Life can be a Bitch!

I had vowed never to go near a hospital for health check-ups, other than the casual drop-in at the family doctor’s clinic during an attack of viral fever, or to nurse an injury sustained in the normal course of my living a hectic life.

A combined force of two women changed all that. In the last 3 months, almost once a week, I am in hospital for consultations or some test or the other. My day starts with capsules, tablets and syrups, and ends with capsules, tablets and syrups.

I’ve had 2 days of stay-ins already and thanks to advances in medical technology 2 days and not 2 weeks. “Eat lots of greens,” they said. Ever since then, I get this irresistible urge to graze each time I see a field of long blades of juicy grass.

They’ve made a Cow out of me.

I’ve had so many needles poked into me that I feel like I am a tea-sieve. Last week, I had to take 5 consecutive injections, one a day. Each morning the nurse would ask, “Yesterday was where?” I’d reply, “Left bum.” She’d say, “So today it’s the Right.” I’d say, “Yes.” I almost said, “If you think that tomorrow the punctures are getting too close, just shove it bang in the middle of my ass. I’ll bear the pain; you go and have yourself a nice day.”

My throat and asshole have been spied upon with the minutest of cameras mounted on tubes and the innards of my chassis photographed and color images presented to me as though they were some sort of rare works of modern art.

Now, they have the gall to tell me that I have a gall stone of about 15mm in diameter which is way above normal, and which is causing the bile to pile (in tons or gallons, depending on my stomach’s mood of the day).

I always believed that stones were meant, apart from various uses, to throw at buses and cars. That the human body could be a storehouse for stones was news to me. Thankfully, they haven’t come up with something like, “Ah, here’s that missing catapult”.

There’s more. One morning on an empty stomach, they wheeled me into an Operation Theater, shoved a camera-fitted tube into a vein in the stomach region and then all the doctors, junior doctors, nurses, attendants turned their gaze towards the color monitors, as if they were there for the opening night of Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra One. Later, they said that my heart was pumping at 35% capacity and 65% was sounding organ pipes in the nearby Church.

“Does that mean I can’t attempt beating Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt’s 100m world record of 9.58 seconds in the forthcoming London Olympics?” I enquired.

“You’ll pop it before you get to the 10th meter”, was the clear-cut retort. So, now I need to cut down on my smoking; better still, give it up. So easy for them to say.

They tell me my liver is harder than Mount Rushmore National Memorial and highly inflamed like a volcano in its final stages of eruption. “Oh, come on, it can’t be that bad?” I protested. Ignoring my protests, I was politely told, “Cut down on the alcohol. Stick to not more than 30ml; better still, give it up. Or else you’re a dead duck.”

What? A small peg a day? This is preposterous. I’ve grown up living life king-size and if that and just a handful of cigarettes is what they expect me to live on – besides those bloody greens – I’m dead, not as a duck, but as a Dodo.

Be that as it may, I’ve have – rather reluctantly, if I might add – restricted myself to at least half of what they’ve prescribed, which I believe is a reasonably good enough beginning.

With all those capsules, tablets and syrups churning in the grinding mill they call my stomach, where’s the space for more? I’ve spent hours and hours on the Internet searching for whiskey-filled/coated capsules/tablets and the nearest I came up with was After Shave Lotion.

My ex-boss was right; Life can be a Bitch!

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By 2050 India will be the Top Economy

That’s from this morning’s ‘Times of India’. These are predictions made of M/s Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, who say that the GDP of India will be of 86 Trillion Dollars (USD).

Makes us all feel proud that, if not we, at least our children/grandchildren can cock a snook at the Chinese and say, “We are the Best.”

I, of course, wont be around but hopefully I’ll get to hear the cheering.

If you thought that sounds good, here are a few more headlines from today’s ‘Times’.

Ready? Here we go!

1. Bangalore costliest Indian city to live in.
No quarrels to that. If one pays bribes day-in, day-out, what can one expect. Besides, if tax payers’ money is spent carting bus loads to swank resorts, how else could we have earned the tag. And it’s been a long list, right from Pensioner’s Paradise, Garden City, IT City, Knowledge Capital, and now, ‘costliest city.’ Someone forgot “murderous city”.

