Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Oh I wish….
I wish I could jump and scream whenever I want to..

I wish I could just take off on a world tour w/o thinking about work, family, responsibilities, money, company.

I wish I could collect and reflect on the thousand thoughts that seem to wrestle with each other for attention.

I wish I did not have a face that mirrors my every thought and mood.

I wish I could just sing out loudly whenever I want to and not think about the people around me.
I wish I was much more diplomatic and not blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.

I wish I could do something about the bad roads, the dirty toilets, the bribery, the pollution, and all the things that I protest about.

I wish I could do something to wipe out the look of sadness on some peoples faces that I see..

I wish I could do a million things at a time.

I wish I could be the best at whatever I do..

I wish I could smile at every problem and be brave about it.

I wish I could climb hills, fly high, wade on water, touch the moon, glide on the clouds, and do all the crazy things things I want to.

I wish I could shop for everything I can lay my hands on.

I wish I could just hug the lady that I saw on the road the other day and tell her "everything will be ok"

I wish I could open up and tell all the people I love, like and respect why I do so.

I wish I knew exactly what I wanted out of life.

I wish I did not have this horrible habit of speaking to myself aloud.

I wish I could do away with a lot of my horrible habits:)

I wish I could not think of manners and being rude and use the choicest of expletives to some people and not feel apologetic about it later..(Ok.. i dont really wish that.. but at times I do)

I wish I could remember routes and places and not get lost so easily..

I wish i could just think of some yummy dish and it would just appear in front of me to be devoured..:)

I wish I could curl under my blankets and not get up when I dont want to in the mornings..

I wish I could be all energetic in the morning and go for the morning walks on the beach which I always wanted to do but never got around doing..:(

I wish I wasnt such a scatterbrain at times and remember about all the things that though seem stupid and trivial to me, is of paramount importance to others..

I wish I didnt have to do this 'weather talk' whenever people from US/other places visit us..(why cant they think of something else to talk about to break the ice. )

I wish I never see a day where I have nothing to look forward to..

I wish I could take up all the hobbies I wanted to ..like join the yoga, glass painting, aerobics, swimming.. oh so many!

I wish my family is happy always and nothing ever bothers them..

I wish I could read all the books that I want to..

I wish there were no Mondays ;)

I wish life was simpler..

I wish I could actually write down all my wishes..

I wish.. I wish.. I wish..

Oh i wish .. Oh I wish I didnt have so many wishes to wish for,,. But what the heck.. thatz what makes life interesting.. :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I don’t know what it is about elevators that make people so conscious and uncomfortable.I’m not sure about all offices, but whenever people who don’t know each other well, are thrown together in an elevator in my office, they don’t know how to react. Sometimes it’s a hesitant Hi and then, they look everywhere except the other person in the eye. And since it is the elevator and there is not much of room for our eyes to wander, we end up looking at the fancy bulbs on the ceiling as if it is the most interesting innovations of the century.
If you have counted the bulbs and yet not reached your floor, then its time to turn the attention to the “What to do if you are stuck in an elevator” instruction sheet stuck on the wall. But again that can only be done if you are closest to the wall, otherwise you might end up looking at the person next to it and then the uneasy plastic smiles have to follow.
But the most popular hotspot is the display of the countdown.
0,1,2,3.. as the numbers slowly roll, everybody stares at it with single-minded focus, as if it was a timer on a time bomb, and one’s life is dependent on it.

Maybe it’s the confined space, and probably the knowledge that there is too little time to start a sane conversation, that makes people go completely quiet, reserved and probably wee bit uncomfortable but it is kinda funny to feel the estranged silence and the way people go out of the way to avoid eye-contact.

Hey by the way, in the course of writing this, may be I missed a small detail. I think I forgot to mention that I know the exact number of bulbs on the ceiling of the elevator in my office, I almost know by-heart what I should do if I get stuck in the elevator and I learn my numbers everyday…;-) C’mon, Lets face it..it’s a bug that bites everybody.:D

As the heavens open up, and the first drops hit the soil.. its wow”
“Oh How I love the feel of the rain on me.. I look up the sky and smile as the little drops fall on my face

“Id love to walk down the road when its raining.. and jump in the puddles and go SLUSH… SLUSH.. SLUSH..”

