TO READ and WHAT TO READ?

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PIC COURTESY:famous-books-quotes-images-and-sayings-5-c6046ee4

 

“TO READ and WHAT TO READ?” that is the question. Yes this quote has been inspired by the famous opening phrase of a soliloquy “To be or not to be…” in the “Nunnery Scene” of William Shakespeare‘s play Hamlet.

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Pic Courtesy: http://celebmix.com/books2/

This question takes prominence as I enter the small bookshop, at the centre of a row of shops, in the hustle bustle of a shopping complex in our locality. It is a small place with books lined up all around the walls, neatly arranged topic-wise and author-wise. The interiors with wooden cupboards and wooden flooring, accompanied by a perfect yellow lighting to match, are welcoming. A person like me would spend hours shuffling through books and breathing the aroma of newly printed copies that envelope the cool air coming from the air-conditioning vents. I always refrain from doing so and remind myself that I have many chores to attend to now than I would previously ,when I was all by myself, as a student.

I clearly recollect my school days when we had a time allocated in our primary classes allotted to ‘R.R’ or ‘RAPID READING’ in our timetable of school. During this time we were supposed to read books like Gulliver’s Travels, Oliver Twist or read out poems from poetry books which were part of our curricular books and subscribed by the school as per the grade in which we were studying.

This period of ‘R.R’ was what we looked forward to, as we would be reading books and not writing as required for other subjects. Though, at times, this period was taken over by other subject teachers, in case they needed to complete their syllabus, and we were deprived of Rapid reading. As we went in higher grades, this time was set aside as ‘LIBRARY’. This is when we got a book, out of the various books kept in our library, to take home for a week and read it. It was a bonus to have them home and sometimes if we finished reading it soon we would exchange them with those of our friends’ and so have the credit of reading two books in a week. I feel the seeds, and later on the habit, of reading rather good reading (‘good’- suggestive of both meaningful and literary) were sown in these years not only by my school but also by my parents.

I do not recollect but my mother used to recall that I used to read a small book, having a Russian story, translated in English and had one or two words each on a page and easy enough for a three year old to read. I had read it so many times that I had the whole book by heart word by word from the front cover to the back-cover, which featured the name of the Russian writer. I would narrate it entirely without a halt- beginning at the story name and ending at the last page with the author’s name.

As our vocabulary and sense of languages grew we started reading books in Marathi(being our mother tongue we had many Marathi books) and Hindi too, apart from English. We soon had books like ‘Isapniti’(Tales of Aesop), ‘Panchatantra’, Tarzan Marathi book Series(1-10,), Gotya(Part 1-5,N.D.Tamhankar), Ramayan, Mahabharat, Tales Of Tenali Raman, Akbar Birbal stories. Also books by well known authors like P. L Deshpande, V.P.Kale, Shanta Shelke started forming part of our library. Chandoba ,Chandamama, Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha, Chacha Choudhary were like our casual friends. Later on books like Archies, Secret Seven,Famous Five(Enid Blyton), Agatha Christie took prominence as there was this teenage excitement about mystery books and college fun.

In college, though studies and practical took most our time yet books related to Science, Management and Autobiographies formed a part of our reading. Our parents gave us the best books that they could buy at every stage of our student phase and not just one or two but at least half a dozen each time they bought.

And so with this love created within me I always have a tough time selecting books as I always feel I should read and own all the books! I quickly pick up three books one for me and two for my little kids and answer the above dilemma preoccupying my thoughts. Hence continues my journey, in which I am now accompanied by my two kids and husband, exploring books and enjoying the adventure along!!!HAPPY READING …until next time!!

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Friends Forever : Our Library at home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Perfect Couple

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Pic Courtesy:www.theawkwardyeti.com/chapter/heart-and-brain-2/

                “Hey, Wait, will you?” said Heart but Brain had many things to catch up and before Heart knew, he was speeding ahead at the speed of lightning carrying a huge bundle of thoughts. It was not that Heart did not know that Brain would always run ahead of her and it was always difficult to cope with him. Brain, being very practical in approach, knew he had very little time to get things organized and he needed to rush.

