June 21, 2012
During the life span of an individual it is quite natural for one to experience a few funny, unpleasant and/or embarrassing situations and moments, and I had my share as well, in fact, I had more than the usual I should say, but in this article I am going to share with you only four of them that stand out which, I am sure, you will find funny and, perhaps, you can have a laugh at my cost as well.
I was prompted to write about these rather unpleasant stories and experiences that happened in my actual life after I read the recent article in the Daijiword by Mr Vivian Castelino entitled “What's life without humour”, which I thought was quite interesting and funny.
Story 1: The wrong telephone call that I answered!
I was newly married and busy at work one morning, when our Receptionist-cum-Telephone Operator (we had the centrally controlled telephone switch board with cords at that time) rang me up and said that I have a call from my wife. I took the telephone call and without bothering to verify the identity of the caller, I straightaway got into talking, “Hello darling, how are you sweet heart, and what makes you to ring me up and bother me, my love”, and so on, in the typical way how the conversation goes that of a newly married man to his wife, without giving the person on the phone an iota of a chance to respond.
I would have gone on like this for about half a minute or so, when abruptly I was interrupted by the lady on the phone and said “Excuse me gentleman, I think I got the wrong person – in fact I want to talk to my husband Mr. Crasto who works in the Production Department”. I got shock of my life, embarrassed and shameful I was, I meekly said sorry to the lady and asked her to hold on the line, and then informed the Receptionist that the lady on the line wants to speak to her husband Crasto and not me, Crasta. She apologized for her mistake and passed on the call to Mr. Crasto. Apparently, she had heard the name as “Crasta”and not “Crasto”.
Indeed, on that day I learnt a lesson, and then on, I would always identify the caller fully before I get into talking, and never to depend entirely upon the others, like in this particular instance, the Receptionist.
Story 2: My toddler son nearly gets me into trouble!
Life was very tough for me at that particular stage with a single income, a heavy mortgage to pay, and a young family with two toddler sons to support, the younger one was only 6 months old baby. I was always short of cash and it was indeed difficult to sustain and meet ends. It was a hand-to-mouth case and day-to-day survival, so to say.
It was the fortnightly ration collection day, and I had queued up at the local ration shop to collect my quota of rice, wheat and sugar, holding my young son in my arms, who was two and half years old. The queue was quite lengthy, and as we were approaching closer to the shop counter after quite a while, my toddler spotted the bars of Cadbury`s double decker chocolates, neatly stacked on the shelf of the ration shop.
Now, as a few readers might recall, this particular double decker chocolate was newly introduced to the market by the Cadburys sometime during 1977, when it was widely advertised on the TV as well. As you would know, children get attracted to the advertisements quickly, and in fact, they are very good at grasping such things, especially cold drinks like thumps up, coco cola, fanta, and biscuits and chocolates, and the like, and my little fellow was no exception.
My son had seen this chocolate bar on the TV a number of times earlier, and now that he saw it on the shelf, he straightaway recognized it and started pestering me that I should buy a packet or two for him. I simply told him in no uncertain terms that I could not buy the chocolates at that time because I had just enough cash to buy the rations, but told him that I would buy the same on another occasion. He would not listen to me though, and kept on bothering me for a while, but I did not relent either.
The queue had almost disappeared after a while, the ranting of my son had stopped, there were only two people ahead of us by then, when my son out of nowhere produced and quietly handed over to me a black wallet and said, ”Here is the money Dad, buy the chocolates”. I was shell shocked and speechless, and accosted him as to where did he get it from? He quietly replied that he took it out from the back pocket of the man`s pant standing in front of me in the queue. Apparently, it was projecting out from his pocket which my toddler had cleverly noticed when I had put him down for a while to ease myself from the pain of carrying him for a long time, and he had no difficulty in pinching it!.
I mildly tapped on the shoulder of the man in front and handed over his wallet to him intact and explained him the whole story and apologized profusely for the folly act and mischief of my toddler. While he was not amused or impressed by my son`s mischief, hearing my story and glancing at my toddler, however, he was so moved, that he offered to buy the chocolate bars for my son. While I thanked him for his kind offer and gesture, I told him quietly that I did have the money to buy the chocolate bars but simply did not want to buy. I did lie to him, though.
On the way back home I scolded my son that stealing or pinching someone`s property or the money like he did earlier, is a crime and is liable to be severely punished, and admonished him never to do such things again.
I learnt another great lesson from the whole saga on that day, viz. never to mention shortage of money to the children when they want something to be bought for them. I would rather tell them that the particular item was not good, or find some other excuse. Also from that day onwards I decided that I must keep a special watch on my young fellow, for, his hyper brain was working all the time.
While I do not condone for the act of my toddler in any way, a piece of advice though to the people who hang out their wallet or purse partially outside their pant pocket – do not allow your wallet to hang out, for it could be a temptation and easy prey to the pick-pockets.
In case you are wondering, I did buy the double-decker chocolate bars for my son on that day, though at the cost of forgoing half the quota of my sugar ration.
Story 3: My toddler was my saviour!
I always taught my children good manners and etiquettes right from the beginning. For instance, I taught them to say “Good morning or good evening, or please, thank you, etc., to their Uncles or Aunties, or any other elderly person, whenever they met or came across, and it paid dividends to me on one occasion, as this story will reveal.