Yeah Rite!
Im sorry, but unfortunately I don’t share any of the sentiments above. These were some of the expressions of my friends with whom I have had arguments at many a times.
I agree that rains are very important for our basic water, agriculture, irrigation, soil erosion etc. I understand and appreciate its usefulness. I also will be the first one to second the opinion that it does make the entire scene around you picturesque.

But.. I am not exactly fond of rains. Far from it. The reasons are many and I have been accused of being totally unromantic and ridiculously pessimistic about this topic.

But honestly, I feel rain also brings about so much of discomfort especially if you are in the city. When it rains, and if you are driving, then it just means endless traffic jam, the invisible potholes that are overflowing with water and the risk of your bike stopping right in the middle of the road. [The last one holds good for people, like me, who own a scooty ;)]. If you decide not to take the risk and take a rickshaw instead, I don’t even want to begin to explain the never-ending argument you might have to have with the auto-walas who just make merry on such days. You might as well pay 150Rs for the place that you would normally pay 30 Rs, or you will be left stranded on the road as heaven unleashes it fury on you.

And tell me, how many times do you actually go “Slush Slush slush” on the puddles on the road. Really.. Do people actually do that???? (Ok.. Maybe I “am” unromantic).

How many times do you just walk out in the open and look up the sky as little drops touch your face? Its ok if it is drizzling, but when it is actually pouring, the drops that hit you are far from pleasant. It actually hurts. Take it from a person who has driven through many a rainy days.
Also the fact that I hate getting drenched is maybe another factor for my dislike of rains.

The first thing that we do when we see rains is run for cover and that is the most sensible thing to do. And when it rains, it kinda takes the energy out of you. You dont feel like going out, you don’t feel like working, you just feel like staying at home and probably sipping a hot cup of coffee. Kinda takes life outta people.

All in all, I get depressed when it rains. And itz been raining cats and dogs the past few days.:(

Happiness Is not the destination but the journey.:)
For the past few months, I have been working on a project that finally went to production a few days ago. But when it actually went to production, I was just left with this feeling of “Phew.. Its finally over.” It was’nt happiness but the feeling was mere relief. For a person like me, who gets excited about things easily, I was surprised at my own reaction.
Perhaps, by the time we reached the production date, we were totally drained. Perhaps, Subconsciously, All through the months, I had worked with that date in mind. Perhaps, When the pressure rose, I pushed myself thinking all along, “Its only a few more days.” Perhaps, I was tired of all the politics that surrounded the high profile project and was glad it was done with. Perhaps, We were tired of chasing everyday deadlines. Perhaps, itz the knowledge that even though it had gone to production, we still might have to deal with the post-production issues and there is a long way to go yet. Perhaps we have been working for so many months now, that it is but natural that we are relieved that things went ok. Perhaps as they say Its the journey that makes you more happy than the destination. Perhaps, I just need a break.. :D

Thursday, June 08, 2006


As I look into the mirror, trying to put an unruly strand of hair back to place, I stared at the girl looking back at me. Not much change in the past year.. I decided. Have lost weight..again!!(Have given up trying to put on weight.. the more I try the more thinner I get) My hairstyle has become shorter but as messy as ever.. obvious dark circles under my eyes.(Thanks to the late nights at work.. uggh!!), but otherwise not much change!! So what about the rest of my life.. I wondered…

Its nearing June 21 and as usual.. Im getting restless, uneasy and reflective. For most of my friends, completion of another year at work means one more reason to party, a reason to rejoice, and to celebrate. And I guess that’s how it should be. Why cant I just be happy, throw a party and get on with it. Or why cant I just forget the date and carry on as if there is nothing significant. Why do I have to search, dig out and revisit my resume that has remained untouched for so many days? Why do I have to think, and jog my memory to list out all the things I learnt???

The moment we say a Year has gone by. its scary.. Another year.. 365 days gone!! Have I made the most of it? There are times I wish I could just hold time.. Scream and shout " Hey Wait up.. Im not done with this moment yet"! I wish I could get a grip of life. It just seems to zip past me, unknown, too soon.. As you run through the motions of everyday routine, too busy dealing with the same monotonous chores, too carried away with everyday work, feeling important at just being busy and having something to do..it takes an unassuming Date on the calendar to give you a jolt. Its like a shock treatment where you suddenly sit and look back. Yes u have been busy.. YES its been hectic.. So what is it that you were busy with? Was it worth the time? Have u grown, learnt, understood, matured, enjoyed?

