Monday, January 30, 2006

I've started so you finish - Update 3

Rubic Cube

Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. She owed it all to the small success that she achieved when she blasted the shop owner for selling such cheap stuff, those that would come apart after the first use. The Rs. 15 lipstick had damaged her school ID card in her small kitty purse. The shop owner gave her goods worth Rs. 100 to keep her from damaging his reputation. 13 years later, Sandhu is enjoying a year's worth of free calls on her cellphone network after threatening to sue the telecom company for potential breach of privacy - all that the customer service representative asked her to confirm her birthdate. Last year, she won a $500 shopping card from Walmart after she exaggerated the amount of emotional turmoil that she had to undergo when they stopped stocking her favourite Chapstick. Her neighbourhood dealers are joining hands to get an indemnity bond signed from her in their favour. Rumour has it that she is planning to move court against them. On what grounds? Racism. Knowing Sandhu, I know she would have her way. Infact, Sandhu may even strike a deal with them if they want to continue their business in this area. She claimed to know the Senator well enough to put them out of the business in the tristate area. Afterall, one would not want to lose millions of dollars in business for the sake of a few coupons worth 1000s of dollars. Would they? Sandhu would leverage that in her favor. I know! Ah, the economic power of exaggeration! Hmmm...


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. But she had the talent to keep quiet about certain things too. She never exaggerated let alone tell the truth about so many things that were actually happening in her life. She was afraid that the truth might sound like an exaggeration. And she didn't want to be called a liar. That was more important.


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. To begin with, she decided to spell the word with eight Gs.


She was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. Life became so much fun when exaggerated. All her friends were the best in the world, her school, neighborhood kids, her sister, her relatives, her house, everything was best in the world. All places she traveled were the best places in the world, all the things she got were the best in the world. Soon her college was the best in the world, so was her boyfriend and then husband, two kids best in the world, even her in-laws were best in the world. She is now 45 getting her elder daughter married, of course to the best son-in-law in the world. Yeah, life is really good with exaggeration.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I've started so you finish - Update 2

Karthik Ram

Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. Exaggeration, in the words of her know-it-all friend and exaggeration-guru, a certain Ram, is embellishment of truth. The 'great' divide, a thin line between lying and exaggeration until that moment had remained elusive to her puny self. "Amma! I got the first mark in English", when there were at least ten students ahead of her was lying. And that is something she should never utter. In addition to the beatings/scoldings (depending on Appa's mood) there was always God's punishment to be afraid of. Her grandmother had told her many tales where Gods swooped down to earth in their winged vaahanas and blinded one with sharp instruments whenever they lied to their parents. I wonder why it took her all of 13 years to understand the difference between lying and exaggerating.


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. Her eyes openedup to a whole new world infront of her. The chirping birds were telling thestories of the land they have flown over. The rainbow was the mastery of theunknown creator. Wind was now the carrierers of fragrance from the otherpart of the earth. Rain was the tears of the ultimate mother. She had forgotten her last 12 years in darkness as a nightmare.


She was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. Life became so much fun when exaggerated. All her friends were the best in the world, her school, neighborhood kids, her sister, her relatives, her house, everything was best in the world. All places she traveled were the best places in the world, all the things she got were the best in the world. Soon her college was the best in the world, so was her boyfriend and then husband, two kids best in the world, even her in-laws were best in the world. She is now 45 getting her elder daughter married, of course to the best son-in-law in the world. Yeah, life is really good with exaggeration.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I've started so you finish - Update


'Sandhu, come here' her mom shouted at the top of her voice. Sandhya's mom was very hard working. They were only two in their family. She did not know where her father lived. Her mom worked as a house maid in the nearby colony. Sandhya was sent to a convent. Her mom wanted Sandhya to be well educated. Sandhya said to her friends that her father lived abroad and her mom was a manager in a bank. She would demand for pocket money from her mother everyday just to get chocolates for her friends to make them understand that she was rich. She made sure her mom got a new pen every month. She would proudly say to her friends that her mom got her a pen just like that. She was 13 when she loved the joys of exaggeration. She never had interest in education and so quit her studies after her 12th grade. She is married now with 2 kids (twins) and a paralyzed husband and her mother still works for her and she now knows what it means to be a mother and to have a kid at the age of thirteen. Not one but two.

