Sunday, March 27, 2005

Bye bye bat

I'm down with writer's block again. But then, as Ashwin suggested months back, I'm going to post a few stories and other miscellany I've written over the years. This one was published on on the 12th of May, 2003. Do tell me what you think.


We moved to Ernakulam when I was all of six years, and three-and-a-half feet tall.

The move was without my approval. And so it was a screaming, shrieking, sulking six-year-old who left the clean streets of Bangalore to arrive in Ernakulam two days later.

The school there was not exactly what one would term pleasant and welcoming. I soon realised around 60 per cent of my classmates owned fathers in the armed forces, especially the Navy. I was unable to converse in Hindi, the lingua franca of the aforementioned species. So I ended up in the group of Malayalis, or rather the 'Malayalams' as we were wont to call ourselves -- as opposed to the north Indians, who called themselves the 'Hindis'!

When I was in Bangalore, there was not a single boy my age where I lived. My playmates were all females and the games they played, I discovered to my dismay, were not exactly the games my new friends liked to play. 'House-house', 'Hide-and-seek' and such namby-pamby games, thus, suddenly became unmentionable. I did not know cricket from Adam -- or Eve, for that matter.

So I was accepted merely as a fringe member. Our leader was a blighter named George. I did not like him, for the simple reason other members respected him and not me. But I wasn't exactly 'leadership material', due in no small measure to my negligible skills at cricket.

George's second-in-command was Harris, a chap who was only about as big as me but possessed a better grasp of the power politik we played in primary school. As for me, I was among the small fry, the minnows in the sea of II B.

The other minnows of the set were Elvis Gonzales, a shrimp who made me feel big, and Alwyn, a tall, gangling child who was slightly slow.

I soon found the key to the door that stopped me from becoming a valued and trusted member of the group -- my cricket bat.

Nobody in our class had a cricket bat. I was fortunate enough to have received one on my third birthday. Having seen none of its oh-so-obvious qualities at that time, it lay in a corner, neglected, for three years.

Until Ernakulam. That was where it found its true place in the sun.

The next day, after a wee bit of pestering and some tantrums, my parents permitted me to carry it to school.

The kids were delighted. George, that great soul, condescended to talk to me. He congratulated me on my acquisition. They were delighted to throw away the tree branch they called bat.

It was then I slipped in the million-dollar question.

"Uh, George...?"

"Hmmph?" replied George, with the imperiousness of a Julius Caesar.

"Can I play today?"

He made an indistinct noise, which I took as assent. I felt as happy as a lark.

At playtime, we trooped to the ground. As they formed teams, I realised my name was conspicuously not among those called.

I asked George. He looked at me like I was some insignificant insect trying to climb up his trouser legs.

"You don't know to play... go away."

"It's my bat, George!" I squealed, close to tears.

They had a council of war -- George, Harris, the star batsman Rottu, and Pradeep. They informed me I would be allowed to play in the next match.

But I was an arrogant brat who had been spoiled by the girls in Bangalore. They were a couple of years older than me, and they had pampered me rotten. The power of my tears could move them into accepting any suggestion of mine.

I burst into tears, as was my custom, snatched the bat from George (an unimaginable thing, which I am sure caused looks of surprise among his underlings), and gave him an ultimatum: you let me play or the bat goes.

George contemplated the situation at hand.

A mere underling, a minnow, an associate member, hell, he is Elvis ilk, for Christ's sake! And he's trying to lay down the rules! Those were probably the thoughts that ran through George's mind.

There was a hushed silence. Everybody was waiting for the monarch of II B to pronounce his judgement.

"Bye-bye, bat," George said.

He picked up the branch that was in vogue till then, and went in to bat. His team always batted first, and he and Harris were always the openers. And they were allowed five and three chances, respectively, whenever they batted.

I stood there forlorn, clutching the bat, as everybody -- including Alwyn, for God's sake -- set about ignoring me. I realised I was not in the league of seasoned politicians like George and Harris.

After about 10 minutes of sulking, I asked him if he would let me play, pleeease, if I gave him the bat?

Like all monarchs, George was generous when he felt like it. He pardoned me my blasphemy. He snatched the bat.

