Buds & Mother India

Two incidents from around the year 1997 comes to my mind. The first one I was with a friend of mine and we were walking down the road after classes at NIIT and were waiting for a bus. Suddenly my friend started flicking his ear and told me that something like a tiny insect had flown into it and it was irritating his ear. So we cross the street and went to a small store – where you get snacks, some groceries, soft drinks and tea/coffee.

He asked the guy at the counter for some “buds” (meaning cotton buds to clean his ear) and the guy turns around and gets something from a shelf behind and asks “Is this to for here or do you want me to wrap it for you?” and my friend replies “No, it’s for my ear as I want to clear our something that went in!” And the guy at the counter stops in his tracks, dumbfounded, holding two bread buns in his hands -cause that’s what he had heard, buns instead of buds, and he was wondering what kind of person would shove a bun into his ear!

The second incident must have happened a few months later; a cousin & I had traveled by bus from our ancestral home in Mattancherry to Aluva where our uncle lives. We were there to take his car and drive it back to Mattancherry as another uncle wanted to borrow it for a few days. So we drove the car back and joining us was another cousin from the house in Aluva. On the way we stopped for a bite to eat and a soft drink and my older cousin wanted to buy smokes too. So we stopped at a small shop by the road side and ordered some snacks.

One cousin wanted a 7up and the other wanted a Pepsi and I told the boy, about 13-14 years old at the counter that I wanted a Mirinda. On hearing this the boy looked stunned and then went to consult with his father, the owner of the store. The dad came up to the counter and asked me “What did you want to drink?” and I repeated “I want a Mirinda”. The owner then laughed and said “Oh, ok, coming right up” and went back smacked his son on the head and said “He said Mirinda not Mother India!” My cousins and I were laughing at that for a long time!

Weird Scifi Dream Involving My Cousins

I had this weird dream last night. Raju (real name Balakrishnan), Appu (Shekar), Monu (Shanker) & I were going on a spaceship to meet a family on another planet. Along for the trip was a vicious looking alien being & a little kitten! The purpose was to meet this family and who’s daughter I was planning on marrying. So it was a traditional Indian meeting of the proposed bride & groom. So we went there and I met the young lady and then I spoke to Raju and we agreed that she was too young for me.

Before we were to leave the girl’s mother & other relatives wanted to show us their land – farm land, trees, cattle etc. So we were touring their large property when suddenly we heard screams. A large group of terrifying looking gorillas were attacking us. There were huge! We were trying to run back to the safety of the house or our spaceship when a few gorillas hit Appu & me and we got injured. And then we were rescued – the alien we had on board & the little kitten came to our aid and battled off the gorillas, killing off many of them. It was a bloodshed and after about 10-15 of the gorillas were killed by them, the rest ran off.

So Raju & Shankar helped me and Appu back to the spaceship and got us into the medical room. The kitten was badly injured too, so we put him in a coma to help heal his injuries but the alien died due to heavy blood loss and so we had a funeral for it before we left back for earth! Crazy dream right?

Now I dunno, if the kitten was allegory for another cousin Jayakrishnan who’s nickname is Kithen – but what do you think?

I swear I wasn’t drinking or smoking weed or taking LSD last night!

Memories Of MTB

This pic my cousin shared on Facebook brings back so many nostalgic memories. The pic is of the Mattancherry Tourist Bungalow, a lodge and watering hole in Mattancherry (which is part of old Cochin). Why nostalgic? I have never had a drink from there. Not even a solitary beer. I have had food from there but never had food inside the place. The MTB is right opposite my mom’s parents’ house in Mattancherry.

From my earliest memories the MTB has been like a part of the family. The house my grandfather built for his family was done in the early 60s and the MTB followed a few years later. Over the decades, the tourist bungalow has been a center for drunken fights and especially during the holiday season. My cousins and I have watched quite a few dozen fight scenes from our rooftop terrace or the first floor balcony. At one time there was a Hindu-Muslim fight which started near the market area and ended up right in front of our doorstep.

From time to time my dad & uncles would buy beer or some other drinks from the bar and enjoy them in seclusion (away from my grandmother who although knew that her sons and sons-in-law drink, frowned upon the activity). Long before I started drinking or was of drinking age, I remember going to buy beer bottles from them for my uncles & my dad. As have many of my other male cousins. And although we never went to eat, we would on occasion buy some food from there – like a beef roast or some chicken curry.

