December 11, 2008

Job Satisfaction OR Money.

Vidya Chandrasekhar

“Job satisfaction or money. Decide what you want.”

That is the line Sapna gets to hear from her father and relatives, every time she gets a job offer. With so many people offering her never-ending advice and sermons, she is wondering what to do.

Poor Sapna has no idea what her goals are so she blindly believes that she’s supposed to work and make money and have certain things in life. What exactly these certain things are she doesn’t know.

After a lot of thinking, Sapna finally accepts an offer from a leading bank…her first job… she’s excited…she works diligently for the first six months…observes and learns…then she realizes there’s too much hierarchy in this job…somebody above always makes the decisions…somebody below always makes the mistakes…no job satisfaction here.

Sapna is good-looking…she applies for an air-hostess job…she thinks it’s a glamorous job and she’ll get to travel the world free of cost…so she packs her bags and is ready to fly…not realizing the price she will pay for it…she has to look pretty all the time and that is hard work, besides being demeaning…and she comes across situations totally uncalled for…ill-mannered passengers, frequently throwing abuses around.

“If you want money this is the right job”, her father tells her.

In six months she has had enough of foul mouths, tight skirts, high heels, lipstick all over her face all the time, pretending to smile at people…she concludes this is not what she wants to do in life.

She spends the next few weeks doing a lot of reading…and reads everywhere about the happening media industry…and there she is…working in a top agency as a client servicing person…she starts hating it within twenty days of the job...colleagues dangerously and outrageously flirting…some of them not even sure of their gender...she quits.

She thinks working on the client’s side is the best thing to do…she joins a private sector company…soon realises that it’s the same problem she has run into that she ran away from earlier…hierarchy…so joins a public sector company…lazes around for a few weeks and realises that the people are boring and lead a mechanical life…quits again.

Sapna’s father and relatives haven’t stopped their sermon: “Job satisfaction or money. Decide what you want”

Sapna is back, job hunting…she lands a job soon…now she is working as a Career Counselor.

About the Author: Food Lover: Dreamer: Music Lover: Client Servicing Career: Neither here Nor there: Impulsive: Forgetter: Forgiver

September 17, 2008

Running on a Treadmill and Going Nowhere

Preeti Sharma

I see them everywhere. Flat abs, buffed arms, broad shoulders. These are the new generation gym bodies - chest puffed out (no, not just the guys), stomach sucked in, 36”-24”-36” is a new meaning altogether.

I start to panic. I am definitely slim, but I can’t really say I am perfectly toned. And I downright refuse to be the only un-toned body around. I re-think my health mantra which, when simply put, is eat absolutely everything, drink almost everything and walk like a manic. Only it now seems terribly inadequate. So I join a top gym. I pay for 6 months.

Day 1: I walk in, terrified. Everyone looks at the new girl. But I keep my eyes firmly on the floor. I spy the trainer and head straight towards him.

”What do I need to do?” I ask.

”Let’s start with measuring your fat content”, he says.

I personally think, it is much better to hear someone say “let’s start a root canal”, compared to “let’s measure your fat content.”

He gets a strange vernier caliper-like gadget and then asks me to hold out various parts of my body, which he then proceeds to pinch and measure. Finally, after great mathematical calculations, he looks at me.

“21”, he says.
“What’s that”, I ask, wondering if he is really asking my age.
That’s your fat content, he says.
I am thoroughly disgusted. 1/5 of my body is FAT? I would have pinned the figure closer to 10%.

”It’s actually not too bad”, he says, quickly adding, “for a girl.”

I am started on the basic treadmill.

”Don’t touch the red button, don’t touch the yellow switch, don’t touch the keys on your left side”, he says.

I keep my hands firmly on the handle and don’t touch anything. I am walking at a happy pace and am thinking this gym thing is not so bad. No wonder everyone is doing it.

He comes back 2 minutes later.

You have not increased speed, he barks. This from the man who just told me not to touch anything.