I was actually allowed to bat in the last position. Not that it mattered. I was bowled first ball. But what the heck, I was at least on the team.

I was in! I was part of the group!


Life went on, as it always does.

George left my school the next year, leaving Harris in command. But Harris had none of the charisma that made George the monarch. A general mutiny of the ranks destroyed the hierarchy that had prevailed for so long.

I became a better cricket player -- at least, I think I did.

Soon it was time for my family to leave for Chennai. Again, it was a move that did not have my approval. And it was a screaming, shrieking, sulking nine-year-old who left the beautiful by-lanes of Ernakulam behind him forever.

But memories remain an alluring rose pressed between the pages of my life.

Of what became of Harris, Rottu, George and the rest, I know nothing. I sometimes wonder what they would be doing. Whether they too sometimes sit back and think of the things we shared during those wonderful years we played, laughed and cried together.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Oldest Patron and the Lost Wodehouse - final concluding part

(Please read Parts I and II before you read this.)

The Oldest Patron paused again, and cadged another cigarette from a reluctant Arjun in the interregnum.

The whole tea shop came to a standstill as they waited for the Oldest Patron to light up and continue. Smoke from a hundred half-smoked cigarettes filled the air. The non-smokers held their cups in a vice-like grip, unable to take the next sip till the old man spoke again.

‘Well…it was then that it happened. Was it the day before her birthday? Or the day before that?’, he screwed his eyes shut as he tried to recollect memories from a past long gone.

‘Whichever day it was, she called me that night. I was writing on the first page of the book exactly the kind of soppy stuff my friend said would bring a blush to her damask cheek (and puke to my mouth) when the phone rang.’

The thought of the Oldest Patron - with his grey locks and long white mane - writing odes to love on the front page of a book brought upon me waves of laughter I could not suppress. Worse still, I thought, the PYT he was talking about would probably be a grandmother today!

‘You may find it funny, my ugly young man. But when I penned those lines, my hair was of a darker hue and I didn’t have a beard.

‘Anyway, coming back to the point, I picked up the phone and hollered a cheery What-ho to her over the line. Her what-ho was considerably subdued, and she didn’t sound her usual, cheery self. I soon realized why when she told me we wouldn’t ever eat the strawberries and cream at Wimbledon together again (not that we ever did, for that matter – I was speaking metaphorically, you retard!). She spoke of how the spark had died down. My suggestion that we try cleaning the spark plugs was shot down unceremoniously.

She had just given me the raspberry, I realized.

‘The world reeled about me. The words P.G. Wodehouse and the sum I had spent on it, seemed to form a hammer and strike me between the eyes. It took me a minute before I could compose myself enough to speak.

‘Er… the money, I mean, the books…?’, sputtered I, for I was not at my most articulate when faced with a terrible financial…oops, I mean, personal… loss.

‘’You cheap bastard! You want those books you gave me last semester back!! You can take it…’, screamed she in language which brought the blush to my damask cheek (if I ever had one).

‘I tried to tell her once again that I’d actually bought a book for her, spending my father’s hard-earned mone.

‘I tried to tell her that my father would see the bill. I tried to tell her that I had taken such a great risk for her alone.

‘But all I actually said was,

‘‘The bills…my father will see them… how do I send the message across to …’

‘I was cut off again, and had to listen to another two minutes about how she half expected me to even ask for money back for all that I’d ever spent on her. She went on to suggest that I get the bills attested by a Chartered Accountant and send it along to her. She even offered me interest on the amount.

‘Though I thought the idea was capital, I knew it was neither the time nor place to bring up the issue. My inarticulateness had created a barrier as high as the Eiffel Tower between us.

‘I told her I was sorry that it had to end this way, to which she said something about how she said something I cannot remember – so fogged are these memories by the mists of time.

‘She then expressed a fond desire to dance over my remains at my funeral. I almost asked her to pay for that as well. But I was cut off as she decided to return the phone to its receiver.

‘I looked down at the book – and saw within it an opportunity to redeem my mangled pride. I rose from the desk and walked towards the nearest trash bin with a purposeful stride that rather became me. I threw the Wodehouse into the trash bin and smiled at the sight of it on top of a mound of garbage.