One particular funny incident from my childhood comes to mind – my cousin Navin, who was probably 11 or so at the time, had a bet with some of the waiters of MTB that he could eat 10 porottas dry in on sitting. No curry, no gravy – nothing, just porotta. The bet was for a chicken biriyani. He won the bet and he was given a chicken biryani for free by them. His belly full, he walked the 10 steps from the bar to the house, struggling to loosen his belt, came back home and told his mother to keep the biriyani in the fridge as he was full at the time and would eat it later. She had some choice words for him

Ah memories of the good ole days!

Social Clubs In Kerala Face A Harsh Future

So as you might know by now, we have this rather idiotic & unnecessary decision of the Kerala government to ban all liquor in the state buy closing down all the bars and then reducing the number of BevCo each year until total shutdown in 10 years to make the state a dry state! Other than bars in Kerala the other main victim will be the 30 or so social clubs in the state that have bar licenses. There are about a dozen blue-blooded clubs in Kerala that comprise the cream of about 30 clubs with bar licences where the snob-value of membership comes at a cost of around Rs 5 lakh (or $8,333 plus change). About 40,000 members of these exclusive clubs are waiting with bated breath to see what the state government proposes to do with the FL 4 A licence clause under which these clubs also double up as watering holes, arguably the single-largest draw for members.

Gaming facility _ two each in indoor and  outdoor _ rooms, food and parking are some of the mandatory items in the list for affiliation to the the Association of Registered Social Clubs of Kerala (ARSCK). Gaming facility _ two each in indoor and  outdoor _ rooms, food and parking are some of the mandatory items in the list for affiliation. According to the office-bearers, each club used to cough up Rs 15 lakh per year for the FL 4 A licence . There are nearly 30 clubs in the state with bar licence and 25 of them are members in ARSCK. The total number of members would come to around 40,000. The clubs fear that their earnings will suffer drastically with the alcohol ban as members will not come as frequently as they used to.

My personal memories are mostly with the Cochin Suburban club, Lotus Club and just a little bit for the Rama Varma club. Suburban club in Thrikkakara was the one that was a firm family favourite as it was just minutes away from my former home. My dad took a lifelong membership with them in the 80s when they had just started and it was so much cheaper than what they charge now. As a result my folks, sister and I plus my cousins, uncles & aunts all had many dinners there, a few functions and for my sister’s wedding we even had to book a couple of rooms for relatives to stay in back in 1995. The club has a play area for smaller kids, a library, table tennis area and later added a swimming pool, badminton courts. For special evening like Onam, Christmas, New Year’s and a club annual day function, they would have games as well as live bands performing. The food was mostly really good and we all enjoyed going there. Heck when I was 14-15 I even volunteered to work at the token counter for drinks (I didn’t handle any alcohol, I just told the members how much and collected the money and gave out drink tokens) for one function. I’ve hosted a couple of my birthdays there and invited friends.

Since our move to the city and that of most of my relatives in Cochin also to the city area the Lotus club became to de facto gathering place. Since 2006 this is the closest place to a lot of us and hence has seen family gathering, a couple of parties for pre weddings and reunion style functions for us. They have tennis courts, badminton courts, a large library, tv area for sports events, outdoor, balcony and indoor dining as well as a couple of halls that you can hire for special event if you want to. I’m not so crazy about their food but hey it’s fun when you have a lot of your cousins around for an evening. I prefer their alcohol selection and their snacks which are really good. By my reckoning we’ve had around 20 or so functions there in the last 3 years.

The Rama Varma club is one I’ve only been to a few times because only 2 of my cousins have membership there or affiliated membership which got cancelled and haven’t been there since 2007. But it is a nice place and I’ve enjoyed the few times I’ve been there drinking with my cousins. The drinking is ofcourse the main attraction for members in these clubs and now it could well be all gone in the next few days. Screw the government’s backward thinking. You paid good money for club memberships so you and your relatives/friends could meet and relax in a happy, homely atmosphere with a lot of space and the kids could play around and the men & ladies who don’t drink can still enjoy. You can’t meet your friends and drink at the BevCo lineup!

How I Spent My Birthday Today

Well that was a good birthday celebration, in my quiet style. I made plans to meet my cousin Sujith at 12pm at Couchyn lounge bar. This morning was cold & chilly due to the non-stop rain that started yesterday morning. Even 2 cups of hot coffee refused to warm me up. After that I was online till 10:30 am and then took a bath in warm water and shaved before I got ready. I bared the heavy rains and hailed an auto to take me to Couchyn which is next to the Grand Hotel. Sujith was waiting for me there and we went in to order beer.

