The Devil's Workshop

I'm starting up a workshop. Coz I've got nothing better to do. Yeah...I'm going by that good old idiom...An idle mind is a devil's workshop.

Well, what's my workshop going to be about. Hmmm...A workshop on how to idle away time. How about that? Bad, eh? Lemme think again. Ok, got it. Something constructive for a change. Let this workshop be a platform to exchange interesting information, snippets, something new you or I have learnt, so on and so forth. Want to join up my workshop? You're welcome.

My sessions begin...

Lesson No.1:

No English words rhyme fully with orange, silver, or month (however, there are some pararhymes for these words, such as salver for silver and lozenge for orange).

Lesson No.2:

The longest words that can be typed on a standard QWERTY keyboard using only the left hand are twelve letters long. There are six such words: aftereffects, desegregated, desegregates, reverberated, reverberates, and stewardesses.

Lesson No.3:

"Dreamt" is the only English word ending in "mt".

- Espresso

Ladies n gentlemen, here I am, lil miss cappuccino! ;)

Lesson No.4:

Malayalam is the only language which is also a palindrome!

Lesson No. 5

"Marry" in Shakesperean English meant "By Mary"


Lesson No. 6

Oh this is just..well...[the most functional word in the English language]

Read it:


When writing is special

Each day at office, we come across some real good snips ( read bad) of writing. Here we share them with you.
About an ayurvedic resort ( 27-07-09):
The resorts gives you the rare facility to stay as an honoured guest of a local resident and enjoy all the nuisances of what the rustic village life of Kerala and its rich tradition has to offer.

About a Company (05-08-09)
At XYZ Projects Drilling & Blasting, we drill rock. We blast rock. We've even carved in it ... our founding principles we've brought to every job for over 40 years. Hard work. Honesty. Quality of Service. So, if you've got rock, call us for safe, reliable service you can count on. We're the
with values in your neighbourhood that match your own.

A Real Tall Story

Yes, this is going to be a really tall story..
Here we are going to start a story which, I am sure, will break all walls and fences and what nots of imagination..
And the best thing is that YOU TOO CAN CONTRIBUTE to this epic ! Let loose your creativity and take the story forward by telling us what you think should happen next (you can post it as a comment). Whether this story will turn out to be a tragedy, a comedy, a thriller or something which does not make any sense whatsoever- it is all upto you!! Make use of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity..Ahem...
Let this cock-and-bull story, I mean, this delightful piece of literature commence....

Chapter 1
KK: Not even leaf moved. The atmosphere was omniously still and quiet. Perfect silence ruled. But it was to be. The siesta was soon to be disturbed. She was reading a run of the mill magazine, the sorts that publishes all kinds of crap.

Cappuccino: She heard a bloodcurdling yell and the book fell out of her hand...

Latte: 'What could it be?? Could it be a ghost? Technically, they appear only during nights, don't they??..But what if they were making an exception today??Oh God! help me!' She felt herself unable to move, unable to speak, unable to think; such was her courage..And her heart beat even faster, as she watched a shadow slowly approaching the doorway...

Espresso: Ding-dong. The calling bell. Her heart raced faster. Her blood ran cold. And she was sweating profusely...

KK: She opens it slowly. There is a frantic looking young man with blood splattered on shirt. "It is an accident. Will someone drop us at the hospital?"

Cappuccino: The girl nods a 'yes' and rushes with him to the spot of the accident. She looks at the car the guy had been driving and is shocked to see what she saw inside....

Espresso: All she could see was something bundled up in a strange sort of a way. And something green and gooey oozing out of it. She screamed, but no sound escaped her throat. She wanted to run, but...

Latte: ...the man grabbed her and forced her into the car. Ann saw that he was smiling, and it was an ugly and wicked smile...The gooey thing that was at the back seat was silent and she was too scared even to take a look. As she sat there shivering, praying and hoping that it was just a very creepy nightmare, something incredible happened....

Cappuccino: The gooey green thing shrugged out of the bundle it was in and Ann stared at it. This had to be a dream, she thought and pinched herself. 'Ow' she yelped as her pinch got too strong...she stared with disgust at the strange creature which was all slimy...but she could't take her eyes off its lovely brandy brown eyes....