‘Around two hours later, realization dawned upon me that:

• I’d never read the book, which was among my intentions in the first place
• I’d never be able to sell it to the second hand dealer
• I could always tear page 1 where I’d penned the romantic message and feed the vultures with it

‘I ran towards the trash bin, only to see that the blokes at the Corporation had chosen that day to make their once-a-year-garbage pick-up.

‘It was the end of the road for that book.

‘It was the end of the road for my money…

‘Today, somewhere, someplace, under ten tones of rubbish, lies a Wodehouse, forlorn and neglected. A Wodehouse,’, said the Oldest Patron, getting almost lyrical at this point,’ that bore her name on it.’

Then his voice rose. It sounded shaky.

‘A Wodehouse on which I’d spent valuable money.’’

The Oldest Patron’s voice dropped down to a whisper,

‘And I never got to read that book. Till date...’

The silence that followed the Oldest Patron’s last statement was broken but by the clattering of glasses of tea long neglected, and the sharp intakes of breath which indicated that Arjun and his compatriots had begun to get back to work with their cigarettes again.


The Oldest Patron passed away last week, having lived long enough for everyone to have lost count of his age.

He never did get to read that book. The rest of us lesser patrons purchased the book and placed it on his funeral pyre.

The girl never turned up to dance on his remains at the funeral. Good thing she didn’t. She’d have found the pyre an awfully warm place to execute a buckwing dance. Besides, it was unlikely that the arthritis she probably has would have allowed her to dance as freely as she would have wished to.

Besides, she probably doesn’t even remember the Oldest Patron…

The Oldest Patron and the lost Wodehouse - Part II

‘A Wodehouse?’, sputtered Arjun.

‘A Wodehouse?’, sputtered I.

An egg, a bean and a few crumpets looked up from their glasses to ask the same question.

A philistine asked, ‘What’s a Wodehouse?’, and was promptly cut to size by the rest of us in attendance.

The Oldest Patron turned to Arjun and cadged a cigarette from him. (The Oldest Patron never believed for paying for anything himself. Where others saw a man, he saw a sponge to be squeezed – though many referred to him unkindly as a sponge).

With the satisfied smirk of one who knows his words have had the desired effect, the Oldest Patron leaned back onto his chair.

He lighted the cigarette deliberately, took a long drag on it and exhaled the smoke slowly. The pause was long enough to have been made by Vajpayee.

Then he spoke…

‘Yes, indeed, my friends, a Wodehouse. Supposed to be one of ol’ Penhalm Granville’s best. May the good man rest in peace…’, said he, a reverent look clouding his eyes over.

After another long pause during which the tea shop’s owner walked over with our glasses of tea, the Oldest Patron continued,

‘It was long time ago, like I said. And I was but a sprightly young man, pursuing a degree in Engineering like you fine, upstanding lads here.

Being a chap full of the blood that makes us men men, I was forever interested in women. The hitch was, women weren’t interested in me, as is often the case. I was blessed with a face ugly enough to stop ten clocks… in fact, I looked a little like you, though not half as bad’, said he, pointing helpfully at me.

Ignoring my irate protests, he continued,

‘But then, as it often happens, there was this girl…’, a faraway look entered his eyes as his mind harked back to a flame that had long spent itself, ‘….this girl, who liked talking to me…’

‘Must have been ugly as sin…’, muttered a cynical bean.

‘Au contraire, monsieur. Though no Madhubala or Heidi Lamarr, she was a pretty little thing to behold. And besides,’, he said, a naughty smile playing on the corners of this mouth, ‘I don’t think she could see very well either. Anyway, to cut a long story short, something of the kind that you young people today call a relationship – we called it an understanding back then – grew between the two of us as the months passed.

‘I was a very proud and vainglorious blighter those few months. I was sure that anyone who would see the two of us together would wonder how anyone as ugly as me could manage to get himself seen with anyone better than a transverstite. That filled me up with pride. Things looked very rosy, indeed.