It had become a sort of a routine for me to take my 3- year old son out in the evenings, on my newly acquired Vijay Scooter, when I returned from work. I had gone to the nearby M.G.Road(Pune), to buy some medicines on one such occasion. Now, those who have lived in Pune Cantonment area know how busy M.G.Road gets in the evenings with shoppers, full of cars and two-wheelers, and it is almost like winning a lottery to find a parking place. After taking a few trips up and down the street in search of a parking spot, while my toddler dangerously clinging on to me in the back seat (it was illegal to make the children to stand in front on the scooter), I finally gave up, and parked in a place where I was not supposed to, as I thought it would take only 5 or 10 minutes to buy the medicines, and so, I would be safe.
Indeed it took me only 7 minutes to buy the medicines and as we were returning to my scooter, I noticed that a Policeman was approaching my vehicle, and he had started taking details of the registration plate, in order to write a parking ticket. However, as we approached my vehicle and as the Policeman started talking to me about the parking infringement, my son who was closely following me , thought the stranger in the uniform was a friend of mine, and straightaway started greeting him: “Good evening uncle, how are you this evening?”. For a moment, the Policeman was so bewildered and in predicament, and he simply did not know how to respond –
to be firm up or to mellow. I, within myself, had a little chuckle at my son`s lovely gesture. The Policeman had a long look at the innocent face, and was so moved by the toddler`s good manners, he finally replied “Good evening Beta, I am fine” and then he told me that as a goodwill gesture to my son, he would let me go free on that occasion and cautioned me not to park again in such manner.
While I thanked the Policeman for his kindness, and took off on my scooter with my little fellow once again clinging on to me, my son shouted at the Policeman, “Goodbye uncle, have a nice evening”. “You too Beta”, shouted back the Policeman, without any hesitation on that occasion.
Story 4: The cricket match I wish I never played!
It was the year 1988, I had migrated to Sydney, Australia, a year ago. It was Saturday morning, the weekend, and I was in my garage vacuum cleaning my car. My next door Indian neighbour, Prakash, a young man of 30 years old who was passing by stopped over and after exchanging the usual pleasantries in the typical Aussie way, like “Good day Tony, how are you going “etc., he asked me what I was going to do for rest of the day. I replied him, not really much. In that case, Prakash told me that there was a friendly cricket match going to be played on that day at the local ground between the two Indian teams, viz. Team Maharashtra and Team Karnataka, and his Karnataka team was running short of a player, and since I belonged to the Karnataka State, he asked me to join his team, if I could. I told him that even though I had played cricket in my younger years, as a 45 year old at that stage I could not, in fact the last time I had played a cricket game was about 15 years back when I was 30. Prakash said “Don`t worry Tony, you may not have to do all that batting or bowling, and as long as you can do a little bit of fielding, it will be fine”. When almost forced by Prakash, with much hesitation and reluctance, I agreed, and off we went.
It was the 20 Overs match each side, and the Maharashtra Team batted first, piling a total score of 85 runs. It was a good score under the circumstances. In reply, Karnataka team had scored 83 runs in the 20th over at the cost of losing 9 wickets, needing 3 runs for a win from the remaining 4 balls, but only 1 wicket in hand.
I was nominated as the last batsman to play. My turn came to bat, and as I started walking to the batting crease, all boxed and padded up, I was the nervous wreck, as if a sheep was going to face the roaring lion, or it was being led to the slaughter house.
Before I took my stand to bat, I went over to the fast bowler at the other end, Bhosle, who had earlier taken 4 wickets, and asked him to be mild and show some mercy on me, as I had not played cricket for a long time. He simply said “Don`t worry Sir, I will take care of you”, though I did not believe a bit that he would. In fact, he took care of me the other way around as you will soon realize.
My other good batting partner, Rao, who had already scored 25 runs, was sadly stranded at the bowler`s end. He gave me a piece of advice as well that I simply give a nudge to the first ball I receive, and straightaway take off for a run, and leave the rest to him. I assured him that I would do my best.
The rest was history. As soon as I was ready to face my first ball, the bowler came charging and sending the ball to my end like a bullet. The rest was history. He had uprooted the middle stump in a whisker and I was out at the very first ball. Little I knew that the cunning fellow had reserved his best ball to pack me back to the pavilion with a big zero, and in the process, claiming a great victory for his team by 3 runs with 3 balls to spare.
I had never felt so embarrassed and uneasy before, and it was a long walk back to the pavilion for me holding my head down right through. I could hear a chuckle or two from my friend Prakash and a few of his team mates, as I headed to the changing room.
Later on that evening I apologized to my friend, Prakash for letting him and his team down, but he replied “Don`t worry Tony, it`s perfectly alright – at least you had a go. After all, we did not expect you to win the match for us, as it was the full team`s responsibility”.
Thankfully, Prakash moved away from my neighbourhood after a while, so I did not get reminded about this cricket match and the embarrassing episode any more.
Antony Crasta - Archives:
- Retirement Years: Uncertainty and Thoughts of Death
- Why Learning to Swim is a Must
- Attacks on Indian Students Down Under: An Analysis
- Singapore - A Traveller's Paradise
- Travelling as a Backpacker – a New Experience