Social Waves

I have been away from blogging for a while now .I have been working a lot these days. It is enjoyable, yet exhausting. This has a disadvantage to it , though. I seem to find less time for the people near and dear to me.

Today, even Siri stopped responding to me. I kept shouting “Hey Siri“, but no response at all. Seems like she is is upset that I don’t call her as much as I used to.

Or maybe, the . fact that I was calling her from the kitchen may have something to do about it. With all the wve about feminism and women empowerment going about, I guess even Siri is affected.

Well, time to cook…

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Power of a suit


A few days ago, I suddenly realized that I am mortal, so my body needs regular medical checkups. This meant that I needed to visit a hospital and undergo a few tests.

Incidentally, I had a meeting later in the day, so I was all suited up.

I stood in the queue for registering myself for a blood test and an Xray,when I noticed that most of the guys were wearing Tshirts and Jeans. I was envious. There they were, in comfortable clothing standing patiently in a queue whereas I was there in a suite, sweating a bit and feeling hot( and not in a good way).

There were a few security guards, guiding people to their respective test centers while supervising the queues. They kept checking the medical forms we had filled up. It took them about a minute to go through each individual form thoroughly. But when my turn came, he just glanced at it for 10 seconds and said “Thank you ,Sir.” I was sure he did not say “Thank you”, or “Sir” to any of the other members in the queue. I simply dismissed it at the time, attributing it to the fact that I may have appeared more learned and hence, the Sir.

I went into the clinic for my blood test. Saw the needle. Cracked the usual joke about how I feared needles. The doctor laughed, I laughed, he took the sample and we were done in 5 minutes. I got up and waited again for the queue for Xray. Now I noticed. The doctor did not speak as much to the next guy.

Now came the Xray, and the same thing happened. Then I realized something. People were staring at me. more specifically at my suit. ( They were staring 8 inches below my eyes, but since I am a man, I assumed they looked at the clothes rather than body parts).

It seemed that people were respecting the suite rather than me as a person.

Lesson learnt. Now, anytime I need something to be done, I will wear a suite.

Harvey Specter was correct.

Mall Visits…Part 2

Earlier in the month, I had published a write-up on the people we see in the mall.To read that article, click here : Mall visits… Part 1

These are the people who inspire us to go to the mall. These are the people who spark my quest to observe human behaviour from various countries around the world.

Before we proceed to the anecdote, I want to make it clear that some Canadian Popstar singing”let’s go to the mall….. tonight”, does not really appeal to me. Only the fact that “Robin” is supper awesome, made me watch that song. Anyway…

The unsatisfied wife: 

We were still in the queue for a pizza, when a man of about 30 years of age came and established himself in front of the queue. A group of teenagers was already waiting there, browsing the menu and discussing what to order.I would like to point out, that unlike some other groups, these boys were exceptionally well behaved and were not causing much of a ruckus that is typical of a group of teenagers.

So this guy, ignores the queue and stands next to one of the boys. He makes a hand-motion where he formed a cone by bringing together all his fingers and pointing then upwards. The typical motion I associate with an Italian and an Arab, to get a point across.  He said something which I  think meant that he needed the boy to move away a bit.

The boy obliged.

Then this guy turns back to a woman and pointing to the empty space on the ground  suggested that she should stand here to give an order. I imagined she was his wife.

The wife obliged.

She glanced briefly up to the menu displayed on the top display. 10 seconds later she nodded her head in disapproval. There was a look of intense fury on the guy’s face, but he did not say a word.

The moved on to the next eatery.

This activity continued for a further 20 mins, by which time, they had managed to cover Pizza hut, McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Red Dragon, Nandos and a few other places, covering almost every cuisine usually offered in a mall.

By this time, I had ordered the pizza and the pizza was ready to eat, so could not follow their progress, but it was evident :

It is indeed difficult to understand what women want.

Mall visits… Part 1

Visiting a mall is extremely entertaining. There are thousands of people around, which means there are a thousand different opportunities to observe human behavior and quirks.

In one such visit recently, I came across once such incident. Now, I am not very good at any language other than English and my native, but actions speak louder than words. So all this is my take on the events.

The testy Father:

There was a big family, 5 kids, their Dad and their mothers- who had come for shopping and were now hungry.

The dad was ordering a pizza for the entire family. He stood in the queue, waiting for his turn. His son, looked about 10 year old, came and stood next to him. He check if his father was paying attention to him. He was safe. His father was busy selecting which pizza would be best. He looked around. There was a hugh pile of pizza delivery  boxes, neatly staked, on the counter. He pushed them. the tower of boxes did not come down, but the deed was noticed by the Dad. He got irritated and asked the kid to stop doing that. Dad went back to contemplating how he can feed his litter. The moment the dad looked away, the child, with a sheepish smile, touched the boxes again twice, just to show his defiance. Dad noticed that and now ordered him to go sit with the rest of the family. The kid, touched the pile, one last time and ran to him mother.

Now, by the time this happened, Dad has reached the front of the queue and placing an order. The sales assistant was trying to communicate in gestures and English (which is not native here), that it was Tuesday and he gets a free pizza with every pizza he orders, but dad was having a hard time to understand that. In all this commotion, his other son, who looked 15 year old, came and asked him for some money to eat the pancakes from the next stall.

