Almost Always The Truth

This blog is about small incidents which have occured in the life of Neel Arurkar. Neel also writes about his family and friends in this blog.

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Location: Mumbai/Bangalore/Pune, Maharashtra/Karnataka, India

I am what you see :-)

Holi Bumper(Updated 14th Nov)

Thursday, March 31, 2005

April Fooling The Cabbie

I am no longer fooled by taxi and rick drivers. I have started fooling them. To avenge the exorbitant fare of Rs 35 demanded by the rick driver for travelling less than a mile on my very first day in Bangalore, I found the april fool day suitable. I had just landed from the KSRTC Volvo in Bombay(near Ruia College) and a flock of cabbies surrounded me.I ignored them and walked to the bus stop. A cabbie still approached me and asked,"kidhar jaana hai?"(Where do you want to go?). I asked him how far is Kabutarkhanna as if I did not know that it is minimum fare by bus.He said that it would take 15 minutes, which was an acceptable estimate.Then I asked him whether he knows the buses that go there and he started looking at the bus numbers printed on the bus stop. Just then my bus came at the stop. I told him "mera bus aa gaya"(My bus is here) and ran to catch the bus.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Life Is Beautiful

The previous post described how I 'celebrated' my birthday. But I missed writing about an important but sad happening. A fellow Infoscion lost his life on the infamous Hosur Road. Well, I did not know him, but Infosys is like a family to most Infoscions and the death of Amandeep Singh Gill was like a death of a close relative. Today as I was browsing through the bulletin board, I found a post by Amandeep. It was about a key of a bike that Amandeep had found in the parking area. It was posted barely 10 days before his death. One thing is for sure- avoid riding bikes on Hosur Road.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

