How to man... correctly

This is the second post in my "How to-" series, which I obviously am so well suited to write as I know so much about so many things... 

Now, for those of you who have been following my blog religiously (I am looking at you Vijay) you must know what a good man I am and must have wondered numerous times on how to be a good man, & if I would ever teach you - well, your wait is over. Read on.

(I wanted to put my picture given that how much I look like Clooney, grey hair, piercing eyes and all, but I dont want to draw undue attention to myself, and away from Clooney - I mean thats all he's got!)

First of all, throw away everything society has taught you about being a man. Society keeps changing and so do the ideas. What is good and bad however should be universal and timeless, no?

1. Clothes Dont make a man:

"Clothes make a man" was a marketing ploy brought about by those Mad Men types in the 60s to sell more suits. While I agree that good suits, tailored shirts etc do add certain amount of value (esp in client facing roles) but that is true only till the point you open your mouth. God knows I have spent a small fortune on cuff-links and they are sometimes a conversation starter, but thats all that they are - conversation starters! Post that I am on my own.

I dont understand why someone would want to buy a 70,000 suit from Hugo Boss or Armani (Both among my favourite brands) - Sure, buy all the suits you want if you are Harvey specter, but if you make 2 lacs a month, a 70k suit indicates to me that you are trying to hide something that you lack in (usually, its intelligence) Little surprise then that I have mostly met idiots in Armanis.

2. Courage is what differentiates men from the boys:

In Cinderella Man, one of my favourite movies, there is a scene where before going into a fight, our man Russel Crowe is shown a specially rowdy fight between his next competitor and another decent boxer, who ends up dying in the match.

He looks at the guy playing the clip & says - You think you are trying to tell me something? That boxing is dangerous? That one can die in the boxing ring? You dont think working at docks is dangerous? That you cant die on the street?

Courage is not the lack of fear, it is but knowing that something is more important than fear

The corporate world doesnt like risky courageous ideas, they take comfort in ideas that are tried and tested, that are safe. Over time, in such a set up men lose this ability and become paper pushers, even the best of men. You will be surprised how easy it is to fall in line. Not falling in line is a skill, if you learn how, teach me too.

3. Take responsibility

My elder daughter (5yo) comes to me at 11 pm in the night as I entered home after a long day of work, (the younger daughter & wife had slept) & says - "Daddy, you know what my problem with people is - they don't keep promises. They say they will do something and then they dont do it."

I thought maybe it is I that she is talking about (Daughters can be passive aggressive like that) but thankfully she was only talking about her nanny. My elder daughter is among the nicest people I know, notice I said people and not kids, because she behaves like a woman not a kid. If we were to deserve nice people like that then we have to keep our promises.

The best men, I have found are dependable. They do what they say, it is comforting to know that promises made will be kept.

4. Seek wisdom, not information

I am always impressed by some people as to how much they know about the specifications in the latest phone or which country is going down the drain or why the fuel prices are going up. They are genuinely aware about their surroundings & that is a good thing. A friend of mine once said information is wealth, but it really is not.

Information is just money, wisdom is really wealth. If you stop reading the newspaper or TV or disconnect social media, you have no information and hence no money, but wealth, that bitch sticks with you no matter what. Also, don't say bitch, unless you calling someone that lovingly.

5. Take pride in your work

The best men take pride in their work, regardless of how small or insignificant that job is. This has baffled me for years. I havent been able to take particular pride in my work. Even if I am absolutely amazing at it.

Like take for instance writing (I kick butt, who am I kidding) but I wrote my first novel thinking, even if nobody published it, I would just save a copy of the word document in A4 spiral binded book for my grandchildren. It obviously went on to become a big hit and has touched lives of many men who are now in their late 20s & are able to "Get their girls back!" - The point being, I didnt take immense pride in it or anything. But I have come to think there is some merit in a man who is sweeping the floor and wants to do it right. Or someone who makes excel sheets for a presentation and does that right. These small things add up and if you arent doing something right now, because it is beneath you today, you wont be able to do it when it is really worth something. I fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, the worst of them fall at the far end, and in the end dont manage to do anything big because nobody trusts them with it.

6. Marry the girl who you will keep happy and who you will be happy with

Identifying characters of people around you and their worth is a learnable trait. Do this right and 90% of your life will be sorted. I have seen so many good men make mistakes judging women (usually when they are young, like in college) and then spending their lives with them unhappy, wondering where did they go wrong. Surrounding yourself with good people (of which good women are a subset) is a very important man trait.

