Remember Your Chum?

Am sure we all had someone like this with us in our class at one time or the other:-)


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Source: Powerhumans


A Horse and Two Goats (By R. K. Narayan)

One of my all-time favorites – RKN’s story of the cat – had appeared here.  If you love short stories and haven’t looked at this one before, I would urge you to read it – you won’t be disappointed, I assure you.

This time, another hilarious piece from the master story teller, written in the seventies:

Horse and 2 goats

(If you wish to see the clip first, go to the end of this post)

Muni is a poor resident of Kritam, one of the smallest of India’s seven hundred thousand villages. Despite its small size, the village has a grandiose name: Kritam means “crown” or “coronet” in the Indian language of Tamil. There are only thirty houses in the village, most of them simple thatched huts. The only sophisticated residence in the village is the Big House, a brick and cement building from whose well the local villagers get their water. “His wife was old, but he was older and needed all the attention she could give him in order to be kept alive.” The two have been married since he was ten and she eight: “He had thrashed her only a few times in their marital life, and later she had the upper hand.” At onetime Muni was a relatively prosperous herdsman, with “a flock of forty sheep and goats.” He sold the sheep’s wool and sold the animals for slaughter to a town butcher, who brought him “betel leaves, tobacco, and often enough some bhang.” However, those high old times are past. Now Muni’s flock, struck by “some pestilence” (though Muni suspects a neighbor’s curse), has dwindled to two goats.

Now in the last stage of their lives and without an offspring to count on, they are forced to live with poverty and embarrassment, bearing crass jokes and insensitive remarks by fellow villagers.

Away from the prying eyes of villagers, still, Muni follows his daily routine of taking the animals to graze near the highway two miles away, where he sits all day in the shade of the statue – a horse rearing next to a fierce warrior – and watches his goats and an occasional passing vehicle. The vehicles are something to tell his wife about when he goes home at night.

Despite his poor life, Muni is a dreamer and an avid food lover. He is really fond of good food and bidi’s. Because of the couple’s poverty, Muni’s daily lunch usually consist of only millet and an onion. One day, Muni picks some “drumsticks,” or seed pods, from the tree in front of his home and asks his wife to cook them in a sauce for him to eat. Muni’s wife agrees to make the sauce if he can get all of the necessary ingredients from the village shop: dhal, chili, curry leaves, mustard, coriander, gingelly oil, and a potato. Muni has no money to pay for the items but tries to convince the shop owner to give them to him on credit by engaging in conversation and laughing at his jokes. However, the shop owner shows Muni a ledger of past debts that he owes and says he must pay them off before availing any more credit. Muni tells him that his daughter will give him some money for his fiftieth birthday, although he does not actually have a daughter. The shop owner does not believe him and says he looks at least seventy.

Muni goes home and tells his wife to sell the drumsticks, since he could not get the ingredients for the sauce. There is no other food in the house, so Muni’s wife sends him away with the goats. “Fast till the evening,” she tells him. “It’ll do you good.” He then takes his goats and goes to the highway to let them graze as usual. While he is there, he sits on a pedestal at the base of a weather-beaten clay statue depicting a majestic horse and a warrior. The statue had been there since Muni was a young child, and his grandfather had explained to him it was a reference to the mythical horse Kalki, who according to Tamil legend will come to life when the world ends and trample all bad men.

While Muni is sitting there, he sees a yellow station wagon coming towards him down the highway.

The car runs out of gas and comes to a stop on the road in front of the statue. A white foreigner gets out of the car and asks Muni in English whether there is a gas station nearby. However, Muni cannot communicate with him because he does not speak English and the foreigner does not speak Tamil. The foreigner tells Muni he is a coffee trader from New York. Inevitably his eyes catch the beautiful clay horse standing behind Muni. Impressed with the unparalleled art, he wants to buy it, planning on taking it to his country, and proudly showing it off to his relatives and friends, to garner their admiration and envy.

