Once in a while, life brings you unexpected gifts. It may be in the form of a flower, a book, a rainbow, a job, a puppy, a letter of love, a house, a car, words of support…… and sometimes a penguin. Yes, you heard me right; ‘a penguin’ is just what I said. Life gave me just that as a gift, a penguin all the way from Antarctica. The Penguin aka Vivek quietly blog-hopped to my page a couple of years back and decided to stay, be a reader and friend.
The inimitable Wodehouse and his books (who or what else??), is what drew us together. Any fan of Wodehouse (MS Word is repeatedly telling me that I have to replace ‘Wodehouse’ with ‘warehouse’) piques my interest and here was one spouting Wodehouse at the drop of the proverbial hat. When a fellow fan quotes the same passages or lines that are your favorites too, one tends to sit up and take notice and go ‘Wow!!‘ Messages flew back and forth, filling our mail-boxes to capacity, making me smile, smile and smile some more. In one of them messages we, the crazy fans, agreed to try and locate Chillicothe, Ohio mentioned in Wodehouse’s Laughing Gas. Whosoever would find it first in Google Earth was to give the co-ordinates to the other. Though we were a couple of baffled Wodehouse fans for a short while before Vivek finally homed in on Chillicothe, Ohio, we were quick about finding our way to each others homes on Google map.
Wodehouse apart, we found we had plenty of other subjects to talk about. He soon became one of those rare friends you find with whom you can be goofy as well discuss serious issues. The best part is that I found someone I could bung bricks at and that’s saying a lot. What with the non-sporting attitude of the stuffed-frog variety of high-browed bloggers who cannot spot a tongue-in-cheek sentence even when so labeled in huge fonts. It’s all about seriousness you know. We all just have to be serious and blog about serious issues alone. Oh yeah?? Says who?? And then there are those who think that I aimlessly throw…… ..Ahh well. This is a blog about my friend. Why should I bring the level of it a notch down talking about spoilsports?? Coming back to bricks, the real problem here is that the red bricks I bung at Vivek don’t work at all. “Clunnnck” is all the sound I get when I throw them at him.
“I am a Civil Engineer Shaila,” says he in explanation, “your bricks won’t work with me!!” His advice?? “Go find iron bricks!!” Hmmm……
Vivek has these bouts when he asks ‘profound’ questions of you which just leave you dazed to say the least, at the level of the man’s intellectual depth. You must remember that he is the same guy who in his childhood undaunted by thoughts of consequences in the form of a thrashing from the pater, fearlessly went ahead on his mission to find an answer to the all important question that was haunting him right then. Aided and abetted by his sister, he dunked a hen in a bucket of water, to know once and for all, if said hen would shrink in size while wet, antagonizing both the hen and his father, making them mad and madder, in that order. I am sure there are many more such spectacular incidents in his childhood that reveal his deep intellectual and seeking nature that hungers for answers to questions ordinary folk give the go by. I am hoping they will be duly revealed in his forthcoming autobiography which, if I am lucky, I may be permitted to write. Oh golly, the mere thought makes me all nervous and excited.
Here is another of those incidents that makes you think.
“What were you doing Shaila??” he asked me one day.
“Making dosas Vivek”
“Hmmm…” went the man, “How many dosas have you made in your life-time so far, Shaila??”
I sat there stunned, unable to reply, suitably chagrined that such a topic of gravity had escaped my attention all these years though I had been spreading the dosa batter on the tawa day in and day out.
“For that matter, how many rotis do women roll out during their lifetime??” he continued in the same vein.
On getting no response from me (How could I who was nothing but an infant when it came to profoundness give a suitable one??) the kind man that he was, he reverted to other topics, not wanting to make me feel any more discomfiture than I was already feeling about the low level of my gray cell activity. Yet, there have been rare times when I have risen to the occasion and tried to match his intellectual capacity. One day Vivek asked me,
“Can you explain the phenomenon…When a diamond has many facets it has many edges that make it smile..when a human has many facets he/she is called well-rounded…”
“Hmmm…. I don’t know much about diamonds or humans and their facets, Vivek.” I told him. “As for myself, it is none of those facets you speak of, but all those ice creams that I gorged on that have contributed to my own well-rounded-ness.”
I heard he spilt tea all over his keyboard and almost had a seizure when he laughed reading my reply.
‘The lazy ramblings of Mr. Happy Go Lucky’ reads the apt title to Vivek’s blog. Hmmm… I wonder whether it is the ‘rambling’ that should have the ‘lazy’ attached to it or the ‘Mr.Happy Go Lucky’?! If you ask me, I would say, it should read, ‘The ramblings of a lazy Mr. Happy Go Lucky’. Now why do I say that?? I feel this Mr. Happy Go Lucky IS lazy. I am sure the Mr. Happy Go Lucky himself is giving a guarded half-smile to this. I think I can even hear the wisecrack reply that would go, “Isn’t that why I am happy-go-lucky??” I don’t have anything per se against anyone being lazy. Each to his own is my philosophy of life. But I want Vivek to write more.
