About Me

My Photo
Mumbai, Maharastra, India
Born in Mumbai, my earliest memory in life is a story. A story that said – perhaps I was adopted. Every person has a story to tell. I like to listen and most of them form the base for the stories I write. I also teach creative writing to students and professionals from all walks of life. Many have a story to tell...I help them to pen it down. I also edit, guide and help students create Statement of Purposes, LORs, Resumes and Personal Essays for their Study Abroad documentations. Please go through the samples of the SOPs done by me...I work via the electronic media with students at a global level. I also help corporates as well as individuals in regards to handling all their communication needs. Brochures, newsletters, pamphlets or press releases are delivered under strict time-lines and as per international quality.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pattaya - Pallu and Me

It was a sudden trip. One that favoured me as well as Pallu. I can’t say I knew Pallu as much before the trip as after the trip! 

Being single is no cake-walk. I have conquered a few areas like buying presents for myself, going for movies, eating out and managed to do all of this alone but going on a holiday alone was something I haven’t been able to do till date. I had told all my friends…married as well as singles to ‘kindly accommodate ‘me if they ever plan a trip. All said YES. Then I would sometimes catch their pictures on Facebook taken in either Switzerland or Shimla. Perhaps they forgot that I had expressed an interest in joining them. Later when I would LIKE their pictures they would comment a 'Thanks Sups'. I was expecting a message in my inbox saying...'oops we forgot to tell you before we left'. But the entire conversation seemed to have been erased from their memory. It wasn't their fault though. They had too many things to do...

So it was once when I was casually cajoling Paro, a good friend of mine to plan a trip, that she mentioned Pallu.

You remember apna Pallu at JoyBuzz? I didn’t have to try hard to recollect. Tall, slim and dusky, Pallu was a girl with a chiseled face and high cheekbones that complemented her charming personality.

Seems like Pallu had planned a trip to Thailand with her aunt and now it has gone kaput after her aunt ditched her. She was also asking me to join her. I hardly get time to breathe Sups! Why don’t you both go and have a blast! Said Paro. Her excitement at the prospect of me and Pallu going on a trip to Thailand was infectious.
Though I didn’t know Pallu very well, I dialed her number and exchanged the boring routine pleasantries of how are yous and whats up thing. 

Then I said – Paro was saying you are looking for a partner to go to Thailand?
 
Yiipppeeeee…screamed Pallu at the other end of the phone. Wait, you have your passport right? Let me give you…

Pallu seemed delirious with happiness. Off she rattled off about 10 odd things I had to do to get myself ready for the trip. Thank you Sups, now let me convince my parents that I have a “mature lady for company”. You know my aunt had to cancel last moment and my dad said – Now you too don’t go!!! Really, God is great….cmon Sups…start packing!!!

25000 all-inclusive for 6 nights and 7 day in an international trip! That too during Christmas??? I knew I got lucky by just being in the right place at the right time. I started packing. I told my son I was going. 

What? Just like that? Mom your one lucky woman!!! I am 22 year old guy and have not even gone on a singles trip to GOA and you are going to Thailand??? Lucky woman..... But he was very happy for me. The last international trip I had was with him to Nepal. He was just 10 then...


There was an induction meeting 2 days prior to the trip….I was excited….at the thought of meeting several other singles or adventurous adults.

The induction meet was in a small residential society in Ghatkopar. I was skeptical. Pallu reassured – don’t worry babes. This Reema aunty organizes tours during vacations and it is her main livelihood. They are good people , don’t go by the lack of frills….this is no Fox and Kings but it ain't bad either.
I trusted Pallu real bad. She was a sweet girl and our meager savings were a result of our toil and hardwork at JoyBuzz where working was never a joy! None of us wanted to be dwindled!!!  
                                                                                                
I was aghast as the meeting began. There were about 10 to 12 families. All of them were in the age bracket of 30 to 40 and had kids ranging from 5 to 15. ALL OF THEM WERE GOING TOGETHER TO THAILAND!!!

Pallu, whats this? Are they thinking we are going to Disneyworld?

Hmmm….no handsome guys either, moaned Pallu. It was December 2012 and an astrologer had predicted that she would be married by December 2013 and this was the last chance she had to freak out.
We both consoled each other. I volunteered - we will break free from the group and go on our own ( sometimes).