2. Abducted Bangalore jeweler found stabbed to death.
And guess what the murderer took away? Rs. 2000/- and a gold chain. Life’s become that cheap, eh? By the way, the cops haven’t got any clues as yet, and that ought not to surprise anyone. They are catching up on their reading of Sherlock Holmes.

3. Narayana Murthy (co-founder Infosys) is among 12 “greatest entrepreneurs of our time.”
His name figures along with the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who at the present moment, is holidaying with his Chinese girlfriend in Shanghai.

4. Angry Government in bind over Army Chief, who was supposedly offered a 14 crore rupees bribe by a truck manufacturer.
And the Defense Minister tells the Army Chief, “shucks man, why don’t you nail the bugger?” And the Army Chief probably something like, “Ah, forget it, Mantriji. After all it’s 14 crores; that’s small change.”

5. Sasikala, once the darling of Tamilnadu Chief Minister, disowns kin for Jayalalitha.
This is called “loyalty”. She kicks her family in the butt and says, “I have never dreamt of betraying the CM. Now, bugger off all of you. And you there, take your filthy hands out of the kitty, Machaan’ that belongs to Jaya Akka and me.”

6. Former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassin, Balwant Singh Rajoana has been let off, albeit temporarily.
He was to hang on 31st March 2012. He says he wants to die, but the Akali Dal government that rules (if that’s the right word to use) Punjab say, “no, no; you can’t die. We have some unfinished business.” Arree Baba, the man has served nearly 20 years of his life behind bars and wants to die. So what’s bothering you guys?

7. Maoists make Fresh Demands.
After abducting 2 Italians recently, they released one of them, Paolo Bosusco, who, I presume is safely back home and stuffing himself with Spaghetti Bolognese. The other chap, Claudio Colangelo, is still a hostage and probably crying out “Mama Mia” which the Maoists mistook to be abusive language aimed at their Ammaji and probably why they refuse to release him. Meanwhile, the Orissa government says, “the new set of demands are being examined by our special panel of surgeons and doctors,” and a decision will be take if surgery is required or not after tests reports are made available.

8. The BBMP to construct necklace road. (Whatever that means).
The Asian Bank offered BBMP a loan, but they refused it saying, “We don’t need it. We have enough chains snatched in the last 10 years to use as raw material for the necklace road. So, piss off.” The BBMP say the new road will link up to the Bangalore International Airport from Yelahanka Lake via Yelahanka Town. Did you say, “Yelahanka Lake?” When the BBMP makes roads in and around the vicinity of lakes, etc, one better watch their driving. Or, at least ensure you know (a) to swim and/or (b) keep the inflatable tube in the boot. Don’t forget the pump to inflate the tube, or else you’re a goner.

Boy, am I going to miss all that fun of the 2050′s?

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Mind Your Language, Annaji & Co!

Anna Hazare’s first fast touched me. It was a glimmer of hope. I said to myself, “At last, someone is moving and shaking this country’. This 70-plus old man had caused an awakening amongst the youth and his single point agenda was to erradicate corruption.

Then came another fast, then another and yet another, to the extent it sounded like crying wolf again. Last Sunday I think he fell flat with cake in his face. Everyone knows the power our politicians wield. They can make you or break you. And that’s why his sidies should have refrained from referring to our Parliamentarians as murderers, rapists and what not. Many are but one can’t paint all with the same brush.

What’s conveniently forgotten is that it’s we who put them there in the first place. Also, Anna & Co need to re-think. Are their supporters free from corruption? Do they get things done without offering bribes? Or, or those night vigils and gatherings a good outing excuse as a last resort if movie tickets weren’t available that Sunday?

Wither patriotism!

His associate, Arvind Kejriwal – this man is in deep trouble, I tell you – goes a step ahead and lists out politicians who are corrupt. Now, that’s a bit out of order. I think he’s opened his mouth a bit too wide to put his tiny, little foot in.

