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Opposite lines

Opposite lines

A poem with alternate lines being romantic and the reverse

For you my darling I’d go anywhere

As long as you pay my business class fare

For you my sweet I will do anything
As long as I am paid for it in cash kind or Bling

For you my beloved I’d write a whole song

But only if you agree to go away for long

For you my dear lover I’d give up my life

As long as you don’t ever get near my wife

 

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I Forget…..

I Forget…..

I forget…

Being absentminded is the privilege of the genius. We hear stories of the ridiculous stupidity and feeble mindedness in everyday matters by such greats as Einstein and Newton and chuckle appreciatively.
However, if we of acknowledged mediocre intellect should occasionally let things slip our mind, we are subjected to severe ridicule and harsh name calling.
I unfortunately have suffered from this since childhood, and it shows no signs of improving when I am reaching the age where such senior moments can be attributed to early onset of senility or Alzheimer’s.forget 2
This has led to various problems ranging from mild inconvenience to brushes with the long arm of the law.
For instance, I can never remember my vehicle registration number, and in the days of manual security at public parking lots, I had often to peer inside all the cars to identify mine, raising suspicion, which became worse when on questioning I could not recollect the number. I was often subjected to rigorous questioning before being permitted to drive away my own car. Nowadays the remote lock has made the job of identifying my car easier.
It is worse when I am driving someone else’s car. I usually have no recollection of the make or model either. Once when driving a colleagues car while mine was at the workshop, I panicked on reaching a parking lot with a sea of vehicles. Finally I realised that as a recent arrival from another state, his plates will bear that states number. The rest was simple.
What is worse, in those days, most cars of the same make could be opened by the same key, if the vehicle was old. Once, when visiting my parents, I had borrowed my dad’s car and taken my kids to the market. Returning laden with packets and child in tow, I opened the door of what I thought was my dad’s Maruti and proceeded to load the shopping. A gentleman came over and asked if there is a problem. I thanked him and asked him to mind my child while I arranged the packets. This done I thanked him, sat my daughter in the back seat and got in myself. The stunned gentleman protested,
“But this is my car!”
Profuse apologies later, and the clinching argument
that I would hardly be committing grand theft auto with shopping and a child in tow, and finally on discovering the right car parked nearby, I convinced him that I was not a criminal. But he may have been harbouring a doubt that I was criminally insane.
The other issue is I always drive on autopilot. Once the route has been uploaded on what passes for my mind, I don’t have to consciously plan the drive. Thus, as I used to drop my wife off on my way to work, that’s how I went, irrespective of whether she was in the car or not. I usually realised that she’s not there after I had parked by her office and waited for her to get off. I may have been suspected of being a stalker by some of her colleagues.
Ditto when dropping my daughter off to school. I think the authorities had a lookout for the potential paedophile that stops his car outside the school, sheepishly looks around and drives off.
On the pervert front my reputation takes a beating by another nasty betrayal of my mind. Being an incurable multi tasker, I am usually on my computer when I have called someone on the phone and waiting for them to pick up. So that by the time the response comes, I have completely forgotten whom I have called or why. As I desperately try to identify the voice and remember what it was I needed, the person at the other end shouts
“Hello hello!”whilst listening to my heavy breathing.
When I call my secretary for some work, I may be involved with something else by the time she arrives, and I stare at her asking why I called her. I think till she knew me better she may have been convinced I was the stereotyped evil boss looking her over. I am glad I didn’t face harassment charges.
But what almost brought about a crisis in our marriage was when I was giving a lift back from work to a colleague and the LOH was in the backseat. When I stopped to drop the colleague, she had got off to come over to the front. Blissfully unaware, I drove off home, leaving her stranded midway, without money as her purse was in the backseat. I realised this only when she came home in a cab, and she icily asked me for money to pay off the taxi.
Fortunately, my marriage survives to this day, no doubt as I forget the many hints dropped about reconsideration of options from my long suffering LOH.

 

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A Weekly humour coloumn

A Weekly humour coloumn

#humour #KitchenFisasco #BachelorsLife #WhyPigsHaveWings #DifferentTruths
Here’s an interesting account by Soumya, a humourist, on cooking. We are introducing his humour column, beginning this week, on Tuesdays, exclusively on Different Truths. I am a foodie. My girth hints at it. I take a keen interest in the creative process of cooking too, but all strictly theoretical. I also enjoy cooking as a spectator sport. The glamorous cooks on television make it look so sexy. [ 933 more words ]

 

