Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Writing is so much like going to the gym or cooking. You do it enough number of times and you get better at it. You get better at it and you have sufficient incentive of being disciplined about pursuing it. We call it a positive feedback loop. And then sometimes you fly off the loop, something like getting off a treadmill still running, and it becomes so very difficult to get back to routine again.

There was a time when every little thing I found interesting ended up in my blog space. These days, I see things and make a mental note to write about it. And then I do not do it, immerse in guilt, and soon figure out that it is too late to do it. It is interesting how so many of my posts these days are these guilt laden rants about how horrible I feel not writing regularly.

But then, my laptop conked out a few weeks ago, and I figured out that blogging in office is not feasible. I waited for weekends to write something, but weekends would fly by and there I would be left feeling even more guilty. Nevertheless, an honest retry never hurts, right?

So here as I sit and type, cutting down on my sleep hours and running the risk of missing that 6:30 am bus to office the following morning, I want to make peace with myself, and not feel guilty about not dedicating enough time to that one hobby I have pursued the longest so far- writing. In the meantime, the car hunt still continues. Car hunting has put so many ideas in my head, I must document them somewhere. Sometime, I promise.

Anyway, time to shut that bedside lamp off- good night.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Chamat-car (A Miraculous Transaction Story)

The economy is making people do crazy things. Or so I think. Simple things are no longer kept simple. Lets say I want to buy a car. Or maybe a home. Not buy a home but maybe rent an apartment. I go look up the web for advertisements on people selling their cars or homes. After spending umpteen number of hours, I finally shortlist a few I like. Something that goes with what I want and is also compatible with the price I want to pay for. Sometimes I stumble upon something I really like. So I email the person or leave a message. Expectations are building. I really like the color of the car and would love to own it. The apartment seems bright and sunny and I would love to go take a look. I wait for a reply expectantly.

Almost always, I get back a reply like this. It seems the owner would love to make business with me. But work, poor economoy, or a harrassing wife has taken him away from me. He was living in Seattle even last week, but now, he lives in some Godforesaken place in Europe, Kenya, even Timbuktu. But is this not to deter me. It seems my dear friend still has an internet connection, and is eager to make business with me. So he starts with a description of the car or apartment, with newer features added to tempt me. He promises things like “doesn’t need maintenance”, “is all insurance covered” or “will not be damaged even if you beat it up against a mountain”. He then shares his personal sad story, about how his wife left him or his boss fired him, or his wife left him for his boss and the boss also fired him, that brings him to Timbuktu now.

However, much to my good fortune, he is willing to work things out. So he has hired this external company, usually eBay, who will be handling the transaction henceforth. What this means is I send all the money to ebay, and he claims that ebay will send me the keys to the car or the apartment, or ship the car itself which is sitting somewhere in Idaho at the moment (why???). There is a 5 day money back guarantee. So at the end of 5 days if I decide not to keep the car or the apartment, this gentleman claims that I can send back the keys and I will get my money back. I don’t get to see the man whose car I will be driving or whose house I will be living in, I do not get to test drive the car, but things are in such a seemingly spotless conditions that it seems there is no need to test anything.

He further claims that the process is risk free. And yes, I am also supposed to reveal my name and my address. I don’t know if he wants my social security number yet. It seems everything will be handled and taken care of from there. So here is how I see it.

I am lazing around a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon, sipping my tea when I hear the doorbell. Suddenly I am reminded that 5 days ago, I had made a payment of some 5-6 grands to a person and an agency I know nothing about. I open the door to see a bright red toyota camry 2 door coupe, complete with sunroof and power controls and a V6 engine smiling at me outside. I rush to hug the car, in the process realizing that this is probably a shade darker than my favorite red. I scratch my chin for a while, finally asking ebay to refund me. In 2 days, I have my money back. In case it is my favorite red, I hop onto it, the tea cup I am holding already forgoteen, hit the gas, and am on my way on a long drive to the XYZ national park, showing off my newly acquired car.

I have one simple question. Since I already like the car and am thanking my stars for getting such a masterpiece for half of what I would have spent, who exactly I direct my “thank you” note to?