I haven’t had much to drink since August of last year. I went out in October then I had 2 beers with Anil in January and 2 beers with Sujith back in April. This time we had 2 beers each – 1 Carlsberg and 1 King Fisher blue each – and tucked in to small grilled chicken sandwiches at the bar. We were there for 2 hours and then headed to Center Mall near Shenoys for some sight seeing and more food. There were lot of hot looking young women in the mall.

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There is a lot of stalls that you can choose to eat from at the big food court in the mall but in the end we decided to get some subs from Subway and so went one floor down to the outlet that they have in the mall. He had a turkey sub while I had the Italian BMT sub (lamb pepperoni, lamb salami & chicken ham) and coke to wash it down. After an hour we had chocolate fudge sundaes (which were excellent) from an ice cream,shake & juice stall in the food court.

Half way through Ranjith happened to be passing by so he joined us for another hour after which Sujith & I went to see the new IT store dealing with Apple products. Then it was goodbye and I slowly made my way back home. It’s still cold but I am happy that I got to spend it having some fun.

Women & Shopping


My cousin Shalini posted this video on her Facebook wall and tagged me saying that this little cutie pie, sweetie pie ranting about women shopping (and taking way too much time going to several stores and not being satisfied) reminded her of me complaining about my sister Sherine and another cousin Raakhee!

What Shalini is refferring to an incident that happened when i was about 16 or 17 (back in 1992-93) and I had gone shopping with my sister and Raakhee to Convent Junction here in Cochin (which is an area where there are numerous clothing stores for women). Now my sister & girl cousins have always been known for their pickiness during their teenage years and early 20s but even I wasn’t expecting this! These two ladies made me walk t0 15 different clothing stores, where they spent hours making the salestaff take down all the churidhars from the racks and displays and didn’t buy anything from them! Not one and at each one it was almost like the staff were scared of these two young women! But they were giving me dirty looks and glaring at my direction, as if I were responsible for all of this torture.

Finally after hours & hours, they went back to the very first store we had stepped into and bought a single churidhar outfit – 1 lously churidhar after all that shopping time! After that I declared that I would never ever go shopping with these women again and it became a legendary story in my family.

Food Review Video #10

For my 10th food review video my cousin Sujith & I went to Fort Cafe in Convent Junction and tried out their Fort Club sandwiches. Chicken, fried eggs, cheese, mayo and finely chopped up veggies. It wasn’t as good as I remembered them but still a 7 outta 10. We are trying to give a rating from now on. We also had frappes with this brunch sandwich. I got a call in between the recording which stopped the video at that point so I had to redo my tasting of the sandwich. Enjoy!

Food Review Video #7

For my 7th food review video – it’s another duo food review – my cousin Sujith & I went to Cafe Coffee Day for their reasonably priced plain iced coffee + sandwich combos. Sujith has the Smoked Chicken & I had the Chicken 65 sandwich with some plain iced coffee to wash them down.

Missing Mr. Barfi

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I find myself missing Barfi the Pug every day now. It’s been almost a month since I last saw him and since my sister & her family came back from their vacation. So I haven’t gone to her flat since; I rarely ever go there anyway and until last month I hadn’t been there once in a year & a half) and although my sis & her 3 kids come to where I live with my folks atleast 4-5 times in a month, they do not bring Barfi along. So I haven’t seen the little dude in a while and yes I am missing him badly.

I really should go to their place and see him soon. Look at his sleepy face here – how can you not love that face!

The Golden Pup Who Stole My Heart

Whether a person, a pet, an object, or a place, write about something or someone you connected with from the very first second.

I was 18 when I got Shawny. My family – dad, sis & I – had decided to get a dog after I started speaking about getting one for the past 2-3 years. Mom ofcourse was always against one (for a historic stupid decision that I shall elaborate on at a later date) but majority rules and after a few days of researching the puppies for sale and magazine articles on various dogs, I decided that I wanted a golden retriever or a golden/yellow labrador. I found a breeder in Kaloor who had 20 dogs and his golden retriever female had just given birth to a litter of 8. When I called him over the phone he said he had 4 left for someone was coming to take 2 that evening so I only had an option to select from 2 – one boy and one girl pup.