I will someday write about how to Woman as well, and that might help, but for now, look at a woman as you would look at a man, if she was a man, would you be good friends with her? If she didnt have those big kajal lined eyes, long hair and smelled of vanilla, would you still want to be with her? If all it involved was talking about the weather or netflix (but not chill) or life in general, would you still be friends with her?

7. As a dad just ensure the mom isn't overwhelmed. If she is it will invariably go to the kids

A good man who doesnt choose to be a father, is a man who has wasted some of his potential. It is rare for good men to not want to father, but when I find someone like that, I recheck all the other characteristics and find him lacking in "taking responsibility" which makes me rethink whether he is actually a worthy guy.
Being a father is so much work if done right (and hugely rewarding btw). Read more about it here

8. Learn how to cook for yourself and a little bit for the people around you

If you have to open an app everytime there is no food in the house there is a problem. There is something terrific about taking raw materials and making something delicious out of it. It tells me there is a creative side to that man, and we have survived as a species because men came up with creative ideas to keep predators at bay. Then that maybe making metal weapons to safeguard one's family, or tools to dig up a well for water. While this may no longer be necessary, cooking up a meal still features as a life skill and a man should have at least some of it

9. Don't be ready for a fight

- that's what 13 years boys do. Be ready to diffuse a tense situation develop that skill. And animals, hippos, lions etc fighting for a mate or territory. Getting this without blood or losing one's front teeth is a kickass (pun intended) skill. This is what makes us different from animals & kids (who we all know are just little animals)

This post is a culmination of all my judgement about different men. This is all that I can think of, if there is something I might have missed that you think is important to man, correctly, do let me know.

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How to daddy...correctly!

Writing is like swimming. Even if you dont do it for a few months, or years for that matter when you go back to it, you struggle a little bit but then find your way. The most important part is to dip your legs in the cold water and once you do it then it is easy from that point on. But before you actually do it in real life, you gotta do it in your head, you have to imagine floating in the calm waters of your housing society's swimming pool. Ditto for writing. Only here you have to imagine sitting and typing at a blank sheet, hoping it all makes sense and then the millennial readers that you have (all 4 of them) take time out from Buzzfeed or scoopfeed or whatever that kids are reading these days to come on the site and appreciate what's been written.

Talking about kids, I have interns now who were born when I was hitting puberty. I have named them after the movies that came out in the year they were born. So I have a Dil toh pagal hai in my team, a DDLJ and even a Hum aapke hai kaun (he has work experience). I also have someone who I thinks is Andaz apna apna but she isnt revealing her birth year to anyone. I am of course, Rambo 4.

So I have realized you cant hit on women who were born when you had started getting facial hair. They automatically make you think of your daughters.

Now coming to the reason why all of you subscribe to my blog and have been refreshing the home page everyday for the past 200 odd days - to gain from my meandering experience and unlimited wisdom.

So, how to daddy? Not to brag or anything, I am particularly good at this job. I have a small fan club, comprising of currently just 1 member, my 4 year old daughter, but we are in the process of making new members, which is, my 2 year old daughter. With an amazing success rate of 50% which as Warren Buffet tells you is the exact number of times you have to be right while picking stocks to be rich, I share with you how to bring up kids with my 6 years (4+2, see how I did what those mahesh tutorial ads did?) of experience in doing the same.

Disclaimer: This is applicable to the angels my daughters are (they obviously take after me). Dont blame me if you were a brat while growing up and had to be disciplined weekly. Also not applicable if you have a couple of boys. In fact, God help you!

So here goes.

1. Indulge the kids: Having kids is a chance to grow up all over again. Having two kids, is a chance to lengthen that chance. There are things that they feel are important that might seem trivial to you, like tying those two ropelike things in a frock that you tie behind in a bow (what the hell are those called?), like the colour of the hair tie, the choice of soap, the need to brush their teeth at 8 in the evening. The point is, indulge. When you are small, small things seem important. This is also true of your colleagues in office.

