Monday, May 29, 2006

Mumbai Monsoon.

The rains are here! Of course, they've been here for a while now, but I was tempted to write it off as one of the quirks of Bangalore weather... but the constant cloud cover, the drizzle, the chilly mornings - it can't mean anything else!

And that reminds me of another city which has a distinctive monsoon - Mumbai.

The rains in Mumbai took me by surprise, to put it mildly. It is an entirely different culture out there. Coming from a place where people take shelter at the hint of a drizzle, here I saw a city that does not stop! What is amazing is the attitude of the -

People. They walk nonchalantly in pouring rain through knee deep water. They cheerily walk into office in casual clothes, drenched to the skin, and then change into formals in the changing rooms, as if it is the most natural thing in the world. They don't put off any business, or any visits. They just treat the rain as a minor inconvenience, and go about their business, unfazed.

Another thing that amazed me is the nature of the -

Rain. Continuous. Sometimes pouring, sometimes drizzling, but raining all the time. Initially, after a day of incessant rain, I said, "God! It's been raining for 24 hours non-stop!" My colleagues rolled their eyes at me with a "You ain't seen nothin' yet" expression. Sure enough, the rains continued round-the-clock for a week! Roads were flooded, trains stopped, but Mumbai went on.

One distinctive feature of the Mumbai monsoon - the ubiquitous -

Tubs. Or buckets. Outside shops and commercial establishments. Where you dump your dripping umbrella, before going in. Very convenient. The watchman doesn't have to take the risk of offending a customer by telling him to deposit his umbrella outside. And the owner of the establishment doesn't have to endure the agony of seeing rainwater dripping over his newly polished floors. But you need to have a knack of depositing your umbrella in just the right place in the tub. If you dump it right in the middle of the tub, then it will get entangled with the other dripping umbrellas, and you will have to move heaven and earth to retrieve it in one piece. Or if you place it on the periphery of the tub, someone, in the process of looking for his dumped-in-the-middle umbrella, will displace yours, and it will land ten feet away from the tub. You have to place it just so. And yes, if you have a distinctive umbrella, and if you place it in the tub all tied and folded, you have a better chance of getting it back. In one piece.

Then of course, is the major matter of -

Shoes. After the first major rain, I tried to skirt puddles daintily, trying to protect my footwear. When I realized that daintiness doesn't really work on the streets of Mumbai, I waded through ankle-deep water, and promptly spoiled my shoes. My room-mates guided me to Andheri to buy footwear suited for the rains. I duly landed in the market, expecting to see cheap plastic monstrosities, and was stupefied to see rack upon rack of "Rainy shoes"(sic), some really elegant. I bought a cool brown pair, which served me beautifully even as .. um... non-Rainy shoes.

And then, you cannot expect to survive the rains without an -

Umbrella. I had brought a tiny three-fold umbrella with me from Bangalore, which would fit snugly into my handbag. I disregarded warnings that I would need a sturdier two-fold umbrella, claiming that mine was very strong. A week of enduring the rain and winds and the Tubs of Mumbai, my dainty turquoise umbrella was a clump of rusty spokes and muddy fabric. The next weekend saw me again in Andheri, bargaining for a hardy two-fold umbrella. I picked up a light blue one with white raindrops... that somehow made me feel like a Powerpuff girl, but which, I was sure, was pretty resilient to withstand the winds, and unique enough for a life in the Tubs. A month later, though the white raindrops had turned brown, the umbrella was intact. It even accompanied me back to Bangalore as a prized possession.

And I just cannot stop talking about the -

Sights. And the experiences. A walk down Marine Drive in the rain, biting into hot, spiced, corn on the cob. Or looking out towards Powai Lake. Or a drive on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, through Lonavala and Khandala, in the rain. One of the best experiences ever. Endless green hills and valleys with drifting cottony clouds. Black roads, dark tunnels. And the chill. My only grouse is that I had no one travelling with me to share the moment with, and I did not have a camera. Aaargh!

Of course, everything is not hunky-dory in the Mumbai monsoon. Cancelled trains, stranded passengers. Clothes take forever to dry, and attain that musty, sour smell that no perfume can mask. Grease gets on your clothes when you wade through water on the streets, and no amount of scrubbing will remove it. And if you are not too careful, the clothes in your cupboard develop fungus. And worst of all, if you are feeling lonely or if things are not going too well for you, the Mumbai monsoons have the immense ability to hurl you into the depths of depression.

