Thursday, 13 July 2017

Cut a long story short

"You know Nik, I am in awe of people who can spend hours chatting on the telephone, mobile, Skype...whatever! It isn't that I am so incredibly busy that I don't have time for long conversations, no far from it," Nina mused aloud.
"So what's the problem? Go call up someone." Nik replied absently.
"Well to be honest, I do try to keep those vocal chords and social etiquettes functioning by occasionally calling up folk," Nina retorted.
"You see Nik, I've given up trying to keep up with the Joneses, Mehtas and Subramanians on their friendly FB capers!" Nina sighed. "Whatsapp messages felt too informal, so I dug out my phonebook and spent some time dallying over which contact to plague with my vocal deluge and this is how it went..."

Me: Ermm...Hi, hi uhmm...yes, Sulochana, hi Sulu (proud pat to self on getting that nickname)
Sulu: Hi, who's this?
Me: Nina, your college-mate from batch of '95?
Sulu: It was a class of 50 students!
Me: (getting a little worried) Remember, I sat next to you all of 2nd year?
Sulu: Oh, that Nina! I remember now! Happy times they were! Didn't you always sit in the last row? You were always late to class, ticked off by prof CLV, PRV and all other profs! Tell me, wasn't it boring to stand outside the class, that too without a mobile, those days! Hehehe! 
Me: (Testily) Not boring at all, I used to catch up on copying notes.
Sulu: You were forever scrambling to collect notes from me. But still, didn't you flunk the PC subject in the finals? Maybe you didn't study from my notes that time. 
Me: (Defensively) I was busy practising for the games marathon.
Sulu: I remember how you got thrown out of the Throwball team on the actual match day, sad that was! What really happened? Hello, hello, hello? 

"Yes, I cut the line. Amazing, how much and what people remember!" Nina huffed.

"After eons, I gathered strength to make another daring call, this time closer home, the near-dear-ones - NDO"

Me: Hello, it's me Nina. How are you all?
NDO: Aiyyo, what to say ma, not doing so well. My joint pain has become worse. Doing tests for creatinine, thyroid, dengue and chickungunya. At this age what to expect? I went to an acupuncture specialist that Ramya told me about, she is Ramya's husband's cousin's sister-in-law, so close family only. That lady assured me, she will treat me in just four sittings. What do you think?
Me: Hmm, that sounds great! (Tactfully, changing topic) How is mama?
NDO: Don't talk about your mama. He sits all day at home doing nothing and wants all varieties of food at his fingertips every 2 hours! Hmmph, you would think only babies needed feeding that often! His BP is high, sugar is high, prostrate enlarged, too much gas problem, wait let me read out his latest full-body check-up report, hold on.....Hello, hello, hello?

"Cut again. I was feeling a bit weak myself." Nina groaned.

"Another long breather later, I rallied around to fearlessly tackle yet another prospective listener, an old colleague."

Me: Hey buddy, how's it going?
Colleague: Oh, couldn't be better! You called to wish me, didn't you? How news travels! Yes, I got that promotion yaar! I knew I would get it! Did you see my update on FB? That was my new BOSS suit, got it on my last trip to Dubai. Brands cost but are classy, won't you say? 
Me: Of course. Congrats man!
Colleague: There were these three guys up for the post, but of course, no big deal in front of me. You know how clear my fundas are, don't you?
Me: (Fundas? Last I knew, this guy was googling how to use a calculator) Oh yes, that is true.
Collegue: Don't know if I should buy an Indian car or go for an international one. Wife prefers a Volkwagen but I am strong on Maruti Suzuki. Say what?
Me: Guess you need to research that. I was reading about this Tech beat....
Colleague: You read too much yaar! Anyway I was going to call you about a group holiday. You up? We are planning a road trip to...guess where?
Me: (Duh!!) Leh-Ladakh?
Colleague: No way!! How'd you guess? It is a top secret plan.
Me: Ermm, just a lucky guess?
Collegue: So you see, Rishabh, Swati, Neerav, Tejas are all gonna come.
Me: Who are they?
Colleague: Oh, you don't know them? Ahh, they are the new team now. Super team in fact. We do all trips together, with families. Like last month we went on this Vaishnodevi trip when Tejas's mom had packed us enough theplas for a month. Swati was road sick all through. Neerav's wife is a doctor so it was alright, you know....Hello, hello, hello? 