KK: It holds out a hair colour bottle and says," will you apply this on me. I hate this slimy green I have."
Cappuccino: Ann looks at the bottle which is as slimy as the creature itself...she takes the bottle from him and and pours out the disgusting liquid into her palm....

KK: "Poof". Lo and behold! It was none other than St. Peter sitting beside her. And Immediately the driver also changed to an angel.
Ann thought 'This is some roller coaster ride'
Ahem, says St. Peter. Actually God sent me down to canvas some good spirits. Nowadays , back in Heaven, we are facing a slump , a recession of sorts. Not many good souls come by. So I have been sent down to do some marketing. We got you as a courageous good soul to guide us around the world.
Ann was trying to think
Cappuccino: Ann looked at the driver who had changed into an angel...His shiny black hair, those dimpled cheeks, the perfect set of teeth, the high cheekbones...he was...not just handsome...he was beautiful...simply beautiful....may be it was not such a bad idea to be their guide....'yes' she said...'I will take you around the world'..and smiled enigmatically at the driver-angel......

Latte: But then, her mind was not at ease. If they were really angels, why had they not told her about their purpose of visit directly? What was the need of all the drama and scaring the hell out of her?? She was troubled, but when she once again looked at the angel sitting beside her, she pushed away all her doubts to a corner of her mind...

Cappuccino: So Ann set out on the tour with St Peter and the handsome angel. She took them to China and showed them the great wall; St Peter wandered away all by himself leaving Ann and the angel alone... Ann turned around to look at the angel who was staring at her....

KK: And she asked, "Whipi dupu stapare?
The angel looked at her blankly
Again she said, "Sepe supumthiping".

Espresso: The jaws dropped wide open. So wide, the great wall of China could go down in one gulp! The angel stuttered for a while. I'm....sorry....(he blinked his eyes) I don't think I understand, he managed to say. Ann laughed out loud. It's the 'p' language hapandsupum hupunk. Why were you staring at me like that? Once upon a time, he started.... when I was a mortal being, about 20-something, I fell in love with a girl just like you...

Latte: And then I..."He stopped abruptly as he saw St. Peter running towards them.

"Come fast guys, I think I found another one!!" St. Peter shouted from a distance.

"Maybe now is not the best time to relate the story..Some other time.." Ann felt really disappointed but followed the two angels with a curious mind, a puzzled brain and starry eyes....

KK: It was almost dusk. The great wall had few lingering tourists. In his excitement, St. Peter was almost dragging the poor angel. Ann could not keep pace. And there it was. Someone had forgotten a skate board there. ..

Cappuccino: And beside the skate board stood a lovely girl who wore a pink flowy dress with floral prints. So was she what St Peter had found? Ann shot a glance at the lovely girl and turned to look at the handsome angel who would have told her his love story if only St Peter had not come running like hell! Ann looked at the angel...he was staring at the girl...and staring would only be an understatement! Though she was wearing white Ann felt all green......

Latte: “Why is this angel staring at all the girls?? Hasn’t he seen any during his lifetime?? And this girl isn’t that beautiful... She looks just OK..” As the green monster worked furiously inside her, she failed to notice the skateboard and stepped on it and slipped…What followed was a loud THUD, a sudden roar of laughter and lots of stars and birds circling her…

Roll it over

And now let's have a lollipop,Espresso said handing out nice little lollipops. The lunch over, this was unexpected dessert. But it wasn't easy. Twist, turn, tug. Do what we can, the wrapper wouldn't budge. And the effort was taking its toll. the lollipop inside was melting. Our efforts did not go unnoticed. Amused glances from our colleagues did not put us off the job at hand.

Hurrah! Off comes Cappucino's wrapper ( I mean, her lollipop's). Others join band. Everyone tries to beat the other in putting it in first.

Then it was expressions galore. Navarasas appeared on each face one by one. Disbelief, astonishment, the urge to spit, I'm fooled, How can You, were the varying kinds of moods. It was tangy, very unlike a lollilop in looks and taste.

