The Jewellery Night()

On the eve of my sister’s wedding, I was tidying up the rooms at my home. Venky, Sri and Vejay were the witnesses of this epic night. I got a call from my sister around 1 AM that night, apparently she had called to check on the fancy jewellery to be worn for the wedding ceremony. I had totally forgotten about that item in my checklist, it’s still marked Todo. Muhurtham was early in the morning. I sifted through the business cards in my wallet, Prince Fashions was all colourful. In split second, I dialled out that number and I could hear a caller waiting tone. I had some hope by now. Late at this night, a call waiting for >10mins literally means a cool guy on the other end of the line. Finally, my call was answered, a lady on the line 😀 I asked ,”Is this Prince Fashions?” She said “Yes, want do you want at this hour of the day ?” in a sweet voice. I explained the situation and she handed the phone to her husband, the store owner. Initially, he refused to open the shop at this late hour. After a lot of pleading and explanation about the crucial situation, he agreed. We met him at his shop around 230 AM. He was accompanied by his son. I walked along with them into the rear entrance of the shopping complex, we wobbled some long keys into the holes the locks clicked open. Two of us – the youngsters – pulled up the shutter, darkness everywhere. A light was much appreciated, the old man’s torch was the best source untill the incandescent bulb lit up. He asked for the receipt, then handed over the corresponding jewellery from one of the tall racks. Finally I started to hear something other than my own heartbeat, Innerpeace. I thanked them heartful and walked out sporting a smile; a guilty grin was what I held. “Situation back to normal, copy that Sister ?” , calls then spanned to others to ensure they all go back to sleep ! You see, people go crazy about these mishaps in the last minute 😉 I spent the next few hours snoozing my alarms, ultimately I was forced out of my bed to participate in the rituals.

#Nostalgia #WeddingNight #jewellery

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The Road ()…

A fine day it was, nevertheless I did not know the following narrative prior. As usual, the reminder pops – Cab, Go home! – @17: 00. Shutdown the demon, packed my bag and left the cubicle. I was alone, waiting at the bus-stop behind the fenced shabby grass. My cab was delayed, past beyond the routine, in-fact no sign of any cab that runs for my company. Yes, your intuition is right, its the aftermath of rain. Not a heavy rain by Chennai’s standard, recently Hyderabad has raised the bar. This place is now overcrowded, the ones who never stayed back for fire/safety drills were now lunging forward eagerly to spot their cab, while I for VT 061. A lady, who genuinely looked like a HR manager was waiting a few meters away from where I was seated. A car at high velocity ran over the dirty puddle orthogonal to her, I could hear some genuinely swear words from that lady. I pulled my legs closer to me, hoping to miss the splashes in my way. After an hour, the cab arrived; we boarded.

Yet another hour, we were still inside the tech park. Our cab took a left turn around the corner of our building , a detour. The Road that lead to the rear gate was blocked, and our detour was a total failure. This unplanned detour, lead to another detour and yet another viciously. Finally, we were outside the tech park via one of the rear gates. The Roads, supposedly belonging to the residential society had HMV barricades installed lavishly, adding to our detour. All this while, I was buried in this book “The Road” which boasts full of misery that the protagonist faces during his road journey. I appreciate every author’s vivid narration that helps teleport us to the fictional plot, but this time it was surreal – everyone around me was teleport-ed along with me, how is that even possible? I closed my kindle, reality was no less than the author’s narration. Our cab was literally circling around the residential lanes to find a way out. Wayfarers would point to a direction, google maps would be misleading because there would be no tracks in that direction. To give myself some peace of mind amidst this chaotic ramble, I switched on the shut-demon, Quantico S02E22 it was. Babe Priyanka was single-handedly saving the US of the A from the badass Mr.President. I could relate Priyanka’s instinct & skills to my Driver’s instinct & puddle drifting expertise, those helped us reach the Thanissandra main road safely. After all madness for 02:30 hours, we were at the Nagawara junction which was just 500m from the tech park’s main gate. ORR ring road was beefed-up with smoking vehicles glittering brown puddles on the tar. After sometime, the roads cleared and our driver was peace-out; rashly taking turns; enjoying his ride. I reached my home in half-hour from that junction, credits to the road, the rain and the traffic !