The Dad give him a look that would have melted the Himalayas faster than the global warming. The Boy was unperturbed. The dad, shaking his head, put his had into his pocket and game him a tenner. By now he looked very irritated. He must be thinking:

Here I am, trying to buy these guys a pizza, where this red Tshirt guy is trying to tell be that I can order less because he is happy to give a free pizza, God knows why. My son is asking money to by pancakes when he is going to have pizza in a few minutes. He will say that he doesn’t want a pizza now because he is not hungry now. And to think only yesterday he demanded that he wanted to eat Pizza tomorrow, no matter what. My other kid is trying to cause me embarrassment by causing havoc when he manages to topple the tower of boxes, the baby keeps crying and the two girls keep roaming around like they own the place.  God help me !

Bad telephone line

That time ,

When you place a call for some official work,

and the other person does not have an answer to your questions,

But instead of actually saying the customary “I will get back to you on this”,

this person tries to sound as if the telephone line is breaking up…


But you can clearly hear the guy sitting next to this person, talking loudly and more importantly, clearly on his phone…

Hilarious situation.

Home , away from Home

So, I just came back to Doha. This is not my first visit, of course, which gave me a new insight into the term “homesickness”.

The funny thing about my home sickness, is that it can’t even decide my actual home.

I keep missing being away from India, till the time I am in India.

I keep missing India when I am away from India.

Such a Dilemma … which is my home ? India or Qatar ?


Treating kids

I visited my bank today.

As per my habit, I was observing the people around me while waiting for my turn.

I saw a mother, with her kid, approximately 5 to 7 years of age.

The kid was standing quietly by the side of her mother, staring at people around her.

I like such well behaved kids.

After a few minutes, the mother fed the kid a cashew with a hand.

For some reason, the whole picture looked very similar to that of a dog and his trainer.

Kids and the pressure cooker.

You know in the old days, (wow… I feel very old now) i.e. 10 years back kids used to play outside and used to beg for  more mins before coming home. I know I did. Life was simpler back then. You play for two hours everyday except Sundays and vacations, then study for a few hours and sleep soundly till you reach the high school. Then you pass the exam, select a good college and try to keep yourself afloat long enough to graduate and look for a job. That’s when you can start to stress yourself out.Well this is what I did.

Now I see kids sitting on benches, playing on their ipads and various other tabs while the ground is mostly used by people out for a jog, or at-least what is more like brisk walking.

I am sure you are aware how much time, money, paper and blogs are filled with articles on the topic of ” Kids these days are more engrossed in their smartphone than the ground”. I am confident you might have chuckled at the article and remembered the “good old days”. I did this myself today. Which prompted me to write this article.

I saw my little sister, who is not even 14 yet, fuss about the points she got in her class tests. Now, let me tell you, in India thee is only one exam that matters and the marks of only that exam are considered while selecting a good high school. (we select the high school first then we can select the college , after two years in high school). This kid is scoring a perfect score in all her exams and still she fusses about her marks. She is stressed that she might loose a point in one exam and loose the top spot. Though admirable quality, winning, not for a 14 year old.

Now, parents are always blamed for pushing their kids. But not in this case. Both the parents try to convince her to take a “chill pill” once in a while, but to no avail. I can’t seem to understand when she will enjoy life ? when will she just take a break once in a while to sit still and do nothing, just breathe ?

I guess this madness will stop only when people stop associating intelligence with the grades or marks scored in an exam, but till then, it will continue to be a rat race.



We live in a modern age. An age where we live a fast life. Everyone is in a hurry to do something. It could be the haste to get education, haste to get married and settle down, haste to earn loads of money, haste to retire, haste to cross the road, anything…

But in our haste, are we not forgetting to live life ? to make friends, to act like a friend, to understand and talk to people ?

I would like to get my point across with an examples which I came across while reading.

Our heroes in this example will be John and Oliver… the most common names for the western world.

John gets a call from Oliver. He notices he has a lot of missed calls from his best friend. Doesn’t he understand the concept of “being in a meeting “, thinks John. He gives Oliver, a call back.

J : Hey Oliver, sorry I missed a lot of calls from you . I was in a meeting.Tell me, how are you ?

O : Hey man, I am in the hospital

J : Oh, everything alright ?

O: No. Mom has been hospitalized.

J: Oh. Sorry to hear that man. I have a meeting right now. It is a very important meeting for me, as soon as I finish it up, I will be with you to check on your mom’s health.

O : It is not my mother who is in the hospital mate. It is yours. She fell down the stairs and broke her back. The neighbors were trying to call you but could not reach you. Finally they called me. I rushed her to the hospital, completed the formalities and admitted her.

J :  What(shouting)!.Oh my god. I am on my way to the hospital right now.

When John reached the hospital, he literally fell down to his knees in front of Oliver. He could not even look Oliver in the eyes due to the shame. With moist eyes, he managed to say, “I am very sorry Oliver, I..” before Oliver cut him off in mid sentence.