Latte chickened out from the expressions we displayed. She did not eat it. But everyone had a good laugh looking at others as they painfully rolled the lollipop over.
Thankfully, Sue had brought in some real goodies. We gave our poor tongues a better fare and settled down.

Hats Off to Espresso lil girl who likes these lollipos.

Oops, again!

Ding Dong

The chicken was on stove. The boys were fighting. The phone was ringing. Too many things happening at the same time. My poor brain was overloaded with apt reactions for each. And now the door bell.

Ding Dong

A man in dishelveled hair and clothes reaches into a crumpled polythene bag.
"No. No alms here."
Again he gropes inside the bag.
"I don't want to read any plea."
He is silent but holds out a cover with my husband's name on it.

It dawns. the poor fellow is a courier deliverer.
I feel bad.
"Sorry", I blurt out.
But the deed is done.
He gives the receipt slip to sign. I scrawl something. I feel peeved by the stature of the man.
Someone save me.

Ooops, again!

The power of cuppa sessions...

Cuppa sessions are really something, I tell you! The things that we discuss remain in my head for quite sometime. As in, say, till bed time? I guess even beyond.

Like the other day, we were discussing about pets and dear lil’ Latte spoke about some chicks she had at home who jumped off the edge. Literally and otherwise. Otherwise, because they must have been crazy to do so and literally because they really jumped off the terrace into a pit outside Latte’s residence. And after all the drama got over all that Latte saw was a few feathers rising up from the pit… just like we see in cartoons…dust getting kicked up in clouds when Tom cat falls off a steep ravine…

I was so inspired about these stories about hens that that night I dreamt about it. Ultimate Drama queen that I am, how couldn’t I add some spice to it? I dreamt that Espresso, the head of our team lives in a palatial house. It is fully done in marble; there are white satin curtains and exquisite furniture. Antiquities such as marble cherubs are placed around tables.

Soon I discover that she runs an academy there. And I am her new student. I have no clue what the academy is about. But I find out soon. I see espresso catching hens and putting them into cages. So I was in a hen academy!!!

Espresso asks rather commands me to do the same. I tell her that I cant do it. Immediately she walks up to the calendar hung on the wall, picks up a green highlighter and puts a tick across that days date. “What?” I ask her looking baffled.

“I will do this every time you don’t catch a hen. Last month Latte also had a few ticks across her chart.” She tells me serenely.

I stare at her for a moment, blink and then…I guess I woke up.

And when I narrated this dream to my cuppa mates, all of them went into fits of uncontrollable laughter. All but one. Our dear Katten, who felt left out because I hadn’t included her in my dream. Too scared to disappoint her, I vowed that she would be present in my next dream/nightmare whatever…

And my wild thoughts are kind to me. I had a dream with all four us, that very night. I, Latte and Katten are going in a lift. Espresso is the lift operator. The three of us look like zombies. Espresso is quite cool doing her job. But I don’t think she is doing it right. The lift stops at all the wrong places. Anyway, we soon make it to the right floor. All four of us enter a room. There, I see my sister mopping the floor; her limbs moving mechanically, and a blank expression on her face. And this time, all four of us look like zombies…

And boy! Didn’t this make Katten glad? She was jumping up in joy for being included in this bizarre dream.

And guess what, my dreams seem to entertain my teammates so much, that right now, they deliberately talk of weird things hoping to trigger my imagination so that I have amusing dreams. And more often than not, they don’t have to try very hard. The crazy and the whacky come quite naturally to all of us. Yeah, seriously!



Why oh why????

Espresso: “Say, why are you not posting anything in 'Over a Cuppa' ???”

Latte: “Er..Hmm..I can’t think of any good topics...”

Espresso: “What??? A person who goes blah blah blah non-stop can’t think of a topic??? Shame on you, Latte...Shame on you!!!”

Sigh.....These inspiring words sparked that thing called inspiration and here I am blogging about er..hmm..well nothing in particular :-D
Wait a minute! Here is something you might like.. Something that has happened a number of times over a cuppa...

