It Sparkles

Had an unplanned & unexpected evening out drinking with my best buddy Anil. I was about to go into a coffeeshop in Shenoy’s Junction after work when he called me up and said that he was nearby and wanted to have some drinks and was I ready to join in. I said yes and I met him at Velocity 20 minutes later. We had 3 orange flavoured vodkas + sprite (for me) and 3 JDF brandy (for him), he had garlic chicken, I had some chilly chicken and soup and we shared a salad. He was going back to his uncle’s place and have a little dinner with them while I was basically done. Good evening with a long discussion.

Look at my vodka + sprite – it’s alive!

Ex-FS Training Team September Reunion

Today was a special day for me. I hadn’t met up with my second team members from Firstsource in a very long while. Not since I left there last year. I only got to meet some of them here and there. And I haven’t met any of them this year with the exception of my older team members in two different places. It was a long awaited reunion and I was so happy that it finally happened. We made arrangements to meet up a few days ago and agreed on the date and by this morning we agreed on the time.

I suggested the Salt n Pepper restaurant on SRM near Lisie Junction as it has been the reunion place for some of us earlier. Unfortunately 3 of the girls couldn’t join us. Anusha is in Palakkad with her baby, Rekha was in Kottayam with her husband’s family and Ajeeba couldn’t find a babysitter for the evening. So it was just Roopa, Firdous, Wasim, Rajeesh and myself. We met at 7pm and made our way to the restaurant, which was almost empty and kind of like set up just for us. We ordered some Pepsi and then food which was quite good. We finished off with ice cream and then went back to our respective homes. I hope next time everyone can join in. Thanks guys for a lovely evening.

Drinks & Tandoor Chicken With Anil

Anil and I made plans to meet this evening for a few drinks and dinner. We plan to have a similar meeting every month if possible. Anyways, we met for drinks at Couchyn this evening, made an early evening of it, and sat back on one of their lounge couches. We ordered a brandy and a vodka each before moving onto Kingfisher Ultras. Very poor tasting beer this Ultra. It’s also lighter than the usual stuff we drink here. We chatted for a long time as we relaxed there.

Post that we went to have dinner at Tandoor Restaurant. It’s mostly a family place and I remember going there with my dad, mom, sister and several other relatives many many years ago. I dunno why I haven’t gone there is so long, almost 12 years. I dunno if any f my cousins go there either. Anyway, we chose a table and asked for the menu. The waiter serves us water in this funny shaped glasses. Very cool no?

We ordered tandoor chicken, a full plate which is 4 big pieces and 2 butter naans. What you see on my plate in the pic below is one half of my naan and one of the two pieces of tandoor chicken I ate. Amazingly delicious and well done. I love tandoor styled food. Its not too oily and does not sit too heavy in your belly once you are done. We sipped lime juice and ate our food gratefully.

Once that was done, we left to our respective homes. I am satisfied and full. Good night and sleep tight!

Cats Or Dogs?

I don’t know how many times I have mentioned this before but I’m gonna state it again – I love dogs and cats. If I had to choose I’d pick dogs any day of the week but I’d prefer if I could keep a couple of dogs and a couple of cats as well. Cause I love both and I have had both as pets. More cats than dogs because obviously cats are smaller and easier to maintain. Plus growing up my mom didn’t have much of a problems with cats but she didn’t like dogs and was scared of dogs a lot.

I’ve had a puppy, half Pomeranian-half Alsatian named Lassie but she died 4 days later as she had a worm infection and she also knocked down a can of petrol and lapped it up. I was 12 years old and she broke my heart when that happened. A few months later a mom cat dropped off her 4 kittens in a carton of old clothes in a store room of ours as she sneaked in through a slightly open window. She must have given birth to them there or perhaps sneaked them in to protect them from the rain. My sister and I kept them and feed them milk through an ink filler and they were with us for a few days. 2 weeks later the mom cat took the kittens away. So the next year we got two kittens – Lollipop who was a mostly white with brown spots female and her brother Chocolate who was a mostly brown with some white patches male – and we had them for 3 and 5 years each. They were quite fun to have around and it was so funny how each night my dad placed them outside the front door and the next morning, I would wake up to find that the two had sneaked in somehow and found their way into my bed.