O: It is Okay John. It is not your fault. When you found out that it was not my mother, but yours that was in the hospital, you came running , forgetting about your meetings and career and money making. I don’t really blame you for that. But I had read a sentence once, No one is really very busy.. It is all about priorities. All of us are like that. But remember, a mother, at the end of day, is mother. Even though it is not yours.Anyway, I should go now. I left a meeting in mid session. I will drop by in the evening to check on her.Take care man.

Saying this, Oliver went on his way. John could only remember one thing which Oliver said : No one is really very busy.. It is all about priorities


Sandy Cricket

It is Qatar national sports day today.

The Emir has graciously declared it as a holiday. He wants people to play on a day, which I think is an extremely good gesture, seeing that more and more kids as well as adults seem to be avoiding the open grounds.

To honour the Emir’s wishes, we decided to play cricket. Truth be told, we Indians simply don’t need a reason to play cricket. My friend took me to a place where I could see a lot of like minded enthusiasts playing the game. We set the boundary lines, the pitch to play on, all the usual rituals on the lines of “who will bat first, should be me since it is my bat”…

During the course of play i noticed a few things which made playing Cricket in this desert, a new and exiting experience.

  • The ground was extremely windy. So every so often, you had to shift the body so that the back can be against the wind. This protected the eyes from the sand particles.
  • The ball always got a natural swing due to the strong winds. So when trying to throw the ball, wind had to be taken into consideration which gave you the feeling of being a sniper or an archer.
  • Since the batsman had to run against the wind to score a “run”, it was easy enough for the fielders to get him run-out and the batsman got a good cardio out of it. Although, in later stages of game, smart batsmen(like me) stopped running and relied heavily on big shots to score runs.
  • You could shout all you wanted against the wind, no one will hear your screams.
  • You spend most of the time fetching the ball from a nicely placed shot. This shot could be of any other pair of teams playing on the ground. But in good faith, and hoping that they would do the same when your ball went into their play area, you have to retrieve the ball and throw it across.
  • You could ask one of the friends who does not want to play(there is always one) to fetch the balls in distant places on the ground, using his car. Petrol is cheap, take advantage of this fact by driving it around for no apparent reason than to fetch the ball
  • Your hands, especially the forearms start to pain after 4 hours. Do not type anything for atleast two day. ( I am in a lot of pain right now, but had already started to type when the pain hit me. I don’t like to keep things unfinished.)



Life…and tips

I have been living in Doha for a better part of a month now. One thing I noticed is, there are a lot of Indians here. Especially people from Kerala.

I have been staying in a hotel for  15 days (the bill was enormous, but there was no other way), when I noticed a few things.

First thing I noticed when i entered Doha, was the air was full of perfume smell. It was refreshing but weird. Like everyone wore the same perfume.

Second thing, That I look Egyptian. This was commented by a Taxi Driver and seconded, later , by a lot of other guys.

Thirdly, Whenever I mentioned that I was an Indian, the Indians and Nepalis treated me like a brother. I got an extra bottle, extra soap, extra coffee better service… overall very good service from most of the people.

All they wanted was someone to chat with from “Back home”. No matter if the Person is from a different district. It was India.

I say most, because the Taxi drivers, mostly Indians and Bangladeshis , tried to charge me more that the meter.

But I am used to it.

Moral of the story:

  1. People  tend to give you a better service when spoken to / treated like a human being.
  2. India may be a country which is divided by caste issues, regional conflicts and overall hatred between certain sects; but to se the unified nation, it is ironic,  that you need to leave the country to see it.

The wait….

I was in a shopping center recently.
Yes, I am in a habit of spending exorbitant amount of money on clothes. But that’s not the point.

There was a guy standing in the middle of the passage.

Ignoring the social norm of ignorance, i.e minding my own business, I asked him why he was standing right in the middle.
“I am waiting for someone “, came the reply.

I asked,” so you don’t know whom you are waiting for? You should have probably come with someone you know… ”

My friend dragged me away before I could explain to the guy, what I ment.

We Dont need no, education

I was going home from work yesterday. TGIF in my mind, going over the infinite possible things not to do on the weekend while trying not to bump into any other vehicle.
Now, I try to follow the traffic rules, which I  know, is unorthodox for a person living in Pune. (the city is full of notoriously traffic signal flouting maniacs). So during one such stop, a person came up behind me and kept blaring at his horn (no not the pointy one, the electronic one). I dashes him an annoyed look. “Beep, Beep, Beepbeep, beep”. Another annoyed look.

He: “Dude, come on, go. Are you an idiot. Give me way.”

Me: ” No, I am not an idiot, I am learned and educated.”

He: “Me too, I am an Engineer. But what has that got to do with anything ? Get out of my way”

Me : ” Well being an engineer just means that you were able to memorise a few pages for four years and satisfy the questions of a person looking for specefic answers. It is just a degree. That is not education and learning.”

He:”Dude, I work in IT. I make more mony than you”.

Me:” Still doesn’t prove you are educated. In fact proves the lack of education and learning.”

He:”You are an idiot.”

Me: ” Maybe. But definatly educated”.

The lights turned green. some more “beep beep, beepbeep” and HE whisked away.

So, is having a degree, called education and learning? or having traffic sense, comman sense, humility, wisdom, kindness and politness called education and learning ?