The Lemon Tree()…

It’s been a few years since I moved out of Chennai, still nothing to mark my presence here. A mistake that I regret, thinking about the lost time. Yes, I should have spent some time planting and watering some saplings. 4 years in Bangalore now, I would have had some fruits and a legacy to leave behind. So, I went to the nearby Lumiere store – handpicked the plump, juicy and rounded yellow balls; lemon. A glittering knife slit them apart, I was cautious as to not to damage the seeds. Found a terracotta v-shaped pot, I had some manure stocked under the stairways. With some gardening tools and the available manure , I potted the seeds I had ripped out of the juicy yellow balls. Shades of brown, black spots and layers of sand formed the burial bed. Not knowing what to expect, I just took a stick and pushed the seeds deep down the layered soil in the v-pot. 7 seeds at a time, to increase the chances of germination.
After a month, the soldiers veered out of the soil, piercing out – peekaboo. Sun served as their guardian. They grew lush green, tilling high hopes of lemon fruit in the near future. As we know, a tale of happiness often faces some harsh realities. One night, when their guardian was away, the shady night-crawling mice – with claws of death – visited them with flowers, unaware about the ploy, the lush kids welcomed the shady villain to their own funeral. Morning, I was shattered at the sight of splattered greenery all over the balcony. The day was bruised, I could not take those wavering tiny green leaves off my thoughts. Vengeance – before I could think, I was at the nearby hardware store paying for the glue board (mice trap) to take down that swine. Not to be said, I got some steel mesh to fence the v-pot for about 3 feet and some lemons. All over again, I had the next set of seeds potted in a fenced pot. Maintenance was never a big task, watering was an effortless task. Some days, rain would cheer them up with chilling drizzles. Now, after six months I see them all grown up, wavering in the breeze. Their defenses were up, strong, sharp thorns all over the stem and branches.
I felt they are good to be let alone, not really alone: their guardian, their rain-mother have the eyes on these lush kids. I planted them in the soil near the stairway and the rest is nature. They are growing vehemently (look at the roots in closeup) and I can happily look back, these lush kids will be there to remember me. The next time, day one: I will plant a seed in the new city I move!

A few good people ()…

Day 1, 23.30 @Koramangala Police Station:
With no clue about the event that just happened, we were at their front desk. The Inspector was ferociously inquiring a gang about the litany of charges , I think the night has taken a toll on him. Adding to that, the three of us walked in. I tried to explain him about the bike, nothing worked. Then, one of my friends narrated the mishap in Hindi. We were given a weird look and then asked to sit by the side on a bench. Arms-folded we were waiting, that’s when Mr.OCD reached our station after dropping his friend at the hostel. Mr.OCD’s reaction was hilarious to see us sitting that way, but neither of us were in the right mood to appreciate it. We now approached the Inspector again, we had to narrate the events in time lapse.

Officer: “apanee baik ka panjeekaran sankhya kya hai? (What is the registration number of your bike ?)”
Me: That is not my bike, it is a rental. Will give you the details shortly.

I was dumbfounded, having no clue about the details of the bike I had been using this evening. All that I knew was, it was a white Honda Activa. I called up the owner to inform about the missing vehicle. He was a cool guy, replied back “Don’t worry bro, we are tracking the vehicle using the installed GPS.” Apparently, the owner had gotten suspicious the first time I had called him to ask about the vehicle’s registration details.

Me: Sir? We have the details!
Officer: “aapakee baik nahin hai? (Not your bike ?)
Me: No Sir.
Officer: “maalik ko pahale soochit karen.” (Inform the owner first.)
Me: Done, He asked us to file a FIR in the local police station. They are tracking the bike using GPS.
Officer: “Theek hai, us maamale mein prateeksha karen agar ham subah 10 baje baik nahin lenge, to ham maamale ko aage badhaenge. Hamane vishesh ke baare mein raatri gashtee ko satark kiya hai.” (Well, in that case lets wait. If we do not get the bike by 10 in the morning, we will take up the case. We have alerted the Night Patrols about the specifics.)

