I take TV seriously. Yes. I do.
I take all art forms seriously. Yes. I called TV an art form.

I take sitcoms more seriously than I take other series. I think it takes immense creative energy to follow deadlines and come up with a fun episode every week.

I introduced myself to sitcoms when Zee cafe was still Zee English and Star World was, well, Star World.

Back in the day, the funniest thing that would happen to you would invariably be your professor telling you a nerd joke - some thing like -

Heisenberg is driving down a highway when hes stopped by and cop. "Do you know how fast you were driving back there, son?"
Heisenberg replies - "No sir, but I know where I am!"

Geddit? Geddit? Dont worry if you dont... Be proud of yourself. You are not a nerd. (Now seriously, search up the Heisenberg principle. It pretty cool actually.)

So whom do you turn to for a good time when you are surrounded by such profs? The good old Television. :)

So I was thinking, among all the sitcoms that I have watched in the last 10 years, which ones have been super cool? Which ones should you watch to be around as cool as me? Note that I said 'around' coz...well... let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

So anyway, without wasting any more time, heres the list -

11. MODERN FAMILY

Why did I put up a #11 in a top 10 list? Well, because I can! Okay... because Modern Family is good. But they havent come out with that many episodes to be allowed in this countdown.

Something tells me that I will be writing about this show in 2020 when I make my "Best Sitcoms in the 2011-2020" list.






10. Curb Your Enthusiasm

If the makers of Seinfeld come up with a sitcom, which is less of a sitcom and more of a mockumentary, you know its gonna be fun.

Larry David shines in this show.

I might be biased here. I must say this show does remind me of Seinfeld and maybe that's why I like it so much. so, in order to be less biased, I placed it at #10.

Yes, this Top 10 is awesome like that!



9. My Name is Earl:

Even thinking about this show makes me smile. It was so damn ridiculous, it was funny.

The show follows the life of Earl - this guy with a moustache and a dumb ass brother.

So, Earl has done wrong things to too many people. And he believes its bad karma why he cant live a happy life. So, he writes down everything he did wrong with his friends, relatives, random people at the mall and then proceeds to find them and make it right. What follows is supreme stupidity which like always, makes for good sitcom watching experience!


8. Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai

So, now my readers from Turkey, Jordan and South Africa (what? I get a lot of traffic from these countries... I have no idea why!) are now wondering, what sitcom is this!!

Well, its an Indian sitcom and its in Hindi (without subtitles). The reason why I am resorting to such patrioticity is coz of the numerous shows on Indian television, no show - I repeat - no show comes even close to this!

The writing is smart, the editing crisp and the acting top notch! It has to be super awesome for it to be placed above two very good American sitcoms. And it very well deserves to be seen and respected for its awesomeness!

7.Just Shoot Me

Scene : Six people sitting at a table, out of which two are deeply lost in each others eyes.
Jack: I cant have this meeting if 33% of us are lost in each others' eyes!

Nina (with a dumb expression on her face) : What are you talking about Jack, there are only 6 people here!

The 2 love birds get up and start walking, still lost in each other.

Nina (with a confident smile): Jack, I think now only 4% of us are interested in this meeting!


Super funny. You should have been there!

6.scrubs

Scrubs is one of the few sitcoms I have written about. You can find my blogpost about Scrubs which I wrote back in 2007 here - http://thetimepassofindia.blogspot.com/2007/06/scrubs.html

Enough said!






5. F.R.I.E.N.D.S


I have to have a heart of stone not to include Friends in my top 10 list of Sitcoms. 25 years from now, our kids will watch this and still be floored by how awesome it was.

Friends is a classic. It is awesome. I know a generation of kids who relate to the 6 characters on the show. So I have a friend who thinks he is so much like Ross, there is this girl who says shes a lot like Rachel. The point being, name one more show where you tried to relate yourself to a character. And remember the Friends quizzes you had in college? You didnt? Well, maybe your college wasnt as nerdy as mine then.

I dont want people to comment how it became slow and boring at the end. Well, it did not. There just wasnt much to do with the characters.

Would a remake of friends work? I think, it will. All they have to find is an endearing cast. Have I just given NBC an idea?

And If you are wondering, what character would I relate to, then there are no points for guessing - I am such a Chandler. I miss Chandler Bing's sarcasm.

Sigh... Good days those.

4. That 70s show:

Now we can spend many blogposts discussing if That 70s should be placed so high up. But the deal is, it is difficult to create such a show.

You have to set it in the 70s then make sure the slang is right, the aspirations, political views etc. are right. It sounds like I am taking this too seriously? Well, a wise man once said-- making people laugh is no funny business son. Okay it was me who said it.

Anywhoo, the point here, this show was awesome. Tell me you didnt love the theme song and the "Hello Wisconsin!"at the end of it or you dont wanna know what race Fes comes from! (Its Fes and not Fez - it stands for Foreign Exchange Student!)


3. Coupling

Okay. Now I think British comedies are seriously over rated. They are unimaginative and as boring as Indian sitcoms. Now I have nothing against British sense of humour. I think the English are hilarious. But as artists they are rather unimaginative, dont u think?

That is till you watch Big train, Little Britain or Coupling. Now the first two arent really sitcoms, they are like short skits put together. That is why they are not on this list.

Coupling is England's answer to Friends. Nobody asked England a question, but they answered nevertheless. Its genius writing and good acting thrown in with a lot of dry humour and a thick cockney accent! What you get it an extremely palatable British sitcom.

2. The Big Bang Theory:

There are two types of people in this world. One - who find BBT funny and two - who dont find BBT funny.

If you do a quick check on their report cards, the ones who dont find BBT funny, failed their science and maths exams on a regular basis.






1. How I met your Mother

The #1. Without doubt.

Once upon a time there was a kid posing as a genius doctor on a show. That show was Doogie Howser MD. And that kid was Neil Patrick Harris. Or whom you know as Barney "awesome" Stinson.

He single handedly makes the show worth watching. The fact that the other kids are doing a good job too just make it worth the 21 mins. When it ends, you want more. You wish it was 29 mins like the British shows instead of 21 mins.

Awesomeness is a word.
Lemon Law is a thing.
Legen.. wait for it... dary is what uncool kids say to sound cool.

All this because of NPH.

There are people who have an attention span of a bumblebee and are wondering where is the mother in How I met your mother? I know the title of the show is misleading. I mean seriously, where is the mother?

But should we care? Did we start watching it for the mother? The answer is no. I say let there be no mother. The kids can be adopted for all I care.

So let this show go on and give us more awesomeness.







Here. I am done writing this. If you just skimmed through this post then I say - Not cool mate.. not cool...


PS -Entourage and Californication werent included coz they r cool and everything, but lack the funny.

The simpsons has not been included coz its a animated series and in a different class.


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The pothole in Berlin


The other day on my way to office, I saw a sight thats so rare, that in the 9 months that I have stayed here in Berlin, I have seen that sight just once. That sight was the sight of a pothole. A pothole the size of a volleyball. That was to my knowledge, the one and only pothole in Berlin.



I have known Germans too well for too long now. I took a picture of the pothole on my cellphone -- I ll tell you why -- coz 36 hours later, the pothole was gone. I knew this was going to happen. Only, I didnt expect this to happen in 36 hours. For the Germans, a pothole was a national crisis!
As I walked to my office that day, a thousand thoughts flooded my mind.

I remembered the bumpy rides in my own country. I remembered cursing the government, the officials... I tried to remember when was the last time road repairs took only 36 hours? It usually took months of complaining or an accident or better still, a visit by a politician to that road.
People like me, who love their country, start defending their own arguments which expose our incompetencies. Berlin is rich, I thought - they can afford the repairs - we dont have money - maybe one day we will have money - then we ll see...

