Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Indian Trip

Jeremy Baines was a 32 year old businessman who had recently taken over from his father as the Managing Director of their £ 500 mn family business based out of Southampton, England. Baines Textiles Co. manufactured clothes under the brand name of YOUNG which was a Semi premium clothing brand & was considered among the best in this segment in the United Kingdom. Jeremy was a commerce graduate who went on to do his MBA from Cambridge University, just like his father. There family business was now 45 years old. It was started by Jeremy’s grandfather Thomas Baines at a local level, taken to a national level by his father Colin & Jeremy aimed to take this business international. Baines’ were already getting their clothes manufactured from Ludhiana in India, which was known for its textiles industry. Hence, Jeremy thought that it would be a good idea to start his international experiment from India, since India was an upcoming economy with people constantly shifting towards branded clothing, there was huge business potential in the country.

For this purpose, Jeremy thought of entering into an alliance with an Indian company which could market the clothes in India as the Indian market couldn’t be handled the same way as it was being done in England. He decided to go and personally meet the two companies that had been shortlisted by the marketing department of the company. Jeremy was being assisted by Rajat Malhotra, an Indian friend who had been of great help while finalising the Indian manufacturing contracts as well. As Baines Co were also in the process of finalising possible alliances in US and Canada as well, Jeremy made sure that the meetings took place on the same day so that he had to spend minimum time out of office. Both the shortlisted companies were based out of Bombay so his meetings were scheduled on the same day, one on both sides of lunch.

Jeremy’s wife, Trish and 6 year old daughter, Stacy were very excited with Jeremy’s India trip and Jeremy agreed to take them along. The Baines landed in India the night before the meetings were scheduled. The return flights were booked for 3 days later. They were to put up in Hotel JW Marriot in Bandra, where the meetings were also scheduled to take place.

Jeremy’s first meeting started at 1000 and in the meanwhile Trish & Stacy left to have a look at the city they had all heard so much about. Stacy was particularly excited about visiting the Gateway of India which she had recently read about in her history books. They were accompanied by Rajat’s wife, Anjali. They spent most of the morning in and around Bandra. They went to Bandra Bandstand and to Juhu beach. They were particularly surprised by the number of people standing outside the houses of Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachhan. Anjali explained to them the reason for this hoard of people outsides the houses. They ofcourse had heard the names but had no idea how big they were. Stacy put into perspective when she said, “So, they are like the Beckhams of India.” Anjali had to agree but added, “Maybe more. Atleast in India!”

At about 5 pm, Jeremy called Trish to inform her that he had decided to award the contract to Arvind Textiles but it will take him another couple of hours to finalise the contract and some other formalities. Since, Jeremy knew about Stacy’s excitement towards visiting the Gateway of India, he fixed a date with his wife and daughter to catch them for dinner at the Taj Mahal Palace at 8 p.m. In the meanwhile, Anjali decided to take the mother-daughter pair for a trip to the south of Mumbai. The resemblance this part of the city had to the English style and architecture was almost impossible to miss. Trish was surprised by how different this country and city was from what all she had read and saw. She had a totally different mental image of the city after recently having seen Slumdog Millionaire, which was currently a huge hit in Britain. But, she was also surprised by how much variety this city had to offer, where some parts of the city were full of slums and filth, another part of the city looked like the home to the elite. It was a city where you could find a group of burqa clad women walking next to a group of women walking in their ultra modern attire and no one seemed too shocked or surprised looking at the other. She felt she had already learnt more about India than she ever could from books and movies. She decided to convince Jeremy for a full fledged vacation in India next time around. Stacy on the other hand was having an experience of her own. Having been brought up in the calm and relaxed environment of Southampton, she was enjoying the mad rush of the city. Where her mother was despising the traffic, she loved it whenever there car stopped at a traffic signal and a line of cars would soon queue up behind them.