‘But things weren’t all as rosy as I pictured them to be in the beginning. Girls aren’t forever satisfied with 10 pice chocolates and 1 rupee paneer sodas. They thirst for more. This wench wished that I spend more on her than the four annas that I usually did. I was indeed a trifle cheap and stingy when an impecunious young man…’

The innkeeper, who at this point happened to be walking by, stopped and told the Oldest Patron that he was still a lot more than a trifle cheap and stingy, asked him if he ever planned to pay up for last month’s tea, and walked away resignedly.

‘Then, the day approached. The day I dreaded the most – her birthday. She had made it very clear – with a subtlety that became her well - that she expected a gift from me. I just HAD to buy her a gift! And I knew intuitively that I couldn’t possibly get her the 4 anna chocolate I would have preferred to.

‘It was then that the brainstorm struck me. If I were naked, I would have run around Madras screaming Eureka at the top of my voice. Being a Wodehouse aficionado, I realized I could purchase her a book by the master himself. She had liked the few I’d suggested she read a few months ago. Besides, I could buy the new Wodehouse I hadn’t read yet. And I could cadge it from her later. And I could possibly sell it to a second hand dealer after I’d kept it with me sufficiently long for her to forget about it.

‘I did not have the cash to purchase a Wodehouse book – it was so beastly expensive. I had to smoke bidis for a whole week to save up the amount.', his voice shook at the thought of the terrible sacrifice.

An impressed Arjun looked at his visage with a renewed admiration.

‘Love conquers all’, said my romantic half.

‘Hell hath no fury like a woman whose birthday you get nothing for’, said my fiscally prudent side.

I had the Wodehouse at hand as I awaited her birthday…’

The Oldest Patron and the Lost Wodehouse


The author must take this opportunity to thank P.G. Wodehouse for providing him with so potent a story telling technique as Mr. Mulliner. Many people have narrated fables, starting from Aesop down. But none has done it as Wodehouse has. I bow down to thee, maitre.


It was on a sweaty, steaming Chennai afternoon that Arjun, and I walked in to the tea shop. The tea shop was a local landmark, not just because of the tasteless, insipid tea that it served, but for a person everyone knew merely as the Oldest Patron.

The Oldest Patron had been a fixture at the tea shop ever since anybody could remember. Some say that he was there, at the very same seat, when Mangal Pandey stormed Delhi in 1857’s war of independence. Other more honest people have spoken of how he once condemned Lord Wavell and Lord Mountbatten roundly for their ineptitude, while sipping on hot tea.

The Oldest Patron was a gifted story-teller. He had a story for every moment – stories which ranged from the sublime to the crass. He had a story to tell everyone – whether they wanted to hear it or not. This story is a story about one of his stories.

Arjun and I ordered glasses of tea and settled down near the chair that was, as always, occupied by the Oldest Patron. The Oldest Patron turned a kindly glance towards us and went back to downing his fifth glass. We sunk deep into the comfortable chairs and began to wait for the glasses of tea. Arjun lit a cigarette thoughtfully and began to puff away meditatively, prolonging an already pregnant silence.

It was I who broke the silence.

‘Do you know that ass Shankar?’

‘Yeah…who doesn’t? He’s so weighed down by the moolah he can hardly walk’, said Arjun.

‘Well, he just got himself a new bike.’

Arjun was not too surprised. It was just the kind of thing one would expect Shankar to do.

‘Oh well…’, said he, in the resigned tone of a man who dodged tickets in PTC buses everyday.

‘That’s not what’s stunning and mind-numbing!’, interrupted I, ‘ The egg-head could have sold his old steed for a cool 40,000 rupees. But he chose to dispose of it…’

Arjun jumped up with a start.

It is always a terrible shock for a man who has thirsted for a tricycle and never got one to hear of men who throw their bikes into trash cans.

‘Er…okay, not exactly disposed… he gave it away to his friend’s sister-in-law’s cousin’s husband’s brother-in-law’s driver. It turns out that the bloke had been admiring the bike after dropping the friend’s sister’-in-law’s cousin’s husband’s brother-in-law at his place. And the old chap espied him giving it the covetous eye. He gave it to the driver for a song! Payment deferred…’

‘Payment deferred?’