But nowhere else is the monsoon an event in itself. And the way the city and it's people have adapted to this necessary evil(?) is a joy to observe. How can Mumbai possibly not endear itself to you?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Flitterwochen

Is a honeymoon necessary?

Why? To spend time together? Yes, definitely, but as some killjoys love to point out, you can spend time together sitting at home too.
Then? Is it to get away from dinner invitations from over-enthusiastic relatives? Now this one makes sense. A wedding is like a hurricane. You'd rather run away on a vacation, than display any more muscle-cramping plastic smiles or be subject to more bone-crunching handshakes.
Or is it just an excuse to take that much needed vacation? - This is the time when the boss is most accommodating, and is mostly likely to sanction that long-requested-for leave. I know at least one person who cited his honeymoon as the reason to take a vacation. If he had had his way, he would have gone without his wife - anyway, that's another story.

I have a very (in my view) compelling reason that a honeymoon is essential.

When you take a vacation with somebody, you get to see the real person*. An individual's behaviour during the sane, comfortable, predictable flow of daily activities might be in stark contrast to his attitude when he** is travelling.

Take a man on a vacation, and observe him. Even better, throw in some last minute glitches, a few obnoxious people, a couple of plans that go topsy-turvy, and a little unexpected hardship. Then stand back and watch him react. There is a high possibility that that's the real him. [Or her. Doesn't matter.]

A vacation can give you some pleasant surprises and some rude shocks. It can warm you, or warn you.

[Ever gone out on a long trip from college and come back with stronger bonds, or broken friendships? Same theory.]

I believe that a honeymoon is an indicator of your life ahead. Do I hear you say, what's the use, anyway you are already married? Maybe. But you might learn in a span of 1-2 weeks, what would have taken you probably a year or more to learn. [And even then, you don't know nothin' yet. But let me not go into that now.] And that might stand you in good stead.

Disclaimer -
*This is written in the context of a culture where the bride and groom are not too well-acquainted, or know very little of each other before the wedding. Or even in the case where they do know each other pretty well, but have met only in ordinary circumstances, and haven't spent extended periods of time together.
**I have used the generic "he/him". You can very well substitute "she/her". No difference.


Post inspired by an account of how Shastri discovered his wife's mental strength, during an eventful trip to Kemmannugundi.


Your thoughts, of course, are welcome!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The best wedding gift?

5 clocks, 6 casseroles, 10 tea-sets, 4 flasks, and 8 Ganesha wall-plates. Familiar? It is a list of just a few of those things that find their way into your hands, beautifully wrapped, in the name of wedding presents. And more often then not, the newly weds do not use it at all, but banish them to a life in the lofts of their parents' homes, unpacked, untouched, nearly forgotten. [Or, yes, recycled!]

I have been wondering whether, in India, the practice of gift-giving has come down through the ages, or whether it has been borrowed from the west. Probably it did exist to some extent. Since the young couple usually lived in a joint, extended family, there would be nothing that they would need, per se. But probably they were given gold and silver, by well-meaning relatives, as a private investment.

Later, as young men moved into cities to find work, they needed to set up independent homes in the city. Then they would definitely have needed material or monetary assistance. The man was usually the sole bread-winner, with a not-too-large salary. Half his home could be set up with the right kind of gifts. Cash would have been welcome too. Then, perhaps, a carefully chosen wedding gift was invaluable to the young couple.

In present times, usually both the bride and the groom work for a living. And in places like Bangalore, there is a high probability that both of them work in the IT industry, and they earn enough, and more. Or on the other hand, the couple has plans to settle down in the US. When such people get married, what can you possibly give them? This is the age when everybody has strong likes and dislikes. Unless you know the couple well, how can you be sure of a gift which they will like for sure? Giving them cash might be a good alternative, but what is the right amount to give them? Ok, you might say, the gift or the amount is not important, it is the thought that counts. Fine. But at what cost?

