Monthly Archives: February 2015

Friday the 13th, NJTP!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fight or Flight.”

It was Friday the 13th.. Going northbound on New Jersey Turnpike.

I had a rental car and I was in the second last lane, stopped at a cash window of a toll booth. In the last lane, there was a 18 wheeler semi.

I pay my toll and slowly pull out. The trailer must have been a few feet ahead of me on the right. Speeds must not be over 15 mph.

There was a car immediately behind me.. Suddenly, the trailer merges in my lane.. No indicator, no blinkers.. Nothing.. I slam the brakes hard and honk as hard as I could.. The car behind me nearly rear ends me.. The truck driver decides to go ahead with his plans.

Here I am trapped and can do nothing but watch the behemoth approaching the right front side of my car.. Finally, he must have seen me I the rear view mirror and he swerved hard right causing the left rear of his truck to clip the bumper of my car..

Because I was steady, it all seemed to happen in slow motion.. My heart was pounding, thought I nearly died.. But when I opened my eyes, I saw I wasn’t hurt.. Car damage was minor.. I had comprehensive coverage insurance.. Nothing to worry about and a Friday the 13th story..

All is well!


Grandpa, I miss you!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cut Off.”

My grandfather, whom we affectionately called Appa, passed away on May 21st 2011 in India. I learnt about this over the phone, here in the US on the night of the 20th.

Incidentally, this was the day when Harold Camping had made the prophecy that this would be the day of rapture.. The prophecy turned out to be bogus, but the first thought that crossed my mind upon hearing the news was “Appa was a great soul and hence was called up in heaven”.

A self made man, who lived a life of discipline, he died a peaceful death. He had a passion for learning.. He got his masters degree while providing for his family of 5 kids, and law degree upon retirement. A stroke left him partially paralyzed in his later years but he kept his life going.. Reading the daily newspaper, writing his daily journal.. All his belongings neatly placed where they should be. Everything thing had a place and a reason.

I could not go back home and participate in his last rites. Upon losing him, I felt this feeling of being an orphan.. When I walked the fairways at my neighborhood golf course,I felt this feeling of emptiness.. A feeling that a family might feel upon losing their house to a twister, the night before..a feeling that all is finished…

But I know, he is looking down upon me and my family and is feeling proud of his achievements.. In our happiness, he smiles for doing a great job of raising the family right..

My son is 14 months old today and in him, I see glimpse of my grandpa.. He is a part of our lives through the mischievous twinkle in my son’s eyes.

Rest in peace, old man.. Its peace well deserved for a life lived well!


Back to the basics!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Plot of Earth.”

I often question, what have we achieved as humans? We built great civilizations, only to see them rot from within because of greed.. We reshaped land and made monuments only to see them wither away in time.. We have great stories of wars and victories which conveniently gloss over the anguish and suffering of those who lost. We have defined a map of the world where a few live in absolute luxury while a majority struggles to get by..

If you are in the select few, we might not complain.. If you are in the majority, you see the obvious glitches in the picture.. How about we try to fix it?

Get a plot of land.. And use resources to provide for basic survival and nothing else.. A living where you have to work for the food, clothing and shelter.. No air conditioning, no drive through restaurants, for that matter no restaurants… No malls.. You hunt/gather food and you eat.. You knit your own yarn and you cover yourselves up.. A self contained, self sufficient village.. You want something, you walk up and talk to your fellow village occupant.. No metros where you don’t know your neighbor..

Ahh.. This is an impractical dreamland in the modern times.. But this is how we were when us as humans were happy.. We had set duties and life has a purpose..

Continue reading


Bidar.. a place of warmth and small town cool

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Tourist Trap.”

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I wouldn’t say that I went to this place as a tourist.. My aunt lives there.. I must have spent at least 3 summer vacations (2-3 months) there and the memories of the place are very pleasant.. In fact, when I find that I am worried or off-balance mentally, I like to think of this place to calm me down..

Bidar Fort

Bidar.. A town on the Deccan plateau of India .. Crown of Karnataka.. A town rich in history.. Capital of 14th century Bahamani kingdom..A quaint little place with red dirt.. A town where summer evenings were spent playing amongst 500 year old relics if Ali Bari, Sabbal Bari, where women come to pray for a child.. Ali Bari, the graveyard of the Sultan and his hundred wives..A walk across town was a passtime.. Of the dilkhush ( puff pastry with sweetened shredded coconut and nuts).. Of the underground and partially underwater temple of Dharni Narsimha.. but most importantly, the home of my favorite aunt..

My aunt who took care of me as her own since Day1 of my existence.. Who never judged me for my mischiefs, someone who always saw the good in me, when I was branded not so kindly because of my vices.. My aunt is someone who moistens my eyes with tears, everytime I think of her.. She is the sweetest!!


Charity begins at home!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Think Global, Act Local.”

I came back from a month long trip to India, last week. India has changed a lot since I used to call it home, 15 years ago. Today, the cost of livingliving in Mumbai is at par with the cost of living in Washington, if not higher.. Apartments that cost well over a million dollars, people casually dropping $40,000 on cars and a $1000 on cellphones..

