There were many occasions in ParserPile, where I found myself desperately biting my tongue to stop from laughing. This is one of them.

One fine day, I was working with one of the growth hackers. I didn’t think much of her intelligence or ability to do anything, but the founder thought she could sprout rainbows because she was formerly an engineer at Apple. And he was a worshipper of the deity, Steve Jobs, and Apple Inc. was essentially his idea of hallowed temple precincts. [I know enough about software and hardware engineering, and marketing, to realise that Apple is quite a lot of hype. They weren’t even the ones who first made smartphones; just the ones who first made smartphones sexy.]

Anyway, one evening, we had a meeting with the founder. Somehow, the two of them started talking about exercise and healthy eating. She was into fitness and ran marathons and did krav maga, but still was an idiot. He was a former fat person. I came into this meeting a little later, and had to immediately pull on the most wooden expression I could muster because:

She: “Eggs are a great source of protein, but <her husband> thinks they are non-vegetarian, so he doesn’t like me to eat them.”
He: “He *thinks* they are non-veg? They are, aren’t they?”
She: “Karishma told me they aren’t.”

Oh brother. Here we go.

Both swivel to look at me.

He: “Karishma! Aren’t eggs non-veg?”
Me: “Not all. It depends on their source. Typically, poultry farm eggs are unfertilised, so those are veg. Free range ones could potentially be non-veg, if a rooster is around.”

Laughter all around. Disbelieving laughter, I might add.

He: “That sounds crazy!”
She: “I know, right?!”
Me *sighs*: “A hen will lay an egg, regardless of whether a rooster has been around. That’s the way their reproductive system works.”

Minds blown. Jeez.

He: “Ok, so is that why brown eggs are healthier? Because they are fertilised?”
She: “Oh no, those are healthier because they are organic.”
Me *groans*: “Um no. Brown eggs are laid by brown-coloured hens, while white eggs are laid by white-coloured hens. They are nutritionally more or less the same. The difference in colour is due to the fact that they are laid by difference species of chickens.”

Utter silence. All this information is visibly swirling in their brains.

She *to him*: “Karishma reads a LOT.”
He *laughs*: “I’m going to call her the chicken expert from now on.”

Ye Gods.


Doorbell Woes

Yesterday’s post about the delivery guy reminded me of the legions of stories I have on the subject. I order quite a bit of stuff online, and so couriers make a regular appearance on my doorstep.

Now, this is an old building, born in 1951 to be exact. It didn’t have a doorbell when it was built. My grandparents had one installed much later, and it conked out one fine day. Then, my aunt had a second one installed, and had the chiming thingie box put in the bedroom, which is the centre of the house. The reason was simple: it can be heard from the kitchen, living room, and the bedroom because of that central location. [Can’t be heard in the bathroom, but then again door cannot be answered by someone in the bathroom either. So moot.] Because of its placement though, it cannot be heard from outside the door, unless there is very little ambient sound.

You can see where this is going, right?

So a few weeks ago, I was waiting on a grocery delivery, when our doorbell rang. I started to get up, when it rang again. And again. And again. And again. And again. 6 bursts of doorbell ringing in rapid succession. All before I had managed to stand.

I finally got to the door, and yanked in open in a, I think, forgivable state of utter annoyance. And:

Me: “Tumhara dimaag kharab hai kya? 6 baar bell kyun bajaya?” *Are you mad? Why did you ring the doorbell 6 times?”
Delivery guy: “Sorry madam! Sunaie nahi diya, to bajate rahe.” *Sorry madam. Couldn’t hear it, so kept ringing it.”
Me: “Bhaiyya. Bell andar ke log ke liye hota hai, bahar ke nahi.” *Dude. The doorbell is meant for the people inside, not the people outside.”

True story.

Hyper Customer

I have a list of ridiculous stories of interactions with delivery agents, which I formerly used to post on Facebook. Must remember to post those here too.

Today, I’m waiting on a grocery delivery that is supposed to come between 8:00 and 10:30 pm. At of right now, 10:15 pm, there is no sign of my delivery. So I called the customer service number, just to confirm that it was indeed happening today.

Me: “Hi. I wanted to confirm that my delivery will happen tonight.”
CS: “Please hold the line, ma’am, as I check with the driver.”

*hold music for 2 minutes*

CS: “Ma’am, the delivery person is stuck in traffic nearby, but he says he will not make the delivery after 10:30 pm, since some customers get hyper and start shouting when he is late.”
Me: “Um. I would prefer to receive my order tonight, and you can assure him that I will not shout at him if he comes after 10:30 pm.”
CS: “Ok ma’am, I will inform the driver accordingly.”

Thankfully, I was able to wait to disconnect before laughing.

Cougar in Da House

And The Child strikes again.