I fixed it up for the next late afternoon and my cousin sister Raakhee and I went by car to pick her up. When we reached there we saw the family of the house – the breeder, his wife and 10 year old son and about 20 dogs out in their large yard. With a few commands and prompting the bigger dogs all went into their kennels -built surrounding the house – and only the smaller dogs and puppies remained. The 10 year old quickly gather all the little dogs into the house so that the breeder could show us the golden puppies. He opened a kennel door and out came the two puppies followed by their mom, who the breeder’s wife quickly ushered indoors. Now I was torn between selecting between the male & the female puppy until this point in time. The decision was made for me by the female puppy.

She came running towards me as soon as she was out in the open – straight for me and not my cousin or the breeder who was standing near me or the boy but me – and started playing with my shoe laces. She was feisty and playful and was a lot of fun. I fell in love instantly and picked her. I shook hands with the breeder, said bye to his family and my cousin and I got into the car and went on to pick my sister from her place of work and my dad from the railway station. And together, we all brought Shawny, my puppy, home and we were inseparable except for the 9 months (spread over a year) that I was in Bangalore and the 6 months (again with lots of visits in between over 10 months) that I was in Calicut. I got Shawny back in 1994 and she passed away in 2005 but I still love and miss her and she will always be in my heart till the day that I die. I couldn’t have asked for a better best friend.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Return Of The Walking Dead Relative

If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?

Ok this person – let’s just pick a random person from 50-60 years ago – would be shocked at the fact that he/she is  alive again. And that we all poop in proper toilets and not a hole in the ground!  And then he/she would think – hey what the fuck is this internet thing? And what are these devices that these young whippersnappers are using? Mobile phones? What the hell is a selfie? Should I get one? What’s Twerking and why is that stupid girl sticking her tongue out in all her photos? What is she wearing and where is her father?

Seriously they would think it odd that we, his/her relatives, or a lot of us live in the same city yet use the computer & Facebook or a mobile phone to keep in touch with each other rather than going to see each other more often. He/she would be surprised at the work choices that some of us have made and still make. He/she would also be surprised that 3 of us – all guys, me and 2 of my cousins – are still bachelors at the ages that we are (the other two guys turn 41 this year and I will turn 38 soon) and will be astonished that our folks allowed this to happen. He/she might also be surprised that there are a few atheists in the family and that some of us do not pray or go to the temples.

He/she would also struggle to fathom the fact that several of my cousins have chosen their own spouse and that 4 of them aren’t Malayalee Nairs and one isn’t even an Indian! And is younger than his wife! He might have a heart attack and die once again and you know what – I wouldn’t care!

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.

Food Review Video #6

For my 6th food review my cousin Sujith & I went to SFC Plus on Marine Drive to try out the Chicken Hawaiian Pizza. It has pineapple, fried chicken, SFC Plus style chicken, mushrooms, jalapenos and mozarella cheese in all it’s ooey gooey deliciousness. It was excellent and I now have a new favourite pizza at SFC Plus. I’d rate it a 9.5 outta 10!

9 Years Have Passed Since You Died

9 years ago today my best friend of 11 years, my dog Shawny passed away. She died after an infection caused from a pneumonia like fever. Even after we called the vet and tried giving her medicines, she only last 2 more days. I was alone at home while it happened. The last days of her life were of her lying down in her kennel and not coming out at all, just a little whine. I would feed her some milk mixed with water. She hadn’t eaten anything except maybe some gruel water. She was drinking water. She kept whining when I went to give her the milk but she couldn’t get up but everytime I called her name, she would wag her tail. Later on the afternoon of the 3rd day after we called the vet, she passed away while I worried about her. When I went to check on her for the umpteenth time that day, I found her lifeless body.

I cannot ever forget the feeling of having failed my best friend and the feeling of loss and loneliness that I still feel to this day. With the help of my uncle and a guy who does odd jobs, we had a hole dug for Shawny in our backyard and buried her. It’s been 9 years since she died but I highly doubt that a day has gone by without her in my thoughts. I always dream and/or day dream of space voyages and fantastic adventures traveling in spaceship and fighting bad alien guys on alien planets. Next to me in my adventures, always a constant companion is Shawny. I miss her terribly. I’ll never forget her as long as I live.

Day 2 Babysitting Barfi

The second evening with Barfi went without much incident as well. Reached there by 6:45 pm got Barfi from my sister’s in laws’ place and me and the Barfster went to the apartment and chilled for bit. While I had a coffee, he feel asleep at my feet as I got online. When I got hungry, I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich and Barfi wanted some of it as well. I broke off a piece and placed it in his bowl but dude was insistent that he wanted what was in my hand itself! So he ended up with half my sandwich.