On second thoughts, perhaps I do him a grave injustice here. As GM of his company he is a pretty busy man and has no time on his hands to devote to writing as he would like. Still, I fervently wish Vivek could somehow find the time to put to good use his talent for writing, which he underplays. Yes you do, no questions asked. One of his short stories had been shortlisted by Penguin for their book, but just missed to get into the final twenty-five that were chosen. But one has now found a place in a book soon to be published by sulekha.com.
One day Vivek made the mistake of introducing me to his wife, Asmita, online. ‘Mistake??’ you ask in that surprised tone of voice. Oh yeah, a mistake and you will see why!! There we were in Yahoo conference and the gentleman that he is, Vivek says,
“Shaila, meet Asmita.”
Little did the man realize what he was in for. Asmita is a big time Jagjit Singh fan and so, as all of you know (if you don’t, click here) am I. Bring together two ladies with a common interest and the inevitable happens. We went yak-yak-yakkety yak and poor Vivek was side-lined. He couldn’t get a word in edge ways… or rather type a word in.
“Which is your favorite song??” asked Asmita.
“Mujhse Bichadke Khush Rehte Ho” said moi, and in turn asked her,
“Which is yours??”
“Tumko Dekha To Ye Khayal Aaya,” came the reply.
Both of us continued in this vein, also lamenting how difficult it really was to choose a single favorite out of the many excellent ones sung by Jagjit Singh. In the meanwhile, Vivek typed, “*raises hands* I like Baat Nikelegi”
Ooops!! We had forgotten to ask him what his favorite song was. He remained ignored for some more time, though he did butt in with a ‘I am here too’ in between. After some more time had elapsed, he valiantly resigned himself to being ignored and left, saying,
“Oh ok..buzz me if you want to say something to me”
Well, after some more of the yakkety yak, I said my goodbyes and made a graceful exit knowing that miya-biwi (husband-wife) needed to have their time together without me cutting more into their valuable time.
Our plans to meet came true when Vivek travelled down south and joined us at our place for breakfast as promised. Knowing that I lovvvvve Psmith, he got me the Psmith Omnibus. From the time we became friends, his constant chant had been (and still is), “I want fish pickle, I want fish pickle!!” So apart from iddlis, chutney, sambar, appams and stew, he also got his share of fish pickle. He has not said a word to me about my cooking (non-existent) skills. You see, Vivek is a man of few words. Moreover, he believes the proof of the pudding is in its eating. Well, I am gratified that he had his fill. Now its my turn to look up Vivek and I hope to do so some time in the future. We have a pact to attend the weddings of our children. Yeah, Vivek and Asmita have a handsome son (Sigh.. Ok ok, he does resemble you Vivek. Do you have to remind me each time??) as also a pretty daughter who is the apple of his eye.
Vivek is the one challenging me to greater heights to write loooooong blogs. All my long blogs are dedicated to him. What puzzles me is he does not fall asleep on his keyboard in spite of my trying sooooo hard. That will be the day, when I can write the longest blog ever and have him snoring on the keyboard out of sheer boredom. Do you think such a day will come Vivek?? Anyways I don’t want to make this blog any longer than it already is. The GM saab is a busy man. So I will wind up. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, be happy. I want so much for your dream to come true because….. you are my friend. Period.
Smile… Vivek ….always!!
I ought to have posted this on Feb 1st on his birthday, but was unable to. Vivek says its alright, today the 13th of Feb is as good a day for posting it as any. So here it is, my dedication to my friend. By the way, there is a sllight problem. This here is a penguin with an identity crisis. Unbelievable, as it may seem, it is but true that it goes, “Quack quack”!! Lekin problem kya hai, Mai hoon na?!!! (What’s the problems, I am here) I have found this excellent site that gives you the authentic sounds made by the different animals including different kinds of penguins. I am busy tutoring the Penguin to sound like one. Oh yeah, I am.
Hey Vivek, this is my 100th post here! Howzzat??!!!!! 😀
Updated to add : Vivek’s blog : Ramblings
three cheers to the friends 🙂
Me: Thanks Shilpa! 🙂
Biju Mathews said:
You are an amazing writer! Did you realize that you have scribbled down almost 200 lines (yes, I counted them) with just a simple start of, “Once in a while, life brings you….”
Wow! Keep Blogging and happy valentine’s day!!