Day 0, 21.00 @home:
It’s all messed up, my room. One of my friends is coming home, so I started cleaning my space. All set and done, the next morning he comes and asks why your the room so shabby ? :/ He is Mr.OCD. He was house arrested at his relatives place yesterday, that gave me some time, really.

Day 1, 09.00 @home:

We expected one of his friends to join us by the noon, but she ditched the plan. So Mr.OCD and I went ahead to the lunch meet where two of his friends were waiting to join with us. On the way we picked up Mr.Ji. The table was full once the orders placed by the 5 of us were ready. We had an insane amount of carbs, proteins and some water. Mrs.Shoppie left us alone. Unplanned,the rest of us were quivering along the platforms , @Kormangala. I suggested a nearby place called “Breakout”, an escape house. We picked the Sherlock Theme, sorry I did not follow any of the rules. We identified the clues in an hour. 167 was the pass-code, but I did not know how to key in the pass-code. Finally, we were released, masks unraveled. The End.
I blurted the plan to reach the peak of Nandhi Hills before sunsrise the next morning, everyone was excited. We needed two bikes. We decided to rent Activa and Pulsar200NS (P2NS), Koramangala and HSR were the pickup points respectively. The fun begins…
Mr.OCD & I decided to do the rental bike arrangements and then join rest who will be watching a movie (Wonderwoman) at the Forum Mall. We paced our feet to the address and reached the basement of the building where huge number of two wheeler were parked. Towards the far right corner, there was a man bartering bikes with some proofs/signed forms. Basically, we the party and the owner settle on a usage agreement. P2NS was brand-new like a killer demon. Just a few Kms dusted, and we were ready to ride the beast uphill and then roll back downhill..

Day 1, 18.00 @HSR Layout:

Renting the P2NS was much easier than this tiny Fairy Honda Activa. Both our cell phones were out of charge and dead. But luckily we had noted down the rental address on a piece of paper. That was our only hope! That day we learnt that, it is impossible to find an address, without knowing the local language. PCO have literally alienated from this country. We made phone calls to “Zing Riders” from the borrowed cell phones of Wayfarers. Finally, reached the place and signed the documents acknowledging the safety of the vehicle. One of their mechanics came out with a fancy tablet and took snaps of the vehicle that we have rented. After the formalities, we hoped on P2NS and Fairy with a wide pepsodent-glitering-smile. To our dismay, after few Kms, near the Silkboard junction, P2NS started to be mechanically sick and finally broke-down. I towed the P2NS to the near by Pulsar Service Centre, they registered a complain and informed the owner about the technical issues that led to this breakdown. P2NS’ owner was a nice guy, he did not threaten us, unlike the weed-guy who did the paper work while renting. He offered us to rent another P2NS from nearby rental and also accepted to reimburse the travel expenses.

Day 1, 20.00 somewhere Kumaraswamy Layout:

Again, not knowing where we are heading, we finally reached the 3rd rental spot asking the routes along the road. We now had a working P2NS. From there , we went back to the Forum Mall  to pickup the spurred up kids after watching Gal Gadot in action! Hunger hit us hard, in no time we were at the Koramangala food street; parking the bikes at the street corner; hooked the helmets – one in the handle and the other in Fairy’s boot (under the seat). Lots of shops and lots of varieties, we went to dine at a hotel that lured our taste buds. After the supper, while I was looking for my wallet I realized that I had misplaced Fairy’s key. I bolted to the street corner, Fairy was GONE. I took some time to sink into the situation, my friends were approaching with a smile, every time you wont be lucky. I said, not this time either. Everyone’s face went pale. I decided to go to the police station near by.

Day 2, 00.30 @Some where on the ORR:

With a lot of coordination from the Zing Riders from my friend’s phone ( we were back online 😀 ), we were finally tracking the lost vehicle using the GPS co-ordinates. The owners called us after sometime saying that the vehicles that was travelling towards Hosur has now stopped at the same place for the past 20 minutes. They had called us asking for the keys, I blurted out saying that I had kept the key in the vehicles side lock and that was the trigger for this theft episode. They immediately asked us to go to Zing Riders showroom and get the spare key to the rescue site where Fairy was believed to be parked. The showroom was closed, all lights fused. We were asked to look for the showroom keys under the cloth near the store-shutter. B-A-M, we found the keys !!! It was little awkward to be inside someone’s place whilst they were away. We are looking for a guy called “Chotu” who will help us find Fair’s spare key. In the spare key box, there were 5 Honda Activa keys, and we left the showroom with all the 5 keys.

