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March 31, 2004 15:33 IST
Dad finally decided to become ATM-savvy.
He pulled out his card, which delivered him months ago, and came and sat beside me.
"So," he asked, "how do you use this thing?" It was mom's birthday and he wanted gift her some money. "She's never happy with the present I buy, so I thought she could go and choose what she likes."
I explained how an ATM worked and off Dad went.
When he returned an hour later, he looked all hot and bothered. "The ATM was not working," he said. "So I went into the bank to let the customer service officer know. He was staring at some file and made me wait. After 20 minutes, I really got angry. I went and told him, 'Your ATM does not have money. I just wanted to let you know. And for this you have made me wait for 20 minutes'," Dad said, fuming, as he sipped on a cold nimbu paani (lime juice).
In the evening, I asked Dad if he wanted me to go with him to the bank, so I could show him how to use the ATM. "No," he grinned sheepishly. "Actually, the bank had sent two cards -- ATM and Visa. I had taken the Visa card by mistake."
S Gayatri, Mumbai
Thank God for victory
When we won the first one day international in Pakistan, there were huge celebrations. People danced on the streets and burst crackers. President Kalam and Prime Minister Vajpayee congratulated the team.
We lost the second match and the team was suddenly on the blacklist. Everyone mourned. There were no messages of sympathy sent to the Indian team.
Many viewers, in fact, were furious. In Mumbai's Andheri surburb, in an area called Four Bungalows, cricket fans were so disappointed with the Indian team that they took out their ire on the poor cable operator, who was merely airing the live telecast of the match. They set the cable on fire. So, for hours after the Pakistanis beat India, no one could watch television in Seven Bungalows.
Last heard, the cable television operator, who has since replaced the cable, is thanking every God he knows for India's victory in the ODI series.
A Ganesh Nadar, Mumbai
How many Yuans?
This happened when we were staying in Shanghai. It was a national holiday, so my eight-year-old son and I decided to visit the city square, Xui Jia Hue, where celebrations were on in full swing. My husband had just returned from one of his tours and was catching up on his sleep.
We decided to walk -- for one, cabs are expensive in China. Secondly, I do not know Chinese and did not particularly relish trying to explain where I wanted to go in sign language.
Once we reached the square, we made for the Kentucky Fried Chicken stall, which was a favourite with my son. Once he was satiated, we roamed around the square, watching the live bands and shows and having a great time.
My son spotted inflatable wings and twinkling artificial jewels that were being sold to children. I managed to buy the jewels but couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what the price of the wings was.
The vendor kept gesturing animatedly, but I just could not understand what he was saying. I would have left, but my son insisted on having the wings. As the minutes passed, a crowd formed around us.
Suddenly, much to my embarrassment, I realised there were at least 15 people trying to tell me the price of those wings. I was about to give up when someone spoke in English.
Thankfully, I paid the vendor and rushed back home. Believe me, I was glad when I could finally return to India and shop in a language I knew.
Sharmila Davare, Pune
Caught in the act
My friend was studying for his B Com exams, while I was preparing for CAT. We used to study together every day until about 1 am.
One night, both of us had a headache. We were not able to concentrate on our books, so we decided to give each other a head massage before we called it a night.
I tried my best to imitate the local barber, who offers a free massage after a haircut. I also threw in the old Johnny Walker number, Sar jo tera chakraye, which set my friend, who is Catholic, laughing uncontrollably.
When it was his turn, he decided to pretend my head was a tabla and he was Zakir Hussain. Within a couple of minutes, I was ready to scream in pain. Just then his father walked into the room. "What on earth are you both doing 12.15 in the night?" he asked in his most forbidding 'checking on you at midnight' voice.
We were so shocked that we could barely mumble "head massage." Luckily his dad left before we burst into uncontrollable laughter at being caught, so to speak, in the act at midnight.
Rohit Narsinghani, Mumbai
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