My grandparents went through this dilemma, and got really confused, especially when it came to a gift for a US-bound couple. They couldn't think of anything that the couple would have been able to use. If they had to give them cash, how much would be a good amount? What would 100 rupees mean to the newlyweds? Two dollars? Finally my grandparents started doing the best thing. They stopped giving gifts. [Unless they specifically knew what the young couple would like.] And actually, nobody really minds, or cares.

But many people still think that gifts are a necessity. So they turn up with these time-tested gifts of a clock, or a flask, or wall-hanging. And since everybody has the same bright idea, you get enough stuff to start a shop with.

Then there is the bouquet trend. Can't think of a gift? Take a fancy bouquet of flowers. "In the wedding video, it won't look like you went empty-handed". Bah! And at the end of it all, the poor flowers wilt in the dustbin.

When I was to get married, we wrestled with the thought of adding the line "No presents please" in the wedding card. But it looked very awkward. So we did not say anything. Instead, my mother talked to her close relatives and friends, and anyone else she could influence, and told them not to bother about giving me gifts. Or that she would let them know if I wanted something specific (Which I did not). Or, she told them, if you are really bent upon giving them something, give them cash.

It worked quite well. Apart from cash, we got only 4 tea-sets, 2 casseroles, 3 Ganesha wall-plates, and......well, you get the picture.

Oh yes, we did get some extremely thoughtful, personalised, and memorable gifts too. But a lot of thought, time and love had gone behind those gifts.

Then, we also received gift-vouchers. Lots of them. And we found that it was not a bad idea at all. We could buy what we wanted. S and I decided that if ever we are caught in a what-do-we-give-them dilemma, we will fall back on gift vouchers.

Those gifts in their boxes in the lofts make me cringe whenever I see them. There are a few items which I think I will be able to use sometime in the future, but I know for sure that I will not use most of them at all. What a waste of money! At these times I wish I had explicitly mentioned that I would not accept any gifts. But some people would have still insisted on giving a gift, as a token of love. So what could I have done instead?

Last week, I got a wedding invitation from Sanjay, a blogger friend I have never met. His mail contained some personal words of invitation, and then he wrote:

Please do not bring any gifts or flower bouquets.
*************************************************
IF you like - you may present the same amount as cash, which we will be happy to consolidate and transfer on your behalf to some people working for our society. There are countless NGOs doing all kinds of things. Not that I've been actively involved or done anything significant, but there are a few names I've grown to trust, for example Parikrama, (genuinely high quality education for slum children) or Samarthanam, (enabling the disabled) or a friend's mother who is working with some government schools, where all it costs for a child's schooling for ONE WHOLE YEAR is around Rs 1000! You might as well give it to them directly instead of giving it to us, we're merely a means of convenience that's all :-)

Sanjay, I am impressed. I wish I had thought of this.

[An old post on giving gifts.]

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

28

.....Give or take two, is the number of traffic signals I encounter on my way back home from office. Of course, we don't stop at all of them all the time. We stop for just a few seconds at some, and are stuck for upto 20 minutes in others. But that is Bangalore traffic for you.

And in case you are wondering, yes, I actually counted.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Of Radio stations, contests, and vouchers.

There was a time, not so long ago, when nobody listened to the radio. Television had made its addictive presence felt, and the old "Radio set" was relegated to the background. It sat there, unheard, unseen, gathering dust - until FM invaded our airspace.

Radio for me, as a kid, meant listening to the Bournvita Quiz Contest every Sunday afternoon, while having hot phulkas and dal. Apart from that, my parents listened to classical music on Akashvani regularly. Sometimes my father tuned in to Vividh Bharati. That was what radio meant to me. That is, until the resurrection.

Radio City had probably just taken root in Bangalore, When I had to go out of Bangalore for further studies. I lived in a hostel. There weren't many stations available, and the best was Vividh Bharati, which by now was available on FM. I was hooked on to it. No matter how tired I was, I would fall asleep only with the fading of the last melody on Chhayageet*.

Then I moved to Mumbai and was hit by a deluge of Radio Stations. 6, or 7 stations to choose from! [Important learning - When you are not too particular about what you want, too many options will kill you.] My FM receiver, that I bargained for and bought outside Andheri Station, went kaput in no time, and the reason, I suspect, is that I changed stations too frequently. By the time I had zeroed in upon the stations and programs I liked best, it was time to leave Mumbai.