Karthik. M

Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. She figured out that this was an easy way to become popular and most talked about in her little gang. So she started telling tall tales about how her family was rich and wealthy, how she always topped the exams with minimal of efforts, how all the boys in the neighborhood always winked when she walked by... As time flied by, Sandhu graduated and started searching for a job. As she was not the most technically gifted person, she faced rejection wherever she went.. That was when her friend Karthik suggested about auditioning for Television news reporter vacancies. The moment Sandhu walked into the world of 24/7 news reporting, she realized that this was what she was made for. All her exaggeration skills could be utilized to the full in this job. It was a match made in heaven !!

New Delhi

The XYZ party had major internal bickering and the “Y” faction has broken away from the party. It is widely rumored that one of the reasons for the party split is the ‘sensational’ reporting of the differences in the last annual meeting by particular news channel headed by chief reporter “Sandhu”.


"Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. Though she went overboard at times her peers never saw through her tall tales and the adults excused her for her age. There were times when she had spotted UFOs and other times when she had sat next to the pilot during a flight!!! This kept going on until, she was 18, when things started getting serious - this time it was a stalker. He was a tall, handsome guy who followed her everywhere - sometimes she even heard him talking through her bedroom window......Her parents were not sure whether this was one of her tales or it was real - for none other than her had seen her stalker....They decided it was time to tell Sandhu to stop spinning tales since she had gone too far this time. But since she kept insisting they decided to bring her to me"

- Dr. Dhivyaa MD [Psychiatry]

Case report for Sandhvika [24], diagnosed Schizophrenic, presently undergoing treatment at National Institute for Mental Health.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I've started so you finish


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration.
“Ma, did you know Sujit, who always scored the highest marks? He was crying in class today because he has no friends.”
“Really?” said the mother, I thought I saw him playing cricket this afternoon. “No ma, that was after he cried. To make him happy the class played with him.”
“Ma, when can I start to wear a bra? I know Reena is wearing one, and half the class, ma, all the girls. They said their mothers gift-wrapped it for them because it was their first one.”
“Concentrate on your homework Sandhu, you have three subjects to finish before you go to bed tonight.”
The next day she told her wide-eyed classmates about her cousin’s home. “Did you know they have four servants for each member of the family? One to cook, one to clean, and the other two to just make sure everything is in order around the room. My cousin told me secretly that one also does all the class homework for her!” Her father must be rich then, replied one of the girls. “Oh yes! He gets comics and all her clothes, even her new bra from Dubai!” she whispered. The girls giggled. “Take us to her home,” said one of them. Sandhu brought her hand to her mouth and shook her head. “No no, not me. and what will we do in that big house? With so many rooms and such a biiiig garden behind their home…did I tell you about the snake I saw in her garden the other day!? Thiiiis big,” she showed, stretching her arms wide as far as they could go. “The rich have really no peace of mind you know.”


Sandhu was thirteen when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. She was
amazed at how the days span past, time seemed slick and thin when she had
something to occupy her mind. She whiled away her least favourite classes
plotting out what she would say to her friends. Carefully, almost lovingly
she worded these half-truths. To her, they were not lies. To her they were
not even tales....but threads reeling off the loosely-spun sweater sleeve
that was her child's sparkling mind. If you had looked closely, things
glittered when she opened her mouth.But her eagerness to embellish did not impress her family or peers. They mistook it for a need to impress. They mistook it for dishonesty.

Sandhu was twenty-five when she discovered some things are better without
the spin.