The truth is - in PPP terms, Mumbai is richer than Berlin. The truth is - we cant hide behind the developing country tag anymore. A boy becomes a man when he takes responsibility for his actions. Maybe its time that we, as a country, grow up.

Honesty is such a virtue. Why have we put people who dont have any in positions of power?

The other day, at a high profile meeting here in Berlin, during a presentation, the name of India came up. The presenter talked about the CommonWealth games fiasco. The theme of the presentation had nothing to do with The commonwealth games.Cheapshot? Yes. It was. It made me cringe. The news reports about Kalmadi never bothered me before, but that day, they did.

And I am sure all is forgotten back home. I have no access to Indian news channels but I am sure news channels must have found a new topic to discuss. I am sure Dhoni's bike/hairstyle or Katrina Kaif's legs/cleavage forms the crux of the breaking news.

Why are we so complacent? Are we so big a country that no one is ready to take responsibility for anything? Are there so many people in there that its easy to find someone to put the blame on?

Do I sound to harsh for your Indian ears? Well, I am just being honest. And you know it.

And its not just us who are like this. I talk to a lot of people around the globe(except India). There is a marked difference in the people from the developing countries and the developed countries - It doesnt really matter what continent the countries are. People in Japan are similar to Germans when it comes to work ethic. While there are a few other countries, which remind me of India sometimes.

Back in India, in MDI, Gurgaon, when we saw our European friends complain about stuff, fight for what they thought was right, while we used - "chalta hai" attitude, each one of us thought they were being fussy. But now that I see them fighting for what's right even in their own country, I understand what their culture is all about. If something is not as it should be - it should be reported. It should be changed. Put into order. That explains the 36 hour repair of the pothole.

I am not saying we should mimic the west. In fact I strongly suggest that we dont. I am just saying, perhaps being complacent is not the best approach to being a successful nation.
Being colonized is the worst thing that can happen to a country. It's worse than losing two world wars. It's like being in a war for 150 years and losing it every year. Little by little, the soul of the nation is dies.A fractured, frail soul takes its place. What follows is appreciation towards the ruler and disrespect for self. This is why we regard learning English as more important than learning other Indian languages. This is why we buy "imported" stuff, even if its made in Taiwan. I have a German friend who I met the other day. She had worn her grandmother's earrings. Of course they were classy and subtle. My question is, how many of the girls in India would wear their grandmom's jewelery? If I was a girl, I wont. They would be too gaudy for today's generation. But arent we supposed to be gaudy? Look at our weddings for example and then compare it with theirs. Look at our festivals then have a look at theirs. Around 200 years ago, not a long time for a country whose civilizations dates back to 2600 BC, we would have been very comfortable in our skin. Now, we are just wannabes.

I dont know if you remember, but around 15 years ago, Doordarshan would show the Population clock everyday at 12 noon. It had this ticker which showed a number close to 92 crores (India's population at that time). It was supposed to spread awareness about family planning. In school you were taught that India's biggest problem was its population. Now, they say we a country of a billion opportunities! In 15 years, we could change the way people think. How many countries in the world have seen that kind of turn around? If you ask me, this quite a time to be born.

GDP without freedom, is just a number - ask the Chinese. Economic superpower, new world, fastest growing economy order are just words - if we cant pull our act together. Being the strongest economy in the world would make no sense if our roads are pothole ridden. Of course, there are other bigger problems. I am talking in figurative terms here.

We dont need to do anything path breaking here. All we have to do, is try our best at doing whatever we do. All we have to do, each one of us, is to take responsibility of our actions. All we have to do, is just try a little harder - 'Cause the best thing about being a billion people is -- even if all of us try a little harder -- its actually... a lot.
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The girl you didnt search for...


"Are you on orkut?" A friend asked me.


It was the winter of 2003. I was in the first year of my Mechanical Engineering. I didnt know what or who orkut was and what do you have to do with it! Why does one have to be on orkut?


"To make friends." He said. "I am on orkut. You can add me there."


But weren't we already friends??!!


I dont know when I decided to join orkut. But I fell in love with it instaneously. So many of my friends whom I had left behind in school, in the scholarship classes I had taken, the people I had met at the science fairs I had visited -- all of them were there on orkut. You could see what junior college they went to, what they were currently studying, if they were single or not...


The best feature was that you could search for your friends by entering their names. Boys would enter the names of the girls who were popular in school. Maybe now they would have enough guts to talk to them.


Sometimes you typed in the name of the girl who you thought you were in love with back in school... you wanted to know what was on in her life... what college was she in.. was she still as pretty as she once was.... did she have a boyfriend...




But this post is NOT about that girl. This post is about another girl.


The girl whose name you never enter in the search box on orkut. The girl who never matered to you... The girl who you were mostly embarrassed to be seen talking to...


----------------


In the 7th standard, when you are 13 years old, the best thing that can happen to you is that a girl falls in love with you and declares that to the world. Not so much if that girl is --Suman.


I wont call Suman ugly, but there was something about her that.. well... wasnt pleasing enough... She wasnt as curvy as the other girls (which mattered) nor was she too smart like some others (which didnt matter). She was, well, kinda plump.


When you are 13, you have such frail parameters of beauty. I know I did.


I had changed schools in the 7th standard. So, I was the new kid in my new class. The guys wanted to know what my rank in my old school was. You know, if I was a threat to the rank order. Men can be so competitive! It all sounds so silly now.


The girls wanted to know if I had a girlfriend from my old school or maybe someone who stayed next door or something. I didnt really know how to differentiate between a girl who was a friend and a girl who was a girlfriend. But puberty had made an appearance already and the realization of the differentiation came soon after.


So, Suman liked me. And had called dibs on me or something. So all her friends were on a mission to be matchmakers. Girls like doing that. It's embarrassing to all parties involved.


Initially, it would be her friend -- Hina, who would come up to me and make small talk. It was important to be friends with me before she could make me an offer. Then it was all her other friends. I enjoyed the attention for what it was worth but realized it might be getting out of hand now. The funny thing is - Suman never even tried to initiate talk with me. She would sit in a corner and keep looking in my general direction during free periods, lunch hour and such.


My guy friends made sure that I was made fun of enough number of times. They would call her names and though I thought it was wrong call someone names, I figured if I wanted to be one of them, I better dive in with them.


News travels fast in school. Soon all the kids in all the divisions knew about Suman's attraction for me. Every time I passed a group of girls in the corridor there would be giggling! It drove me nuts!!


Suman tried talking to me in a way only school girls can. She got hold of me in the corridor after school.


"Hi."She said. I didnt answer. She continued, "So, I was wondering if I could have your English notebook. I was absent yesterday."


Now she could have asked the book from one of her girl friends. I mean who would want to read my handwriting? The teachers did, coz they had to, coz they got paid to read what we wrote.


I gave her the notebook. I wanted to get this over with. I felt people were watching us -- the more time I spend talking to her, the more news it would make.


She tried her best to talk to me. She would come to me during the games period and try to make small talk. I know how difficult it can be for a guy at the age 13 to talk to a girl he likes, and she was a girl, it must have been doubly difficult for her. But you arent exactly Mr.Sensitivity at 13. That is an age where your reputation matters more than the feelings of the people you are with.


"Hi, we are organizing Garba night this navratri. Would you like to give it a try?" -- Some girl from the 8th standard said. I had seen her before. In fact I thought she was kinda hot. But I have never been interested in dance and such. I have never been interested in anything I am not good at. Thats just how I am.


"no, thanks." I said.
"Suman is going to be there." She smiled.


Even 8th graders knew! I was pissed at all this. What was going on? My reputation was being tarnished here. Suman? I wouldn't go out with her in a million years. What does she think of herself!!


Then came the breaking point. She called home one day. Only, it wasnt any other day. It was Valentine's day! And my father picked up the call. It was an era when students in the 7th standard didnt own mobile phones.