Shiv Khera’s experience in Singapore:

6 years ago in Singapore I gave a taxi driver a
business card to take me to a particular address.
At the last point he circled round the building.
His meter read 11$ but he took only 10. I said Henry, your meter reads 11$ how come you are taking only 10. He said Sir, I am a taxi driver, I am supposed to be bringing you straight to the destination. Since I did not know the last spot, I had to circle around the building. Had I brought you straight here, the meter would have read 10$. Why should you be paying for my ignorance ?
He said Sir, legally, I can claim 11$ but ethically I am entitled to only 10. He further added that Singapore is a tourist destination and many people come here for three or four days. After clearing the immigrations and customs, the first
experience is always with the taxi driver and if that is not good, the balance three to four days are not pleasant either. He said Sir I am not a taxi driver, I am the Ambassador of Singapore without a diplomatic passport. In my opinion he probably did not go to school beyond the 8th grade, but to me he was a professional. To me his behavior reflected pride in performance and character. That day I learnt that one needs more than professional qualification to be a

A Dog’s Life ?

I have a bad habit of taking a walk late in the evening , usually with a close friend of mine.

Yesterday, was one such time.

We were walking in the the shadows accompanied by our usual tomfoolery , when I noticed a dog by the side of the road.

The dog was skinny, as if it was no fed for days now and twitching violently. First thing we did, check if it had a belt which would signify that it had an owner.  Apparently, the dog did have an owner. Now the question arose. “How to contact the owner ?” This was quickly replaced by “How to help the Dog get well ?”

Now I have absolutely no conscience to speak of, but my friend has one. A very big one. Looking a the pain the dog was going through, we decided to call an animal shelter. But this idea fell through as neither of us new of any such shelter.

Meanwhile, a curious passer-by stopped and enquired as to what we were up to.( or maybe he just wanted to know if we were about to steal anything) . According to his expert opinion , the dog was bit by a snake and should be dead in 10 mins. He added, that in his village this was a common occurrence and even a man is unable to live through the snake bite so the dog would definitely. After sharing this valuable information, he left. 

Finally , we called a vet, and narrated the symptoms. The vet, being a religious person, asked us to say our final prayers and try to ease the dong’s pain. The dog was definitely about to die. We took this advice, said our prayers, and left him, twitching, concious of his pain, and very alone…

Maybe this is life ? after-all, in your last moments , you are alone, conscious of your suffering / pain and maybe twitching .

If yes, what is the difference between a Dog’s and a human’s death ?

“सुख” म्हणजे नक्की काय असतं? (आम्ही ‘कॅब’वाले…)

मे-जून चा साधारण अप्रेजल चा काळ. आज फायनल लेटर मिळणार होतं. सकाळपासून डोक्यात विचारांचा भुंगा कीणकीणत होता. वर्षभर जरा चांगलं  काम झालं होतं. चक्क टिम लीड कडून आणि म्यानेजर कडून फारच चांगले रेटिंग मिळाले होते…जे घडत नाही ते याची देही याची डोळा पाहिल्यामुळे डोळे फाटायची वेळ आली होती! तर आज काय होईल याचाच भुंगा डोक्यात रुंजी घालत होता.

संध्याकाळी जेव्हा टीम लीड ने लेटर मोठा तामझाम करत माझ्या हातात दिलं. वर अगदी अभिनंदन करून “सप्रे…तुमच्या कडून या पेक्षा अधिक चांगल्या कामाची आम्ही अपेक्षा करतो” वगैरे इंग्लिश मध्ये मोठी वाक्य माझ्या वर उधळली (अर्थात फेकलीच. कारण टीम लीड आणि म्यानेजर या पेक्षा वेगळं काही करत नाहीत यावर बऱ्याच जणांचा विश्वास बसेलच) तेव्हा छाती फुलून आली. जागेवर येउन मोठ्या खुशीत लेटर बघितलं. आणि …(सिंघम माझ्या समोर येउन चक्कं नाचला… आईच्या गावात आणि बाराच्या भवत…. आता माझी खरंच सटकली)…च्याइला अरे फक्त २.५% इन्क्रिमेंट? अरे महिन्याला ८००/- फक्त? मनात आलं, “टिम लीड, या लेटर ची सुरळी करून देतो तुला…….(XXXX). अथक विचार केला मनात कि नक्की मी या वाढीव ८००/- चा खात्रीलायक विनियोग कसा करू शकेन बरं? सगळे पर्याय नकारार्थीच आले. २-३ तास कामंच केलं नाही शिफ्ट संपे पर्यंत. ४-५ चहा पिऊन झाले तरी डोकं काही शांत होईना. परत आलो तर टीम लीड (नेहमी प्रमाणे) निर्लज्ज पणे’ “अवध्या, आजचा इशू तू हैंडल कर. शिफ्ट एक्स्टेंड कर १ तास आणि मिटिंग अटेंड कर. मला जरा बायकोला डिनरला न्यायचंय!”. मनात (XXXX आणि बाराखडी). तिरमिरीत मिटिंग कशी तरी आटोपली. आणि लेट कॅब पकडायला खाली आलो.

