Return of the Aladdin genie..

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

“sirr, chaii siir”, shouted the peon placing a cup of tea on the desk with a loud thud.
“aawww!!!”, woke up Madhusudhanan from what looked like a deep midday slumber, rubbing his eyes looking around the room.

“Who asked you for chai now? Why did you disturb me, you foool”, shouted the short-tempered Madhu at the poor peon, but nicely took a couple of sips & lied down on the bench again to continue sleeping.

Madhu is a Government servant, but on the insincere side of the group. He comes to the office at least an hour late, skips going to meetings, has 5-6 cups of tea per day, has a sound sleep everyday at office for a nice 4-5 hours & hardly works an hour or two. This has been his routine for the past 15 years, since he joined as a clerk in the accounts department at the Tamil Nadu GENCO office, Chennai. The laziness has worsened that this started affecting his personal life and things he should be taking care at home.

Madhu is married to Shyamala and has two daughters, Divya and Kavya, both in their twenties. His marital life was going great in the initial stages, but lately, with his change of attitude and tensions at home, he is constantly pestered by his wife. Like any typical Indian parents with daughters in their early twenties, they were worried about their marriage. Madhu owns a small flat at T.Nagar & a land of about 5 acres near Sri Perambadur, his hometown. Financially, Madhu was managing everything well in the early years of his marriage (thanks to some bribes here and there) when he even used to look after their farms, but now-a-days earnings have worsened and that added to their woes.

On a monday morning, Madhu got up from bed feeling dull & feverish. As soon as he came out of the bedroom expecting a hot coffee to make him feel better, he was welcomed by the complaints of his wife to their servant maid, “Look at my husband. He sleeps happily at home for 8 hrs, and then he sleeps half day at office. I am suffering here all day trying to manage a ton of things at home. Both the daughters are yet to get married, our expenses are sky rocketing. Yet, he feels pretty relaxed and enjoys life.”

Already feverish and depressed, Madhu gets deeply hurt by her words and wants to go away peacefully for sometime. He decides to grab a dosa from Saravana Bhavan, sit at the beach peacefully and get some fresh air. He decides to skip his breakfast as well as office for that day, and happily goes to the beach. Given the peak work hours, he finds almost no one at the beach. He chooses a place near the surfs of the water and sits there to relax thinking about his problems, when something hard touches his feet.

He digs some mud away around his feet to find a really ancient lamp. He picks it up & finds something in a strange language written on it, but unable to see it clearly, he starts rubbing it with his handkerchief, when suddenly it starts emitting lot of smoke out of the little chimney. He gets very frightened and drops the lamp, and starts to run away when to his surprise, all the smoke comes together forming a huge genie of the size of his office room, and Madhu can actually hear the genie talking to him,

“Hello Master! This is Aladdin’s Genie. After Aladdin threw me into the ocean no longer needing me, I somehow got to this Chennai shore and got stuck under the mud.”

Madhu, still in a shock and unable to interpret what’s happening around him, starts screaming and begging the genie, “Oh, I am sorry, please leave me alone. I am already dying with my life (actually wife?)”

“Dont get scared master. I am grateful to you for saving me. I am returning back to my homeland Genieva, the great land of genies. But, as a token of gratitude, I want to fulfill your desires.”

“Fulfill my desires?? What are you talking about?”

“Yes master. Your wish is my command. I will grant you 3 wishes. I promise you I will return to my land only after your 3 wishes are fulfilled. But, remember master, I will exactly give you only whatever you explain me, nothing more and nothing less.”

Madhu, being greedy, now recovered a bit starts thinking if the genie really means it. “Okay let me test it by one wish first, I anyway have 2 more that I can get all I want if its really true what the genie is saying”

“Okay Mr. Genie. Thank you for your wishes. My first wish is that, I want to see heaven, meaning, the one I always hear about in stories and see in movies, with lord Indra and the dancers Rambha, Urvasi, Menaka”

“Your wish is my command master. The next time you blink your eyes, you will be in heaven. Hope you’ll call me soon with your second wish “, disappeared the genie.

Madhu looked around to see the sea & the shore, everything disappearing. Instead, it looked like he is in the clouds, and next to a huge door. He is welcomed by two gatekeepers in very strange attire. A cute lady received him from the other side of the door. She was amazing and looked like an angel (well, she is one). She guided him to a huge hall and got him seated on a big throne and served him a jar full of the divine porridge. Madhu did not like the taste of it, and kept it aside. “Porridge (amrutham) doesnot taste that great. But who cares, I am immortal now” thought Madhu. A bell rang and Lord Indra entered the hall, along with three beautiful ladies. “Oh, they must be Rambha, Oorvasi, Menaka… umm, but I would think our heroines are better looking anyway”, thought Madhu. They started dancing.

Everything looked fine for sometime, but they were not stopping. He turned towards the lady & asked her, “When do you serve lunch & when can I go and sleep?”

She answered looking surprised at him, “This is heaven. We don’t have anything like lunch or dinner here. We don’t need one, once you have the diving porridge. Also, when you are in heaven you don’t need or get sleep.”

