Sunday, April 22, 2012

To Laugh or To Cry ?

“Congmen condemn corruption by party leaders.”

 That was the title of the article. Navhind Times 22 April 2012.

 I was happy that the party realized this fact at last. Even if it was months after the electorate brought down the congress government in Goa. I continued to read. What was written in the paper is reproduced below. In the brackets are my words.

 We never in the past saw such rampant corruption in any congress government and our plea with our leaders to arrest corruption fell on deaf ears, said a senior congress leader.

 He said that he himself had to pay lakhs of rupees to a minister to get appointment letter (for a govt job) for a senior congress leader. (Senior congress leaders should be given appointment letters, out of turn, just because they are senior congress leaders. Asking money for the favour and keeping them at par with ordinary citizens is a crime.)

 Another office bearer said that jobs were put on auction and the highest bidder (even if he was non congress) won the job. (The ministers should have accepted lower bids from congress workers in preference to the non congress higher bid )

 The concerned ministers used to directly ask for money (they should have been indirect and discreet) even from senior party workers and no concession whatsoever was given to them (Let a minister accept money, but he should at least show the courtesy of a discount to senior party workers)

- The complaints go on in the same tone. There is a proverb in Kannada- nagabeko aLabeko gottagalla- meaning, I do not know whether to laugh or to cry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Being Stupid at 55

My sister went to the US to visit her son. Two days after reaching there she made a short call asking us to log on to ‘Skype’ for a long chat. While she was here, she would just call us from her landline or her mobile phone and talk for hours. Dollars are not as cheap as rupees and so, we have to depend on ‘Skype’ now.

I remember the days when any phone call was considered expensive and we were trying to finish all our talking with in the ‘free calls’ quota. I used to maintain a log of calls made from our P&T (now BSNL) land line and also kept an eye on the clock to note the duration of the talk in seconds. We used to write long letters and have short talks. Now we have long talks and occasionally type short messages.

So, my sister said “log on” and we logged on. My wife, who is the main speaker, was by my side. I was required to start the proceedings and hand over the mike to her.

When we operate our computer independently it works perfectly. I use it for typing letters, sending mails, posting blogs and booking railway tickets and it performs all functions without trouble. My wife calls her sister many times on ‘Skype’. They talk endlessly and also take a look at each other’s acquisitions appreciating /commenting up on, sarees, churidars, footwear, hand bags and what not. But when both of us try to do something on the computer, together, it always misfires and my wife gets fired. When we logged on to ‘Skype’ now, my sister could see us but not hear and we could hear her but not see her.

“See if you have connected the mike” my wife.

I had connected it but was not sure if I had done it right. I attached the picture of our computer here so that you understand my situation.

You see the jumble of wires running in and out of our CPU, modem, UPS, speakers so on and so forth? There is more at the back. Got what I mean? So I plucked a plug out and pushed it into another socket which accepted it. I heard my sister say “all this time I could not hear you but could lip read. Even the picture is gone now”.

“Stupid. You removed the camera plug instead of the speaker and put it elsewhere. Don’t unnecessarily meddle with things you don’t know anything about”. You are right. That was my wife complimenting me on my computer expertise.

If I took her advice I will have to give up dentistry also and I can’t afford it. (Here I would like to reproduce a quote from the French philosopher Voltaire which I saw in the book ‘Emperor of all maladies’ by Siddharth Mukherjee. A very good book about cancer written in a very much readable prose but needs an effort to read and finish. I liked it a lot - the quote I mean- and think I had mentioned it somewhere in one my posts but would like to repeat it. “doctors are people who treat diseases about which they know little, using medicines about which they know less, in human beings about whom they know nothing” I can alter it to suit my profession thus “A dentist is a person who treats teeth about which he knows little, using materials about which he knows less, in human beings about whom he knows nothing”) Sorry for the long interruption. So I ignored it (my wifes’s advice not to meddle with things I do not know about) and continued with my meddling with the connections.

I reconnected what I had disconnected and changed places of another plug which I found close at hand. A message appeared meaning something like “an internet plug is disconnected” or some such thing.

I tried bringing the plugs back into their places before my wife could put on her reading glasses and read the message and misconnected again and again with more and more disastrous results.

My wife got into a rage.

“You get out of here and allow me to do something. You don’t know what to do and do not allow others”

I had nothing more to offer and I gave up the seat. She did her own meddling and after some time the computer gave out some warnings, showed signs of collapse and the screen went blank.

My wife called my sister from her mobile at five rupees per minute and said “your brother has messed up everything. I will get the connections done after Ashwin (our son) comes home and will try to log on when your brother is in the clinic tomorrow. I will disconnect now” She managed to finish with in five rupees and stormed out.

Since I am not as big a stupid fool as to follow a hurricane, I remained seated in front of the computer and since I did not have anything to lose now, continued experimenting with it. After sometime I was fed up and so shut the computer down and started it again after a few minutes just to see what happens. It sprang back to life with all its facilities intact! I clicked on ‘Skype’, saw a flashing message which said “Reshma (my wife’s sister, also in US) on line” and clicked on her name. I heard some beeps but nothing happened. I thought that she must be busy and was about to close down as I was feeling sleepy. I yawned before shutting it down and just then saw my own face on the screen with my mouth wide open. I could even see my back teeth clearly. Our camera was on and working well! I forgot about ‘Skype’, got a bright idea of using this camera as an intraoral camera which can display the pictures of patient’s teeth on a monitor and I wanted to see how all the teeth look on screen. I kept my mouth open and holding the camera in different angles was seeing how the different teeth appear on screen when there was another beep and a message flashed on the screen.

Reshma - “I am in a meeting and all my colleagues are appreciating your teeth on my lap top”

I hurriedly took the camera away from my mouth, shut the computer down and turned to see my wife standing at my back observing my antics.

When her sister called the next morning she said “I do not know what has come over your brother in law. He is fifty five and was behaving like an immature imbecile in front of the computer, playing with the camera”

My sister in law placated her. “Let him be. No harm there. We had a good laugh at his cost. I see bigger stupids around me. At fifty five they get married for the third time here!”.