2. Be their friend (coz once they grow up, they wouldnt want anything to do with you): Who's your best friend? Why are they your best friend? Be that to your kids. Exactly that. Coz that works for you and your friendship. And while you are at it, also check with that friend if they think you are their best friend too. If not, where did it all go wrong? Find it out and dont be that with your kids. It's that simple, only if we dont complicate it. This is true for all relationships

3. Make silly games for them: Kids get bored easily. No number of Hamley toys are going to cure that boredome. Btw, stay away from Hamleys, that place is evil. It can make even the strongest men want toys they thought they never wanted at prices they would never pay. Also for kids like me with deprived childhoods, it is a way to re-live our desires via our kids. I told you, Evil they are!

Instead make silly games for them. Whenever my kids fight, I made a game that points at the crying kid and say "NO" and they have to play with an action, like hiding their face. This game then expanded to Yes, no, maybe game and further to yes, no, maybe, coco. Now it's our favourite time pass.

4. Make sure kids know the value of things and not their cost:

 Like I said, it is an opportunity to grow up again. It is importnat not to make the same mistakes most of us 80s kids did. Along with the value of things, 80s India also knew their cost. 5 rupees for a loaf of bread, 50 paise for kismi toffee bar, with math came conversion, the realization that 10 toffee bars could give 1 loaf of bread, and that 10 loaves of bread were equal to that 1 toy you been wanting for a year, and you keep delaying it, because your 10 year old brain cant get to spending those many loaves of bread on a toy. Then you are 15 and the time to play with that toy is gone. Forever.

Dont do that. Do the exact opposite. Let them know the value, not the cost. Also dont let them know trivial things in your life, like EMIs, how much money you make and how costly the world is becoming. There is plenty of time for them to learn this. Let them be kids. For now.

5. Make stories for them. Name characters after them and their friends: I like telling stories. Duh! That is how I got my wife to marry me. Some brilliant story weaving there. Anywho, my 4 year old doesnt sleep without hearing her bedtime story. Most of it is made up. I have figured, mythology is her favourite, so I modernize it. Shiva stays on the 8th floor (like us), Sita has a red sofa (like us), Ram likes to eat healthy and Krishna is strong because he eats almonds and milk everyday. In every story there are 2 common characters - Pranaya (thats my elder daughter) & Manjiri ( that is my sister, her buwa). Girls that she has a fight with in school become the side villans in my stories, her best friends make special appearances in the same dress that they wore a a birthday party, btw.

I think she's reading through all of this maybe. she asked me the other day - Daddy, Sita's house is so much like our house no? I had to tone it down from there.

6. Give them a bath once every now and then and make it fun: We turn on the bluetooth speaker, bring the pichkaaris and it's holi everyday while taking a bath. The kids love it and on my days off look forward to it. It is also a good time to introduce them to brilliant 90s music. Baba Sehgal is not a name to be forgotten.

7. Kiss them Good morning and Good night. We Indians dont do this enough. Nothing is going to make the kids feel safe and loved as much as physical touch of their parents. Animals do this constantly because they cant talk, but neither can children, at least not properly till they are 6 or 7. This I have found also helps me sleep better and my general well being. Also try to extend this to the wife.

This is all that I can think of, right now. I will keep coming back to it and read it and edit if I learn something new or something doesnt quite work well with the younger one. That is the badmash one. Still an angel compared to your boys. Adios.
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Clash Royale & life

Warning : nerd post

Ever since I got interested in my job, all my hobbies have taken a beating. I really enjoyed writing but then demanding jobs happened, and kids & EMIs, and then Weekends became scarce. Off late, I have got some time to write but cant really find anything to write about. So I thought what takes up the most of my time, apart from work and travel and kids - One thing. Clash Royale.

Now I have never been the gamer type. I have never spent all night long playing counterstrike I still dont understand the game honestly. The only few games that I have been really a fan of are - Mario, Contra, Halo(what graphics!), Bond (forget the version, but had the best intros ever (

I have always wanted a Xbox but always found ways not to buy - would take up too much time out of family time, can use the money to buy better things etc. Somewhere in the middle, smartphones took over and I tried my hand unsuccessfully at getting addicted at some game. The only good game I remember was Explode Arena ( I was the proud owner of a Nokia Ngage & we would play this on bluetooth with our college friends. Also, I was incredibly good at this.