"Too much! I couldn't take it anymore!" cried Nina.

"Ages later, I weakly picked up the phone to call Sonu my childhood friend, who I believed would listen to me."

Me: Hey there! Can we talk?
Sonu: Of course, any time for you my dearest. Tell me all about it.
Me: Ah, well you know how it is.....(and I gleefully prepared to unburden my woes on this sympathetic ear)
Sonu: Wait a sec, do you know about the latest breaking news?
Me: Arnab is back? (I asked doubtfully)
Sonu: Shush! About Meena? She's planning to buy a farmhouse in Karjat! With a swimming pool. Servant's quarters. Just last month they bought an Audi A6. What do you say to that?
Me: Good for them?
Sonu: You are a total chump! Something is definitely on! And you know what Mrs Sinha's son is upto? He's going around with that Naina! Naina Joseph. Can you imagine? Them strict Brahmins and this a Christian girl! Now you tell me, what news you got ma' gal?
Me: Timmy just won the elocution competition and Bobby has been selected for the State level drawing competition. I am so excited!
Sonu: Oh how wonderful! I told my Rishi and Sheena to focus on academics, no wasting time with such competitions. They have enough trophies, no place in the showcase to add anymore.
Me: Get a new display unit?
Sonu: That's a great idea! Anyway I need one to display all my trophies and hubby's too! You know how good I was at school no? Best all-rounder thrice in a row. Team leader of the debate competition or was it collage making? Hello, hello, hello?

"Nobody wants to listen, you see Nik!" Nina sighed.
Nik wrapped an arm around Nina and said,"Well, that's life. People are waiting to be heard but listening to someone else....they just want to cut a long story short! Especially when the story is not about them! See I didn't cut your long story short though, did I?" 
"No, you didn't," Nina acceded, "But that's because we share the same story, isn't it?" 


Image source: Pixabay

Read other stories from Nina's World:  

1. Sunday - Happy Day
2. A Change of Heart
3. Delirious Dilemma
4. Holiday Ahoy - Part 1
5. Holiday Ahoy - Part 2  
6. Party Time - Wardrobe Woes
7. Party Time - Beauty Woes
8. Musical Rhapsody 
9. The Influencer - What would we do without you?
10.To Gift or not to Gift
11. Many Hats, One Master 
12. Party Ahoy!
13. Cut a long story short

Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.

­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Party Ahoy!

The long weekend was approaching. Nina wondered if she could host a party at her place to reciprocate all the parties and get-togethers they had been attending over the last year. 
Yes, a three day weekend was ideal! Preps from Fri eve through Saturday, party on Sunday and Monday to clean, catch up on chores and maybe even relax. Perfect plan! Now to call Nikhil and drop the bomb on him. 

Nikhil had very specifically planned on doing absolutely nothing on the long weekend. He'd been dreaming of sleeping all through Saturday, eating and watching TV on Sunday and catching up on morning snooze, afternoon nap and maybe watch a movie at the new mall on Monday to keep the kids happy. But no, Nina was buzzing about this party that would be the end of all his carefully planned weekend scheme.

On top of it, he had to take charge of the entire drinks menu.


Nina was whirring like a dervish, flitting from room to room. Duster in one hand, phone in the other she dusted, cleared, rearranged the whole house, room by room while barking out lists to the vegetable vendor, screaming at the hapless Timmy and Bobby for the umpteenth time to not keep their toys always lying where people would be bound to trip over them. She sidled up to the kitchen for a cozy chat with her cook to motivate her to not let her down like she usually did.

Nikhil had been tirelessly going through all the youtube video tutorials there were on making ice. It was not an easy task. Getting the perfect, sparkly, crystal clear cube was an art. That reminded him, he must check if they had enough ice-trays. By afternoon, he'd memorized all there was to know on the art of ice-making. He decided to put the knowledge to work now. 
The freezer revealed 2 bars of icecream, frozen peas, a bowl of a strange green colored dessert that he fervently prayed wasn't meant for the party, some boxes of dryfruits....but where were the ice-trays?
Panic-attack! "Ninaaaa......" 