Lollipop died when I was 16 and Chocolate a few months later. Then ofcourse when I was 18 I got Shawny, my Golden Retriever and best friend ever. I’ve never been the same after she died 11 years later and I still miss her every day. I think about her everyday and you can read about her in this blog, where I have a page dedicated to her. What a good friend she was! I don’t believe in an afterlife but if I am wrong and there is one, I’m sure that she’d be the first to greet me with plenty of licks and puppy kisses. She has a starring role in my dreams where Shawny and I travel in a spaceship and fight off the evil aliens.

And Junior, named Shawny Junior, who belongs to my sister, brother-in-law and their kids. I raised Junior for a year until she went to my sister’s then new house in Chalakudy but Junior will always have a special place in my heart. So I consider her to be mine as well. I’d want all these pets to be with me at all times.

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Evening Out In The Rain With Anil

Saturday nights are meant for having a few drinks and enjoying yourself. That was exactly on my agenda when I left the office and headed towards the city. Despite the heavy traffic jams across the city and the rains I made it to Velocity bar at around 6:50 pm. Just in time to greet my buddy Anil who also was just stepping into the bar. We said hello and shook hands as it had been almost 2 months since our last meeting. We comparing balding heads (hahahaha) and went in to grab the usual booth. We had the usuals – I had Romanov Vodka + sprite while he switched to JDF brandy, as his favourite 8PM wasn’t available, with club soda. We ordered some dragon chicken and podimeen (tiny anchovies) fry. We settled back in our seats and yakked like two old housewives from the country.

We talked about my new job, his new role as a dad and how he & his wife were settling down as new parents. He was shuttling between his home in Thrissur, his mother’s ancestral home in Ernakulam and his wife’s parents house in Aluva. I asked him about nappy changing duties and waking up in the middle of the night as the baby boy cries. Man this is good to discuss. After we were done with drinks we were wondering whether to have dinner there itself or go to have steaks or a biryani each or something else. We remembered that there was a Trivandrum Chicken Corner right next to the bar and thought we’d go there and have some.

Trivandrum Chicken Corner is a specialty style restaurant where they mostly serve dry fried chicken with chappathy or porotta. I haven’t been to one of the outlets in 15-17 years but I remember that my family & relatives used to there once in a while and we all loved the delicious and juicy chicken that they made. They had a few outlets in the state and were popular. And also whenever I got to Couchyn bar near the Grand Hotel, I like ordering their Trivandrum style chicken fry (a similar style) and it is amazing. So Anil and I decided to finish our evening over there, paid our tab at Velocity and went to the next building. we went in and asked for the menu. We ordered a 4 piece plate with 4 chappathies and I also ordered one for my mom to take it to her when I went home.

The waiter came back with some water and complimentary glasses of  lime juice, which went down very well. I rather enjoyed the new look of the hotel, their chairs and tables and the overall decor, which was somewhat modest but still neat looking. And then the food came. Tiny pieces of chicken with the fried powder surrounding it! The four pieces looked like they were from a chicken that was starving to death after a famine! We both looked at the tiny portions and knew that we would need another plate to satisfy ourselves and so ordered another 4 piece without the chappathies. I didn’t bother to take a picture of the chicken as I was so disappointed with them. We both grumbled and complained and didn’t enjoy the dry tasting food either. They had served us bowls of gravy which I told Anil not to touch as it looked to be too spicy and filled with oil.

Disgusted – the food wasn’t that bad but the portions left a lot to be desired after all the high hopes and disappointed we finished our dinner quite quickly. We paid our bill without much of a tip and left the place. We got into an auto and after I got down at my place, Anil went on to his mom’s parents place. Thus ended an evening which was mostly great, started with a bang but ended with a whimper so to say. Never again Trivandrum Chicken Corner, never again!

A Grand Buffet Lunch With Tweeple

Today was the long awaited meeting (and eating) of three of us who have self-titled our little group as the ‘Cochin Foodies Group’ aka the ‘Three Foodkateers’ and, one I just come up with now, ‘The Three Foodiots’. Three of us who initially met online on Twitter and in a couple of tweetups here in Cochin and have since been communicating regularly online. Over the last couple of years in the case of Ranjith and last few months in the case of Antoinette.