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The initiation

The initiation

The Initiation
He was an eager young rookie, in his early twenties, barely out of college, finding his way around the maze of the public sector corporate world.
He was attending his debut budget meeting, where performances are analysed, targets set, and strategy debated, postings decided; at least that is what he thought.
A new branch office had been recently opened in the heart of the capital, and our young hero was sent to man it till a suitable head is decided upon.
Full of enthusiasm, our greenhorn had bustled about and won a number of new accounts; the crowning glory of which came when he reached an agreement with an equally young and enthusiastic IAS officer and acquired a new business of what was a princely sum in those days. It was a big breakthrough for the region. He therefore was brimming with confidence and excited over his virgin evaluation by the exalted regional head, a veteran Sikh gentleman.
The meeting seemed to be carried out entirely in Punjabi, which was the language most of his colleagues spoke. The other Branch heads were all battle scarred veteran salespeople, more than twice our hero’s age. The venue was the company guesthouse, a spacious bungalow in a posh neighbourhood. No business was discussed, but whiskey and jokes flowed unchecked, and a good time was being had by all, including our rookie. Undaunted by the occasion, he too imbibed merrily, and shared witticisms in his pidgin Punjabi.
Finally, the big boss summoned him. But to his puzzlement, he was led out into the backyard with a friendly arm around his shoulder, glass in hand.
There, the venerable regional chief proceeded to give the young hero the best advice he could get, much like Lord Krishna’s discourse to the nervous Partha.
Although this Geeta saar was delivered in Punjabiised Hindi, I shall translate it into English for the uninitiated reader. Those savvy can retranslate in their mind for the full flavour.
“Listen son, I want to tell you something important. I am speaking with a whisky glass in hand, so I am speaking the truth.
We made you a Branch in charge, but you did not show any gratitude. We therefore had decided to remove you after this meeting. You however, managed to pull this coup, and even the corporate office is impressed. Thus, you are safe. If you continue to perform like this, we can’t touch a hair of your head, despite your arrogance and lack of proper deference and gratitude.
Remember this, to survive in the company; you can do one of two things. Be of service to your superiors, do Seva, or you can perform. If you do both, no one can match you, you too even become a General Manager, or even Chairman. But you have to do at least one. Out of the two, serving your superiors, or seva, is the best. Then, multitudes of faults are overlooked and mistakes excused. In performance, you may survive with your impudence as long as you keep up a super track record, but we will be watching you. The first mistake and you are toast.”
The young man ruminated over these gems of wisdom. It has stood the test of time. He has seen many colleagues practice the first and prosper. He has seen a few try the second and be ruined. He has seen even fewer try the golden combo and blossom. He himself, thanks to his contrary nature, stuck to the second, at a great cost, suffered some serious setbacks, but undaunted, continued to strive bull headedly, continued to reach new milestones, and marked out a niche for himself. He was fortunate later in his career to encounter professional bosses who appreciated his work ethic and style, He ultimately did almost reach the dizzying ranks promised by his first boss as a reward for achieving the golden double, but did so on his own terms.
He continues to appreciate the truth in the valuable lesson learnt from this initial guru.

 

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The Return of Gussie Fink nottle