He increases my speed intermittently and after 5-odd minutes I begin to feel weak limbed and light headed. I touch the only button he’s given me permission to – STOP. The treadmill comes to a blissful stop and I tumble off, so glad to be on non-moving ground.

Just as my eyes are beginning to focus again, he puts me on the cross trainer. Now this is the mother of all torture in my humble and limited experience. It requires extreme coordination, great stamina and lots of courage. I lack all of the above, but step on it nonetheless. He starts it up again, after giving me a list of technical instructions I do not understand. 45 seconds is all it took for me to jump off in a state of extreme agony – my throat is so dry I cannot swallow, my legs are burning, my stomach is paining and my lungs just collapsed. I lie on the floor (everyone is looking at the new girl sprawled on the floor) and I wonder for the 100th time – Why?

He gives me a squirt of water. I can catch only half of it in my mouth, my eyes are not focusing too well, you see. I am wondering how to slink away unnoticed when he says that I should do 15 minutes on the exercise bike and then stop for the day. I pedal at 0 resistance and at 1.5 km per hour – it is all I could do without fainting.

Day 2: My body aches, but my self-appointed personal trainer calls to tell me that I have to come in today.

I show up. I survive 8 minutes on the treadmill, steer clear of the cross trainer, and do 20 minutes on the cycle. He is not amused to see the resistance level and tells me to be more sincere. I tell him I just need to be able to breathe right now.

Day 3 – 10: Things get better. I am no longer on the verge of death, but I still look it as I step off the cross trainer, wet hair plastered across my forehead, sweat dripping off my chin, T-shirt clinging to me in the worst way possible.

Day 15: I am wrong. Without warning, he introduces me to resistance training. I am shown a series of exercises on some very scary looking machines.

”I’ll start you on the lightest weight”, he says.

”Ok”, I say. It’s what I say when I have no option.

1 rep, 2 reps and the arms just won’t lift it for a 3rd rep. The mind is willing, but the body flatly refuses, non negotiable. He sees me struggling and for the first time I see humanity in him.

”I’ll take off all weights and you do these exercises with only the base ok”, he says.

Have you any idea how strange it is to see someone do weights with no weights on? 3 people stopped to ask me if I knew the machine had no weights. One sweet boy offered to put 10 kgs on. “NO”, I screamed and he backed away.

Day 16: My muscles ache so bad, I lie in bed and take a painkiller. Someone tells me that I need to move, otherwise the muscles will tighten and hurt more. So I take a slow walk to the fridge and get a tub of ice cream. Except for the pain, it is a great gym-free day.

Day 17 – 40: My trainer and I no longer look at each other with dread. He is actually quite sweet when he isn’t trying to get me to do 3 sets of 30 reps each. He spends a lot of time these days telling me all about his dental problems. I even sneak a peek at his molars, all the while holding a 10 kg dumbbell in one hand. He is a brave man, I’m thinking.

Have I lost weight with all this exercise? No.

Have I lost fat? Probably not, though I have not asked him to measure my fat again. I am probably down to 20%.

Day 55: I am playing tennis after 2 years. After being in a closed, air-conditioned gym for 2 months, this feels like heaven. I can feel the breeze on my face. I can smell only my sweat and no one else’s. And then it happens. A bad backhand and I feel a sharp pull and a burning pain in my back. The Doctor says I’ve pulled a very large muscle, could be a sprain, no lifting heavy weights, no excessive pressure on the legs, no aggressive twisting at the waist. In other words, no gym for a significant duration. I could have kissed him!

When I tell my trainer this, he tries to hide his joy. He tells me that I should take a couple of months off and then re-start all the way from the beginning again. I say no, I am not that masochistic by nature.

I don’t know who is happier at this news, him or me.

As for that perfectly toned body? I’ll get it someday, just not today.

About the Author Preeti Sharma is a dentist, studied & practised in the US. She writes as a hobby, but her sense of fun is no hobby, it is serious. She writes on www at Tale End Of The Stick.