At 8:10 p.m., Trish and Stacy reached the Taj Mahal Palace along with Anjali and were greeted by Jeremy and Rajat in the lobby itself. Rajat and Anjali excused themselves citing prior commitments despite a lot of persuasion from Jeremy and Trish. They headed towards the restaurant Rajat had recommended after seeing them off. Trish had always taken a lot of interest in the business so Jeremy updated Trish about all that took place that day. He was rather satisfied with how it had gone. Stacy was getting bored with all the business talk. So it was her chance to explain to her father what all she did during the day and what all she found interesting about the city. Jeremy was also getting excited to learn more about the city. He was glad when Trish proposed the idea about visiting India their next vacation.

They asked for the cheque as the clock struck 10. Stacy was still not satisfied as her wish of visiting the gateway had still not been fulfilled. As they came down to the lobby, Stacy got super excited as she got a glimpse of the Gateway. Jeremy asked Trish to go after Stacy as he went to the washroom.

As Trish and Stacy crossed to the road, and were moving towards the Gateway, they heard gun shots. Trish turned towards the hotel entrance and saw some men entering the hotel with guns in hand. Stacy was crying, Trish had no idea what to do but she knew she had to get her act together. She took Stacy and hid behind the Shivaji Statue in front of the Gateway of India. One of the terrorists who had attacked the hotel noticed them while entering the hotel and came back and shot in their direction. The Maratha Warrior was there to save the mother-daughter duo. As the terrorist moved back in, Trish’s first reaction was to grab her phone and call Jeremy but she just couldn’t reach him. She again tried calling Jeremy but the same result. She tried again and the operator informed her that the phone is switched off. She was panicked and afraid. It had been 15 minutes now that she had been hiding behind the statue. She saw a rush of police vehicles followed by Press Vehicles arrive. She wanted to talk to someone to get some information about Jeremy but didn’t want to move as Stacy was also in danger. She couldn’t leave her alone as she was in no position to stay here by herself. She had been crying from the moment this started. She decided to wait. Her wait went on and it had been an hour when a couple of reporters came towards her to set up there station. She waved frantically as she was still afraid to make noise. One of the reporters saw her and they came running towards her. She explained the situation to them. They told her that its impossible to get inside the hotel but they will try to get any information if possible. Just when her hopes were dying down, she saw a group of 5 men come running out of the Hotel’s front entrance. She saw him running out in his black suit. A look from 100 metres far was still enough to spot him. As Stacy saw her father, she made a run for him but Trish was quick to catch her. She still couldn’t take the risk of letting her daughter run free in that situation. But she couldn’t stop Stacy from shouting, “DAD.” This was enough for Jeremy to spot his daughter. He came running towards his wife and daughter. He came and hugged both of them. This was the
first time after her birth that Jeremy was happy to see his daughter cry as he knew it could have been worse.

The Baines did return for their Indian holiday.They were the first to check into the hotel after Taj Mahal Palace reopened two years later.

A work of fiction,inspired from a real incident

*Dedicated to the 166 men & women who lost their lives in 26/11 terror attacksin Mumbai*

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Volvo Connection

It was a cold January night in Delhi with temperature having fallen to 2 degree Celsius. The rain was making it worse. He had just missed the 0030 Volvo by a whisker. The next Volvo was to leave at 0130 hours. He couldn’t even think of travelling 5 hours in a normal bus in this chilling cold. It being a Friday night meant that there was already a big queue at the ticket counter, which made him realise that even if he had reached on time he wouldn’t have got a ticket for the 12:30 bus. He was no. 10 in the queue which gave him a sense of relief as he was almost certain to get a ticket. It had been a year now since Ansh Arora had been regularly taking this Delhi-Chandigarh Volvo, that too on Friday nights in most cases, but he had still not got used to this mad rush and standing in queues for the bus. The sale of tickets had still not started as the bus was yet to reach the bus stand. The number of people behind Ansh was way beyond the number of seats in the bus. He never understood why people wasted so much time in the queue when they had no hopes of getting a ticket. All of a sudden there was a lot of commotion around the counter as the bus had come and the conductor had taken his seat at the ticket counter. Some people made an attempt to give money to others standing in the front of the queue so that they may buy a ticket for them, which always was accompanied by shouts and abuses from everyone at the back. Suddenly a girl came towards Ansh and said, “Hi Rahul, Here is what you asked for” and handed him a note which read:

Please do me a favour. Buy a ticket for me and I will pay you in the bus .If you don’t have enough money just call for me and ask for it.