                    Heart would always be the gentler and the soft one while Brain the exactly opposite, with his harsh and tough attitude. How Heart wished that Brain could just mellow himself a little bit and rest sometimes. She would always plead but Brain had his way and she could do very little about it. “Please don’t come in my way of thinking and mess up things”, he said and Heart had to relent to his command.

                    It was perhaps a union of two extreme, and yet loving, identities when they had met at ‘The Human’, working in different departments. She served in the ‘Circulations Department’ while he was in the ‘Intelligence and Co-ordinations Department’. Heart had fallen in love the moment she heard him speak with all logic and reasoning for the first time. Brain was equally mesmerized by her charm and the tender and loving approach she had towards everyone. Theirs was a marriage of opposites!

                    She would always recollect the way she would be engrossed in his talks once he started speaking and wish that they would never end. She always felt that he was her perfect complement and their union was one of the best things that could happen.

                  But slowly the new marriage charm faded after a few years and there was a tussle between them on a day to day basis. Heart was trying her best to adjust and cope with Brain’s intelligent and practical thinking. She had her own outlook of the world which was very different from his and this created a huge contrast.

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                      Heart would say “I liked the way the man sang at the orchestra” while he would retort “Oh! It was a bit too loud orchestration”. “Isn’t it a lovely day to begin with a drizzle and drench the nature with raindrops?” she would ask after the rain showers had begun right at the dawn and he would crib “Not again, it will be so murky and muddy for the whole day now.” Such conversations would make her feel sad yet she never took them to heart and always remained happy.

                     Brain was always engrossed in thinking and if Heart interrupted him with anything, he would be harsh. The age was taking toll and Brain was finding it difficult to focus and recollect even tiny bits of information which he once took pride in and had surprised one and all. This led to his anger, and whom could he vent it out on but his better half, Heart. She knew this and took things in stride and tried to comfort him and gave him hope, nevertheless.

                  She was also coping with serious blood pressure problem due to age and the doctors had advised her not to be stressed and remain cheerful. She needed to be in a relaxed and calm atmosphere. Brain had no time to devote to her, for he was busy in his own world managing too many things apart from his own health issues. He was always in a hurry as there were so many thoughts he had to sort out. Some related to the functioning of the ‘Organs’ in his organization while others related to the day to day business he had to carry out. Heart, on the other hand, was patient and would always strive to keep everyone functioning smoothly.

                     Brain and Heart had now been with ‘The Human’ for almost 75 years now and it was nearly difficult for the organization to work without either of them. They had served the organization religiously and sincerely, with all honesty and under all circumstances, without ever trying to take credit for the growth of the organization. Even the thought of parting with either of them left ‘The Human’ stunned and speechless.

                  “How will we manage without you? You are the reason for our entire development and the status we have in the society. Please be with us and let us serve and take care of you henceforth”, they said at the organization, as Brain and Heart had submitted their health report and wanted to resign.

                    Brain and Heart smiled and were grateful for the love showered to them and the kind service offered to them after so many years. They both had tears as they parted and left ‘The Human’ and there was nothing but deep silence around…!!!

take-care

 

(Take care-Medha)

MAGICAL RECHARGE

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“ Mom, the battery is down and the car is not moving an inch”, cried my son the other day as his remote controlled toy car came to a halt, after all the running around it had done at his mercy. “Get it charged, beta (son)”, I told him. All the electronic gadgets these days are mostly battery operated and hence they i.e. their batteries have to be recharged time and again. It is almost mechanical and a necessity to have them recharged instantly. And when they are charged we feel elated to move ahead with our tasks right away.

And so after few hours of doing the needful my son was once again running around the house, maneuvering it and even dashing it at times and enjoying himself. My daughter was laughing, as she watched it and kept running in between, as he maneuvered the toy.

How I wish we too had something as instant as the battery charger to charge up ourselves. Not that we would need it as often but if we felt low we could boost ourselves instantly and get going. At work or at home we would be efficient all the time.