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. "12 and a half, actually", she would say, if you asked her. "It was in June, just after school had started, and my birthday is in December". The discovery had nothing to do with a worn-out copy of the 'Hitchhkers guide to the galaxy'. lying forlonly in the almirah in her bedroom- atleast definitely not with the intricate Vogon poetry contained in it- ,nor was it related in any possible way to her new-found love for Visu's movies. It happened one afternoon - "in June", she reminds - just like that, while she was sitting on the floor beside the bed with a cup of tea, still in her school uniform, and her mother had tossed away the latest 'Ananda vikatan' contentedly and turned to her with: "So what did they teach you in the English class today?".
"Adventures of rapunzel", blurted Sandhu.
"Rapunzel is a small girl ma, only the size of my thumb. Nobody can even see her."
"Yes ma. Today we read only one story. Rapunzel wanders into a forest one day. There is a big lion in that forest ma..."
The next day, Sandhu's mother received a note from the English teacher informing her that Sandhu, along with several other girls, had been absent from 'yesterdays class'.
"Ah, The joys of exaggeration! Who cares about the beating!"


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. Like when
she got her grandpa to escort her to and from school because "there
was a strange, bearded man trailing her". In truth, she just enjoyed
being chaperoned. Over time, she became bolder, and started lying
outrageously. Like the time when she made a lot of friends in college
talking about a week long vacation in Europe, when in reality she had
just gone to visit some distant relatives in rural Punjab. After
graduation, she inflated her academic achievements to get into a
top-notch consulting firm in California. Recently, she filed a false
sexual harassment lawsuit against a colleague. Wanting to avoid
unwanted publicity, her company paid her a half a million dollars and
let her go. Last I heard, she was back in India, telling people how
she won the California State Lottery. In a way, she did, I guess.


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. She got more friends in school, her parents gave her more attention and for once she got more listeners than her sister did. She was thrilled to be popular. Her trip to her native village during the summer holidays became a trip to Kerala when she told about it in school. Her consolation prize in essay competition at school became first prize with an Eagle diary (stolen from Dads cup board!) at home. She got a new cousin who sent her chocolates from America and a pen (boy) friend from Australia. Strange but true, she started believing what she said and the imaginary world she was creating to gain attention was very soon becoming her real world. It was hard to keep up with the lies and she spent lot of time thinking about new ones and not to get caught with the old ones. Sometimes she wondered if people knew what she was doing and were just playing along to keep her happy. The thought made her sad. But there was no stopping her. Nothing yet!


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. So after a whole 60 years of it, on an extremely ordinary day, which began like just any other day, with that cup of hot coffee in the morning with newspaper on her lap, bang, she decided to be bored of exaggeration and also decided to play it soft for the rest of her life. And so, an hour after dinner that evening, when she had this acute shooting pain all along her arms, she gently mentioned it to her daughter-in-law. Her daughter-in-law having given to her pains and illnesses, more than half her time, bang, decided at that very moment to not take it upon her anymore and proceeded with ignoring her acute shooting pain in the arm and what's more, she made a limerick of it all and sang it sweetly to her little baby son and put him to sleep.
It's always paining and hurting and killing and drilling
A scratch is always a mountain of a molehill
It's never a nothing or even a trifle thing
Now it's an acute pain all along her arm,
But a little itch, I bet, is all that it is!

So when they awoke the next morning, it was no ordinary day, Sandhu was dead of a massive heart attack and her grandson had had a very sound sleep and the daughter in law, she took upon herself to be blamed for ignoring it all and wailed aloud and we heard Sandhu's son telling her.... 'Oh stop exaggeratting, will you?'


Sindhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. She had fallen down from her cycle, her ego more bruised than body. She came home, told her Mom, and walked in to search for a BandAid just as her Mom was screaming into the phone " Come home now! The kid's HURT! There has been an accident!"

Mom smiled at her. It would their little secret. And it worked very well too : father came home early, and they went out for an early dinner followed by a movie. ("Just to get her mind off the hurt").