The Return of Gussie Fink nottle

Return of Gussie Fink Nottle
Some of you may have my earlier adventures in Gussie’s avatar when I gave out the prizes in a village school we had adopted as part of our CSR activities. For the newbie, here is the link
https://soumyamukherjee8.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/giving-out-the-prizes/
Now once again I had an invitation from a school to attend their literature day as a chief guest.
It happened like this. The principal of an international school is a loyal follower of my blog and has actually read almost everything that I have written. She has also read my book and admired it greatly and has shared her opinion and appreciation of the book in particular and my writing in general on the social media. Totally flattered on having an intelligent articulate attractive young lady fan, we were in touch through social media.
Incidentally, a great many more women read than men, and they also comment and express their appreciation, often getting in touch with the author. This is one of the major perks of writing and a superb incentive to aging nerds like me.
Her school was celebrating a literary week where they invite an author to give an inspiring speech, and decided to invite me this year. Thrilled at the prospect of being recognised as a writer, I gladly accepted.
I anguished over what to wear, and remembering gussie and the split trouser theory, I gave ethnic wear a miss, thus avoiding entertaining the students with wardrobe malfunctions, as dhotis and churidars have a nasty habit of unravelling at inopportune moments; and stuck to sober casuals.
Fortified with plain orange juice I landed up at the impressive sprawling premises of the residential school, a little way outside the city. As I was ushered to the principal’s room, the memories of being sent up to see the principal came surging out of the unconscious, creating flutters in the stomach. There were a few young thugs waiting outside the boss’s lair, but they seemed unperturbed by the imminent interview. Perhaps the ubiquitous cane having been eliminated from the proceedings have resulted in such sangfroid.
The principal’s room was huge, much larger than mine, but it was not manned by a fire breathing ogre nine feet high in a cassock and a front to back collar; but a petite demure lady in a sari, whose rimless glasses were the only severe aspect and kept me from being flippant and flirtatious.
I was taken around the campus on a tour. The boys’ hostel evoked strong feelings of nostalgia. I even entered that place I had often dreamt of visiting in my misspent youth; the girls’ hostel. Needless to say, the children were in class and not in the dorms. A couple of boys were flushed out from under a tree outside the girls’ hostel and sent packing, after hearing their lame excuses for their presence there. My heart went out to the poor blighters.
I then inspected some kids dressed as literary characters and looking miserable, all except mowgli, who was prancing around in his briefs and happily living up to the role of the wild jungle man cub without fear of reprisal from the teachers.
We proceeded to the auditorium and a surprise awaited me. There, among the decorations with literary themes, were three larger than life drawings; at the centre of which, flanked by Shakespeare and Wordsworth, was a replica of my book cover. I felt like the golf crazy Russian poet in one of plums golf stories, who thought that only Tolstoy and Shakespeare were any good, and comparable to him, and Wodehouse was tolerable, and the rest were rubbish.
Thoroughly pleased and embarrassed, I stoically sat through the performances of the much suffering volunteers, and the student body suffered them glumly, with bored clapping appreciating the end of individual bits. Only glitches were loudly appreciated.
Finally the dreaded moment came, and I had to earn my lunch. As the final item, the patience of the audience was stretched thin, and I had to tread cautiously, armed only with coconut water pick me ups.
Once again, forewarned by Gussie, I steered well clear of motivational talks. Instead, to give credence to my status as an author, I told them a story. To ensure total comprehension, I requested the vernacular language teacher to translate along in the local language, using all colloquialisms.
I made the story as politically incorrect as I could get away with, keeping the students happy, with a hidden message of tolerance and inclusiveness which would mollify the teachers. I acted, pranced, made animal noises and generally played the fool. Soon, the roars of laughter and appreciation that would be a match to the reception of Gussies speech came as music to my ears, and I could see the teachers smiling too.
After the speech I had a photo session with the kids and there was a mad scramble to shake my hands and take my autograph. A young lady wanted me to sign her shirt, but I dissuaded her warning her of her mother’s reaction, when she persuaded me to sign her hand.
This was my five minutes of fame promised to every citizen in this century. I briefly knew what rock stars feel all the time.
This is the story I told them, although altered to suit the mood.
https://soumyamukherjee8.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/beauty/

 

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The Modified effect Schadenfreude

