The letter from my head office was terse and to the point. The one-paragraph letter brought down my world. It stated that I had been transferred to Ahmedabad in Gujarat and was to join the regional office there exactly one month from the receipt of the transfer order.
Having spent most part of my life in Maharashtra, I was not keen to relocate to a different state. The biggest problem I foresaw was that of language. But my colleagues assured me that anyone who understood Marathi and Hindi would easily be able to pick up the Gujarati language. There was truth in this logic because after all Maharashtra and Gujarat were formed from the same Bombay presidency state.
Even before going to Ahmedabad, I was aware of the Gujarati's penchant for pronouncing "hall" as "hole", "Paul" as "pole" and "snacks" as "snakes" but was not acquainted with the Gujarati numerals. Imagine my chagrin then when upon landing in Ahmedabad an auto-rickshaw driver charged me "sattar" rupees for a two-kilometre ride to the office from the railway station. Now, "sattar" is 70 in Hindi and I refused to give him 70 rupees for a two-kilometre ride. The auto-rickshaw driver had to do a lot of explaining and made me understand in the end that he was charging me only Rs 17 and not Rs 70. "Sattar" in Gujarati is 17 while 70 is "sittar".
That was my first encounter with the language!
As I settled down, I heard the Gujaratis using a lot of "bay" in their conversation. For a person coming from the Hindi-speaking states, "bay" is not a good word to hear. But "bay" in Gujarati is the numeral "two".
Then, again, I was rather confused to hear one of my colleagues in the office always advising another colleague to "Saambhlo". Now, "Saambhlo", pronounced as "sumbhlo" in Hindi, means "take care". I just could not understand why my office colleague was always being advised to "take care". It is later that I learnt that "saambhlo" in Gujarati actually means "listen".
Well as months passed I took a great liking for Ahmedabad and its people and also began to love the language. But as I was trying to pick up the nuances of the language, I received another letter from the head office, once again transferring me to a different place.
Pocketful of brains
A lawyer friend has narrated this story about his two pals - let us call them Sachin and Vivek. I don't know whether it is true.
Sachin is a tall and handsome man of 30. But he is not very bright and loses his temper at the drop of a hat. Vivek, on the other hand, is very short and witty and he too is around 30. Both are practicing lawyers - Vivek being an assistant public prosecutor. Sachin and Vivek are sworn rivals while in the courtroom but the best of friends outside and can often be seen having tea together in the court's canteen.
It has happened on many occasions that when Sachin is representing a client as a defence counsel, Vivek has had to represent the state.
It was one such occasion, and Sachin was forcefully arguing his client's side in the court. Vivek has this nasty habit of interrupting and he was doing so now. This, of course, irritated Sachin and true to his temper, he observed to the judge, "Your honour, my learned friend has not been allowing me to complete my say. If he interrupts me again, I will put him into my pocket."
"Your honour, if my learned friend puts me into his pocket then he will have more brains in his pocket than he has in his head," pat came the rejoinder from Vivek.
Bye bye to restaurant
By Raju Bhosle
When my six-year-old daughter insisted for the first time that she would like to have food from a hotel rather than home-cooked food, I willingly conceded to the request.
Just one meal, I thought to myself. The wife too would have some rest for the day. So all of us set out for the nearest restaurant but, unfortunately, no tables were available. There was a distressed look on my daughter's face and she almost broke into a sob.
I cheered her up by saying we would wait for a table. But it was taking too long and there were many others who had arrived before us and waiting for a table to become available.
Realizing that we would not be getting a table for an hour at least and, besides, there were no other restaurants nearby, I suggested the next best thing - let us have the meals packed and have it in the cheery atmosphere of our own home.
Fortunately, my daughter readily agreed to the scheme.
So after getting to know what she would like to have and also taking note of my wife's choice, I placed the order. It was duly packed and delivered to me within 15 minutes and we were soon home in another 10 minutes.
It was a hearty meal and I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did my daughter. The wife was a trifle annoyed at the girl for merrily munching away. Every day she had to cajole her into eating the food she had cooked. Nevertheless, it was indeed an enjoyable experience. But I was absolutely unaware of what lay in store for me.
The next day we had home-made food prepared by the wife. But the next day, the girl again insisted on hotel food. I gave in and brought the food from the hotel as before.
But things really came to a head when my daughter began insisting on having food from the hotel almost every day thereafter. If I scolded her she would start crying and refuse to touch food.
I was in a real dilemma. My wife is a very good cook, and that the daughter should prefer food from hotel rather than the nutritious home-made food was really exasperating. That apart it was a drain on the pocket and also a wastage of time.
The wife and I did a little bit of thinking and we hit upon an idea. The next day the daughter demanded to have meals ordered from a restaurant. I readily agreed. But before leaving for the restaurant, the wife carefully packed the home-made meals in a packet which I put into the bag without the daughter noticing.
Instead of going to the restaurant, I roamed around for a while and returned. I handed over the packet to the daughter and saw her finish off the food in a jiffy and still licking her fingers.
"Was the food delicious?" I asked her.
"Very delicious. Even better than the meals you had brought from this restaurant earlier," she replied.
The rest of us then sat down for our meals and the daughter saw that we were having the same things that she had just had.
"You, too, are having hotel food?" she inquired accusingly.
I then explained the prank that we had played upon her and also pointed out to her how much more she had liked the food.
Fortunately, the daughter's infatuation with hotel food ended from that day and she has never pestered me again to be taken to a hotel.