That started it all. "I have to have this cycle or I'll die…" . " Oh, my teacher loves me So, I am the most brilliant student!" One inflated line after the other, over the years. Till one day "It's either him or I walk out".

"Oh, we had the most brilliant day! We went out for dinner and I wore the dress he bought me and we had the bestest time ever!" , she enthused over the phone. The parents suitably pleased, she placed the phone back. On the other side of the bed, he lay snoring in a drunken stupor. They had gone a meal in the nearby restaurant, where each had tried to fill the yawning emptiness inside : she with too much food, he with too much drink.

She had learnt the joys of exaggeration at 13. And lived to regret it

Anon 2

She came back and started cleaning and tidying. She did the dishes and began scrubbing the tiny kitchen clean. The harsh bite of the brush as it abraded the already clean sink soothed her soul. She felt the accumulated debris of the day wash away with the waves of tiredness that came in increasing magnitude. Till it was time to go and crash into a dreamless sleep.

Sindhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggertion. It had been a old dusty volume of some magazine her father subscribed to, where she had read the line " Work is the anodyne to pain". And realized that it was meant for her. Through the pain of losing parents, through the pain of fending for herself in assorted relatives' houses as unwanted maidservant. Through the years of struggle to study, find a job.

She had relaxed when she had married. Just long enough for the luxury of being able to think, to dream, sink in and become an addiction. Till it all tumbled down in one fell swoop : his flight; the discovery of the missing funds, the affair with the woman he had run away with.

Never again, she vowed. Pain continually knocked at her mind. Occupy it every instant. The body was the only sacrifice that could protect her. And it was cheap at the price. Exaggertion. A term she had coined for exaggerated exertion. Prozac for the soul.


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration.

PS: Actually she was only 10.


Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration. The rest, as she would say, is world history.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

How about this?

If I gave you an opening line, would you give me the rest of the story? Let's see how this goes. The story begins with the line 'Sandhu was 13 when she discovered the joys of exaggeration.' See if you can spin the rest of the story in about 200-300 words. More if you need it. Send it to ammania@
Will post the stories next week. Ta!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A quick tale 106


She sits slumped in front of her telly, this woman whose name I forget, wondering why she has never won a prize. She casts her mind back to all the lottery and raffle tickets she has ever bought, all the coupons ever filled out and all the scratch cards ever scraped. And yet, she thinks to herself, the results have always been the same. Nothing. Better luck next time. Sorry. She sighs audibly, picks up the remote control and flips channels. Perhaps, it has something to do with my zodiac. May be it’s the star I was born under. Does one have to have a lucky mole or something? she wonders. Even Tracy next door told me that she won a fridge in a lucky draw. How come my name never gets drawn? she asks herself.

She changes channel once again. And lands on a show that is giving away a brand new car as a prize. To win, viewers need to call and answer a very simple question. She picks up the phone, dials the number and answers ‘America’ into the recording machine. She leaves her details and hangs up. She knows it’s the wrong answer. But what difference would it make?

Some days later, she sees Tracy driving a new car. She doesn’t want to know how she got it.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A quick tale 105

Yesterday, around tea time

A woman is reading a newspaper in a cafe. She has just come across a news item which claims that studies have revealed that 53% of all married men have thought about infidelity at some point in their marriage. Why, the woman realises with a start, that's nearly every other married man! Which means, she considers, it could be this man here, that one there and this chubby old man sitting across the room from me and staring at my boobs lustfully.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A quick tale 104

Coffee with strangers

She has gone out for coffee with some people she does not know very well. Talk turns to a popular author and his works. She has never heard of him nor read any of his books. They evidently love him and are analysing his style, content and the multiple layers his books work on.
One of them turns to her and wonders what she thinks of the author. She loves him, of course! However, she was a little flummoxed by the way his last book ended. Most unsatisfactory, she felt. They all nod in agreement. She looks at her watch and suddenly remembers that she has an appointment to keep. Will they excuse her please? She’s terribly sorry she can’t stay and continue with the discussion. Why, of course! She has their numbers and will definitely call. And then, she slips out hurriedly. If you saw her leaving, you'd think she really had an appointment to keep.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A quick tale 103

