The Lucy Effect.

Lucy effect

Manjiree, Ranjan,  Ramesh and I had gone to see a film on Wednesday and after the film went shopping in the mall just below the multiplex where we had seen the film.

After shopping, Ranjan and Manjiree went off to get some medicines from a chemist in the mall, leaving Ramesh and me to walk at our pace to the lifts to go down to the parking level.

As we were doing just that, one matronly lady halted me in my tracks and asked me for directions to a big retailer and on learning that I was ignorant, excused herself but asked me if I was from the armed forces.  I was taken aback, but responded saying no, and I was just a civilian when she responded that my bearing and attire gave the impression of a military officer and that is why she had approached me in the first place.  In the meanwhile a gent strolled up and she introduced him as her husband and we exchanged names while shaking hands.  That took her off into a joy as she said that her brother’s name was the same as mine and asked me how old I was!

These developments may sound corny to my readers but this is exactly what and how it all happened. I simply did not get any time to think of doing anything else but to answer her machine gun style questioning.  She then asked me about which part of the country I was from and on learning that I was from the same place as she and her husband switched over to our mother tongue and for the next few minutes she told me all about her moving from Delhi to Pune, about her two daughters, about my gothra to see if I had a son of marriageable age for her younger daughter, and finally she stopped after asking why I was using a cane.  Despite my trying to get the husband to participate in the discussions, he simply enjoyed the Lucy effect on me with much bemusement!

In the meanwhile Manjiree and Ranjan landed up and on being introduced to them, she took off with Manjiree in Tamil which the former cannot understand or speak and that kind of brought things to an end but, not before the lady complained to Manjiree that her husband does not wear the kind of clothes that I was wearing despite having a wardrobe full of them!  While she was talking with Manjiree, I went to a nearby shop and found where the shop that was her destination and informed her. The two of them then tooted off with much waving and goodbyes, leaving us to find our way to the lift.

The story does not stop there.  In the car on our way back home, Ramesh simply exploded with frustration that strange women do not approach him with such abandon and wondered what he could do to become such a magnet!  I advised him to learn Tamil and to emulate a military bearing.  What other advice could I have given him? His response? That lady is abnormal. If that lady is reading this I am sure that her response would be:



What A Day And What A Movie!

Today was a perfect day.

Before the perfect day started, the first perfect thing to happen was the telephone call from my sister Padmini to wish me for Raksha Bandan.

Then, I solved five tough crossword puzzles in record time.

That was followed by going out to lunch with Ranjan, Manjiree and Manjiree’s parents and sisters and our favourite grand niece Tanishka. The lunch was at a poolside restaurant called Firangi Tadka (Translated into English – Foreign Seasoning) and the food was excellent. That was followed by some amazing sweets at home brought for the occasion by the Patwardhans to celebrate two occasions, Ranjan’s and Manjiree’s first wedding anniversary and Raksha Bandan.

Later in the afternoon after a perfect siesta, a matinee show to see The Hundred Foot Journey with Manjiree and Ranjan. I shall write a review separately.

To cap it all, a family shopping spree at a super market store where some long overdue provisions were purchased to stock up the larder.

How Time Flies.

I went shopping yesterday to a retailer located just half a kilometer away from my home. I bought two sets of curtains for my bedroom windows, some dry fruits and a couple of plastic dispensers.

I started to walk back home with the shopping bag thinking that it should be relatively easy to tote the shopping bag for just half a kilometer but I must have appeared to be struggling as a young man I have known from when he was a little boy, came to my rescue and offered to carry the bag home the rest of the way.

I handed the bag over to the young man and walked with him back to my home and he came in to spend a few minutes with me catching up with his story. He left after a pleasant chat.

What impressed me most about the whole episode was his very cheerful disposition and a genuine desire to be of help. What came as a kind of a moderating thought to me about myself was the fact that I now struggle with shopping bags.

Lesson learnt. Shall henceforth take the car for such shopping trips or take someone younger to tote the bags home if the shopping is done nearby.