Day 2, 01.30 @Hosur Road:

The Night was pitch dark when we meet the owners on the Blr-Hosur highway, our teeth were clattering, the flesh was shivering and the heart pounding. We were in  totally unfamiliar neighborhood, just believing some two strangers over a phone. I called this a bluff and Mr.OCD was scared as shit as well. We got convinced that we are being trapped by group of con artists. But to our pleasant surprise, the whole sequence of events was true and we finally found Fairy in the GPS co-ordinate where it was stopped. I tried the keys one after the other, Tick-Tick-CLICK… The 3td one did the magic. Fairy gleamed the place with her forehead beam light. We simply left the place, Me&Fairy. On reaching the highways from the interior, the Zing Riders stopped and said lets meet tomorrow in the office, now you can carry on with your plans. Glad I was, bid them goodnight. Reality hit me hard when I halted at the signal near Bommanahalli. Highway patrols would be on a quest for Fairy because we had lodged a complaint at the Koramangala Police Station. I was darn sure that no cop would believe my story “A thief stole my bike; I stole the bike back from the thief. Trust me Officer, I am not the thief !”. I felt doomed and scared to ride on this Fairy anymore. So, next we went to the police station and explained the officer that the owner has recovered the vehicle and excused ourselves form there. Police and Patrol vehicles had not even started to look out for the vehicle. It was fun, seriously ?

Day 2, 08.30 @home: 

We were sleeping , tired from the rescue operation. Nandhi hills plan was dropped and we spent our time at PLaY Arena, shooting and bowling some pins.

Day 2, 14.30 @ZingRiders: 

To my surprise, let me tell you this. Zing Riders were generous enough to fine me 250 rupees (100 for petrol + 150 for the lost key) only. I left the place with a smile 🙂

In those two days I met a few good people 🙂 Really ! . . .

#Adventure #Friends #Nightlife

(The Fairy :D)

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Friends, Foes , Friends forever(Chennai) …

We are fucked, seriously ! Lets spin the wheels back to about 70 years, this is how the greenery around this area(Chennai) would have looked like. They were friends (chuddy buddies), the plants and tempting breezes.  One nourished in the other’s presence, displaying lust and love affectionately using their whip lashing movements. They were inseparable. Together they are uncontrollable and never dishonored. On dispute, they tend to be violent. Who knows , what their recent hassle was. Vardah, was her name, chaotic and dominant was their elderly alliance. In moments, her vigor got the towering majestic tree’s dark green leaves to cower on the roads like crawling toddlers. It was a pathetic sight 😦 I understand guys, but please resolve your dispute meekly. Over thousands of giant trees grounded in a day. Some of these trees, shadowed us when we walked past , but now they were under my shadow -sabotaged and defeated – brushing my boots as I walk, bid their goodbyes.  It will probably take decades to see the greenery again in the same place in that same old manner, may be we hope they remain friends again forever, without such a dispute .

Old to New ()…

Its been a while since we went on a trail together, times been running without mercy. Once again, Mr.Firefox and Mr.Scott decided to explore the options and finally set out for a round trip from Old Airport(HAL) to New Intl Airport, Bangalore.Old airport is used solely for special operations. Precisely, New Intl Airport isn’t new anymore, it came into operation since 2008.  It was the gateway to Bangalore that i took 3 years ago! Nostalgia 😛 Though airplane’s travel protocol makes it a less fancier travel option between the two contrasting cities, I feel that people of Chennai and Bangalore still love to fly to and fro.

