September 21st, 2017

Of permissions, and interpretations!9

It must count as blogging friendly behaviour when you can end up in bloggable (should that be with a single g? I thought I would put an extra one in for emphasis, which by the way is spelled with an ‘a’ after ‘h’ Hemmie) situations while you have other bloggers around you.

In the past few days, I have been guilty of such behaviour with a measure of regularity. I am not sure where it started exactly, but one of the first incidents that springs to mind is the banging of Blackey 2 with another blogger, good old Crayon, enjoying the best seat in the house. More about that incident later. What is pertinent here is that Blackey 2 has arrived less than a couple of months ago to take over the mantle of Blackey. More importantly, in principal, Blackey 2 belongs to Wifey (I am tempted to write Wifey 1, but that will open a whole new pandora’s box, and it is a sort of understanding that pandora’s boxes, old or new, are best left un-opened), and I use this commonality with Blackey 2 to interact directly with it, often without Wifey’s explicit permission, sometimes in direct violation of such permissions.

For the most part, I have Wifey’s explicit permission not to be seen anywhere round Blackey 2, she has been most forthcoming with her permission never to drive Blackey 2, and she has often re-assured me that I have her full permission to treat Blackey 2 as a complete stranger. I have often chosen to not exercise the rights attributed to me by these permissions, and such was the case on that fateful day, when I had gone to bring Crayon and family home for Iftar. It just felt wrong to ignore a fellow possession.

So, I took Blackey 2 along, and we were having such fun getting to know each other and entertaining Crayon and family together, we ended up clipping the bumper of a cab in front of us in that moment when the lapse in concentration manifests itself on two drivers simultaneously. Wifey has, for the longest time, not been a fan of my driving. She believes I force those moments on my fellow drivers. She has not shared that belief with me, but I have been able to surmise as much from the permanent imprint of her hand on the door-handle. She is the quiet kind, bless her soul, and says little by way of words. She grips the door-handle when she ‘perceives’ a danger. Her powers of perception go into over-drive as I put a car in D.

Wifey has a multi-purpose smile that she employs with breath-taking efficiency to almost all situations, even the ones that make her angry, which is why I have been convinced for the longest time that she is always angry with me, since she is always smiling, and no-one can be always smiling. The good thing is that her smile can be mis-interpreted as an approval smile also, where ‘mis-interpreted’ is a wholly subjective term. Wifey thinks it is a perfectly objective term. Pertinent here is the fact that I have seldom been accused of an objective approach, and Wifey is little else than objective in her analysis of a given situation. She has often remarked that the one time she tried being subjective she ended up gettng married to me. Wonder what that is supposed to mean! Point being, I ought to know a subjective term when I see one, and wifey believes she can spot an objective adjective from afar. I sense a domestic disagreement coming… guess I should order them flowers again!

Spoiled for choice…9

I am spoiled for choice. There are so many cars out there which I cannot buy that I have not the faintest idea which is the one I can absolutely, most decidedly, quite positively not buy. Sure, I could make it all simpler by just working with the cars that I can buy, but then where is the fun in that? Besides, apt seems the saying in punjabi, ‘ae te na khedan wali gal hoee’, which when run through the distorting mechanism that is my translating acumen shreds into something like this ‘this amounts to talk of not playing’. In actual fact, the proverb is employed when seeking to communicate the harsh reality of the impracticality of terms and conditions being laid down for a matter under consideration.

Reverting to the matter of being spoiled for choice, I must begin by explaining the fact that the coming week will witness the advent of a new era in the history of UAE schooling system, the era of TQ and AQ; who together and to date comprise 100% of my progeny, and represent two of the most wonderful blessings Allah Almighty has bestowed me with (Alhamdu Lillah), both going to school.

TQ started school a couple of years ago, and through trial and error during this period we had come to decide on a school that offered the right mix of quality education and personality grooming. There was, however, the small matter of transportation costs involved, and not entirely simple mathematical deduction had led us to the conclusion that it was by far more economical, financially as well as time-wise, investing in a vehicle of our own than it was patronizing two seats in the school’s very expensive transport system over the next few years. Last year, we were able to rely on the services of that most affectionate of old timers, Blackey, to get TQ to school. This year, Blackey seems bent upon tendering in a resignation from her post.