By the time I got back to Bangalore, Radio City was omnipresent. In the cab, in the parlour, in the restaurant, in the gym, in the shopping mall, in the.. well, you get the drift. Since commuting in Bangalore usually takes very long, music is the best way to distract you from traffic. Though I would have preferred to carry my own player and listen to the music of my choice, people in the company cabs want to listen to the radio.

So, all the company cabs play the radio, and previously they were all tuned into Radio City. Only occasionally, when an annoying driver changed stations, we would be forced to listen to AIR FM Rainbow, which, while it played not-too-bad music, had boring anchoring, with sudden long silences, which made us wonder if we lost the transmission. So Radio City it was. Though there were too many ads and too much of talking, there were some likeable RJs - like Vasanti on Good Morning India, and Darius on Route 91 in the evenings. So we listened anyway, especially since the alternative wasn't too inviting. Then Darius left, and I couldn't bear the hyperactive anchoring of Sunaina who was his replacement. Just as I was reaching my wits' end, in stepped Radio Mirchi.

Mirchi's USP seems to be Kanglish. A mixture of Kannada and English, that (they probably feel) most people will identify with. To top it, it plays lots and lots of music, and there are very few ads (As of now. And I know it will change). Anyway, it lives up to its claim of "More dhak-dhak, less bak-bak". The anchoring is measured and relaxed, but enthusiastic. Just the right mix. Sometimes the Kanglish gets too contrived, the songs are repeated too often, and there are a couple of irritating fillers. But on the whole, it seems to have won over Radio City, because all the radios in the company cabs, are now by default tuned to Radio Mirchi.

A couple of days ago, I was dozing off on the cab on the way home, gliding along in that phase between wakefulness and sleep, when from far away, I heard the RJ speak of "a contest". "Who am I??" Asked the RJ, "My first name is a store that sells home appliances, and my second name is a hotel on MG Road**". From somewhere in the recesses of my misty consciousness, the name "Vivek Oberoi" floated up, dancing in my mind's eye. In an instant I was wide awake. Usually, I never participate in these contests, but this time, though the word "PJ" was ringing in my ears, I felt compelled to take out my cellphone, punch in the answer, and send it along.

After a couple of songs, the RJ came back, and she put someone on air who got the answer right, and he got two tickets to watch a movie in PVR Cinemas. Fret, fume, I thought, and promptly went back to sleep. I woke up again to the strains of "Ya Ali" from Gangster, which is my current favourite, and Radio Mirchi is considerate enough to play it for me 3 times a day. Just as it got over, I was preparing to go back to dreamland, when the RJ came back again, and said, "Congratulations Shruthi, number ending in xyz, you have won yourself body care vouchers." Whatever it means. Anyway, yay! They even called me to get my home address, so that they could send the voucher home.

Now naturally, depending on the usefulness of the voucher, I will decide whether to continue to extend my patronage to Radio Mirchi.

Naaaah. :) As long as it remains better than Radio City, Radio Mirchi it is. Until, of course, it goes to the dogs. And then? Well, time will tell!

[*Chhayageet - A half-hour program playing golden oldies, every night at 10 pm on Vividh Bharati
**Vivek's is a popular chain of home-appliances stores, and The Oberoi is on M.G.Road in Bangalore.]

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Camera matters

I got my first camera when I was ten. It was a gift from my uncle, who brought it back with him from England. I was extremely thrilled. It had a built-in flash, and auto-focus features. I loved it because it was so unlike my father's complicated, bulky Canon, which I couldn't even hold in my small hands.

I gleefully set about taking photographs with my lovely new camera. But there was an inherent limitation to the number of pictures that I could take - 36 - in one roll of film. I would have used up rolls upon rolls of films, but my father sat me down and explained to me the expenses involved in photography. The cost of the film, then the developing and printing. "It is an expensive hobby", he said. "If it had been your only pursuit, then it would have been alright. But after truckloads of books and music cassettes, your music lessons and the sports club, it will be good if you go a little easy on photography. Oh, I am not saying you should not take any photos at all! Go on, click away, but keep it under control. When you grow up and start earning, you can do what you want!"

I, a sensible and obedient (ahem) daughter, appreciated the reasoning. So I set limits for myself. Is it a short 3-day holiday? I could use up only one roll of film. Is it a week long holiday? To historical and touristy places? Ok then, two rolls. Is it a birthday party? 15 snaps at the most. A family get together? 15 or 20 photos. And so on.