पाहतो तर आज ड्रायवर दादा होते अण्णा (भालचंद्र विनोदे). भालचंद्र (अण्णा) विनोदे – वय जवळपास ५५ च्या पुढे. उभट चेहरा. अस्सल मराठी मावळे शोभावेत असे जाड कल्ले आणि जबरदस्त छपरी मिश्या पार गालांपर्यंत. पाठीत थोडसं वयोमाना नुसार पोक आलेलं. पण त्यामुळे असं वाटावं कि अण्णा स्टीअरिंग वर आडवे होऊनच गाडी चालवतायत! गाडी कधी हि ६० ची सीमा ओलांडत नाही (अपवाद हायवे – इथं जेमतेम ७०). बोलताना कधीही खोचक बोलत नाहीत. इतकं छान मधाळ बोलतात कि जे बोलतात त्याला उत्तर देताना आपल्या तोंडून कधी “नाही” येतच नाही. समोरच्याच्या वयाच्या सीमा हा माणूस कधी न गाठता, मुलगा असेल तर “राव” आणि मुलगी असेल तर “माउली” या उपाधीनच हाक मारायचा. मला मात्र अवधूत चिंतन श्री गुरुदेव दत्त “राव” एवढी लांब लचक उपाधी असायची. रांगडं प्रेम होतं बोलण्यात. दर वाकयामागे “काय?” असा कायम सवाल असायचा “आज अमुक ठिकाणी गेलो होतो…काय?” (म्हणजे आपण नुसती मान हलवायची नाही तर “हो” असं प्रत्युत्तर दयायचं तर पुढे काहीतरी ऐकायला मिळणार!). आधी पुण्याच्या MIDC मध्ये होते. काही कारणाने कंपनी बंद पडली. आणि मग हे ड्रायवर झाले.

तर गाडी निघाली. वाऱ्याच्या थंड झुळकी बरोबर डोकं हलकं व्हायला लागलं. पण आज मी काहीच बोलत नाही म्हटल्यावर अण्णांनी आमचा काही कारणाने तुकडा मोडला आहे हे जाणलं…उत्तर अर्थात अनुभव! “अवधूत चिंतन श्री गुरुदेव दत्त राव!”…माझी तंद्री तुटली … “ओ… काय हो अण्णा?”. अण्णा, “नाही…म्हटलं आल्यापासून शांत आहात…कामाचा लोड वाढलाय का? त्रास करून घेऊ नका! मनाला आणि शरीराला त्रास करून काम करू नये…त्या “कामा”ला आपल्या कामाचा त्रास झाला पाहिजे!…काय?” बोलवं कि न बोलावं या विचारात असे पर्यंत “हुम्म…बरोबर आहे!” निघून गेलंही. “अण्णा, कामाचा त्रास नाही होत हो…पण त्याचा उचित मोबदला नाही मिळाला तर त्रास होतो. वर्षभर मरेस्तोवर काम करायचं. लेट येतो जातो म्हणून आई-बाबा अधून मधून शाळा घेतातच. बायको कधीतरी फुरंगटून बसते. आणि मित्रं तर डोकं खातात…म्हणतात “सप्र्या काम काय तू एकटाच करतो का? शिफ्ट डयुटी तुला एकट्यालाच असतात का? काढ न जरा वेळ आमच्यासाठी!”

अण्णा “काय सुपरवायझर बरोबर वाजलं का? …. आपण शांत राहावं!”.  मी “अण्णा…आज अप्रेजल ची लेटर्स मिळणार होती. (अण्णांना “अप्रेजल” कळतं!). महिन्याचा फक्त ८००/-  इन्क्रिमेंट मिळालाय!”


कचकन ब्रेक मारला गेला…गाडी बाजूला घेतली गेली….”अभिनंदन “राव” अभिनंदन…काय वो!…एवढी आनंदाची बातमी…आss ठss शे रुपये…ते पण महिन्याचे! व्वा!”. मी बघतच बसलो! पण अण्णांच लक्ष्य नव्हतं माझ्याकडे. ते बाहेर काहीतरी शोधत होते. बहुदा मिळाल्यासारखा वाटलं आणि गाडीतून उतरले. थोडं मागे असल्येल्या टपरी मधून ५/- च्या दोन कॅडबरी आणल्या. माझ्या हातात कोंबत “सुखी राहा…असेच पुढे प्रगती करा… आणि हो… २ दिल्यात …आपल्या बायकोलाहि दया. ती माउली हि खुश होईल तुमच्यासाठी! मघाशी म्हणालात ना? कामाचा चीज व्हत नाय…असं नसतं …. माय-बाप, बायको, भाऊ-बहिण सगळे प्रेम करत असतात वो… काहींना सांगणं जमतंय काहींना नाय!”