Today was planned to be our first official lunch out as a trio and inauguration of the Cochin Foodies Group. This was decided last Monday and on Friday the venue was chosen to be Hotel International which is quite close to where I live.

Having said that I still haven’t been to this restaurant since late 1995 – my sister & brother-in-law had taken my cousins & me for a dinner just after they got married. I remember we have beers and awesome sizzler steaks there. Since then I haven’t been to this place. Anyways, the three of us arrived at 12:30 pm, met outside and made our way into the buffet area. I started off with a beer first, just a normal Kingfisher gold. The other two don’t drink and so they ordered pineapple juice.

We were also busy on Twitter & Facebook, announcing to several friends that we were currently sitting down for a nice lunch. This is Antoinette on one of her two phones.

Ranjith proudly uses his new BlackBerry Curve 9320. However dude you should take better care of it and used a pouch or a case from day one. Rough useage – well it’s a lower end phone so I guess ok.

First round of food from the buffet. This is what I took – two pieces of porota, a super soft & delicious plain croissant type bun, butter chicken, pork, some salad & a dressing.

Round two was fried rice with more pork & butter chicken, a plain pappodom, a spicy pappodom, dragon chicken & dragon cauliflower and some salad. Amazingly delicious food and the best was the dragon chicken, which was not on the buffet menu but we ordered separately. Fantastic food.

Nothing like desert to finish off a great meal. Only Ranjith & I had desert as Antoinette started getting a headache. On my plate is an assortment – some kind of a pudding, a flan, two kinds of soft cakes, a fruit salad, nuts & chocolate syrup. I could not go back for ice cream as I was full!

What a grand meal fit for a king no a kingdom itself! Hope to go there again some day.

No Secs Please, I Want To Work

(I posted this on Facebook this morning)

This happened a long time ago, 2005?, a conversation between me and a lady colleague/friend of mine, while we were both in the office. I won’t say who, let’ see if she remembers and if you do remember please message me :)

Me to my female colleague who wants to use the same system : Hey, just wait a while until I finish this.
She : No. I need it now
Me: Just a sec!
She (loudly) : No, no SECS (sex)!!

Followed by loud laughing by me and a deeply embarrassed look on her face!!!

A Friend Starts Life Afresh

I had posted in Facebook (in both an Atheist group as well as the regular Timeline) a couple of days ago and thought I’d follow it up with a post on this person. This is what I posted:

A muslim friend of mine is coming out as Atheist to her family. She wants to remove herself from the religion and is moving to Australia in fear of retaliation from family & community. She’s been planning the move & job in Australia for 3 years now and has only revealed her plans to 4 friends and 1 cousin. Says she lost belief in Islam & Allah, and religions in general, several years ago but was fearful of her family. Her story is quite sad, she’s had a lot of pain & suffering. I hope she finally finds some peace and can live a good life. She is getting help & support from some friends who have helped her get a place to stay in Australia and arranged the job.

Ok now let  me tell you how I know her. I think I first met Nazreen through mutual friends back when I was 16-17. Nazreen had lived in Dubai for a few years before her family resettled in Cochin. I would often see her on the way to computer classes and we did share many common interests and hence became close friends. Like me she was into science fiction; Star Trek TNG & the X-Files would later become our common favourite tv series and the center point of our phone calls. She also liked some of the same rock bands that I did but preferred the ballads more. I remember an incident that happened one late afternoon : usually it would be Nazreen who called to talk to me and we had certain times that we assigned for said calls. This one day I was bored and thought I’d give her a call. Her mother took the call and said that Nazreen wasn’t home. I was about to keep after saying thank you and that I would try later, when she said that her husband would want to talk to me. I was surprised but said ‘ok’. So Nazreen’s dad come on the line and asked me who I was and how I knew his daughter. I thought ‘Oh oh” but told him how and asked if there was a problem. Sounding a bit confused and hesitant, he said that his daughter was not “allowed” to have male friends or talk to boys over the phone! Not knowing what to say I said sorry and we closed the call.

