Archive for March 2009


My trips to Delhi really provide so much material for my blogs! Here's a new one. I was flying back to Chennai on JetLite last night. And of course, whenever I fly, the powers that be decide to have some fun at my expense. So we were experiencing bad weather and turbulence and the captain had to order everybody, including the crew to return to their seats and belt up. Being a nervous flyer at the best of times, I was not happy. As I sat, gripping the arm rests and praying hard, a new thought struck me - why was it so noisy? Air plane rides are never silent, tranquil experiences I admit. But the sound levels were unnaturally high. My anxiety levels soared.

When the turbulence subsided (momentarily I must add), I asked a passing flight attendant: 'Why is there so much noise?'. He looked surprised. 'What noise?' 'That! Cant you hear it?' I said on a hysterical note. ' Its the sound of the engines ma'am. Dont worry'. I gulped. ' Hope everything is ok?' 'Yes ma'am. Everything is fine'.

A while later, the captain addressed the passengers:'Good evening ladies and gentlemen......this aircraft weighs 79 tonnes and is of the top grade in its line....I believe some guests have expressed concern over the noise levels.....this engine is more powerful than others and that is why it may seem a little noisier....blah blah'....

'Some guests'? That was clearly me! And what did he mean 'more powerful' - didn't they fit engines as per the need of the aircraft? You didn't put round pegs in square holes did you? More powerful my eye! I bet they were trying to hide the fact that they were fighting to prevent the aircraft from plummeting to earth. I was going to die for sure. I started praying again - this time a bit louder - so God could hear me over the roar of the engine.

A short while later, the aircraft made a smooth landing at Chennai airport. As I de-planed, the flight attendant grinned wickedly at me. 'All ok?' he asked. I smiled back sheepishly.

What can I say? If God had meant for humans to fly, He would have given us wings!

Posted in , | 3 Comments

Helping Hands

This morning, I observed an act of kindness on my drive to work. I was driving past the T.Nagar bus stand - a place of nasty traffic snarls. My only aim in this leg of journey is to move through traffic, without hitting people or being hit. In my endeavour to accomplish this goal for the umpteenth time, I saw a sweet and tender sight.

A middle aged guy, about 50 was helping a young school boy, about 10, to cross the road. He had his arm around his young charge and was carefully negotiating the morning traffic. An ordinary enough sight you might say? I didn't think so.

Sadly, I have rarely seen people stop to lend a helping hand to someone in need - and for something as simple as helping a child cross the road. But more significantly, this middle aged man was a traffic constable. These are the least helpful people I have come across. Apart from dotting the roads at infrequent intervals and scowling at moving traffic, I have rarely seen these guys stretch themselves to help citizens-despite having a mandate to do so. And here was one helping the most vulnerable of citizens, a child.

In this age, of police inaction in some of the most brutally violent situations, of people's indifference to the suffering of others, this was one of those 'feel good' sights. Did my heart good to see this. I drove the rest of the distance to work humming 'kisi ki muskurahaton pe ho nisar' and a vague resolve to try and do a good deed that day. Which is to spread the message of this unknown cop's good deed. May his tribe increase.

Posted in , | 1 Comment

Storming the last male bastion

It is only befitting that I should enter this blog post today, the 8th of March. Sisters, I have stormed the last male bastion! Indeed, I have crossed the threshold of the gents toilet. It happened entirely by accident. Like Newton sitting under the apple tree, like whats-his-name putting the whatchamacallit in a dish and forgetting all about it and ending up discovering penicillin. Nothing premeditated about it. Just destiny - pure, wonderful and path breaking.

I was at Delhi airport, awaiting departure call. A colleague was on the phone and I was engrossed in a serious discussion. Soon my flight was announced. Hurriedly, I rang off and made towards the toilet as was my usual practice before boarding a flight. Absently, I noted the sign saying 'Toilets -->' There were two doors with indications above them. The door on the right noted ' Gents'. So I turned towards the door on the left and walked briskly in.

There were three people inside. A sardar leaning over the wash basin, a long haired man combing his hair out and another who by this time had blurred in my vision. Registering this sight, I uttered a horrified gasp - matched only by three similar gasps from the three male occupants of the lavatory. Without further ado, I turned on my heel and marched out, taking time to see that the sign above the door on the left also said 'Gents toilet'.

I finally located what I was looking for after carefully double checking that it was indeed the ladies toilet. A few minutes later, as I was heading back towards the gate, I pondered over the incident. I wondered if there was a diaspora of women who have the unique distinction of having seen the interior of a gents toilet? How could I reach out to them?

That brings me back full circle - a blog post on Women's Day, celebrating the storming of this last male bastion!

Posted in | 5 Comments

Garbage Bin Woes

I demand to know who in the Chennai Corporation's Solid Waste Management Department is in charge of transportation of garbage from the streets to the dumping ground. I wish to acquaint him/her about my real feelings on their fantastic sense of timing.

On a regular work day, I drive to work on my two wheeler, and usually leave home around 8.30am. The first leg of my journey is on Mount Road, an important arterial road. Despite the traffic - which at that time is medium heavy -I generally enjoy the drive It is 'my time' - when I think cheerful thoughts and even sing on the drive to work.

So there I was the other day, freshly scrubbed from my morning bath, powdered and perfumed, driving along singing 'mein chali mein chali', when I was assailed by the most godawful stench. I was reminded of my high school chemistry lab - where a particular chemical reaction emitted the smell of 'rotten eggs'. Looking around, I saw the yellow Corporation garbage disposal van drive past, with bits and pieces of organic waste dropping off and flying in its wake. My breakfast threatened to come back up.

The following day, the same odour hit my nostrils at precisely the same spot. And yet again the next day.

What is it with the Corporation guys? Agreed the city's bowels spew 3200 MT of solid waste everyday and it needs to be moved to the dumping ground asap. But why choose peak office hours to transport garbage? Are they trying to kill citizens with the stench? Apparently their collective brains reside in their nether regions.

I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to inform the Corporation guys on the whereabouts of their grey matter. And perhaps help them locate it. Hope readers will help in the cause.

Posted in , , | 4 Comments