Me: Whoa!! Two hundred lines??!!! Hmmm… now how did that happen?!!! 😛 It is all Vivek’s fault. There is too much to write about him, besides I am on that mission to make him fall asleep on his keyboard while reading my post! 😛 Thanks Biju!
Quack Quack (Pleased Penguin) Quaaaaaaack (Embarassed Penguin)Thanks for the wonderful words Shaila. But hey You have told everyone about the wet hen incident….thank God you havent spoken about the embarrassing moments blog. And thanks again for mentioning my writng skills (?) now more will buy the book that sulekha is going to publish..but wil iget any royalty??
Me: Awww… come on, don’t be Quaaaaaaack! Quack Quack! Look what you have done now Vivek! I am quacking instead of teaching you Penguin-speak! Oh well, sigh, this is an up hill task!! OMG how did I forget the embarrassing moments blog?! BTW, why that absolute silence regarding the rights to write your autobiography?? Are you scared?! Hmm… sochlo. I don’t know about the sulekha book, which I will buy anyways, but you will get royalty from this one I write about you!! 😉 Waise bhi ye kya hai, tum to aur kitne book likhne wale ho!!
Smile… always Vivek!
That is a beautiful dedication Shail. Your friend is indeed a lucky man 🙂
Me: Hmmm Roopa, that is debatable. Or maybe Vivek IS lucky, I am just LUCKIER!! 😉 Thank you!
Blessed are those who have good friends. Who is more blessed? You or Vivek?
Me: PRG, that is a question the answer to which we are yet to agree upon. Right Vivek?? 🙂
Plum is still drawing people together huh? Jolly good, dont you know. Cheers to friendship..
Me: Hey, don’t tell me you are another fan??! Plum draws people together, no doubt about it. Those who read him are a very special breed!! 🙂 Thanks eMJay!
Wonderful wordsketch of your friend, Shail! Indeed, he is lucky to have you as a friend.
Me: Manju, we have been arguing over who is lucky and have declared a truce for the time being! 😉 Thanks!
Naval Langa said:
I am Happy to see you here You have put the Adsense Ads quite properly. Still you can post three Link Ads.
Me: Thanks for stopping by Naval. Keep coming.
Lovely post Shail. It has happened with me so many times that i loose my girl friends after introducing them to my wife. No, they don’t run away but they make better friends with her owing to her very very friendly nature and so many common interests.
Me: I can imagine. And add to it a common interest and the ladies will take over from there! Thanks Balvinder.
ever considered writing a novel or a short story and get them published..u r a writer material moi..
btw happy val day !!
Me: Bindu, I have not thought of a novel so far though I have had readers like you (including the one of who is mentioned in this post) urging me to go for it. I have written short stories, you will find them under the tag ‘short-story’ and also ‘fiction’ Hmmm… never published any though! 😛 Thanks!!
Shail, That’s a wonderful dedication to a wonderful friend.
“What with the non-sporting attitude of the stuffed-frog variety of high-browed bloggers who cannot spot a tongue-in-cheek sentence even when so labeled in huge fonts. It’s all about seriousness you know. We all just have to be serious and blog about serious issues alone. Oh yeah?? Says who??”
I hear ya! :))
Me: Thank you. Hehe.. you don’t know the half of it Solilo. I have had people tell me that my humor is aimless and poor and …… oh well. I bet the poor things had nothing better to do or were forced at gun point by their enemies to read my post. Can’t think of any other reason why they dropped in if it is so boring you know! 😉 Actually I had no clue either that I HAD to impress them. Ahh well…sigh! 😛
BTW like your new profile picture.
Me: Thaaaank you!! 🙂
Awesome writing as always… Three cheers to your friendship 🙂 And b’lated Valentines day wishes too 🙂
Me: Thank you Bubbly! 🙂
such a beautiful dedication for a friend shail 🙂 Friendships like these, inspire 🙂
Me: Thanks Sashu. 🙂
Bob Hoff said:
Yet once again, your passion for life, your enthusiasm for writing with details about very interesting people and subjects, and your appealing personality as an author, thinker, and sharer of ideas, stops me in my tracks to say “Wow.” No, “Double-Wow.”
Great job!! A couple things–
** One of my favorite phrases that you use occasionally is
“Oh yeah?? Says who??” This should be, in my humble and “shy” opinion, the title of one of your future books, Shail.
** I have read some great references to Vivek before and enjoyed this one immensely. Is it possible to find linkings to his thinkings (or writings).
** I bet that this post has “set the buttons to popping” on his shirt. How great it is to have POSITIVE FRIENDS LIKE YOU.
Congratulations, Vivek and thanks for brightening up my day by posting this, Shail.
Me: Thanks Bob for the Double-Wows and all those lovely words of appreciation! And oh boy oh boy, that IS an excellent suggestion Bob! *claps hands in glee* “Oh yeah?? Says who??” will speak admirably for what I have to say and will suit any book I may eventually end up writing, if at all. Don’t I love the suggestion?!!!!
