May 22, 2011

More on House hunting...

"You say the station's just a 10 min walk?
Am just amazed at the way you guys talk!
I mean, the distance would be at least 3 miles"
He just stands there, with one of his fake smiles
and says "yes sir, 3 miles but wonly 10 minute walk!"

And the bloody building doesn't have a gate
so, what security do we have here mate?
"Sirji, he says, "I agree the place is a bit dark
but you see these stray dogs, they all bark!
which thief would want to tempt such rabid fate?"

And the approach is so bumpy and rough
It will need those Ceat tyres "born tough"
"Sir, the road contractor has already been paid"
but they have as much chance as I do of getting laid
please don't give me more bullshit, I've had enough!

And now I see why you pronounce it Hole
this is not a hall, it is indeed a tiny pigeon hole
And the thing that you call a 'master bedroom'
One bed + wardrobe and there's no more room
the small size of this place really saddens my soul!

The moment we say area, you enter 'cheat code'
And shamelessly say "sirji, only 40% load"
You had built-up, and now you've super built-up
I see carpet area, not something you've made up
which are as fictitious as the soon-to-be made road!

I am surprised that you call this place a house
Damn it, this thing is not even fit for a mouse
"Sirji, with your laughable middle class budget
you will only get a house sized for a midget
blame it on demand-supply, if you have a grouse!

plus you want to pay in all-cheque and not cash
and you have the temerity to act so damn brash?
you want to buy a house with 80% bank loan
while we have people lining up to pay on their own
in this city, cash is king, and the rest is just trash...

PS1: I know, I am going overboard with this house hunting sob story theme. But then, if your weekends are filled with the same routine, you don't have much else to write about.

PS2: I still prefer the house hunt to the bride hunt though. At least, the house doesn't have the option of saying no, right!

May 11, 2011

Of Friend's Weddings, Beach Holidays and Other Stuff...

The story of my trip to Kerala. Or rather, to a single beach in Kerala. Not a travelogue. Not a guide on what to do there, what to see, where to eat, what to buy. I am too lazy to do all that. But not lazy enough to not put down a long post on the trip. If only to remind myself that I need to get out of Bombay more often than I do.

So, here goes...
It all started when a friend, who has grown a few inches purely from the amount of leg-pulling we have done to him, announced that he is getting married. Now, in spite of my personal opinion that getting married is a bit masochistic (I don't mean it in the literal sense of too much pain for some sex... or maybe I do!), 4 of us decided to combine the wedding presence (no presents, blessings only) with a short holiday. 

Day I
So, we take a flight to Trivandrum which thankfully took off on time and landed only 1/2 hour late. The extra time was well utilized by yours truly to read the tarot card reading on the in-flight magazine which predicted very accurately that I would be travelling on holiday during the month. I still wonder how they got that one correct! Anyways, it also said that my love life is going to pick up, but then one out of two predictions is not too bad. 

We were picked up by Ambi, the go-to man of the resort we were staying at, in an Amby (yeah, yeah, I know I already cracked that non-joke on twitter, but then not all of you follow me on twitter. End of strategic self-promotion). We reached our resort on NelliKunnu beach by 2.00 pm. (The resort, by the way, is right on the beach. Which might give Jairam Ramesh some CRZy nightmares, but for us, it was a dream!)

Of course, we did pick up a dozen bottles of beer and some vodka on the way. After all, you never know how safe the water is in these parts, and one can never be too careful. Best to drink something distilled. An awesome lunch of rice + fish curry, accompanied by some chilled beer fruit punch, induced the kind of stupor that is best enjoyed by placing oneself on the hammock strung between the coconut trees.

The stupor wore off by evening (maybe the fruit punch didn’t have the requisite punch), and though the water wasn’t too inviting (the sea was a bit rough, the waves were huge and the sand was a bit too gravelly), I firmly believe that going to a beach and not getting into the water is an act of sin which should be punishable by drowning. Unless it is a Bombay beach in which case people who do step into the dirty water deserve to drown.