The only other game that I have gotten addicted badly to is Clash Royale. ( The reasons I recommend the game to every one in sight are given below (Please read about the game here

1. Only 3 mins per match. You are in and out in 3 minutes. If you are waiting in line to get your boarding card, or waiting for a meeting to start, this is the game for you
2. You are always playing against a real person on the other side not a bot.
3. It is a bit like chess but with so many more variables - like you have to guess what cards does your opponent have & then back yourself that he will play the card at x time & be ready with your antidote at x+1 seconds

But most of all, I like Clash Royale because no other game depicts life in a much better way

CR, is unfair, it gives a clear advantage to guys who pay their way to stronger cards, much like life. So many privileged people are successful largely coz their grandfather owned some mill somewhere during the british Raj. But very much like life, if you know how to leverage your strength and hide your weaknesses, you can win even against the strongest of opponents.

CR, is a game of the mind, more than anything else. If you can predict what the opponent is going to do next, irrespective of how strong his cards are, you can win. This is just how life is, you have to be one step ahead of your opponent, esp a worthy opponent.

CR, sometimes is about luck. Even smart opponents might make stupid mistakes, how to latch on to others mistakes and learn from them makes you a winner. Much like life, if you fail at latching onto the small opportunities that life throws your way, you wont win

CR, makes you treat win and loss the same. Sometimes you just realize that the opponent was just too strong - probably bought his way up, or just has played a few hundred hours more than you, either way it is ok, no need to beat yourself up too much. If you win, then you try to understand what you did right and repeat it for the next match (and you might still lose the next match coz this player has a completely different set of cards from the last one)

CR, teaches you that even small cheaper cards can kill strong more expensive cards, for eg, the skeleton army costs only 3 elixr, while a pekka costs 7, but played at the right time, skeleton army will melt away a Pekka.

CR teaches you perseverance, and to never give up. Recently I played a match with a Level 12 (I am sure paid account) & there were 2 of his friend who are viewing the match. They were all giving me crap with emoticons while the game was on. While I have won matches against many Level 12s (I am a Level 10 with 4200 trophies), this one I knew was special coz it is rare that 2 viewers are viewing a match. I was close to losing, and all 3 of them threw the same emoticon, giving me the idea that the card he just placed was a definite winner. I kept fighting and unexpectedly for them, won it! It was an incredible rush. Most days I would have given up, but this day I pushed till the end and won... This is what CR is all about. This is what life is all about.

I wrote this post coz I wanted to get back to writing, so the cobwebs would come off this blog and I could then think of something more deep. Also, I want my wife to tumble onto this post to give her an idea why I spend so much time on this game... Lol...

Thanks for reading this - I am back boys and girls!
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A letter to my just born child

Dear child,

I once wrote a letter to your elder sister before she was born (read here) and I wanted to do the same for you. But then I thought why do it exactly the same way? You are going to be different from your sister, even though both of you come from the same parents. I have seen so many siblings in my life and marveled at how 2 kids born of the same parents can be so different!

So I decided to write this post after you came in this world.

When the nurse handed you over to me, I held you confidently. I raised an amazing 2 year old girl, how could I not be confident? But I quickly realized, you could be a totally different kid. I want you to know that you need not be like Pranaya. Your amma & I, like all parents in the world, will love you regardless.

Love for me, simply put, is that your dreams, your comfort, your well being is more important to me than mine. Simple, no?

I am in deep love with Pranaya. The kind of love that I didnt know was possible. When I fell in love with your amma, everything became beautiful and I was 13 (yes, that little!) at that time & then 21, I think when I again met her. The love at 13 was the most I could love a girl, & at 21 it was even more strong. But nothing even comes close to the love one has for their kids. I am telling you this now, because maybe sometime in your life you might feel differently.

I want to talk to you about luck. You would read quotes about how luck is all about working hard, and that it is non-existent. I think it is real. I have no idea what did I do right to have such amazing daughters, first Pranaya and now you. I dont know why your amma thought it was a good decision to spend her life with me (I have asked her numerous times through thinly veiled questions). I have no idea what good I did to have the parents that I do. Luck is how I explain it.

On the other hand, I have no idea why I havent had the luck in work. Got into top schools at the last and got out at the top, mostly through sheer hard work. Dont understand why some of my less hard working friends have better jobs? I dont get why my hard work hasnt got its due. Luck is how I explain it.

Some things are not within our control. Media, newspapers, celebrities tell us that they are. What is within our control is to give our best. Newspapers print the names of the kids who top various exams. They then take their interviews, ask them for tips for aspirants. Why? What is so special about getting 750 marks our of 750 that makes it news? Shouldnt they cover stories of resilience? Where some kid living in sub par conditions who came 25th? Isnt that better news?