Afterwards I thought about it for a while and then called back. Her mother took the phone and I asked to speak to Nazreen’s father. They were both surprised but she handed the phone to him and I apologized once again, said I wasn’t one to cause trouble. We were just friends who share similar tastes in fiction & music and I didn’t want Nazreen to get into any trouble because I had called. I wish them both a good day and said goodbye knowing that if they had any decency they would be embarrassed about the whole incident. Well they were – a couple of days later Nazreen called me up and said that she came to know everything from her parents and that she had a fight with them over it and called to say sorry to me. I stopped her and said that no apologies were necessary because her folks were never mean or rude to me. However we still remained friends and continued to talk over the phone but I knew that it was in secret for her.

Years passed and we still remained friends although I rarely got to see her. Then we started keeping touch via email and on cell phones when I finally got one in 2003. After a year or so I completely lost touch with her but heard about her from mutual friends. Her parents & family had become increasingly orthodox and she was even forbidden to have non-Islamic friends!! She contacted me on Facebook a few years ago – but guess what? It’s under a fake name so her relatives can’t find out that it’s actually her. So after a gap of a few years, we renewed our friendship. She told me about the restrictions – no music that’s in English in her house (she later moved due to work and was living with friends sharing an apartment in Bangalore), mandatory wearing of the hijab, no friends who weren’t Muslims, forced prayers etc. They tried to get her married off against her will but she revolted and it was only because of an uncle that she remained single. They wanted her to stay at home and not work, despite her education, and stay at home if she wasn’t going to get married.

Finally she agreed to move back home to Cochin, provided she could continue working. But she faced some physical abuse from her family because she did not believe in Islam and refused to pray. For the last 3 years she planned her move to Australia with the help of 4 friends and a cousin. And she’s gone – yesterday was her flight, her escape from her family & relatives. Her job had been arranged through her friends and she’s gonna share a house with 2 friends – and get this her family – who are lesbians! That oughta get the men in her family pissed off and their knickers in a twist! I hope she’s gonna be happy and finally live in some peace and start life afresh.

Meeting Anil After Almost 2 Months

Anil and I had met together for a long time, almost 2 months which is strange for us. We’ve been trying to meet up several Saturdays but something or the other always came in between. Today we put an end to it. He said that we would meet for a late lunch and I agreed and we decided to meet up at Volga bar & restaurant post 2:30pm.

I reached the place a little earlier and chose a table in the very dark bar (why the fuck do they do that?) and needed the light from my phone to read the menu. Just before Anil reached the bar I ordered a couple of vodkas + 7up for me and 2 brandys + soda for him.

We had some Chicken spring rolls that were quite delicious and light yet filling as we sipped our drinks and Anil had some garlic prawns while caught up. We even called up Madhu (for those just tuning in, Madhu is the 3rd member of our little rock band aka friendship gang) who just got promoted in the business he works for in Qatar. Yes rock band – I’ve compared the 3 of us to Rush & Nirvana and in non band related terms, I’ve also compared us to the 3 Musketeers and the holy trio of Kirk (me), Spock (Anil) & McCoy (Madhu).

We wound up our lunch with some fried rice and chilli chicken and then made our way to Kaloor where we had some ice cream. I had the chocolate one on the left, he had the strawberry one. Post that I came back home to crash on the bed at 6pm and watch some Big Bang Theory while he went back home to Thrissur.

Resistence Is Futile

I feel like having accomplished something great! My till now anti-Scifi friend is finally convinced and he called me up on Wednesday late in the evening and said that he, his wife, his brother & brothers wife are all planning to marathon the entire live action Star Trek franchise tv series & movies. I almost cried when he told me that he spent some time & money to buy all the dvds, cause I spent years berating his lack of enthusiasm regarding Star Trek & other SciFi stuff.

So starting on the 24th of May (it’s was a harthal or strike here so no offices will be open) they are gonna watch a few episodes a day as a group.

Here is my suggested viewing sequence:

  • Enterprise
  • The Original Series
  • The Motion Picture
  • Wrath of Khan
  • The Search for Spock
  • The Voyage Home
  • The Final Frontier
  • The Undiscovered Country
  • The Next Generation
  • Deep Space 9
  • Generations
  • First Contact
  • Insurrection
  • Voyager
  •  Nemesis
  •  Star Trek 2009

And I was extremely happy that it seems that by the end of the weekend the four of them seem to have become semi-converts and are excited about exploring the Star Trek Universe. Mission accomplished!