"Hel..Hello" she said.
"Suman you cant call here. What do you want?"
"Uh.. I just.. just wanted to know if you will come to school tomorrow." She said.


What? she called to ask me if I will come to school tomorrow?
"Yes I will. Now I have to go do some homework." Saying that I banged down the phone.


My parents knew the date too well. My mother had smile on her face and I knew that a question would follow anytime. Before I could rush out of the room she asked -- "Who was it?"


"Just a friend. Had some doubt. Now it's solved."


It was far from solved.


The next day, we met after school in the corridor near the school library. Everybody had already left the building. We were the only ones in the corridor. She had a glittery pink packet in her hand. She looked at me and smiled. My expression remained unchanged.


"I wanted to give you this." She said.
"I dont want anything from you." I said bluntly.
"Please." She said. Her eyes pleaded to just have a look inside the packet.


I was angry at her. More than her, I was angry at myself. How could I be so shallow? But why did she have to call my home in the night on Valentine's day? What was wrong with her?


"No. I dont want to. And I want to clear out some stuff for you --" I was angry and my choice of words made sure I sent out the same message. But before I could say anything, she said--


"I love you."


I felt the insides of my gut heat up, i felt hot acidic fluid corrode my insides.


"Well I hate you. Do you get it? I hate you."


I said it. Not once but twice.


I walked out of there. I left her standing there all alone. I didnt even look back at her.


In a few days, the giggling stopped. Suman stopped staring at me in lunch hour.


She will get over it. I was sure. It was for the best.


------------------




We left school school after the 10th standard, a good three years after the 7th standard. So much had happened in those three years. Crushes. Quasi-love. Heart-break. We were now mature, wise 16 year olds or so we thought. The world was waiting for us.


On the last day of school, we dressed up in our formal best to bid our goodbyes. The boys dressed in formal shirts or suits while for most girls it was their first chance to wear a saree.


The girls normally cried as they said their goodbyes. Some of the guys did too. Well, I am not a cryer. If you ask me, I dont even remember the last time I cried. Not that I am proud of it.


Suman came up to me. She wore a white saree and a worried look.
"Can I have a picture with you?" She said. This was the first time we had spoken after that incident. "Please?"


I had turned her 'please' down once upon a time.


"I would love to." I said.


And I placed my hand across her shoulder. I looked at her and the big smile that had suddenly appeared on her face from nowhere. And we got our picture taken.


"Thanks. I will keep this picture with me." She said. "I hope we meet sometime in the future."


I am not sure, but I think I saw a tear in her eye.


It made a dent in me somewhere.


--------------------------


I have never said - I hate you - to anyone ever. And I hate myself for the single time that I said it. I wonder if I should have been kinder to her and looked what was in that packet - maybe a greeting card was in it, or maybe a poem... I could have read it, at least. But I didnt.


I have never searched for her on Orkut or Facebook. I dont know what she looks like now. I dont know what college she went to. I dont know if she has a boyfriend or if she is married. Maybe she even has children. I dont know.


But I dont wanna know all that. I just wanna remember her as she was in that picture. I just wanna tell myself that among all the pain and hurt I had caused her, once, just once, I was able to make her smile.

- Arshat Chaudhary


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What kind of Indian are you?

So last time I wrote this post to help you identify the European around you. Now to be fair, I am gonna help my firang friends identify us. Yes, I intend to make jokes on Indians. If you have a weak heart or your last name is Kalmadi (The poor guy has too many jokes cracked on him already), kindly leave.

So like I promised, I am back with "What kind of Indian are you?"



Now if you have been a regular reader of my blog (which you should be going by the amazingly awesome content that I write on this blog) you would know me by now. So, you know how I am gonna go about this -

I am going to sort Indians into different groups based on what region they are from. Obviously, I am not aiming at a PhD, so I take no guarantee of the data I throw here.

Having spent enough time in Germany, I have learnt to do stuff in an orderly manner (they are killing my indiscipline, I tell you). So, this is how we go about finding what Indian you are. We ll talk about - 1.Looks: 2. life: 3.Food: 4.Motto:

I could have thrown in a few Pie-charts and graphs, but in my last 2 years of MBA, I have learnt not to work for anything I am not getting graded on.
So here my dear firang friends, here we go -

Indians:
As the firangs must have identified from the Exhibit A (myself), Indians are a cool breed. We come in varying degrees of browness unlike the others from the sub-continent (read Pakis, Lankans etc.). We like to be in groups. Esp when we are in Europe. You see, we are so used to seeing crowds, the European streets make us uneasy. So we always leave the house in groups of 3, you know what they say - 2 is company, 3 is a crowd! (hehe, small joke).

We are extremely helpful. We might not know a word of German, but if you are a German from a small town in Austria (which implies you dont know English), we will make sure you reach your destination.

There is only one cuisine in the world my dear firang friends, and it's Indian. And there are around 15 types of Indian cuisine!
We dont like learning new languages -- not that we arent good at it --if you have met me, you should know we are good at practically everything. :P Also, note that we have 27 languages in our country. And 1800 dialects. Most countries in Europe have 1800 people!

We are all about numbers. Not only are we good at it (As you might have noticed here), we use it to crack jokes --For eg- There are more "Guptas" in India than "people" in Europe.

Now we move to identifying different Indians from different places in India. This part of the post is addressed to everyone in the world (and out of it too). Indians, non-Indians, Scarlett Johansson (what? she's out of this world!)
If you know me, I will start from the region which according to me has the hottest women.

1. Pallakad:

Everyone whose not associated with the South is wondering where this place is. Well, it lies on the border of Tamil nadu and Kerala. There is something in the waters here which makes the women super hot.

Looks: Women hot. Guys not. Seriously, watch south Indian movies if you want. The heros look really bad. Not that I am complaining...

Life: Children know tables from 2 to 30, by the time they leave kindergarden. 'B' is considered to be a bad grade. Second rank is for losers. They have an algorithm for everything. Money saved is Money earned.

Food: If the women are so dishy, the food has to be tasty too... There are around 37 types of dosas. If you are a northie wondering - "Oye paaji, yeh dosa-shosha bhi koi khaane ki cheej hai...". I say, when a hot girl in a Kaanjeevaram saree serves you, you dont say no! :)

Motto: If you have a brain, use it to make an algorithm!


2. Gujrati:

I have spent most my life in Mulund (a suburb in Mumbai). The colourful nature of the suburb is largely coz of the gujju poplulation living here. In fact, this might come as a surprise, by the most suburbs worth living in Mumbai are gujju populated... this, despite the loud Navratris garbas.

Looks: The only community in India where the men dress up more than women. The women are good to look at but talk only about SRK, Indian Idol and Khichdi... So, if you arent in touch with one of these subjects, you are at a loss. Gujju men are the reson why even Arrow shirts has to come out with floral prints in their formal shirts line.

Life: You dont buy anything that isnt flashy enough. The flash should be directly proportional to the price. If the kid is good, he can study, if he's not, he ll work in Praful mama's jewelery shop in Ghatkopar. Dandiya is the greatest gift to man kind and should be used at every occasion possible.

Motto: Why work for others when you can have your own shop?


3. Delhi-ites/Punjabis:


Well, if it offends the Delhiwalas reading this blog, well... toh ho jau bhai offend... the thing is the Punjus own Delhi...

Looks: Girls look the same - Short, straight hair, slightly plump... it has somehing to do with the butter in the diet...They are kinda cute till they get married. Within three years of marriage however, they start looking like their mothers... Men in Delhi single handedly drive the sales of Amul butter. Hyundai sells 70% of their Santros here! Every body owns a santro! And everybody in Delhi has two cars. If you have just one car you are poor and no one will talk to you, except other poor people.

