach me
Me - Are you Google?
She  - No, why?
Me-Because you  got everything that I'm looking for
She - Your mum must have eaten a lot of spicy food when she was pregnant because you are sizzling hot
She - Hahaha, actually she did and I love spicy food.
Me - That's why you are hot :P
Me - I canceled my shadi dot com account the moment I saw you
She - I canceled my shadi the moment I saw you. Hahaha
Me -  There you go! Were you born on Diwali?
She - No. Is it because I lighten your world
Me - No, because you are a patakha (Bomb)
She -  Hahaha  you are as cool as a cucumber
Me - And you are as hot as my Coffee
Me - Where were you all these days? I wish you replied to me on 23rd March 2010
She - Damn, you even remember the day when you pinged me. Were you stalking me all these years?
Me - I have no time to log into Facebook and you talk about stalking.
Me - Can I tie your shoe?
She  - Why
Me - Cause, I don't want  you to fall for anyone else
Me - Do you sit on a pile of sugar or what?
She - What? Why?
Me - Cause you got a sweet ass
She - Oh God! that was a good one.
Me - Do you think we should know each other?
Me - I am blinded by your beauty and I'm going to need your name and phone number for insurance purposes.
She -  Divyashree is my name and know each other as in?
Me  - As friends!
She - Shit. I told my parents that we are getting married and you just broke my heart calling me a friend!
Me - Haha and who will give me your number? 
She - Mr. Pick up lines king, the number for what?
Me - For insurance purpose ;)
She - here it is  98###76##4
Me-Wow, Can I follow you home because my mother always told me to follow my dreams.
She - Hahaha, I am super drunk right now. Do you want to talk for a while?
Me - Now? It is 2 AM
She - I am gonna call you now.

She called me on my phone and we spoke for another hour. She had a typical Delhi girl accent and she sounded familiar to me. Our discussions ranged from how I added her, politics, work, blogs and whatnot. We were slowly transforming into good friends from birthday-wishes friends.
Me - Hey thanks for calling and chatting with me 
She - :) 
Me - don't you think I should get a Padmashree for teaching you so many things today.
She - dude, why do you need a Padmashree when you have a Divyashree hahaha 

Since then we used to talk to each other every day.  Just that she wasn't the same 17 year old anymore and I wasn't the  22 yr old anymore. Life had taken an unexpected turn. The then rude Divyashree had turned out to be my best friend. We liked each others company.
Somedays she used to ping me - "Why am I so attracted to you?"
"Attracted?" I replied.
"I mean why do I like to talk to you so much?" she questioned.
"That's because we attract the same energy ;)" I replied.
"Hahaha, I love you :*"  used to be her instant reply.
"I love you to moon and back :*" I used to reply.

We loved each other as friends.  This Hola girl remained my greatest friend ever. I adore her company and I will always be there if she needs anything from me. I also serve as her advisemaven whenever she wanted to talk about her relationships.  She had a stunning personality though she got angry like anything. 

During one of those days, to soothe her, I would write - "Forgiveness is a trait that only great people possess and I always saw you as a great woman." 

"Wow, I am angry on you but everything aside I love this line!" 

Late but never that late, I never realized that this hola girl would turn out to be my best buddy until I replied to her Hola.  Not to forget those birthday wishes and plain replies for 7 long years.  This girl had something in her! Such was my Hola girl, my greatest friend! 

In this life, we often come across many people and some of them play a cameo in our life while some stay. Some advise us, some love us and some help us in our growth. But there has to be someone with whom we gel well! Life is short and keep meeting amazing people. By this, I don't mean that you keep adding random people without knowing them or stalking beautiful girls or guys in social networking sites. Just Kidding!

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