Espresso: "[Sigh]..This tea tastes horrible..”

KK: {Tastes the tea and makes strange sounds}

Latte: {Sips and grimaces} "Yea, Why is it so sweet?? Why??"

Espresso: "Also no snacks today.. Atleast that could have made it easier to drink this thing...Why aren't there any snacks??"

Latte: {Gulps down tea and puts down the cup looking joyful (having finished the job) and miserable at the same time}

Cappuccino: {Looks at the three girls in turn} "Why do you drink it then?? Why??" {She does not drink tea, BTW}

Espresso: "Because it is a habit... And we get the chance to reflect on how bad tea could taste and count our blessings when we get to drink good tea..

KK: Yes, that is so true...

Latte: [Sigh]

Cappuccino: {Shakes her head disapprovingly and sips her glass of water}

To be continued.... (Too many 'sighs' and 'why's in this post?? That is life people....that is life...)


Those were the days...

"Those were the days my friend
I wish they'd never end..."

Hmmm... our hot discussions almost always begin with the most innocent comments from any of the crazy 4 members. And unwind into the good, bad, ugly, hilarious, (and what not!) subjects - Reminiscence of our yesteryears, as we recount them with all the excitement left over, after tea that rather tastes like sweet milk flavoured with tea!

Back then, in nineteen hundred and something....I begin. And I hear giggle...there she goes again, they say! Hey, I'm keeping you amused guys. Isn't that something? Trying to be insane, to keep my sanity.

What I started out to be, and what's become of me. I've always had this urge to do something different. But what I've been doing for dog years now, is pretty much routine. Work-home and nothing else in between!

Anyways, I'm not complaining. Bcoz, I do have an easy life. A family that understands me and lets me be who I am, a job that's not too hard, team-mates who are as crazy as I am, blah-blah!

But, I'd like to believe that I'm made of better stuff. I could have been there, done that. Things that I did not want, I ended up doing or being. For eg. I never wanted to settle down in Kerala, but here I am. I never wanted to marry a typical mallu boy 'born-and-brought-up-in-Kerala' (afraid that he would turn out to be another male chauvinist), but ended up marrying one (luckily he isn't the chauvinistic kind). I never wanted to get into an IT Company (I prefer working in an ad agency), but I've been working in one for almost 5 years now (though what I'm doing is still the creative side of it)....And the list of 'I never wanted to..., but ended up doing!' is aplenty.

Still, I'm not complaining. B'coz life could have been harsher. I'm just glad it isn't. And I'm thanking my lucky stars and the good Lord above that I've got a great family, a decent job, a fine home and plenty of friends, when so many of them don't have any!

OK. now somebody tell me how the f*** am I gonna wrap up this blog. One thing leads to another. And I just can't stop, as always. Help!

Yours truly,

Time & tide waits for none

And now Expresso beat me to it. Recession management guru was what I desired to be. But she took away the honours. Anyways, I feel a little elevated today and would wish to share an anecdote which helps you just count your blessings and forget recession or whatever.

It was the May of 1985. Dad bought the first car of his life , old rugged 1962 model ambassador. He used to work in central India then. And he bought the car from a doc in Kerala. He had this adventurous idea of driving it all the way up to Bhilai where we lived from Thrissur, covering more than 2000kms. So we got ourselves a mechanic and started off.

Summer in the Deccan is not one of the most pleasant regions to travel in a non Ac car. But there we we were, driving through little villages with a trail of amused children and dust. We tasted all kinds of cuisines on the way from wayside little hotels and somewhat better restaurants. It was fun.

Well, we reached Hyderabad around 2 AM. And the town was asleep. We were new to the city and we did not how to get to the main road to the better hotels. We tried one or two, but they were kind of unwilling to take in late visitors and said"No rooms available". so we finally ended up in an old house converted into a hotel. It had one big squarish inner courtyard, around which the rooms were set. That night was horrible. The room was full of gigantic mosquitoes who made sure that we did not sleep a wink.

The next day we started off in search of a better hotel and found one. And we saw the Golconda fort and the Sala-e- jung museum. Drive to Bhilai from there took another two days. By the time we reached Bhilai, the driver had Chicken pox and I had fever.