A Nice Evening Out With The Ladies

Well I ended up having a nice evening out with my friends. Like I stated earlier, an earlier plan for an evening with a nice lavish dinner with 10 of us did not take place at the end of last month and we were disappointed. A few days one of my former colleagues Ajeeba had asked me if I was free on the evening of the 25 to come out for a dinner. I said sure but it would only be four of us as the others wouldn’t be able to make it. That was still ok although I wish everyone could make it. So anyway, I checked two evenings ago and the dinner was still on.

Today late afternoon the venue was decided to be a restaurant called Salt n’Peppa (highly original I know :p especially since a stupid Malayalam movie with the same name became popular a year or so ago) which was earlier called Chicknik but they stopped the KFC style fried chicken business and it is now a family restaurant with Chinese & Indian fare. We agreed would meet there by 7:15 pm so I had time to go pay my cell phone bill. Ok so by 7:15pm I took an auto and managed to reach the place but they were delayed due to road blocks on their side of the city. So by 7:45pm finally the five of us – Ajeeba, Vidya, Shalina and her 6 year old cutie pie of a daughter & myself went into Salt n’Pepa and choose a table. We ordered fried rice & noodles, chilly chicken, chicken 65 – which we planned to share – while Shalina wanted a shwarma plate. Her daughter had porottas and chilly chicken. We also got us a 2liter bottle of Pepsi to wash our dinner down.

We had a lot of catching up to do and chatted 10 to the dozen. We spoke about a lot of our former colleagues, who got married, who got divorced, who got kids, blah blah blah. At times I think we were quite loud or….excuse me the ladies were loud. I was decent :D. Shalina’s kid, whose name escapes me but we all call her Chottu anyway, was energetic and inquisitive and explored all four corners of the small establishment. She was fun to be around and warmed up to me quite easily. I last saw her when she was 2 years old. The food & Pepsi arrived and we started eating and still continued to eat.

Pretty soon it was time for Vidya to go as she has the furthest to go by bus. I met Ajeeba’s husband, who is a friend and my senior from high school and also met Shalina’s husband for the first time. We left the hotel around 9:45 pm and I went to find an auto to bring me home. I really miss them and wish I could spend more time with them and the rest of my old team members. Next time I hope!

Meeting Friends

The last few weeks have seen me spend some time with friends but not as much as I’d like to. In April we have a really nice & fun get together on the 9th which created a lot of fond memories for me. From that day onwards me and another former colleague have been trying to find a suitable date to get all 10 of us to meet together for the first time since 2007 and it hasn’t worked till now. How hard can this be? May 1st was the deadline as 4 of them now live/work in different cities and they had some free days in the month of April but had to get back to their places on May 2nd. We planned, found a good venue close to everyone but one by everyone begged to change the date and it was just 3 of us who could make it. So cancelled/postponed.

We all felt bad & sad that it could not happen and made vague promises of meeting some other time. I know it’s gonna take time and who knows when it will happen. Two other similar events, with different people, got postponed and pushed and I dunno when they will take place. It’s easier to meet up with 2 or 3 other people but when the group is large it can become a hassle and frustrating if you are trying to organize the event. I know I felt so let down in April when I couldn’t get everyone to agree to spend 3-4 hours of their time on the same day at the same time. But you know, these things happen.

Tomorrow I am supposed to meet up with 3 of my friends for dinner in a place nearby. It’s a nice place where I have been exactly once and I do miss these friends & former colleagues of mine. I hope it happens, I’m free and the other 3 also seem eager to meet up for a couple of hours. And Saturday my buddy Anil and I have plans to spend some time during lunch and perhaps get a few drinks as well. Got my fingers crossed.

Traits of My Good Friends

Well let’s see. A good friend, according to me should be:

Loyal – well that’s a given. I have a few good friends in my life and they are loyal as hell.

Fun loving – no one likes a too serious a person. The more fun loving the better.

Open minded – try new things that you have never thought about doing but your friend asks you to do.