‘Payment deferred. Pay when you want…’

Arjun buried his hands between his head, or rather the other way around, and began to groan.

The Oldest Patron, who had till then appeared to be engrossed in his tea, woke up with a start.

‘Heh Heh, m’lads. This chap has thrown away a bike. A mere motorbike. A plaything for an idle hour, and nothing more. I remember back when Hanif Mohammed’s team toured India…’, started the Oldest Patron.

Arjun and I had seen this happen too many times not to sense the danger. We’d seen strong men literally tied to their chairs for hours listening to the Oldest Patron’s stories. We tried to sidle away, telling him how we were expected back in college any minute and how our professor would impale us if he did not see us back in class within the next three minutes.

But the Oldest Patron had a glittering eye that was last seen in the person of the ancient mariner. And it was that he put to use upon us when he began to unravel the story…

‘To come back to the story before you curs so rudely interrupted me… Back when Hanif Mohammed’s team toured India, there occurred a strange…occurrence. I was then a wee lad, and I did something a lot stranger. I THREW A P.G. WODEHOUSE BOOK INTO THE TRASH CAN…’

A stunned silence enveloped the tea shop as he uttered these words. Words, which in itself, were sacrilegious.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Close Encounters with the Third Kind

After the MICA interview, I had the leisure to mull over several existential questions while sitting on a filthy berth on a train to Bombay– primary among which was how on earth Bangalore is such a babe factory.

It fills me (and most other males in Chennai) that just 350 kilometers from where I live, there exists a place which bears a strong resemblance to the land of the Amazons. (I’m thinking more on the lines of Wonder Woman here, and not Xena, in case you were wondering!) After arriving upon the conclusion that it must be something to do with the weather or some magic depilatory (or whatever else they call it) available only in the city, I dozed off. I was woken up with a start when someone placed a rough hand on my head.

In my half asleep stupor, I wondered whether it were some pretty Bangalorean girl who’d come to thank me for my flattering views on her oomph factor. I turned my face upward and opened my eyes. And promptly wished I hadn’t. It was ‘Close Encounter with the Third Kind’ time again.

The aforementioned creature clapped it’s hands loudly on my face, and told me how it would be better for my health if I complied quickly with the demands of the 6 foot tall, well muscled extortionists that had surrounded me. A quick dip into my purse later, they left, but not before conferring me with blessings for a bright future. (Oh yeah! Now watch me. Armed with their blessings, there’s no question that I’m going to be the next occupant of Race Course Road)

I was understandably miffed at having my purse lightened by the matter of around thirty rupees by the end of the journey. But upon arriving in Bombay, I got to listen to the Sisto horror story. Apart from shelling out lots more, Sisto also had the honour of being squeezed in the wrong place by the same characters - an experience which, according to him, not even the most gay among us, would have enjoyed.

I seriously think that this pestilence has tormented us long enough. I understand that these people are offered no alternative avenues of employment, and they do this to survive. I understand. Completely. But can you please keep your grubby paws off my &(_*& please?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I continue today what I had started a couple of days ago, when I had recounted my brush with pseudokind.

I walked into the room where the MICA interview panel sat awaiting my arrival, sharpening their knives, cutlasses and other instruments of torture. The panel was populated with three individuals, two male and one female.

Starting off with a bit of gas about myself, the panelists descended to asking me to convince them why I didn’t want to become a career journalist. Ten minutes on, when all of us realized that the conversation seemed to resemble a circle more than anything else, they moved on to ask me about one brand I admired.

I spoke eloquently on Hutch, and how Hutch’s advertisements and their services were so superior as to be a lifestyle product. After around two minutes of Hutchsell on my part, an interview panelist pounced on me and asked me out of the blue,

‘What’s the connection you have?’

I was taken aback, and could not lie at such short notice. I informed him that my connection was a Reliance connection. I had walked right into the most shark-infested zone in the Pacific. We descended into nitpicking about why I couldn’t convince my parents to give me a Hutch connection, and how on earth I was going to sell packaged human excreta to millions of people if I couldn’t sell a cell phone connection to my parents. After telling them that my parents represented a value-conscious segment of the market that Hutch did not target at all in the first place, and that I wasn’t aware of a cell phone being purchased for me in the first place (lie detectors would have gone bleep! at this point. ), I managed to extricate myself out of the hole I had so assiduously dug for myself.