I hope that you are reading this Shivam. Thank you for helping me as well as for giving me the wake up call.

The Good Life.

A friend of mine from rural Maharashtra rang me up to help his grand daughter visiting Pune and I readily agreed. He got her to talk to me on phone and to sort out her problems.

The grand daughter GD for short had been in Pune since last Saturday visiting a classmate attending her engagement festivities. GD got bored with just hanging around the home and accompanied by some other girl friends went shopping all over Pune.

To cut the story short, in three days she spent a small fortune and wanted my help to get it all packed and sent to her family home in the village. When I got her to tell me the total value for insurance purposes, it zapped me out of my sofa. In three days, that young lady had spent more than I would have spent in the last four years on running my household!

Her husband, parents and grand parents can afford such indulgence but it still bothers me that just being bored could lead someone to spend so much on stuff that certainly is not readily available where she lives, but somethings that she has been living without for the past three years since her own marriage!

So, the Good Life that I am under the impression that her family has in rural India has just been transformed into a life full of goods!


Two days ago, my father suddenly decided that instead of a hard boiled egg every day, he would have a soft boiled one. Since our old egg cups could not be found I went looking for a couple in our neighbourhood stores. I could not purchase any in any of the shops here.

Manjiri offered to procure one for me from the city where she was going to anyway, and I was very happy to accept her offer. I however specified that I would prefer a stainless steel one as opposed to a ceramic one as, my father is likely to drop it and a ceramic one would shatter.

Manjiri scoured all the shops but could not find a stainless steel egg cup though she found a number of shops selling ceramic ones. Then, something clicked and she came up with a brilliant idea. She procured this for me:

Ideal as either cup could be used depending on the size of the egg, as the eggs that we get here are not always of the same size.

This however is not an egg cup. This is what we call a peg measure or what in the UK is called a spirit measure. Barmen use this to measure small or large shots of spirits.

So what? It serves the purpose. I inaugurated the cup earlier today and my father was delighted.

Thank you Manjiri for the brilliant idea.


This is a true story and I vouch for its authenticity.

The background – I was shopping for dry fruits in the nearby supermarket, our version of say the Walmart. The aisle where I was unfortunately was a cul de sac and I was forced to witness this exchange. The young couple concerned are not known to me and I hope that they never have to be embarrassed by meeting me somewhere under different circumstances.

Husband (H): Why are you so unreasonable?
Wife (W): I am not. I have just changed my mind.
H: No need to change your mind. If you like it, you buy it. Here, I have brought it. (Throws a box of something into the shopping cart) I won’ have it that’s all.
W:Fine! If you won’t have it, I too will not. Here take it back and put it on the shelf. (Takes out the box and gives it to the man.)
H: See, this is what I mean when I said you are unreasonable. I don’t like it, you like it, and I have no objection to your having it. So, what is the problem?
Go ahead and buy it. (Chucks the box back into the cart.)
W: No, I don’t want it. Just keep it back. (She gives the box back to him.)
H: Look, all I said was that I didn’t like it. I didn’t say you should not buy it.
W: It is not what you said. It is how you said it.
H: What do you mean how I said it?
W: You made that funny face when you said it.
H: What do you mean, funny face?
W: You know, just like the face that your mother makes when she doesn’t like something that I have cooked.
H: What has my mother got to do with it?
W: Nothing, all I am saying is that you made a face like she does.
H:I don’t know what face she makes and in any case it is irrelevant to this matter.
W: No, it is relevant.
H: Just leave my mother out of it.
W: I never included her in it any way.
H: But you said she makes funny faces.
W: Look, I just said that you made ……..

Before she could complete that sentence, the husband, threw the box and a bunch of keys into the cart, and said
“I am going off. You do what you want. I don’t know when I will come home.”
He left the wife alone and stormed off.

The wife stood there staring after him and started cring. I came near her and said “Excuse me, I would like to go to the other side.” She moved the cart to one side to let me pass and started bawling.

What could I do? I scooted too.