If he has the evidence then he ought to be urgently banging on the Supreme Court doors. “Excuse me Your Lordship”, and lay bare his facts. Interestingly, most of the names on the list are Congresswallas. That, to my mind is grossly unfair. Is he telling us that there aren’t any corrupt politicians in other parties such as the BJP, the Left, Right, Centre, Upside Down, Downside Up? What about all those elephants in Uttar Pradesh. Not those silly, I am reffering to the concretewallas.

Coming up: Bedi Biryani and Kejriwal Kachumbar.

If the likes of Sushma Swaraj, Sharad Yadav and many others can tear Anna’s accusations apart, I wont be surprised if there’s a storm brewing somewhere and when it hits, Anna & Co will be in the centre of that whirlpool.

And the rest of the country – all those who came in hordes, held candlelight vigils, and stuck bumper stickers on cars with the slogan, ‘I Am Anna’ – well, most of them will suddenly vanish into thin air. Who wants to be in the midst of a lathi-charge? All said and done, deep down inside we are a nation mostly made up of cowards.

Sad, but true!

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Why this Budget Kolaveri Di?

I love watching the budget presentations and the debates thereafter. Even if one can’t understand – or don’t care – the debates that follow explain such a lot.

Every budget has an interesting angle to it. If there is an election somewhere you can bet there will be a populist slant somewhere with a whole lot of sops and freebies.

And of course, the opposition will always cry foul. “It’s a terrible budget”, “It’s going to hit the common man who is already hit badly”, “the rich will get richer” and so on, so forth. I’ve never ever heard of the opposition parties have a good word even if there are some good initiatives. I suppose that’s why they are called the ‘opposition’; doing their job.

Have you ever seen a politician with a shopping basket in the vegetable market?

But what gets my goat is when people denounce the budget because, “Shit man, cigarette prices are up again”, “Rail fares have gone up”, “Bloody hell, they’ve increased Air fares too”, “What? A/C’s are costlier too? This summer will be hell.”

Life-threatening, isn’t it?

If I’ve got the money to spend on flying, will another 200-300 bucks make me poor? If I don’t have an A/C, will I catch fire if I venture out? Does that mean that I must stay at home all summer in my A/C room and do no work at all because I could get hit by sunstroke?

We, the middle, the upper-middle, upper class are such a bunch of hypocrites that we make such a hue and cry if something is going to cost a few rupees more.

India’s poor are still poor, budget after budget, but no one is doing a damn about it. Budgets affect the business class a bit, but they’ll pass the increase on to the consumers, like they always do year after year.

Now, for those who live in air-conditioned comfort, are we going to deny our bawling child that chilled Coke or the ice cream because it’s costs two rupees more?

I doubt it!

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Lemon Tea, Toast and Scams

You’re right, long time no blog!

That’s because 2012 arrived with a bundle of ailments, gift wrapped. In all my 65 years (a few more months to get there) I’ve never, ever been within a 100 yards radius of a hospital. Doctors yes; those cuts and wounds, an occasional virus fever – but that’s about it.

And guess what 2012 had in store for all of us? Scams, scams and more scams. It’s petrifying to think that one leaves for work in the morning after reading about a scam and by the time you’re back a few more have taken place. Even MS Dhoni’s sixers aren’t so frequent.

Gosh! How do they do it?

At times I try to enact the scenario. I’m up at half past six in the morning, sitting on the potty and I’m thinking. How much today? About 10-15 crores of rupees? Let’s make it quarter of a million. Shouldn’t get too greedy in one go. After all, there’s another new day tomorrow. Then, I’m rushing through breakfast of a single fried egg, sunny side up, a blackened toast and lemon tea, and I hit upon yet another idea. Why not have a word with Raja and Kalmadi and get their expert advice? I mean, they are to scams what Sachin is to cricket. By the time I’m through with my breakfast and before I can start my car, I’ve abandoned the idea of experts and their opinions.

Risky business, that! I mean, I’ll have to make a dozen trips to Tihar jail to discuss R & K’s commissions and what not. Besides, too frequent visits to hobnob with jailbirds is a dangerous thing. I mean, the jail staff may think I’m an inmate and why the hell am I not in jail uniform? Lock the bugger up.