As I took stock of the year gone by.. I realized that the past year at work has been a mixed bag with days of restless activity to days filled with nothing but absolute complete monotony. Days with wonderful challenges and days where I have wondered what the hell I was doing with my life. There were some wonderful moments and some not so worthwhile ones.

Last year was the year I Moved from one project to another. Though the manager offered me better work, a hike, a promotion and an onsite trip, I realized I couldnt stick on. I was bored and did not enjoy what I was doing. So it was better to move on. Though The project I moved to, was no better in terms of Technical growth, I learnt about dealing with people. In the inital project having joined as an Intern, I was always protected. I was always the little kid. No matter how many years, i would have still remained the little girl. So to suddenly step into the new project was about survival. There were many people and here it dealt mainly with reaching out to the right people and getting help to get the job done. And thats what I have been doing for months now. This past year had been charecterized by unearthly hours at work. Coming back at insane hours, eating at insane hours ,sleeping at insane hours and working at insane hours.As usual, when its something new, you attack it with full vigour, the challenge of doing something thats diffrent from what you have done before. Its as if you are proving a point, to show that you are up to it, you can do it too. And then slowly as days creeps by, life goes by and you wonder if you proved a point after all. And at what cost????

No.. I am not unhappy with the past year. I know I have learnt. I know I have matured. But am I truly truly happy? Is this what I want to do with my life?

Hmmmm....So what is the final assessment of the year gone.. Hmm.. Technically , Though I have learnt something, I can do much much better. But otherwise, there have been some really good people I have interacted with. Some real good stuff i learnt. Im having some really good responsibilities.

So all in all.. I have gained some and lost some!!

I looked into the mirror. The strand of hair that I had carefully brushed,was back on my face.. I smiled.. As far as I can still laugh at myself.. still go to sleep without a frown on my face. As far as I can stop while climbing down the stairs.. and notice the sunset and say Wow.. As far as I can understand that Life is about these little moments and making the most of these.. I think Im good.. Maybe its best to leave some questions unanswered.. Maybe its best not to get entangled in a web of complex thoughts.. Maybe its best to treat each day on its merits. Maybe its best to keep it simple! Maybe I should throw a party after all!!!:)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The "M" Word!!

Now if you are a 20-something girl who has “finished her studies”(Oh How I hate this phrase!!) and have been working for more than a year, and are unfortunately single or “not committed”, then you are doomed! Coz this is the “phase of your life” when parents, friends of parents, aunties, uncles, uncle’s brother-in-laws’ first cousin’s wife’s auntie’s friend’s sister, any Tom Dick ‘n’ Harry take it as their moral and legal responsibility to usher you into marital bliss. Now if you are the kind of person who is waiting for the “mystery man” or the Prince Charming in a white horse (Yeah rite!) then itz wonderful. But if you are like me, who just enjoys her freedom and independence too much and is not “yet” ready to give it all up and would like to prolong her single status for a li’l more time.. then Welcome to the “I hate the “M” word.. Can u please let me be!” CLUB!!

Well.. the worst moments come when you attend the wedding of your cousin or relative.. There.. as you are all set to have some fun with family and friends, and to bless the lovely couple, in comes your aunties with a saccharine smile.. crooning..”Hmmmmm.. Soooooo... You are next.. rite? Are you all set??” (Oh..Yeah Im all set to turn and run in the opposite direction and never to come in front of you if you gimme a slight chance!!) But you cant do that.. all you can do is give an equally saccharine smile and say “C’mon aunty.. Im still a l’il girl!!” And then..Hold your breath.. the oh-so-long lecture of “There is a time and age for things.. blah blah blah..!!! (Yawn!!!!! ) And then as you finally think you have heard it all and you turn.. there comes another relative “Ohhhhhh.. Is this youuuu.. I saw you as a little girl.. Now..Hmmmm.. Sooooo… u are the next one huh??”” (O my Gawwwwwwwwwddddddddddddd.. Help me Pleassssssssssssssse!! )

These people are ok.. Really, They are just concerned, you might say.. There are others who take the concern to a new level altogether.. when they try to “showcase” you to your “prospective” mother-in-laws, or sister-in-laws!! I remember last year When I went to my cousin’s wedding, another cousin of mine was extremely sweet to me and then took me to introduce me to someone.. “Hey this is the girl I was talking about!! Shez done her Post Graduation.. And rite now she is working in an MNC!!” While the lady was “checking me out” I had a great urge to put out my tongue and do some really wonderful monkey faces that I’m good at.. had it not been for my Mom.. who saw what was happening and knowing me, immediately came and gave me the “Behave…Please!!” look.