Modified Impact Schadenfreude
Like everything else our action hero or super villain (depending on the colour of your ideology) prime minister does, this midnight surgical strike against black money by demonetisation of high value currency notes has led to raging controversies.
We are so used to empty talk that actual action of any kind sends shock waves through the system.
The Bhakts of course are indulging in their usual hosannas, and those allergic to the colour saffron are screaming against it, but these are programmed reactions.
I was keen to see how the mango people and the few more equal than others really thought of this completely unexpected masterstroke.
I personally was not affected much as my cash transactions are a bare minimal, and have only a single source of income, a government salary. But the area I stay in is bustling with billionaires. And they have a large retinue of servers who bustle around the figurative ‘below stairs’.
The morning after, our friendly neighbourhood park had a sombre look. No jolly walkers, no laughter clubs scaring off the birds or yoga clubs panting like dogs on a summer’s day. Just a few huddles of worried people could be seen, all of them intently discussing something. Eavesdropping proved that the subject was the problems of money, how to salvage it, and how to manage.
In contrast I saw barely suppressed glee in the huddle of uniformed chauffeurs outside the park, waiting to drive their masters back from the park.
The wags and wits on the social media had a field day, and extremely creative and innovative jokes, rhymes, cartoons and parodies of hit numbers went viral in every language.
It was the only topic of conversation at work, at teashops, on trains and on social media. The US elections, with all the hype, controversy and scandal, and even the shock results went completely unnoticed.
I asked the young man who drives my car, about his views. He said that of course there are difficulties, but nothing drastic as he buys everything on credit and settles once a month after getting his salary, and by then things should have settled. He was also ready to take his salary through electronic exchange. He confided that everyone in his housing cluster, mostly menial labourers and domestic help, as well as his peer group, the other drivers and cooks and maids in our residential complex are all really happy, for despite their difficulties, they loved to see their employers in panic mode. His co passengers in the train he takes to commute to the city also shared their opinion, but the petty traders and tradesmen who ran roadside shops were worried.
The next day the morning walkers seemed more resigned, and a few elderly gentlemen confided that their accountants have assured them that some way would be found out soon.
My sarathi came back with more news. Most of his colleagues earned big tips by standing in queues and depositing money in various accounts for their bosses, and that their friendly neighbourhood moneylender was ruined, he gleefully confided. He started speculating about the big names in politics and business and how they must be crying.
This I think is Schadenfreude, and the glee below stairs despite their discomfort is for the greater discomfort above stairs.
I too faced difficulties the first few days, but our grocer and chemist extended credit, and by the third day was accepting cards. The office boy who manages our banking exchanged whatever notes we carried with the relevant documents, so life carried on. He too provided some gossip that the numerous bars that dotted Mumbai are completely empty, and few people are visiting the restaurants. My kids provided another input, that the malls that were crowded with ladies splurging and paying with cash are now deserted, as were the hairdressers and beauticians. Everyone was happy with the news. More Schadenfreude I concluded.
I have some friends who are traders and small industry owners, and I called them for their reaction. They were badly hit, but were relishing the fact that their more successful colleagues were worse hit, and were also gung ho with the idea that a way out will soon be found. Definitely Schadenfreude I am sure.
The majority of my friends who were deeply outraged by the move were my friends in the academicia, media, and the old rich, people who were hardly affected. These were all idealistic liberal drawing room socialists, the members of the chattereti class. I was curious as to why they should oppose moves to cleanse the economy, as they themselves are absolutely clean.
The reason was that they were really upset that the person they considered a fascist rightwing demagogue should come up with it and boldly implement this step, while their own liberal left parties were left mouthing rhetoric.
The third day in the park, I struck up conversations with the worst affected people. They were mostly from the PMs home state, were very rich businessmen with strong allergies to the taxman, and the core support group to the party in power. It hurt them deeply to be hit by their poster boy. After all, they contributed heavily to the election funds, and what kind of reward was this? They rationalised that, actually this was targeted at the terrorists and Maoists who survived on cash influx, and to stop our evil neighbours from ruining our economy and spreading their murderous creed with infusions of counterfeit cash from across the border. They believed that as for the honest to god businessmen with slight aversion to paying taxes, a new loophole would soon be found.
It set me wondering; the targeted group is not unhappy as they have a feeling of kinship with the PM, the collateral damage aam janta is happy because the big guys are hurting badly, and the most to benefit honest liberal highly educated professional class are livid that how come an upstart chaiwallah has dared to do what we could not in so many years. I think rational thinking is a fictional quality.
I do not know whether this will work or not, but I am glad that some action has been taken. I was sick and tired of rhetoric. It is better to try something out. If it does not work, one can try something else.
In the meanwhile, I am thrilled that those richer than me are more uncomfortable. Schadenfreude.

 

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Three idiots in a dark wonderland

Three idiots in a dark wonderland

The three wise monkeys – a Review
Have you ever laundered money? Do you know how to evade tax, cook the books, open benami offshore accounts, and turn black money into white? Well, Jeet Gyan, chartered accountant and author, in his second novel The Three Wise Monkeys, tells you how. He even draws diagrams to explain it.
Do you think accounts are mind numbingly dull? And auditors are the most boring of people? I did so too, till I met the three wise monkeys, the protagonists of the novel, Amar Akbar and Antony. These three idiots are, like the author, chartered accountants, but probably unlike the author, passed with great difficulty, are naive, jobless and not very competent. They are also idealistic, and aspire to be honest auditors, which it appears, is an oxymoron. Moreover, the figures they study are not only the ones found in dusty ledgers.
But fortunately, like most males, the blood does not reach their brains when in the presence of attractive women, and other more vital organs take up the job of thinking. Thus when our heroes meet three ladies who send temperatures soaring, their life changes, and they are thrown in the middle of the rollercoaster real world of dirty finance, and their world turns topsy turvy.
They meet up with sleazy businessmen with feuding wives, conniving girlfriends, shady brokers, bought awards, sibling rivalries, policemen, income tax sleuths, both straight and crooked, bar girls, musclemen, cows, and a variety of other interesting creatures.
They audit desolate dockyards in Kutch, dairy farms and even dance bars and end up in jail, on breaking news headlines, in glitzy parties and exotic locales they would not have dreamt of in their previous, innocent and impecunious existence. This world is a far cry from the Irani cafes, their previous home from home.
The book takes you through the bumpy ride of the three idiots or wise monkeys who see hear and speak very little evil through the wonderland of the dark world of high illegal finance, with a fair sprinkling of babes, bosoms and bimbos for glitter.
I would rather not reveal more of the intricate plot and let the suspense remain as to if and how the trio survive the ride and whether their dreams come true.
One word of caution though; the author attempts a breezy comedy style of recounting, and it seems he tries too hard. The effect desired is the comic thriller, but it seems to fall a bit short. A straight thriller may have worked better.

 

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