गाडी निघाली आणि मी त्या कॅडबरी कडे बघत होतो. काहीतरी आठवल्यासारखं अण्णा आज बोलायला लागले होते.  “तुम्हाला माहितीचे अवधूत राव… आपल्याला ३ माउली (मुली) आणि एक पांडुरंग आहे (म्हणजे मुलगा…त्याचं हे नाव नव्हे पण ते मुलाला ‘पांडुरंग’ म्हणतात!) २००० सालचं सांगतो तुम्हाला. मोठीचं लग्नाचं वय…सोयरिकी यायच्या… मधलीचं १२ वी झालं होतं…धाकली १० वीत तर पोरटं ७ वी त होतं. भोसरी MIDC त कंत्राटी फिटर होतो. मालकांच्या काही कारणाने ती कंपनी बंद पडली. हे कमी होत म्हणून घरोब्यात प्रोपर्टीची भांडणं उखडली गेली.” २ मिनिटं अण्णा शांत, अंगावर काटा आल्यासारखे.  म्हणाले, “पायाखालची  जमीन सरकली होती. २-३ महिने दुसरी कडे पण नोकरी शोधली. काही उपेग नाय झाला. पण पांडुरंगाने बक्खळ आशीर्वाद आणि बायकोने अमाप बळ दिलं… काय? पण आपल्याला कशाचं व्यसन नाय म्हणून बरंय…काय? हां…तर, कसातरी करून गाडी शिकलो मित्राकडून. पन मंग गाडी नाही पन टेम्पो चालवायला मिळाला. म्हटलं हरकत नाय ‘ठेविले अनंते तैसेचि राहावे’. दिवस-रात्र चालवायचो. पन टेम्पो चालवून हात आणि पाठ-कंबर लय दुखायची. रात्री बायको आणि मधली पोर हात-पाय-कंबर आणि पाठ चेपून आणि शेकून दयायाची. बायकोच्या अन पोरीच्या हाताची उब मग पुन्हा दुसरा दिवस ढकलून काढाया बळ दयायाची.”


“मोठी समजून गेली होती…आता पुढे शिक्षण नाही…तात्यांना हात दयायचा…ते मला ‘अण्णा’ नाय ‘तात्या’ म्हणतात…काय? तर ती शिकवणी घ्याया लागली आणि धाकल्याला बी शिकवत होती. सगळा करून घर फक्त १०००/- चालत होतं… काय? मंग करत करत साधारण २००५ मध्ये शेकंड -ह्यांड शुमो घेतली. अन पुणं – मुंबई, क्वचित सातारा-सांगली-कोल्हापूर-सोलापूर ला कॅस्टोम्बर न्यायाचो. त्यातून जे कमावलं त्यात मोठीची सोयरिक केली. आता मधलीचं १२ वी होवून कॉलेजात जाया लागली होती. बायकोचे दागिने थोडे दिवस गहाण ठेवले पण बायकोला शबुद दिला व्हता २ वरीस थांब, असेल त्याच्या मना अन जगलो वाचलो तर दागिने परत मिळवून दावतो… काय? मधली म्हटली म्या नोकरी धरती…एका डॉक्टर कडे रेशेप्शानीष्ट म्हणून लागली… मला रात्री यायला उशीर झाला न ती आली नसेल तर काळजात धूस-फूस व्हायची. मन कातरून उठायचं. स्वतःलाच विचारायचो “लेका, सांभाळता येत नाही तर काढली कशाला एवढी पोरं !” पण मेहनती वर विश्वास व्हता… काय? माझं काय व्हतय हे कळून एक दिवस तीच म्हटली, “तात्या, उशिर झाला तर पिंट्या येत जाईल क्लिनिक जवळ अन मंग सोबत येऊ आम्ही.” काय हवं असतं माय-बापाला अजून? येवढा समजूतदारपणा बी बेस झाला आयुष्य सर-धोपट घालवाया. हीच मधली अन मोठी म्हणाल्या आम्ही १२वी च झालोय पण हि दोघं शिकतील! धाकली मुलगी बी. ये. झाली अन पोरगा डिप्लोमा इंजिनीअर. पोरगी आता मुनिशिपल शाळेत शिकवते अन पोरगा एका इलेक्ट्रोनिक कंपनीत लागलाय, आता ८०००/- कमावतो.” अण्णांचं ऊर भरून आलं होतं आणि मीही ऐकत होतो.

पण, अण्णांचं पुढच वाक्य थोडा विचार करायला लावणारं होतं “तुम्हा आज-कालच्या पोरां पेक्षा कमी आहे…असुदे! पन आहे ते सुख अहे… पोराला व्यसन नाही! २०००/- त्याला ठेवतो, २०००/- माय कडे २०००/- मला, उरलेले १५००/- बँकेत टाकतो आणि ५००/- तायांन्साठी ठेवतो… भाऊबिजेसाठी म्हणा किव्वा सणासुदीला. आणि हो…बायकोचे दागिने २ नाही पण ३ वर्षात सोडवले बर का…काय?” मी आकडेवारी चा हिशेब लावेपर्यंत अण्णा म्हणाले “आता मला सांगा त्या सगळ्या माउली अन मुख्य म्हणजे माझी बायको पाठीशी नसती तर जमलं असतं का हे? काय? आणि पोरं समजूतदार निघाली अन उगी कशाचा वंगाळ हट्ट केला नाय हे बी खरं!”