News is not of much use. Nobody is going to gain wisdom through a second hand account of what is happening in Syria, or the US, or even Vidarbha. Wisdom in our times is underrated. Information is overrated. Only follow this advice if by the time you are 8 years old, your daddy has made a name for himself. Else choose to ignore. That is true for this entire letter. Not everything that I say is correct. My knowledge is a culmination of what has happened in the last 30 years of my life. My biases, my fortune & misfortune colour my ideas.

The core of Human spirit is freedom. We all aspire to be free. But society has made systems that will reward you a little, every time you let go of a little freedom. You want food everyday on your table, give 8 hours driving a truck, or painting a wall, or making excel files and ppts. Want your teacher to praise you for that assignment, that is actually not going to add much value to your knowledge? Spend the night working on it and skip the planet watching that you had planned.

That said, do whatever you do with passion. Easier said than done. You can only do things with passion when your wants/needs dont plague what you want to spend time on. Trust me, if you want that latest iphone (hopefully they stop) or that Merc (guilty), much of your time will be spent on earning money and not so much on what you like. I havent learnt how to do that, hope you do, then teach me.

I am saying all of this as I am afraid that as time passes, I will no longer be able to make sense of your generation and maybe then, this post written by your dad at 31, might make some sense.

Staying happy is the aim of life I have found. Being happy is an art and good art happens when what you think, what you do & what you speak is in alignment. Everything I do for you would be directed towards this. If you ever feel that I am not being true to this, please remind me, I tend to forget.

In closing, I wish you find what you love, and find the courage to do what you love. I hope you find happiness in your life. Love, courage & a heart that seeks happiness, my child, will lead you a long way.


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The ideal life

I have been thinking about the ideal life. Everything that I could come up with directs towards total freedom.

1. Its a Tuesday and first rains. I want to go to Lonavala. Now.
2. I want to watch a late night movie and go to office by noon
3. I want to go home early today.
4. I want to work till late today
5. I want to hear a song while working and maybe hum it too
6. I want to have lunch out today
7. I want to play cricket/TT/badminton this morning
8. I want to have misal pav from Mamledars on a Thursday
9. I want to write a poem and its 11 am in office
10. I want to play on my Xbox at 4 in the evening on a working day
11. I want to buy a Xbox
12. I want to plant a garden and then take care of it
13. I want to wear shorts to office
14. I have an idea, it might be stupid, it might change the world, I want to work on it today, all day.
15. I want to come home for lunch. Everyday.
16. I want to live in Portugal for 3 months.
17. I want to drive a Mercedes
18. I want to read at least 1 book each month
19. I want at least 1 night out with friends each month
20. I want to live in pune for a week once a while.
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Do you have it in Red?

"Sir.... Sir?" she said pushing the pen towards him, "Will you take it?"

He looked at her and smiled.


He peered inside the Fiat 118ne window to look at the dashboard. He had a fight with his friend the other day that 118ne was faster than a Maruti 800. He stood on his tippy toes to see clearly what the speedometer said - Aha! 140 kmph! Much faster than the 120 on the Maruti speedometer. He was correct. He was all of 6 years... The life long love affair with cars had just begun.


Those were the 90s, the economy had just opened up and new things, for the first time for a lot of us, were now available. Liberalization brought with it shiny Hot wheels toy cars. These were small models of mostly American cars that could now be bought even at the local kirana store, well , at least few of them stocked up.

He was 7 years old and liked helping his mother with groceries. Every time he went to the store, he looked at the Hot wheels placed in a glass shelf which quite innocently came up to his eye level. That was the time when middle class parents only indulged their kids out on their birthdays, sometimes not even that. He knew his parents weren't rich, but every time he went to the store, there it was, a gleaming hot wheels right at his eye level. One day, he just went ahead and asked for it. His mother asked the man behind the counter for the price. 25 rupees.

"That is too expensive. Do you know how many Wibs bread would come for that money?"

They started walking, he started calculating. She was right. 5 loaves of Wibs Bread. That was too much bread for a 7 year old to handle. Not that their family was living hand to mouth. No. But he was being taught the cost of things, and what better way than Wibs Bread.

