Wednesday, November 5, 2008


My sincere apologies for being AWOL for such a long time. Not that anyone really missed me, I daresay. Obama, for instance, seems to have done pretty well without my presence. A word of explanation, nevertheless. I was hauled away to the eastern parts of the country (Bhubaneswar, Puri, Kolkata and Sikkim) more or less at gun point. The missus can be very stubborn in certain respects. She made me a deal, namely, that in return for not touching a computer or accessing the internet in any way for two weeks, she would leave my kneecaps unbroken. Ha ha. I am only joking. She did not say that. She only said that people who disobey her often find their facial features rearranged.

Going on vacation is always a chaotic thing with me. Last minute meetings, mail to send, forms to fill, cheques to deposit. The necessary evils of city life. Sheela finds all this very irritating. "You never plan anything. All your stuff is crisis management." Accurrate, but not the nicest thing to hear when you're trying to stave off a global crisis. Anyway, I managed to shove everything away just in time, saving my sanity and probably my marriage.

Beside the point, of course, but have to mention this. We were flying Kingfisher Airlines and they really do pamper you. The stewardesses are extremely buxom in relation to their uniforms, giving the impression that they are tucked into their costumes with some kind of modified shoe horn. At one point in the proceedings, Dr. Vijay Mallya himself comes up on screen and tells you he has selected the staff personally. You betcher. But I’m rambling.

Orissa is a lovely place. Bhubaneshwar, the capital, is very laid back. It had, at least when I was there, lovely weather.
Sheela of course wanted to go shopping. Orissa is very famous for its saris. We saw and bought something called Sambalpuri and Vichitrapuri and a couple of other kinds I can't remember the names of. Emboldened by the briskness of business, the sales guy showed us something in an electric blue, with lots of embroidery.
“What is this?”, asked Sheela.
”Pure Crap, madam”, said the honest chap, though I couldn’t see how such candor could be good for business. I said so to Sheela.
“He means 'crepe', idiot!” she hissed, and continued examining the sari.

Aware that there were no more brownie points to be won by hanging around, I shuffled off to another section of the shop where an earnest looking chap thrust all kinds of fabric into my face. He evidently considered me a promising sales prospect. Had enough, I thought. Turning 180 degrees smartly on my heel, I legged it out of the place. Rude, of course, but under the circumstances, unavoidable.

Young Gautham was outside the shop pigging out on some street food. I grabbed as much of it as I could, disregarding the lad’s protests, and shuffled off towards Vyaas who had a nice cold can of Coke, and hadn’t seen me coming.


Back into the car. Our driver had an interesting technique of driving. He would creep silently towards some unsuspecting cyclist or scooter rider and when he was like ten millimeters away, honk loudly. The victim would jump with a little yelp and race away for life, inducing great mirth in our charioteer.
Apart from that, Bhubaneswar had little to amuse or instruct. The food was excellent, especially sea food and the beer wasn’t too bad either.

The next morning we visited the pilgrimage town of Puri. Gautham piped up.

"Annie, annie."


"Know what a good name would be for a barber shop here?"

"What?" Me, the sucker.

"Shave Puri."

That boy skates on thin ice, I tell you.

More in due course.


Anonymous said...

rofl Naren! Heartening to read you again. :)

I wish you'd told me you were going to orissa. I'd have become friends with your wife just so she could get me some Sambalpuri saris. *sigh.


Anonymous said...

This is what my brother has to say:

Welcome to DE 101: Driving in the East.

In this course, you will learn the great art of driving in East India.

All you suckers from the South and the West are welcome to join this course!

People who have learnt the art of driving in metropolitan cities are not allowed.

PS: I am from the South of India. Have been in Kharagpur for five long years and know what it is really like to drive here. It's an ordeal.

'Shave Puri' joke was stud! Looks like your son shows all traits of becoming a big poor joke master.

maxdavinci said...

beta baap se seekh raha hain!

gradwolf said...

haha, good one. welcome back, naren sahib!

Prasanna Gopalakrishnan said...

lol.. Hi Naren, new here.. very entertaining!

Vibushan Lakshminarayan said...

Ha ha ha! Nice post!
"Pure crap" was awesome! a lot of similar happenings in my hometown too!

Anonymous said...

ROFL! What a comeback Narenji!! Like father, like son!

Rada said...

Hilarious post!

Almost like coming back from retirement and hitting the first ball for a six!

Hope you had a chance to go dolphin-watching in Chilka lake. Can be a wonderful experience but for the boatmen who can be quite rude.

narendra shenoy said...

@rads - thanks!

@jatkesha - they drive like dodgem cars, dont they? Compared to them, I'm miss marple

@max - he keeps at it all the time. drives me nuts. sheela blamess me for encouraging him, to which charge i plead not guilty

@grad - thanks! glad to be back at the old keyboard

@prasanna - thanks and keep coming

@vibushan - the pure crap cracked me up right there at the shop. sheela was VERY angry

@stitha - Thanks!

@rada - thanks! never made it to chilka lake though :( .. not enoough sari shops there, apparently

Vibushan Lakshminarayan said...

Ha ha ha.. wish I was there to experience it first hand :)

Cynic in Wonderland said...

had a nice vacation eh?

you know i have heard there is this temple which leans. so the doors and everything is titled to one side. apparently if even if you stick something into the ground it starts going wonky. quite interesting methought. you saw?

Vin said...

hey..another of your humor-packed series:) found u on sawan's blog..quite a writing style - just perfect!!
n yes, ur son is getting it from we-know-where :)
Thanks for the great laughs throughtout

Maddy said...

i remember the jaganath temple and the beaches. they were fascinating..hope you enjoyed the trip, when do they have the festival of chariots?

aishu_here said...

Hahaha!! Shev Puri ! Awesome smartness there :D

BTW,did you check your comments on the last post? Promptly missed your updates and pinged you saar.

How dare you say none missed, huh?

AlwaysHappyKya said...

Oops, that 'aishu_here' was the wrong login. :)

Bhel Puri & Seekh Kabab said...

LOL, hope you find the time to make this a 10-part mini-series. :-)

Vivek said...


Back on Duty I SEE! Serving Humanity with this Wit and that too with honor.
'Crepe' LOL
Good Stuff!
Your Posts were surely missed!
If there was a lake nearby I'm absolutely sure Gautham would have said it was called Pani Puri!

Anonymous said...

I seem to have only one comment in your blog.
Yeah, you got it:

desigirl said...

Chip off the old block, young Gowtham is. And LOLed at "pure crap"!!! More, more....

Santosh said...

Shave Puri - lol.

thunderskies said...

shave puri ! lols... that was funny.