Nostalgia need not be exciting

It occurs to you like a bolt of lightning. You wish to call your sister and share the news with her straightaway. But she lives in a different country and it's an unsocial hour right now where she lives. Still, you quickly finish your shower, hastily get dressed, run down to the phone and dial the 15 digits that make up her telephone number.
'Hello...'' goes the other end.
"Hi, it's me. Do you remember this tune?', you ask, humming the melody that has been making its round in your head all night.
You hum some more. 'Remember?'
You repeat the hum. 'Now?'
'Yeah', she says finally, 'it's the opening music from that old radio show, no? What about it?'
'Nothing. I just wanted to see if you remembered it', you say slightly annoyed that she isn't half as excited as you were when you remembered an old tune from your childhood.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Guest Blog from Chinna Ammani

It's awards time and after extensive consultation with the industry experts, beloved Chinna Ammani and her jury of one (including herself) has come up with the first ever blog awards for the Tamil TV industry. A word of caution, if you don't watch Tamil TV, skip this one. But if you do, behold! Here come the Ammies!!

Best actors: Vijai Aadiraj and Chetan for their excessive over acting.

Best actresses: Devayani, Suganya and the Sati Savithris of Indiya Tollaikaatchi

Best dressed award:
1. All the வில்லிs with a thilagam as tall as LIC (not Narasimhan, the building) and ஜகஜக பட்டுப் புடவை walking down in பயங்கர வெயில் in their பங்களா lawn (only lawn because shooting INSIDE பங்களா is expensive, you see)
2. All lawyers perpetually in black coats and white collars. Even while at home. Even if you woke them up at midnight!

Best நானும் இருக்கேன், நானும் இருக்கேன் industry-இல் award : LIC Narasimhan

Best dialogue - jointly awarded to "சிறுக்க்க்க்க்க்க்க்க்க்க்க்க்க்கீஈஈஇ..." and "Keep trying, keep on trying.. better luck next time too" (from Pepsi Ungal Choice).

Please note : The opening lines of all DD dramas "பார்வதீ,பார்வதி...
(கௌசல்யா சுப்ரஜா ராம பூர்வா playing in the background)
நம்ம பொண்ணு சீதாவ இன்னிக்கு சாயங்காலம் பொண்ணு பாக்க வர்றாங்க..."
came close but took voluntary retirement this year since this dialogue has been winning for years now.

Best signoff line(s): SUNTV Top 10 : for its innovative சம்பந்தா சம்பந்தமில்லாத "மஜா-கூஜா","கஜினி-காலி நீ", "சந்திரமுகி-சந்திரமண்டலம்","mumbai express - late arrival"

Best dubbing artiste - Jeya Geetha for not making a single attempt in changing her tone and thus maintaining the same voice for Kowsalya, Deivayani , Metti Oli Gayathri and others...with the same dialogue "வாழ்க்கைங்கிற சக்கரத்துக்கு மனைவி ஒரு அச்சாணி மாதிரி" in all serials.

Jeya geetha's aunt Anuradha (who dubs for Khushboo) came very close but her engleees language (like the tamizhised "veee vill go to the meetings tomaaroow") was tooo good that we couldn't categorize it under tamizh awards

Best art direction - jointly awarded to DD drama Props team for having cane sofa sets in mythological dramas and National award winner Thotta Tharani for using the same house, same office , same file, same flover vaas, same poo , same scenery foto frame for all AVM serials.

Best (continuing) life time irritation - all of K. Balachander's heroines who wink or widen their eyes in innocence or oodufy a stray strand of hair from their forehead. It's supposed to endear them to us but ஆனால் உவவே.....