The next time they were at the grocery store, he threw a fit, a very rare tantrum, he really wanted that Hot wheels. His mother took him away kicking and screaming. He had seen tantrums work with his friends and their parents, she knew what he was trying and she knew that he had to know that it is not okay. Gave him the thrashing of his life once home.

And that was that.


It was the 90s version of a party. His parents were invited to a dinner and he tagged along. Unlike today, house parties actually had home cooked food. They were doctors, with two very well behaved sons, who even had a bunk bed. This is 1995. This is when Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was considered entertainment! They had their own room and a bunk bed. In 19-freaking-95.

Post dinner, as the men settled down to discuss politics and the women were busy exchanging recipes, the 3 boys, were sent to the kids room.

The room was painted blue and the curtains matched the paint. The bedsheets matched as well. In a corner a basket ball was placed and they had a season ball (the kind Tendulkar plays matches with!). The room was spotless. It looked like a girl had made a room for boys.

His parents werent poor by any stretch of imagination, sure they werent doctors, but they had decent jobs. They both worked for the government. Father for LIC and mother for a bank. Government bank, of course.

"What do you want to play?" The elder one asked.
Surely, they might have one hot wheels, he thought. They have all this awesome stuff.
"Do you have a hot wheels?" He said 'a' hot wheels. One.

The younger one ran to the cupboard and pulled out a plastic bag, with some saree name on it, Paneri or something.

He then sat on the bed and unloaded the contents of the plastic bag. Hot wheels. So many. Probably 20 or 30. This was Heaven.

"Come play with us!" the elder one said.

He just stood there, calculating how many Wibs bread could these many hot wheels buy.


And that was that.


They had just come out after watching the 6 to 9 show. Shahrukh was good, but how had he reached so far in his career he wondered. He hadnt liked the movie, a 10 year old boy wasnt the target audience of a romantic muscial anyway. It was July, and like it normally does in Bombay, it was raining when they came out of the single screen theatre. They had a scooter, they had to wait for the rain to stop, the car wallas pulled out of the parking one after the other.

Then it happened, a red car pulled up in front of them. It was just like the car in the song (Ho gaya hai tujhko toh pyaar), with the three pointed star and the red paint that gleamed even in that rainy night.

"What is that car?" he said pointing to it, a little too loudly. His dad gently pushed his hand down. Back in the 90s, you did not point at things, you did not point at people, you did not point at anything.

Then maybe because he was in a good mood, or because he liked the film, "That is a Mercedes." he said. "You see that star? That is the logo of the company"

"Just like in the picture!"

"Yes. Just like in the picture"

Those were the times when you only saw Maruti, Fiat and Ambassador on the road. Seeing a Mercedes roll by you was like meeting a film star or something.

As they started to walk to the parking, he looked back at the car in the distance, it's tail lights lighting up as it went over a speed breaker, he thought - One day....

And that was that.


He did not leave any chance to ask for Hot wheels. Whenever he saw his father in a good mood which was rare, he would slyly slip in the topic of how great those toy cars are and how all his friends had at least one.

"Why dont you come first, in class? If you come first, I will buy you one."
"Promise?" He couldnt believe it. All he had to do was to study hard and come first!

He came third in the unit test, then 3rd again in the Semester, then 2nd in Unit test II and then finally.... 3rd again. He went to his dad, hoping for some consolation prize. After all he worked hard, what could he do if he couldnt come first.

"No. The deal was for you to come first. No first, no prize. Life is tough."
Maybe Life is tough, and maybe it is unfair, but maybe a 10 year old boy doesnt have to know it yet.

And that was that.


It was Diwali, his Dad had moved up to the Manager position in LIC and the LTA was good enough to take the family out of the country. Which was obviously going to be Nepal. It was off season as it gets quite cold but Diwali in Kathmandu but it is worth experiencing so off they went.

Someone suggested they visit the local bazaar, there was memorabilia there, products by local artisans and even some chinese products. Back then, Chinese products hadnt taken over the world and the Indian mentality still put imported stuff above Indian made, even if it was made in Nepal, or china for that matter.

As they were walking through the bazaar, he saw it there. A gleaming Red colour Hot wheels Mercedes. "How much?" he asked.

"100 for the pack" the stall owner pointed at a packet with Chinese looking inscriptions and 6 cars in it. 6 cars for 100? This was a un-freaking-believable. This was a deal. This was a no-brainer. There was a Merc in there, a Ford, a Chevy, and a bunch of brand names he didnt even know. Remember this is before Hyundai even set its foot in India.