मी नुसता होकार दिला पण विचार करत होतो. “तुम्हा आज-कालच्या‘ म्हणजे त्यांना थोडक्यात ‘चंगळवादी‘ असं सुचवायचं होतं का? का तेव्हाची आणि आत्ताची आर्थिक दरी दाखवायची होती? का काळानुसार तेव्हाही महागाई होती आणि आता हि आहे किंवा व्यक्ती सापेक्ष घरा-घराची परिस्थिती कशीही असली तरी समाजात वावरताना आर्थिक भान आपल्यालाच ठेवावं लागतं हे सुचवायचं होतं? कि “तो लाख करतो म्हणून आपण हि त्याची री ओढू नये…अंथरूण पाहून हात-पाय पसरावेत” नाहीतर समाधानापेक्षा मनस्तापच जास्त होतो असं सांगायचं होतं? पण या पेक्षाही मनाला भिडलेलं अण्णांचं वाक्य म्हणजे “आहे ते सुख आहे!”


अर्थात मी वाद घालू शकत होतो पण मुडच नव्हता कारण त्यांची अभिमानानं भरलेली छाती आणि गालावरचे थरथरणारे मिशी-कल्ले बघत विचार करण्यातच माझा वेळ गेला होता आणि घर कधी आलं ते कळलंच नाही! पण मला आता कळलं होतं कि माझं डोकं शांत झालंय. मला माझं डोकं का भणभणत होतं त्याचं उत्तर मिळालं होतं आणि उदाहरणही. महिना ८०००/- त अण्णांचा पांडुरंग एवढं करू शकतो तर त्यापेक्षा ३-४ पटीने जास्त पगार + ८०० रुपये असलेला मी का डळमळावं? ठरलं तर उद्यापासून पुन्हा नवी सुरवात, नवी उमेद, नवा जोश आणि नवा संकल्प!

उतरताना नकळत निघून गेलं “चला तात्या येतो…सावकाश जा!”

का निघून गेलं तोंडून ते अजूनही कळलेलं नाही पण मागून मात्र तोच प्रेमळ आवाज “सुखी राहा!”

आम्ही ‘कॅब’वाले…

वेळ साधारण सकाळची ३:३० – ४ ची …किंवा ११:३० – १२ ची …किंवा रात्री ७:३० – ८ चि… मोबाईल कर्कश्य आवाजात किणकिणतो…. पलीकडून, “…, हा … ह्याल्लो … अवधूत सर…. पिकअप आहे?”… इकडून मी…”हा…आहे. किती वाजे पर्यंत कॅब येइ… ” …तो पर्यंत पलीकडच्या धसमुसळ्या ट्रान्सपोर्ट वाल्या कोर्डीनेटरने फोन ठेवलेला (आदळलेला) असतो… शिफ्ट सकाळची (मॉर्निंग) किंवा रात्री ची (नाईट) असेल आणि झोपमोड झाली असेल तर दोन अस्सल मराठमोळ्या शिव्या हासडायच्या आणि सो कॉल्ड ऑफिसला जाण्यासाठी आवर-आवरी करायची. आता तुम्ही अगदी घाईत असता आणि परत पुन्हा फोन वाजतो …”सर, कॅब तुमच्या घराखाली उभी आहे सर.… पाच मिनटात येता का सर… पुढचे पिकअप आहेत सर”…आता झक मारली आणि कॅब शेडूल बुक केलं असं वाटायला लागतं आणि हेच सगळं पुढच्याला लागू होतं.

आता माझ्यासारखा एखादा कॅब मध्ये झोपत नाही… आणि ड्रायवर दादांना न झोपणारा माणूस पुढच्या सीटवर लागतो किंवा आवडतो किंवा चालतो म्हणा हवा तर. तर असा मी आता पुढच्या सीट वर बसतानाच ड्रायवर दादांना नमस्कार-चमत्कार…गुड विष वगैरे म्हणतात ते करतो … आणि सोबत वयोमाना नुसार दादा, तात्या, नाना, काका वगैरे उपाधी पण हाणतो … एखादयाचा रुबाब बघून साहेब हि पटकन निघून जातं तोंडातून …समोरचा सावाळासा कॅब ड्रायवर पण खुश होतो. त्याला पण बरं वाटतं तोही जरा खुलतो. आता खरी गोम होते. त्याला एकतर असं वाटत असतं कि आता आपल्या बाजूला जो बसलाय तो ओफिसमध्ये कुणीतरी मोठ्या पदावर आहे किंवा हा जो आपल्या बाजूला बसलेला पोरगा आहे त्याला आज कॅब मध्ये येणाऱ्या सगळ्या मेम्बेरचे पत्ते माहिती आहेत. नेहमीचे येणारे, शिफ्ट मध्ये असणारे मेम्बर माहित असतात, त्यांचे पत्ते सांगून त्यांना घेऊन मी मोकळा होतो. नसतील माहित तर त्याला आधीच सांगतो, बाबारे पुढचे पिकअप कुणाचे आहेत ते आधी सांग… गाडी लेट नको व्हायला”. मग पुन्हा जरा कोर्डीनेटर शी संपर्क होतो आणि सगळे मेम्बर गाडीत उपस्थित होतात. लॉगशिट भरली जाते आणि बाकीचे मेम्बर कानात हेडफोन लावून गुडूप तरी होतात किंवा तिचं-त्याचं असा जे काही फोनवर चालतं ते गुलुगुलु चालू होतं.