Honest & truthful – a true friend will not just agree with you for the sake of keeping things cordial. If you are wrong, they should tell you why you are wrong.

Has your back – No matter what, they will back you up and support you and vouch for you. Differences of opinion aside.

Simple. They need not beautiful or glamorous or popular. But they will be there to join you for that beer and laugh at your jokes!

1997 Kodaikannal Trip

Back in 1997, age 21, I had joined NIIT for a two year course (Diploma in Computer Science). I really enjoyed my time spent there and I had a bunch of friends who made life enjoyable during those years. The course was separated into 4 semesters and I would change batches after my first semester, 6 months after I joined due to a medical reason for which I needed a little over a month’s time to recover from. The first group of people I spent my 1st semester with were really fun to be around and although I didn’t know it when I changed batches, I would make friends with an even more appropriate & fun loving group of people but I still remember the members of the first batch with fondness. We were 9 guys and 3 girls in the batch. Just as the semester was ending we decided that we wanted to go on a trip. NIIT would arrange a vehicle for us and book a place for us to stay during our trip. Joining us was the young female faculty member who taught our batch and a clerk / office peon. As per policy they had to send him because the faculty member was a lady.

So we decided to go to Kodaikannal (a hill station) in Tamil Nadu for a 2 day stay. We were to leave on a Thursday evening and reach Kodaikannal early Friday morning and return back home on Saturday morning, reaching Cochin in the night. By 4pm we had all gathered at Ravipuram and waited for the 16 seater tempo traveler to reach the institute. We had a couple of bottles of brandy &  two huge bottle of coke being chilled in a freezer belonging to a shop right next to the institute. Before we left Ravipuram, one of the guys whose name was Sreehari (I think) said that he wanted to try some brandy as he had never had any till them and was quite excited. He had a little in the cap of the bottle – and he didn’t speak to us for the rest of the duration! I have never seen anyone have this extreme a reaction to a bit of alcohol! Not one word did he speak till the next Monday! Anyways, we left Ravipuram at 6pm and the guys minus 2 (Sree Hari and my buddy Prince, who didn’t like alcohol) started drinking at the back of the van. We left the 4 ladies in the front and mixed the brandy & coke in huge glasses and were quite smashed by the time we reached Thrissur (almost 2 hours later) where we stopped for dinner.

At the hotel, 4 of us made a beeline for the bar and had a couple of pints of beer each and then joined the rest for dinner. We were having a gala time but by 10pm most of us were sleeping in the van, effects of the drinks. A romance blossomed between a guy & a girl that last the duration of the weekend :) I managed to sleep for a couple of hours but was mostly content to go up front and sit with Prince and chat or look out the window. Prince was the designated treasurer of the group and he sat in the passenger seat up front with the driver on our way to Kodaikannal and back. We reached our rented rooms in a cottage ( 2 rooms for the guys and 1 for the girls) at around 7 am and went in for cold showers and shaves and brushing of teeth. We had breakfast at the cottage and then set out for sightseeing and rides (boat rides, horse rides). We stopped for lunch and tea and by 6pm we also bought a couple of more bottles of brandy and some beer.

At night at the cottage, we had secured some firewood for a nice campfire kinda atmosphere. Food was provided by the cottage cooks – porotta & some veggie stew – and the guys drank and sang and we had some games. By 10pm the girls were tired but 4 of us guys stayed back and joined a group of 3 men from Kottayam who shared our campfire and in return they gave us some of their food which was fried chicken and beef if I remember correctly. By 12 even we were too pooped out to party anymore and we retired to our rooms and the next morning it felt like there was a Slayer concert playing in my head – moshpit and the works!! We went for some more sight seeing and then made the way back to Cochin with beer drinking in the van. On the way a bunch of us did puke – not due to the drinking but due to the effect of driving down the slopes & turns of the road. I reached home at around 11pm, changed my clothes and took a long shower and then slept for a long time, maybe 9 or 10 hours. On Monday we all reached NIIT with big smiles on our faces.

I took a lot of photos but remember this was 1997 and I didn’t have anything scanned at that time. I would get them scanned a couple of years later but I lost most of them and only found a couple. The pic below is of some of us sitting near the campfire. Great memories.

