Saturday, February 21, 2015

When your pizza is delivered to a wrong address...

It was exactly like living a scene straight from the movie "Lunchbox". The only difference is that instead of the Mumbai dabbawala, it was the pizza delivery guy who was at the center of this drama in real life.

After a tiring Friday at work, none of us had the energy to cook a meal. So it was pizza for dinner.The delivery was unusally prompt after placing the order...but not to the person  who ordered it.

We get a call from the security at the main gate "madam, pizza delivery has come..." "Ok, send him in," was my reply.

It normally takes about 5 minutes for the guy to reach our apartment block. Hunger makes the wait seem longer:) But, it was almost 20 minutes and there was no sign of the delivery person. We were wondering...was it the confusion with the block names and numbers, since all the blocks have the same flat number.

We were wondering what went wrong or how could he lose his way in finding our block.
The goes a call to the security from our intercom line "what happened to the pizza guy who was supposed to deliver..." "He's gone back after the delivery, madam", prompt came his reply from the security.

"What?, how could he deliver it somewhere else without coming to the right address?" This was really incredible, how could someone take delivery of something when they haven't ordered it. We tried to find out who is character could someone be as blatant as Saajan/Irfan Khan in "Lunchbox", devouring someone else's food without even placing an order for it! We were imagining how they must relishing that hot and steamy Veg Extravagana and the garlic bread. But, fun apart, it was time to take Dominos to task, for it was almost an hour of the entire ordeal.

Then, we called the Dominos guys to find out what really happened. We came to know that the pizza was delivered in one of the flats. We tried to track the address from the security. 

The Dominos guys too found it weird and questioned the delivery boy who was actually responsible for this comedy or errors. They did not want us to cancel the order , but re-sent the delivery, this time with a different delivery boy!

Next time Dominos asks you " Hungry kya..." please think twice before you place the order, or at least confirm that the delivery guy can ensure that it goes to the right person.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

When Spring comes can Summer be far behind?

My city is fast warming up
With early signs of summer
As the days get longer
Mercury soars faster

This evening has been pleasant
And, an unusual one at that

The last bits of Spring
Got the trees and plants swaying
Gently in the cool breeze
The skies seem clear of dust
Unfolding a starry panorama.

I stare at the skies
I gaze at the stars
Some shining bright
Others little light
Little ones twinkling
As if someone's blinking
Or with mischief, winking
Wondering what I was thinking.

My thoughts went far and wide
Felt I wish I could confide
As a child would never hide
Innocence and happiness, at the same time
While seeking the lost ones in shining stars
And finding the one you loved most in the brightest star!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Reclaiming the reading habit - a successful try out

Remember the famous quote from Francis Bacon: “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”

Blame it on the Internet, Google, Social Media, the general waning of reading culture, so on and so forth - reading for pleasure, enrichment and enlightenment, at least for me, was becoming a difficult task. I simply couldn't imagine getting back those days when I could pick up a book and finish reading it in one go! It was more fun to share the reading experience with friends and there were fewer distractions that affected our attention span and patience required for reading.

Professional reading and self-help kind of stuff was fine. Though this kind of serious reading was mostly online and on my mobile phone, in various 'e' forms - PDFs, ebooks, websites and all. And in most instances such reading was fragmentary, disconnected and purely functional. It rarely kindled my imagination.

I tried out something different to reclaim my reading.

The idea was to read at least 5 to 10 pages everyday from a book that inspires or helps me think creatively or imaginatively.

At first instance, I picked up the easiest ones and made it a point to read whenever I could - early in the morning, soon after office or just before going to bed. After a week, I could see that my reader's block started clearing out. It made me feel good and I didn't realize that I able to complete many more pages in one go. The joy doubled when I could take out my collection of CBT books and quickly recollect those lovely stories – mythology, Indian history and folk tales.

Then came English classics and some eternal favorites like Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince and Animal Farm. And, believe me, reading them all over again was like a tonic that sparked off divergent lines of thought. This was the need of the hour for me as I decided to hone my writing skills, for reading serves as the base to preparing to write.