I’ve become a lot calmer about the whole online-stranger-hitting-on-me thing. It doesn’t really disrupt my life any more, because I laugh it off most of the time. But this guy? He is spectacularly funny. Not intentionally though, poor chap.

The other day, I was forced to remind him that I was 10 years older than him. I don’t remember why exactly, but the context is not important. To which, The Child replies [I’m paraphrasing, because I can’t reproduce the language accurately.]: “Oh, it slipped my mind. You really don’t look 34.”

Bear in mind, this exchange is taking place over Instagram and, in the case of the next one I am about to recount, on WhatsApp. We have never met. He is basing his opinion of my age purely on photos. More specifically, Instagram photos. You know, the ones taken with the express intention of looking good? Yeah.

His remark didn’t really call for a response, so I left it at that. Till he hit me with: “34 ke log aunty hote h. You are very well-maintained. Matlab fat ke hisab se. hehe”

Translation: “34 year-olds are normally aunties. You are very well-maintained. I mean, from a fat point of view.”

Basically, this runt was telling me that I didn’t look fat enough for 34. Honestly, a normal reaction, say about 3 years ago, would have been deep offence. I was deep into the body positivity and feminist ideologies, and all the attendant rage that those entail. I still believe in those tenets, but I’ve learned to not let a random off the Internet affect me at all. So I laughed. Loudly. I didn’t bother to explain that I was on a weight loss kick. It was hilarious.

I let the conversation lapse, because I had no intention of engaging with such a callow youth at that moment.

Then, he adds me on Whatsapp. I don’t understand his reasoning for doing so, because frankly I have been a less than spectacular correspondent. I have replied to all his questions: what are you doing?; had dinner?; how is the weather?; etc. with simple, to-the-point replies. I cannot be arsed to actually strike up a conversation. Mean, I know, but I am mentally exhausted at present.

On Whatsapp he comes up with this gem: “You have deep eyes.” Quickly followed up with: “I stalk you a lot. :-P”

In English, “deep eyes” makes NO sense whatsoever. In Hindi though, it is a common enough compliment. I played dumb. [And sent a friend this remark with the observation that maybe he felt my eyes have cave diving potential.]

The stalking comment elicited an actual response though, where I asked him why he would do that. I mean, I could be a serial killer. To which he replied:

“You are. You shoot people with your eyes.”

I concede point to The Child. That was such a hackneyed line that it struck me totally dumb. Impressive.

Who’s That Girl?

[It’s Jess. #sorrynotsorry]

So, Sunday’s do may have been a waste of time, but I did have a little bit of silly fun.

Although my weight loss has been quite steady since the beginning of the year, the dramatic difference in my appearance has only become visible recently. Of course, I cannot see the difference since I see my mug in the mirror every day. But I knew that anyone who is seeing me after a while is going to do a few double takes.

I’ll be honest: I was NOT looking forward to that. [Think inveterate wallflower and you’ll understand why.]

Anyway, I met KT and his family, and he didn’t say anything. But his wife commented that I was looking good. She was on the trot, being the person of the hour, so I thought I got off lightly. But no such luck.

We were seated at a table with a bunch of their friends, all of whom I have met before. Granted, they don’t know me all that well, so I wasn’t surprised by the polite smiles and the lack of enthusiasm on greeting. Just shows what a naive idiot I can be though.

During lunch, mum asked me to get dessert for her. So I got up and walked towards the buffet, which was on the opposite end of the room. I came back with dessert in hand, and was a little taken aback by the warm smiles wreathing the faces of everyone at the table. My mother was looking like she was suppressing an almighty laugh, and seemed to be in real danger of bursting.

One of these ladies [the one I knew best of the trio] turned to me and said, “My goodness, I didn’t recognise you!” I smiled, and laughed politely. I made some deprecatory comment about my short hair, and the matter dropped.

Then mum needed the facilities, so we got up and left the room. That’s when I heard what actually transpired.

Lady, as soon as I left the table, to my mother: “Who is that person with you?!”
Mum: “Um, that’s my daughter.”
Lady, eyes bugged out: “WHAAAT?!”
Mum: “Um, yeah. You met her last year? At the baby shower?”
Lady: “My GOD. She looks so different.”
Mum: “Yeah, she’s lost about 17 kilos.”

Hearing this exchange, I chuckled a bit, but still was fairly thankful that I escaped this exchange altogether.

Then the event wound down, and the president finally got to have lunch. At our table. Where she managed to get a proper look at me.


I was told to go over, and stand in front of her. She commented, LOUDLY, on my changed appearance. What is one supposed to say to that? “OH MY GOD YOU’VE LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT.” <– statement, not a question. Incoherent mumbling was my reply of choice. “YOU’RE LOOKING AMAZING.” <– embarrassing statement. Blushing and apologetic thanks was my response.