Pallu grinned – yes we will and she had a twinkle in her eye. 

What we do there…remains there, ok? We both agreed to that…

The D Day dawned. I was all packed and ready. I didn’t tell many in the family that I was going to THAILAND as many had the misconception that people go to Thailand to have fun and sex. For me Thailand was just a destination that came my way. I would have been equally happy doing Europe at 25,000!

My son came to leave me to the airport – he wanted to be sure Pallu was a decent girl and not a guy. Pallus parents had done the same. They had come to check me out! There was chaos at the airport as our guide and Reema aunty had had a fight. The guide left the premise in a huff with Reema aunty hollering after him and threatening him. Her threats fell on deaf ears as the guide simply walked away!

Reema aunty was in tears. She needed the guide but he was adamant about some remuneration which she could not afford. I began wondering if I had lost my precious 28000 and if I would finally be going on this much awaited tour.

I prayed with all my heart. Please let me go, please don’t cancel. Pallu had full confidence in her Reema aunty and was not perturbed. Meanwhile, Reema aunty was frantically trying to find another immediate replacement.

God seemed to have heard me. Probably I have been doing the right karma. And within the next 30 minutes a new guide arrived.

The new guide, a Harish appeared out of thin air and started herding us towards the entry gate. Reema aunty gave him every one’s passports and tickets and he expertly led us through security. From nowhere came huge brown sacks full of spices and Harish included those with the teams luggage. I later learnt he sold spices in hotels in Thailand for an extra income. He often did this and he knew Thailand like the back of his palm. I reminded myself that I will need him in my quest for a few places I had to visit!

Harish, though an unlikeable character at first look with his villainous sort of appearance was a very honest and dedicated person. He dressed like a notorious don of the 70’s – slickly parted hair, dark glares and a fur cap on his head. However, Hari as he came to be known, proved to be our well-wisher and guardian angel all the while we were there. The entire group of 47 people including uncles, aunties and kids grew to love him during the entire trip. During the trip, he not only handled his core responsibilities but also catered to everyone’s whims and fancies with aplomb.
Kay with a tourist
He found a great partner in Kay, our Thailand guide, Between them, they arranged a grand trip for all of us. It proved one need not book through a brand but with someone who is service centric and passionate about their responsibilities. We had loads of fun. It is often said you miss and crave for home food. Not so in Reema auntys tour. Being a staunch vegetarian herself and so were the majority of others in the gang, Reema aunty had ensured we would get the best Indian breakfast and meals wherever we went. No one we missed home. I and a few other non-vegetarians were glad to find a big bowl of the best, softest and yummiest chicken preparations varying from butter chicken to chicken moghlai on all the seven days. Food in the flight both to and fro sucked!  So food in Thailand was a blessing.


Day 1 – From Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, we moved to Pattaya. The bus ride took about 2 hours and it was enough for me to get acquainted with all in the group. The children soon formed their own clusters. The women all exchanged pleasantries which ranged from the origin of their grandparents to their current place of residence. The guys shook hands and checked in hushed tones if any of them would get a chance to escape from their wives clutches and enjoy Thailand in the real sense. Our hotel arrived.
Pattaya Discovery
It was nothing less than an Indian 5 star hotel. Harish later told me all hotels here have  high bars of excellent service as well as opulence.

We wanted to go out immediately. Harish suggested we all rest as life in Pattaya began only after 6pm. It made sense. The sumptuous lunch and fluffiest bed put all of us to sleep in no time. The men in the group however started making discreet inquiries about some discreet stuff. They had heard a lot from their friends who had earlier visited Thailand and wanted to be able to go back and boast of having done more discreet stuff.

Around 5 to 6pm, all of us got ready for the evening trip. Women transformed themselves by wearing clothes that were bought specially to be worn for the Thailand trip. Fortunately, the children were too engrossed in playing with their new found friends to notice their mother’s transformation. Long and short but frilly skirts were the flavour of the day. Shorts also were chosen by young and old alike. Pallu wore d skimpiest shorts with spaghetti straps and looked like a sexy siren from Goa and I discarded my leggings and wore only the tunics!!! I didn’t care what others thought - I was in Pattaya, period.