“What the hell?” (actually, being in heaven 😉 ) exclaimed Madhu. “Is this heaven or hell? No food & no sleep!!! “, he started worrying what can happen to him if this continues forever. He decides not to waste his other 2 wishes, thinks carefully about his next wish, takes the lamp out of his pocket, and calls the genie.

The genie returns, “Thank you master for calling me very early than I had expected. Please make your second wish”

Madhu replied, “Yeah, this heaven does not seem to suit me. I will describe you a place I wish to go and live eternally. Please take me there.”

“Sure master! Your wish is my command”

“I need a big palace on earth with all facilities whatever I can imagine under the sun one could ever have. Also get my wife & two daughters, both married to two great princes and let them live with us.”

“As you wish master”, and the genie vanished.

Madhu blinked his eyes to see himself along with his wife and children in beautiful dresses walking in a very big palace with long corridors & wonderfully extravagant spacious rooms.

A man, 6ft tall also in grand attire welcomed them into the palace. He accompanied them for a tour of the entire place once. They felt it too tiring to walk through the whole thing. Finally he showed them their respective rooms. Finally Madhu was getting ready to sleep, but the maid interrupted them, inviting them for lunch. He felt annoyed, but feeling hungry, he followed her to the dining hall. The lunch was unimaginably great, with everything he wanted, and things he never tasted before. Madhu’s wife and children were overwhelmed by the grandeur and started praising him, “How lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband as you?” Madhu was relieved finally things are falling into place, and this is the end of his woes.

Things were calm for some days, though he felt restless occasionally as he had to control all the servants, staff in the huge palace. Being a lazy fellow, he found moving around the palace itself to be hectic. But he was happy that his wife & children are not pestering him anymore. He even got the idea he should call the genie that weekend and relieve him permanently, and does not need the 3rd wish.

But troubles did not end as he thought. Though his wife & children enjoyed all the facilities, he started sensing a sense of unhappiness in their faces these days. Madhu did not understand what the problem might be. He overheard his wife speaking to her maid, “Look at him! He is happy with all the facilities. But what about us, we feel bored the entire day looking at each other’s faces—no neighbors, no friends and no shopping. Am I stuck in this palace for a lifetime?”

Madhu’s heart broke at that very moment, and he got frustrated some people can never be happy. In a spur of fury, he decided to call the genie, and ask him for help. He took the lamp out of his pocket, & the genie appeared, looking very happy.

“Master! Please make your final wish and relieve me permanently. Your wish is my command.”

“Sure! Listen carefully. I will describe you the characteristics of the place I want to be. Take me there”

“Yes master! Go ahead”

“First of all, I should be away from my wife & children. I should be able to sleep happily all day long without worrying about anything. I should have absolutely no work to do that makes me restless. I can sacrifice even good food, if you take me to such a place”

“I got it master. The moment you open your eyes next time, you will be in the place you desire. Thank you master for relieving me. Hope you will lead a life of your choice”, flew the genie to Genieva.

Madhu opened his eyes. There was no palace around, nor his wife and children. There was no lamp inside his pocket either. He looked around the place. It looked very familiar to him, but he couldn’t recognize it at the first go. His eyes fell on a half-empty tea cup on the desk that made things clear.

It is the Government Office !!!!!!!!!!!

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on Beauty.. a telugu poem

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

They say beauty is skin deep, here’s a poem comparing and contrasting, and cherishing various beauties in the world… and ending on a pleasant note 😉

చంటి పాప పాల బుగ్గలపై జాలు వారే కన్నీరందం..
కొండ చరియల మధ్య జలజలా పారే జలపాతం అందం !

మగువ కనుబొమ్మల మధ్య నల్లని నుదుటి బొట్టు అందం..
సంధ్య వేళ హిమగిరుల మధ్య చల్లని పడమటి సూర్యుడు అందం !

తడిసిన నేలకు పఛ్ఛని పసిరిక, వెఛ్ఛని సూర్యోదయం అందం..
కురిసిన వానకు రంగురంగుల హరివిల్లు, తొలకరి తేనె చిరుజల్లు అందం !

పడి లేచిన కెరటం అందం, ఓడి గెలిచిన గెలుపే అందం..
బ్రతుకే నూరేళ్ళందం… మనిషికి బ్రహ్మనందం. !

ఇన్ని అందాల నడుమ, నేరెండకు నిగ నిగలు అద్దే నా ప్రేయసి అందం…
నా మది లో విరిసిన అరవిందం..
తీయనైన ప్రెమ దాని మకరందం…

ఆ మధుర మకరందం నిండిన నా ఈ హృదయం

సత్యం ! శివం ! సుందరం !

— ఆరవింద్ కృష్ణ

English (rather, tenglish transcript)

chanti paapa paala bugga la pai,
jaalu vaare kanneru andam..
konda chariyala madhya,
jalajalaa paare jalapaatham andam…

maguva kanubomma la madhya,
nallani nuduti bottu andam..
sandhya vela himagirula naduma,
challani padamati sooryudandam….

tadisina nelaki, pachani pasirika,
vechani sooryodayam andam….
kurisina vaanaki, rangula harvillu,
tolakari tene chirujallu andam…

padi lechina keratam (wave) andam,
odipothu gelichina gelupe andam..
brathuke noorellandam,
manishi ki brahmanandam…..
inni andaala madhya,
neerendaku niganigalu adde nee andam,
naa madi lo virisina aravindam (lotus),
teeyanaina prema daani makarandam..
aa madhura makarandam nindina naa hrudayam… satyam ! sivam ! sundaram!