I think the people you have to watch out for.. are not these sweet aunties or uncles really.. but the ones who have been recently married. I dunno why, the same friends and cousins who spent many a night gossiping and cribbing about how its sick to keep nagging about marriage and how wonderful it is to be independent etc , suddenly turn the tables and are sooo eager to welcome you to their clan! “Remember I too have been there.. so I really understand what u are saying..” (Oh yeah.. So why the hell are we having this conversation.. ???) “.. It not as you think you know..”(Oh.. Now what Was I thinking??)

Its not that I don’t believe in the institution of marriage!! I really do!! But.. Aint I too young for it? I have so much to do in life. So much to discover.. (Do I hear.. “Ofcourse u can do all this when u are married too") Mebbe I can.. mebbe I will.. But for now.. I’m a happy single girl who loves her life as it is.. who cherishes every single moment and lives life her way!! Just lemme be for now.. is all I ask!! Hmm.. Thankfully I have parents who understand!!(I hope they do :))

I have two weddings of cousins that I have to attend next month.. And O God.. Am I dreading it!! :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Never Say Never!!

“I would never stay in Madras..Yikes.. this palce is tooooooo hot..n its dirty!How the hell do people live here???”
- Told when I came to Madras for an excursion in 10’th standard

Fast Forward 7 years..
I find myself staying , living and (I never thot Id say this…) but actually liking the place. And the answer to my much exaggerated question.. Well.. people live here as how people in other places do.. As far as the heat n dirt goes.. one just gets used to it. So much so that one doesn’t even notice it!!

“Ill take my favourite Noodles... I dunno how people can eat the same Dosa, sambhar n chutney when you go out to a hotel. You can make it @ home.. Why order it in a hotel..Ill never order curd rice or Dosa when I go to a hotel!!”
-Told innumerable times when I went out with Daddu and when I was @ home.

Fast Forward a few years...
I find myself ordering Dosa, with sambhar followed by steaming coffee. Actually prefer it to Naan, Roti these days.And I honestly don’t remember the last time I ordered noodles!

“Me and going to Hyderabad??No re.. Why the hell would I agree to go to Hyd.. Chennai is much closer to home rite? I mean.. If I had to move to Hyd. It wouldn’t be for the same company for sure!”
-Told by yours truly.. when ~V opened its branch in Hyderabad and couple of friends asked me if I would think shifting there as an option.

Fast forward a few months,
I definitely agreed o move to hyd and almost got shifted to that place. (It got cancelled.. but I did agree to move!!)

“How can people fall in love? I mean.. how can you just trust people you see for a few days? I definitely think Arranged marriages are better than Love marraiges!!
-Told by Yours truly a million times in school and college

Fast Forward a few years.. This is what I found myself saying
“Oh s@#*t yaar.. Love marriages are much better than an arranged marriage.. atleast known devils are much better than unknown ones! Sigh.. Wish I had fallen in love with some idiot !!:-)”

“How the hell can you work @ those hours.. Don’t you feel sleepy?? 2’o clock in the morning?? You must be crazy! Get a life man! You don’t have to do it u know!! I can never ever do it! I cant sit in office beyond 9:30 to 10 pm.. And that is late for me!!”
-This passionate speech was made by Yours truly to Anupam and Sruthi who used to wok late..

Fast Forward a few months….
For the past one month I have been returning home from office @ 5’o clock in the morning!! In fact it doesn’t even matter. Ive got used to this schedule rite now and pretty much enjoying it![Well.. If u r curious to know wht Anupam n Sruthi had to tell me.. Well they were kind n just told..”Welcome to our world Sreeshu ;-)]

“I don’t think Ill sit in a browsing center and blog… That’s ridiculos man!”
-Told by yours truly to herself…

But come one Saturday afternoon and therez nothing much to do @ home.. I sauntered up to the nearby browsing centre to check my mails and find myself busy in this stupid write-up!