Most of the uncles sported caps, shorts and a T shirt. They had a leather wallet that they strapped to their waist. It was the most precious belonging as it contained their passports and also the gateway to heaven – the Thai Baht. Thai massages and night shows were on the agenda for the uncles. Aunties were requested not to shop in Pattaya as they would get better offers in Bangkok on their way back. This sort of curbed their enthusiasm but somehow the travel spirit soon illuminated all of them. Off we went. The group looked more like a big family that was going to visit a museum. Our Thai guide Kay also politely requested the families to leave the children in the hotel. Much to her surprise all were aghast!

What???? Leave our innocent babies in a new country all alone in a hotel??? Never.

But maam, the market place and walking street where we are going to go is no place for children.

The adults went into wild animated discussions. Some were game for it some weren’t. Some of the children were thrilled that they would have total freedom till early dawn when their guardians returned while some of the children sulked at being left out!

I and Pallu were waiting for the bus to start. I asked the bus driver to honk a few times so that all of them would decide what to do and get inside the bus asap. The driver glared back! He did not understand a word and if he did he was in no mood to comply. Drivers don’t honk mindlessly in Thailand!!!!

Finally a decision was made. The children screamed as they all rushed to get inside the bus.

Looks like the children will have a field time tonight, muttered Pallu.

Hari came and sat near me. I asked - Hari, children in Walking street? Have the parents lost their wisdom?

Nah Sups. The bus will come back after dinner at 10 and drop the kids in the hotel along with Mrs. Patel. She said ‘I don’t want to see semi naked girls dancing on poles’. So she is the caretaker of the entire brood. Every other husband in this bus is jealous of Mr. Patel for he will be the only guy in walking street from this bus without wife control!

Don’t forget both of us too, I said. We two also have no control!

All three of us laughed and the bus took off!

Within another 30 minutes we would reach Walking Street. However, before that we would explore the market area and indulge ourselves in thai massages, manicures and pedicures. The women were excited. Their husband downloaded a large part of their monetary treasures on their wives. Each one was hoping they would get freedom from their wives for a short period.

Sarla darling, what will I do with you as you shop for trinkets, have massages and pedicures? I am going with the guys to explore the place…let me find some good hotels so that next time when we come we will come directly……promise I will just explore.

Sarla looked at her husband with love…for he had just downloaded 1000 thai bahts into her purse…..ofcourse darling, I trust you. I am not like these other wives who are jealous and doubting.
Seeing this, other husbands was encouraged to replicate the modus operandi. Almost all seemed to have succeeded. Only time would tell.

The bus halted a few meters away from the market place. It was called the beach road. A new day had begun. It was 6pm. That’s when the day starts in Pattaya! The street was covered on both sides with small shops and shacks each contributing to the needs of tourists from all parts of the globe. Cheap stuff to the most exorbitant ones could be found here. Massage parlours, tattoo studios, and beauty salons were in plenty. The sales girls smiled sweetly and invited every single person walking from that street to visit their shops. 
The men who were fortunate enough to get away from their spouses happily left the scene. The women and kids huddled together. Some men had to chaperone their wives. They were the ones who didn’t dare even ask nor did they have enough money to bribe their wives. Some of them were on a shoe string budget and this had made the wives more cranky!
I and Pallu first took a thai massage sitting right next on the street. It was out of the world and did not even pinch our pockets. With refreshed feet, we walked further exploring trinkets, bags, beach clothes and more. We decided to buy – nothing! Do all your shopping in Bangkok, Kay had warned sweetly while we were in the bus.

Then we explored the beaches. A variety of tasty seafood, shrimps, chicken grilled on bamboos, sorted soups and noodles, were being cooked right in front of the diners. Amazing fresh and colorful tropical fruits would also be neatly sliced and offered to you at very nominal prices. We had none of it. The smell was too nauseating and we also spotted some fried worms and bugs. Street food in Thailand was a definite NO for the entire group. ( at same time I have friends who swear by the fresh sea food of Thailand, so this is completely my view)


Very soon our stomachs were grumbling and it was nearing 9pm. We quickly gathered into the buses as we proceeded to a restaurant closeby. Some of the guys had a gleam in their eyes. Some couples had stopped talking to each other and the bus was in a sombre mood except for the kids. They were all making plans as to how they would hoodwink Mrs. Patel and sneak into each other’s rooms and play cards till their ‘wayward’ parents arrived. It was rightly justified that they get to play cards while their parents freaked out on Walking Street!!!

