Friday, October 13, 2006

"UnderScore" (OR) "One More Big Day In My Life"

I will tell you why I chose “UnderScore” for this piece of writing later. Right now, I am very excited to write about a certain day in my life, which might perhaps a couple of years ago was every thing I wanted. I have this habit of being modest, so as usual I do not want to admit that it indeed was an exciting day.

Well, this is the 11th day of October in the year 2006. So what’s so special about this day, huh? There are many things: it is the 64th Birthday of Indian Cinema’s Superstar, my favorite actor Amitabh Bacchan. It is the day the company I work declared its Q2 results and reported huge profits. And above all, today is the day an avenue opened for me to provide a possible journey to the land of liberty and a land that was oft quoted as the New Land of Opportunity. Yes, it is the day I got my Visa approved to travel to the Uncle Sam.

Three years ago, I had a similat opportunity which I missed by being so unprepared and doing all the wrong things. My F-1 was rejected on the reason that I could not afford my University fee. Well, then lets check out how things went this time.

October 11, 2006, Chennai: I woke up at 5.30 am perhaps after what seems to be a decade since I last saw the early morn. Shaking of the lethargy from my anatomy and the cobwebs from my eyes, I had a quick shower. When the leather strapped fancy Fossil wrist watch of mine was shouting out the time as 6:00 am, I called the cab guy Mutthu Kumar who picked me up from the Kamaraj airport yesterday evening. It was a funny episode in itself the way it went yesterday.

My flight, Kingfisher IT 2473 was running late by about half hour. I really got bored waiting to board the flight. Finally after getting into the flight, I was not disappointed as was my impression, the air hostesses were pretty and good looking. Since it was a small flight the crew had just two of them. I opened the leaflet to watch out for the vegetarian menu: Paneer Tikka, Rumali Mixed Rolls, Hara Bhara Kabab and Gulab Jamun. Sounded yummy. When it arrived it tasted yummy too. Well then, here I am at the Chennai airport at about 09:00 pm. When I came out to look, there were about 50 cardboard signs. Some of them included those of a company I earlier had a small brawl and stiff with. I wanted to get out of there asap. My fellow was behind these masses of men all dressed in white safaris, holding a paper on which was printed my name. I signaled him that I am Siddartha Pamulaparty he was waiting for. He asked me to wait on the right side so he could bring the car from the parking lot. I was fancying if the car would be an Indica or at least an old 800 CC. However it was a royal Ambassador. I got into the cab and started trying to communicate to him where he needed to drop me: Egmore. I forgot to note the address of the Hotel in which my accommodation was booked. I called up a friend to get the address: it was Hotel Vestin Park, 39, Montieth Road, Egmore. I passed on the address to the chauffer, and he called up his friend to find the exact location of the same. Finally I reached the Hotel and checked in. I was given a two bed cozy room. After some paper work and TV watching I rested for the day, of course after a “curd rice” for dinner.

Well that was pretty much the yesterday. Presently my cab had arrived. Mutthu Kumar dropped me at the bus stop a little short of the Consul Office. I asked him to come back to the Hotel in the evening to drop me back at the Kamaraj Airport for my return flight. He surprisingly wished me luck before leaving. I wanted to start counting how many of my friends had really wished me for this. I was happy that the count covered almost everyone but a few, leaving me a little disappointed. I then went on to join the queue at the Oxford Publishing Press. My friend (since graduation) Satish came to give the documents I missed to print and then left for the present.

After the usual procedure for about an hour and a half, I finally went to the Consul Officer. I have been observing the officer for some time while on wait in the queue. The officer was a male White Caucasian of about 35 years. There was a patch of bald on his head. He had a hefty personality with broad shoulders and thick fingers. I had a feeling his name would have to be “Andy”. I got almost tempted to ask, but managed to refrain from being inappropriate. Okay here goes the one-minute interview:

I produced my BEP file and he threw back on my face all the documents except my passport, and the application form.

Andy: “Please swipe your left index finger”
I did.
Andy: “Your right please”.
I did and removed it from the scanner. Asked him was it okay. He asked me to do it once again.
Andy: “Alright, who is the client you’ll be working for?”
I: “USB Investment Bank”
Andy repeated: “USB Investment Bank”
I: “….sorry UBS Investment Bank”. I thought I had sinned again.
Andy, not bothered about the mistake: “Single or Married?”
I: ‘Single’
Andy, the man, typed into the system and discovered that I had applied for an F1 before.. He asked the same and I confirmed the same. He said: “Tell ya what, you got the Visa this time. Go home now, we will send you the passport by courier in three working days”.
With all gratitude I said, “Thank you have a nice day”.

I stormed out of the interior of the building humming one of the Bryan Adams’ numbers. Once outside, I walked for sometime looking for a pan shop. After a little saunter I found one. Asked for a Goldflake Kings’ pack and a match box. Puffing up the cigarette in the shade of the walls surrounding the small street, I took an auto-rickshaw back to my Montieth road. I asked this guy, the driver, “Spencer la shops enni mannikki open?” recollecting the little bits of Tamil I managed to learn. He said 10 o’clock. Do not why, but he asked me if I was from Hyderabad.

Back in suit 401, I called my parents to share the joy I was in. They were happy and much relieved. Asked my dad if I could get something for him from Chennai, and as I expected, he asked me to go the Higginbotham’s opposite to the LIC building on the Anna Salai and get some Jeeves series of P.G.Wodehouse. That got me into some funny and crazy memories of certain something in the near past. Well, after some more calls to my friends by about 10:00 am, I started towards the book store. I asked Satish to join me there.