How I Celebrated My **th Birthday

At 2330 hours on 23rd March, I was talking on the phone with my family when they said that they would call me up at midnight. I said that that was not necessary, considering that birthdays no longer are special days in my life. They never were actually, except I used to cry and feel sad when my birthdays used to come to an end. But that was during earlier years of my life. They called me not at midnight but at 2357 hours. I cut the phone and called them back because I had a cheaper mobile plan from Reliance.I told them that my birthday had not started yet,to which my sister replied that they heard the bell ring at the Portuguese Church which is about a kilometre away from my home. That guy never rings the bell on time. I distinctly remember he used to ring the 4 o'clock bell at 0410 hours when I used to cram for my engineering exams. Even as I was speaking on the phone I heard the beeps which indicated that Keyur was calling me. After speaking to Keyur, I sat on the terrace parapet(safe place--fall not more than 3 feet) pondering on the things which I still do not have or have not accomplished. Thats when I heard some hushing in my house. My roomies were not knowing about my birthday and I was happy about that because I was spared of those nasty kicks which Saumil got on his butts(I would have prefered to use a***). But now this hushing bothered me and as I entered the hall, Saumil asked me 'tera birthday hai kya?'(Is it your birthday today?). He was sleeping in the hall, because the fan in his bedroom was out of order-now for almost six months. The second phone had probably disturbed him. He confessed that he had swithced on the TV to check the time while I was talking on the phone and because it was exactly midnight he thought that it was my birthday.Lateral thinking. After about a minute of chatting with Saumil, I retired for the day. I was in dead sleep at 0545, when Nirmal gently asked me to move my hand aside. I was sleeping in some awkward position(no pun intended) and was blocking the access to the wardrobe. That did not disturb me much and the next thing to disturb me was the alarm set to 0715 hours on my mobile phone. I snoozed and went to bed, only to be waken a few minutes later. This time I did not snooze the alarm and was again into deep slumber before I somehow woke up at 0805 hours. I was trying to go to office early from the past one week(No reason being specified here. Draw your own conclusions). I was dressed up by 0845 and thats when Saumil told Harish that it was my birthday. Harish who had come at 0230 the previous night and was sleeping on the floor using the rolled bed as a pillow somehow managed to open his eyelids and then somehow managed to wish me. Saumil then said, " kya neelbhai birthday ke din shave nahi kar raha hai?"(Why did you not shave today?). I just said, " kya farak padta hai?"(What difference does that make?) and switched off the TV and bade goodbye to Udayan Mukherjee. We took an autorickshaw to the main road because it was a different day and different because we were late. Once into the Infy bus, I got a comfortable seat. Snigdha got into the bus at the next stop. She sat next to me, but I never told her that it was my birthday because I am a modest person and I did not want everyone in the bus to wish me. Manish called me to wish and I was sure that Swapnil and Heramb would call me sometime later in the day. Manish, Swapnil and Heramb are few guys from whom I do not hide many things. After I reached Infy I waited for Saumil to alight from the bus. He was sitting in some remote corner of the bus and it took him atleast three minutes to get down. We then proceeded towards Plantain Leaf, where I had Idli Vada( I usually avoid Vadas because of the dirty oil they put in). I was surprised when Allu wished me over there. Poets never forget birthdays. Swapnil also called me to wish and told me that the three musketeers were going to Matheran for the long weekend they were having in Bombay. When I came to my seat I found a yellow letter envelope with "To Neel N Arurkar" scribbled on it. I should have guessed who had put it over here considering that that person had included my middle name in it. But then I could not hold the excitement and opened the envelope.Obvioulsy it should have been Dheepak and Dheepak it was. In addition I also found a mail from him. Care was taken to send the mail at a time when I just logged in , so that I would find it on the top of all other mails...Coincidence??--I dont think so. I replied stating that though I liked the card it was not necessary to spend money and buy it. When you can save money, you should. There were a few mails wishing me and a few phone calls too. I picked up all the phone calls first against the usual practice of Keyur picking it up first anticipating Mukul's call. For those of you who do not know Mukul, he is one of the closest friend I have ever had till date.Over years we had perfected the art of talking without words and could bitch about you without you even knowing about it when we are sharing a table over a cup of coffee.It was a wait of a few more phone calls before a different ring was heard. It was Mukul calling. The last time we spoke to each other on a telephone was at about 1 am , 10th August 2004(have you seen Dil Chahta Hai?) when he had called me from the Bombay Airport.Yes, we had spoken on Yahoo Chat(voice) when I had gone home for Diwali, but not on telephone. We spoke for quite a long time. He told me that with every passing birthday I was moving away from home. I celebrated my last birthday, which was also the first birthday away from home was celebrated at Pune. He suggested that the next birthday could be somewhere even further.Since this is mail is going to be sent to my project group too, I must clarify that I am not writing of the work done on my birthday because the audience would not be interested in that and it was not that I did not touch work for the entire day. Just as I hanged up, Keyur was punching buttons on his engage and told me that he was calling 'Professor'. Professor was his previous landlord who is making lot of nakhras to give back their deposit. When Keyur returned to his desk, I noticed that it took him a unusally long time. He told me that he got one more call after the Professor's call. In just a few minutes two one kg Chocolate Fantasies were there at my desk. Ira had sent mails to the entire group minus me "Join me in wishing Neel for his birthday".The cakes were good. I cut them with a plastic spoon and blew away an unlit candle as we could not find a matchbox. No one smokes in my entire team!!!I served the unequally cut pieces to the team starting with the boss. I told them what Mukul had told me about moving further away from home to which Shubhashis reminded me that I no was no longer a boy. Anirban added that the next year, I could move further away from home, something which Mukul had spoken about too. As people were wiping away their hands, I invited them to a small icecream party as is the norm with our group. Marriages, child births, new cars and all other happy occasions end up strenthening my vow to work out in the gym regularly to burn the fat I am putting on. Later, I learnt that Keyur was in my bus and explicitly asked Saumil to keep mum, because he wanted to order a cake at CCD.Tummy was full and it was a late lunch at about 1330. Keyur and Neha waited for about 10 minutes in the building lobby as Lech finished some of his work before leaving for lunch. We were joined by Sarang, Rajan and Bhavman at Golconda. Two big pieces of cake had filled my tummy enough and I had just a fruit plate and a milkshake for lunch. I had to keep some space for the icecream at four. When our team left at four for the party, we once again had a chance to carry out stress testing for the elevator. It is a big team now. The treat was at Orchard Fresh, a deviation from the usual practice of having it at Amul(I am a fan of Verghese Kurien, but needed a change. Orchard Fresh serves some good icecream flavours like Orange Fantasy, apricot with wine and also milkshakes and sodapops. About 40 minutes were spent here. Once at my desk, I did some work before I retired to write a part of this post. Busy Heramb called at about 7 pm. At about 8 pm, Neha was at my desk to give me some lessons about Futures and Options. Unfortunately, I could not get the demo as the site was down(not writing the name here, beacuase I dont want to advertise about them, especially since the two Cs in their name stand for Chor). Meanwhile, Wilson called me and asked me what future I see about the Indian Market and what stocks can be picked. Sometimes I think I have more domain knowledge about equity markets than the people who are working in that domain. We left by the 9:15 bus. I usually have the habit of travelling home alone(note: alone not lonely). That gives me time to think, observe and sometimes eavesdrop(when people talk about loudly.not intentional).I got down at the BTM water tank and proceeded alone to Balaji. Balaji is a restaurant that serves 5 mm thick rotis(hyped). Regular dinner was skipped as I settled down for a Masala Dosa and WaterMelon juice. I have often thought about not eating at Balaji because that guy employs child labour, but I do not have any choice. My roomies are not open to cooking at home and other hotels in my area suck. Once out of the hotel, I phoned home. I told them how the day was and they told me that they had gone to a temple in the evening. The last time I have been to a temple is with my friends to appreciate the art over there and that was out of the city when we were on a picnic. My sister teased me that there were less than 90 minutes left for the 'special' day to get over and I suggested that she should give me a missed call at twelve. Once at home, Saumil asked me how the day was. Harish had decided to stay back in Infy and Nirmal had gone home for Holi. Meanwhile Heramb, Swapnil and Manish called once again to wish me. After hanging up, I started watching a Anil Kapoor movie going on(Nayak) on some channel out of the 100 odd channels.Back home, I did not have that many options. It was either DD1 or DD2. It was an okay movie and I started watching it. The movie is about how a middle class boy goes on to become a chief minister and weeds out corruption in the society. I was 'engrossed' in the film, when I got the missed call. The day was over. But then who cares. I am no longer a boy.
PS: Some events might not be written since the blog is for all kinds of audiences.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Chaplinitis were competitions immensely popular across America in the 1910s where people imitated Charlie Chaplin. It was at one such Chaplinitis, as the legend goes, that Charlie Chaplin was awarded the third position. People also talked about the duplicate Saddams. Identifying the fakes have been a real headache for people(no pun intended). I remember Mukul forging my signature on a notebook during a boring lecture at Ruia. Yes, Abhiroop adjugded the forged signature as the real one. In a similar incident, my degree certificate was being verified. I had a coloured photocopy in addition to the original. I asked the person in authority which one was the original. Sure enough, the chaplin certificate lost.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Malayalee Face Cut