Our first dinner in Thailand was awesome. It was not a restaurant! We ate in a dabha!!! Just like the one in India. Complete with sardars who played graceful hosts to each one of us. Reema aunty was thanked profusely by one and all as no one felt the need to go back and bite into theplas they were carrying from India.

Dinner was followed by ice cream and sweet rasgollas and everyone had a gala time. It was short-lived though. We were off to Walking Street where the adults would get down and the children would be taken to the hotel by Mrs. Patel. Again, no vehicles were allowed till a few meters so we got down and waited for instruction from Kay and Hari. Some of the married couples continued their cold war while some parted friendly. Mrs. Patel went ahead with the kids. We all walked through the lane.

The area was known as Bali Pier and a long winding street started from where all buses and cars were parked. The street ended at the south end of beach road. Vehicles were not allowed further on this street from 6pm to 2am. The street was punctured on all sides with neon signs indicating go-go bars, sports bars, music venues and discotheques and night clubs. It was razzle and dazzle everywhere!

I never had a clue for what was in store for me. Being a person who was not even exposed to night life in Mumbai…this was a shocker! Pleasant though!
 
It was decided that all would come back to the bus at sharp 2.30am. We all had got free sim cards along with our visas . And we had quickly visited the 7/11 shops which are open throughout the day and night to cater to most of a tourists requirements. We recharged our sim cards here. We  exchanged numbers with Hari and Kay. 

Kay went off to a den where few of her friends who were also tourist guides were waiting for her. Hari agreed to stay with me and Pallu. Pallu had a few fantasies to fulfil in Pattaya – one to have a few tequilas and two to do some hot pole dance. We entered the bar area.

Every stall had poles erected on the tables. Stools were random and could be shifted to any stall. Each stall had girls dressed in hot costumes gyrating on the poles, inviting walkers to join them at the bar. The objective of each girl would be to keep the customer at the counter for maximum possible time and make him buy as many glasses of whatever was his or her poison.

Customers – male as well as female – were given equal importance for gender was not an issue here. The number of drinks were! The more one drinks, the more is the sale. As girls we didn’t have to caution ourselves about the sex of these girls. But men had to - for these girls could as well be she-males or lady – boys, meaning boys who were so feminine that they can easily pass off as females!!!

I and Pallu also started making guesses as to who is a real girl and who would not be a real one. But we didn’t dare get our doubts confirmed. The girls were very friendly. Hari was already chatting up with a girl and others girls at the bar was now looking at us, inviting us to try their cocktails. I, being a teetotaller politely refused any and pointed furiously at Pallu and they got the message. Pallu was surrounded by 2-3 girls. She had to choose one because the drinks would be served to her by one of them. 
The girls were very friendly with each other and there was a competitive spirit in them to win Pallu over. Finally Pallu found her server and she started on her Tequila. All of us egged and cheered as she gulped 2 in a row. The girl at the bar prompted her to try a third and assured a reluctant Pallu that she would accompany her. Shots 3 and 4 came…each girl gulped one down!!! All cheered….I thought it was futile. But Pallu was in high spirits and accomplished her second fantasy – to do the pole dance! Her server lifted her onto the table and Pallu gyrated with all cheering her from below. It was a sight to behold. A sight to be captured…I had even recorded it but Pallu never allowed me a glimpse after we returned!!! Hari was also in high spirits by this time and seeing Pallu's Pole dance he too was tempted to dance.

I didn't know you could dance Harish?

Arree, you don't know so many things about me. I can dance very weel. Nearby a Iranian youth ( quiet hot looking) was doing the grind with his bar girl. Harish looked at his bar girl Lek and said, - Come and do the grind with me!!!

I will...but you have to buy another 2 drinks. One for you and one for me.

Done said Harish. They ordered 2 shots of Tequila and had one each. 