These are just a few instances that pops to mind when one has to eat ones own words. There are many more that happens in everyday life!!

Well,, Does all this make me a silly, stupid, horrendous hypocrite????????
Hmmmmm…. That’s a lil too harsh… Don’t u think?

Itz just that Life has its way of teaching its lessons. Most times you don’t even realize it, but you will be doing or saying stuff that you once swore that you would never do or say! Its not that you compromise on your firm beliefs and principles that u grew up with but then you say things that you strongly, passionately believe at that moment.And then one fine, lazy day when you reflect or muse over your recent past, you smile and admit almost reluctantly that may be just may be u jumped the gun and told things a little too soon!!:-)

But I have decided.. Im never ever gonna say never…!!!
I just did it again!!:-)

Monday, April 18, 2005

My small h[e]aven!!

As the train came to a screeching halt, there was a rush of the passengers trying to get out. I got down wondering as always why it is so crowded here. I turn around when I hear the familiar cough of my Dad as he walks towards me with a smile and the newspaper in his hand. As we walk past the crowd out in the open air, the familiar smell and sights welcome me and automatically a small smile plays on my lips as I inhale the Coimbatore air.

As I sit in the car, complaining to my dad that he has put on an extra pound and chiding him for not going for his regular walks, we take the same road that the auto driver used to take for dropping a handful of brats to school. I can vividly remember us laughing out loudly while tapping our hands in unison as we played “Who stole the cookies from the cookies jar??” The auto driver hollered desperately when one of us got excited and popped our heads out.

The sun slowly peeped out as we passed the Gandhipuram bus stop, the road was unnaturally empty and devoid of the usual hustle-bustle that surrounds the area during rush hour. I look at the buses and remember the innumerable times I have waited here to get a “straight” bus to college, always cursing the crowd that made such a simple task as boarding a bus an absolutely mammoth ordeal. The best pastime during such long waits was to observe different people standing alone and in groups, making up stories of who they were, what they were doing and where they were heading. Of course, the case is completely different when I had company. Then its time to catch up with the latest gossip of Bollywood, cricket stars, lecturers and other friends, often so engrossed in conversation that we even miss the “straight” bus we were waiting for and end up taking two buses.

My Dad updates me with the latest happenings in the city, while I silently note the new glossy shops in the area, wondering what happened to the petrol bunk that once existed, the divider on the road that was’nt there the last time I came. As he made a quick turn to our colony, we passed the grocery shop in our colony where I often frequented for potato chips and chewing gum. My dad honked once and my Mom came out eagerly to open the gate. My mom asked me the same question she asks always..”What took so much of time? The train was late??” And I winked and gave the same answer…”Daddu and his slow driving!!” My mom immediately started her exaggerated anecdotes of Daddu and his reluctance to press the accelerator while my Dad started on Mummy’s constant comments on “how to drive” while sitting in the passenger seat. I laughed as I entered inside with the same feeling I always get when I come to Coimbatore.. when I come home. The feeling of nostalgia… A sense of belonging!!!!

And I guess this is what makes me go all out and defend this city whenever anything is spoken about it. I remember always teasing my Mom about the “mallu-mallu” bond. If my mom is introduced to any new person and she discovered that he/she was a mallu, then there would be an extra warmth and excitement in her voice. Her smile would go bigger followed immediately by the quick questions about the person’s whereabouts and family. Which in turn would lead to the discovery that the person is after all a relative. Some uncle’s, grandfather’s, sister’s, husband’s cousin’s grandchild’s daughter. I always wondered why she was so partial to Mallus. But today, when I’m in Chennai and I meet a Coimbatorean, I realize I’m no different from my Mom (though I don’t find any relatives for sure). You can see my eyes sparkle with the same excitement, the same special warmth as my smile widens more than ever to greet somebody from my hometown.