Life: What good are you if you dont have a gaddi? And what good is your gaddi if it doesnt have a 6000 Watt speaker? And what good is your speaker if you dont roll down your windows and let it blast? If you are a good kid, you will end up in IIT Delhi, if not, toh bhai pappu ko Pulsar le denge.. ghumaya karna masti mein!

Motto: What is life without some show shining?

4. Bengalis

The torchbearers of India... They usually bring in Nobel prize, Booker prize and other such prizes which dont really help the Indian economy in any way...

Looks: The girls are pretty. The guys are not. If you happen to visit Shantiniketan, things might be exact opposite...

Life: If there is no kid in the family who's either a Author, Economist or such, the parents have failed miserably at bringing up the child... Children learn to write peotry in the 2nd standard. By the time they reach the 4th standard, they get nominated for the Man Booker...

Motto: Jai Bangla! Jai Sourav Dada!

5. Mumbaikars

Now that I have covered all 4 parts of the country, let me take you to the oh-so-awesome part of the country. Well, my firang friends, if you have visited India and went to places like Varanasi, Cochin and such, dont come back and tell me you have seen India... Coz my dear friend, if you havent seen Mumbai, you havent seen the best of India (or the World!)

You might have spent your best years in New York, London, Paris or Berlin, but if you havent been here, it's time u booked a ticket. Well, there is only one city my friends, the rest are just trying hard.

Looks: The girls come from all corners of the country. So lets just say they get prettier and more self confident when they come here. The guys gets more self disciplined if they have been wild, and wild if they have been self disciplined.

If you have a day to live, go stand at Dadar station, coz the end of the day my friend, you would have lived a lifetime.. ~Arshat Chaudhary

Life: If the kid bats well, he ll become Sachin Tendulkar... if not, he ll still make enough money by selling vada pavs outside CST. Kids are taught to run since kindergarden... There are special classes for running.. This training is later used to run behind buses, trains...

Motto: Time is money

So, this is my way to payback to Europe. You gave me a place to stay and I educated you guys about our awesome culture and our awesome people - their looks, life and motto....

Well, after all this awesomery, I am tired and should go get some rest.

For people whom I have offended through this post, well, I say it was fun, should do it again... :P
If I havent mentioned the people from your area, well, if you write about it, I promise I ll carry the link on my site and make your blog famous... :P What kind of Indian are you?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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What kind of European are you?

[Warning: Very Informative post]

Over the years I have accumulated amazing skill in identifying people's accents. Yes, I started work on Tamilians and Mallus. Most of you Punju's reading this dont even know that Tamil and Mallu are two different languages. Don't worry. Most Mallus think there is not much difference between a Punjabi and a Hariyanvi...

Seriously not kidding -
Friend: "Arre tu Punjab kab jaa raha hai?"
Me: "Punjab?"
Friend: "Haan... MDI, Gurgaon?"
Me: "Abbe woh Punjab mein nahi... Haryana mein hai!!!"
Friend: "Oh... Different hai kya dono jagah?"
Me: *Disappointment*

Well, to be a true Mumbaikar you should forget that there is a world beyond Mumbai. And you dont have to have your last name as Apte, Madhukar, Thakrey etc to be a true blue Mumbaikar. You just have to have utter disregard for presence of a world outside.

Gupta saab: "My son works in Pune"
Thankrey saab: "Pune? Where is it?"

Yes. The world is divided into North Mumbai and South Mumbai. (Subject of another post)

Today, I am going to teach you how to find what European is the white guy standing in front of you. Next week, I ll teach the Europeans how to find what Indian is the brown guy standing in front of you. (Subject of another post... kitne subject mil rahe hain aaj)


But first thing first - I have installed like and Share buttons on every post. Do make ample use of those. And do join the fan page for The Time(pass) Of India. It is very important.

Now, you guys have always known that I am super awesome. Time has come that I reinstate that fact.

My class in ESCP (Which now is the #1 college in the world) had around students coming from 20 nationalities. So it was obvious that I was gonna pick on the subtleties of the accents. So here we go -

What kind of Europeans are they?

French:
*The easiest to identify. If a group of girls are standing talking among themselves and the language turns you on, then they gotta be french.

*If you find someone paying huge amounts of money for small quantities of food - they are french.

*If you meet them in their house and the clothes they wear indoors are better than the clothes you wear outdoors, they gotta be french.

*If you are in a hurry: you want to find if they are french or not - Ask them to say the word - "Home". Yeah. Easy. They ll pronounce it -"Ome". True French guys dont pronounce H.


Italians:
*Again easy to identify. While Indians in europe will give their right arm for a good Indian restaurant, Italians in Europe will never eat in an Italian restaurant coz it's not authentic enough!

* Their name or Surname ends with E, I or O. It has to be one of the three.

* The north Italians dont like the south Italians and vice-versa. Hmm... Very much like Mumbai. Mumbai, I think is slightly bigger though.


Germans:
* Tough to point out coz most of them speak good English.

* Will drive on of the following - Merc, Audi, VW. A true German never drives an Opel. Coz GM owns it. And screwed it.

* Will wear on of the following colours - Black, dark Blue, Grey, dark Grey, White. All other colours are considered gaudy.

* If you are in a hurry: to find out if they are German or not - Ask them a sentence with the word "already". Germans misplace "already". For eg- "We have talked already with the Professor."


Spanish:
* You cant go wrong here. Super easy. They are just spanish. And no, not all Spanish guys look like Antonio Banderas. And not all Spanish women look like Salma Hayek... Ah... Salma Hayek.

* If you are in a hurry: Ask them to say - "Project". They ll say -"Proyect." J is pronounced as Y in spanish.


English:
* If you think they are having serious problems speaking the Queen's English, they gotta be British. It has been proved that the British way of speaking English uses up 70% more calories than normal.

* A true English man wont call himself British.

* If you are in a hurry: Ask them to say "Tata". Now that Tata is buying their companies like that guy did in the "Rajnigandha pan masala" ad, everybody in Queens land knows what it is. They pronounce it as "Tatarrr". Yes, complete Indianization of Britian is gonna take longer than expected. :P


Scandinavian:
* If you find a white person, whiter than others and who speaks decent English, it's gotta be a Scandinavian. Now you cant ask what kind of Scandinavian he is. That would be too much. How big is Scandinavia anyway? As big as Mumbai? :P


American:
* Good people. Good sitcoms. Utter disregard for Grammar. Easy to identify. If they make too grammatical many mistakes with too much confidence, they gotta be Americans.


Well, I think that is about it. If I havent mentioned your nationality, well, it must not be that important. Or maybe there are more students in MDI than in all of your country. If MDI had its way, it would have it's own nationality. the students would be called Mandevians. And you would need a visa to study there. Wait. You do need to crack the CAT to study there. So yes, MDI is a country in its own.

So done. Just to be fair -

Indian:
* Brown. Easy to identify. Usually found around Indian restaurants. Doesnt find Indian food in Europe authentic, still spends 10 Euro per meal whnever he visits Amrit/Masala/Mirchi etc.

* To distinguish a group of Indians from other south Asian nationalities is very easy. You ll find various degrees of browness in them. You see, some of them are from the south, some from the north and some from Mumbai. But the major factor is the awesomeness of that group.

* In case of hurry: Just ask a group of Indians an address (Indians are always found in a group). Even if they landed yesterday, they will try to help you. Only one in five Indians has acceptable levels of English. Even the one who does, makes the Queen cringe under her crown. Like they say - Heavy lies the head that colonises other countries.



That is about it. This is such an informative post, I wonder if I should put it up on wikipedia.

If I have hurt the sentiments of people of different nationalities, well, if I cared, I wouldnt have written this post in the first place.

