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)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


The sophisticated photocopying machine in my building was out of order. So, I walked to the other sophisticated machine in the opposite building. There I used the sophisticated scanner to scan my degree certificate. Bombay University's degree certificate looks so unsophisticated. I thought of uploading it here, but I am not doing that because somehow I feel that it may be misused by miscreants. On my way out, I smelt some real nice coffee. Vishal and I decided to have some coffee. The coffee machine looked sophisticated. It took us some time to understand its way of functioning. Once we had the coffee in our cups, we added sugar. But there was no stirrer in sight. I tried shaking the cup, but the coffee still tasted bitter. We wondered what to do next. Just then, I clenched all my fingers except the pointer together and put it in the coffee and stirred it(the coffee was not hot when i did this). I am unsophisticated. Just then I saw another guy in a similar situation. He just took another empty cup and poured the coffee from one cup to the other and repeated this process till the sugar was dissolved in the coffee. It was then that I realised, that I am not only unsophisticated, but also foolish.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Namaskar at the drop of a hat

Most Indians are religious people. They drop a Namaskar every now and then. If not in a temple, then there is a different form of Namaskar. Instead of joining hands, when they see a temple from a distance or something remotely like that, they touch their forehead with their hand, mostly their right hand and then kiss it. It is this form of Namaskar that I will be talking about in this post. I remember, every time a BEST bus passed Maruti temple near KabutarKhanna, almost everyone would peep outside their windows and drop a Namaskar to either the Maruti temple or the mosque that stood opposite to it. If they see a funeral procession, guess what they do? Right, drop a Namaskar. I have seen people who drop a Namaskar whenever they get in a local train in Bombay. Now things are not as bad as they are in London and what prompts people to do that is not known to me. If you just step on someone, a simple sorry is not enough. It has to be accompanied by a Namaskar. Now, not everyone is aware of this. Take this story that I heard from a reliable source. In some software company, a software engineer was explaining complexities in the system to his American client, who was wearing a short skirt. They were sitting on a table in the conference room when this guy happened to step on her toes. And how could he not drop a Namaskar. He touched her lap and then proceeded to touch his hand on the forehead and then kissed it. The American lady was stunned and it took quite a effort to explain that this was out of respect and not a lustful act. And this is my personal favourite. While traveling in a BEST bus, a guy dropped his mobile phone. The guy promptly picked it, dusted it, checked whether it was okay and then Namaskared the phone!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Nail Cutter

I met Mukul a day before I was going to shift to Bangalore. I had told him then, that shifting to Bangalore was like setting up a new house and I had to buy everything starting from a nail cutter. And I met Mukul again on the evening I was going to catch my train to Bangalore. And Mukul had come with a parting gift for me - a nail cutter. That nail cutter was one of my prized possessions. It so happened a few months later, that a new guy called Harish moved into our shared flat. The nail cutter he happened to buy was a replica of the nail cutter Mukul had gifted to me. x* coloured innerwear of y brand are banned in my house for anyone else because I wear them. But how can I also ban something like a nail cutter. I decided to keep my nail cutter safely in my toiletries box and not on the glass shelf. But a few days later, Harish staked his claim on my nail cutter. When I told him that the nail cutter was mine, he pointed to another one lying on the shelf whose plastic sticker had come off. His argument was, the one without the sticker had to be my nail cutter because it was older than his. I decided not to argue further and keep my nail cutter in some different place hidden from Harish. However, this never happened. Once there was this sticker factor that distinguished our nail cutters, I always kept my nail cutter on the shelf. I continued using my nail cutter till I cut my nails the last time, sterilizing it every time before use, quite mindful of the fact that it may be used by someone else who thinks that it is his own. But for the last fifteen days, since I felt the urge to cut my nails, the nail cutter is missing(Note: I am not blaming or suspecting Harish). I am not even finding Harish's nail cutter. So I now have very, very long nails, the non-transparent portion of which is about 4 mm in length and they are now looking very, very shabby. Looks like I will have to buy a new nail cutter today. There is a consoling factor though. I googled for nail cutter picture on google images. And I found a nail cutter having the same sticker(see pic) the nail cutter that Mukul gave me had.