Seeing my excitement, I have been often questioned by my colleagues and other friends on what makes Coimbatore so special. And then I find my answers inadequate. How can I explain to them, the many moments I have walked along the Trichy Road to KG theatre to watch a movie with friends on the last day of exams. Or sitting in one of the fast food centers and eating pani puri and masala puri before going for tution classes for 12’th. Or walking along crosscut road while arguing with my sis about which shop to enter. Or the frantic petitions to God as we go to temples just before and after the exams:-). Or the times we all took off in our bikes just to hang out. Or the times we went from shop to shop trying to get as many sponsors for out Techno fest. Or the times I got screamt at by my mom for keeping my room messy. Or the arguments I had with my dad over who should be made the captain of Indian Cricket team. Or the times I sat with my friends in one of our houses and wondered where we would be 3 years hence. (I can’t believe we still do this). As much as I argue that Coimbatore is kewl coz of the climate and the people there (which is true of course:-)), It is special more so coz in the city’s many streets and little turns, there still remains the fragrance of my childhood, the many dreams that we had cherished, and the many pranks that we played, the many moments that we shared. The sound of laughter still resonates as memories still remain.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The System versus Me!!

I had heard a lot about Tirupathi and finally had a chance to go there this weekend.
Nine of us went which included me, my roomies, Sreej’s family and Sreej’s friend n her Dad. The trip as a whole was great fun. But somehow, I had the same feeling of guilt that I get when I go to Guruvayoor with Daddu.

The problem (if I can use the term here) with famous temples like Guruvayoor and Tirupathi is that the crowds are HUGE. We have people from different parts of the country thronging here to get a glimpse of the deity. And obviously people are from different sects and classes of society. So what happens in such a situation is that the more affluent and the more influential get the dharshan without standing in the queues. Or even breaking the long queue where people have been waiting for hours.

My dad who frequently visits Guruvayoor knows a lot of people there and so as soon as we go, the volunteers just usher us in(breaking the long queue where probably people were waiting for hours) Ofcourse, 100 Rs is exchanged in the process. I call it “bribe”, though my dad has other terms to describe it. I always feel guilty about it and so am not so enthusiastic to go there coz of the same reason.

The trip to Tirupathi was kinda similar. I was surprised to see different queues based on the amount we pay. If you have a letter referred by a well-established person, (which we get by paying money again!!) then, we can get a ticket. The time of dharshan can also be manipulated by the amount we pay. The pattern was everywhere. We went to Mrs.Tirupathi’s temple after that. As we were running late, and the general queue was long, we were wondering if we can just say Hi to God outside and go. But a volunteer again came by and offered to take us though “Special Dharshan” if we pay his some money. And we did. And got the Dharshan in 15 minutes which would have been impossible had we stood in the general queue.

Our last visit was to Sri Kaala Hasti. We reached around 9:15 and the temple closes around 9:30pm. Surprisingly there was no crowd. As we stood before each statue, the priest explained the mythological significance of each deity and asked us to pray properly. There was no shoving of the devotees and understandably too as there was not much of crowd. But there was the peace and tranquility which we seek when we go to a place of worship. And we were able to appreciate the architecture as well. No.. I’m not here to compare temples and tell which is better but I find the whole system of bribery even in temples (anywhere as a matter of fact) very disillusioning.

It happens everywhere so why gripe about it?
Well, I’m a religious person. I believe in GOD and the Supreme power. I believe GOD is in everyone and hence believe there is goodness in every human being. And why do we go to temples? For hope, for peace of mind, for we believe that there will always be victory of good over evil, forgiveness for our mistakes that we commit knowingly and unknowingly. We’d like to believe that GOD is Supreme and all are HIS/Her[:-)] children are equal. But when we see such kind of corruption and discrimination at his divine premises, I wonder whether hope is restored. Whenever I comply to pay more money to “break” the queue or stand in the “Special Dharshan”, I don’t feel good about it. I go there to cleanse my sins, but instead I end up committing more sins and have the audacity to do it right before the Almighty’s eyes.

As we came back, I realized that the mistake was in my part. Completely and solely. I realized I complain about the system continuously but also give in to vile ways. I am the system as well. I can offer innumerous explanations and justifications and sugarcoat my actions, but the fact remains that people take bribes becoz there are people like us who are willing to give it. As numerous such thoughts crossed my mind, our vehicle was suddenly stopped by a policeman. He asked us if we had the license and related papers. While our driver was extracting all the relevant papers, he unashamedly asked, “Alrite, Give me 20 Rs for tea and then you can go”. Different emotions went through me. But the one that stood out was… Here we were paying bribes to meet GOD. This man is an ordinary mortal after all.