Haircuts in Bangalore are about 50% cheaper than they used to be in Bombay. However, I am disadvantaged here because I cannot decipher the barber gossip. The saloon where I have been visiting ever since I have come to Bangalore is called RamLakhan Haircutting Saloon. It has a 2ft*3ft tin portrait of Anil Kapoor parked right in front of the entrance. The barber now knows me to an extent that I dont have to tell him how to cut my hair. But still he always asks me a question.."Malayalee??" and I say no. Then he goes on with a list "Tamil?,Telgu?,Kannad?" and thats when I stop him and tell that I am "Hindi" for I am sure he has never heard of a language called Marathi. This has repeated as many times as I have had an haircut. So finally, the last time I went I asked him why he thinks I am a Malayalee and he told me that I have a Malayalee face cut!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

L'attitude Difference

Does the difference in latitudes contribute towards the difference in attitudes. Yes, if I compare the experiences I have had in these two cities. Geographically speaking Bangalore(12°57'N,77°37'E) and Bombay(18°54'N,72°49'E) are two cities about a thousand kilometres apart. Bombay is the commercial capital of the country and Bangalore is the software hub of India. I need not speak about Bombay and the opportunities it provides, but considering the fact that the software industry is one of the important contributor to the Indian economy, Bangalore is an important place on the map of India too. But the key difference between these two places, apart from the fact the Bombay is humid and Bangalore is cool, is that Bombay is a cosmopolitan city and Bangalore is a pseudo cosmopolitan city. People just start speaking to you in Kannada. Whether it is at some shop, restaurant or city buses, people will always start speaking in Kannada. And even if you start speaking in Hindi, which is the national language, people still speak to you in the local tongue. This must be beacuse they either dont know to speak the national language or they dont want to speak it. This would never be the case in Bombay, where no one will assume that you speak the local tongue. The bus conductor would always say " jaldi chadho" and not " lavkar chadha" (or bega, bega, bega as Bangalore bus conductors might say). Sometimes I feel that a survey of how many people in the city, whose mothertongue is not Hindi can understand and speak Hindi, should be conducted across cities in India.
To conclude, I would like to say that I am expecting some harsh comments from Kashyap who hails from Bangalore. But the truth is that Bangalore will take another decade atleast to become a truly a cosmopolitan city, a fact which most Bangaloreans are not comfortable with.