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The train says “Catch me if you can” (a short story)

August 8, 2010 3 comments

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I got up early in the morning, unable to sleep well the previous night, filled with thoughts about whether I’ll make it into my dream company or not. I managed to get selected into the top 1000 in the prelims test and had to attend my Microsoft interview at Hyderabad the next day. I got onto the terrace of our beautiful house at Tirupati, picked up the three little stones I usually have them around, and started juggling, but unable to focus, I came down and switched on the TV. I ran through all the channels and found nothing interesting, when finally I stopped at a channel showing the daily horoscope and it was my sun sign, virgo’s turn. The prediction was “Have an eye on the time, during journeys”. I had my train scheduled to Hyd at 6:00 PM that evening, so I felt this one worthy considering my usual last minute hasty packing.

I spent the whole morning playing cricket with my friends, had a light lunch and took a short nap, when I was suddenly reminded of a watch my uncle had presented me the previous week. He works at Bell labs, New York and got me this beautiful watch from US. Feeling happy about it, I got up from bed thinking it is the right occasion to wear this watch for my interview. I picked it up from my personal almirah filled with joy, looking at its black leathered strap, silver coloured dial when my eyes fell on the time. It was 5:00 already and it takes me at least 20min to get to the railway station.

Considering the early morning prediction, I felt it would be better if I started early. So, I called my mom, asked her to get my bag ready, took a quick shower, prayed my favourite lord Ganesh to “please, please get me a job at Microsoft “. I took blessings from my grand parents, went out and called for an autorickshaw. When I was about to get into it, I realized that I had forgot the watch & so came back running to my room and strapped it on my wrist. I looked at the time and it was 5:20, so felt relaxed that I can make it to my train in time. It was a cloudy evening at Tirupati and it seemed like its gonna rain tonight. The Auto moved slow, travelling through the narrow streets of the holy town. We crossed the serene temple street, Gandhi road and finally came to the busy bazaar street. It looked a lot busier than it usually does, with lots of people, since it was “Gangamma Jatara” the next day. It is a local festival to my hometown and I felt sad I had to miss it this year due to the interview.

The auto was travelling lot slower now, I looked at my watch to find that the time was already 5:45. I was about a mile away from the station and today’s horoscope added to my worries. I warned the autowallah my train is in 15 mins, but he said it is better to get down and walk to the station through a nearby passage, instead of getting stuck in this traffic. He was an old man of about 60 years of age and bowing to his experience and considering the lack of time, I decided to do as he said. I paid him the full fare though and started running through the passage towards the station. … when pfft, it started raining heavily. I was drenched in the sudden drizzle, and was guzzling through the flooded passage. I looked at my watch, now with tension mounting and it was 5:55, the station is around 200m away. I remembered the words of Dr .C.Narayana Reddy, a telugu writer ” Nuvvu ekkalasina bussu oka jeevita kalam missu “…. (analogically mapping to missed opportunities in life), and found my current situation same both literally as well as figuratively.

The fact that Indian trains are always late added to my confidence. But the thing we fail to realize is, so are most of the Indians :). Running and running… I got into the station and quickly looked at the announcements section. My train was scheduled to depart from platform no.3 and peeping through the window of a ticket counter, I found one already leaving from PF 3, so I rushed through the human traffic pushing people around mercilessly. My mom had always warned me not to cross the rails at the stations and one should always take the route through the over bridge. But, finding my career at stake, I decided to take a chance this time and calmly said sorry to my mom in my heart and ran through the rails. I saw the train already moving as I climbed onto the platform and started running towards it. To add to my misfortune, I stepped on a banana peel, slipped over the floor and fell down. I have always wondered how one gets hurt by stepping on banana peels (had seen only in telugu movies), but I had to experience this myself now. I thought ” Why the hell should it happen now? :(( ??” but alas, to just find myself lying in a sorry state and see the train leaving the station.

With my hopes shattered, I had a look at my watch and it’s 6:05. I started thinking “Is this watch unlucky for me? “, but quickly got over the thought and decided, “ whatever the reason is .. let me not take any more chances and at least go & catch a bus so that I can make it to the interview (though I hate travelling in buses) “
With a tired look and broken heart, I came out of the station, ( this time through the normal route on the over bridge ). I was looking for an auto & was welcomed by the same old autowallah giving me a sympathy look, may be he came to know that I had missed the train. He consoled me and told me not worry, and I asked him to take me to the bus station.

Looking outside from the auto, accidentally my eyes fell on the clock on top of the clock tower outside the railway station and to my surprise the time on it still read 3:50. I stared at my watch and it was 6:20 in mine. Out of the confusion, I realized my mistake with a huge huge sigh of relief, “Bull Shit!!!! This is New York time in my watch ….huh…. ” !

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