Anyway, join the fan page. Be a part of the awesome. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Timepass-Of-India/117871761604310?ref=ts

Next week - What kind of Indian are you. Stay tuned.






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Arranged!

Short Story

"Heyyyy! Long time... What are you doing here?"
Rajani yelled from across the shop.

Yelling in a saree shop is acceptable. It is like a cafe... for women... And you get to meet so many of your old friends... Rajani was a dear friend from college.

"I was buying sarees for my wedding..." I said.

"Woooowww... When are you getting married? How come you didnt tell me?" She asked.

"Umm... In two weeks... everything happened so fast..." I managed to say.

"So how is he? What does he do? Is he a Doctor? Remember how you used to say...," Rajani glanced at my mother who was going through a pile of sarees, "Is it a love marriage? Or is it arranged?"

"Umm.. It's complicated Rajani... He's an Engineer. Works with a multinational in Banglore," I said. I looked at my mother who was now getting impatient going through the pile of sarees all by herself... "I should get going Rajani. I will call you some time?"

Rajani left. She noticed I was under a lot of stress. Weddings are stressful. I thought mine will be smooth sailing. But life doesnt happen how you think it will.

I thought I will marry a Doctor someday. He will sweep me off my feet. I would be intrigued by his passion for his work. His dedication towards his patients, his ability do good for the society would attract me towards him. I looked at the sarees my mother was showing me. Peacock green with a turquoise pallu for the sangeet. Bottle red with shades of pink and a light orange pallu for the wedding day... I had a say in choosing the sarees I wanted to wear.... But what about the man I wanted to spend my life with?

Why didnt I have the right to choose him?

***

For our honeymoon, it was decided that we ll go to Ooty. It was close to Banglore. So it was decided.

Sometimes I think things would have been different had I been born and brought up in a big city... Maybe then I would get to choose the man I wanted to spend my life with. But look at Rajani... she lived in the same city... we went to the same college... and she can fall in love and marry the man she loves.

Why didnt I fall in love? I was friends with some guys. I had a crush on a guy in college. But could never fall in love with him. Should it be this difficult?

Walking down the steep inclines of Ooty with Suresh, now my husband, I couldnt stop thinking about how I had imagined my husband to be...

I thought how I imagined our afternoons to be... How we would talk about serious issues... about work... about how we wanted to do something for the poor... contribute to the society....

Suresh cracked a joke... I smiled... just enough to not hurt him... The poor guy had been trying to make me comfortable for the three days that we had been married.

He's so different than the guy I thought I will spend my life with... Suresh pointed towards the valley. He said something and laughed. I didnt hear what he said, I was too lost in myself. But his laughter was infectious. I smiled. This time, not out of mercy.

I was lost in my thoughts as we walked downhill. Just then a state transport bus came screeching down the slope and Suresh pulled me towards himself. I looked at the bus that whizzed by... too arrogant to care about a girl lost in her thoughts. I looked into the eyes of Suresh. He held me by my waist. I could feel his heaving chest, his strong hands... This was the first time I was standing this close to a man. I felt safe. I meant something to someone. There was someone who cared for me. He let his grip loose. His eyes almost apologetic for having held me so close.

He was back to his jocular self after a while. This time, I was lost in his talks. He was so intelligent.. so witty... We came across a park where there were school kids playing with balloons. He kept looking at them, a smile playing on his lips... The smile faded when he saw a poor boy in tattered clothes looking at those school kids. He went ahead a bought a balloon for him. The eyes of the little boy lit up. He ran off with the balloon jumping with joy. There was a smile on my husband's lips...

I fell in love with my husband.

***
Back home, once we were out shopping...

"Heyyy.. long time... How are you?" It was Shreya. We were friends from school... "And when did you get married?" She asked looking at my mangalsutra and the sindhoor on my forehead...

"Last month." I said.

"Woooowww... that is so amazing... Love marriage or arranged?" She asked.

"Arranged." I smiled.




________________________________________

I would like to thank Heena. This is the first time I have adapted a story. "Arranged" was first written by Heena here - (http://queenofmars.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/a-walk-to-remember/)

This post is dedicated to Nupur and Heena for different reasons. You know the reasons.

I was talking with a German friend the other day. The topic steered to Arranged marriages in India. Though she argues with me on most things (in spite of me being right always), I never thought I will find myself supporting the concept of Arranged marriages so strongly. I hope this story helps.

This is the first time I am writing from a girl's point of view. And yes, it was difficult. If any of my engg friends call me girlie after this, expect some serious ass kicking..



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Short story: Someone up there had a plan...

This post goes out to all the men who read my blog. I realized that I dont write enough for the men out there... So here!


Short Story:

Present day...

My phone rang at 2 in the night. I dont know why, but tonight, I was sleeping the sweetest sleep I had all month.
She didnt even say hello... Somethings are so important that you skip hellos on phone -

"I wanted to say... say... yes..."

And I say, someone up there had a plan...

Chapter 1

I remember running behind that 10:15 infy bus. It's weird that people can be late for a 10:15 pick-up. And by people I mean myself and the pretty girl who came running after me. Well, running after the bus actually, but behind me. The phrase of importance here being -'behind me'.

So anyway, I stood there waiting for the Taxi. That is the only option you got to reach Infosys campus. I looked at the girl from the corner of my eye. She had a Infosys card hanging around her neck-the strap of which was kinda wet from her sweat. For everyone who says Bangalore doesnt sweat, I say, well.. You run-You sweat.

"Umm... Infosys?" I asked her. Yes, two words is what I could come up with.

"Yes?" she asked. That sounded like a question - Means use more than two words in your sentence.

"I meant, are you going to infosys?" I re-framed my question.

"Yes, I am. You too?"

"Yes. Wanna share a cab?" I said making the 'horizontal thumb- take a lift' sign. I dont know why I did that.

"Yes. Sure!" She said almost overjoyed. Now her joy might be because of reaching the office on time. But trust the male brain to chose the option that soothe's its ego.

I stopped a taxi. We were about to enter when Ajay came running to the bus stop. Whats the point in running if you are like 15 mins late for the 10:15!
"Hey! Stop stop.. please..."he shouted from a distance.

He ran at full speed and jumped into the back seat.
"Haan.. phew.. yes.. let's go now..." he said.

I kept looking at him with disgust and so many other emotions I cant describe. I looked at.. umm.. what was the pretty girl's name? I hadnt asked her for her name!

She looked at me and smiled. I sat next to the driver and she took the back seat next to Ajay.

"Hi... phew.. Hi.. my name is Ajay! What's yours?" Ajay extended his right hand.

This was even before the driver started the car! I mean seriously... Let the car start Ajay!

"Hi.. my name is Pooja," she said.

Ah.. so that was her name. A little too common a name... Bu then, a guy named Raj cant really say that now, can he. Of course, I wasnt named Raj, I have a still commoner name.... :P

"That's a good name... I like it.." said Ajay.
Who asked if he liked her name or not?

"Well, Pooja, I work in the development services section in Infy, what section you work in?" Ajay asked.

I looked at him in the rear view mirror. He was sweating like a pig. When Pooja sweats, she looks so cute... well, Ajay, he just looks he's having an allergic reaction to Paracetamol!

After blabbering for 20 mins, Ajay and Pooja reached the infy campus. I didnt reach coz what's the point.. I am invisible anyway. With my sorry walk I started walking into the office building.

"Hey, excuse me? I dont know your name yet..." Pooja asked me.

Really? She wanted to know my name.

"Ah... thats such a simple name.. really common no?" she said when I told her my name.

Well, it's not THAT common. I know only 5 other guys with the same name...

"Well, I ll add you on the messenger." she said.

"Yeah.. please do..." I said.

Please do? Please do? Where did that come from?

She pinged. We met for lunch. We hit it off.