Now how on earth was he supposed to know that the ice-trays would be in the children's art basket? And who used ice-trays as painting palletes? Nina, of course!
Scourging the tarnished trays took some serious grit and determination and bravely he rose to the occasion. The trays were now nearly back to their original color.
With a steady hand he poured water (twice boiled to be specific) into the trays, draining off any excess and gently wiping away any stray drops, exactly like the tutorial instructed. 
An idea struck him, a brainwave infact! What if he made flavored ice cubes like he'd seen in that show-off Thakkar's place? That guy couldn't stop bragging about his strawberry daiquiri he, Nikhil would show him something even better!

Bless the souls who selflessly upload the web with lifesaving hacks and tutorials, Nik thought gratefully as he browsed the umpteen videos on making mind-boggling, exotic ice cubes. From Bloody Mary to Tequila shot flavored cubes, it was a whole new dimension he was venturing into.
He gracefully concluded that he would settle for something within his reach. The Blue Lagoon cubes sounded exciting and doable. All he needed was a spot of blue Curaçao and a dash of lemon juice in his ice-ice-ice baby!
Blue curaçao seemed untraceable in the kitchen and hunting for it with the formidable cook, Sheela maushi reigning over it was next to impossible. "Ninaa....."

Hmmph! So much for creativity and invention! What can one do when the basic infrastructure is so lacking? Is it so difficult to stock blue curaçao or tabasco or lime cordial or Kahlúa or whatever? Nik settled for some 'nimbu ka ras' and 'pudine ka patta' that the cook graciously smuggled him after a verbal shoutdown from Nina when he asked her for that blasted blue curaçao! He would show her, real talent doesn't need great ingredients. It's just the technique and knack! With the finesse of a Michelin star cook he tossed the 'local  produce' into the ice tray and dexterously transferred them into the freezer.

The table was groaning with everything from noodles, pizza and pasta to idli-sambhar, dahi-wada and pav-bhaji.
The guests were all over the house, kids romping over carefully dusted sofas, adults wiping fingers on curtains, music blaring and laughter all across.
Nina keep a steady flow of starters and snacks running while Nikhil enthralled the company with his steady supply of jokes.
Suddenly Nina jabbed Nik from behind and whispered,"Get the drinks started, will you?"
Nik immediately excused himself and went to the kitchen. The counter was laden with crockery of every size and shape. The glasses were thankfully kept fore-front, sweaky clean and ready for some action! 
He pulled out the ice-trays and emptied the perfect flavored cubes into his latest acquisition - a Champion's trophy shaped ice-bucket, bit of bummer considering India lost it, but still he was quite proud of it.
Now to get the spirits and he'd be ruling the party! He hunted the fridge from top to bottom, unrelenting to its irritating alert beeps of door open. Not a spot of alcohol! A cold chill ran down his spine....he was supposed to get the booze yesterday! But what with all the hassle of the ice-cubes, he'd totally forgotten.


Nina was in bed with a book having decided to postpone 'Operation Clean-Up' till her aching bones agreed to co-operate. Oh, well the party had been a success after all, she mused. They had all laughed endlessly at Nik's faux-pas! Who cares that between herself and Sheela maushi, they'd messed up most of the dishes or there was no rum in the Mohito? 
All's well if you have good friends who tell you of the bigger blunders their husbands have made! Nina chuckled at the thought of Thakkar's guffawing face going pale as his wife narrated how he'd put the pasta in the dustbin and the vegetable peels in the fridge while helping her out in the kitchen. 
But seriously no one could beat Nik....I mean what is it about Men and Ice?

Image source: Pixabay


 Psst....Nik insists I share this Youtube tutorial: How to make Crystal Clear Ice cubes

Read other stories from Nina's World:  

1. Sunday - Happy Day
2. A Change of Heart
3. Delirious Dilemma
4. Holiday Ahoy - Part 1
5. Holiday Ahoy - Part 2  
6. Party Time - Wardrobe Woes
7. Party Time - Beauty Woes
8. Musical Rhapsody 
9. The Influencer - What would we do without you?
10.To Gift or not to Gift
11. Many Hats, One Master 
12. Party Ahoy!