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September 1, 2008

Red Tape

Ajit Abhyankar

Government of India
Ministry of Human Resources Development
Department of Culture
Films Division
New Films Subdivision
No. B1452/234/2003, dtd. 15/01/2000

Shri B.R.Chopra,
Film Director,

Ref: Film story submitted by you, regarding financing of films by Govt. of India; Your letter dtd. 23/12/1997.

The undersigned is directed to refer the aforementioned letter and state that the Government of India (GOI) has examined your proposal for financing a film titled ''Mahabharat”. The VHLC (Very High Level Committee) constituted for this purpose has been in consultation with the HRC (Human Rights Commission), NCFW (National Commission for Women) and LC (Labour Commission), in addition to various Ministries and State Governments, and have formed definitive opinions about the script. Their observations are below:

1. In the script submitted by you it is shown that there were two sets of cousins, namely, the 'Kauravas', numbering one hundred, and the 'Pandavas', numbering five or six. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has pointed out that these numbers are high, well above the norm prescribed for families by them. It is brought to your kind attention that when the Government is spending massive amounts for promoting Family Planning in due earnest, this indiscretion will send erroneous signals to the general public. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that there may be only three 'Kauravas' and one 'Pandava'.

2. The MPA (Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs) has raised an issue whether it is suitable to depict kings and emperors in this democratic age. Therefore, it is suggested that the 'Kauravas' may please be depicted as Honourable Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and the 'Pandava' may please be depicted as Honourable Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). The ending of the film shows the victory of the said 'Pandavas' over the said 'Kauravas'. The ending may be suitably modified so none of the Honourable Members of Parliament is shown as being inferior to other Honourable Members of Parliament.

3. The Ministry of Science and Technology has observed that the manner of birth of 'Kauravas' is suggestive of human cloning, a technology banned in India. This may be changed to normal birth.

4. The National Commission for Women has objected that the father of the 'Pandavas', one Sri 'Pandu', is depicted as bigamous, and also there is only one wife for the 'Pandavas' in common. Therefore suitable changes may be made in the said script so that the said Sri 'Pandu' is not depicted as bigamous. However, with the reduction in number of 'Pandavas' as suggested above, the issue of polyandry can be addressed without further trouble.

5. The Commission for the Physically Challenged has observed that the portrayal of the visually impaired character 'Dhritarashtra' is derogatory. Therefore, the said character may not be shown as visually impaired.

6. It is felt that showing the 'Pandava' and the 'Kauravas' as gamblers will be anti-social and counter-productive as it might encourage gambling. Therefore, the said 'Pandava' and 'Kauravas' may be shown to have engaged in horse racing or cricket. (Hon. Supreme Court has held horse racing and cricket as not to be gambling).

7. The 'Pandavas' are shown as working in the King Virat's employment without receiving any salary. According to the Human Rights Commission, this amounts to bonded labour and may attract provisions of The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. This may be corrected at once.

8. In the ensuing war, one character by the name Sri 'Abhimanyu' has been shown as fighting. The National Labour Commission has observed that, war being a hazardous industry, and the said character being 16 years old, this depiction will be construed as a case of child labour. Also there is no record of his being paid any compensation. This may also be deemed to be violatory of the provisions of The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Such references in the film may be removed.

9. In pursuance of the Memorandum of Ministry of Finance regarding austerity measures, it is informed that in the battlefield sequences only ten soldiers may be allowed for each side. Also, all the characters may be shown to have obtained a valid license under the Arms Act, 1959, as well as the Indian Arms Act, 1878.

You are, therefore, requested to modify your otherwise meritorious script along the aforementioned lines and resubmit it (notarized in triplicate) to the undersigned at the earliest for the Government's consideration.

Under Secretary

About the Author: Ajit Abhyankar is from a family of IAS & IFS members. Currently he is Senior Faculty at CEC Pune University.

(Feel like writing a humour story? Go ahead. And shoot it across to me at: i'll upload it here :)

August 18, 2008

Conquering another language

Tazeen Javed

I soooo want to learn a new language.