x* : x may or may not take more than one value

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Welcome To Swagath

"Welcome to Swagath. Now Showing Dus. Timings ....", goes on a sad male recorded voice when you dial 080-26631086. Are the dumb looking(and dumb in their actions too) Swagath employees witty too? Swagath in Hindi and probably in Kannada too means 'Welcome'. Swagath, located in Jayanagar, is about 4 kilometres from my home and I guess the closest one too. It is one of the few theatres in Bangalore where they screen Hindi films. So, I am not giving you any prizes for guessing that on every weekend there is a long serpentine queue for tickets. Swagath is an old theatre but it has a nice screen and audio system. It is a different matter that some seats are in such a bad state that you might feel that you are on one of those chairs that one rests on for a sun bath. One good thing is that the tickets come cheap. A balcony one costs you 60 bucks(INR,1USD~=44 INR), the first class one 40 bucks and the second class(what imaginative names!) ticket comes for 30 bucks. They have recently increased the prices, but then no one is complaining. After all, in multiplexes a ticket may cost you anything between 150 rupees to 500 rupees. One of the stupid things about Swagath is their ticket booking system. Only the balcony tickets are available for advance booking. And the advance booking counter stays open only in the morning. The first class and second class tickets are available only on current booking(good for us!). And the booking for the second class tickets starts only after the first class tickets are over. To get to the first class booking counter you have to stand in a queue that passes through a cage that is very long and narrow. So if the tickets get over when you are in that queue(and cage), all you can do is look like caged animals as people rush to the second class counter. They have some more arbitrary rules too. For example at a particular movie, they give two tickets for each person in the queue whereas for some other movie they give just one. This ofcourse, is implemented when the queue is very long. Last Saturday, I went to see the movie Dus. When I went to my seat, I found that the guy sitting two seats from me was a compulsive spitter and was using the seat between us, which was unoccupied at that time, as a spittoon. Luckily I found people who were ready to swap seats with me, not knowing the fact that they would be resting their feet on litres of saliva. That was not the only surprise in store for me. Sanjay Dutt, a terrorist himself, was shown heading the anti-terrorist cell in the movie!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bun Maska Chai

There are not many Irani restaurants left in Bombay. Most of them have converted themselves into plush restaurants for obvious commercial reasons. But if you visit an Irani restaurant even today, Bun Maska Chai(BMC) is what you are probably going to order. Fresh bun, cut into half along its thickness and coated with a thick layer of Amul butter and then the two halves placed together and the bun cut again two times parallel to its diameter, so that it can be dipped in the small tea cups or glasses, was something that I could not resist when I passed Merwan or Kyani. Sometimes, I even used to have BMC for breakfast at home. But then nothing could beat the ambience of an Irani restaurant. Kyani for example has steps so big, that he has a thick rope hanging from the tall ceiling, that you have to hold while climbing(see picture). The interiors in these Irani restaurants are simple. A big counter where you find the cashier is shared along with a few boys who help in packing the bakery products kept in glass containers. The round tables with marble tops along with not so comfortable chairs add to the charm. No one complains even if you spend an hour sipping just a cup of tea(picture says otherwise!). I still remember my visits to Light Of Bharat, an Irani restaurant next to Babu Cycle Mart, along with my grandfather after cycling classes at Shivaji Park. That I did not learn cycling then is a different matter. The other incident that I remember is that a waiter in an Irani restaurant actually asked Mukul and me(both in school uniform) whether we had 10 rupees to pay for that the sick raspberry soft drink that we had ordered for. All that I miss in Bangalore. A few bakeries that do serve BMC do not even understand what I am ordering. They call it Bread Butter Tea. You just don't get the effect when it is said in all English. Moreover, you have to stand and eat. Nevertheless, today while waiting for my bus, I had BMC at a bakery near the stop. Just as I was about to eat the last piece, I spotted my bus. I just dumped the bun in my mouth and carried the tea(in disposable container) in the bus. Bombay ki yaad agayi (remembered Bombay).