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Showing posts from June, 2011

Mr. Chow

This post is based on a wager with Atul, which you can read about here.

When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do? Stretch lazily, hop out of bed & head for the can, slouch on the bed & feel your toes gently brush the floor?
I force myself to smile... a big, toothy grin with which I try to convey eagerness, earnestness and friendliness. The right smile is important to me because customers who feel cared for order more food and booze... and leave more tips. The right smile ensures that my drunk, frustrated customers don’t try to prove their manhood by starting a fight with the one guy they think they can lord it over – Me.

The right smile is important to me because my life is exhausting and empty; a token existence in maximum city. Without that smile, I don't think I could get out of bed and face the world.

I'm a waiter in a restaurant in Mumbai. My smile is what could separate me from the other waiters and from the sea of humanity that washes throug…

Never give up on a good thing

I have an indifferent relationship with cellphones. Since 2004, I've only ever owned two and family, friends and colleagues have cajoled, requested and almost threatened me to get a new one. I've thought about it but always come back to one simple point - I don't really use the phone that much, so it doesn't bother me that my phone looks like I took it out of a garbage pile. If appearances were that important in life, I'd be nowhere. Oh wait... Anyway, my supposed callousness came to a head the other day when I tried to make a rare phone call.

A polite but firm automated voice informed me that the yearly validity on the Airtel SIM card had expired and asked that I renew it if I wished to avail their services further. For the next 3 hours, that automated message was the only intelligent thing I could get out of the Airtel people and retailers. If their "Dil jo chhahe, paas laye" tag had any grain of truth, an axe or a bazooka would have manifested itself in…