There are ways to recharge ourselves. Listening to good music, reading a book, doing an art activity, just going out in the nature, taking a swim, indulging in a sport, playing and laughing with kids  or helping someone are just a few of them that  I would myself do. These and many more such activities provide us a break from the mundane routine and this break is perhaps the reason for us to feel recharged.

I took to writing posts to recharge myself and now I feel refreshed almost every time I have written and shared something. (I am writing this post after almost a month since my last post…a long break to recharge myself perhaps… ha-ha..!)There will be a time, I am sure, as psychological studies explore this need to recharge and come up with something other than instant pills or gadgets to do the needful. Till then back to our own magical recharges!!

 

 

THE REAL CONNECT

Connection
self connectEvery day we connect directly or indirectly with many people. The ways to connect have been enhanced by the social media and the internet. Why is there a sudden need to connect? Are we crossing limits while connecting?

I feel that human beings are social beings first and the need to connect arises from this basic fact. We want people to connect to us. The first connect begins from the womb itself. The Mother and child connect begins from the day the child conceives. Both are not aware but the connect starts right away and it is indeed a topic of research how this connect goes on to mould the individual when he is out into the world.

The other connects that take place later on as we start the journey of life depend largely on the type of person we are and the need and necessity to do so; an introvert may not feel the need to have many connections and may have just a few like relationships, friends and official connects while an extrovert may have as many as possible apart from these like everyday acquaintances from morning walks, friends of friends, connects due to regular office journeys, club connects and so on and so forth.

It is a matter of individual choice and interest to connect or not to connect. Many times these connections do not really lead far but sometimes these connections can lead to bonds beyond one’s comprehension. These bonds I feel are far strong and limitless of the so-called conformed relationships.While some of these connections lead to many kinds of cross cultural, racial and community connects, it is not acceptable easily and has to be approved by society at large.

These connections nowadays are more rapid and hence superficial may be because the world is evolving fast and coming closer at the speed of nanosecond and if one has to keep up to this fast pace and rise one has to be able to connect easily and there is no real-time to tighten these bonds.It only forms a big intermingled network of connects.Of course this has its own repercussions and drawbacks and can be found to be invading others time and space. It is matter of grave concern and limits need to be set to allow connects without intruding others’ cocoons of comfort.

The deeper connect and the most difficult one is ‘the connect’ with our own self. A lot has been written and discussed thoroughly in books of psychology and spirituality. I feel that this is the ‘Real connect’ all need to work upon and all the other connects will fall in place and there will be little place for disharmony and the gain will definitely be PEACE which will be worth all the effort.

(P.S.Hope this post finds connects :-))

 

 

 

Rains

 

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(Pic.:https://niharikamodi.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/palm.jpg)

They are delayed, they have reached the coasts of Kerala, no, they have been held… Yes, they have reached Kerala and soon will be all over Mumbai and Maharashtra. These news items had been flashing everywhere and with eyes and ears all towards the skies each and everyone seemed to be praying for rains to anyone and everyone who held the powers to bring them down. Finally the prayers have been answered and it’s been raining more than just cats and dogs I would say, for the past few days here in India.

I am in my cozy,little kitchen, looking out of the window and imagining the water falling down, from the balcony of one the flats onto the shed that covers the shop below, to be  nothing less than a water fall. My old radio playing Hindi movie song of rains is complimenting it and it’s a perfect set up for having ginger tea and hot Onion or Khekda bhajjis as they are called here in parts of Mumbai( Khekda meaning crab as the bhajjis resemble them). I mix the batter of chickpea flour and long, thin sliced onions while humming the number that is being played on the radio. The oil in the wok is perfect hot and I slowly add the bhajjis. The sound of the bhajji as they are put into the oil and the aroma of it all bring the kids to the kitchen and they can’t wait to taste it.

As they are fried; and after being satisfied that they are the right colour and crisp enough, I dish them out to my kids. They run out to eat and are shouting soon for more. “Mummy, YUMMY!” says one while the other shouts “Mummy SUPER CHEF”. I just smile while giving them two more platefuls with a warning ‘Not anymore now’. The last few ones I take into  a bowl in one  hand and with a cup of aromatic hot boiling Ginger tea into a cup in another , I sit down to enjoy the cool breeze and the rains,looking out of the window watching the world drenched to the core and running by.

