This Is The Freakiest Thing That’s Happened To Me. Unfortunately, You Won’t Believe A Word It.

You may want to believe in supernatural forces and karma and coincidences, but I don’t. At least, I won’t admit to it in public. But this is too freaky to ignore.

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freaky coincidences that you won't believe

It’s fascinating the way history repeats itself. There are certain events that keep happening to us repeatedly, and all we can do is stand by and watch them unfold with a sense of wonder in our eye. In my case, this has happened far too often for it to be a coincidence.

For instance, I belong to the new breed of young (-ish) people who can’t be bothered with archaic things like loyalty to a company. I need excitement and I need to keep moving. If I work for a company longer than two years, something might be seriously wrong with me. Or the work is challenging enough to keep me there. Else, in the past eleven years, I have averaged about 13 months in a particular job. Each time I jump, I do it for the usual reasons – more money, better working conditions and more opportunities to learn something new.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I love the unpredictability that comes with this lifestyle. I love the fact that I’m earning at least three times more than what other people I graduated with are earning. But the funny thing about this situation is that I never do this consciously. Invariably, after about 6 months in a company, I feel the first strands of restlessness tugging at me. I start assessing my situation and by the 8th month or so, I would have usually taken the decision to move on.

But this post isn’t about my unusual career paths. It’s about an incident that happened today, which made me stop doing whatever I was doing, sit back and stare at the ceiling in wonder and amazement.

Here’s the bizarre drama: I was dating a girl a while back, let’s call her S. Now, a few months into our relationship, S asked me if she can transfer some money into my bank account because she had lost her ATM card, and she had to pay someone. She asked me to meet the person, withdraw the money and hand it over. A simple, everyday occurrence that most of us experience, right?

Now today, six-seven years later, another girl, who’s a colleague from work, whose name is also S, called me and asked me if she could transfer some money into my account because she had to pay someone and she had lost her ATM card.

The strangeness doesn’t end there:

  1. Both of them transferred the same amount of money.
  2. Both of them had to pay a man with the same name.
  3. Both of them transferred the money to my account in the same bank – HDFC.
  4. I am meeting the man to hand over the money in the same place where I met the earlier man, six-seven years ago – Indiranagar.
  5. I was in the second month of a new job back then. Same here, today. 
  6. I had had a wardrobe malfunction back then, having spilled tea on my white shirt, which forced me to change clothes and come to work a bit late . The exact same thing happened this morning. I am not shitting you!

Now, you may want to believe in supernatural forces and karma and coincidences, but I don’t. At least, I won’t admit to it in public. But this is too freaky to ignore.

Daydreaming

Day DreamingOne of the worst things that could happen to anyone in my position is this: the realization that your daydream will not be a reality. At least not immediately. You’re right up there among the stars, imagining how different your life will be and how you are going to spend the suitcase full of cash you just found on the sidewalk – a car each for yourself and your wife; maybe a new Harley for those exciting road trips on which, taking a car would be lame; a new house, perhaps two; a very strong and comprehensive health insurance plan for the entire family – yours and hers – to ensure that everyone who’s important is taken care of; and some extra leftover money invested in low yield bonds, savings, deposits and other such inane piggy-banks to ensure your financial independence. Of course, you’d first pay off your credit cards and loans and become debt-free.

You and your wife would then quit your respective jobs. You’d move in to one of your new houses, make it a home and give out the other one on rent for a decent family to ensure that you get paid monthly. You consider this income as your primary income which is earmarked for groceries, food and fuel. You then buy yourselves a pair of fancy smartphones that have the very latest features and you use these phones to tweet about how excited you are about what you’re planning to do next.

Once the tweet has been published, you pack your bags and you hit the road to being the longest journey of your life – a long road trip all over the country, on a quest to visit each and every state, drive on every road, experience all that the beautiful country has to offer. You’d spend almost a year on the road and you return to your new house (which is still new because you haven’t lived in it yet) and you spend a few months domesticating yourselves. You do the occasional trip on the Harley to a few places here and there that may have escaped your radar during the year-long road trip.

After about a year of the domestic life, your wife starts getting restless and insists that you do something out of the ordinary. She wants that excitement of living out of her backpack again. She wants to drive into the sunset and sit on the hood of your big SUV, looking out at the setting sun and smoke a cigarette and drink a Diet Coke, while you stand next to her with your beer can in hand, lean over to you just as the last rays turn the sky red and kiss you softly on the lips. She urges you to do something about this urge.

