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May 31, 2004 14:15 IST

The third year engineering exams were on.

As usual, I was making my final preparations and had armed myself with formulas, calculations, etc.

Finally, just as my overworked brain was threatening to explode, I decided to call it a day. I switched on the television and began surfing.

When I left for the exam the next day, I was confident I would do well. After glancing through the question paper, I knew my confidence was not misplaced.

With a smile, I grabbed my calculator to begin work on the first problem. But something seemed wrong with it -- my calculator that is. All I could see were the basic numbers; it seemed to be missing a lot of advanced functions.

Then it hit me.

In my hurry, I had grabbed the television remote control instead of the calculator; both were black and happened to be approximately the same size.

Srinivasa Igur, Bangalore

'Look, Murasoli Maran has come to visit'

Ever since I can remember, my mom would feed the crows as soon as she finished cooking. Her explanation was that people who had passed away were visiting us after taking the form of crows.

One morning, my father and my daughter Aishwarya, who is six years old, were waiting at the gate for her school van.

All of a sudden, Aishwarya let out a cry, "Look, Murasoli Maran has come to visit."

My father was shocked; former Union minister Murasoli Maran had passed away the previous day. He had watched the news report along with my daughter, who does not miss the 8 pm news on Sunday for anything.

My stunned father asked her what she meant.

"Can't you understand such a small thing?" she asked in childish innocence. "Look, there's a crow on our balcony. Don't dead people become crows?

Geetha Ramkumar, Japan

A sticky tale

My three-year-old daughter kept whining one evening about how her father never came home early.

In order to pacify her, I explained he was stuck in traffic. She seemed convinced and I was relieved.

Then, after a while, she said, "Why doesn't Daddy call 911?'"

I was surprised and asked her how she thought the cops could help Daddy.

"Mommy," she blurted, "there's glue on the road and Daddy's car is stuck, so the cops can help him take his car out!"

Shoba Tumma, California

A lesson in Russian

It was my first visit to Moscow, a city that seemed liberal in many ways.

On my agenda was a visit to the ISKCON temple, where I met a Russian girl called Radha. I was also surprised to see Russians immersed in dancing to Krishna bhakti songs. This was in total contrast to the impression I had formed about them.

Later, I visited the ISKCON restaurant where only vegetarian food is served. I was with two of my friends and we were looking for a table but the place was full.

We spotted a Russian sitting alone and asked him if we could share his table. He graciously agreed.

We had almost finished eating when his meal arrived.

What happened next left us feeling ashamed of ourselves

The Russian folded his hands in a namaskar to thank the Lord before beginning his meal; we, on the other hand, had forgotten what our parents had taught us.

Well, the Russian reminded me of that lesson and made sure I would never forget it.

Amit Chawla, Moscow

Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh


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