Cabbages And Kings

Some authors have an insidious effect on the reader – the reader’s thinking patterns change, at least for a while. Here is a very short story. the author has been clearly dazed by The Alchemist. Or maybe Jack Welch. 

“Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” – Paulo Coelho (Brida)

“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves.”-Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
“My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.”- Jack Welch

Cats, Dogs, and Bacteria

A software engineer working in a product company was chatting with his son on what the son wants to do after growing up.
“If you are a cat, you can become a consultant. If you are a dog, you can work in a services company.”
Son: “but I want to be like you Daddy, and work in a product company.”
Engineer: “Oh, to work in a product company, you must be a bacterium.”
The engineers wife, listening to this conversation, was getting annoyed.
“What nonsense are you putting into his head now?”
Engineer: “I attended a talk by a great man who told us that we were bacteria. And it must be true, because all the engineers laughed and clapped and greatly appreciated the point.”
Wife: “And who is this great man?”
engineer: He calls himself a gardener.”
“Huh, a gardener.” said his wife. “What do you think a gardener thinks about all day long? He is naturally concerned with small animals, insects, and soil bacteria– what else would one expect from a gardener?”
She paused, and then said thoughtfully, “In fact, I believe he paid you a compliment — he didn’t say you were manure. My grandfather was a gardener you know, and he used to talk manure all the time.” she said, and walked away.
Strangely, the engineer’s heart no longer felt heavy. He was cheerful again.
He went out to play cricket with his son.
“Don’t worry about what you will do when you grow up, son, even if you turn out to be a monkey there will be jobs in several cities for you.”
“Which cities, daddy?”
“Pune and Chennai, most certainly”, said the engineer, “just tell them that monkeys are naturally good at climbing trees.”
“Now mind the ball” he warned, as he bowled a good length to his son.
The son was clean bowled on the first ball.
— by E. Vexedococcus

Monkey’s Tail

Try telling the following address by telephone:

The English convention of using “at” or “at sign” for describing “@” is so lame. Other languages have done better. Here are some excerpts from

Czech (Czech Republic):  Závinaˆc, which means a herring wrapped around a pickle.

Danish:  Snabel-a, “elephant’s trunk.”

Dutch: Apestaartje, “little monkey’s tail,” though sometimes Apeklootje, a rude word for another part of the monkey’s anatomy.

Hungarian:  Kukac, “worm or maggot.”

Italian:  Chiocciola, “snail.”

Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan):  Xiao Lao Shu, “little mouse,”or Lao Shu Hao, “mouse sign.”

Russian:  Sobachka, “doggie.”
Thai: Ai tua yiukyiu, “wiggling worm.”

Let’s be creative and come up with a good name for “@” in Hindi and other Indian Languages. How about:

Hindi: Jalebi (a sweet) [picture of a jalebi]

And why stop at “@”? All the other punctuation signs are just waiting to be described graphically.


Crack’d Pindi Walking

A nice black shivaling lay just outside the door of my neighbor Atul’s 4th floor apartment. As I walked past his door on my way to the office one morning, I couldn’t help noticing the two-inch tall shivaling right next to the ten-inch garbage pail.

black shivaling

black shivaling

“Odd,” I thought to myself, “they seem to have thrown away a perfectly good pindi”, and then continued down the stairs to my car (a shivaling is also called a pindi).

Next morning, the shivaling was no longer there, although the garbage pail was, as usual. The garbage man must have taken the shivalinga away yesterday. I continued down the stairs. But just one floor below, there was the black shivalinga, placed on a ledge in the stairwell. I looked carefully at it. It looked quite sound, and clean, and I had a fleeting thought of rescuing it. But perhaps somebody had placed it there, to take it away later. So I continued my descent.

On the third day, the shivalinga was still there on the ledge, but a big piece had fallen off from the tip.

“Aha,” I said to myself, “It was broken, and that’s why they put it out. But I wonder what it’s doing on the ledge”.

A few days later, the shivalinga was gone from the ledge too. I walked down the stairs and reached the parking lot. Strangely enough, now it was by the wall, next to my car. The shivalinga seemed to be following me. I remembered the horror story about a set of bloody footprints following the victim, coming closer day by day, and a little shiver ran down my spine. After a few days, the bloody footprints were trailing the guy by just one step. Next morning, the victim was found dead.

“What is going on here with this pindi?” I wondered. “I better get to the bottom of this on the weekend,” I promised myself.

Well, it turns out to have been an interesting case of a collision of ‘sanskar’ (mores, upbringing, tradition) with modern living.

The shivalinga used to be kept in Atul’s pooja room. A few days back, when washing it, it slipped from Atul’s wife’s hands and a piece got chipped off. Although she stuck the piece back on, she was in a quandary – one is not supposed to keep a broken idol at home. At the same time, it cannot just be thrown away in the garbage – it has to be immersed in a river with the proper incantations. And that is precisely where the situation collided with modern living. They did not have the religious training to dispose off the idol in the proper way, neither did they want to go to the trouble of calling in a priest to do the immersion. So they put it out, hoping somebody else would take care of it. Unfortunately, the garbage boy was too religious to dump it in the garbage too. So he just moved it to the ledge on the lower floor. Next, Atul noticed the pindi wasn’t going away peacefully, so he put it in the parking lot, hoping that somebody would then take it away. And that is how the pindi appeared to have ‘walked’ down all the way from fourth floor to my car.

Zach the Cat

Take a look at this story about Zach the Cat who suddenly stopped using the litter box. They tried half a dozen remedies all at the same time, and the problem was fixed, but they don’t know what really worked. The author makes an analogy to how businesses try to solve problems.

The comments posted by readers are amusing.

I am surprised no MBA chipped in with “fire Zach and get a temp”.

A Divine (Bovine) Koan

A disciple asked roshi Joshi, “And, does a cow have Buddha-nature?”

The roshi simply said, “Moo!”.