A perfect sunset rounded off a perfect day, but then we are young people and our ‘day’ starts only after sunset. So, we decided to let our hair down (ok, people who are pointing at the near bald head and laughing, shut up!), and finished the day with some vodka and fish curry + rice + fish fry. And kappa, which may sound greek to you, but is just good old tapioca.

Day II
I woke up early (at 6.30 am!) to take a nice little walk on the beach while the others slept off their hangover. After an hour of loitering around, where I was the only guy at the beach at that time (not counting the stray dog that kept following me as if this was the Himalayas and I was Yudhishthira), all I remember is coming back and lying on the hammock at 7.30... only to be woken up by friends for breakfast at 9.30. Went back to the hammock, sat on it, and the damn thing snapped. Maybe the ropes were weak, maybe it was the extra-heavy breakfast, but we are polite and do not laugh at fat people. Especially if the fat people happen to be us. The whole day was spent lazing on the sun-deck, with a old Jeffrey Archer short stories book (Twist in the Tale) which I was reading for the n-th time. The sun shining through the coconut trees, nice breeze, a full stomach, a beer bottle and a good book – this is what heaven should look like, I guess.

Went into the water again in the evening, and got sand in all kinds of places (I mean, my ears) and watched one more nice perfect sunset. The friends wanted to watch ManU-Chelsea so we scouted around for a TV (since our resort didn't have one) and after walking up and down Kovalam beach without any luck, decided to go to the Taj Vivanta’s bar and watched the match in nice comfort. 

I have a theory: all my trips have to be blessed by Murphy at least once. But, I’ll spare you (and myself, when I read this some months later) the details of how Air India made us pull whatever little hair we have left out with their “now we fly, now we don’t, now we do” routine on the return journey.

And thus close with how we returned home with sunburn, a hangover, some badly clicked photographs, ½ kg banana chips and some good memories...
PS: Some of you, especially the ones who are polite enough to call me a friend, would be bombarded with the above badly clicked photographs in your mail shortly. For the others, I hope the (nearly) thousand words I have written paint a good enough picture. Stop reading and go take a holiday already!

May 1, 2011

How much space does one require anyway?

How much space does one require anyway? At the end of it all, we don't even need the 6 foot length, since we are to be turned to ashes anyway, ashes which in turn are dissolved in water.

Why is it that the more well-off we become, the more space we try to create for ourselves? Come to think of it, this phenomenon can be observed in everything people do: houses with larger bedrooms which can house king-size beds and bathrooms where we can stretch our arms fully, larger cars so that we don't sit hip-to-hip, first class section in flights so that we don't have to even share the arm-rest... In fact, the entire quest for material success can be summarized as the endeavour to put more space between us and other people. So much for all that bull-shit about getting 'closer' to each other.

Is this need restricted to physical space? Or do we also, subconsciously, distance ourselves emotionally as we climb the ladder of material success? Do we build forts around our minds to protect our vulnerability from other people? Is that why the richer we get, our full-throated laughter becomes a silent chuckle and a polite smile, loud exclamations of congratulations become muted pats-on-the-back, and we classify everything from music to clothes to people as 'too loud' for our liking? Does the combination of putting more distance between ourselves and toning down our 'volume' ensure that other people do not ever fully know who we are and what we think?

So, what is the purpose of life? Is it to create as much space for ourselves as possible, even at the cost of running around all day and dying out of exhaustion like that man in the Tolstoy tale? What do they mean when they say "live life to the fullest"? How can the same wise men advise us to 'explore our full potential' and 'be content with what you have'? Is happiness then as mythical as 'work-life balance', a term which is good to quote and impossible to practice?

Nothing like a house hunt in Bombay to make one turn philosophical. Maybe if I keep at this long enough, I'll reach a stage where I can renounce everything and head to the Himalayas, thereby rendering the whole house hunting exercise redundant?