Harish took Lek to an open space between 2 bars, the Iranian guy had finished his grind. Now was Harish's turn. He started shaking his entire hip area in a very funny manner. It was as if he was receiving electric shocks just below his waist! I and Pallu burst out laughing! Harish was unperturbed. Lek didn't actually mind Harish's grind. She supported him well with her own moves. We cheered on. Even today, I and Pallu need to say just 2 words - Harish and Grind to elevate us out of any gloomy mood.

It was late. But I wasn’t sleepy at all. As per Kay’s advice we had all dozed off between 3 and 5pm and felt fresh. Except for Pallu on whom the 3 tequilas were taking its toll. We left the bar area and walked around the street and saw sights that tickled us as well as disgusted us at times.

The street was full of women trading themselves, male as well as female. Bargaining and haggling with customers as if they were doing the sales pitch for the best ice cream in town! Middle-aged, old, wrinkly and pudgy Europeans and Americans formed a large part of the clientele. Young , robust and muscular Iranians were also seen in large numbers on that particular day. A few Indians too. However, the guys, were too timid and shy and averted their gaze they moment they saw other Indians. 

We were wondering where the husbands of our group were and we saw them split into three or four groups. Each one of them seemed excited and waved over to us to acknowledge our presence. We wanted to check what all they had seen and where all they had gone, but everyone were tight-lipped. Though that didn’t stop them from asking us where all we had been too. None of the women were at the venue. All had left by 12 and had found the place extremely boring. Some had fought with their husbands and taken them back to the hotel. 

The bus was gone as majority had piled into it and insisted to be taken to the hotel. Kay managed to stay back and hired a few taxis to take the rest of us back to the hotel. It was 3am and the street looked less populated. The beaches were pristine and frothy waves were lashing and inviting us to join them in their mith. I wanted to go – badly – but now it was too late. Hari said – why are you sulking? We are here for 3 nights…..

That’s true, silly of me to sulk. The ride back to the hotel at 3 am and in the cool wintry breeze of December 24th was soothing. It even roused Pallu out of her slumber. We reached the hotel and went to our room. Pallu and I slept on the massive fluffy bed. We both missed having exciting partners next to us on such a wonderful night but anyways were excited to sleep in the same bed, after having only lunched at the same table during our work hours!!! A year later as Pallu got married, I introduced myself to the groom as – the girl who slept with Pallu for 5 nights! He was cheeky enough to acknowledge it and said – she already mentioned it and I am glad she is experienced!!!
Day 2 – 

There was a golf course near our hotel and a few of us ventured in the cool morning to play golf. the children and some of their mothers enjoyed in the swimming pool. the children had a blast while the women were point blank staring at a couple - two local women, skimpily clad in a bikini who kept swimming, going underwater and squirted water on their companion - a pot belied Arab guy who sun bathed on the desk in his white robe! 

During breakfast, the women were seen whispering about the odd scene they had witnessed in the pool. Some weren't too happy to be in Thailand and their enthusiasm about their first international trip was punctured. At sharp 10, the bus left for sight-seeing. The silence between some spouses was indicative of a fight the previous night. Probably with the antics of an adventurous husband, the wife must have given him an earful.

We got down at the beach and from there took a speed boat to Coral Island. The water was blue and mesmerizing and at times we felt we could see the bottom. The boat had a glass covering on its floor and in certain areas we could see colourful fishes swimming underwater. We reached a platform in the middle of the ocean. It was a fixed station for Coral Island was very famous for its crystal clear water and for the Underwater Sea Walk. It was an amazing experience. Being underwater for full 30 minutes, walking through the sea bed, feeding bread crumbs to colourful fishes and touching beautiful transparent and colourful coral stones.

From here we went to another part of the island where the water was translucent and aqua blue in color. Here there were a variety of water sports like Banana Boat, Para-sailing and other water related activities. All the tension between the spouses evaporated and everyone enjoyed to the hilt! It was 12pm and we were hungry. We had some cool watermelons and papayas. Finally it was time to leave and we boarded our speed boats

Then we went to see the Noog Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden. First we had a sumptuous lunch – again Indian, complete with Poori, Paneer, Aloo Gobhi and of course Butter Chicken.  The men tried to get friendly with us as I and Pallu were single. Some women admired us for coming alone while others sulked and murmured – wayward girls!!!

