Wednesday, March 29, 2006

For a few pennies less..

A scene with a vegetable vendor outside one’s house:

That lady with her basket, recounting her already complete shopping list: “So, how much for that half kg of cabbage, one kg of potatoes, one kg of tomatoes and blah blah..”

The already tired vendor awaiting what’s coming his way: “54 rupees amma..”
Lady meditating for a while, “Hmmm…round it up and keep it as 50 rupees..”
The Vendor : “No Amma, this won’t work out..”
Lady, kind of heating up: “What it won’t work out? In the market, it’s so much cheaper..”
In the meantime, Hubby Sir thrusts a 50 rupee note in the vendor’s hands and demands that ‘some little’ coriander leaves and curry patha be dropped into the bag. Free of cost, of course.
The vendor sighs deeply and the couple walk away mumbling about the supposed ‘unreasonableness’ of the vegetable fellow!

Well, that’s how it is and I wonder why it ought to be this way! Why is it that, almost always, we land up crying our throats hoarse over a rupee or two, as if there was an undeniable edict to take the chance and do so every time? This so surprises me; what’s with a vegetable vendor or a flower vendor or any roadside vendor’s face that immediately sends alert signals to the brain and gears it up for further action? Does the jingle of couple of pennies more, bestow such an extraordinary sense of delight to the greedy ears?

Ask that Mr.Hubby, when he walks into a well established showroom to pick up the latest DVD player, if he would bargain for a couple of hundreds less than the “MRP”. Nay, aren’t we the class that shuts up our mouths in an environment that is ordained to see only decent behaviour of the species that walks into it? Forget that, would he even think twice before paying that price as much as he would to pay for a kilo of tomatoes? Our dear lady wouldn’t be any exception. She goes awfully (or awesomely??) silent when inside a silk sari shop with the most exquisite range in terms of saris and price, of course!

It’s a funny game you know. Vendors who are lucky enough to become shopkeepers because they have a modest looking 400 X 400 floor area with four walls and a roof on top, ensure they nail a “Fixed price, no bargain” at a very visible point in the shop. But some of our shoppers are smart enough, that they become selectively blind to ignore such, what they consider hapless moves. They land up bargaining there, getting all worked up, despite a board, screaming in bold white, against a red – “Fixed Price, no bargain”!

Vendors who know not what to do, hike up the price so that it comes down to the actual price after bargaining and some of them openly admit that the rate you ask is the cost price of the thing you want to buy. And we are cool liars, aren’t we? We argue and hold that we have checked out the same stuff in other shops and it’s way cheaper there and we would rather buy it there. Then one employs the next weapon – the act of walking away. We are masters at throwing frosty nosed stares at those chaps and if you are lucky the vendor shouts after you to come back and tries his best for a ten buck profit till the last minute. We meanwhile, stubbornly shake our heads in a most decisive ‘no’ and the packet does land reluctantly in your hands! Be glad with that sense of achievement and party for that wonderful feeling!

Only if your expectations turn the other way round and the vendor politely asks you to get lost citing your unreasonable demand as a reason! You walk away fretting and fuming and cursing the man, achievement and failure all compounding one’s already skewed, out –of-proportion ego! If by any chance, desire wins over ego, we do walk back to claim our dream thingy, at the price he proposes! Oh, why at all?

Yeah, yeah, all that argument about quality, long lasting stuff and brand name and all those Uncle Sam terms are all fine! May be then, you don’t go to those folks down in the streets and haggle with them over a couple of bucks. Well, this isn’t big money anyways. Leaving all logical reasoning aside, it’s more of a humane concern to help them lead their lives. Those guys let you bargain, unlike shops, because they hardly have a choice. After all, they are men who fight for a hand to mouth existence.

So, what do I propose? (Ah well, I almost feel like standing in front of a distinguished scientific fraternity to present a crucial finding that occurred halfway through one’s sleep! :D) I merely say, let’s apply some discretion and employ those grey cells to do a little bit of sensible thinking before we open our mouths to start an (indecent?) proposal! The problem is, we take a chance, toss the coin quite needlessly, most of the time!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


பள்ளி அதனில் முதல் நாளில்,
மெல்லச் சிரித்து, கை குலுக்கி,
என்னைப் போல் ஒருவளாய்
அன்று கண்ட அவளோடு..

வட்டப் பொட்டிட்டு, சடை பின்னி,
பூச்சூடி, வண்ணப் பட்டணிந்து,
செல்லச் சிட்டுக்களாய் வானத்தை
எட்டிப் பிடித்து..

தோள் சாய்ந்து, மனம் திறந்து,
சொல்லால், செயலால் துணை இருந்து,
வார்த்தயிலும் மௌனத்திலும்
நட்பதனை உணர்ந்து..

ஆடிப் பாடி, விளையாடி,
கை கோர்த்து நடந்து, முத்தமிட்டு,
முத்தாய் சிரித்து, சிறு பூவாய் மலர்ந்து,
பூரித்து இருக்கயில் ஒரு நாள்..

மனம் குமுற, கண்ணீர் பெறுக,
முதல் முறையாய் தனிமை அதனை
உணர்ந்து நின்றேன், என்
உயிர் சினேகிதி அவளது மரணத்தில்..