Now, this limitation actually turned out to be a boon. I deliberated over each snap. I would wait for the best possible view, the best time to take the snap. I would pick and choose the best scenes, the most remarkable, memorable views and object. And then I would focus, hold my hand steady, and just move that one finger, and... click. The view was frozen for eternity.

And then the desperate wait to get back home and get the photos developed and printed, to see how the picture had turned out!

If I look back now, I marvel at my photographs. Much care and thought went into each photo. Each one was perfect. I was immensely proud of them.

Now I have a digital camera. No limit on the number of photos. No film costs, development costs, printing costs. Just click. Endlessly. And added to it, I immediately get to know how the picture has come out. Not satisfied? Click again. Auto focus. Light adjustment. Zoom capabilities. I now click with one hand. I click as many as I want to, saying, I will just pick the best. And the result? Not one of them is as good as the pictures I took with my trusty old camera.

Oh I am not blaming the poor digicam. It is a wonderful gadget. My own apathy is at fault. I know that with the digicam, I can click snaps that are far better than my simple little snaps of yore. But I don't try that hard. Because now I have nothing to lose. The enthusiasm, the need to make each picture faultlessly beautiful, does no longer exist. The agonizing, yet exciting wait to see how the snaps have come out, the anticipation of looking at the snap for the first time after it has been printed - the charm has gone.

Yeah I know, I know, all is not lost yet. :) I am glad I stopped to reflect on why my pictures don’t seem to be that good any longer. A problem acknowledged is a problem half-solved, and all that. But a part of me also wonders if I should get back to using a good non-digital camera (What's it called?). All you photography enthusiasts out there, go ahead and give me tips. ;)

[My other post on photography.]

Monday, May 08, 2006

Music has no religion.

Naushad passed away three days ago. His music was unbelievably beautiful. I will not say more, because there is no use in restating the obvious. Anyway, I was watching the reports on TV with my father, and I saw his body being taken out of his house, and I suddenly realized that the men carrying his body were Muslims. "Oh!" I said, "He is a Muslim. I hadn't realized." My father laughed, and recalled an incident that had occurred many years ago.

Back then, I had just observed that some Hindustani musicians were called Pandit, and some Ustad. I had asked my father why that is so. He had told me, "Simple, Hindu musicians are called "Pandit", and Muslim musicians are called "Ustad". See, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Dinkar Kaikini are all Hindus, and are called 'Pandit', whereas Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan are all called 'Ustad'". "Oh!", I said, "I hadn't realized that they were Muslims."

I was not thick in the head, nor was I a kid. I was old enough to know one religion from the other. Yet, this minor detail had escaped me. Just like I had not realized that Naushad was a Muslim. And why should it have crossed my mind? It is just not relevant. They are all the same to me - great musicians. Nothing else matters.

Even as my father and I recalled this incident, the reports showed a file clipping of Naushad, speaking on stage in an assembly, where, I think, he was being honoured. He was thanking everybody, and saying, "....I am very fortunate that .... Mujhpe Maa Saraswati ka Ashirwad hai.. " [I have the blessings of Goddess Saraswati]. Whaaaat??? Saraswati? Naushad? Muslim???

My father reminded me that this was nothing new - Ustad Allauddin Khan was a staunch devotee of the Sharada temple at Maihar, reportedly going so far as to refuse to move away from Maihar for medical treatment, saying that if he had to die, he would rather die close to Sharada (Another name for Saraswati). Ustad Bismillah Khan is also a devotee of Saraswati. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, among many others, sang beautiful compositions in praise of Hindu Gods. Likewise, There are many Urdu compositions which are religious or spiritual in nature, and are sung by all musicians, religion notwithstanding. And why should it matter? After all, it is just music.

No wonder it is said that Music has no Religion.

[Do check out the comments for some more heart-warming examples!]

Thursday, May 04, 2006

All about love!

Can we choose to fall in love?

A question by Chitra, and some turbulent thoughts in a friend's head, prompted me to think about this.

First of all, what is love? Nobody has succeeded in defining it. But the closest I have come to see it being defined is by M.Scott Peck in A Road Less Travelled. It might look like a self-help book, but it isn't. It is a beautiful book of concepts that will surely change your way of thinking. Of course it is not only about love, it also talks about various aspects of life, but this section stayed with me, because it answered all my questions about love.

