Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hyderabad Diaries - The one with Kolaveri Di

Needn't talk much about Kolaveri Di (~30 million hits the last time I saw)

Anyway, it was the usual morning for me today.

First I brush my teeth, then dad yells over me on how irresponsible I am (duh!), drink coffee, procrastinate about packing (yet again), grumble that no one buys a newspaper at home anymore, then switch on the TV, watch Big Boss rerun (as if the drama at home isn't enough), then close my ears as the kid downstairs screams....

Yes, so there are tenants downstairs and not surprisingly they have a kid who screams at his own will.

I was wondering why he screamed "Mummy" right in the morning.

"His mom cleans after he finishes potty", my mom told me the other day. There you go. Mystery solved.

When the kid isn't screaming he either plays games (that are mostly invented by him) or dances to lame ass songs. His latest favorite is Chikni Chameli. I ain't a Katrina fan, but surely this kid will turn me into a hater if he plays the song one more time.

So imagine my surprise today morning, when the kid doesn't dance to Chikni. For no reason, he screams "Daddy" at the top of his lungs this morning.

"So is it daddy's duty this morning", I quipped to my mom.

"No its usually his mother", my mom replied, matter-of-factly.

Then the chase. The kid tracked his dad down (poor guy was catching a smoke outside) and dragged him in.....

"Daddy Kolaveri Daddy Kolaveri..", he squealed in delight.

Really? Really? x-(

So now you don't play Chikni Chameli and play this one instead? Something that I have already heard tons of times and in tons of versions?

Please kid, switch back to Chikni Chameli. I beg you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hyderabad Diaries - The one with the chatty doctor

Let me tell you I have been incessantly suffering from bouts of coughing in the night. Not a funny story to talk about. So one night, not withstanding all the noise (I sleep in the same room as my parents) my dad resolved to take me to a doctor. Only we have no one "family" doctor to go to. I mean, it's just been like that. You want a doctor? Go shop for one.

Anyway, my mom kept telling him there was this doctor at the end of the street who "seems" popular since she saw couple of our neighbors go in there. Sometimes I think my mom hallucinates because I observed she likes to make up stories out of air. Like this one about the supposedly famous doctor. Oh well, she was atleast helping with some advice.

So my dad takes his scooty out and rides to this small clinic and he finds the cleaning lady there peeking out of the clinic. He sees a female doctor (Gayatri) name written on the clinic's banner outside. The cleaning lady nods that the doctor is in. So he comes fetches me. I walk out in my pajamas much to the chagrin of my dad who keeps grumbling, more to himself than me - "This isn't USA, you cant come out in your night clothes out like this". I am already sleep deprived thanks to all the night coughing. So I pay no heed and sit on his scooter.

Now let me tell you the man rides like he's riding a bullock cart. It felt like forever by the time we reached the end of this long street (about a 1/4 mile I would think). Anyway, he parks and encounters this guy in yellow teeth staring right down at my dad. Asks that the scooter be parked right beside the car that was parked a feet away. I couldn't really see a "No Parking" sign so I impatiently ask this guy what's the premise behind moving a vehicle that was parked near a wall that people just wanted to piss on? It clearly seemed like no one cared and were pissing on it anyway. He ignored my protest and my dad chided me to just park it.


Only to go in and discover that this very yellow teethed man was the doctor. That's when my dad goes:

"Gayatri????", with his eyeballs almost falling off his eye sockets.

Doc: "Gayatri in the evening"

At that moment I saw my dad sizing him up. Later that evening as my dad narrated to my mom...the man with his ugly yellow teeth and untucked shirt and mehendi dyed hair and old rusty glasses was a nightmare to look at. He had thought he was another of the cleaning guys or assistants.

Dad: Where is Gayatri the doctor?

Doc: Gayatri is wife

Dad: Whose wife?

By this time I had already coughed a good measure to speak up and clear the air. 

Me: Gayatri is his wife and she only comes in the evening. Now can we get examined? I have these coughs at night...

At this point my dad shot one of his trademark disgusting looks and conceded.

Doc: Coughing eh? Kids these days. So sensitive eh? Hahaha

Neither me nor my dad found it funny but we nodded along. I couldn't tell what annoyed my dad most. His unkempt look or his broken English.

Doc: Show tongue.

I stick my tongue out.