He offers to pay Muni for the statue, thinking it belongs to him as Muni sitting on the platform nonchalantly. Muni does not understand what the foreigner wants, and initially mistakes him for a police officer, because he is dressed in khaki. He believes the man had arrived to investigate a dead body found a few weeks ago on the border between Kritam and a neighboring village. He tells him he does not know anything about the incident and the murderer probably lives in the other village.

The foreigner does not understand. He offers Muni some cigarettes, and explains that he and his wife, Ruth, decided to travel to India on vacation after a power failure in the Empire State Building forced him to work four hours without air conditioning on a hot summer day. In an effort to draw the suspicion away from him, Muni comes up with a history of the horse and the legend of Kalki and aspects of Hinduism.  While the stranger tries to negotiate a price for the statue and says that it would look good in his living room. The conversation continues for a while – best seen on the clip – before the foreigner gives Muni a hundred-rupee note and asks him to help move the statue to his car. Muni believes at first that the foreigner is asking him for change and suggests that he go to the village money-lender. When the foreigner stoops down to pet his goats, Muni mistakenly believes that the man is giving him a hundred rupees to buy his animals. Elated, Muni accepts the man’s money and leaves the goats behind for him.

Thinking Muni had agreed to sell him the statue, the foreigner flags down a passing truck and pays the men to help him detach the statue from the pedestal and move it to his car. He also pays to siphon off some of their gas so he can restart his engine.

Muni goes home and shows his wife the hundred-rupee note, telling her that he received it from a foreign man who stopped to buy his goats. At that moment, however, the couple hears bleating outside their door and discover Muni’s goats standing there. Muni is confused, while his wife suspects him of stealing the money, and says she will go to her parents’ home because she does not want to be there when the police apprehend him.

End of story

There is hardly any similarity between the thoughts, action or words of the two protagonists, and yet both of them keep talking garrulously, sharing their dreams and aspirations, giving the reader a glimpse of their individual lives. While the horse statue carries great cultural and religious importance for Muni’s village, to the foreigner it is more a decorative item to serve as a talking piece during house parties. At last, though, money wins, as the foreigner is able to buy the horse, by giving a hundred rupee note to Muni, while Muni thinks the dumb foreigner has paid him too much for two paltry goats!

The humor and the irony of this tale lies in the total benign incomprehension that exists between the two, not only in the way neither understands the other’s language – it is only the reader who knows both sides of the story and is able to laugh at the idiosyncrasies of life – but also in the absolute contrast of their cultural, educational and economic backgrounds, emphasized by the way each values the clay horse. Much of this is conveyed through the wonderful double discourse that makes up a significant part of the story, with each of the characters happily developing his own hermetically-sealed interpretation of the other’s words and gestures. And, on the way, Narayan also touches on the issues like childlessness, crude apathy of mankind to the lesser mortals, or the irrepressible instinct of a man to show off his intelligence,

The story’s charm lies in the way Narayan refrains from passing judgement.

The clip (10.11 mins) with English subtitles is here for your viewing pleasure.





Sources: The above post is a lightly edited mash-up from a) Anupama Sarkar at b) V. Panduranga Rao, “The Craftmanship of R. K. Narayan,” in Indian Writing in English, edited by Ramesh Mohan, Orient Longman, Ltd., 1978, pp. 56-64. c) d) e) and f)



On Punjab National Bank Episode (Even More)

PNB episode seems to bring out the creative juice in many!!!

If you notice there’s very little repetition in the humor it engenders.

So, here’re some more:

After the final count, PNB may have to remodel their branches!

PNB 3 branches have begun moving to new accommodations... Gautham Iyengar

Dressed to rob?

PNB 5 IMG-20180220-WA0002


The secret of success…

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Good for a chuckle though not fair to Modi!

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Impossible Made ‘Possible’ – A Tenali Rama Story Never Told Before (For Children)

Tenali-Rama-and-the-Astrologer storyplanets com

Part 1

On a lazy afternoon, Raya was relaxing, taking in the sight and the smell of blooming roses and jasmine wafting in from the gardens beyond with Rama in attendance at his bidding. There were no pressing matters of state to keep him engaged.

Rama knew there was trouble just round the bend.

Well, he wasn’t wrong.