The fever I had was peculiar. I ran high temperatures every alternate day and only at night. After about three cycles , I was hallucinating, seeing peacocks from my window, Amitabh Bachchan dancing by the bedside and so on... Soon, I ended up in the hospital in a double room where the other bed was occupied by a woman. I drifted off to sleep with IVs injecting medicines into me. I regained complete consciouness only by late afternoon. I had opened my eyes earlier and seen my mother talking with the woman on the bed. Now, she told me that her name was Kamala and that she had kidney failure.
" How are feeling now?", Kamala asked
" Better", I managed.
" Oh! It's nothing. I have dialysis twice a month but Iam OK".

I smiled. Mom took over the conversation part.
Suddenly, there was a commotion in the adjoining room. A girl my age was being given Oxygen. I saw her some moments ago as she peeked into my room from the small corridor that joined the rooms. She was a beautiful girl. And when mom said that she being given oxygen, I did not believe it. She had a cardiac problem.

Next day, Kamala had a visitor. Her husband, a trucking businessman had come over. They spoke in hushed tones. He was crying and she was trying to comfort him. And when he left, she told us that he would return the next with the kids. She showed some photos of the kids - a three year daughter and a five year old son.

"Cute children, are'nt they?", asked Kamala.
" And who is this?", mom asked
"That's me. I looked beautiful then. It is at a wedding."
Tears welled up in her eyes. She was lost in thought.

Later she told mom that her treatment costs were getting out of hand and that her husband was the youngest brother and he could no more take money from the family business to treat her. But she held nothing against her in -laws. She believed in God and fate.

Next day, Kamala was up early, all dressed to see the kids. Soon, we heard chattering voices in the passage. The kids were here. They came and leapt at Kamala in joy.

"Come home", they said.

I was a witness to the poignant moment. Her husband and her eyes were happy and sad at the same time. The husband had brought some food. She fed the children with her hands. The elder was telling her about school, the younger one about her cousins. It was the first time I realised, the value of life.

That evening, she was mum, unlike her chattering self. By night, she said that she asked her husband not to show her body to the kids. She wants them to remember her as an active mother.

I got discharged the next day. Later we came to know, she was soon paralysed and her systems shut down one after other and she died. She was cremated nearby and not taken home as per her wishes.

This story I wanted to narrate for long. Destiny was that it came out now.

katten kaapi

Brother, can you spare me a dime?

The topic over a cuppa today was "begging". And to think it all started with "chai-chai"! As always, Katten started it. And then, there was just no stopping us.

We spoke about train journeys, eunuchs, beggars...phew! There was a report in the papers today about a beggar who had about INR13 lakhs in savings...and we almost considered begging as a serious profession.

Well, the way we're headed, the recession and everything that came with it, it might not be too long when we'll have to dust our guitars, pull a string and set out with a begging bowl. Would you spare me a dime, then?

Yours truly,

Remember the time

Who can ever forget the “timeless” hit number of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop! I grew up listening to his songs. My friends & I have even performed MJ’s popular hits at school & college. It is so unfortunate that he died all so suddenly. Just as mysteriously as he lived his life!

It’s surprising he could keep his personal life under wraps. You know, him being a global pop icon and all! The magic he worked on screen and on stage - his moon walk, his high-voltage and high-energy performances…it’s no surprise that he emerged an icon within a short span. And to imagine, he’s not around anymore!

But he’s left behind a legacy in music. I stand up and salute him, for that. Let’s trash the tittle-tattle (true or untrue, nobody knows for sure!) that did the rounds during his lifetime and even after his death (they won’t even let him R.I.P), and celebrate or rather continue to enjoy his music.

Thriller, Bad, Beat-it, Dangerous, Black or White…. Heal the World.

This column is dedicated to Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. I’ve been wanting to write this ever since he died, but never been able to, until now. Better late than never. And a time never to forget!

Yours truly,

Names and Namesakes

Now that we have revealed our profiles we have to let you know how we came to be known as Espresso, Katten Kaapi, Latte and Cappuccino….Here is the story (reasons rather) behind our names and alias’s.