Then, the panelists expressed concern about my sore voice, and asked me which peak on the Himalayas my thorax had gone to scale. After telling them about how my voice was the quintessential prodigal who listened not to the diktats of my mind, and, like a rebellious soul, went where it pleased whenever it felt like doing so, I told them that it would make a full return shortly (because most of it had already made a comeback).

Surprise number 2 hit me then.

‘Tell me why we should let you in?’

That was a question that demanded a lot of thought. I told them that I spoke well, clearly and persuasively, with a smile on my face – trying to look like some demagogue on the Patrice Lumumba line.

‘Clearly? Hah!’, exploded the short-haired lady on the panel (who reminded me strongly of the chatterati – y’know, the kind who gather around Delhi’s press club, drink in hand, and discuss arcane solutions to arcane problems like Guatemala’s capitalist oppressors and wax eloquent on how 10 people holding placards in front of Bush’s office could turn the world around)

‘Well, Ma’am, at least when my throat isn’t sore…’

After some more desultory chatter, I left the room with a grin on my face. I was concentrating so much on the grinning part that I left my bag in the room. As a result of this, I spent another extended period with Ms. Pseudo and her compatriots – a time exceedingly well spent ogling the espieglerie and ignoring the conversation - until the panel left the room (and I could sidle in)

As I walked out of IIM Bangalore, it was a confused self. I felt like the rubber rat that cats amuse themselves with, utterly decimated… On the other hand, even if I didn’t make it, I’d be spared two years of association with pseudodom, wouldn’t I? (But, I’d also miss two years of ogling at the same pseudodom, dammit!)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

If I were to be brought in front of a court or tribunal today, I know what the charges would be. They would, without a shadow of doubt, would be charges indicting me for gross dereliction of blogging duty.

But then, before it gets to an actual trial and the like, I’d better update my blog.

The last few weeks have not by any means been bereft of incident. They have been the most hectic, tiring, and in a perverse way, enjoyable, coupla weeks of my life. I visited Pune, Bangalore and Bombay, attended five GD/PIs, have already been thrown out of SIBM Pune and done lots of other things.

The Pune trip is old hat, so I guess I’ll probably write about the long trip that I had undertaken this last week.


MICA was holding its interview at IIM Bangalore, which was thankfully a stone’s throw from where I stayed. Dressed up nattily in a pressed formal shirt (that I’d purchased recently, deciding that Camel Shirts and T-shirts which went ‘Save Milk Drink Beer’ wouldn’t pass muster with the prudes who conduct these interviews), formal pants and (choke) tie.

IIM Bangalore’s campus is big enough to accommodate three B-schools, and I had half a mind to invoke the urban land ceiling act on them. After walking around three hundred metres, one takes a dekko at an entrance that leaves one rather awestruck.

After walking another three kilometers, I arrived at the tail of a huge queue. What struck me – apart from the irritation I feel whenever I witness evidence of India’s overpopulation – was that people were dressed in t-shirts, jeans and kurtas.

I began to feel rather the fool, dressed up more like a traveling salesman than anything else on earth. I decided to ask the chap ahead of me the reason for his rather unusual attire.

It was then that I realized that my voice, which was conspicuous by its absence early in the morning, was still on strike. I opened my mouth to speak and all that would come out were squeaks and growls. The rather inconsiderate bloke dressed in jeans began to laugh – his voice strong and clear as a bell.

My voice began to return to work, much like how our government servants walk in to work every morning – one at a time, starting at 10 am. By the time it was 11 30, it was clear enough to be heard by the person next to me.

After registering with a professor wearing a t-shirt and sporting a pony-tail, I walked in to write the MICA entrance test.

