Monday, 28 July 2008


It's 3:00 AM and our taxi arrives in an hour. The packing's been done. My little girl is in her room making little drawings, unable to sleep. "I'm too excited to go to sleep, Papa!" she goes when I bob my head into her room.

My son, who usually sleeps deep, oblivious to everything has just knocked my door. "Shouldn't we be getting ready?"

"Ten more minutes," I say. "Make yourself some tea while you're waiting."

We're really going!

I can't wait to get away. There's plenty on the agenda - the Falls, the Maid of the Mist, CN Tower, the Great Lakes, Rogers Centre, Yonge-Dundas Square and a dubious sounding club called Besharam (Hindi: Shameless).

A 4GB memory card should be enough.

Snap Quiz: Where are we headed? Clicking any of the links is cheating!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Cruel Summer

It's hot. I can't handle hot weather, having lived all my life several thousand feet above sea level. A cold water shower doesn't help - you simply sweat faster than you can dry yourself. It says it's 27° but it really feels like 37°.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

The Lapsed Blogger

The last time I came around here was over six months ago. So much for being prolific. I didn't think I could keep this up and I was right. But - I'm back. Someone once told me, "You don't get time, you make time." Well, I'll try and make time then.

What have I been upto since Christmas? Mostly it's been the usual, setting up new year's resolutions, breaking them before the bubbly's worn off, adjusting to the new home and new work schedule, changing my little girl's school, forgetting to redirect my mail, tweaking my company website and spending 12-16 hours a day, 6 days a week working my butt off.

Last month I hired an assistant. Someone who came with strong credentials and solid references. An HND in computing, her CV said. I'm sorted, I thought. Until I gave her a spreadsheet to design and populate.

"How do you want it on the spreadsheet?"

"Use the following headers - Name, NINO, Address DOB, Name of Course, Start, End.. etc. All the information you need is on the application form and learning plan."

"Okay, but you'll have to show me how to do it, we did not do spreadsheets in my course."

I froze. I have an under 14 at home that wouldn't flinch at that. What exactly do they teach in an HND in Computing? How to navigate MySpace? In the end it was my little boy who entered the 92 names on a beautifully crafted spreadsheet and got a PSP as a reward. Considerably cheaper than the £200 per week Her Ineptness, the HND was costing me.

On another day I called my office from a meeting. Six rings later, in perfect Estuary, "Hell-oh?"

"This is Banti, Good afternoon HND."

"Oh Hi Ban'i, how are ya?"

"I'm fine thank you HND, but that is not how you answer the phone in my office! Shall we try again?"
I hung up and dialed again.

"Good moanin, Effec'ivi'y, Can I 'elp yew?" Giggle. It didn't sound funny at my end. Especially since it was 1:00 PM and my company is called Effectuality. What happened to the well-spoken person I interviewed a few days ago?

"Good afternoon HND. Were there any calls for me?"

"No Ban'i, it's been quiet all moanin."
and then in the same breath, "Ban'i, I 'ave to leave early today."

"I'm not back until 3 PM HND, someone has to be there, why didn't you tell me this yesterday?"

"I forgot."
That of course was the third time in two weeks. Her first two weeks with me.

"I'll be there at 3, you can go then."

"Fanks Ban'i".
Dear Lord.

Needless to say, HND did not make it past week 3 and is back on income support where I found her in the first place. I swear I tried, I honestly did.