Friday, August 29, 2008

Thank You...

Look! Up in blogosphere...
Is it a Booker? An Oscar? No, it's the Brilliante Weblog


I've penned down the retrospective many a time; so I'll refrain from going down that lane again. Instead, let me today spend a moment to think of those people who I've been at b(logger)heads with the past several years (ok, some are new but heck, I feel like I've known them for years).

I'm really bad with acceptance speeches. While I feel overwhelmed when someone says a nice word about my writing, I never know how to handle a 'real' big compliment. A sheepish thank you is all I can manage. Man of few words? Naaah, too lazy to say anything. :-)

Mampi and Pinku, both who I've known now for a few weeks now, have been gracious enough to bestow the Brilliante Weblog award on me. Thank you ladies. But be that as it may, I've realized that blogging is more about connecting. To another person's mind, life, his or her world of fantasy, adventure, feelings, and a whole lot of other aspects, which maybe don't come to the fore in person. Ok, enough already.

Now for the toughest part. Passing the baton (as the rules go). The rule of this award says, pass it on to seven or more bloggers. I say tough not because of the number seven, but I probably have so many bloggers in mind I already feel guilty that I might miss out on someone whose writing I probably loved, but have forgotten the person's link ever since. Well, anyways, here goes (And bloggers who've known me for more than a few years now, if I missed you, it's entirely due to forgetfulness, and has nothing to do with me not liking your blog. I've liked all the blogs I visited till date. All of you rock!):

Gratisgab: One of the early bloggers I got to know. Fantastic sense of humor and a sensitivity that's very rare to find these days. (Psst, she also shares my wife's name).

Alpha: Again, an old bloggerhead - great writer, terrific sense of humor. It's been a while since I visited her. This could be a great way of doing it.

Manuscrypts: Cool dude, and quite befitting his trademark 'devilish' logo he displays on his blog, at least the old one. You rock, pal!

Pinku: A recent discovery, and what a discovery! Here's a woman that deserves a standing ovation for what she's stood for. A truly gutsy lady.

Mampi: Have you seen a coconut? Tough on the outside, but quite soft on the inside. That's mampi. A very sensitive person, but at the same time, she knows how to take potshots at life. She can pack a punch. With her words, of course. ;-)

Shub: Very rarely do you come across a girl whose idea of a date is a candle light dinner, with, perhaps M.S. Dhoni?? (Shub, please forgive me if that was a totally off the hook reference). But she's a true sports lover and cries when a sportsman/woman hurts himself/herself on the field, and exhults when they excel.

Cynic in Wonderland: Hahahahahahhahahahahahaha. That's how I go when I read her posts. Our very own P.G. Wodehousini. Terrific humor writer. Must remind her again about that book I want her to come out with.

Prerona: An old bloggerhead again, a good friend, and again, a very sensitive person. Where are you girl? Don't see you at all these days. And to top it, her blog's open only by invitation these days...

GaramBhejaFry: My very good friend, in fact, he's like a younger brother. If you wanna roll on the floor laughing, then he's the guy for you. I think he's not a single 'serious' bone in his body. All are funny ones. Check him out.

There. Did it. But I repeat; there's more to this list than meets the eye. And please..all of you deserve this one. At least from me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Feeling el(ev)ated... (The booo...chronicles)

The Plaza Complex is apparently a squarish structure with a huge light well in the middle, like how most malls are. Well, this wasn't exactly a mall, but back in those days, most shopping 'complexes' (I still can't figure out why they called 'em that), were designed in pretty much the same way, and this too was like any other. Except, this one had an adjacent building, 'wing' as the staffers would say, that was kind of attached to the main building through a 'skywalk', more like a narrow suspicious corridor you see in those crime movies (Remember? - close-up of a cop quietly slithering along the dank path, no background music, only his hushed breath?).

Now, this other building housed a nightclub on the fourth floor, the access to which was from the basement parking lot of the same building. Long story short, the 'mall' side of the building had it's doors closed to this wing (for obvious reasons), so the 'family types' could shop in peace and the night birds could prowl around safely on the other side.

The basement had two elevators that carried folks. One of the elevators was dead. Meaning, it had been non-functional for more than a decade and a half. Reason? It had an old fashioned door, with a huge padlock, the keys to which were with the owner of the complex, who happened to be somewhere in Mumbai. Well, anyways, it didn't work, and nobody bothered to fix it. The other one worked just fine, so why bother? And in any case, the night club on the fourth floor was the only place worth visiting in that wing, the rest of the floors were also kind of deserted (yeah, yeah...I see where you guys are heading. It'll come, don't worry).

So. Two elevators. One functional. Aaaand....the parking lot was manned by a security guy who, more often than not, was found flirting with the women employees in the adjacent building, which was apparently a beauty parlor.

One night, As N walked out of the nightclub, after having filled in for a colleague who was in-charge of the place, he heard hastened footsteps up the stairs. He stopped in his tracks.

The security guy.

"Sir, sir...," he huffed and puffed.

"What happened?"

"Sir, I won't keep watch over the parking lot tonight," he said, his face resembling the white-washed wall of a new flat.


"Sir, I won't...please don't ask me. I just cannot."

N kind of knew what was coming. But he waited.

"What did you see?" He asked, coming to the point.

"A hand.."

"Hand? Where?"

"Sir, in the lift that doesn't work," he said between breaths, "I heard a sound and I turned to the elevator...and I saw a hand beckoning me, from inside...sir."