It was 3 am , I started from HAL main road and got pumped up due to the cold temperature, it was dead cold. Reaching KR Puram was a big feat, to get past the sand dunes that was shielding my visibility on the way. This hour of the day, necessarily did not seem to be the right time for any vehicle, particularly to the ones in the bottom of the automotive chain. Heavy vehicles seemed to be politely honking with a blaring horns just to embrace their ego. I pulled away towards the KR Puram bus stop, making the milestone call to Mr.Scott. Few night rangers were barking at me, their jaws grinning and gleaming in the high beam lights. It was a realization on existence of fear towards untrained dogs that was deep hidden in me 🙂 The plan was to meet at Horamavu junction, then head together to the New Intl Airport. Lets maintain the naming references for clarity, despite the years that passed by 😀 I was finding some warmth at the tea spot that had lit some waste materials to help heal the frozen dermas. Mr.Scott had arrived and we started the trail, ensuring Strava to track our co-ordinates. ORR has most number of flyovers and subways. Surmounting these architectural highway structures is always pleasant, cold breeze cuddles you on the down slope. Straddling my legs on those peddles down slope is just a mega version of vert skating down a ramp with my skateboard, both gratify with an adrenaline rush.

So many days i have been bantering about Bangalore’s climate being no better than Chennai’s (precisely from under the quilt). Now, I was shivering, out on the roads, damn the coldness! I take back my words apologetically! But,only 47% humidity, that looked kinda funny and too low according to my Coastal standards. A few miles surpassed, my thoughts were substantiating the visuals I saw. Few boys and girls were smoking their lungs out, early in the morning. I was trying to draw a reasoning, cyclists like us cannot afford to smoke, it will affect the mileage that we could cycle. On the contrary, motorists are more inspired by their sputtering engines that smoke ghastly. It was way before dawn, motorists were all relaxed near the Hebbala junction, I and Mr.Scott were desperately peddling our tires against the dusty tar, evading the sporadic potholes. Yes, we hit the express highway that connects to airport. Quite , dark and pacified like a graveyard; I could listen to my breathing while I was weighing my chances of crossing a junction on par to a car which was heading towards the junction from the opposite direction. I was commanding my 4 chambers to pump harder, faster and my air chambers were at their best. But, I could lay no harm to the horsepower generated by those inhumane pistons, the white sedan went past me, swish ! I dunked half the bottle to vain. Stealthily, we passed through the service roads that were actively guarded by the barking crawlers.

We had our first stop at Vidyanagar Cross. A2B logo was blinking with colors that were familiar. Mr.Scott. put on the earphones, seemingly inspired by the situation. Probably he was listening to the EDM masterpiece. No pun intended. I was shadowed by a group of dogs, slowly i moved to the lane closest to the median.Bingo! The league of shadows vanished. Mr.Scott popped out a map on his bright device, we had almost reached the toll gate. I was determined to step a foot on the New International Airport, we continued. The freeway was a smooth as butter, bordered by the greenery and lighting was perfect. I could see some modern fireflies rising ahead of me, approaching me faster than i expect and some vanishing even faster. I realized that these were zillion times bigger and mightier than the fluorescent insects, whose analogy i drew. We stopped peddling , gliding until we reached the Cargo Circle. This demarcation meant 15 mins rest. My airport visit was shattered by Mr.Scott’s claim about security checks at the airport. Just kidding! After 3 hours of ride, I had an uncontrollable desire for food. We spotted a highway dosa corner, I happily stuffed two dosas. Hebbala was our next stop on the way back, we separated out following the schedules demanded by our own body! It was physically tiring, we traced the route back dodging the mighty flyovers, shabby subways and expected a perpetual down slope to Marathahalli. Clearly, I could see the impact of population explosion in Bangalore, amidst the tightly  populated urbanization was the humongous areas of military and air bases. I noticed the flying school at Jakur, flying has been one of my fascinations like any other kid, inspired from flying kites. We halted at Mr.Scott’s place for a while. Then i found my way home, Old Airport Road, it was 11 am.