[Thanks Rajesh, for putting up with my nagging and helping me out with the tamil fonts! :)..'Tanglish' version of this post in comments..]

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Papery woes

While I am cast away, with scorn, contempt and anger, crushed with all the force of a deeply pained heart for the fear of pure confession coming to light, I catch a glimpse of the sorrow that shrouds her moon like face like a cloud.

Carrying all those bluish blots pressed onto me by that fine, golden nib, I lie here wondering about the irony that wraps my life – impermanence, the transition from usefulness to uselessness in a fleeting second..

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cuddly, cuddly, all mine! :)

There are some charming people who belong to the small world of mine. Soft and cute and definitely adorable, they are more than dolls to me. I thought I should introduce them to you. Shall we begin?

Let’s meet the big bro first! Big man Bozzo, Bozzo the Bear! Bozzo is the oldest of the lot and supposedly, the most mature and sober of them all! And that shows up most vividly in his large, chubby face! This chap loves, ‘simply loves’ food and Ahem, I assume that is quite obvious! Bozzo has always remained the man of few words, and is often feared (and disliked by one particular person, whom I shall name later) for that particularly ‘smug’ expression on his face. Once, this fellow caught sight of a woman who got her hair dyed pink, and pink being his favourite colour, was desperate to have his ears coloured as well! His friends tried hard to convince him, but since our dear Bozzo had his mind set, got one of his ears dyed pink and added a dash of blue as well, to look Yo!

Next in line is the absolutely feline, feminine, beauty queen. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to please put your hands together to welcome the gorgeous damsel, the sweet pussy cat, Pooshy! Pooshy is definitely not someone whom you can take your eyes off easily. She will hold you with her smart gaze and of course with that erect and professional pose of hers, she may very well be the perfect model for all your cameras! Having said that, I ought to tell you what Pooshy treasures most. Well, yes, it is her bushy, bushy tail that she prides herself for and as expected, quite a lot of effort goes into maintaining her prized asset. Ah, I suppose you can all see the tail, can’t you? She actually wouldn’t let me go without ensuring that it appeared in her solo picture!

And then I would love to introduce this pretty faced, sweetie, cutie pie of mine, the child with the golden curls, Pinky! Pinky is the most obedient child you could get and she sweetly agreed to sit next to my telephone, to take care of calls whenever I am not around. Pinky’s golden curls are, to put it most simply, neighbours’ envy and owners’ pride! I got her home, falling for that innocent smile of hers and of course for those curls! She insisted that she wanted to display her curls for the picture and here they are! She and Pooshy are thick friends and Pooshy’s pink ribbon was Pinky’s gift for Pooshy’s birthday!

Ah, what moment is more perfect than this, to introduce the Mr.Romeo of this gang? Adonis, rightly named thus, is the Yo! Man with the guitar. Actually a ted, Adonis gets more than a teeny-weeny bit upset, because he is often mistaken for a lion cub! This chap is one hell of a smart bugger, for he starts plucking the strings, the moment a specimen of the better sex is in sight! Pat him on his head, and he shakes it as if in trance, and strums his guitar to sing the song, “Come on baby, let’s do the trick!” (Uh, really??) And didn’t I tell you, there is someone who isn’t too fond of Bozzo? It’s no one else but Adonis, for he often finds female teds attracted to Bozzo for his serious nature! Of late I suspect, Adonis has set his eyes on Pinky and starts his “Come on baby..” the moment she appears. He is however a little wary of Pooshy, and calls her the ‘no-nonsense’ babe and no wonder I see Pooshy around, whenever Pinky enters Adonis’ room! :P

Last but definitely not the least, let’s say hi to Jojo, the Jumbo! Jojo, is so, so innocent and naïve, I can’t tell you, that he often is made the baby of the gang. Jojo has great trouble with his nose that half the time he struggles to balance the rest of his body against his nose! Bozzo is particularly very concerned about Jojo that he keeps dropping a word or two of advice to the most sincere listener he could get! Pinky loves Jojo’s tennis ball tail and keeps playing with it affectionately, much to Jojo’s dismay! Shy that he is, compliments make his ears go pink! (literally!) I have often seen Pooshy comparing her creamy fur with Jojo’s pure white and sighing deeply, “Baah, Jojo! You are the first jumbo that I have seen with such lovely white coat. You are soooo cute!” and Jojo actually hides his eyes beneath his fur! :)

And finally, I tried hard and successfully brought them all together for one common snap.

Trust me, this picture is worth a million dollars! :)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

unnai kandein

unnai kandein, kaadhal koNdein
eNNangaLai sidhaRa vittein, kadaisiyil
naaney sidhaRipponein..

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Getting back..

Oh, how much I longed to return to them! Reachable, yet beyond reach, those alphabets brushed aside like dilapidated furniture in the attic – the delectable A to Z; arrange, rearrange, fit, refit, phrase, rephrase, indulge, celebrate, suffer..

The wind brings along with it, that soft rustle of paper and fond memories of people in waiting - Scribbling pad, frantically crushed papers, vague, erratic, never straight pencil margins down the left, shaky arrows cutting across; the inevitable, word master, the Oxford Dictionary – It’s back to the terrific game of finding THE right word, back to watch those mysterious words wave their magic wands creating patterns of infinite possibilities.

Yeah, I am back and needless to say, it feels so wonderful to be back!!