‘Rama, you know we have had some difficult times and luckily, it’s all behind us now. Things are rather quiet, like a bunch of trees standing still without a wind to stir up things. The ennui is becoming increasingly unbearable…killing. I would love for you to kick up some excitement…’

So, there it was…not long in coming, trouble in an alluring disguise!

‘Surely, my lord, if you could share with me what you have in mind…I can then take it from there.’

Leaving the field so wide open for Raya’s whims was absolutely foolhardy…but then there little else he could come up with in the instant.

‘I was thinking about it…mmm…how about this? I would like to see something unthinkable, impossible- to happen before me in real. No magic or tricks, please. Can you have something like that presented to me?’

Rama stood without a word like a naked pole waiting mournfully for the storm to pass.

‘I want to be reasonable…’

Reasonable, eh?

‘Yes, take a week’s time and come back with something interesting…am sure it’s not beyond you…’

When he said it, was it a fleeting smirk on Raya’s face? Saying ‘Son, it’ll do you a lot of good to take a fall  once in a while.’?

Rama put on a false bravado and withdrew himself with due courtesies.

Part 2

Four days had passed, yet he was no nearer to a solution. The real kicker was ‘no magic, no tricks.’

He looked suddenly aged.

Try he did – racking his much-vaunted grey cells, pulling hair off his pate – no luck.

The food lost its taste, sleep a distant memory.

He locked himself up in the house, turning away visitors…

On the fifth day…

It was the day of the week for the maid to come in and clean up.

She was shocked to see a disheveled man far from the sprightly person she had known her master to be. The house was turned upside down…things strewn all over the place. Whatever happened? She was hard put to guess. And it would be impertinent to ask.

Maybe it was from his search for ideas that had eluded him so far?

She took time dutifully returning things to their place. Finally, when she was ready to leave, she turned to him and cautioned:

‘Master, keep the back-door locked even during the day as far as possible till it gets warmer. These are days snakes sneak in for warmth, especially to the kitchens, where they curl up near the hearth. Two days ago, in one of those houses in the East Car Street, they found a large snake…something like fifteen feet long from head to tail…luckily, they found it before anyone stepped on it.  Had to be killed…it was poisonous.’

Given the state of his mind, Rama threw a look of incredulity mixed in equal parts with disinterest. Nonetheless…such a large snake? He abhorred snakes, small or big.  Under the circumstances, he would have bolted from the house as far and fast as his legs could carry him.

The maid offered further proof: ‘If you don’t believe…you know the book-keeper’s house, fourth on our left, the blue one? The girl working there is my friend…she told me.  You may check with her if you wish.’

Rama assured her he’ll and he’ll not – he’ll lock the door to keep away unwelcome guests and he’ll not be checking with the girl. He thanked her for her concern.

After a frugal lunch, he rested on the string-cot and fell asleep almost immediately from mental exhaustion.

It was a fitful sleep dreaming of frightful snakes of all shapes and sizes, slithering, hissing, dancing…with the hoods raised in full glory.

When he woke up sweating, he was happy to find himself in safer surroundings. Why did he have these nightmarish dreams? He abhorred snakes, small or big. Then he remembered – it was all the maid’s doing injecting them into his hitherto-snake-free thoughts.

That was also when a seed of an idea insinuated itself into his mind, no more than a straw for a drowning man.

Part 3

It was the day of reckoning:

Rama reached the palace early busying himself with off-stage arrangements – it needed some.

Close to the appointed hour, the host and the guests had gathered.

Raya was excited like a child at a fair. The royal court, filled to capacity, too was agog with anticipation – what kind of a ‘rabbit’ Rama was going to pull off the ‘hat’? Only ‘rabbits’ and ‘hats’ were expressly forbidden.

When everyone settled down to a quiet, Raya stood up to briefly address the audience:

‘I had asked our resourceful Rama to arrange for our viewing pleasure something we know as impossible, contrary to the laws of nature and yet it’ll happen right before us. No magic or tricks, I had said. So, not an easy task. And here we’re for Rama to show us.’

And signaled for the show to commence without further ado.

