The Neighbour

My relationship with wooden panels dates back to college days when I stayed in a paying guest accommodation that had rooms separated by thin cardboard like panels. One could easily hear the girls in the adjacent room talk on the phone, giggle and make small talk with each other or their parents. While it was tolerable in the day, during the nights you could just bang on the panel to let them know that they could be heard. Some wouldn’t stop even then.

The second time I encountered wooden panels, it was 2 years later.

There’s a particular spot in our rented house where I like to write. It’s a comfortable sofa with a puffy to keep one’s foot on, sounds luxurious and it is one luxurious sitting spot too. The cosiest in the house, according to my mother. If there’s a downside to this spot, it has to be it’s close proximity to the dreaded wooden panel. This panel is more solid than the one in my pg in Delhi and connects the other side of the floor through an equally strong wooden door.

My neighbour is a Parsi lady of big built, short salt and pepper hair, wears spectacles, and has a friendly but usually loud voice. She lives up to the image you might have of a Parsi lady in her 50’s. My neighbour lives alone and works at a hospital during the day, takes piano lessons twice or thrice in a week and makes really good tiramisu.

Almost like a ritual, she calls up a woman, whom I will call the lady on the phone, between 8-9 in the evening. The next one hour is followed by my neighbour, gossiping, catching up and sharing trivial details of her life with the lady on the phone.

I mostly saw this as a nuisance since I find it difficult to find interest in what my neighbour ate during the day or what she plans to do after she keeps the phone. I usually didn’t cope with her conversations very well, since it would make me get up from my favourite spot. If you have ever met me at my house between the hour of 8-9, you will know that it’s not the best time to visit.

One such evening, I was sitting with my laptop struggling to come up with something to write for my blog, I had been struggling for days now. Mind you, my blog may not have readers, but publishing on it is good writing practice.

Meanwhile, from the other side of the wooden panel, I could hear a phone ringing. It was my neighbour’s call to the lady on the phone, she had put it on speaker. Before I could roll my eyes again, I started listening intently.

My neighbour went on and on, taking few breathers in between to listen to the lady on the phone. The lady on the phone had rather few inputs to give. my neighbour would start with when she woke up, what she did when she left the house for the office. My neighbour would laugh in between, mimic someone she met during her day dramatically, laugh even more loudly and the lady on the phone would follow up with an equally loud laughter. My neighbour’s peculiar habit, to keep the volume of the receiver very high, so the lady on the phone’s voice was audible, a fair mumble of words and crystal clear laughs.

My neighbour would mention the advice she gave to a person called Nazeer. Often, she would complain about her weight and her inability to lose the fat.

Sometimes, there were detailed comparisons of people’s dressing sense, with detailed comparisons or why she doesn’t use Jet Airways to fly to Bombay.

One evening, there was a bit about how one lady called Rajni has been messing around with Jyoti. I also knew that as part of her preparation for her trip to Mashobra, she had packed her warm Adidas sweater. “Maine toh Kuch Nahi Karna wahan, main Toh Apni saheli se milne ja rahi hun,” she explained, laughing.

My neighbour had met her mother one morning, she started that bit by telling her friend where her mother was sitting. She also appreciated her mother’s spontaneous nature and how she would have agreed to go for a trip to Shimla, on a short notice.

My neighbour has numerous things to say, I wonder if she uses WhatsApp like we do, constantly, to give fragmented snippets of information about our lives to various people. My neighbour, I am assuming fits all those text messages into one long hour of verbal dialogue.

Maybe I will listen again, the wooden panel, me and her unending phone balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The murdered raccoon

How to Solve a Murder the CID way

Last night, a racoon was found brutally murdered in his Sunset Boulevard Mansion in San Francisco. The racoon, Shaun Shaunesy, a rich heir of his mother’s G.I Joe business was last seen by 100 people in his house since a party was going on in his mansion on the night of the murder. Shaun was known for his affluent lifestyle and good taste in antiques because he could afford it. Apart from this, Shaun was a peaceful resident and was planning to marry Lily, a heiress from East London.

The San Francisco Police department officials, who reached the scene after a month were unable to find the body. Only some blood stains that tasted like tomato juice and feathers that probably came out of Shaun’s favourite goose feather pillows, were found. Shaun was also a part-time goose, and the feathers found on the crime scene were suspected to be his. All the other people who attended the party were not present at the crime scene since they thought one month was too long a time for them to wait for the investigations to begin.

The police have declared that murder is a surity, however, they are not sure who committed the crime since they have no skills to find out.