There is merit in learning languages other than your first language, and English everyone speaks these days. I don't even want to learn a new language because it will look cool on my college application – been there, done that – without ever knowing a third language. In fact, I already have three degrees and if I even think about going back to school (which I secretly do), my sisters will commit me to a mental institution. The doctors at the mental institution will have to coin a new term for my disease which would sound something like “addicted to being a student so that she can do weird stuff and stay unemployed and pretend pursuit of academic excellence”, but I digress.

I don't want to learn a new language because I want to be known as that 'crackpot who can speak Ukrainian. There are enough reasons already for me to be classified a whack job. I don't even want to be called a well-rounded person because I am a well-rounded already. As a matter of fact I need to turn some of that roundedness into lean muscle, but I digress again.

My problem is, every time I decide to learn a language, something turns me off that language. Anyone who knows me knows my love for Ghalib. According to Abba (not the Mama Mia 80s pop act – I call my father Abba), one cannot appreciate Ghalib unless one knows Persian, so I was always a little biased towards Persian and wanted to learn it to understand Ghalib better. My 45-day trip to Iran stripped all the love and affection I had for the language. All I can now remember is how the Irani actor who was working on my play complained about being sexually attacked by a Pakistani actor and how I placated him and requested him not to register a complaint (homosexual advances are a non-bailable offence in Iran).

As a child, I also wanted to learn Arabic because I quite naively thought knowing Arabic would guarantee a palace in heaven. Dealing with a Saudi stalker in university who refused to register the fact that no amount of petro dollars will make him popular with quirky girls, took care of my childish fascination with Arabic. The fact that I can still fool my European friends at Dubai airport into believing that I know Arabic by reading flight schedules in Arabic also contributed to it - why learn a language when people think that you know the language already?

Another language that I toyed with a bit is French. I hate snooty waiters at French restaurants who always correct my pronunciation. I dream of going to a French café and ordering Soupe au pistou, Boeuf Bourguignon and Salade Niçoise without fumbling once. I tried speaking French with my friend Laurent but every time I said voulez vous, he cracked up and dashed my hopes of holding my head high in a French restaurant.

I think I should concentrate on Spanish instead. For one, I know all the swear words in Spanish after attending football matches in Spain. They say that if you know how to swear in a language, it is half the battle won. For another, I have always wanted to sing along Ricky Martin's Spanish songs.

About the Author:Tazeen Javed lives in Karachi. She has perfected the art of rolling eyes…she can roll them heavenwards, downwards, leftwards, rightwards and afterwards; she now fears her vision is ruined for life. Her blog,
A Reluctant Mind, is at:

(Feel like writing a humour story? Go ahead. And shoot it across to me at: i'll upload it here :)

August 8, 2008

Ode to the brave train traveller

Haem Roy

Thou brave child of Alexander the Great,
Thou who fights long battles with fate,
O’ lucky bearer of the choicest insults,
Enlightened thou be, by the foul-mouthed cult.

Ye rise early, crosst many roads,
Before thy might the villains bowed,
Ascending a wagon full of faces so vain,
Thousands to battle, hundreds will be slain.

An umbrella beest thy sword,
With closed eyes as thou climbs aboard,
Elbows be thy armour and shield,
Thy feet danceth when the hands are sealed.

Protecting the land where thee sets foot,
Forever it seems, thou will stay put,
Jostling and pushing hath no effect
Thy strong body suffers no defect.

None dareth rise up against thy might,
For if they do, you’re set to fight,
The teaching of years, the words in thy mouth,
Flying like bullets, at those vagrants uncouth.

None can attempt a feat like thee,
Hanging by a finger, avoiding that tree,
Standing up to that army, twice a day,
It ain’t that easy, to battle everyday.

A salute to the master kicker,
The uncrowned king of trains,
The soldier that bravely battles fate,
Steps out alive, injured but not slain.