You walk over to the window overlooking the beautifully landscaped garden in front and you think about what to do. You wake up the next day and decide to sell off your other house. You contact your lawyer and find out that the rate of the house has nearly doubled in the two years since you bought it. You make the deal with the first buyer you find and a week later, you’re richer by an insane amount of cold, hard cash, sitting pretty in your bank account. You spend a weekend researching the best way to spend a whole year backpacking in Europe. You make the arrangements, book your tickets and your hotels, and you go out on Sunday evening to the mall and buy brand new backpacks and new travel accessories for yourself and your wife, and come back home in time for dinner. When your wife asks you where you were, you deflect the question innocently and move the conversation over to mundane things like the weather.

The next morning, you ride your Harley over to the bank and realize that you have far more money left over than you initially imagined. You then convert a lot of the money into Euros, a lot of the money into Dollars and a lot of the money into travelers’ checks. You also instruct the bank to issue you a Visa travel card, into which you pre-load a lot of money.

You then go back home and tell your wife that you have something important to show her. She is confused, obviously. But curious. When you reveal your master plan and the preparations you’ve made so far, she is fantastically overjoyed and you get the best sex of your life for being the best husband ever.

You realize that you’re in a public place and you have a hard-on. You quickly clear your mind, pull down the visor of your helmet, start your bike just as the light turns green, and continue the ride to your office.

Twenty Seven In A Month

Its a horrendous feeling. I’m twenty-seven in a month. 25 wasn’t so bad, I still felt I was a kid. 26 was bearable. But 27 sounds geriatric. I feel I’m aching all over. I feel the incessant need to play soft music and watch golf. I feel I’m hurtling towards my grave and on some days I feel I have one foot in it already.

I thought I’d make a list of all the things I need to do in the next three years, because when I reach thirty, I would want my life to mean something. I would want to stop being 22 in my head. At least by then.

  1. I want to take a vacation for three months and travel the country. Leave all materialistic desires behind, take a small clutch of bare essentials, my laptop and some cigarettes and go visit all the places I ever wanted to see. And I want it to be completely unplanned. No schedules to follow, no time tables, no mad rush to make the plane or the train or the bus in time. Live those three months in a state of next-available-transport.
  2. I want to write a lot. I want to spend a good amount of time writing down my thoughts, and all the stories in my head and all the obligations I need to fulfill – for myself and for others.
  3. I want to grow up, in my head. I want to stand in front of a mirror and be able to look into it and see a responsible adult than a retarded kid.
  4. I want to be able to go to and sit on my rock again, in my own personal haven, and look out at the sea and be at peace.
  5. I want to wake up on my 30th birthday and feel glad about it, rather than depressed.
  6. I want to make at least ten million by then and retire on my thirty-first birthday.
  7. I want to be able to make a more solid list of things, something much more tangible, by that time.

From Bangalore With Love

Stranger Than Strange
My Life: Stranger Than Strange

Strange things seem to happen to me most of the time. I don’t know if anyone else experiences weirdness on a daily basis as I do. Today, a DHL courier guy sniffed my butt, I broke my thumb, and I managed to get myself locked in an ATM counter. All within a span of two hours.

I wanted to send a package to Trivandrum, in Kerala. It was a set of pretty Fabindia kurtas for a friend, on the occasion of Onam. She had specifically asked me not to send anything, and that was why I had to send her some nice clothes. So, after some confusing shopping, I settled on a pair of kurtas. I vowed never to shop for women again.

In the evening, I left office a bit early to courier the package at the DHL office in Malleshwaram, which is just a few miles from home. A harrowing one-hour ride on my rickety bike later, I reached the place.

“Hi,” I said to the courier guy sitting behind the desk. “I’ve got a package to be sent to Kerala.”

“Sir, all connections to Kerala are closed for Onam. It’ll reach only on Monday,” he said.

I sighed and said, “Ok, fine. Give me the earliest connection,” and tried to un-sling my backpack, but it wouldn’t budge. There was an irritating hook in the bag, which had gotten stuck to my belt buckle and my bag was locked in place. When I tried to move it, my pants rode up, giving me a wedgie. It was quite embarrassing, and the courier guy was looking at me with some amusement.

“Excuse me,” I told him. “Can you please check this hook? I think it’s stuck to my pants.” I was utterly, completely, thoroughly embarrassed and I hoped to hell he wouldn’t recognize me on a later day.

He came around and stood behind me and crouched down and held his face as close to my butt as he could. After a while, he said, “Yes sir, the hook is stuck to the belt buckle.” He took a pair of scissors and bent down again. We struck a queer pose – me, standing there and him, bending down, examining my ass with a pair of scissors in hand. I was desperately praying that no one walk through the door at that time and find the both of us in this compromising position. My prayers were answered and no one walked in, and soon, he had freed the hook from my pants and I could un-sling my bag. We avoided looking into each others’ eyes.