I bought the books and met Satish at the Higginbothams. We then spent some time at the Spencer’s. By about 11:30 am, we called Deepak and asked him to get to his home soon so we can meet for lunch.

After a coffee at the Qwicky counter in the Pizza Hut , we purchased a box of sweets at the famous Krishna Sweets. Satish talked to an auto to take us to Velachery and managed to bargain him for 110 bucks.

Back in Velachery, when I entered Satish’s room, my nostrils were filled with the familiar smell that I was used to two years earlier. The smell is unique to any bachelors’ room in Chennai. It is perhaps the smell of the clothes drenched in sweat, thanks to the humid climate here.

After about half hour we went to Deepak’s home. It was around 8 months since Deepak got married. But this was the first time I met the couple after their marriage. In fact I could not even attend their wedding. Bhabhi had cooked a delicious meal and we ate like gluttons. After a heavy lunch, and couple of hours of talks, I took leave from them.

On the auto back to Egmore, this guy was insane. He did not know the Montieth road so he assumed I needed to go to a Hotel near Egmore railway station and made about three or four roundabouts before coming to the Montieth road. I got irritated with this stiff and I went to have a cup of tea on a roadside tea stall, lighting up another King’s.

Back in my room, I checked my watch, it was 4.00 pm. I had 2 hours to rest. I switched on the TV and browsed the 72 odd channels and fell asleep. When I woke up it was 5.30 pm. I had a strained neck and thought I would nauseate.

By around 6.00 pm I was ready with my bags packed and started on the TV again. There was this song by Lionel Richie on the channel V. I liked the song immediately. The lyrics went on something like this….

Baby, I Don't Know What Love Is Maybe I'm A Fool I Just Know What I'm Feeling And It's All Because Of You Don't Tell Me I Don't Know I Want The Truth Cuz They Call It We Call It You Call It I Call It Love

This reminded of something and I found my lips singing the same lines above. Even before the song got over my cab had arrived. I quickly checked out and there I go back to the Kamaraj airport.

In an hour or so I arrived at the airport. I gave the remaining cigarettes to the cab driver as I did not want to carry them on my way back on the plane. I checked in to the Kingfisher airlines.

I had about 1 hour of time. I opened up the “Right Ho, Jeeves” of Wodehouse and started reading through. Surprisingly I began to enjoy it. Earlier I could not have read through even one page of it and presently I am already into the 45th page.

There was an announcement calling passengers to board the plane. The mini-bus carried us to the aircraft. IT 2474 Chennai to Hyderabad was on time to depart.

I kept reading the book all through my flight. When I landed back in Hyderabad it was about 10.40 pm. My cab picked me up and in about half hour I was back at my room in Mehdipatnam.

Well, that’s the story as it went.

Wait a minute!! I didn’t tell you why I called this story “UnderScore”. Because everytime I went to Chennai, I thought I would never return back. So I kind of tried to sink myself low whenever I had to be there. That’s why an “_”. And by the way, when I was listening to that song by Lionel Ritchie back in my Egmore hotel room from the toilet, I said to my self: “This is the last time I am going to piss in Chennai”. J

13 October 2006.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Upcoming Stuff

Hi audiences of my blog!! (hullo, anyone there?) is a quick list of some upcoming matter from my idiotic brain:

1) "UnderScore" or "One More Big Day In My Life"---regarding my recent business trip to chennai.
2) "Help!! Jeeves"- While traveling today, I was reading this book 'Right Ho, Jeeves" by P.G.Wodehouse (I bought a set of 3 of the Jeeves series which my father asked) and had this funny idea of applying analogy and write a comic imitation of the characters plotted into a typical IT project environment: imagine Bertie as a project manager and Jeeves as the developer...doesn't it sound funny? For the first time ever in my life....I would be attempting to imitate some author !!! Wish me luck!!
3) "A critical essay on the positive thinkers"--Had a glance on a billboard which was endorsing some kind of positive message from a great figure..and felt skeptic about it and thought of trying a hand at some cynical critcism.
4) The tale that was pre-determined, plotted and ended as expected---a story I have been longing to write. I have the object, image and creative ideas of it all, only need some leisure time to produce it...keep waiting, I am yet to decide the title of the story...
5) Ofcourse my essay that's on draft: Art, Philosophy and Life.

So long now.
Sid@kaivalya signing off...

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Song

I wanna love you like a lover
Wanna treat you like a Dream
I wanna hold you like a flower
Gonna let you never scream

And when you look at me and I look into your eyes
I see them shining like those stars in the skies

I wanna love you like a lover
Wanna treat you like a Dream
I wanna hold you like a flower
Gonna let you never scream

And when I am feeling down; feel that I am a loser
You lift me up and put the broken me together

I wanna love you like a lover
Wanna treat you like a Dream
I wanna hold you like a flower
Gonna let you never scream

And when I held your little hand when we departed
I knew that it was over before it even started!!!!

Yeah Yeah Yeah!!!

I wanna love you like a lover
Wanna treat you like a Dream
I wanna hold you like a flower
Gonna let you never scream!

Wanna treat you like a Dream, Yeah!!
Wanna treat you like a Dream!!

Gonna let you never scream, girl!!
Wanna treat you like a Dream!!

Never let you gonna scream
Never let you gonna scream
Gonna let you never scream, girl
Wanna treat you like a Dream...............................

09 October 2006.