Ansh was surprised at first but after reading the note, his first reaction was “Nice Move.” He turned and looked at the girl. Her clothes were drenched with water and water was dripping from her hair. But she still had a certain class about her and her beauty was quite visible. She was wearing a red coloured jacket with blue jeans accompanied with a nice pair of footwear. Ansh had always believed in the philosophy he picked up from a story he had read in school-You can always judge a person by his/her footwear. The story had actually talked about just the colour, but Ansh made it more subjective and if the footwear were to his liking, he considered the person worth talking to. Since the girl passed the footwear test, wasn’t half as bad looking and was certainly pretty clever, he thought he is going to have a nice journey. He thought of making a move of his own and looked at her. She had now changed into a new set of clothes-A black cardigan to go with a new pair of jeans. He said, “Hey, Aamya. Why don’t you grab a couple of packets of chips?” and ended it with a wink. Aamya couldn’t help a smile.

As Ansh got out of the line with two tickets in hand, people had no idea how a 20 something Aamya Chauhan had got her ticket without getting into the trouble of standing in the queue and one person who was supposed to get that ticket would now have to go shivering in a normal roadways bus.

The bus was supposed to leave in about ten minutes and Ansh made a move towards his fellow passenger. Since he had asked for two tickets, it was understandable that they got adjoining seats. As he handed over the ticket to her, she took the ticket and said thanks. Ansh introduced himself, “By the way, Its Ansh. Rahul is too common” to which she replied, “ Mine will still be Aamya.” Both of them started to laugh.

Both of them took their seat in the bus as the bus started its engines. After the initial customaries, Aamya had not shown a lot of interest in Ansh and had got busy with her phone-A couple of phone calls and then some texts. The first thought that crossed his mind was what any single(or maybe not) young male in his early 20’s would have-Whether or not does she have a boyfriend?

Aamya was currently having this conversation with her best friend Tia.

A-What sort of a guy is he. There were 10 people in front of him in line, I could have approached anyone of them but I chose him. Isn’t that a signal enough that I am interested in him? Now does he expect me to bend over and kiss him?

T-I am sure he won’t mind that...lol...Maybe he is just showing attitude? Does he seem like that kind.

A- No, not at all. Hes just so sweet, I don’t think he is at all the attitude types. Already has a girlfriend maybe

T-But you said on the phone that you have not seen him talking on the phone or texting since you saw him

A-Not all couples are like that-talking all the time. Anyways, I am on roaming right now. Can’t message anymore. Will inform you if something happens. Catch ya in the morning. Gn. Tc

Ansh had never been diplomatic with his words so as soon as Aamya kept the phone in her bag, “Boyfriend?” he asked. Aamya just managed to control her laughter and managed to say, “ No, a friend.” This was enough of a signal for Aamya to understand that the guy is interested, maybe a bit shy. She decided to play the waiting card as she didn’t want to show him that she too was interested.

Almost forty five minutes had passed and the bus was about to leave Delhi, Aamya had fallen asleep and her head fell on Ansh’s shoulder. As soon as she noticed, Ansh kept on looking at her beautiful face slowing alongwith the orange lights across the city. He felt an urge to touch her soft cheeks or play with her hair but he knew he will have to control himself. The driver had to put instant brake as a cow turned up in front of the bus. Aamya woke up with the jerk and caught a glimpse of Ansh trying to turn his face, but he was just a bit late. Aamya felt a bit embarrassed but had a smile on her face because after long she had met a guy who was admiring her beauty and wasn’t being ridiculous at that. Most of the guys she met acted too smart and would try and flatter her with remarks about her face and beauty. She was liking the way Ansh was secretly looking at her so she decided to do away with the “never be the first mover” rule as she anyways had made the first move at the bus stand.
“Don’t like talking to girls?” She said

Ansh- Nothing like that. Just that you came and got busy with the phone so I thought you were just interested in the ticket and may think of me as some despo who starts to pester a girl just because he bought her a bus ticket.

