The Little Girl From Luxor

We got off the boat, crossed the wide promenade-like side-walk lining the water-front and headed for the bus to take us to the hotel.

There in the middle was this little girl all by herself, away from her mother at some distance perhaps earning her living selling baubles to tourists.


The reason for her effervescent joy – no vaccine would save you catching it from her!

She managed to very sweetly wangle a bindi from a lady who luckily happened to carry an extra piece with her. She held the child’s face steady with her hands and fondly fixed it on her forehead as best as the excited girl would let.

And then…she let herself go in utterly graceful and fluid movements of her limbs in a joyous dance form purists would be hard put to name.

That’s when I ‘got’ her posing for me.

It was only a couple of minutes before we drove away, the girl waving her ‘byes’ until she disappeared out of sight on a turn.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, her joyous innocent face



Notes: 1) bindi – the distinctive vermilion dot or a substitute sported on the forehead by Hindu women 2) I checked with our bus driver on the propriety of my clicking act, admittedly not the same as seeking her parents’ permission 3) The obliging kind lady was V, my cousin’s wife 4) The charmer, we learnt, went by the name Rudhwa, derived from the Arabic “Riḍwān”, meaning pleased, satisfaction, virtuous and pious!!


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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Words Never Fail

HH Jagadguru Shankaracharya, Sridevi


Many a story remains incomplete.

With some, they run out of pages

and some, ink.





Phir Bhi…Happy Holi!






Source:  pinterest

In Memoriam

To my many friends and (ex)colleagues from I have received more than I ever gave (some, no more):

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It’s difficult to capture the pithy beauty of these lines in English. Let me anyway…

What with a letter from a friend in my pocket I was walking,

What was the fragrance? Passers-by wanted to know!



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