About the Author: Haem Roy is a writer with Contract Advertising.
When she is not 'hanging by a finger' she dances salsa.

(Feel like writing a humour story? Go ahead. And shoot it across to me at: i'll upload it here :)

July 3, 2008

Ek Cutting Wine

Malay Desai

Ten truths about the ubiquitous tabloid, cut for you

(A tabloid is a small newspaper, like the Midday, or the famous Sun from UK)

1. There is nothing which cannot be packed in boxes
Boxes, FYI, are those rectangular, circular, small and large enclosures which sprout out of news articles to simplify its profundities. Such as a 'What is VAT?' box tagging along a piece shouting 'VAT lag gayi !'; or, a 'Who was Lal Bahadur Shastri?' box germinating out of an Independence Day feature. We love boxes, and we manufacture them in abundance.

2. Everything is short. Everything
Words. Sentences. Articles. Headlines. Paper size. Our attention spans. Our deadlines. They're sane and profitable only when they're short. ('snappy' and 'crisp' are other euphemisms). The figure sitting besides 'Cost To Company ' in our offer letters isn't too long either. After all, life's short yaar.

3. Masala garnishings are mandatory
Like the incorrigible cook at a dhaba or the bhuttawala at Juhu, we add masala to whatever we produce, involuntarily. There are many varieties to choose from though: spicy, extra spicy and oh-my-god-wtf spicy. So what if we're dishing out a Robin Uthappa or Condoleeza Rice, a little masala always makes 'em palatable, right?

4. BBC is an inspiration
Big Bosoms and Cleavage, that is. Tank tops and bell bottoms may go in and out, but skin is always in.

5. No discrimination against Dial-a-Quote services
Since the Mahesh Bhatts, Prahlad Kakkars, Pritams and Alyque Padamsees of the world contribute so much to society by being available to comment on anything from global warming to Stephen Hawking, it is imperative to splash their inputs regularly. Else they will be underemployed and hamper India's GDP.

6. You should hear Page 1 screaming. Every morning
…even if it tells you a dog-bites-man tale which was shifted from page 23 because there was no man-bites-dog tale. Whatever space remains on the front page after giving the masthead, pizza coupons and the VLCC ads their due, has to SHRIEK loudly. You'll really believe the man-dog was unique.

7. Blood boosts circulation
There should be a free and uninterrupted flow of blood, shit and severed limbs over our pages, especially during Page 1s like 7/11. If, on off days, there are no housewives raped or boyfriends chopped in 300 pieces, shit will have to be manufactured.

8. Little birdies are the best things on Planet Earth
And why not? They confide everything to us – how else do we know crucial happenings like how many times Abhishek picked his nose during the IIFA awards? Flamingoes and pelicans may go extinct, but little birdies are here to stay.

9.The Nuke deal fallout is not news. Kareena Kapoor's nails losing their sheen is.
A triple murder in Bandra East is a City Brief. Old couple at Malabar Hill robbed is Page 1. Water woes in Mira road is a box. Your sun sign determines your sexual style is centrespread.

10. There are 10 ways of doing everything
Ten ways of winning over your boss, running the marathon, seducing your partner, making dosa or fighting inflation. Everything. Period. If a story falls short by just one way, it's crucial to manufacture a new way. Just to make a perfect 10. If this new way is banal, it should be camouflaged wisely into the story (point 6 for example).

About the Author: Malay Desai is a Journalist with the Times Group. Not just a nose for news, he's a nose for the hilarious and the ridiculous!

June 5, 2008

The monk who sold his scooter to buy a diamond ring

(True Story)

Fritz Gonsalves

The monk was my senior in college. A decent guy, from a decent family, dreamed of a decent living and was decently sure he would get it. His name was Prem.

Now Prem was a nice guy, average looks, ok with money, satisfactory in studies. Completely hassle-free, he lived with absolutely no baggage.

Then one day everything went horribly wrong; he fell in love with a girl who was just the opposite of him. She was beautiful, had flirtatious eyes, sharp smile and a nice tongue. She was Ronita.