Scott Peck says that "Falling in love" is effortless. But it is not equivalent to "loving". "Loving" requires effort. Love is a decision. Love is an action, an activity.

He says that what is commonly called love is actually cathexis. But for true love to develop, a certain amount of cathexis is necessary.

Instead of trying to explain further, I will reproduce a part of a succinct review by Laura Bryannan.

...(Scott Peck) discusses the difference between being "in love" and love. He notes that love is not a feeling, but an activity, and defines it as "the willingness to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own and another's spiritual growth." He bemoans the rampant notion of romantic love that pervades society today, which holds that one is not truly in love unless one feels those incredible "I'm in love" feelings that we all know so well. He observes, "Many, many people possessing a feeling of love and even acting in response to that feeling act in all manner of unloving and destructive ways. On the other hand, a genuinely loving individual will often take loving and constructive action toward a person he or she consciously dislikes..."

He teaches to be suspect of the familiar "in love" feeling for two reasons: 1) "The experience of falling in love is specifically a sex-linked erotic experience," which he believes may be genetically coded in us to insure the perpetuation of the species; and 2) "The experience of falling in love is invariably temporary...the feeling of ecstatic lovingness that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes."

I wonder how many relationships end, or never get started, because the partners feel genuine connection and communication together, but don't feel "in love." ....


Now to answer the question, "Can we choose to fall in love", I will take three situations:
(This is from only one perspective. Needless to say, you need two to tango.)

Situation 1
Guy is interested in girl. Girl feels undeniable attraction. But somewhere at the back of her mind, she knows that this guy is not good for her (whatever the reason is). So she can hold back. She can resist the sweeping emotions. If she is strong enough, she can step back from the flood of emotions, and not fall in love. But if the attentions and adulation of the guy is very intense and continuous, and if the girl is not very strong-willed, if she cannot swim against the currents of her own feeling, she can very easily be swept up in it and fall in love. So though she knows the guy is not good for her, she has fallen in love with him.

Here, after the first high of "having fallen in love" fades away (yes, it will), she might find that it was a grave mistake after all. Then the relationship might break down. Of course, she might even find that what she thought would be an issue, was not an issue at all, and she might have grown to love him, and in that case, all's well that ends well.

Situation 2
Guy is interested in girl. Girl does not feel any particular attraction or attachment. She likes the guy, and thinks he is a very good person, and respects him. But that's it. But she can think, "He is a good person, I am sure I will be happy with him." So she decides to love him. But she cannot "fall in love" with him. (Maybe she can, too, but I am not so sure about it). But she can grow to love him.

In this case, the girl might never experience the high of having "fallen in love", but that does not mean that she does not love the guy.

Situation 3
Guy is interested in girl. Girl is interested in guy. She has no qualms, she knows that he is the best person for her. She very easily falls in love with him.

If, during the high of having "fallen in love", she has also grown "to love" the person, then what else do you want? But I am not saying that this situation will definitely have a happy ending. She might discover things about him which she did not know, and she might realize that she cannot love him after all!

Back to the question. Can you choose to fall in love? I think that you can choose to resist "falling in love", but you might not be able to choose, or force yourself to "fall in love". But you can definitely choose "to love".

At this point, if you are brimming with questions, I strongly recommend "The Road Less Travelled".

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why don't they get it?

Scene 1.

A colleague and I enter office together. The colleague is, to put it mildly, on the plumper side. She says, "How is it that you do not diet but still manage to keep your weight down? I just cannot understand. You are so fortunate. Me, I diet so much, nothing happens, it must be the body structure... whatever, you are so lucky..." We reach the foyer, we separate, I take the stairs, and she takes the lift to her first floor office.

Scene 2.

Me chatting online with a friend. She says, "You have read so many books! How do you get the time to read so much? Some people have all the luck. I just cannot find the time to read even one book in a month. Oh I am so busy, so much work... must be a luxury to be able to read so much.......... Ohhh its almost 8... will signout now... Don't want to miss my serials... four of them.. back to back."

Why don't they get it?

[Familiar? :) Do you have other incidents like this to relate?]
- -