Archive for February, 2012

Saturday Night Crisis – Fire at a Garage !


28 Feb

Saturday nights are usually when we usually jam up at a friend’s place and crib about the week that went by, the infrastructure in the city, the economy of South Africa (not really) and other such stuff.

This Saturday was one such night. Having spent most of the evening in the usual chit chat, drinks and some delectable cuisine cooked by none other than Dinakar & Paul, our good friends and two of the finest cooks known to mankind, we were tired and slightly drunk as well.

We cut a Cake for our good friends and enjoyed a variety of liquors as well as some Champagne.

After wrapping up the party, we were headed home. There were two cars and I was in the first one sitting on the passenger side of the Car. Dinakar was driving. We were headed to the inner part of T.C Palya to drop Paul home. Dinakar was dead tired and was driving slowly. I was resting my head against the left window. As we were passing a garage, we noticed a few flames to our left. However, being in an inebriated state does have its disadvantages. I never realized the seriousness of the situation until Rajil, another friend driving the Car behind us gave us a call and told us to pull over. We did just that and got out of the vehicle. In the melee, Dinakar had parked the Car just 15 feet away from the flames which were now starting to get higher and higher. Once out on the road, we realized the gravity of the situation. Paul was quick to call the Fire Brigade and give them directions to the scene.

Minutes ticked by as we watched the flames gain momentum and were feeling highly debilitated at that point. The heat too was overwhelming. The flames had enveloped a Coconut tree which stood tall in the garage.

The garage was located right next to a medical shop & small dispensary. It was in the middle of a residential neighborhood. We noticed that the dispensary was open which meant that someone could’ve been possibly sleeping inside. Perhaps a security guard or an attendant. A couple of us started knocking the door vigorously as it was bolted from inside. Eventually, the confused and dazed attendant emerged and was flabbergasted to see the burgeoning fire within 10 feet of the dispensary. We yelled at him to switch off the main power switch and he finally managed to do so after a brief struggle in trying to locate the main switch.

As this was happening we stood on the main road waiting for the Fire Brigade. The Brigade had been in the firing line recently after the poor safety measures undertaken during a drill, resulting in the death of an innocent volunteer and then the Russell Market fire (the previous day) where they took an hour to arrive. Unexpectedly, as we were wondering what to do next, there was a massive explosion which sent plumes of smoke and cinders into the air. Little pieces of debris flew around us as we tried to gage what had happened. Was it a Gas cylinder? Was it something else? Who knew? We just realized that we were perilously close to the action and took several steps back. We were still shaken after the ‘blast’. It is at that point which one of us realized that Dinakar’s Car was dangerously close to the fire. I made a run for it, got into the vehicle and drove it to safety about 50 meters away from the scene. The noise from the blast had woken up half the neighborhood, which was clueless about the fire until then. Once they came out, we informed them that the Fire Brigade was on its way and they needn’t worry. Anxious faces started to emerge from the Balconies and Verandahs of nearby buildings.

After what seemed like an eternity, the Fire Brigade finally arrived. We breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that things should soon be under control. We even shared a couple of jokes and smiles as the Firefighters went about doing their bit. I got some time to whip out my phone and take a couple of videos. We were relaxed. After all, the professionals had arrived to take matters into their hands. Or so we thought. Little did we know that we were in for a surprise. The Firefighters didn’t take much time to get going. However, the fire hose they used was very similar to the high-powered gardening hoses we would find in a garden. The pressure at which water was being pumped was hopelessly inadequate. The Firefighters wore basic overalls with absolutely no protection against the heat or flames. Ironically, all they wore were water-proof Jackets. Not just that, the Firefighters attacked the fire from the outside of the building. They raised the hose high above their heads and aimed it at the direction of the fire in an attempt to douse the flames. Was it effective? Not really. We had already warned the Firefighters of the explosion earlier and they realized that there was a clear and present danger of further explosions.