Aamya-Well if someone helps me get into a bus which I had no hopes of getting into, I won’t consider him trying to talk as pestering. You think of me as some bitch-Just Interested in the ticket...huh

Having recently come out of a relationship having spanned a good two years, it wasn’t easy for Ansh to start a conversation with a girl or to “hit” on her so as to say. Flirting with some cheeky lines was one thing but actually being involved in a proper conversation was something different.

Ansh-I am sorry. I didn’t mean it like that.

Aamya- Its ok. I am just kidding. So what do you do?

Ansh-I am currently pursuing my MBA from IIM Indore.

Aamya-Oh. So an IIM guy! No matter you think it beyond your level to try and start conversations with girls

Ansh-Believe me IIM guys are the last people on earth who can have that arrogance.

Aamya-What makes you say so.

Ansh- You haven’t seen the kind of girls we have in our batch. We have a popular joke that girls at IIMs should be rather addressed as Non-Males. Even those who are decent looking have hoards of men after them as they are rare. Guys like Chetan Bhagat are rare as he himself has pointed out in his book.

Aamya-I am sure you are exaggerating. It can’t be that bad

Ansh-Well, ya maybe not that bad but if we mellow it down then girls like you won’t take pity on us and we may lose the chance of being considered by some good girls.

Aamya-I take this as a compliment, Thank you. And where were these plethora of words lost before I started this conversation. I was beginning to doubt myself.
Aamya laughed at her own flirtatiousness.

Ansh-Told you, didn’t want you to think of he as some mauke ka fayda uthane wala.

Aamya-Maine bhi to wahi kiya. Bura Kya hai!

Both started to laugh.

Ansh- What about you. What do you do?

Aamya- I just passed out of UIET, Panjab University last year. Currently working with TCS in Mumbai.

Ansh- Oh really. I passed out of DCET, a year prior to you I think.

Aamya thought for a while and asked, hoping she is wrong, “ Are you the Ansh Arora who was dating our senior Isha Singh?”

Ansh was not expecting this at all.

Ansh-Ya. I was the one.

Aamya read(or imagined) a certain reluctance in his voice

Aamya-You didn’t seem to like the question

Ansh-Ah, Not exactly. We broke up some time back. We are still friends but I don’t want my past to hamper any chances I may have in the future.

“Or in the present” she thought and almost smiled. But she had a doubt cropping in her mind-Was he over her, as they were known to be one of the most popular couples in college. People thought they may even go on and marry.

It had been more than an hour since they finally started talking but the last hour went before it came. They both knew there was a chemistry going on but both had some doubts. Will it end as just another crush or will something bloom from this chance meeting?

The Bus halted near Karnal for about 15 minutes. Some people got off the bus, others preferred to sleep inside the cosy atmosphere of the bus instead of the facing the teeth clenching chill. Ansh & Aamya were just sitting when Ansh asked, “Would you like to out on coffee with me?” Aamya was impressed by how Ansh always had a cheeky line for every moment. She had no option but to say yes, she was in awe of this guy from the moment she saw him and the feeling kept getting stronger from the moment he started to talk. But, she added, “ I thought you will never ask me out. And here of all places?”

Ansh was again swift with his reply, “ Can’t take the liberty of being late with everything. Can I?”

It was the most unique first date Aamya had ever had-Having coffee at a roadside joint which isn’t exactly a Barista! But then, nothing in this meeting had been the usual for her. A girl who was no stranger to guys hovering all around her felt strange falling for a guy at first sight. If that wasn’t enough, having to make the first move.

As they got back into the bus, they both felt a bit sleepy but both were trying to get rid of their sleep and the coffee had helped a bit in that regard. Soon they knew where both of them lived, what cars they drive, who were there best friends and all the details one might have thought of getting to know in the first meeting.
This time it was Ansh who slept on Aamya’s shoulder. But, what Aamya did was more or less what Ansh had done. She just kept looking at him. All doubts she had of whether or not he had forgotten Isha were gone but what about him? She could tell from the way he was looking at her throughout the journey that he also felt a connection but was he ready? She thought of calling Tia and consulting but she was afraid that he may get up and will certainly not like to hear whatever she felt like asking. She decided to go with her gut instinct.