He ran up to his dad-
"It's only 100 rupees" He said with eyes that reeked of desperation. He had let his self respect go. This demand could very well be turned down like all his other demands, but he had put himself out there. This was once in a lifetime. He was never going to come back here again, even if it did, would it be during Diwali, even if it was, would 6 cars come for only 100 rupees? It was worth a risk, it was worth getting his self respect get a little more maligned.

His father looked at the stall that was 20 yards away, in his excitement, he hadnt even said what that 100 rupees was for, he just stood there, his arm pointing towards the stall.

Dont know if it was the spirit of Diwali, or something in the Kathmandu air, his father pulled out a 100 rupee note and handed it over to him. It felt great. He bought the chinese knock off and came home.

And that was that


He looked at the 6 cars placed on his study table. It made him feel guilty. 20 Wibs bread loaves he thought. This is what happens when a 11 year old boy spends half his life calculating the cost of things. He learns the cost, but misreads the value.

He took the cars to play with his friends, who were floored with the chinese graphics and the imported tag.  11 year old boys are idiots.

"I like these cars. They are imported, no?" A friend said.
"Yes. You dont get this stuff in India. This is not metal, this is top grade plastic. This will never rust, you know?" He said. Sales came naturally to him.
"Can I buy one?"

Why not, he thought. That way he could give back the money to his dad and get rid of his guilt.
"You can buy the ford for 50." He would sell 2 cars and then get to keep 4 cars. This was a windfall situation.
"No, I want the Mercedes," the kid said.
"Mercedes is not for sale. You can pick up any 2 of the rest."
"No, I want the Mercedes. You take 100 if you want."

For that kid, the one that got pocket money, 100 was 4 days pay. For him, however, for him it took 4 years to get here. But 100, for 1 car. That was clearly a profitable deal. There was value in this transaction.

And then, that 11 year old boy, who had spent 4 years, fighting, crying, justifying that he deserved a hot wheels, even if it was a cheap knock off, with what would have dented the hearts of the hardest men, handed over the red toy to his friend.

And that was that.


He looked at the pen and the well dressed girl who sat in front of him. He thought about the well behaved boys, what are they upto nowadays? He thought about the friends, what are they doing? He thought about the boy who bought the car from him, wonder what car does he drive?

"Sir?" she smiled, "any problem?"

He looked at her, then at the Silver Mercedes behind her, the 3 pointed star shining.

"Sir.... Sir?" she said pushing the pen towards him, "Will you take it?"

He looked at her and smiled.

"Yes.... Do you have it in Red?"

And that was that.

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Yeh Gadhhe

To be sung on the tune of "Turn the Page" by Metallica.

Dedicated to BMC & MMRDA

On the eastern express highway, east of Kanjurmarg,
Listening to the radio humming always Badshah songs...
You think about the pandu, 
the one who pulled you the night before..

But the wheels be always wobbling the way they always do...
When you riding one full hour, with nothing much to do...
And you dont feel much like riding,
Wish the trip was throughhhh...

Here I am, on the service road again
Here I am, road rageeee,
Here I gooooo, broken tar again,
Here I gooooo,
yeh gadddhheeee*

So you drive in to this SCLR,
tired from the workkk, 
the cabbie from Sion, trying to cut close
you pretend it doesnt bother you,
But you just want to explodeeee... yeah....

Most times you can hear them honk,
Other times you cant,
Same old cliche, is a woman driving a vannn?
And you always seem outnumbered, 
dont dare drive sane... drive saneeeyeah.....

Here I am, on the service road again
Here I am, road rageeee,
Here I gooooo, broken tar again,
Here I gooooo,
yeh gadddhheeee

Oh ho, driving from Chembur, 
it;s like a million miles awayyyy
every ounce of petrol, I dont give awayyy
And the scorpio runs the signal while honey singh playyysss... yeah...

Later in the evening, sitting in drivers seat, 
with the echos of the horns and honks, melting in the heat, 
turn of the AC, remove the seat belt-ttttt...
Seat. Belt.

Here I am, on the service road again
Here I am, road rageeee,
Here I gooooo, broken tar again,
Here I gooooo,
yeh gadddhheeee

*Yeh Gadhhe means These Potholes.
This was written as a joke. Dont mean everything, except the potholes, they need to be fixed.

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