I grab the newspaper while enjoying and patting myself for the delicacy I have prepared. Trains cancelled, railway lines disrupted, roads blocked, water logging everywhere, trees falling, buildings collapse, wall collapse, people drowning, getting buried in the debris…the list of fallacies is endless. Everyone who has a post of authority playing the finger pointing game once again-‘I Point At You, You Point At Them, They Point At Me’ and the game goes on. I close the newspaper and have another bite and sip the hot ginger tea. The rain is still playing romantically outside with the breeze and the trees dancing and swaying as it flirts.

I switch on the TV to have more fun. ‘Whose fault it is?’Asks one of the journalist with regards to the flood like situation all over the country since it’s been raining.  ‘Definitely it is the cruel NATURE. It just does not understand how much to pour and when and where’, says Mr.A. ‘We had all the measures in place but this nature is just unpredictable’, moans Mr.B. ‘It is the curse of GOD’, says another divine intelligent with a serene face.

As videos of people being given food packets into their homes and being carried to safe place by deploying boats in some places went on flashing and roads flooded with cars and trucks and buses and scooters moving rather crawling at snails pace made news, I laugh sarcastically and remember the Common Man of R.K. Laxman who smiled all odds. I miss him as I take the last bite of, now lump and cold, bhajjis. I look out of the window; it is still raining and the child within me just opens the door of the balcony and reaches out to drench in the rain with the kids running after me. Soon we are all wet and all the thoughts that occupied my mind a few seconds earlier are drowned with it and it just felt lighter and fresh.

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(Pic :http://quotesgram.com/img/rain-storm-quotes/5YDv6IsQyG/)

THE ACT

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She had been doing it for years now and, this was a role she could manage even if she were told to do in sleep. ‘An old mother who has been troubled by her son and is left to fend by herself, all alone’ was the briefing given to her by the Casting Director (CD)‘Oh no! Not yet again’, she had murmured as she kept the phone down.

Manavi, now in her seventies, had been a name of pride for anyone who cast her in their drama or cinema. She was an actress who had not learnt the nitty-grittys of acting per se but had developed her own niche and class over the years through her keen observation and sense of performance.

She was not the fair and beautiful kind of heroine that would be required in a cinema but nevertheless her acting skills made her the number one in the race of all the glamorous heroines of her time. It was just a coincidence that she had tried acting in one of the dramas of her society when a drama director saw a sparkle in her performance and decided to take her in a lead performance for his drama. Not sure that she would be able to carry off such a big role and also the thought that it would affect her studies, her father had politely refused and asked that she be considered for any other time.

A few days passed and the director once again called up Manavi’s father and told her that he would wait for her vacation and begin the rehearsals and show only during vacation. He also made a promise that he would see to it that her school was not affected and pleaded that he gave permission for her to act in this drama. Her father could not refuse and permitted her. He or her mother took turns to take Manavi to the rehearsals and back home. Manavi, who was just 7 years old then, had hardly known that this role would carve her niche and destiny had great things stored for her.

The role, that Manavi was selected for, was that of a girl from middle class family, who is battling a dreaded disease and she has to cope with the daily trauma of hospital visits, her failing health and the agony of her parents who are trying to keep her happy while fighting all odds to meet both ends meet. Manavi did not know what the pain was but she followed the director and did just as she was told. The actors, Pratibha and Vishesh, who played her parents and were actors of high repute and caliber, helped her to be comfortable during many scenes that required intense acting. The director had made sure that, though the drama was on a serious issue, the atmosphere and the dialogues were not filled with too much pathos and drama, affecting the child psyche.

Manavi had done 8 shows on weekends all across the theatres of Mumbai and had received accolades for her performance. She went on to receive the best performance award given by the State for her performance. The bouquets she received meant nothing more to her than beautiful flowers and the interviews she faced were about smiles and thank you. It was not something she disliked but had no idea why she was being praised so much. Her friends also felt proud of her. Yet she was grounded and unfazed by all this and like any other girl spent her childhood normally, doing small roles occasionally in vacations only, a condition her parents felt necessary for her all around upbringing, with studies also having their due.