The garden was very beautiful with landscaped trees, cultural shows and also a few wild animals like Tigers and a wide variety of birds. Some of us fed milk to the tiger cubs in bottles and we were of course charges a bomb to do so, but it was well worth it. Having a Tiger cub in hand was very exciting. 

We all came back to the hotel by 3pm. Kay warned all of us to come back down at 6pm for an early departure to enjoy night life in Pattaya. We repeated the previous evening drill and was back on Walking Street. Somehow the dazzle I felt yesterday had vanished. Something stirred in my heart as I saw the women looking eagerly to close their target achievement for the day. Some of them looked happy while they called out to prospective clients but some were gesturing very mechanically. In a family, where all the women were involved in some or the other form of selling themselves since ages, I wondered how they felt carrying on the family tradition.

I spoke to some of them. The girls I spoke to were Mee, Pan, Sampan. They found work on  Walking Street. Al three were below 23 years of age. Sampan said – it is so much organised and legal now than it was in our grandmother’s time. We are glad to contribute to the family. 

Mee said - Only last year the flood devastated our towns and whatever little we had. We keep rebuilding our lives after every calamity.

Where is your home? Can you take me to your house? 

Oh....we all stay here in a rented room. Our homes are in Muban. Its about 75kms from here and we go home once in 2-3 months. We give money to our old parents who take care of our young children. 

All three had one or two children at that young age. It was interesting to note that though they were involved in the flesh trade, they still fell in love, dated and had marriages - good ones and bad ones, just like the rest of us. 




For the three nights we were in Pattaya, we did a few things which cannot come on THIS BLOG! Other than that, I and Pallu kept meeting many of these girls. We talked to them, at times paid them to talk to us. I learnt that some of them have now started sending their children and younger brothers and sisters to schools and colleges and did not wish they enter this profession. That was a welcome thought and it was the one with which I boarded the bus back to Bangkok.

Day 4- The scene in the bus was exactly contradictory of the previous day. The women were excited and animated in their conversation. Each one had a long list of item to buy for themselves, relatives and neighbors. They were checking with Hari and Kay about shopping malls and comparing them with the addresses they had brought from home. The children were gossiping and having a great time. The husbands sat in hush silence. Pattaya was theirs, Bangkok was the wives. The husbands had to part with their credit cards in lieu of peace for their ‘supposedly’ infamous antics in Pattaya!!!

Bangkok held not much of an allure for me. It was just like any other metropolitan city. I missed the rustic essence of Pattaya. Will I go to Pattaya again??? Yes, but with Pallu once again. And this time, I too want to try the pole dance.....

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Green Grass V/s No Grass



I can manage just 2...

Come sit down here, cajoled Mani to his wife of 40 years. Ramya sat down. “See we have a day in hand and then we have these 3 places that we can go and visit. But let me tell you honestly, we can afford to do only 2 of it. The entry to all the three places is steep and I can manage just 2. ‘’

“Let’s skip the Casino…we anyways can’t even hold cards in our hands, “laughed Ramya . Is that okay with you dear? I wanted to see the casino but did not want to disappoint the elderly couple.
No problem Akka, I and Bhaskar will go there later in the day.

Ok…done said Mani and they both looked at me. I managed to give them a pleasant smile. 

I, Bhaskar, Ramya and Mani lived in Shyamdhan Nivas in a quiet alley in the bustling city of Mumbai. Bhaskar had been born and brought up in the locality we lived. I had moved to this locality when I was just 6 years old, grew up here and have not moved out of the alley since then. 

Mani and Ramya were at least two decades senior to us but they were my ideal couple. Both of them would take extreme care of each other’s needs and at most times would be in ideal tandem with each other about various issues affecting their personal as well as social lives. 

Bhaskar and I hardly had any age difference, three months to be precise and we always argued on everything under the sun. Yet, we four formed an impressionable team when it came to going out on vacations or planning any outings. Earlier, the children had a choice to make but these days they had their own things to do, so it was just the four of us. 