RBCs & the Rest of Them()…

One fine day,  an office mail about blood donation camp popped with a ting! This happens twice a year, but I am a first timer recipient. Within few moments of skimming through that mail, a Chubby, happy and smiling dude came up to my cubicle and fiercely said “Come On! Let’s hit the camp and shell out few RBCs (RedBloodCouriers 😀 ) and some WBCs( WhiteBloodCops 😀 )”. Trust me, the mail laid out details with all motivation and clarity a newbie needs to become a Blood Hero(donor), no sorts of Biological major required. A transformation far from top-level R&D discussions, the conference room was now filled with lots of recliner cots, soft mattress laid underneath a white blanket ,a puffed up pillow and a side arm to rest. Few unfamiliar people with white overcoats wandering like ants established their identities as Phlebotomist by carrying blood pints instead of cheese. Initially you are gauged on a weighing machine to hit a mark above 45Kg, glad I was eligible. I had breakfast less than 4 hours ago ,it reiterates my eligibility. I was requested to fill a long questionnaire addressing my personal details while I was awaiting my turn. To give an euphemistic gist, it is necessary that your body was exposed to proper hydration(pure drinking water) and void of Smoke Pollution in the past 24 hours. Certain norms that spanned over few months of look back on personal hygiene. A sharp prick on my forefinger, a representative of millions peaked out and she was dropped off immediately in a solution which looked like a vertical section of the pacific ocean, her scuba dive down to the bottom of the beaker asserted that I was not anemic. I walk to the next counter embracing her valor and guts for that dive. Few gulps of water anticipating the void in the near future. A technician comes close and taps on my shoulder, I look back and walk in the direction he points me. He goes to the table at the far end of the room and picks up a pouch with a lot of cables attached to it, like the wires that hang out of an old Pickup’s radio. One end of the cable had a rectangular plastic hanging aloof and waving in air as the technician strides towards me with my Bean Bag (that’s how I call it).A few barcodes and labels transcribing my personal details were attached to it. I lay silently on the cot with both my arms extended, not knowing which arm the technician would prefer. He signed at me asking arm preference, I hovered my sight sinistrally, contemplating it’s benefits being dextral by nature. Armband of Sphygmomanometer was pressured up against my tiny bicep’s to catch hold of the heroic vein and also to ensure my vitals are sane based on the mercuric freefall observations. The removal of the plastic cap exposed the iron hand in charge of collecting the blood cells, the opening was slant, symmetrical curvature (an invasive attribution). Needle’s walls are few mm apart(usually gauge 17) to prevent damage of blood cells at the visage of iron hand. A cotton dipped in deep yellow solution is grazed against the forearm on  the inner side of elbow to kill the bacteria , prospective Villain. After the abrasion you witness an invasion, the translucent cables now become opaque with all the redness that you emanate, slowly the cradling Bean bag gets filled leaving a sense of constant turbulence in your arm. The invasion is lopsided so as to prevent the breech on the opposite wall of the vein. As I was appreciating the tech’s precision, a beep begins and the cradling stops. The technician leaves the other donor whom he was initiating and pulls out the needle delicately, I felt the pore clotting. I turn and look at the chubby dude with a huge smile “). We were pampered with a lots of confectionaries and juices, given ample time to rest we fed our stomachs full and it was then I saw a badge on my technician “I am silent by nature.”, later realized all his signs during the blood donation procedure. Ever since my first blood donation a couple of years back , I voluntarily donate blood every 3 months . A Funny analogy which I use to motivate people around me is “Even Petrol engines need change of Oil every maintenance, think about your Heart :D” and My dramatic friend’s quote “It gives me immense pride and happiness to give away the river of life to others👌🏼👌” .

My recent Blood donation was informative and bit of fun , every hospital has huge blood bank facility attending only 3-4 donations weekly which is ridiculously less when compared to the needs. Blood is not synthesized,marking the limitations in Scientific advancements. Blood donation benefits you and the recipient in a very short span. Blood donated has max shelf life of 35-42 days, caters to 3 persons and enables the process of saving the needy. On my way back home by a crowded Volvo bus, I had my phlebotomized hand being ants :D,then I raised my other hand to find balance. I loved this realization 🙂

“Donate Blood when you are alive, Donate Organs to project afterlife meaningful since both helps the living mankind to be healthy.”

Our Body regenerates Plasma within 48 hours to fill the void, rest of the blood components are regenerated within 8 weeks.