That’s the problem with this sort of situation; I don’t know how to respond. I laugh about it self-deprecatingly because that’s just me. The attention gets to be too much for me to handle, and I wish we could move on to something or someone else.

Scrutiny is not my drug of choice.

Kool Kharacter Kafe

[Channelling Karan Johar for that title, clearly.]

There is this Irani cafe in King’s Circle, which is about hop skip and jump away from home. It is a famous one, called Koolar Cafe, and has featured in several Bollywood movies. [It was even in Sense8, the Netflix series I LOVED, as Kala’s father’s “restaurant”.] It is famous, is what I am saying.

The place has, um, character. It is the very definition of eclectic, with tacky movie posters, hung alongside motivational posters, and the odd plasticky chandelier, hanging above gorgeous vintage wooden cafe furniture. It is a sight to behold, no doubt, but for us it was just our neighbouring Irani cafe. And because we are in the heart of Matunga East, the only place that used to serve non-vegetarian food for the longest time.

Koolar Cafe is a great place to meet up for an omelette, pav, and coffee. [The coffee is all kinds of disgusting, but it sort of goes with the experience.] And since the place is clearly a rejected Alice in Wonderland set, it stands to reason that the owner is missing several screws himself.

I had a run in with this guy when my aunt wanted to meet up with a self-publisher. We suggested the cafe, and since it was the middle of the day, it was quiet but most of the tables were full. There was one table in the prow of the restaurant – it sort of narrows to a point at one end – which has a view of King’s Circle, and the generous pavement. It is a nice spot. The owner happened to be at the cash counter that afternoon. Hooooooboy.

First of all, dude is LOUD. Like really really REALLY loud. He shouts all his words all the time. Forget the concept of an indoor voice, this man would give Foghorn Leghorn a run for his money.

Then, you remember this is a cafe right? Cafes don’t usually [usually!] have their servers seat guests. Right? Wrong! That table, the one in the prow, requires ushering to. Not the other tables mind you; nope, just the big one. The other tables? Pshaw.

So then this human klaxon booms at us from behind the counter: “That’s my SPECIAL table! Indira Gandhi sat at that table! I expect a bill of Rs. 10,000 from you today!”

There were 5 of us. We had gone to have tea or coffee and biscuits, and to discuss a publishing contract. And this is entirely disregarding the fact that his phrasing means that he is expecting us to present him with a bill for 10k. The man is looney tunes.

Finally, we get through the meeting, and are preparing to leave. Since the single waiter hasn’t deigned to glance in our direction the whole time, let alone actually approach us, I have been placing our orders at the counter. This is how to make Rs. 10,000 off your customers, guys! Customer service at its very finest!

I try and talk to this crazy lunatic while I am there, making small talk. He used to raise German shepherds, but has since stopped. I asked him about the dogs, and he then told me he now raises birds instead. Parrots, macaws, etc. I can hear them upstairs, I say. [The man owns the whole building, and lives upstairs.] Oh those are the sick ones. The other ones are on our farm outside Mumbai. Oh ok, I say, and prepare to leave.

He then actually looks up, and sees me. Yes, all this time he wasn’t looking at me at all. I was speaking to the top of his head. And then he does a double take. And then says this:

“Oh! You have light eyes! And you’re fair! Are you Irani?”
*I shake my head, because he doesn’t give me time to respond.*
“You LOOK Irani! Not Parsi also? Very beautiful you are.”
*I try to say thank you and stem this tide, but no.*
“Are you married?”
Finally: “No, but I am engaged to be.” [I was with the ex that time.]
Arrrrrrrrreeyyyy! Such a shame! Shouldn’t get married!” *My mother comes up to me, to see what the heck is going on, and..*
Arrey mummy, don’t marry her off men.

My mother says something, which I don’t actually recall in response, but I was hell bent in getting out of there, so I tugged her away as politely as possible.

Go to Koolar Cafe for the kheema, omelette-pav, decor, old-world charm, and the absolute lunacy of the proprietor. Good luck.

Thank God It Wasn’t A Camel

A family friend is visiting from Dubai next week, and she asked me on WhatsApp what we would like her to carry with her. My immediate response was: “Nothing, thank you.” because really, everything is available in Mumbai. However, she persisted, and asked me to check with mom, and think about it for a few days.

I had asked my mother the first time she posed the question, and my mother echoed my response. The second time though:

Me: “Aunty Renu is asking what we want from Dubai.”
Mom: “Really don’t want anything.”
Me: “I know. Told her that. She’s asking us to think about it, and let her know.”
Mom: “Ok. Sheikh Mohammed then.”


Me: “WHAT?!” *burst into peals of laughter*
Mom, because she believes that the universe grants all requests: “I was kidding! God NO!”

What a cartoon.