When Manavi went to college she was part of the cultural group and activities related to art. It was still not her dream to be ‘Actress or Heroine’. She was enjoying her teenage college life along with the dramas, which took more prominence now than they did in school. She was then asked for a role in a movie which she readily agreed. It was a role of a mother. The performance in the movie was exceptional and everyone vouched that this performance of her as a Mother was by far the best. Manavi got a list of roles in movies thereafter each one challenging and written with the female protagonist in limelight, giving Manavi an opportunity to showcase her acting skills and give her best performance.

With the advent of Television, Manavi was also offered roles in serials which she did with the same zest and fervor but did not enjoy it as much as she did drama and cinema. She was getting on the wrong side of age and hence the variety of roles that she got in drama as well as cinema were nowhere to be seen and so she took to accepting whatever came along and took everything in stride. She had been judging various dramas and cinema as a senior member and was happy doing the role as well. Rewards now came in ones and twos with a gap of 5 years but it did not matter what mattered was acting.

She had been living the characters, on and off and had blended with them so much that she would sometimes wonder who her real self was? It was not just her passion but her soul. Anyone who had worked with her would vouch for her punctuality, discipline and dedication. She was an institute within herself but with no strings of ego or pride attached. She mixed with the young actors with as much keenness as she would with seniors. Manavi was always willing to share her experiences with anyone who wanted to grow in the field of acting and had a passion similar to her.

Today she got ready in time and was into her car with her makeup done and with her favourite white tote bag dangling in the wrist of her right hand. She liked listening to music on her way to the place of shooting and so the driver had the music on, playing her favorite singer Pandit Kumar Gandharva. She would memorise her lines while listening to the music. It was her practice for many years now, though most actors of her stature hardly needed to do so and could easily demand time on the location and have retakes as they wanted but she did not.

She was at the shoot before time and as she stepped out of her car the CD welcomed her and told her that they were ready for the shoot but awaiting the main lead actor to reach. She was calm and relaxed. After about 15 mins, the actor was there and the whole unit was now charged up to begin the shoot. The director asked everyone to take their positions with all the cameras ready. Manavi was called and given touch up on her face before he called ‘ACTION’. Manavi gave her best performance and everyone was in tears as her character ‘the Mother’ pleaded her son to let her stay with him as his maid servant. ‘CUT’ said the director and there were claps all around. Manavi thanked all and sat in her chair thanking God for all that she got along the way in her life once again.

It was a pack up after almost eight hours since her shot but she had not left. Every member was getting ready to call it a day and eager to leave and reach their private abode. ‘MADAM’ a voice called her from behind. Manavi was startled and looked back, it was her director. He said ‘Madam, we are leaving for home. Are you not leaving?’She said ‘Yes’ and walked towards her car.

She got into it and thoughts once again rolled over her mind as the music played in background -‘Avadhoota Kudarat ki Gat nyari….‘(meaning Ways of Nature are Strange)-she had acted a ‘Mother’ a many times over but was deprived of being one. An act for which she received accolades, claps and rewards, over and over each time she performed, had eluded her life drama!!

 

May I HELP you?

 

 

After walking for about 10 mins from my home, a brightly colored board attracted me. The color and the big logo along, which were visible from a distance, helped me to know that I was at the right place, I was looking for. As I reach closer and enter the plush center, I am greeted by the brightly colored ambiance and the matching desks and chairs across the room. The air-conditioners atop all the walls ensured that the temperature was kept much cooler than outside and it was quite a relief from the heat outside as well as all the sweat due to perspiration from my walk up there.

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Image courtesy Shutterstock

(Image link:https://www.google.co.in/search?q=customer+executive+holding+smiley+heads&client=ms-android-motorola&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjR5I23vPjNAhUmS48KHTVOBAIQ_AUIBw#imgrc=5xSz6tUkrZwtRM%3A)

A quick glance around saw many youthful faces dressed in crisply ironed uniforms. The women had white shirts and black trousers while the men wore white shirts and trousers with a tie complimenting it. The ladies had their hair tied in a bun and most of them adorned their lips with a bright coloured lipstick to match with the background they sat amidst. Each one had his name pinned on to his shirt with a tag on it “May I Help You”.