“Can I pay with my credit card?” I asked as I handed over the package to him.

“No sir, we don’t,” he said. Of course they won’t. Things can never be too easy, right? So, I told him, “Ok, then start billing, I’ll go to the ATM next door.”

Three people stood in a line outside the ATM, and I stood there, patiently awaiting my turn. Ten excruciating minutes later, the guy in front of me finished his transactions and I withdrew my money. As I tried to open the door, I realized that it was locked. The ATM counter had a button that we needed to push in order to open it from inside, and that button had been ripped out, with only a few dangerous wires hanging from the hole. I didn’t know what to do. There was no phone inside the counter. I had my cell phone, but I didn’t want to call the cops and be embarrassed a second time.

I waited there for exactly 9 minutes until someone else came up to the counter. I told him that I was locked in and that he could open the door by inserting his card through the slot on the other side. He did so and I was free. I thanked him and together, we hauled a piece of tile and blocked the door so that it wouldn’t shut completely, trapping some other poor fellow.

I ran up to the DHL office and paid up the money and took my receipt and ran out. Finally, I said to myself. I can go home in peace.

As I was removing my bike from the parking lot, I dropped my helmet, which I was holding in my hand. Instinctively, I bent down to pick it up before it rolled away onto the main road, and lost control of the bike and fell over to my side, with my left thumb being pinned between the concrete road and the bike’s handle. One tiny bone somewhere inside that thumb snapped and driving back in that pain was hell. I was screaming all the way home and people thought I was drunk.

From Bangalore, all the way to Trivandrum, with love. I hope they deliver the package to the right address! 😀

The ‘Fresh Mint’ Generation

Statutory Warning: Cigarette smoking is injurious to health, resulting in permanent madness and will cause you to look, talk and act like me.

Smokers all over the country are aware of the life-saving little invention called Minto Fresh. Created, packaged and marketed by ITC foods, Minto Fresh is something of a godsend for people who suffer from halitosis after a smoke! 😀

The two brands of cigarettes that I usually smoke cost Rs. 3.50 and Rs. 4.50 respectively, and invariably I get a Minto Fresh back instead of the 50-paise change. I kind of like this, because it saves me the trouble of actually asking for it and sounding stupid, like what happened today. 😀

I went to this seedy joint run by this boisterous old hag (who is known for her loud mouth and foul language) and hesitantly, I approached the store and said, “Aunty, Milds please.”

)
Minto Fresh 🙂

She had once screamed at me for smoking too close to the store and apparently I had been blowing smoke into her store (no puns intended!!), and she had hurled a rich variety of abuses at me. I had been too shaken to sleep that night. Today, I wanted to avoid all that and stood at a safe distance and puffed away to glory, cursing myself for the habit and promising myself to quit after the next drag. 😀

Once the sinful cigarette burned itself out, I went up carefully to the counter and laid a five-rupee coin on the counter and said, “Aunty, Minto Fresh, please.”

The cigarette cost me Rs. 4.50 and instead of asking the crazy woman for change, I thought I’d much rather buy the mouth freshener. She grabbed the coin and said, “I don’t have Minto Fresh!” and glared at me.

“Uh, what mint do you have, then?” I asked, almost apologetically.

“I have fresh mint!” she said and put the coin down her ridiculously large blouse and placed her hands over her hips. I chose to ignore the former gesture. 😀

“Ok, give that,” I said, only to be rid of this woman, who was probably a conceptual mistake to begin with! 😀

She went to the other end of the small store and came back with something in her hand. “I know you,” she said as she laid down the mint on the counter. I gulped and looked at her.

“What?” I said.

“You are that kid, that NRI, right?” she demanded.

“Uh, no ma’am. I’m not an NRI. I just went abroad last year – ” I couldn’t complete the statement as she cut in in a loud voice, making me flinch.