As a follow up and to ensure that I continue to remember what I read:
  • ·         I quickly make a note of some interesting points and snippets.
  • ·         I go to the Web and read more that complements the book.
  • ·         I share some ideas with my friends and colleagues.
  • ·         I pick up some ideas and explore their relevance today.
  • ·         From biographies, I try to pick up at least three things I could emulate.

In an age when there are so many distractions, reading competes with other interests that are easy and effortless to pursue. But, nothing can beat the earthy smell of old books or the freshly printed new books for that refreshing break from the routine. Aren’t they like our best friends who we can always depend upon – come what may!

Friday, February 06, 2015

Confessions of a vicarious dog lover

"Dogs are humans in the form of animals", emphatically stated my twelve-year old niece Shreya, in sheer frustration, trying to convince me about how beautiful it is to have them as pets and share our space with them. It was difficult for me tell her, "hey, look, I don't hate dogs, but..." Nevertheless, her profound statement made me confess some things about my 'distant' relationship with these cute and cuddly canines, how much I care and love them and feel for them - vicariously though:)

Meet Snoopy, the cute little Beagle, Shreya had, couple of years ago. One of his hobbies was to bite my footwear; he always kept me at a distance, for obvious reasons - we could never bond:(  Though I could never touch him or feed him, I liked his innocent and heart-melting looks. Snoopy was given away to another dog-loving family since bringing him up in a flat was getting difficult he as was growing up. I still remember the day when Shreya and Snoopy was one of the saddest moments. The good thing is that, we get Snoopy's updates and pictures and it feels great to know he's grown into a handsome adult.  I feel proud of him!

Aslan is an adorable little Pekingese gentleman and what he means to Ankita is simply difficult to put in words. The glint in her eyes at the mention of Aslan is enough to show the magic this furry friend has created in her life. And, often our conversation centres around the adventures of Aslan, his antics and pictures. So what if I can't hold him or allow him come close to me; when he falls sick, I am genuinely concerned...doesn’t it qualify me as a dog lover

Ginger is a cute Labrador Retriever, an important member of Mathew's family. I love to read his Facebook updates and wait for interesting pictures as Ginger adds spice to ordinary events and strikes a pose in such heart-warming ways. Particularly, his expressive pictures can move even the worst pet-hater, whipping up oodles of love.  It’s almost as if one can start a conversation if dogs had a language that humans could learn. At the same time, it amazing how we communicate with them, understanding the barks and the body language.

I know dogs are the best friends that a human can ever have – most loving and faithful. But, somehow my love for dogs has always been vicarious. Is it the fear? Yes, I'm scared when I see them yelping or coming close to me – the bark, the bite, the touch - and I still remember how I screamed my life out when Snoopy was thrust upon me and placed on my lap! Perhaps it's got to do with a childhood incident when I was chased by a street dog and I ran and fell down and hurt myself badly.  But then, there’s something weird ...I really love dogs and I can’t show it!  I’m sure there are others like me who belong to my clan of dog lovers - taking pictures, writing, reading and listening to stories.

Now, coming to the other side of the story, recently, when this picture appeared in the newspaper, I was in complete awe of this sniffer dog at the passing out parade. It was overwhelming to read and know more about how dogs work hard for our safety and security supporting the police and the army.
At the same time, look at the hypocritical way we treat them. While we sing praises of dog's faithfulness and loyalty, in the same breath, we also use them to swear and abuse. Just look back and think how often people refer to dogs for cussing like ‘living a dog’s life or dying a dog’s death',‘wagging a tail like a dog’, or worst things. And this is true of many languages, not just some dialogues in Bollywood movies. I failed to dig deeper to understand how such a friendly animal got associated with the worst conditions. Apparently, it’s evolved with times when street dogs were uncared for, surviving in most pathetic conditions, which is true even today. Whatever be the history of such usage, stray dogs deserve better treatment and a dignified life.
Certainly, most dogs can't be like Beast Zuckerberg! However, luckily, a majority of them enjoy being members of different families in different cultures and countries – filling that much needed gap of unconditional love that humans aren’t always capable of giving and sharing. And, of course, bringing a smile to those stressed-out souls who love them vicariously!