“Malini and Ishma will be coming down later this year. I haven’t seen Ishma’s younger one in person and am waiting eagerly for them to come down this December. Once they are here, we won’t be able to move anywhere for a long time. Wanted to check if you guys want to plan a quick trip to Goa.” Ramya had knocked on our door one evening with this proposal. 

Bhaskar shifted through his scheduler and said, “Akka I will manage…we can come….but can you ask Mani to make all the arrangements, I am too tied up for the next few days”

I loved Goa. Had been there umpteen times. Felt excited but felt distraught for a moment. Bhaskar did not even bother to look in my direction before deciding to reply. Did he just assume, I wanted to go too? Just like it’s been done for the rest of my life, my opinion did not matter. Anyways as usual I brushed aside my disappointment and started preparing for the trip. 

Good of Mani to plan this trip. This way I won’t be nagged for another six months for not taking you out anywhere. Bhaskar had the usual twinkle in his eye. 

Me and nag? I didn’t utter a word. 

That’s how the four of us were in Goa. We were discussing the plans for the day seated in the lobby of the hotel.  Bhaskar had opted out saying he had to attend to an urgent concall. I did not want to start an argument and this was nothing new. Sometimes I wondered if he preferred Mani’s and Ramya’s company because they always became my companions on such trips and Bhaskar would be stuck onto his laptops and cellphone. 

Don’t you want to see this new place and have fun? I had once asked when on a trip to Singapore.

I have come here umpteen times on official trips….the place no
The place no more excites me!
more excites me…you go and have fun with Akka and Mani. I will see you at the south indian restaurant down the street later in the day. 

His excuses and answers were always ready. And I no longer bothered to ask. The feat was repeated in Goa too. 

Hey Sweetheart...where are you lost?? Aren't you coming with us? Forget Bhaskar for the day, you know how he is and we know how he is. Let him be happy with whatever he gets out of those gadgets....come one be a sweetheart and change and come. We are going to the beach, some shopping and some disco-kisko....

That was Mani. His kind face a perfect match for the softness in his voice. 

Give me a moment Mani. I will change and be with you in  a jiffy. I was just thinking of our pet...wondering whether he had his food. You know Casper can be such a brute at times...won't eat till I feed him with my hands. 
Ah! that pampered canine of yours...how can we forget him, mused Ramya.

I went back to our room. Bhaskar hardly noticed me enter. He was engrossed and discussing something over the phone. I changed quietly and came back to the lobby.  As we were about to leave, Mani asked Ramya – you not feeling tired are you? Shall I get you a lemonade? 

No dear, am alright. Remember our first trip to Goa that many many years ago….what fun it was….do I look tired??? No ways, call the car, lets go out…its so suffocating inside the hotel….off we go to the beach!

Mani put his arms around Ramya and both giggled like teenagers. 

Ramya is a very lucky woman, I thought. Agreed that the grass always looks greener on the other side but what if there is no grass itself on this side???


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Poga's Office Office




ORIS Sales, read the board outside the spacious industrial gala on 14th Cross Road, Andheri (West).

To the far right corner of the gala, a window opened and a white haired lean face stuck out. It seemed to be breathing in the fresh air. Suddenly, the face turned around for there were two of his junior team members,  Sajiv and Paresh, knocking furiously on his door.

‘Come in’ said the silver haired man. The misty glass door opened and stepped in the two youngsters. 

Sir, blurted Paresh, Bronson tells me he will come with us to close the Bumbani proposal deal. It’s so unfair sir. I built the client relationship and now Bronson wants to come along with his arm candy Brinda and prove to Poga sir that he drafted the effective proposal and Brinda delivered the solutions.

They want to take all the credit sir, added Sajiv. I want to close this deal myself!!! It was so difficult to convince the Bambanis to buy our vacuum cleaners instead of Durekas. I spent months costing the budget to their specifications, and now Bronson and Brinda want to share all the credit.

The silver haired man spoke softly - what understanding does she have about vacuum cleaners??? She used to work in a drain suction pump company earlier and Bronson believes she is a pro in understanding the works of a vacuum cleaner! Boys! I am going to put an end to all this nonsense. Let me meet Poga in a while and I will soon bring you good news. 

Meanwhile, in Bronson’s cabin, romance was in the air. If Sajiv and Paresh were at the height of frustration, Bronson and Brinda were lost in the heights of lust and passion. The levels were equally high at both ends.

