What do you do when you got to be in office at 8 am for a meeting and you have conference calls from 630 am until 8 am – calls, that cannot be rescheduled? One option is to get up at 530 am, get ready in half an hour and reach office at 630 am so that problem is solved. Hmm … added to that you have to eat breakfast, iron your clothes because it is Monday morning and you were busy watching TV and sleeping during the weekend. So you now have to get up at 5 am, but did you not decide that whatever the constraint, personal pampering was extremely important and you would spend at least 15 minutes sipping the masala chai you will make as soon as you get up? 15 minutes for drinking the tea and about 15 minutes for making it – aah, the smell of ginger, cardamom, pepper, tea – no way, you could miss that! Screw work! Ditch everything else! But then you would have to get up at 430 am! What about that email? No – nothing more, the email can be sent during the tunnel traffic time. So 430 it was going to be! What was the time now? Sunday night 130 – oh no, weekend was over, it was already Monday, 130 in the morning. Alarm buzzing at 430 am and you can bet, given the sonar levels measured in decibels that came out from the alarm clock, the sound energy could easily be converted into a 1000 watt light bulb for at least a minute. Technology project for some technology nerd somewhere, huh?! Lazily and automatically, your hands begin to caress the clock, finding the sliding button or hook like thing and brushing it aside from ‘Alarm On’ to ‘Alarm off’ position. You are smiling while you sleep, as if you just unbuttoned the bra of that elusive hot chick teenager on your tenth birthday. Just then, the blackberry begins its cacophony (backup alarm aka wakey wakey machine), spoiling what could have been a horny dream and your hands again reach out lazily and automatically to fondle the berry, err blackberry. But the phone is crying out louder because you pushed it away from the bed. You covered your head with pillows to mute the poor blackberry’s alarm tone and all of a sudden YOU, Mr. Executive, take over and exorcise the sleep ghost to exclaim, “Oh My God” it is 557 am!
You dial the bridge line and have no idea what to do now. What about the tea? Just shut up! You gulp water instead. But hey, hang on, self pampering takes number one priority. Aah, blackberry is muted and tea is made, at times, even the mute is turned off and some global statement is spoken, “yeah, I agree. I think, we must focus more before we can revert. So ABC, can you send me some details? Ok, we can take that offline.” Etc etc. You feel thrilled at multi-tasking, you are the dude! At one point, you are whistling away and realize that the mute is not turned on. Oops, then you carry the tea cup around, while balancing the phone between your ears and shoulder, looking at the world with a 45 degree tilted perspective, a couple of tea sips sliding down from the corner of your mouth like rain drops on your windshield, or water drops on Liril models’ backs. The phone is mute and you complete your morning ablutions including a shower. Then, you continue to speak into the phone every now and then and iron your clothes. Then you head out to your car, activate speakerphone and it is already 745 am. Darn, the road is so busy, so you take a parallel service road that others are foolish not to use. These Americans are so chamatthu! (goodey goodey)
More executive blabber is going on in the phone and then you casually decide to take an illegal right turn to avoid the rush. That was the catch of the parallel service road, after all. I go ahead as nobody is watching.
Boom! Out of nowhere, a cop jumps up in front of you and you have no option but to stop. Then you realize that of all days, only Sunday evening you had decided to clean your car and got several papers like registration certificate and insurance papers that are on the table at home, sweet home. Wow! What a Monday morning! I disconnect the phone which by now has somebody asking, Ranga, you there? I think you are talking but you may be on mute mode. That was my big boss.
This cop dude starts laughing hysterically, “Saaley out of state DL, no RC book, Insurance papers illaa, enu, challan %$#@, ellindhu barthiraa, empire hotelsaa, maharani baaraa, night show aa?”.
Me: “Illa Saaru, student saar, group study saar, naaley examu, please saaru, hathu rooba maathra idhey” in my best Kannada. Then I realize that my mind is playing games and replaying what had happened few years ago in Bangalore. That day I had negotiated so wonderfully well and parted with jushtu 10 rupees only before riding away on my bike with my partner in crime, K. But today was different; there was no way this american cop could be bribed – what if his 10 kilo hand gave me one tight slap?. I waited and waited – after 25 painful minutes, the cop smiled at me and said, “You know what, I will give you the benefit of doubt, and give you no points, I trust that you have the registration book and insurance papers, please complete the transfers to Pennsylvania in the next week, but I shall only write a ticket for $110. Drive safely, sir!”
He said, Sir!!! I smiled back and thanked him before driving away. I was so happy that I was spared harsher punishment. For some of the Bangalore cops, as Vadivelu would say, “Coppu, vechi taanda aappu!” and for Pittsburgh cop, “Dhang yeu very much, Saar!”