Chapter 2

"Could you book me on the bus to Mysore?" I asked to the lady at the reception. We had an annual sports meet in the Mysore campus. I just wanted to go to get away from office. Besides, anyone who has been to the sports meet will tell you how awesome it is....

"Sorry sir, we are full..." she said.

"Oh... there must be some way I can go."

"I am sorry sir. There isnt any other way." she said.

My shoulders dropped like Venkatesh Prasad's after being hit for a six. I started walking out of the room, when she said -
"Sir? You could go with the cheering squad if you want...There is one seat left."

Chapter 3

I entered the bus full of giggly cheering-people-squad. Some of them even men. Nothing wrong with that. How can you be cheering squad if you are not a little giggly?

I found a seat - one seat - on a bus with 42 seats. And who is the girl next to whom the seat is empty? You guessed it right.

"I didnt know you were on the cheering squad..." Pooja said.

"Well, I am on the tennis team!" I pointed to my Tennis stuff like it was Exhibit A.

And she laughed.


Chapter 4

Mysore was the best week of my life. And I dont think that was coz I won all my games. It was something else. I didnt know if it's what people call love.

Today, I proposed! I have known her for 28 days and I asked her to spend all her life with me... Yes, just like that...

The plan...

If you are a 20 year old reading this and trying to find out an iota of rationality in what I did, I suggest that you dont...

I was 20 once. And very rational. But then, there are something just dont demand reason. The heart has its own reasons.

Place your hand on your heart and tell me there is no girl you know, doesnt matter if she's an actress, or was your girlfriend when you were 15, or your neighbour's daughter, with whom you would want to spend your life with. If there is, then you would understand. If there isnt, I hope you find a girl who is.

I probably knew I wanted her when she came running behind me. I knew she was the one when I was so scared to talk to her, just coz I didnt want to mess it up.

Do you believe in destiny? That things happen for a reason? That this life is a screenplay written just for you?

I didnt. And I am proud of the fact. There is a time for everything. If you believe in something without actually investigating or experiencing it, then its blind faith, isnt it?

But one day, I hope a girl comes around, whose laugh becomes an ambition, so much, that you wanna be the one who makes her laugh all her life.


Present day

My phone rang at 2 in the night. I dont know why, but tonight, I was sleeping the sweetest sleep I had all month.
She didnt even say hello... Somethings are so important that you skip hellos on phone -

"I wanted to say... say... yes..."

As I said, someone up there had a plan...


- Dedicated to my room-mate and dear friend Rahul and his wife... This is my interpretation of how they met...

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Hindustan aur Deutschland!


I have returned from Deutschland. It was getting too hot in Berlin and once the difference between temperatures in Berlin and Mumbai became bigger than 3 degrees, I decided to head home. Most of you will be amazed but the temperature hits 36 degrees C in Berlin. That might seem cool to you guys living in Delhi and Jaipur where you can cook food if place the pressure cooker out in the sun for long. But try living through it without coolers, ACs and even fans! Yeah.. no fans.. how bout that?

I miss Berlin. I miss the bakeries. I know. I missed Indian food when I was in Berlin and now that I am in India, I miss German food. I also miss the buses tilting when the passengers have to get down. I kid you not - the buses tilt towards the sidewalk, so that the passengers dont have to exert themselves. And these are low buses...

The other day, I was getting down the BEST bus and when the bus stopped, I looked at the driver, almost asking him to bend the bus, and he looked at me like - 'Chamaiyla... not happening..'

I have gotten into a habit of saying 'ein' something.. Like when u say that you want- 'ein cola' - that means you want one coca cola. There is no other cola in Germany. There is only coke. I said the same thing to the steward in Air India-

Me: Ein cola bitte?
Steward: Ein?
Me: Sorry - one.
Steward: cola? I have only Pepsi.
Me: Yeah. Any cola is okay.
Steward: But I have Pepsi. No Coca Cola.
Me: Yeah. It's cool. Pepsi is okay, bitte.
Steward: Bitte?
Me: Please
Steward: Go to hell.

Cant blame him. That is too much German for any Indian in a day.

I went to a kirana store the other day to buy vegetables, I said - Ein sambhar bitte, and the guy threw a big potato at me. Not cool I say.

India is changing. I sound like a spoilt NRI right now, but trust me, it is changing... Like for eg, have you noticed the english subtitles on Star World! I mean who the hell came up with that shit?

I accepted when they came up with English Titles for heavyly accented English movies on HBO. But sitcoms? You get a hang of the accent once you see an episode or two. I mean, these Americans make so many grammatical errors that its no fun to read their mistakes in the form of subtitles... We are the only country in the world who can save the Queen's English. This is what it has come to, the Queen needs a country with like 27 languages to save it's own language.

And the Queen needs it I tell you. In the last few months, I have seen Europeans rip the language apart. Especially the French and the Italians. They are getting back at UK for some long time forgotten wars or something. They just massacre the language. It's a lotta fun I tell you. The Germans are exceptionally good at English. Only as good as us Indians though. They use the word 'already' in every sentence, just before the verb - yes, thats the German rule. Pretty much like Indians end every sentence in 'only'. Yes, we are like that only.

I have been told that I have a very hard Indian accent. Which I think is pretty cool considering every one out of five people in the world is an Indian. In 20 years, once we spend enough time abroad, we will make sure everybody sounds like us. That way everyone you meet will have an Indian accent. That will be the day. Ah... Genius.

I was having dinner with a french friend the day before I left. We discussed on the existance of languages. Yes, I ask out french girls so that I can talk about language and culture. To not do that - Please buy my book from (here)

Anyway, so the topic of language came up and she asked me why while writing a sms, I dont use the hindi language. As in the hindi script. I told her that the hindi script is very difficult to use and we read hindi written in latin script faster.

She had a valid doubt- What happens in 40 years when hindi medium schools will reduce in number. As more and more international schools enter the country, hindi is becoming a dispensable subject. What happens when even the kirana wala understands hindi? Will we stop using the language completely.

The Indian in me did answer her - We have been ruled by Mughals for 400 years and then the British for 150 years, hindi just incorporated the influences of Urdu and English, but it still has an identity of its own - I managed to satisfy her doubts, but I wasnt sure myself.

Anyway, I have given you enough food for thought for a day now. I can shift to the more fun stuff.


I have become slow in crossing the road. I mean, I wait for the signal to turn green now. I mean that 'man' wala signal. Most of us dont even know there is such a signal. As a kid, I remember asking my mom why we have that signal when no one follows it. It's like in Delhi, kids ask their father why they have the red signal when they never stop their Santro at a red light :P
I miss Delhi. I miss MDI. And I miss my room at IDPL. For the initial part in ESCP, while returning back home in the U-bahn (Underground train), I would think of my single room at IDPL. That reminds me, I know that my blog is like super-popular in MDI, so here is requesting all juniors -
If you guys know who stays at Hostel 5, Room 7, the single room, let me know. I would like to keep track of the legacy:)

The first reviews of the book have started coming in. The reviews have been positive. What I dont get is how come no girl has read it till date. I have got like 5 men telling me that they liked the book. But none of the girls have told me that they like it. Crossword is acting pricey, so it will take a week more for my novel to be available there. In the smaller shops, it should be available by now. In case you cant find it - You can always buy it from here.

Till the next time, have fun people! :)


P.S. -If any of you know any distributors of books, any kind, please do drop me a comment or a mail. This is in regards to something I have been wanting to start.



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On the wrong side of 25.. :)



I celebrated my 25th birthday on day before yesterday.

Its one of the rare occasions when your male friends are allowed to hug you, unless you are Italian of course.

"So now that 25 years old, what are your plans?"

You dont realize you are 25 till you hear it from someone. It's quite a number. 25 weeks at the
box office earns you a silver Jubliee tag. 25 years with one spouse means you have really high levels of tolerance. You have to be 25 before you can become the PM of India (oh yeah)...

