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April 08, 2004 12:18 IST

My dad has been suffering from diabetes since many years. So, whenever we visited anyone, we would make sure dad's drink was 'sugarless.' Mom too gave up sugar to keep him company.

One day, I took Mom shopping. We happened to pass a sugarcane juice vendor and I offered to buy her a drink. I ordered two glasses of juice without ice. Mom, as is her habit, promptly added, "Without sugar!"

Girish Nanjundaiah, Bangalore

Fear factor

It was a cold December evening. The sun was about to set. My mother had to take my little brother to the doctor. I was just 10 years old and had to stay back alone. Coincidentally, most of our neighbours were not at home either.

Before leaving, Mamma told me not to open the door to anyone, no matter what they said.

I was busy playing when the doorbell rang. I froze on the spot, wondering what would happen next. The bell rang again. This time, I gathered courage and asked," Who is it?" The stranger replied in a deep voice, but I could not understand the words.

A few seconds passed. I was sweating all over. Again I asked," Who is it?" to which he replied, "Open the door." I was sure whoever was outside was up to no good. I quickly dialled 100, the number my mother had told me to use in an emergency, and explained I was a 10 year old and alone at home and someone was standing outside asking me to open the door. The police officer told me to stay calm and promised they would be there shortly.

After a while, the doorbell rang again. This time, it was accompanied by my mother's voice. I ran to the door, opened it and hugged Mamma. I told her how I had narrowly escaped a possible attack and that the police were on their way. At this, Mamma smiled and told me the 'stranger' was one of our friends who had come to give us some fruit from his farm. His voice sounded hoarse because he was suffering from a sore throat. She had met him on her way home and he told her that, for some reason, I would not open the door. Mamma then called the police and explained it was all a mistake.

To this day, whenever that friend visits us, we remember this incident and have a good laugh.

Ruhee Kekatpure, Birmingham, Alabama

Dance, dance baby

I was in my first year at the University of Mumbai in 1993. Like most unattached men my age, I was on the lookout for that special 'someone' and had zeroed in on one particular girl. She was a classmate and a good friend, but I had never been able to muster the courage to ask her out.

When I finally did, she said yes. I decided to take her to a fast food joint that had been highly recommended by a close friend. He said that though he had not been there for a while, it was where his love had blossomed.

The entrance to the restaurant was being renovated, but a sign said the place was open for business. Unusually for a fast food joint, a doorkeeper stood at the entrance.

We settled in our seats and placed our order. Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, it hit me that we were the only customers there. Besides, the place was designed in a peculiar way and included a small dance floor in one corner.

Suddenly, a lady dressed in a bright sari appeared out of nowhere and politely asked me, "Would you like to see a dance?" I felt as though I had been hit by the Rajdhani Express. Realisation finally dawned -- this was a dance bar!

My date, who had been calm though this whole episode, displayed exemplary presence of mind. She feigned illness. We got our order packed and practically ran out.

Today, my date is married to someone else. And I am still searching for that special 'someone.'

Amritraj Thakur, Scotland

'Sir, we understand your situation'

My brother was losing business with each passing moment, but the only response we could get from the 24-hour customer care service centre of a telecom giant was, "Sir, we understand your situation..."

He had two corporate phone connections with them and despite paying the bill (they guarantee reconnection with three hours), the connections had not been restored. As the hours passed, my brother -- who conducted much of his business through the phone -- made his sixth call to the customer care department. He tried to make them understand he had lost a lot of business because his phone lines were down.

Pat came the reply, "Sir, we understand your situation..." My brother lost his temper, "Boss, you have been trying to understand my situation since morning. What I need is a solution. NOW."

This continued until late into the night. Out of desperation, he restarted his phone system. After this, whenever he tried to make a call, he would get the message, "This facility is not available on your phone." Frustrated, he wound up for the day.

But his desperate measure worked. The next morning, his phone rang at work. "Sir, we understand your problem…" I greeted him, as we both burst out laughing.

Rakesh Zharotia, New Delhi

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Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh


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