Talking of the MICA entrance test, its one of the weirdest exams concocted by the mind of man. Its full of questions I couldn’t understand the purpose of. There were questions where I had to rate (on a scale of 1-15) the kind of qualities I’d like to see in a prospective wife. I’d like to know what the psychoanalysts at MICA would possibly figure out by knowing that I’d prefer ‘a highly educated, high achieving middle class woman’ to ‘a rich woman, who distributes herself evenly among lots of others’. (DAMN! There were no options which read ‘Big tits’. X-()

The GD was what I would term strictly okay, mainly because I could hardly make myself heard after having started the GD. That was primarily thanks to my voice, which chose the wrong day to go sightseeing in the Himalayas. It was an interesting case study. A tall bloke with glasses appointed himself moderator and did a pretty decent job of it. He however had the feeling that he was also the boss, and leaned back on his seat, one leg over another (and kept shaking his legs incessantly, something that got on to my nerves like nothing on earth) and had encouraging, uplifting and patronizing remarks like ‘Wonderful!’, ‘That’s good!’ and ‘yeah, good, I guess you can go with that’ for every one of the remarks the rest of us made.

As for me, I managed to put in a few points whenever there was a lull, and hardly anything at every other point in the GD.

Then started the long wait for the PI, a wait that lasted several hours. However, it was a wait made interesting by the fact that I got the opportunity to converse with a candidate working at O&M. He gave me great insights into the ad industry, and was definitely among the more erudite people I’ve seen.

The gaggle of aspiring MICANs also had more than its fair share of pseudos. By pseudos, I refer to girls who stretch their fingers full, drop their hands daintily, giggle, smile fake, lip-stick stained smiles, talk with an accent that gives me the heebie jeebies, think they speak the best English on earth and that every guy on earth is just waiting for an opportunity to sleep with them (not too far off the mark there, I wager LOL), and yeah, most unbearably stink of perfume. One can, of course, not forget the male pseudo who may be classified as a species who hang around female pseudos with grins plastered on their faces, speak in heavily accented English in equally fake deep voices, and laugh softly at things a normal human being would never find funny.

Note: if you think you can turn into a male pseudo, please note that the most important criterion for joining the club is to have a very deep wallet

Talking for five minutes to one of them who was drenched in enough perfume to drown China was rather an interesting experience.

Ms. Pseudo: Heyyy…. You’re goin’ in nexttt?

Me: Uh…what? Oh, yeah, I guess I’m next.

Ms. Pseudo: Ohh…I’m sooo scaaareed, y’know , its just noootttt happenin’, y’know, if they’re, like, gonna stress me out, y’know. I’d just diee!

Me: Oh, I don’t think you need to worry about that. Its pretty cool here, from what I’ve seen so far

Ms. Pseudo: Oh, I hope so, y’know. Anyway, where are you from?

Me: I’m a Malayali, but I’m from Chennai. So depending on what exactly the question meant, you can choose the answer you desire.

Ms. Pseudo: Ohhhh!! I’m also a Malyalee (fake anglicized accent here, please. I can’t possibly dare think she speaks an Indian language), but I’m not exaaaaaactly a Malyalee, y’know. I was in Kerala only for 18 years. I spent three years in Bangalore, y’know!

Me:(Oh wow! You’re like soooo cool babe! You lived in BANGALORE! Why are you talking to a villager like moi, who actually is exactly a Malayali?!) Er... that’s rather interesting. Er..anyway, I’ve got to go right now, I’d like to grab a bite to eat before my PI (read: I wanna barf, the perfume’s suffocating me, goddammit!).

Ms. Pseudo: Tah-tah. By the way, my name’s (*^*&Y. And you…?


Now the reader will probably ask me, “You hated her, you couldn’t stand how pseudo she was! You found her perfume appalling, and her attitude too oojah-cum-spiff. And you think she thinks half the world wants to sleep with her, which disgusts you! So would you want to do it yourself?’

Me: Hmm…good question, young man/lady. Very good question. Er…hmmm… oh hell, who am I kidding!? Obviously, yeah! ;-)

P.S: Its a different matter altogether that I’d probably get a chance in 3000 AD, but that’s beside the point anyway, ain’t it?

P.P.S: I’ll tell you about the PI some other time. This seemed more interesting.