FS Old Training Team Boys Reunion

Well I’m back from a little party / reunion. The old guys in my former team in First Source wanted to have a reunion with some booze and food and we picked today evening to have it. The date was fixed two day ago but the timing and venue was another thing altogether. We couldn’t finalize on a place or time for our reunion until the very last minute and since a couple of them had to leave before it got too late, we choose Velocity bar & restaurant for the venue and picked 5pm as the meeting time.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned due to various reasons (including taffifc blocks, office stuff & the rain) but it was still a very enjoyable evening.

We ended up having a few drinks (vodka, brandy & beer) and some snacks at Velocity until 9pm when 4 of us later went to have some dinner at a Arabian food place. We had some alfam chicken with khuboos for dinner, which was delicious. All in all a good evening.

Saturday Spent Outside

There was a couple of things I wanted to do today. And both had a clash in timings. Damn if I couldn’t change the timings for both! It would mean shifting the venue of one meeting and meeting the other person post lunch. Or whatever! I decided to just roll with it and see what happens.

I arranged for a friend to meet me at Cafe Coffee Day for a quick bite in between as I had some free time. I felt hungry as it was almost 1pm by then. We went in and sat at my favourite corner table. Before we could order, he got a call from home asking him to rush back as his uncle was ill, so I was on my own. I thought, no problem, I shall sit by myself and enjoy an hour of relaxing. I ordered a sandwich and a cold coffee and went to my table, waiting until they served me.

As you can see, Cafe Coffee Day seems to have run out of proper plates and served me my sandwich in a paper plate. How far down the social ladder have I fallen? Kidding! In terms of serving aesthetics the red serving tray more than made up for the looks or lack therefore of my paper plate. It’s blood red and looked much more sexy than the photo here.

My coffee was a cold Mochachillo with more ice than coffee it seems. Funny thing is this drink seems to have some milk added separate to the coffee. And the first sips are always great – as you wind towards the middle it gets a bit watery and yucky, no matter how much you stir & mix the drink. Oh well! Atleast it was cold and refreshing against the hot sun.

My sandwich, as seen here, was another thing altogether. In a class of it’s own, it’s the corn & spinach sandwich with lots of cheese. And it was piping hot, melting cheese just bursting in my mouth as I took a bite – yummy! I love this sandwich and it is consistently awesome the way CCD makes it, although not always this hot & fresh. I was sad when I was done and wanted more but I was to join my good friend Anil Alapatt for beer and snacks later so it would not be good to fill up.

Later that afternoon Anil & I met at the Volga bar & restaurant in Kadavanthara. The sun was blazing hot by then and we were both glad to sit in the cool air conditioned bar. We had a Kingfisher beer each, in these new cute looking tumblers from Royal Challenge. We ordered garlic prawns, dry chilli fish & chicken fry and sat for 2 hours talking about stuff. We tried calling up Madhu (now in Qatar) but he was at the bank and suffering spotty cell service, so we said we’d call him later. Anil & I chatted about the good memories and things coming up ahead until it was time for him to head on towards Thrissur. I went for a brief walk and then came back home.

Evening Party

I went for a wedding reception last evening. A former colleague of mine has gotten married on Sunday and since the wedding had taken place in the bride’s hometown (somewhere near Pala), his family had held a reception in Cochin for those of their family & friends in the city who could not travel to Pala on Sunday. I didn’t go for the wedding and hence along with 2 other former colleagues, decided to go to the reception, wish the newly weds, have some fun at the party and enjoy the evening.

I showered at 6:30pm and walked to the main road to wait for my friends to come & pick me up in a car. They came, picked me up and we rode onto the venue. The reception was being held at a Church owned hall right behind the house of the groom’s parents and we first arrived at the house, parked the car and went in. We were soon led to the hall where lots of chairs were placed at circular tables to seat 6-8 people each for the dinner. The cold, fruit punch was simply divine and welcome on a hot evening (oh we’ve been having wonderful weather since early January but the last few evenings have been quite warm & sweaty. We stood in one corner joined by 4 other friends and shouted rather than chatted as the music was being played rather loudly. Soon dinner was served.