Disclaimer: All the characters in the Nina's World series are fictional, any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental and unintentional.

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm

I am writing on today's prompt which is: Of Ice and Men


Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Monday, 19 June 2017

Little steps to Fame

He mopped his brow and reclined on his customized Lazyboy. A set hand brought him a tall glass of his favorite pick-me-up drink. Suzie, the prosthetic artist was fussing over the makeup which made him look like an out-of-this-world character that he was supposed to be playing in this multi-starrer Hollywood fantasy.

These Hollywood guys sure were professional, he thought to himself. Sipping his drink, he sat absolutely still to allow Suzie to do her work, which would take the better part of an hour, sometimes more, just for a touch-up between scenes. He allowed his mind to wander.

Back home, Bollywood had seen him in several comic sidekick roles. He'd landed his first big role in a mainstream movie playing the protagonist's best friend when one off-beat filmmaker decided to cast new faces in his movie. The film turned out to be a big hit and he never looked back. Roles of every kind landed at his doorstep but eventually he came to be known for the his sinister and villainous roles. He wondered dispassionately if he was really good at playing the meanie or his unusual countenance aided those menacing characters he portrayed.

Looking back further, he acceded that the little accident in the traveling circus did have a fortuitous outcome after all. When he fell off the trapeze and landed on his back, the audience and even his friends had burst out laughing. He was in a world of pain and barely managed to crawl backstage without any help. As he sat, wincing at the sharp pain shooting every time he moved his body to divest himself of the multicolored costume, he gazed at his pathetic frame in the mirror. Something inside him just cracked. He had to get away from this world and create a new one for himself. One where people would look up to him. 

He'd definitely done it, hadn't he? He sighed contentedly as he reveled in the foot massage, a service the producer had graciously arranged for his special star from India. He wasn't a little nobody now. He had avenged himself and his name.
His mother had named him, the eight child, after the then smallest currency in India when she noticed how tiny he was. Pie was unsure if she ever loved him but he was sure she would be smiling from above at her little midget son, smallest at barely 4' he was definitely not redundant like his namesake. Life had been good to Pie.


 Image source: Flikr Vancouver Film School

PieA pie (abbreviated as Ps) was a unit of currency in India, Burma and Pakistan until 1947. It was the smallest currency unit, equal to 1/3 of a paisa, 1/12 of an anna or 1/192 of a rupee. During the mid-nineteenth century, one pie was worth 12 cowry.
Minting of the pie ended in 1942, though it remained in circulation for a further five years. The pie was demonetised in 1947 as it had become practically worthless due to inflation.
Source: Wikipedia 

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm

I am writing on today's prompt which is: Life of Pie


­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Picture Perfect

 Picture Perfect

Bad hair and grey roots,

New members, here to stay. 

Spots and dots,

Don't pass off as freckles of late.

The chin wants to double,

Love handles do the jiggle.

Shakira croons, Hips don't lie,

Now you gotta teach them to lie.

Wipe an ugly pimple,

Deepen a little dimple.

Apps that gloss, polish and brighten,

Thin, blur and whiten.

Be flawless, be perfect

Beauty is picture perfect.

Selfie-queens sporting that pout,

Is that your only clout?

The fault is in our stares,

Insta-beauties, take off your glares.

 Haven't you heard?

Beauty is only skin deep.



Are we headed towards an age of perfection where only physical attributes need to be perfect?
Don't Judge a book by its cover. All that Glitters is not Gold. Remember?
Body shaming is becoming ritualistic. No one takes pride in their imperfections.
Grow up people! You are perfect as you are and just the way God meant you to be!

The masks of perfect selfie smiles hide the insecurities behind them.
That makes me want to sing...Tum itna kyun muskura rahe ho....
And no, I have nothing against selfie addicts just because I still don't know how to click the 'perfect' selfie! Is there a reason behind the obsession with getting the 'perfect' selfie? Food for thought!

Linking this post to the BAR-A-THON edition 2 at Blog-A-Rhythm

I am writing on today's prompt which is: The Fault in our Stares

­­Copyright © 2017 KALA RAVI