As the bus reached Sector 35 , she reluctantly nudged Ansh to wake him up. Ansh had no idea that he had been asleep for almost an hour. She lived in Sector 37 so she generally got down at 35 but she gave it a miss this time. He got up and gave her a smile. She reciprocated. As the bus finally reached its final halt, they both got down . Aamya had decided that she will go whichever way he took her-If he wants to take it forward, she will be glad but if he feels he is not ready, she will just let it be.

Aamya-“So thats it”
Ansh-“Would it be alright if I dropped you home in an auto.”
Aamya’s apprehensions flew away
She just smiled, walked to him & held his hand.

Love Doesn't need time, it just needs a chance

This is my first short story. So your feedback will be highly appreciated and will go a long way in helping me improve in the future.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A welcome change

Political debates in India have generally been about Congress and BJP ripping each other apart, with the third front (if one exists) parties taking a side whichever is convenient to them. The last week has been a welcome change in that regard. Be it the nuclear liability bill or be it the increase in salaries of MPs, the two parties have shown a united face. I don’t earn my bread through premature interpretations or by creating controversies hence I won’t make an attempt to read between the lines. I am just happy to see the two principal parties in the country come together on some issues and forget secularism or pseudo secularism for some time. At the same time, I feel it is necessary for the media and other sections of the society not to develop unnecessary connections and mislead people into territories which stregthen the already very strong anti-political sentiment in the society. We should just see this as an attempt on part of these two parties to seek whats good for the country, unanimously.

It was great to see Manish Tewari, the Congress Spokesperson, saying on television that there will always be two schools of thought as in how to run the country which is infact good for the country as people have two choices. Of course, this welcome change has not been welcomed with open arms by the likes of Lalu Prasad and left parties. Lalu Prasad has accused BJP and Congress of a secret deal where BJP has supported the N-liability bill in lieu of Narendra Modi going scot free in the Gujarat Riots case. This outrageous accusation(outrageous because this is Congress’ biggest accusation and point gatherer against BJP so there is no way Congress will let go of Modi) stems out from the fact that Bihar elections are due this year and Lalu wants to garner some Muslim support. But I guess Mr Lalu has already got more publicity than he deserves so enough of him. On a question of why such unity is not seen more often, one of the senior members of CPM said on a TV show that BJP and Congress keep changing their statements depending on whether they are in government or in opposition, hence we should not expect the “coming together” that often. To this, Manish Tewari was quick to point out, “so you are conceding that atleast you will never be coming to power” which brought a laughter to all panellists sans the left leader. Such calm and jovial atmosphere is generally not visible these days but if it continues, we can have a situation where good discussions on the floor of the parliament may help the MPs, atleast from the main parties, justify there “300%” salary hike.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lock Up "English Version"

Preet Harpal's famous punjabi song-Lock Up, which went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2009 is being presented underneath in a totally new form-in english. But first the punjabi lyrics have been given in case you don't know them...

Mahengian zameena khula bapu kole cash
Chandigarh pare munda kare puri aish
Rahe ghumda oh sari dehari
Mape kende jaajh ban-na munda hawalat geya kai vari...

Gaddi de bonnet utte rakh k shraab
Pegg khichi jande varo vari o janab
Geya chakea o sane safari
Mape kende jajj ban-na munda hawalat geya kai vari....

Naal bethi hove jado sohni class mate
Red light ute v nai lagdi break
Maar jande dono shimle udari
Mape kende jajj ban-na munda hawalat geya kai vari...

Pind ja k PREET aukha kam karna
Sara din duph vich cham sarna
Rendhi yaad sada colegiaan di yaari
Mape kende jaajh ban-na munda hawalat gaiya kai bari...