All in all, it's a good number... only till they ask you what you wanna do with your life...

I have never been able to answer that question properly. When I was asked that question as a kid by my relatives when visiting them in the summer, the answer was easy. I would say I wanted to be a doctor - one of the advantages of having a doctor mother. Then the next question would be, why dont you want to be an engineer like your father?

Never did I have an answer. I wonder if I ever wanted to be a doctor... I never wanted to be a Pilot, or a Police officer or Giant Robot (like some friends in my colony) or Michael Jackson (like my cousin). I just didnt wanna be anything...

I didnt know what I was good at. I was good at maths and science, but so were 4 others in the class. I was not extremely good at cricket, so being the next Sachin Tendulkar was out... I never wanted to be an actor like SRK. I wonder if any guy wants to be SRK or should want to be SRK.

The point here is, I never really knew what i wanted to do with my life. I am less confused than I was when I was 22. When I was 22, I tried out everything. I applied to FTII's direction course,
lectured CAT students, worked for Siemens, got into MDI, gurgaon.... I thought this would help me sort things out... It doesnt work that way...

Anyway, in a bid to feel good about myself, I tried to see what good things have happened to me in the last one year... what have I learnt... have I become wiser than what I already was! :P

* I got my novel Published. To be honest, I dont feel to excited about getting it published. All my friends around me are extremely happy. I was wondering why I cant feel the same happiness... Then I thought about my blog, the best feeling is when I get comments on the blog...

This is what I am waiting for - reviews of the book... Once they trickle in, I would be happy...
hopefully :)

* I made awesome friends in MDI and Germany. I realized that I have really cool friends in general. I fail to understand why do they like me so much. sometimes
I wonder if I have been a good friend to them.

* I finally got a chance to come to Germany. I have wanted to come here ever since I saw that ad about German Engineering (Opel ad).

* I have fallen in love with Berlin. dont know if that stands for all of Germany, but Berlin in Summers is beautiful. God is a male. And he made summers in Berlin for his recreation. You ahve to come here to know what I am talking about.
(Now that I am an author, I have decided not to post raunchy photos... only clean ones like the one below)


* 'Genau' and 'alles klar' have to be my favourite words in the German language. Genau means Exactly and alles klar, it means all clear, but it is used like 'thik hai' in hindi.

* I miss MDI. I miss Arcus, the night canteen in MDI. I miss my room. I miss Air-conditioning. As weird as it sounds, except malls, you wouldnt find ACs in Berlin. And Germany is like the birth place of Mechanical Engineering. Btw, last week it was like 37 degrees C here. But I am not complaining - you know, God, summer, recreation thingy? :P

* You know the sweet smell of soil when it rains? You dont get that smell in germany. I dont know why. I mean, I know the biology behind the smell, but I dont understand why you shouldnt get the same smell here. I think that's where the phrase -"Desh ki mitti ki khusbu" comes from.

* Football is an unforgiving sport. One mistake costs you the match. Cricket is a better sport for a lotta reasons, one of them is that no one pulls ur jersey while playing. This is one of the reasons we dont play football. You come home with a torn jersey everyday and your mom gives you the dressing down of your life. Also our country cant really afford so many new jerseys everyday. The GDP of India will suffer. We will have to import jerseys from Bangladesh. And we all know that all football teams buy their jerseys from Bangladesh. Imagine a country as big as ours importing jersey after jersey from Bangladesh.... this will create a jersey deficit and Europeans will have no jerseys to wear.... and that my friend will lead to no football, europe's only pressure valve.... europe's GDP will suffer.... Hence we decide that for World good, we wont play football... We are just a class apart, arent we!

That's it for now... I cant explain any more complex problems in the world. If there are any, I am sure few of us are already working on it...

Meanwhile, my novel can be now bought online at -


Dont worry about the number of days. It should reach major cities in 5 days. Only in small villages does it take around 10 days I have been told.

If you find it in a store, do let me know... I ll be thankful :)
If you like/dislike it, please do send me an email - arshat.chaudhary@gmail.com

Till next time - Get nerdy :)
On the wrong side of 25.. :)SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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The excerpt


Do you know what a new book smells like? You know, a book that has just come out of the press? I love that smell.The smell of ink on fresh paper... It reminds me of my childhood. I used to smell the books while putting a new brow cover on them. (It was a rule in my school-no, not smelling, I mean, having covers on your books). The smell reminds me of a new beginning... it comforts me... It makes me feel that the past is forgotten. It's another day...

I have been really nervous the last few days... My editor told me that the Novel has gone into the press. They are printing copies as we speak...

I wonder how the final copy is gonna look. I wonder how it's gonna feel... I just want to touch it once.... I wanna just smell it once...

Here, I post an excerpt from the Novel : How I got My Girl Back...!

I hope you like it... If you do, do visit the site for more www.arshatchaudhary.com (It's up and running now)

Excerpt from
Chapter 19 :
The Date

L9? That is level 9, right? I will be there.”

“See you around 8 then.”

“Okay”

I started getting ready at six thirty, I didn‟t want to be late or get stuck in the traffic. Pune traffic on Sunday nights is a devil. I wore my favorite Arrow shirt and jeans. I know, kinda weird, not something that you would wear to a restaurant, but tell you what; Indian girls find an office shirt worn over a pair of denims very hot! Okay, I didn‟t know that, Akshay told me.
I reached World Convention Centre around seven thirty. Entered my name at the reception and then took the elevator to the ninth floor. I approached the counter just outside L9.

“Excuse me, Sire!”
A guy dressed in a dark blue blazer, probably the captain at the restaurant stopped me. These swanky hotels have guys like these to make you feel unimportant.

“Yes?”

“You are not wearing a tuxedo!” He had a British accent. Fake of course.
I realized something. This guy, it was... it was... Umesh! In a Tuxedo! A Tux completely changes the personality of the person I tell you.

“Umesh? What‟s wrong with you?! What is going on?”

“Isn‟t it cool? I am the captain here and I want you to wear a Tux,” he said excitedly. He pulled out a black swanky Tux from behind the counter. “Here! Put this on!”

“I am not wearing any Tux!” I said. There was no way I was gonna change from the „hot‟ look to the „old fart‟ look.

“Hey look! I don‟t make the rules!” He said.
Someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned to find her looking at me with her lovely hazel eyes. She was wearing a maroon salwaar kameez. It had some embroidery but essentially it was very simple. Just like her - simple and pretty. She had a couple of purple orchids in her hand.

“Dev? Why is everyone giving me orchids?” She asked in her honey dipped voice.

“Umm.. umm..” Think Dev, think! “Umm… „cause you are pretty.”

Maybe that was the setting Akshay was talking about. He must have requested all the guys to give her orchids. I must have told him only once that Pritha liked Orchids, and he remembered that!

“Nooo,” she said. “I come into the WCC and the gatekeeper gives me an orchid saying Ma'am you are beautiful‟. I go to the reception to enter my name, the man at the counter stops me and gives me an orchid saying 'Ma'am you are beautiful', I enter the lift and say Level 9, the liftman takes out an orchid and says-”
“Ma‟am you are beautiful?” I offered to finish her sentence. “See? I was right! They really like you. And who wouldn‟t, you are beautiful.”
She blushed at that.

“Uh.. should we go in?” She asked.

“Ma'am, there is a dress code.” Umesh pitched in. “Tuxedos for men, evening gowns for women.”
“Oh.. but, I don‟t have a evening gown!” she asked.
What was he doing! He was ruining the whole thing. Just then he pulled out a turquoise evening gown from behind the counter and handed it to Pritha. Now turquoise is the name that girls have given to the color blue. I mean, why can‟t they call it blue! Wasn‟t turquoise an animal that goes into its shell every time it senses danger? Oh wait… That is tortoise.