Doc: More tongue.

From the corner of my eye I saw my dad stifle a chuckle.
He then holds my wrist and asks me to breathe to check my pulse.

Doc: Now breathe. More breathe. More...

I felt like I was delivering a baby then.

Doc: Whokay. All good only. No temperature. No fever. What tablets you take amma?

Me: (amma? Yes I feel like Jayalalitha now..) Crocin

By this time my dad told him I was jet lagged and had cough even before I came here.
Suddenly the doctor screamed "Viral infection" on my face. I almost felt his dirty breath on me and jumped up from my seat.

Doc: Viral infection I think

Me: What are the symptoms of viral infection? Night coughing?

Doc: I think it is viral infection.

By this time both my dad and I were infuriated. And both gave in and nodded in agreement to his passionate discovery and analysis. He started scribbling the prescriptions and gave it to me.

Doc: Whokay. Two times. After meals only. This and this (as he points it out to me)

As he hands it over to me, he looks at me meaningfully. For a moment I turned to my dad and signaled him as if to say "maybe this is when you pay his fees and get the fcuk out of here?"

My dad takes the cue and takes a 100 rupee note and hands it to me.

Doc: Thank you. Hahaha.


Still looks purposefully at me. What now? He then breaks the silence.

Doc: You go and get medicines and your dad will talk.

What the fcuk? What?

Doc: (Continues to talk to dad) You know these days doctors do expensive scanning because your daughter will demand that. Young blood, what to do?

Dad: (In despair) It's not that. It's because every big hospital pressures their doctors to meet certain targets to fulfill. So the unnecessary scanning...

Doc: No sir. No. No. No. It is the young blood that demands. They are not satisfied with tablets.
(He then looks at me and says) Why you here? Go amma...

That's when I lost it. I announced to dad that I was going home. 

Doc: You get here the tablets. These medical shops give duplicate tablets. Come and verify ok?

Dad (gets up as if to leave): Ok..I think we should..

Doc: You sit sir...

The cleaning lady walks in and the doctor turns towards her

Doc: (Handing her a 10 rupee note) Take this amma. This wont be cut from your salary ok?

My dad later remarked about it...that he was so happy with getting a patient that he gave away 10 rupee and made the cleaning lady's day

Doc: (Getting back into conversation mode) So this Anna Hazare movement too much no sir?

He chooses to talk at a time when both dad and I are atleast 2 feet away and almost near the door, ready to leave.

Dad: Bye

Once home, my mom opened the door to ask me how it went.

Dad: Highly recommended.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hyderabad Diaries - The one with the candlelight bath

Ever since I have flown back to Hyderabad, I have made shocking discoveries about myself.

That I can get annoyed by the dust, I cannot tolerate all the power outages and I almost want to punch the roadside guys who make snide remarks at me. I don't ponder over them too much. I just dust them off as minor irritants. And yet I have found myself totally alienated from Indian life. The very thing that made up my formative years in Hyderabad as a teenager and as a working adult now seems to annoy me to no end.

So imagine my shock when my mom asks me to take bath in the dark.

I had a very mixed expression on my face. As if to say "You are kidding me?" and "This is bonkers" sort of a look. She feigned any interest in my expression or protesting gestures. She plomped the big bucket of hot water on the cement floor of the old bathroom and went about her usual ways in the kitchen.

It was 6 AM in the morning and I was told there is a power outage until 7.30 AM every morning and followed by another between 11 and 12 PM every day.

My dad had his usual smug look "Welcome to India"

And now as a way to increase my predicament I cannot delay my bath to 7.30 AM since the hot water will cease to be hot and according to daddy precious he has spent invaluable (electricity) units to give me this invaluable bucket of water - which is sort of a privilege I am told since everyone else (which is just my parents) just bathe in half a bucket of hot water.

So there I went. Borrowed a candle, lit it up so I could atleast spot the old bar of soap lying in a corner and bathing and getting out of the bathroom as quickly as possible.

I had this long face on for next hour or so. Of all the things that irritates my dad the most is a long face.