Now, the English Version

Real Estate and loads of cash
This is what his father has
Studies in chandigarh
Roams around with many a lass
Judge his parents want him to become
Hes generally in jail or on the run

His Safari acts as a bar
Drinking capacity won him many a stars
Police acted one day
Caught him along with his car
Judge his parents want him to become
Hes generally in jail or on the run

When driving with a hot looking babe
Dont ever feel like pressing the brakes
His bike becomes a flight
A flight to Shimla they take
Judge his parents want him to become
Hes generally in jail or on the run

Village life is very very rough
In the heat, things become real tough
Oh my dear college friends
Of you I can never have enough
Judge his parents want him to become
Hes generally in jail or on the run

P.S.- I have tried to stick to the original lyrics as much as possible but have taken creative liberty at points to make it rhyme

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The City Beautiful

A place where life will always be colourful
The City Beautiful

We often Complain about the life at night
But in the day a "tota" is never out of sight

Be it Rendezvous, Silver or Score
Guys come with a hope to score

Roads that don't know what are jams
All thanks to Carbousier's plans

If you love Mercs n BMWs the city is a treat
Home to the elitest of the elite

Wondering why FR, DT n Centra are so small?
Just because 17 is so tall

Chandigarh, Panchkula or Mohali
Tricity is in a different shade till new year starting Diwali

Uphill is such a famous word
Morni & Kasauli complete our world

SOPU n PUSU always on the hunt
Sometimes brutal, sometimes just a stunt

PEC, DAV or University
Filled with students and diversity

Be it terrace,rock or rose
Of sheer bloom it is a dose

When it rains the city shines
With beauty Chandigarh rhymes

What I miss the most,Is it the lake?
Or those sector 10 shakes?

Those drives better known as geris
Or girls like the ones in fairies?

Coffee at CCD, barista & Java Daves
Or Nik's fruit punch I most crave?

I think it is just the city
And all its nitty gritties


*Words like "tota" and "geri" are trademark Chandigarh...In case you are unaware,
Tota- A good looking girl-Not derogatory, rather the biggest compliment
Geri-Drives in front of girls' colleges

*Nik Baker is a Chandigarh based bakery/coffee shop

*Kasauli & Morni are small hillstations near Chandigarh

*PEC & DAV are colleges

*SOPU & PUSU are the principal student parties in Panjab University

*FR,DT & Centra are the malls in Chandigarh

*Le Carbousier was the architect who designed Chandigarh

*Rendezvous, Silver n Score are all discs

Friday, August 6, 2010


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 13; the thirteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

A tribute

It just doesn’t seem right
Because he did nothing wrong
Now, forever, he is out of sight
But he did nothing wrong

His parents loved their son just like anyone else
But what can they do now
All the plans they had have to be shelved
But what can they do now

Smiling & laughing with friends in the morning
Gone he was in the night
Laughter turned into mourning
Gone he was in the night

Makes you take a different look at life
Loss of someone you know
Devalues stupid rivalries and strifes
Loss of someone you know

Life will have to go on just life before
Goodbye, Rest in peace
But he will be missed, who is nomore
Goodbye, Rest in Peace

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Grandfather of Cricket

Donned the mantle for 20 years now
He has managed it for so long. How?
Having won us many a match
What defines Indian Cricket is Sach!

November 1989 was such a long time back
Since then he has been collecting runs stack after stack
He might have been eluded of that 300
But who else can claim a ODI 200

Humbled them when he was just out of the cradle
Then went on to invent the paddle
He kept hammering them all
Fielders were left chasing the ball

No matter how hard Bucknor or Denness tried
Or keepers claiming edges lied
Be it ODI’s or tests
He kept making bowlers look like a jest

Not a player him who doesn’t admire
Some “experts” keep asking him to retire
He carries on that cover drive followed with a nod
That is why for billions he is GOD

He gave Warne nightmares
Even the Don thought he is rarest or the rare
As he turns the grandfather of international cricket
Hope even longer he stays on the wicket

Sunday, August 1, 2010


People come and people go
But they always leave traces
Those traces make life glow

Some friends and some foes
But they all play a role
Then you don't but in retrospect you know

I met a jerk sometime back
I thought why me?
But now to spot such jerks I have a knack

Some friends weren't friends afterall
But I forgive them
They introduced me to friends I give late night calls

Life never does just like that
As absurd as it may seem
It always involves a thinking hat