 

 

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As I was admiring all this, a voice greeted me “May I help you?” I turned back to find a youth, in his twenties perhaps, smiling at me as he greeted. By now my mind was sure and certain that my query would be solved in a while. His name ‘HARSH’ shone brightly on his chest ‘pin’ and I put forth my query. It had been long since I was having trouble with the network in my area and also there had been issues in my mobile billing. Mr. Harsh assured me that I would be attended shortly and asked me to be seated comfortably on the sofas that were placed in the middle of all the counters that attended to customer queries. He gave me a token number and asked me to await my turn. I sat down and looked around all those who had come before me. Some of them were filling out details on forms given to them while others were in conversation over there mobiles or playing with the gadget to pass their time. Few of them were engrossed thinking and some chatting away with their partners along with them, as they awaited their turn.

Listening to the bell as it rang and viewing the token number being displayed each time, I was watching the clock tick. It was now almost more than half an hour and I was getting restless. But one needs to have patience at such centers is what I was told, so I was calm observing others to ease myself of the restlessness. Someone at one of the counters was irritated with the executive and was shouting on top of his voice creating a noise. The executive who sat across showed no signs of remorse and was blank in his expression. A girl at the next counter was smiling as she was explaining the mobile plans at the next counter uttering minutest details with quite ease. A man in his fifties, who seemed like a vendor or a helper, was getting his mobile Sim card for the first time and was eagerly watching the executive, across the desk, as he placed the Sim into his phone. He was delighted to have it and asked when it would be active for use. The executive told him that he would have to wait for 24 hours when he could start dialing from his mobile. He had a sign of great delight as he left the store.

The bell rang and the number ‘250’ popped and I was up on my toes, with a sense of having won half a battle, as eyes of those awaiting their number stared patiently. The executive who was to attend my query was a girl named ‘GANDHARI’’. We exchanged smiles as I explained my problem. She said that the network query would be attended by engineers in the next 48 hours. She then typed my mobile number on the keypad in front of her and her eyes rolled up and down the monitor giving me a glance in between. She saw the details and said that I was getting the bill as per my plan. I asked her why there was an extra charge that was shown in the bill. She told me that was as per my plan. I said my plan mentioned it was of Rs. 299 and why was I getting extra when the bill details showed that my call details were less than the amount. She made all the efforts to convince me that I had to pay the bill as this was what was on their ‘record database’. Not convinced with her explanation, I asked her to speak to her senior for a detailed discussion. She answered that it would not be possible to meet them as they were in a meeting. I asked her to give me his number, so I could speak to him later, but she said she could not do so and I would have to call the call centre to register any complain. By now, all my fancies and hopes of solution had burst and I was dejected by the entire episode. The cool atmosphere around felt no longer soothing and I was feeling hot within me even more(I now know another reason for keeping the temperatures cool… perhaps to cool all those customers as their temperatures rise after one such visit). I left the store staring once again at the board and logo that had welcomed me.

On my way back, while my mind was analyzing the entire episode and unhappy about the service, I got thinking, as to who is to blame for the service (rather disservice) that was meted out to many customers at such centers. I think it would be wrong to blame only the people who sit across and face the customers. They are just punch bags which are in front of us. They take the blow, that’s all… nothing more. There lies a lacuna in the system when catering to customer numbers as high as in India or Asia for that matter. Also most of the ‘Executives’ truly just execute as they are trained, making the least effort to use the big analytical and logical compartment that lies in their head on their necks… their brain!

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The same holds true with the customer service executives at the call centers. They start ‘parroting’ out whatever information they are given right from our ‘Hello’, starting with suitable greetings to begin with and ending with all the details that are there with them along with a ‘Good day’ to end the call, irrespective of the fact that they were called at night!

And so as I reach home I put on the fan and relax to the tune of music and get back to my chores. The next 48 hours have passed and I have no sign of my network problem solved or any call to relieve me of my woes. May be I need to ‘Help’ myself and my phone with the circumstances that surround us!