At 8:30 pm I gave him his dinner and then took him out for a little walk. He slept as I made my little dinner and ate it in peace. However at night he didn’t sleep in the same room as me, he was playing with his toys out in the living room and didn’t even bother to check up on me at all. Here’s another video I made in the morning just after I gave Barfi his breakfast.

Day 1 Babysitting Barfi

Well I spent last evening and the entire night at my sister & brother-in-law’s apartment. While they are away on holiday with my two nephews and niece, their 1.5 year old pug Barfi is being taken care of by my sister’s in laws (who live in the same building). However to give them a break from the energetic young monster, my sis asked me if I could go and take Barfi in to her apartment and stay there for a few nights during the next 7 days. I said ok and so yesterday evening at around 7 I went to the building and took Barfi off of my sister’s in laws’s hands.

Barfi was happy to see me (I have only spent time with him twice before this) and came with me eagerly. We went in and he settled down after a few minutes of me playing with him and a teddy bear. There wasn’t much left to do in the evening so I waited till 8:15 pm and then heated up his food and gave him his dinner. Once he also had some water, I took him outside so he could do his business. We came back up to the apartment and then I made myself some dinner while he started dozing off.

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At around 9:30 pm I lay in bed with a novel while Barfi kept playing with his chew toy and the teddy bear. In between he would nap while sitting – he looked like a funny looking Laughing Buddha in that pose . However my sister neglected to tell me that Barfi sleeps on the bed – on either of my two nephews’ beds. That’s what he is used to. So he kep jumping on the bed in the room I was in and I kept chasing him away! I tried leaving him outside the room and closing the door but he kept scratching at the door!

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At around 11:30 pm I let him back in and switched the lights off to go to sleep. He fell asleep on his little doggie bed but at around 2 am I woke up to find him sleeping right next to me on the bed. LOL, I actually got a fright as I opened my eyes to see two big eyes in the dim light . Then I put him out of the bedroom and on his doggie bed and he was too sleepy to come back in and so I closed the door and slept without incident. I guess tonight I’ll let him sleep on the bed near me.

Barfi Grown Up

I finally went to see Barfi (my sister’s Pup) again; the last time I saw him he was a wee puppy back in October 2012 a little after my sister & brother-in-law got him for their kids. He’s grown quite a bit and I went to my sister’s apartment this afternoon to see him as I’ll be taking care of him / baby-sitting him for a few evenings as my sister & her family are on holiday. During the day my sister’s parents in law will feed him and walk him and I’ll come over by 6 or 6:30 pm and spend the night at the apartment. I’ll give him his dinner and take him for his night walk and potty time. In the morning after breakfast I’ll come back home.

So here he is, cute little monster and very loveable guy. He seems to like everyone, all strangers included and if he meets anyone new he just wants to be your best friend. He wanted a belly rub, some petting and scratching of his head and licked my hand gratefully after a while.

He really is a goofball and I will take some more pics and some videos during my say there. Here’s a little clip of him strutting his stuff.

In The Summertime

Theoretically, summer will return to the polar-vortex-battered Northern Hemisphere. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what are your fondest memories of Summer past?

When I think of summer I think of summer vacations as a kid. We, here in this part of the world, don’t have four distinct seasons. We get blazing hot summer and then monsoon season followed by summer which is less hot until blazing hot summer starts again. No winter and no autumn/fall season and no spring! Tropical area and all that you know.

So, during my younger years my cousins and I would eventually all end up in our ancestral home (read that as grandma’s place) in Mattancherry for a few weeks and we’d have a ball. Mornings wake late and post breakfast get the football and or cricket bats, wickets & ball ready and we’d play the sport of our choice on the large front yard. Sometimes it would be badminton games. Usually the girls never played or played for a while before absconding into the living room with their books. We’d break for a 15 minute juice session and then play until lunch time. Our moms & aunts would serve us our food, careful not to neglect to tell us that we stink of sweat & mud and then perhaps we’d cool down for 30 minutes before playing again until it starts to get dark.

A shower to wash away the sweat & dirt and by 6:30 pm we’d be fresh faced kids & teens smelling of soap, shampoo and talcum powder and we’d pool money to buy ice cream sodas and lemonades from a shop nearby. Dinner – if were lucky we would get money to buy burgers and crispy chips from Abad’s cafe and some cokes for dinner. Followed by a movie that we’d have to agree democratically to get from the video lending library that was near the house. Those who were not interested by the movie would move to another room for some music and reading comics.

Those were the days. Sad we’ll never be able to experience them again.

Prompt from the Daily Post at WordPress.com.