And as if he knew what I was about to complain next he said:

"Btw there's only one lizard and it lives in the wall creaks in the bathroom. Nothing to become overly paranoid about". And then he picked up his newspaper and his sugarless tea and went about his way.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hyderabad Diaries - The one with the Family Class

So basically I spent a bomb to fly to Hyderabad and decided to keep a journal of interesting events that come my way. As I flipped back to my earlier entries on this blog, I realized how much happened around me while living in Hyderabad and how little transpired in the USA. Tch Tch. My 5 years in US had no stories, no events that could even match up to say 3 months of Hyderabadi existence. It really is a monotonous life there. #Sigh

Every time I travel, I have this anxiety. I mildly put it as "travel anxiety" although I would want to give it a more pompous description - moments of palpitations, panic, schizophrenia, negativity etc. But then you wouldn't believe me. So yes, I have travel anxiety. Which simply means I cannot sleep, I have negative thoughts about everything (example, I would forget my passport or I will get stranded in a lonely airport with no food) and also I will have the worst seat and worst co-passengers (mostly a weeping baby or a clumsy heavy guy)

This time I tried to tone it down a notch. I mean, think of wonderful valleys, snow capped mountains and  pretty butterflies and such. Anyway, that didn't change much in the circumstances around me. It was the same long international flight with same desi families doing cliched things like pushing you to get  in/out of a flight (something I never understood why they did. Perhaps to get more storage space for their luggage?).

This time I had to hop in and out of 3 different flights to add to my misery. And I had a middle seat because I totally neglected checking-in early. And also I had the usual weeping babies to accompany me. And oh, there was also heavy set men, this time two of them since I was plopped in the middle this time.

When I got down at Dubai, I did the usual shopping for alcohol. I felt terribly sick suddenly. I was having my bouts of coughing already. I never in my life had a viral infection so I refused to believe it was one. My stomach tied into knots and my earphone blaring Bollywood music I tried to settle my unsettling self. I saw random kids running around the lounge as if it were playground. I saw an elder girl bossing around other kids and preaching her own rules on a game she invented. It was about circling a cylindrical pillar without falling off it as you circle.

The bossy girl seemed feminist. She would often taunt the boys and say they were useless and didn't measure up to the standards. If they did nice and looked up to her approval she would just shrug and ask them to do a repeat performance. She seemed so demonic. Meanwhile, a little guy propped up beside me seemed to look intently at her. I didn't notice him too much until he got up on his feet suddenly and went racing at this girl and pulled her down on one of her games. His mom shocked tried to pry him away from her and he kept kicking his heels in the air. The girl had driven him mad apparently.

Meanwhile the angry kid's elder brother was a complete opposite. He seemed like this predictable kid looking upto his mom for approval and praises. He kept picking up other people's garbage and trashing them in the can nearby and go upto his mom each time to show off his noble act. His kid brother meanwhile had nothing to do with it. He would keep seated with an angry face.

At one moment he looked straight into my eye as I was sitting listlessly. I can tell you this guy is going to  grow up to a gangster. Dammit.

Looking at this Telugu family reminded me of the usual Brahmanandam kind comic families on TV. One such comic time came in when the elder guy went straight to his dad and announced

"Naana Naana, flight announce chesaaru. Family class allow chesthunaaru..." (Dad they are letting in the Family class)

For a moment I was puzzled.  Pat came the reply from his dad:

"Family class laantidi emi undadu ra...Adi family nee allow chesthunaaru as a courtesy"
(There is no such thing as family class. They are just letting in women and kids first as a courtesy)

And then his little bro smirked at him.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Women in Tech - NOT

I must have read a zillion articles about Women in Tech so far.

I don't get it. If women are not interested in Tech, so be it.
I mean, we aren't exactly talking about not having enough men practicing ballet dancing for example, are we? So what's the deal with no enough women in technology positions?

If a woman would rather want to be a great architect, writer, dancer, singer, be it.

I am not against the exposure to technology (as it is, women are exposed a lot more than before to technology). In fact, educating about technology is good, for both men and women. It is a good place to be in to make some quick money, support yourself and supplement your passion with the tech knowledge. Seriously. That's the best thing to do even if a woman isn't that into programming as a career.

In fact it is nature like. Not ruling out exceptions, boys love games and girls don't. Girls love fashion, boys don't. Girls are more expressive and boys are not. Boys love cars, girls not that much. So let boys be boys and girls be girls and they all will have fun. That's how it is supposed to be like. So STFU everyone and go back to work. Too much pressure.