By the time I weave and worm my way through Bangalore’s horrendous traffic and am seated in my office sipping steaming black coffee, I’ve completely lost track of the key points of Operation Scam.

My thoughts are rudely interrupted by the constant ringing of my cell phone.

I answer.

“Arre Yaar, what happened? I’m waiting for you.” It’s Raja calling to remind me we were supposed to meet at 10.30 am in Tihar.

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Seriously, driving in Bangalore is Hell!

Every morning I leave at 8.15 and take my grand daughter to school in Koramangala. Distance-wise it can’t be more than 5 kilometers from where I live. Ideally, that should take about 10-15 minutes and perhaps another 10 minutes during peak hours.

But goodness, gracious, it takes anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and invariably, we are late to school by about 5-10 minutes. Those who commute on Begur Road will agree that the traffic has got denser than what it was, say, three months ago.

And why?

Well, if apartments after apartments get added up in a locality that’s lacking in infrastructure, what can one expect? The narrow roads have remained narrow ever since I can remember, the potholes have increase in size to resemble a war-hit zone, pavements have as much traffic as there is on the roads and driving sense has departed. It’s a free for all.

Is this what they call ‘Town Planning?’ If this is what the larger picture of Greater Bangalore is supposed to look like, then, may I offer my best wishes to the brave hearts of the future.

It’s a well-know fact that the city lacks administration and that road management is the least of their priorities. They seem to have other better things to do and what those are, perhaps even God is still trying to figure out.

If this is an example of going Global, then I believe someone has lost the plot somewhere.

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Hey, Mr. Postman!

I know people who have set up email accounts and haven’t accessed them for months, maybe even years. At times I wonder why they went through the trouble in the first place. Maybe it’s that status thing; I don’t know.

“You don’t have an email? Which world are you living in?”

“I have two but haven’t had time to check in the last year or so.”

I can imagine what would happen if she were to open her inbox. She’d be 6ft under the earth in her grave just reading all this emails packed in like sardines in a tin can.

This kind of talks makes me believe that one of them is missing the postman. Maybe she had something going with that chap while her husband was away at work.

Once in a while when I go to the Post Office to send a document by Speed-Post (the government’s answer to courier services) and I buy a few stamped envelopes because of one person I know who lives in Delhi.

Many emails sent to him went unanswered. So one day I sent him a handwritten letter through snail-mail and got a snail-mail reply in 3 days time.

At first, many years ago, I was averse to this email shit. When Sabeer Bhatia sold ‘hotmail’ to Bill Gates, it was big news. My initial email account was with my service provider and later I added on Yahoo, which I don’t use now, because I now have gmail. After all the hoo-haa about hotmail, I never got to open one, though I know quite a few females who did just for kicks of whatever.

I find it quite ironical that with all these mediums of communication available people still don’t communicate.

Missing the Postman, are we?

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Hospitals or In-house Cremation Grounds?

Someone said that ‘only 98′ people perished in the Calcutta Hospital fire. Only 98. Sounds like the scoreboard of a cricket match; just 2 more runs for the century and the clapping begins.

Makes you sick, doesn’t it, when people make such remarks? Patients come to hospitals hoping they’ll return healed or cured; the don’t walk in with intentions of suffocating to death or get burnt beyond recognition.

That hospital – whatever it’s damn name is – is owned by rich people and the major stake is with a family that run a company manufacturing beauty products. They are filthy rich already and earnings from the hospital – I’m told generated decent profits last year – would have added to the pile. So, money and not the love of humanity was the intent.

Because, had that been so, how come it was so grossly mismanaged?

What should become of such people? Aside from that bull we hear all the time about ‘Law will take it’s own course’ – most times it’s off-course – why do we dilly-dally on slapping them with stringent punishment? How come the fire inspectors, the hospital inspectors, and a host of other inspectors get away Scott-free?

Why, instead of dedicating his yet again fast at Delhi, did not Anna Hazare fast on the streets of Calcutta?

That wouldn’t have been out of sync with his image. I mean, if one has political intentions stored in his mind, best is to rub shoulders with politicians and not the wails of grieving families.

In the Gandhi mould? My Foot!

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