“Ma‟am, you can wear this!” Umesh said handing her the gown. “And this too,” he handed her high heeled sandals or whatever they call them.

“Oh.. but do I absolutely have to?”

“Yeah, does she have to?” I quipped in. I was worried she might call the whole thing off.

“Sire, I don‟t make the rules.”

“Are these my size?” She asked checking the gown and the high heels.

“They sure are!” said Umesh.

This is the guy who gets up at six to take a dump, this is the guy who wears a baniyan for most part of the day and here he was ordering us to „dress up‟. Anyway, we decided to dress up, in our respective costumes of course, and in our respective restrooms of course.
I wore my tuxedo and came out of the men‟s restroom. I waited outside women‟s restroom for Pritha. She took a good twenty minutes to get dressed. Girls always take a lot of time to get dressed. But I swear to God, it‟s all worth it! She came out, wearing her turquoise evening
gown.

She looked beautiful! Her hazel eyes, her lovely curls, her curvy body. The dress hugged her body, revealing her figure. Till now, I had seen her in loose Salwaar Kameez which covered most of her. This gown was held by delicate straps at her shoulders. This was the first time I saw her shoulders. They were so shapely, and so delicate. My eyes lingered down. I wanted to soak in as much as I could. I would be lying if I said I wasn‟t aroused…, sexually. I would be lying if I said that 'thoughts' didn't cross my mind. Pritha saw me looking at her. Girls can distinguish between a glance and a leer. I was leering for sure.

“How do I look?”

My throat went dry. In a hoarse voice I said- “lovely!”.

She blushed. To be honest, I don‟t get why girls like Pritha blush after hearing something nice about them, I am sure they must hear such things about them all the time. But then, maybe, not the compliment but the person who gives the compliment matters.

I gave her my arm to hold, like they show in old Hollywood movies. She let out a laugh and held it as we entered the Level 9. Umesh held the door open for us. There is a small indoor section at L9 too. But today it was empty!!!

Who would wanna eat inside when you got such pleasant weather, and for some lucky blokes like me, such pleasant company? We kept walking through the indoor section and finally reached the terrace. The terrace was empty! There was a single table at the far corner of the terrace. Pritha looked at me confused. I wasn‟t less confused. Why was L9 so empty on a Sunday night!

“Sire! This way Sire.” It was Kunal! He wore a white blazer, like those waiters in costly places.
We walked to the lone table on the terrace. I pulled the chair for Pritha. It was dark on the terrace save for one pink candle that was on the table.

“It‟s a lovely night, isn‟t it Dev?”

I looked up at the sky. There was no moon. There were like a billion stars. It almost felt like they were here to watch us.

“It‟s lovely,” I said. Then looked into her eyes and said, “But not as lovely as you.”
She smiled. It was peaceful. Just me and her. Isn‟t that how God meant it to be?

“How come we are the only ones in the restaurant?” She asked.
Only if I knew! Akshay had come up with this. But the thing is, why hadn‟t he told me about it? And where was he! Pritha was looking at me, waiting for an answer.

“Umm… maybe they decided to let in only those couples who were made for each other.”

Pritha looked at me, kinda amused at what I had said.

“Devvv?” She said half amused, half annoyed.

“Pritha.”

Her name is so sweet. Calling her name out like that seemed to say that I mean that thing about made for each other.
Now, I knew she was someone's girlfriend, and here I was telling her that she was meant to be with me. Pritha was bound to be a little taken aback, albeit in a good way, to see this side of Dev.

The Dev she knew would always be a little hesitant to say something of that magnitude! But I figured that I had nothing to lose, since I was not asking for her answer. In fact, I wasn‟t even waiting for her answer. I almost declared that she was made for me.
Kunal came in with the menu.

I placed the order for Risotto olla Milanese and Russian salad. She asked for the Roasted vegetable Mediterranean Lasagne.

“You look handsome in this Tuxedo,” she said, looking at me.

I tell you, it is such a thrill when a girl you love says that. I felt a shot of blood rush to my ears. When Akshay had coached me, he made one thing clear, you have to be ready to keep her guessing, keep it interesting…

“Well, thanks. I always look good in rented suits,” I said. The line wasn‟t that clever but I couldn't come up with anything wittier than that then. Trust me, it‟s difficult to think straight when you got blood rushing in far extremities of your body.

Kunal brought in two plates. This time, instead of bread crumbs there was actual food in the plates.

We ate in each other's company. Soft music, I think it was Ronan Keating's 'When you say nothing at all', that was playing in the background. The only other sound was of the knife and fork touching the plate. I would say something silly every now and then and she would laugh her sweet laugh. Her laugh - like a seven year old‟s - unrestricted, full of innocence and clearly brimming over.

For dessert, I ordered a Gelato, while she ordered Vanilla ice cream with Kahlua. What is Kahlua? Don‟t even ask me! To be honest, I think even she didn‟t know about it.

“What is a Kahlua anyway?” I asked.

“I have no idea!!” She said it with mock confidence. For a moment there I thought she was kidding me.

Kunal brought in the dessert. She savored every bite of ice-cream. The metal spoon touched her pink lips, the cold ice-cream melted as soon as it touched her warm lips. I never knew you could eat ice-cream like that. My throat ran dry. She noticed me staring at her.

“What are you staring at Mr. Dev?”
Using „Mr.‟ as a salutation, when least required, is a girl‟s way of flirting.

“I..I..wasn‟t staring…”
Forget all coaching. If the girl decides to get flirty, you are on your own mister.

“Oh, yes you were!”
She smiled; baffled, but quite enjoying the fact that she was being stared at.

She looked at the sky.
“There are so many stars in the sky!”

“Yeah…” I managed to say. “There are so many more in your eyes.”
A smile played on her lips...

“But there is no moon today,” she said.

“There is one,” I said looking at her.

Soft music was still playing in the background. Now it was playing- I love you by Robbie Williams

“May I have a dance with you Mr. Dev?” She said.

If I didn‟t know better I would say she was high. The ease with which she was with me was quite uncharacteristic of her. She had always been this shy girl. Most of the times, she had trouble meeting my eyes, and here she is now asking me for a dance. Nothing wrong with that really, only that I have two left feet and hadn‟t received any coaching on dancing with Umesh. I gave the empty terrace a quick glance.

“Oh.. a dance? Really? Okay.”

I was not gonna miss this chance of holding her close to me.

I held her hand and led her to the centre of the terrace. She was wearing high heels and was finding it difficult to keep balance. I have always had a liking for simplicity. Pritha always kept it simple. No flashy clothes, no major makeup, no fancy high heels, she was comfortable in her own skin. In a way, she was so unlike me, I always wanted to be someone else.

I held her close to me. Since she was wearing high heels, she now almost came up to my height. She rested her left hand on my shoulder and I held her right hand in my left. Her hands seemed so small in mine. But it fit so perfectly. I placed my right hand on her waist.

The song played in the background.
Then afterwards we drop into a quiet little place And have a drink or two And then I go and spoil it all By saying something stupid Like I love you
I pulled her close to me. I think God hardwired us to slow dance, which is why even men like me who can‟t co-ordinate the movement of their feet to a simple left-right-left, have no problems dancing with a girl in their arms.

And then I go and spoil it all
By saying something stupid Like I love you...

She placed her head on my shoulders. We kept moving to the soft tunes of different songs.

________________________________________________





P.S.

1. Please do join the community How I got My Girl Back...! on facebook : http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=125312997504438

2. Also there on orkut : http://www.orkut.com/Main#Community?cmm=102975754

3. If you wish to be updated about the book, please do follow me on twitter : http://twitter.com/arshatchaudhary

4. Btw, this was my 200th post :)




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