Prem was completely flippo, Ronita was not interested. Prem started following her, she stopped walking. Prem became desperate, she responded slightly.

Suddenly, one day, the heavenly intervention that Prem desperately needed came. In a state of inebriation Ronita’s dad decided to try his luck with the housemaid - she ran outside yelling rape. Prem, who was circling Ronita’s house, jumped in to her rescue, quietened everybody in the house, and became a hero to Ronita.

And thus began a love story that’s even more stupid than Ronita’s dad’s chance pe dance adventure. From a decent guy Prem became the father of decent guys. I mean, the guy stopped smoking and drinking because Ronita didn’t like it. What’s worse, earlier he at least used to say a ma ki or bhen ki, but now even these words disappeared. He only wanted ‘R’ and her pyaar pyaar pyaar. He was living in bliss. He used to get up with a smile, smile all the way to college and the sleep with a smile.

Then the big day arrived, their first Valentine’s Day. By now they had been going around for 3 months and one day suddenly you have Saint Valentine knocking on your door. Prem needed money. He wanted to gift Ronita a diamond ring because diamonds are forever…ta ta ta da!

So Prem asked his mom. She said no. Then he asked his dad. He gave him a thousand, but Prem needed 5000. He became desperate again… “please please God...somebody, anybody help me get the money.”

Suddenly he was stuck with an idea that only Romeo’s great grand son could have imagined. Prem used to drive around on an old Bajaj Chetak, which his dad gifted him on the day he got admission to college. He decided to sell it; he would then make up a story that it was stolen and then, whatever.

He succeeded in the venture and sold his two-year old scooter for eight thousand rupees. Three thousand more…now he could even gift her a big teddy….so swchheet!

He bought the ring, satin-wrapped it and gifted it. “What the fuck a diamond ring, my love, my jaan, my khandaan”. Ronita was overjoyed. She responded, “What a valentine gift…you are the one…but where did you get the money?” Prem replied, “Damm it, who cares, a diamond ring, I love you.” Prem was pretty sure he died and was eating chocolate mousse cake in heaven.

The End.

Today both Prem and Ronita are happily married. Prem is married to Alice. And Ronita is married to Denzil. All four are very happy. As for the diamond ring, Denzil (Ronita’s husband), pawned it to buy a second-hand scooter.

About the author: Fritz is a writer with iContract Advertising. He is fond of food and Jessica Alba.

(Feel like writing a humour story? Go ahead. And shoot it across to me at: i'll upload it here :)

May 25, 2008

What the funk is going on?

Kashyap Joshi

Some phrases have been giving me a bad time lately. Mostly because I have no clue what they mean and, worse, neither do the people who use them know.

Imagine, you’re back from work, tired, and all you wanna do is lie back in a nice breezy place with a cold beer and smile and stare like a lunatic. But suddenly, you find yourself with your wife and her eternally excited friend, and you’re thinking … you’re thinking of what to do, where to go. You know the answer but you also know that to your wife and her friend, it does not even qualify as a suggestion. So you keep on thinking. After five minutes your wife’s friend shouts out the words you dread most. Not because they are frightful but because you don’t know what they mean and neither does she. “LET’S DO SOMETHING FUNKYYYY.”

So doing funky begins. Suddenly again, I find myself in a discotheque whose bouncers make it look so exclusive that they won’t even let members in. Inside, me and my beer stand smiling and staring at the crowd while wife and her friend swing their hips. And suddenly, I think about those words that started all this… “LET’S DO SOMETHING FUNKYYYY.”

Every time this ‘Funky’ phrase was used, I’ve gotten myself into trouble. What the hell do these phrases mean: Let’s do something funky. Why don’t you wear something funky? Wow that looks so funky! Funky stuff, dude!