They have put down the names of a few suspects, but inspector Gregory George wrote these names on his hand. After eating food, he washed his hands and he figured that the ink was not permanent. Gregory wasn’t available for quite some time after this incident, but when he was, he said, “I didn’t realise the ink was not water proof. I was hoping to keep the names on my hand as a tattoo, forever.” Considering this as a failure for not knowing basic concepts of inspection, Gregory quit and he pursued a career in developing permanent ink. According to him the world needed more permanent ink.

Investigations are likely to go on until the case has been forgotten. Stay tuned.

 

One of the picture's from my profile.

How my Instagram profile got me a job

The title is not for click bait purposes. The incidents mentioned in the following paragraphs are purely incidental and bear 100% resemblance to the truth. 

As bizarre as it sounds, one of my social media profiles, got me a job. Read on to know how.

On an average Tuesday afternoon, I got a call from my friend who recently joined a start-up in Bangalore. (Adding an unnecessary, irrelevant heads up: whenever someone moves to Bangalore, it can mean 2 things and 2 things alone. Either he/she is joining a start-up or he/she is starting one.)

So I pick up the phone and she tells me that my Instagram profile has a new viewer, one of her companies founders. The founder liked the way I captioned my pictures and thought that similar content could be used to build out of the box marketing campaigns. He expressed interest in meeting me and I promised to meet on the following Friday.

Friday morning came and it wasn’t the best morning for me. Not only did I find a cockroach casually hanging out on my t-shirt in the washroom, I found myself succumbing to screams and horror thereafter. I was wearing that t-shirt, by the way. The cockroach, let’s call him Mogambo, was half the size of my middle finger. Yet I screamed, cringed and cursed my life for bringing this morning to my doorstep.

My next step was to grab a repellant and spray it all over Mogambo. Mogambo tried to run away and finally breathed his last in my roommate’s bedroom. His last words were, “Don’t take this as validation to use the spray again. It’s not the spray that killed me, it’s your roommate’s bedroom. It’s never the spray. Sprays are a hoaaaaaaxxxxxx!”

In the next 15 minutes, glad that I had gotten rid of Mogambo, I was stepping out of my washroom when I slipped over the repellent’s remnants on the floor. Nothing except my bum and spirits were hurt and broken.

Till this point, I had not remembered about the meeting I was supposed to go for.

But soon, I was reminded about it by my friend. I tried to gather my spirits, but they were really upset. Somehow, I managed to convince them, they came together to enable me to do what I had to. I got up, bathed for a change, and mentally prepared myself for what was to follow.

Unlike other interviews, I was unprepared for this one. I knew a little bit about the company and what they do. I downloaded their app to see what they had to offer.

Other than that, I had nothing prepared. I took an Uber and spent an hour listening to Bonobo’s “Kerala” on repeat.

Now I had finally reached the destination and my stomach was already witnessing butterflies that were trying to spread the nervousness. I didn’t let them get to me, how could they, they were inside my stomach.

I walk inside the very pleasant office space, following the founder. Asked to take a seat, I sit and smile. The founder starts the conversation with me where he asks me questions about me, tells me his vision for the company and how it all came together.

It’s very exciting to see people talk about something they love doing. Their eyes shine, almost as if they are picturing their motivations and dreams as they speak of it.

I was told about my role, the impact they’d want me to make and so on. Following this, I was introduced to the other employees and was told to prepare a task.

I met the founders on the following Monday where I was asked to present my ideas. These were people who believe in their company more than anything else and who now wanted to test my abilities. Could I bring something out of the box to the table? I didn’t know.

So I pick up a marker and stand in front of the whiteboard, shaking and trembling because I get anxiety when in front of audiences. Even if the audience is as big as 3 people. I am recalling the time when I was in school and in class 10, I was given the responsibility to read out a prayer on the annual day. Trying my best to hide my nervousness, I read out the prayer in one quick robotic speech. But wait, suddenly, I forgot the line I was on, panic struck and all I could say was a loud, very clear, “SHIT!”

So it’s evident that I am not the best at handling anything at all.

Moving on, inside the room where I was being interviewed, complete with white fluorescent lights and a deadly silence, these people were interested in what I had to say, their eyes fixated on me.

I go ahead and start speaking, taking reference from a notebook I had scribbled my thoughts on. They questioned, suggested, probed, gave me a few on the spot questions and I continue my streak.

A series of more tasks and conversations later, I submitted my final task.

The weekend goes by and I am told on Monday that they liked my ideas and wanted me on board.

How cool is that? Now I could write about this experience and had a story to tell.