January 25, 2010

Paper Weight

There isn't a whole lot of recycling going on in India. But the one thing I knew was that old newspapers were not thrown in the bin. They were given to the "pazhaiya paper kaaran". No idea beyond that. My newspaper cabinet was threatening to burst so I found one such paper kaaran and decided to pay him a visit with a boot full of old papers.

Upon enquiry I was told that the rate per kg for newspapers and magazines/books was Rupees 6 and Rupees 4 respectively. And he had these old rusty metal scales with 2 5kg weights and 1 1kg weight around him. Very excitedly, I watched as he heaved the magazines onto the scales first...two 5 kg weights on one side and a 1kg above the mags....9 kgs times 4...Rupees 36. Then he put the papers on one side and the 2 5 kg weights on the other side but they didn't balance out. Instead of pulling some papers out and re-weighing them he just looked around, picked up a fairly large stone and put it next to the 10 kgs. Clearly he could see that I was puzzled. Nonchalantly he said "Yeh to Paanch kilo hai"!

Bye bye digitization, we're back in the stone age! Yeah, pun intended.

January 21, 2010

The case of the missing Crocs

Once upon a time, about two years ago actually, a pair of Crocs made its way into a home. The wearer wore it all the time even though Fuschia didn't match many outfits. But, fashionably unconscious as she was, she didn't care. She loved it that much. The crocs went everywhere with her...on the train, in a plane, by car and by foot. Through rain storms, muck, sand and cement. Always left in the same spot by the doorstep, the Crocs went missing one day. The house was turned upside down in an effort to find it. The usual suspects, both around and under 3 feet in height were thoroughly questioned but to no avail. She had most unpleasant thoughts about what might have happened to them especially about who might have taken them.

After a restless night, she decided to put the word out in the building about the missing Crocs. The first person to be told itself knew of its whereabouts! It was located by the main gate, the entrance to the building! Did she mistake the main gate to be her doorstep? How else did it end up there? Ah! The paper boy!! He came to collect the bill but left with the Crocs instead. And the next day walked up barefoot leaving the Crocs by the gate. Amateur.

Now the very clean Fuschia (it has been scrubbed silly) is back where it belongs. Inside the house and not by the doorstep. It takes too long to get a shoe to age gracefully. She will sleep in peace tonight.

****All characters and objects in this story are fictional. Resemblance to any individual or object dead or alive is purely coincidental.****

January 19, 2010


It's the same in all languages. "Change irukaa?" in Tamil, "Change undha or change hai?" in Telugu and Hindi or just "Change?" universally. What is it with stores and not wanting to part with change ever?? Is there a shortage of smaller denomination bills or coins? If my bill were Rs. 174 and I handed out a Rs. 1000 note I can understand the question...maybe. But not for a Rs. 500 note. Come on! And sometimes, even if you hand out a Rs. 200 note, you'll be asked next if you have Rs. 4... so that they can give you an even tenner instead of Rs. 6 in coins!

Coin obsession at its best. Irritating.

January 14, 2010

The attack of the super fast palms

8/8. Swish. Nothing but net. 8 in a row. That was my count last night. A personal best. Never have I hit that many consecutively. No, not on the basketball court but in my bathroom! My hands were the basketball and the mosquitoes were the net. No electric racquet needed, mind you. It certainly helped that the mosquitoes were the size of bees thanks to a fat-rich bloody diet (mine, undoubtedly)! I would have made 10/10 but the last 2 escaped from within my fingers...in and out. Lucky pests. But I should note that it was not an easy accomplishment. Mosquitoes are a lot smarter than they look and their smarts increase if their diet consists of smart blood too (ahem)!

So the next time you make fun of someone for doing nothing but swatting flies, just remember that its as difficult a job as anything else!