Bronson had the cunningness of a fox and headed a coveted position in ORIS, that of a Managing Director, the end point of all deliveries and Brinda was akin to an opportunist, a witch and headed a team just for namesake. She had no clue as what the team was doing. "Update your task sheets yourselves and allocate work to your own self . I want you to grow and not follow orders from me as a leader" That was her welcome speech to her team. The team squirmed in their seats. Nice way of saying I don't know what to do, so do your tasks yourselves thought Guava Singh, one of the brightest talent in the team.

Premchand Ogavarty who loathed the name given by his parents, chose to be known as Poga. He was the recently inducted CEO of ORIS and had slowly but steadily kicked out a lot of the brilliant talents in ORIS and smoothly installed many of his faithful cronies from his earlier company. The only common test that all had to pass was if they remembered Premchand Ogavarty was asked to get out of his previous job? A ‘ No’ facilitated direct entry to ORIS with the most attractive perks one can possibly imagine. 

Poga fancied Bronson for being brainy but not using it to debate the futility of any of his own decisions. Poga believed in hiring people who would never raise their heads in front of him. Bronson continued this legacy below his line. Both would go to any extent to uplift their professional careers. Even at the cost of trampling on the corpses of their colleagues. 

The phone rang and interrupted the blissful moment in Bronson’s cabin...unrelentingly Bronson reached out to pick it up. Brinda pulled his hand back and continued to kiss him. She loved to move her tongue over his crooked teeth and for some reason Bronson would lose himself to the devil when she did that.  Bronson slid his hands over Brinda's arse and was surprised when he got a whack on his hand!

He woke up from his stupor! Poga was glaring at him while feasting his eyes on Brindas bare skin at the same time. With a curled stubby finger, he gestured Bronson to follow him to his cabin.

What the hell! Can’t you lock your cabin, yelled Poga. A ruffled Bronson meekly retorted – you didn’t knock sir!

I called you on your desk line...you never picked it up, you imbecile.

I was busy sir, mumbled Bronson.

Busy with whattttt???? I told you to be cautious. Her brown hair and her dimplish grins blinds you but don’t think others are blind! I had a tough time placating that ogre from business development. He was here a few moments ago, his silver air emanating electric currents. He wanted to know why you both should go to close Bambani’s final proposal meeting!

Sir, Brinda has 3 years of solid experience in suction pumps. She is the most ideal candidate in ORIS to prove to the Bambanis that we have employed the best from the industry. Her experience in suction pumps is very valuable, don’t you think so sir??? 

After all vacuum cleaners do have a suction pump at the end, don’t they?
Poga glared at his loyal follower. Brindas suction pump knowledge seemed to have worked on every malleable bone in Bronson's lanky self. Bronson was losing it. He had to stop him.

Listen, you ARE NOT going to the Bambani meeting. Let the Ogre and his team taste the flavour of success. And, between you and me, that’s the last taste they get!

What!!! I promised Brinda I will take her for her first bid win tomorrow. How can I deny her joy at the last moment?

Young boy, there are many other ways to delight a young woman. Why don’t you use some other tricks I taught you? After all, you should have made me proud by now. As your mentor, I want to bask in the glory of your deliverables at work and outside of it.

Crap, thought Bronson. The old man thinks he taught me everything.

Boss you are right, he blurted. Am going to take her to Delhi and stay at the Taj when we go for Bonsons meeting. Kindly pass the budget.

No issues Bronson. Remember we share, we learn and that’s how we earn. I will also be joining you both at the Taj. 

The color drained from Bronsons face.

By the way, continued Poga, we have to make 3 more proposals for our prospective clients. Let the Ogre and his team do the groundwork and ask them to send it to us for final approval.

And when they send, don’t give them the approval. You and Brinda take it to the client and close it between yourselves. Let the Ogre hear it after it’s closed.

Bronson’s face beamed with delight and the color came back to his face. Meanwhile Paresh and Sanjiv were delighted that Bronson and Brinda were finally off their back. 

Back in his corner, a sense of satisfaction and warmth glowed on the face surrounded by a cloud of silver hair. He was happy he could give his boys their due...