A huge buffet was placed on 2 large tables that ran the length of the hall. Here’s the menu as much I could remember – chilli pork, chilli chicken, chicken fry, chicken curry, mutton roast, beef fry, beef fry, 2 types of fish dishes, chilli gobi, gobi manchurian, some other veggie dishes, fried rice, chicken noodles, veggie noodles, plain rice, roti & salads! And ofcourse beer and assorted alcoholic drinks with mixes for those of us that do! Just looking at the dishes on the tables made me stagger. Me and my companions waited until the kids had all had their food served and then we went to the buffet. I know that it’s proper that you should try and sample as much of the buffet as you can but I only wanted some noodles, pork and chicken so I took my plate and pointed and the servers heaped chilli pork and chilli chicken onto my plate and then I went to the noodles section. Satisfied that I wouldn’t be hungry for two more days after what was served on my plate, I joined my friends at our table.

Horror of horrors, the meat dishes were salted beyond redemption. I could barely get any taste other than strong salt from the chicken and pork. The same fate fared the mutton and other dishes said my companions, with the exception being the chicken curry & the fish dishes. I pushed aside the meat after some time and ate more noodles, which was delicious by the way. However I even found the beer unable to drink as all I could taste was salt. Have you tried drinking plain macro beer when you have had too much salt in your taste buds – yech! After a while I felt like I needed to remove my tongue and wash it in the sink. But one of my friends had a better idea – let’s skip out, head to Caravan ice cream parlour for some sundaes and wash out the heavy salt taste. Excellent & radical say I – but we waited to be decent, said our goodbyes to the groom & family and then the 7 of us left the hall. Only my 2 car-mates and I went to Caravan, the MG Road branch which is open all night but it was only 9pm, and we ordered big dishes. I had the banana split which was huge and strained my belly once I had devoured it.

By 10pm I crawled into the apartment and changed clothes. Feeling way too full than I should have any right to, I went to sleep while watching a movie.

On One Of The Worst Crimes

Many years ago a girl, who I had come to know & become close friends with just a few weeks before, told me in a moment of utter, open honesty that she suspected her father of having raped her when she was just 5 years old! 5 years old – how any sane man can think of harming an innocent girl of that age is beyond me and how can he even think sexual thoughts about her is also alien to me! And the fact that it was her own father; I must admit that although I was 21 at the time, I was still quite naive and still innocent to a little extent that I was quite shocked at this revelation by her.

“Are you sure?” was what stumbled out of my mouth at the time. She said that she herself wasn’t sure but a few years ago during an argument in which all her siblings &  her parents were involved in, she supported her father’s point of view and her mother was so angry that she took her aside and asked why did she always blindly side by her father and didn’t she know that he had molested her when she was a child! The girl was shocked and couldn’t speak for a while. She retreated into a shell and didn’t speak to her parents or her brothers & sisters for a couple of days. Her father came and told her later that it wasn’t true, that her mother didn’t know what she was talking about, she was very simple minded and not very educated (she had only completed high school while he was a respected doctor). She believed her father for a while but in the back of her mind she knew that he had raped her.

I would late come to know through other sources that yes he did molest her and there was infact an official enquiry into it but without sufficient evidence against him it was ruled out. Her parents separated for a while but due to lots of other reasons, which I can’t go into detail over here, her mother felt that she had no option but to stay with the father for the kids sake. I came to know of how the mother came to initially suspect something was wrong, how their relatives tried to intervene but because they lived in another country, there was only so much that they could do. The details, which I got to know from several sources are gory and I even managed to read a couple of letters that her mother had sent to her family back in India at the time.

Back to the day this girl, who is just a year older than me, told me about this stuff. My shock must have been all over my face cause she was more worried about me and changed the subject and speak of more cheery things to say. I didn’t quite know how to react and felt like a douchebag afterwards. I remember laying in my bed for an hour afterwards thinking how someone could do that to a 5 year old girl and how could someone do that to his own daughter or to anyone for that matter. I also remember going for a walk to clear my head and walking for almost 3 hours aimlessly. I’ve heard a lot of stuff happening to a lot of people since then and perhaps I am better adjusted to helping & talking to someone who has gone through that but I will never forget that time when this girl told me about it.