It’s imperative to know what people mean when they say something because not knowing can get you expecting the wrong things. Like one day, I came back home with a weird haircut when all I wanted was to go short. Someone suggested this hot chick was a good hairstylist. When I sat down for the snips and told her that I wanted it short, she asked …“Say, you wanna, like, get a little funky?” I almost jumped up saying “Yes”. My brain decoded getting funky as smoking funny cigarettes and getting down to it. But getting funky meant a bad haircut.

But Funky comes from Funk, a genre of music. Let me paste what Wiki has to say about it:

Funk is a rhythmic, danceable African-American form of music.

The word "funk", once defined in dictionaries as body odor or the smell of sexual intercourse, commonly was regarded as coarse or indecent.

African-American musicians originally applied "funk" to music with a slow, mellow groove, then later with a hard-driving, insistent rhythm because of the word's association with sexual intercourse.

The music was slow, sexy, loose and danceable. In jam sessions, musicians would encourage one another to "get down" by telling one another, "Now, put some stank ('stink’/funk) on it!" At least as early as 1907, jazz songs carried titles such as Buddy Bolden's "Funky Butt." As late as the early 1960s, when "funk" and "funky" were used increasingly in the context of soul music, the terms still were considered indelicate and inappropriate for use in polite company.

So according to Wiki, if you’re wearing something funky, it means your clothes stink. If you’re doing something funky, your sexual partner badly needs a bath and deodorant. And if something looks or sounds funky, you’d better run away from it cause it’s not going to smell too good when you come close to it.

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About the Author:Kashyap gettin better at his sarcasm.He is a copywriter with TBWA.

March 17, 2008


By Rayomand Patell

Once upon a time a lifetime ago, there was a somewhat corpulent nineteen year old lad who resided at Altamont Road. It being a Saturday afternoon, he thought he should go for his jog from Altamont road to Carmichael Road and back prior to his big date later that evening.

Along the way back, after he had accumulated a good deal of perspiration and a generally disheveled appearance in the noble pursuit of losing weight, the thought that later at night there were good chances that a pressing need for prophylactics would present itself struck him. Being a forward-thinking sort, he ran through his options as he ran.

The Carmichael Chemist at the corner of Peddar Road presented itself as a good one. So the nineteen-year old made a sweaty entrance there. Only to find that it was jam-packed with various sorts buying various medicines. The entire world seemed to have an urgent need for cough syrup and headache tablets that afternoon. Not to be easily cowed down, he waited patiently as beads of sweat dribbled down his forehead and then scribbled down a few of the items he wanted on a piece of paper.

This was more a matter of being a Very Organised Person and Making A List than being one of the Seven Habits Of Very Successful People, not to mention Being Well Stocked With Everything In Life Because You Never Know When You Will Need It, rather than any nervousness, having been a regular purchaser for no small amount of time from the Cumballa Hill Hospital Chemist instead.

Lost in thought of things to come, he nonchalantly slipped the list over to the cretin at the counter, and awaited results. They were soon forthcoming.

"Yeh kya likha hai saab K ke baad?"
"Umm....KS...." (said with a lifetime's worth of wishing he had better handwriting).
"Yeh KS kya hota hai saab?" (shouted out from the back of the store to the counter)

By now, sensing that this was good ripe stuff, the entire store had of course come to a standstill. In pin-drop silence, the next exchange occurred.

"Saab....yeh kya hai KS ke neeche … dotted ke baad?"
"Umm... dotted, ribbed , superthin aur..."
"Aur yeh strawberry?

"KamaSutra mein condom aata hai saab, strawberries nahin. Woh toh baaju ka dukaan me milega"

The boy slunk out of the store, with a hundred eyes upon the brown paper bag bulging to the brim with the other supplies. It's been a decade and a half, and he no longer lives on Altamont road, but he still ducks his face lest he be mistaken for that sweaty sex maniac nineteen-year old when he passes by Carmichael Chemist en route HSBC meetings.

Heck, he never ever asked for KS again either. Durex it is.

About the Author: Rayomand Patell, 31, is a Copwriter with Contract Advertising, Mumbai. Presently, he is Creative director there.