But that is the story in the urban upper middle class circles.. Out on the street, not much has changed. The “common man” is still getting crushed between the walls of inflation and wages that fail to catch up.

Very often we see moms struggling to feed their children. Children on the street begging for food. Child hunger is the global issue that I would like to address..

Here is what people of Mumbai are doing about it:

http://m.firstpost.com/living/share-my-dabba-how-mumbai-dabbawallahs-will-help-feed-street-kids-784183.html

Here is what I intend to do:

1. Stop wasting food. Every time I feed my kid, I give him small portions and repeat servings as necessary. This tells him to finish the food in the plate and not waste food. I and my wife try to do the same. We are fortunate to have warm food and its time we learn to be grateful about it.

2. Instead of donating to religious charities that offer flowers and candles to an unseen god, donate to causes that help fellow humans. We know their suffering is for real.


I chose to use it!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Use It or Lose It.”

“I thought we’d never come back from that one”..

But I did.. And I’m glad that ” that one” happened to me.

I guess, the prompt talks about a crisis situation.. A “wanna get away moment”.. And its up to us to use it to grow as a person or run away, hide and fear it for the rest of our lives, thereby losing the chance..

It happened to me in a close game of cricket. I had a great game as a batsman, scored bulk of my team’s runs but not having a great day bowling. I told my captain to pull me out of the attack. Other bowlers did fabulously well.. A close game was on.

I took a great catch to dismiss one of their top batsman and that sort of gave me a confidence to bowl. I asked my captain, if I may and he looked at my confidence and handed me the ball.

There was dew on the field and I was having a tough time gripping the ball. So I decided to bowl the first one a touch slower.. It slipped and ended up being a juicy full-toss.. Whack for a six.. Next ball.. Was a dot ball.. I said OK.. Let’s do it again.. Dot ball again.. Next ball, went waist high full toss.. No ball.. Whacked for six.. Next ball same thing.. All in all I gave 26 runs in the over.. Game was out of our hands..

My team pissed off and the whole crowd ridiculed me.. As I lay on the field ashamed, the best bowler in the tournament walked up to me, picked me up and said “shit happens”..

I went home and I knew my days as a cricketer in the local tournament was over..

Few weeks later, I get a call from the guy who picked me up and he invited me to play at a leather ball tournament. It had rained and none of the established bowlers were able to handle the ball. He asked me to bowl and since I knew what not to do, I had a great day.. Bowling figures.. 3-0-12-4 (3 overs, 0 maidens, 12 runs and 4 wickets)..

When the nightmare over was on, I wished I’d never get out of the humiliation.. But I’m glad I did.. I chose to use the lesson learnt and not lose it!


un-invent farmville!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Undo.”

This was easy.. I would uninvent Farmville, the social media game in a heartbeat..

Here is why:

1. While Farmville appealed to the dormant emotion of being on the farm, toiling in the sun to produce fresh food, it became a pain in the youknowwhat. In the zest to gain neighbors and enriching their farms, the gamers started hounding their friends on social media.

2. It became the precursor to a lot of similar games.. Citiville, dockville  and what not.. And the most annoying game of modern time, Candycrush borrowed the send invite  and make their lives miserable idea to friends on social media.

3. It’s a ridiculous waste of time.. All that hard work and you don’t even get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I know a cousin who set an alarm at 3 AM to harvest the crop else it would burn. Dude belongs in an asylum.

4. To make matters worse, people post pictures of their tricked out farms.. This is as annoying as people posting pictures of their breakfast/lunch/dinner but at least they enjoyed (or at the very least consumed) it.

5. I hoped that for the super users, Farmville would organize a day trip to a real farm.. So that the “farmers” can identify a real olive tree and check out a corn farm for real.. They didn’t..coz I doubt they themselves know what it takes..

I guess that’s all.. My other choices for stuff I wish was never invented-

Reality Television, entertainment wrestling!


Five foods I cannot live without

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Five a Day.”

Its 10 days until I plan to start eating healthy..so I will indulge but try to keep it balanced..

Eggs..

If you’ve ever been a bachelor and away from home, you’d understand the importance of this versatile super food.. From hardboiled to scrambled to omlettes to fancy Benedicts..Eggs will provide an endless array of breakfast items.

Throw them in a onion curry and you have lunch/dinner options as well.

Onions

An onion is a staple to Indian cuisine. It forms the base of majority of curries and is also eaten as a salad item in India as well ( the smell shouldn’t bother me since its just me and my captors and I sure as hell am not trying to impress them.. They can get mint in their goody bags of 5 foods and I can share some of my food with them).

Chicken

No brainer here.. No meat can be as versatile, easy to cook as chicken. Tons of options.

Rice

Need them carbs if you are planning to be stranded. From humble plain boiled rice to delectable Biryani, rice is the staple food of majority of world’s population for a reason.

Sugar

Unless you are in love with your captors, being held captive can be a depressing situation.. Need something sweet to boost your spirits.. Since my goody bag doesn’t have much of a room for cooking desserts, a simple rice pudding or an occasional meringue would satisfy my sweet tooth while in captivity.