A veteran of many trials, Rama got down to business, looking his usual self. He called for Lakshmi to appear in their midst, introducing her as his maid who keeps his house in order.

Lakshmi was both surprised looking at a restored Rama and also visibly nervous standing before the august assembly.

Not wanting to prolong her agony,

‘Lakshmi, please tell everyone here what you know about the snake – remember the one you mentioned it to me in your last visit?’

After a few seconds seemingly to gain control of herself and recall the conversation alluded to, the words came out slowly:

‘Yes, master, I warned you about snakes. I told you how a huge snake had entered one of the houses and was killed before anyone got hurt.’

‘Where did this happen?’

‘In a house on the East Car Street.’

‘Oh, the short street with three or four houses…and when did this happen?’

‘Last Tuesday.’

‘You said it was huge, Lakshmi, how large…’

‘Master, it was about fifteen feet long, measured before it was buried.’

‘And how did you come to know about it?’

‘From my friend Padmini…she knew…’

‘Thank you, Lakshmi, what you shared with us was helpful. You may leave now.’

The audience shifted in their seats still clueless what was this business about snakes. Where was Rama headed?

Next, he summoned Padmini who waited in the wings not aware of her friend’s deposition before her.

Her story matched Lakshmi’s – the house was the same one on the East Car Street, the day was last Tuesday – in all details except one. The snake was ten feet long.

Savitri, her friend, followed.  It was a five feet long snake.

And finally, by the time Saraswati from the house on the East Car Street, the scene of ‘crime’, ground zero, stood before them, the audience kind of knew where Rama was going with it.

The hapless reptile was no more than two feet, she averred.

While chuckles rippled in the audience, something was still missing – after all, exaggeration in any cascaded communication was a social phenomenon not entirely unknown.  They were not sated.

Until Rama supplied them the perspective of ‘the impossible’:

‘My lord and gentlemen of the court, now we know it’s ‘possible’ even for the dead to grow!!’

And, took a bow.

Dead silence in the court for a short while and then commotion, albeit muted. It was mighty clever of Rama to put it to them in the way he did, they reluctantly conceded.

It would be another day, if ever, for them to see what they had hoped for – Rama flat on the mat.

Raya was filled with rage when he heard a voice telling him Rama had actually trivialized his wish.  Then another voice in his head said, ‘Be reasonable, did you really expect a miracle to happen?  What else save a miracle would make an ‘impossible’ happen before you? Rama did the next best thing. Thank your stars he’s on your side.’

Raya got up from his seat and walked slowly to Rama with arms open.





Source: Inspired by a post from Elango Velur Thiruturaipoondi []  and image from

What Are Husbands Like?

A must-read before you say ‘I do’: man_cooking

This guy was watching TV as his wife was out cutting the grass during the hot summer. He finally worked up the energy to go out and ask his wife what was for supper.

Well, his missus was quite irritated about him sitting in the air-conditioned house all day while she did all the work: “I can’t believe you’re asking me about supper right now! Imagine I’m out of town, go inside and figure dinner out yourself.”

So he went back in the house and fixed himself a big steak, with potatoes, garlic bread and tall glass of iced tea.

The wife finally walked in about the time he was finishing up and asked him, “You fixed something to eat? So where is mine?”

“Huh? I thought you were out of town.”





Source: and image from


On Punjab National Bank Episode (More)

Checking on a marriage alliance:



This is back again from the archives though the reference is to Vijay Mallaya fleeing to UK,


(Context: Farmers committing suicide over their inability to repay loans)

Source: Kannan

On Punjab National Bank Episode

A collection of funnies on the sorry episode – do let me know if there’re more:

Punjab National Bank, boasting of a vigilance team awash with awards and recognition, clamping down after the ‘horse’ has bolted!


Source: Rupen in fb (rupendoshi).

Earlier, this was also from him:


This R.K. Laxman’s cartoon vide Rajanga Sivakumar, appearing decades ago, is prophetic:

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Another from the inimitable R. K.

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Came across this – possibly the ‘progenitor’ of these funnies:

28070466_1631138883632469_991086771342420412_o Usha