The Moment Of Truth

Never has Neel blogged an event within an hour of the event happening. But today is a different day.
I have often felt guilty for not intervening at the right time. When a taxi caught fire opppsite Portuguese Church and people gheraoed the taxi driver and were almost going to rough him for no fault of his, I remained a mute spectator. Not only had the poor cabbie lost his taxi to the flames but now he was being roughed up by the trigger happy people. Another incident which comes to my mind happened opposite Borivili station at a softy joint during my engineering days. The softywalla gave a lady a biscuit cone which he had just dropped on the floor a few minutes ago. In this case however I blasted the softywala after the lady had gone. But the damage was already done.
I did not remain a silent spectator today though. The incident occured when I was about to board the 1030 am bus to Infy. Infy bus(contracted) driver sharply cut lanes and stopped at the bus stop. A moped dirver had to brake in order to prevent an accident. It was Infy bus driver's fault. The moped driver parked his vehicle in front of the bus. Something was about to happen and I knew I would be in no position to decode the conversation since it would happen in the local language, Kannada. But I do understand the language of the world (influenced by The Alchemist). The mopedwala shouted something at the driver which I am sure were the dirtiest of expletives in Kannada. And that was not all. He marched towards the door of the bus. I knew if I remained a mute spectator to this event, I would further be trampled under the mountain of guilt. This was the moment of truth. Just then the indignant mopedwala picked up a brick lying on the pavement. I held him and tried to calm him down. I pleaded on behalf of the bus driver and told him to let the matter go. Well I confess that I couldnt calm him down completely. But he atleast did not hurl the brick at the windshield and I would like to take the credit for that. He went ahead and started arguing with the driver and I knew that my job had been done. I now was walking to board the bus. And now some bike driver says to me " maar khana hai kya.... bus main jaake beth jao"(do you want to get thrashed.... get into the bus). I gave him the stare of his life. It is the eyes which speak your strength(The Alchemist again). I did not want to get engaged in a brawl. The rest of the people were mute spectators. Not one came ahead to help the bus driver. I got into the bus. Then I heard a feeble brick bang against the tin of the bus. That was necessary to satisy the ego of the moped driver. The windshield was saved. No one was hurt. And I am sure there was no damage to the bus. I could see the bike driver(not the moped driver)laugh and drive away. He had seen one tamasha and was happy with that. The bus driver was happy because he was not thrashed. People in the bus were happy because they could now go to office. And I was happy because I got a story to blog.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The 6 Rupee Ticket

It remained nailed in my cubicle for three months. I resisted the temptation of attaching it with the LTA application. Well the six rupees would have saved some tax for me. But then, it is the sentiment that matters. It was a western railway ticket from Dadar to Vile Parle. That was the last time I had travelled by local train in Bombay. I was planning to preserve it atleast till the next time I go to Bombay.
Such small things do bring comfort to you when you are a thousand kilometres away from home. But that was not to be. The house keeping staff cleaned my cubicle last weekend and threw the ticket away.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


How much money you make is not important. But how you make it certainly is. This I have known eversince I was a child. I started a gambling den even before I ever gambled. I was in ninth standard at that time and there was a cricket World Cup going on. I started accepting bets on matches. I did not know anything about probability and neither did the rest of the students. The guys and gals who put money were just asked to name the country that would lift the cup and if they got it right, they would double their money. About 30 people placed bets with me. Everyone placed bets on almost all countries except SriLanka. And when SriLanka won the tournament, the only one who was happy was me. I had accumulated a fortune of Rs. 21.50/-
Eventhough, the den was closed after the tournament and I became a computer engineer and not a bookie, I still love making easy money. A hundred bucks of easy money is worth a lac you get from fixed income(HBEMWLFI).

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Set Theory Behind Blogging

Just google my name and you find my blog. So what is to be put into the blog has to be carefully looked into because your blog is in public domain. There are things you would not like your friends to know and there are things you would not like your employers/prospective employers to know. Not that I care much, but then when you visit my blog you may see 'I am what my blog is. Well, ALMOST ' in the about me section.It is the almost part that matters the most. So what you have here is a careful intersection of what I want various types of audience to view. And if you expect to find a post about how I threw the fly out of my pineapple juice and simply drank the rest, you must be crazy.