And as for buttons popping on Vivek’s shirt, I must surely ask him about it!! 🙂 Just click ‘Ramblings’ under ‘Where I hang out’ in the right most panel to go to Vivek’s blog page. You will also find him in my multiply list.
Thanks again Bob!
Bob Hoff said:
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 for your post, Shail
Me: Thank you Bob! 😀
Hey this is a nice blog entry. I loved your description of your friend! Friends are one of the perks of living on Earth – and unlike chocolate – they are not fattening. Yeah, you guessed right, the other is chocolate.
Me: Thanks Ritu. Phew, good that the best perk comes minus the fattening effect! 😉
a famous hindi movie dialogues goes thus: bada yaraana lagta hai?! :))
it is interesting and of note to know that there is no more profundity or any more simplicity to friendship b/w two quite-mature-in-ages, as is there b/w two in their twenties. And your professed feelings have just the same charm as do those of a young girl when talking abt a most special friend. Perhaps you’d rather I consider your friendship individualistically and stopped comparing it with something else 🙂
A special post that speaks volume about your friendship, your friend and yourself! Nice to have a friend in you, Shail :))
Me: Yeah I do think you should put our friendship in a special bracket! 😀 Lol, perhaps friendship IS the same in all age groups or else maybe Vivek and I are still young at heart! 😛 Aur haan, bade yaraana hai. Thanks Rhett!
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Kislay Chandra said:
Wodehouse Rocks . I am a Big fan too . I have read quite a few of his books . And I just finished watching the TV series , Jeeves and Wooster . Jeeves is played by Stephen Fry and Wooster by Hugh Laurie , and they managed to capture the essence and bring the characters to life . It is good fun .
Me: Glad to meet another Wodehouse reader. I have watched a few of them, not all and they have succeeded in capturing the essence. Some years back there was a serial on Doordarshan based on Blandings castke saga and they made absolute hotch potch of it! 😦 Thanks for dropping by.
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I guess I will have to start reading Wodehouse now. Heard about him from a number of people!
I would have started reading Vivek too, but you haven’t given any links to his writings! (Or did I miss it?)
Also, I am not a great fan of Jagjit Singh fan, but there’s just one little post on my blog you might find interesting in this context
Me: I have him in my blogroll page ‘Places I haunt’ or you can just click here. I will now check out the post you have mentioned 🙂
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I just can’t stop smiling! I ‘met’ Vivek and of course you too on Indimag. And I realized that for that instant connection to happen, a physical presence is not required 🙂
This is one of those rehash
that’s always fresh as a mouthwash
One more year has gone in a flash
and Vivek may this birthday be a smash. 🙂
Indeed, may this birthday be a smash 🙂
Thank you Govind 🙂
Usha Pisharody said:
Beautifully written tale of friendship 🙂 Wishes for the best of the season, and the year, to the Penguin 🙂
Thank you Usha 🙂
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Loved the post Shail. Cheers to friends 🙂
Thank you, Jas.
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That is a truly beautiful story of friendship!
Here’s to this wonderful bond! May you blessed with more such lovely friends as the Penguin 🙂
One Penguin is more than enough. 😉 Thanks all the same for the wishes, Deeps 😀
Ah, Shail, I know this feeling to be blessed beyond compare. And your post just made me think of someone I so cherish. I think, I have another post coming on!
But really, how many dosas have you made in your lifetime?
PS : I must have rolled about 82125 chapatis in mine 🙂
Lol, Perhaps 999999 dosas 😛
Waiting to read your new post.
Shail!! Wodehouse and Jagjit Singh! Together?! In the same person?!!!! Pinch me please!
I hope the profuse use of exclamation points spares me the trouble of crossing the I’s and crossing the T’s. 😀
Oh, and I loved this line:
What with the non-sporting attitude of the stuffed-frog variety of high-browed bloggers who cannot spot a tongue-in-cheek sentence even when so labeled in huge fonts.
I went hehehehe and am sure that I’d have spilled the tea if I were drinking some. I see my laptop mopping its brow as I type this. 😀
Thank you, Dagny 🙂
That was a beautiful tale of Friendship. May the bond strengthen with time.
Thank you, Rekha 🙂
Lovely tribute to a friend! Great humour and style. Especially liked the description of two Jagjit Singh fans meeting..chuckling as I read this!
Thank you, Chattywren 🙂
Farida L Rizwan said:
That was a lovely post to read.. a good friendship with common interest. BTW .. I am a great fan of JS too. We should catch up and go yakety yak sometime..
You a JS fan too?! Yes we must go yakkety yak! 🙂
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