"How the hell could you see a hand? There's no light in there."

(Remember those paleolithic elevators - wooden doors, a small square glass pane in the middle?)

"I could make out sir, in the light of the basement."

N raised his eyebrow. So much for being a security guy. Just then another staffer walked out and he heard the conversation. Something fishy. He stopped and craned his head with a question mark on his face.

N turned to him and said, "Have you ever seen a hand in that elevator? It's been dead for God knows how long, and this guy thought he saw someone inside."

"Oh that? That's her...", the guy said matter-of-factly, like he waved at the hand every day.

N frowned. "Another ghost?"

"Sir, there are many in this building."

N suspected if any of the staffers in the place were ghosts themselves.

Then the guy turned to the security guy. "Hey, how many times have we told you not to turn around if you heard a sound? Huh?"

The security guy just shook his head stubbornly. "I don't know all that. I want to go home, sir."

N waved him away and walked down the stairs with the other guy. "Let's see, I want to meet this lady."

"Sir, please don't go there now, sir. Why disturb her?"

N shook his head sorrily and hurried down. When they reached the basement, it was quiet. N cupped his hand and peered in. Suddenly, there was a loud metal groan as if the cables came to life, and the elevator rose up. The two of them watched in mute horror as the cabin traveled up. And then, they heard it. Female laughter.

(Watch this space for more such 'boooo...' stuff).

Happy Independence day tomorrow, folks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ghost Guzzlers (The boooo... chronicles)

This is a true story, and I kid you not.

My friend N is a unit manager at one of the top Thai restaurants here in Bangalore. Before coming here, he was in charge of an entire mall in Kolkata (am not disclosing the name and area of the mall for obvious reasons), responsible for overseeing the operations of the eatery and the movie section of the mall. Last night, somehow the topic veered to (yeah, what else...) ghosts, and what he narrated in the course of that conversation, made me think. That ghosts, are...well, some ghosts are nice and they're best left alone. And they allow you to do your thing. Read on.

The year 2000. N had just landed a job at the mall (let's call it 'The Plaza complex'. If you remember, all these earlier versions of malls sans the movie halls were suffixed with 'complex', as if that'd make things any easier), and it was business as usual till one evening, when he stepped into a pub in the same vicinity around five, to check on the stock - the beer mugs, bottles, inventory and stuff. It was a fairly quiet evening, as the stewards went about their business readying the place for the guests who'd start trickling in by about six. N headed to the bar counter where a steward was wiping glasses, and generally humming a tune. After a cursory 'good evening sir', 'how are things' kind of a dialogue between the two, N walked to the men's rest-room and he'd barely closed the door from the inside when someone knocked - hastily. Five to six quick knocks. Irritated, N pulled open the door to give the steward (who else could it be, customers hadn't yet arrived) a piece of his mind. But to his puzzlement, there wasn't anybody outside.

N walked over to the steward at the bar counter who was oblivious to the entire thing and had his back turned to the counter.

"Hey, listen," N said.

"Yes sir?"

"Why'd you knock on that door when you knew I'd just stepped in?"

"Which door, sir?" the steward said, surprised.

"Arre, the rest-room's. Just now. Didn't you knock?"

The man shrugged, and then suddenly as if realization had dawned, he muttered a quick excuse and sauntered out from behind the counter and headed to the exit.

All the more puzzled, a bit annoyed even, N followed him out.

"Why'd you walk out on me, I was speaking to you, wasn't I?" He brought on his 'manager-to-steward' tone.

"Sir, you'll have to forgive me, but I had no choice."

"What? Why?"

"Sir, what's the time now?"

N frowned at his wrist. "5.20, why?"

The steward nodded his head sagely. "Sir, that's the problem. The time. You should'nt have gone to the rest room now."

"What nonsense, why not?"

"Sir, keep this to yourself, but there's a ghost in that rest-room, and he is around between 5 and 6 in the evenings."

Unable to believe his ears, N put his hands on his hips with that 'yeah-right-like-you-want-me-to-believe-this' look. The steward called out to a few other staff guys, the janitor, a security guy, and a couple others and they nodded their collective heads in ghostly unison.

"This is truly ridiculous guys, you want me to believe this?" N shot back at the pale faces.

The janitor, the senior most, spoke up slowly. "Sir, if you don't believe us, please step into the rest-room once again. There's no one else around, right? And this door is quite a distance, so none of us can follow you."

N mulled over this. The janitor raised his eye-brows, as if to dare N. So N sighed and walked back to the rest-room, and just as he was nearing the place he turned to check. Yeah, they were all outside. He shook his head and went to the door.

This time round, the door was locked from the inside.


(More such 'booo...s' that happened in the very mall;in the next post).

Friday, August 01, 2008

At home...

She sat by the closed window, reading. The rain drops were drumming on the glass, her ears comfortable with that sound now. She turned the pages quietly...slowly. She took her eyes off the words for a moment, looking out. There was something about reading a romance when it rained. She sighed and looked outside. Oh, how she loved this setting. This house, the rain, the books...


The door opened and the lights came on in the room.

Nandini muttered something beneath her breath and walked to the window.

"Gosh, this window." She slapped her palm on her forehead. "Trust Rohit to fix the bolts."

She struggled with the bolts for a few seconds and closed the window. In the sudden silence, she felt a cold wave. She rubbed her palms before folding her arms. She was about to turn back, when she noticed the book on the ledge. That was funny. Only an hour back she'd cleaned the room and put everything back where it belonged.