Best cookery show - SAAPIDA VAANGA - for presenter Vasanth's (of Vasanth & Co) killer opening line "வாங்கம்மா முளகா பஜ்ஜி...வாங்கம்மா உருளைக்கிழங்கு பாயிஸம்..."

Best life time achievement - Kalthoon Tilakji and Shanmugasundaram (for their continuous and sincere efforts in imitating Sivaji Ganesan in their dialaak delivery , baadi language etc)

Best re-re-re-runner : All of Vijay TV's films / serials/ shows which enjoy a silver jubilee run on Vijay TV alone

Best imitator : Maggaalakshmi on Jaya tv's live request show trying to do a Pepsi Uma by saying things like"உங்களுக்கு ரெண்டு வயசுல குழந்தை இருக்கா? ச்சோஓஓஓஒ ச்ச்ச்ச்ச்வீட்...அப்ப்றம் Sunday எல்லாம் எப்படி போயிண்டிருக்கு?"


Best loyalty award : Kavithalaya Krishnan - 25 years of குண்டு சட்டியில் குதிர ஓட்டfying

Best name : 'Telephone Mani' , 'Typist Gopu' ,'Vellai Subbaiya' and 'Karuppu Subaiya' were among the several nominees but none came close to KALAIMAMANI PASI SATHYA - she not just added her debut film before her name but also the coveted (!) Kalaimamani award before that. We've (by 'we' I mean I) learnt from reliable sources that Omakucchi Narasimhan has made his umpteenth trip to Poes Garden, lobbying for the prestigious award but has returned disappointed

Chinnathirai Chitra award : Runner up is Revathy Sankaran who sings at the drop of a tumbler on her cookery show with சம்பந்தா சம்பந்தமில்லாத lines like "ஹே பொண்ணே பல்லாங்குழி ஆட வாரியா?"

But the clear winner as voted by the puliya mara panchayat was Paravai Munimma. She sings even while boiling water. Here's a sample from her cookery show.

தண்ணி தளைக்கயில
துளசி-இலய போட்டேனே
ஆறிப் போன தண்ணீர
அம்புட்டும் குடிச்ச ஆச மச்சான்

Needless to say, we're (by 'we', I mean I) still reeling under the attack!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A contest

This could be fun. Play the audio clip below and try to identify the tamil song my son's singing. It's a recent hit song and if you listen closely, you'll hear me mention it at the start of the clip. Go on, give it a go.

this is an audio post - click to play

That Michael Jackson-like 'oww!' after the first line is his own improvisation. Okay, I may have had a hand in that. But full credit for teaching him the song goes to someone else. You know who you are. Thanks-di!

Monday, January 02, 2006

A quick tale 102

A real story

You see him at a distance. Running to catch the bus that you're sitting in and peering out of. His strides are long and he is holding up his hand to signal to the driver to wait for him. The bus driver hasn't noticed him and gets ready to move out of the bus stop. He checks his rear view mirror and then his side mirror and gently slides into first gear. The noise reminds you of a singer clearing his throat before launching into a song. But this is no time for ornamental similies. You look out at the buscatcher again. He has picked up speed and is hurtling towards the bus. At this rate, you estimate, he should be able to make it. But just about.

The driver is now checking the road to see if he can pull out. A car is blocking his path. This should give the runner precious seconds he so badly needs, you think. C'mon lad, you mentally cheer, you can do it! There's not far to go! The runner puts in all his effort for one final burst. You pray to the Gods, invoking their powers to impel him towards his destination. But the bus has started moving now leaving its wannabe passenger behind. Stop, you want to cry, there's a man who wants to board the bus. Instead you sit glued to the seat with guilt, staring at your feet. The bus has now picked up speed and is well on its course. You lift your head and look out of the window. You see him at the bus stop, bent down, hands resting on knees and panting heavily. He looks up and smiles at you. It wasn't my fault, you try to tell him. It's alright, he seems to say, I didn't want to get on the bus anyway.