Espresso a.k.a Rhino

Of the several meanings the word (Coffee as well) espresso has, espresso conveys the sense of ‘just for you’ and ‘quickly’ which can be related to the process of its preparation. So, our dear Espresso is called so, because whatever she does is especially for ‘us’; her team mates; and she is quick and witty. And espresso is strong. So is this one. And that’s why she is also known as ‘Rhino’ – the thick-skinned, bold lady…And yes, espresso is also the base for all other coffee drinks…latte, cappuchino or even katten kaapi…Though technically, I must be saying none of us exist without her…it is actually ‘None of us exist without the other’....

Katten Kaapi a.k.a Wild Horse

The desi, malayalee version of black coffee, ‘katten kaapi’ is not everyone’s cup of …er…coffee. It can be made quick and one swig of the hot, black liquid is so refreshing that it can even bring back a corpse to life (well…somewhat…the small doses of katten kaapi at work, are what bring us alive!) So Miss Katten Kaapi, is just what black coffee is – refreshing and different. Her creativity knows no bounds and it all comes in a matter of seconds. As for her other name, ‘Wild Horse’, she is called so because she is wild and whacky, happy-go-lucky and fun-to-be-with. She does not gallop around like a horse, but her creativity sure does…

Latte a.k.a Wet Chick

The Italian word for milk, latte is a coffee that has more milk than cappuccino and is milder in taste. Copy Writer Latte is also a very mild person – gentle, kind, soft and serene. Like latte coffee which can be topped with creativity as in this image, our dear Latte a.k.a. Wet Chick also tops everything with creativity. Good at designing and conceptualizing, the credit for the design and construction of this blog goes to her. As for her other name – Wet Chick, she is this beautiful damsel in distress who frets over a small pimple, not because she’s worried about how she looks, but because she suspects it to be some major skin disease. She sneezes and she looks frazzled. I ask her, “what now?” She replies looking frazzled still, “Could this be swine flu?”

Cappuccino a.k.a. Hot chick in cold water

Cappuccino a strong coffee with frothy cream, topped with a pinch of powdered chocolate, has froth on top which resembles the hood worn by the Capuchin Monks. Well, I am no monk. Not in the least bit. Then why am I called so? Well, the froth that forms on top of Cappuccino Coffee helps retain the heat. And that is I what I do at our discussions over a cuppa copy! I keep the discussions going, keeping them heated and exciting all through (I know this is the heights of blowing my own trumpet…but I can’t help saying the truth!) I contribute and share my crazy dreams and ideas, keeping the chat hot as ever. As for my other name, I am as wet as ‘wet chick’ (you see, I am in cold water too) only thing is, I like to believe that I am hot. And when no one thinks so, it always helps to pretend. ;)

God! That was one lengthy prose. And my description is the longest. Unlike Latte, I seem to be full of myself…Anyway, now you know that our names were not decided just for the heck of it. Not because we wanted something ‘coffee-coffee’ type but because it’s who we are - Crazy, whacky, mad, nutty…add as many synonyms as you like. At the end of it, all geniuses are a little eccentric…


The party illusion

The day dawned with hopes of a afternoon party. Cappucino was throwing one after a long wait. She had topped the exams, you recall. The expectation started to climb after the lunch hour. The clock hands moved wearily on. Time seemed to be still and everyone engrossed in work. As lunch was planned with space for high tea, attention on work was becoming difficult. Eyes could not focus. The head wheeled. Still, the hope and grit that the party is soon to be held me together. By five, patience packed its bags and left for a world tour. An outburst, why don't you guys just enjoy a party when one is offered shook the zombies off the chairs. Glassy eyed workaholics looked at me vacantly. Slowly they started to get up ...Now the Indian Monsoon had different plans. Downpour. And here a down por of woes. None can walk to the neighbourhood cafe in the rains. Can't understand them. Well, the illusion continues till time. I'm still hoping for a high tea. Silent prayers to the rain gods to hold for a bit are on the lips.

-Katten Kaapi