आणि इथून मग आमच्या सारखा विना उद्योगी माणूस काय करणार? एक तर बाहेरची झाडं -पानं -फुलं ट्राफिक बाघणार, दिसलीच तर थोडी डोळ्यांसाठी हिरवळ शोधणार! पण मन बाहेर रमत नाही. मग हळूच आमचा मोर्चा आम्ही आमच्यावर खुश झालेल्या ड्रायवर दादांकडे वळवतो. “काय मग दादा आज पिकअप जरा ५-१० मिनिट लेट झाला नाही का?” (उगाच विषय काढायचा म्हणून काढायचा!)… त्यावर ड्रायवर दादा असं काही आपल्या बाजूला बघतात कि “तुझ्याआयला …आता हितं काय मी BMW चालवतोय का? का रेसिंग खेळतोय? का आता तुझ्यासाठी विमान उडवून आणू या ट्राफिक मधून?” असे त्यांच्या मनात प्रश्न चालू असल्या सारखं वाटतं. पण तरी (बहुदा) मनावर ताबा ठेवून (किंवा बहुतेक तोंडात तोबरा असल्यामुळे उचित वेळ घेऊन किंवा आता ह्यानेच आपल्याला एवढा मान दिलाय तर उलट कशाला बोला म्हणून) “त्याचा काये…. अमुक अमुक चौकात ट्राफिक जॅम झालती ना !” “असं का बरं”… “मं दादा, इथं कुठं राहता तुम्ही?” वगैरे संवाद चालू होतात. आणि मग अश्या थोडयाश्या दुर्लक्षिलेल्या किंबहुना हे आपल्यासाठीच राबवण्यात आलेले मजूर आहेत अशी हेटाळणी करण्यात आलेल्या ड्रायवर दादांशी माझा सुसंवाद साधला जातो. या मनीचे त्या मनी केले जाते…अनुभवले जाते.

जेव्हा पासून पुण्यात आलोय, म्हणजे साधारण ६ वर्षापासून असा अखंड संवाद चालू आहे या ना त्या कॅब ड्रायवरशी (उर्फ ड्रायवर दादांशी). जवळपास १०० च्या वर वेगवेगळ्या लोकांशी, वेगवेगळ्या वयाच्या, अनुभवाच्या लोकांशी, वेगवेगळ्या गुणाच्या स्वभावाच्या लोकांशी संवाद साधायला मिळतो. अनेक चांगले-वाईट , कडू-गोड अनुभव ऐकायला मिळतात. कित्येक तऱ्हेची हि माणसं – कॅब वाले.

हे एक नवीन सदर म्हणून तूमच्यापुढे मांडण्याचा मी आता प्रयत्न करणारे – उदयापासून. फक्त एक लक्षात ठेवायच कि यात मी नावं मात्र बदलली आहेत. त्यांच्या गोष्टी आणि अनुभव मात्र तेच अहेत.

Why, oh Why ???


I have the annoying habit of attending various musical programs in and around my house.

Now you might be wondering why I state it as annoying, so before moving ahead, let me clarify. It is an annoying habit  because most often, I am not invited for these concerts.When People find that out, they tend to throw some frowns my way.

Anyway, during one such concert, I found that a lot of High class ladies (snob is such an overbearing word), were discussing a play they saw “the other day”.

It was quite an interesting conversation, I wish I could write that here, but this write up is not about a few old cronies bickering among themselves.

The conversation  threw a sudden realization in my face; and this realization stank more than the slums adjacent to railway tracks.

The realization : Why do short films/plays ask questions and end the play ?

This does not constitute as a cliffhanger ,does it ?

If the writer feels that this will look like a story worthy of a national award, then it is ridiculous. It is just a question. It does not solve anything, does it ?

I realize, that now I am asking questions. But I am certain I am not a great writer.

However, I feel compelled to provide a solution. and that is :

Give solution to the problems you raise in your plays.

Oh great writers : Everyone who knows anything and comes to watch your plays, is aware of most of the problems in the society. But if you really want to help, give solutions, show people a way it can be done,(if doing it yourself is out of question)….

Hope this does not puncture the national film festival’s influx of “great upcoming writers”

So long,

Shalom, Namaste, Pip Pip..

IT’s escalations

Hello Reader,

I work with a company which provides IT related services to customers all over the world.

We have an operations call with our senior management, once a day, to give updates on the tasks completed during the day or ask any queries about the deliveries for any project. During the call, I observed that one of the teams always ended their update with ” No major escalation during the day”. I often wondered how it was that a team notorious for plenty of escalations end the status update in such a way. Their confidence was worthy of a dog who knows his master is  not looking and he can defecate where ever he wants.

I finally gathered enough courage to ask one the question which had kept bugging me for a ling time.

For the purpose of this story let us say the name of the person is John. Here is how the conversation went :

Me: Hey, may I ask you a question ?

John : Sure man, whatsup ?

Me : How is it that you guys say you have no major escalation ? I know you have some  escalations .

John : Well, after a major escalation, the Manager gives a call to the management and gives a situation report. So technically, there is no major escalation. Also, Most of the time the escalations are minor, no need for the management to know that.

Me : So basically you say “No Major escalation” even though there is one ?

John : Yup.

I did not dare to ask anything further. I did not want an escalation that the management might needed to know , did I ?