“You young kids go to all those god forsaken countries and come back with all fancy and weird chocolates and you think that you’ll find all those things here in India? Minto Fresh it seems! I don’t have any such foreign things. Take this or scram!” What made the retort worse was her gestures – she flipped me at least thrice, though I don’t think she knows what the middle finger means; she was gyrating her hips in an unearthly fashion and her head bobbed up and down and made me dizzy. 😀

She shook her head and started cursing the present generation of kids for their affliction to all things Western. I didn’t say anything. I just grabbed the mint from the counter and ran to my bike. Only then did I manage to look at what I had in my hands. She had given me a Minto Fresh. 😀

Anyway, this afternoon, once my brain had returned to normal and once my head was clear of that horrible squealing hag, I was bloghopping and I came across Kris’s blog, where I heard his song “Hope It’s Over,” which put me in a totally wonderful mood. It took me quite a while to get over the fact that I actually know a rockstar. Anyway, download the song and listen to it! I am sure it’ll put you in a wonderful mood! 😀

PS: Kris Bass is the bassist for Shor Bazaar, one of the fastest-growing rock bands in the country. Check out more of Shor Bazaar here.

PPS: How the hell do I get an audio widget thingy here inside the post, where people can just click the “Play” button and the music plays? I’ve gone mad trying to figure it out! 😀


Images Courtesy: ITCPortal.com and Shor Bazaar

Drenched!

I love getting drenched in rain, when I’m on the terrace with minimal clothing and loads of time. But not while driving. This week has been terrible so far, and I’ve been getting drenched almost every single day either while coming to work in the morning or going home late at night.

The worst part of getting drenched while driving is those irritating little pockets of water that accumulate in my underwear, making me squirm. I think I’ve told this before, though I’m not sure. A genetic disability has forced me to wear glasses and a lack of common sense has forced me to use a helmet whose loose visor is completely scratched. When its raining, I can’t keep the visor up because it keeps slipping shut, and if I keep it shut, I can’t see anything in front of me, and if it’s open even for a few seconds, my glasses get drenched and fog up and I can’t see anything in front of me! 😀

I sometimes resort to a few stone-age tactics like a piece of rubberband holding the visor up or a piece of paper to keep it in place, half-open, but all these tactics fail miserably when it rains. Once the rubberband snapped and flew off into the crowd and I didn’t dare look back when someone screamed in pain and anger. 😀

Today, my run of misfortunes took a completely new turn, and I am sure I could hear God clutching his belly and laughing hard at me. I had to go to the ATM to draw some money at around 11 in the morning, and it had just stopped raining. It had been a pretty heavy downpour and as soon as it stopped and the sun peeped out, I took out my bike and rode down the road to the ATM. It’s a three-minute drive from my office to the ATM, and I reached there, stood in line behind a woman carrying a wailing baby and in front of a belching, obese guy. When it was my turn to use the machine, I thanked God for small favors and completed my transaction.

As I came out and started the bike, the sky immediately became overcast and as soon as I had moved three feet, the skies opened up and the rain came down in all its fury, drenching me completely. I drove as fast as I could and reached the office three minutes later, dripping wet and as soon as I parked my bike, the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started.

I look up at the sky at times like these and ask God, “Why me?” 😀

Image Courtesy: Cartoonstock.com

RAM, RAM!

No, I’m not that religious.

But of late, I would probably need divine intervention. People who are in the computer-hardware-retail industry should understand that some technocrats like myself need a constant supply of RAM chips and upgraded hard disks to stay happy and smiling. Few days ago, I decided to upgrade my piece-of-junk desktop and opened her up. After clearing away the dust and the cobwebs, I saw a couple of dead cockroaches among the wiring, a tiny label that read “Warranty ends June 1991” and two wrappers of an ancient bubble-gum called Big Babol! 😀

I overhauled the machine, giving it a shiny, new cabinet, spacious hard-drive, a reliable DVD writer and – the best of the lot – an Intel dual core processor. I was very happy. I was actually proud of my handiwork. I patted myself on the back, and switched the damn thing on. Three minutes into Vista’s “Welcome” screen, the piece-of-junk committed suicide. It chose to hang itself. 😀

I realized that it probably didn’t have enough memory (and this is perhaps the reason it forgot to stay alive!) went on a mission to find new RAM chips. I had little time on my hand, I was wearing a pair of dirty shorts and a tattered t-shirt, and it was 8 pm on a Saturday night. The cops were everywhere and they latched on to me like a pack of dogs. Their demands were threefold:

“License!”

“Insurance documents!”

“Emission Test Certificate!”

I had none and I had to shell out quite a fat sum of money to get my bike back from those idiots. Finally, when I reached my trusty hardware store, they said they didn’t have the RAM I wanted and that I had to wait till Monday for someone to come and find it. I started wondering if God is playing a prank on me.

Even now, after returning home and sitting on this for some time, wondering, I look back on all the things that have happened to me in my life, and I ask God, “Why? Why me?”

He once replied, “Because I created you for a specific reason. You’re my yo-yo!” 😀