This prompted them to change tactics and they moved inside the garage from the front gate. The driver of the fire Truck was struggling so much to position the vehicle in front of the gate that I felt like asking him to step down and give me the control of the wheel. Eventually he did manage to position the Truck close to the gate. Once the garage gate was opened all hell broke loose. The Firefighters found 15 folks sleeping blissfully inside with little or no knowledge of the fire. These guys were the garage workers, I assume. Once they had woken up, they drove out all the vehicles in a hurry to safer places. I even noticed a couple of them literally picking up Bikes and dragging them to safety. Our friend Dinakar, who was assisting the Firefighters (they needed help) ran inside and swiftly grabbed a Gas Cylinder, which was close to the inferno and brought it out to safety. That was a close call. A couple of minutes more and the scene could have looked quite different. Infact another maverick of a friend preferred to go close to the action and literally watched the flames around Gas cylinders being doused while he stood just a few feet away from the action.

There was no attempt by the Firefighters or the Cops who had arrived on the scene, to control access to the main garage. We walked in and out freely. Once inside, we could see the full extent of the carnage. A Van had been completely charred to bits and other stuff, Tin sheets and other flammable material were charred. Eventually, the fire was brought under control. Feeling proud that we had been good citizens and had done our job, we finally got into our Cars and drove out of there feeling relieved, but not without getting to the nearest Tea shop and having a hot cup of Tea. 🙂

How to trick your boss into believing you are sick!


23 Feb

Ever had a day when you just don’t feel like going to work? I am sure we all have had such day(s). The “s” added to “day” is directly correlated to the amount of motivation you have to go to work. Ah! Management jargon. How much do those MBA buggers from fancy institutes pay to get an education and then get paid ten times that amount? That was a rhetorical question, by the way. Monday especially can be a challenging day. Tuesdays, as you all know, can be terrible for work. You can sometimes blame Monday on Sunday, and at times Wednesday does offer some mid-week relief. Tuesday is when all the stuff you didn’t do on Monday comes back and kicks you in the nuts. Ouch. Obviously, the first need would be to ascertain your level of motivation to go to work, because the subject should only be attempted if certain criteria are fulfilled. All this while, if you struggle to deliver value to your clients and exceed your office KRA’s and therefore need to call in sick, please refer to the Table below:

Condition

Suggested Action

 You get up and feel worse than Chetan Sharma after having been hit for a Six on the last ball by Javed Miandad in Sharjah. Sigh! Still hurts. 

Use this post to identify a suitable excuse to skip work

 You wake up and feel like a child in a topless Bar 

Somehow drag yourself to office. You still stand a chance to make things work.

 You wake up and feel like Anil Kapoor just about to win an Oscar for his “special edition” role in “Mission Impossible 4” 

Don’t fret and just get your ass to office

 You wake up and look at some list of CEO’s and don’t find your bloody name on it. 

Try to play a sport which seems like the illegitimate love child of French cricket and badminton to get over the depression.

 You wake up and feel like a Goat which has been sexually molested by lesser humans. 

Attempt self-immolation

Once you have ascertained that you need to skip work for reasons best known to your:

(a) Girlfriend / Boyfriend
(b) Wife / Hubby
(c) Other friends
(d) A & C
(e) B & C or
(f) All of the above

Under extremely rare circumstances, there could be an option A & B which is even more rare than India defeating the Eastern Lions Soccer Club Melbourne. Therefore it has been omitted.

Anyway, for you folks I can suggest a good and easy way to trick your boss into believing that you are dying of a tropical disease that you picked up on your visit to Zaire in Africa and the subsequent close interaction with tribal women. Or something like that. Now you can move to the next bit. This is where it gets real tricky so please read every line closely.

Dealing with those snobbish, pompous, chauvinistic, income-tax-evading, anti-social, capitalist, monarchist bosses could be as tough as throwing Marbles accurately at the power switch of your brand new Home Theater System from a distance of 30 meters.

Let’s explore some techniques which you could consider using:

The Telephone Technique

Warning! This technique comes with the added disadvantage of having to face the Bull by the Horns over the Phone. Firstly, you need to ensure that you sound sick enough to fool your boss into thinking that you are sounding sick enough to be unable to come to work. Deliberately coughing while talking can make you sound stupid enough for the issue being taken as a landmark case study in the field of “How to sound stupid in front of your boss”. Beware. Some bosses would give you the, “If-u-can-make-a-call-you-can-make-it-to-work” excuse. If you ever face this situation, do not hesitate to use this technique. The key in this technique is to sound like someone with a bad throat infection simultaneously sneezing, coughing, belching and then suffocating to death while sitting in an ancient auto-rickshaw. Which suddenly explodes. For added pleasure…err…sorry…impact, you can also pretend to expectorate which is sure to bring the conversation to a premature end. Matter close.

The “Family Ball” Technique

<disclaimer starts> This technique hasn’t been tried and tested yet so please undertake such a technique at your own risk </disclaimer over>.

This technique needs to be followed with a great degree of caution. If done incorrectly, it can lead to severe family problems. Firstly you would need to locate a Cork ball. Having done that, find someone who can bowl faster than Venkatesh Prasad and get him (or her) to bowl at you at feverish pace from a distance of just 11 yards. Now, ensure you get in the way of the ball and it hits you in the crotch. This should ideally induce shooting pain and render you almost incapable of speaking or doing anything much for the next 15 minutes. During this time, locate a phone and quickly call your boss (I know. I told you this is tough) The agonising pain and discomfort will make you sound extremely sick and miserable. Bam! Job done! Now find a quiet spot to recuperate from the blow to your dignity.

The ES EM ES Technique

This technique, although preferable isn’t recommended. Preferable, because it gives you freedom from speaking with the boss, on the phone. You can just send a message to your boss giving an excuse of being sick. Therefore, you needn’t worry about how miserable you sound. The key is to ensure the “text message” (called SMS in India, despite SMS being the actual ‘Short Messaging Service’ through which messages are delivered), creates an image of discomfort on your part in the mind of your boss. However, if your boss is smart, he is likely to say “Abe Saale Paandu!” using a word I chose to cleverly mask using a rhyming alternative. This method could lead to disastrous ‘end-of-the-world’ consequences as your Boss could transmogrify into a foul-mouthed, lewd & licentious madman, on your return.

The Cheap Shot Technique

This method is downright cheap and smacks of poor moral values and outright indecency. And that’s why it’s so popular. This is when you ask your mother/father/wife/sister/niece/nephew/uncle/aunty or any such person to call up your boss and say that you wouldn’t be able to come in to work. This comes with its own risk. If caught by your boss, you may be forced to start a new life as a Garbage Bin Archivist in some faraway place without a proper office (Antarctica?) under an assumed name (Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas?)

In terms of execution, the “The Family Ball Technique” is rated 5-Stars (self-root-canal procedure using a pencil) whereas the “The Cheap Shot Technique” is rated 1-Star (Bishop Cottons Girls Primary School). Obviously, 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest on a difficulty scale. Once you try and succeed at your chosen method, ensure you have a hearty laugh, but only in private.

Tip: Upon your return to work, try to look like your face has been designed in MS Paint by a one-eyed man who also happens to be colour-blind. Blindfolded. It works!

The Kapil Dev Phone


16 Feb

I remember the days when I bought my first cell phone. It was a Nokia 3310 (it just had to be a Nokia in those days, eh!).  Black & White screen, pretty bulky (as compared to all modern cell phones) but very popular in those days (not a million years ago, mind it!).  The whole gamut of mobile phones had barely gained momentum in India and using a mobile phone was a real fad.  I very vividly recall this incident before I got myself a cell phone. It was a Sunday evening and I was hanging out with a bunch of buddies when this dude was speaking to someone on his mobile phone. Or so I thought.  He was attracting a lot of unnecessary attention not just because of his mobile phone but because he was so darn loud.  I couldn’t help but notice the phone he was holding & could visualize myself owning a mobile phone someday. At that point this was nothing less than a dream as mobile phones back then cost slightly more than an iPhone in India these days. Notice how I have specifically mentioned ‘iPhone in India’ because they are so darn expensive in this third world country.

Suddenly, as he was talking, his gizmo started ringing loudly with some Euro-thrash ringing tone and everybody heard the voice of Kapil Dev (yes, I didn’t type that wrong) saying, “Did you clean bowl anyone today? Be Strong! Be Brave! One day you will be Kapil Dev”.

Initially there was some silence as the exasperated folks around this chap tried to understand what’s going on. I bet there were a couple of people who thought he was really talking to Kapil Dev on the phone. WHAT THE HECK? It was a fake! This dude tried to pull a fast one on us just so that he could look cool. As realization set in, we all knew that this was one of those cheap, ‘made-in-China’ toy phones.

Realizing that his game was up, he disappeared from the place like a Bullet out of a Gun.

Domain – Decorus

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