Blackey, who has found mention in many a post before, is saddled with that most sure of maladies that pester the elderly – old age itself. It must, hence, be exempted from the strains of active duty, and be referred to a facility that cares for the elderly. Blackey has served us well, and even in this old age would give many a japanese engine a run for its money, thoroughbreds have that knack of staying on top of competition for far longer than mixed breeds can hope to do. All good things must come to an end, however, and for blackey tolls the bell. One likes to ensure that such a loyal comrade drives into the sunset on its own four wheels.

Its a new era, and calls for recruitment of new resources and this is where the matter of being spoiled for choice sets in. A fair mix of experience and apprehension served with dollops of wants masquerading as needs has resulted in our arrival at the foregone conclusion that our cause is served best by a new car. In keeping with the (soon to be) memory of blackey, we decided that the new-comer would have to fit the bill for blackey 2. In this way, we were able to address the question of which color to buy more easily than most buyers of new cars manage to.

The trouble started brewing when we realized that the word of our preferences in the matter had got out, and now pretty much every car dealer worth his salt was vying for our undivided attention. In layman terms, irrespective of what badge the cars in a showroom wore on their chests, they always had amongst their ranks a black beauty looking at us with those “Puss in Boots” eyes from Shrek 2. We had hoped the customary arrogance (or Darrogance ala Darrel Hair) of the financing institution would dictate the preferences for us in terms of which car we could invest in, or not invest in for that matter, but Dubai Islamic Bank became the epitome of hospitality which the Arabs are known for widely, and offered to facilitate the acquisition of any black beauty we set our hearts on as long - as we did not stretch a certain figure beyond a certain limit, the latter qualification coming as a most unwelcome departure from Arab hospitality, which is loathe to any qualification.

With just the two hearts to set so, and scores of cars calling our names out from scores of show-rooms, we realized that we were once again spoiled for choice. I say ‘once again’ because we went though the rigamarole of being spoiled for choice with the birth of each of our children. You see there are so many beautiful Muslim names to choose from, and you can normally allot just the one name per child. Just imagine how long it would have taken TQ to learn the spelling of his name(s) had we chosen for him all the names we had shortlisted for him: Mohammad, Ahmad, Moosa, Omar, Ali, Waleed, Osama, Huzaifah, Huraiz, Hassan, Hussain, Hamza and Talhah! Can you begin to see his consternation if after he had learnt his name(s), he were told he had to learn the name(s) of his sister, which would have been: Amna, Ayesha, Sarah, Javeriah, Zaina, Maimoonah, Maryam, Fatimah, Hafsa, Dhuha, Dua, and Eiman. These were, lets not forget, just the short-listed names.

Such are times when one appreciates deeply the beauty of ‘qura andazi’, the choosing of a slip of paper from amongst many to arrive at a decision. There are other times when one realizes that if ever there were a question that was not to be answered by a slip of paper picked randomly it, the question that is, stared one in the eye.

When it came to choosing a car we wanted to buy, we realized that it was being stared in the eye by the question we were up against, and not deeply-appreciating-the-beauty-of ‘qura-andazi’ that we were most likely to do – since there was a limited number of cars that had caught our fancy, and through that most helpful skill acquired during the time we were preparing for GMAT, called elimination, we were reasonably confident we could arrive at an agreement about the car we wanted the bank to finance for us – that is until we looked at the line containing two ‘certains’ which the bank had underlined in a certain document.

The hospitable bank’s statement is reproduced here for clarity sake, “facilitate the acquisition of any black beauty we set our hearts on as long as we did not stretch a certain figure beyond a certain limit” – as I said earlier, quite an unwelcome departure from a most wonderful tradition.

At this point we were struck, rather quite ceremoniously, by the realization that it was not a question of which car we could buy, but of what would be feasible after we had counted out those that we could not buy (There – once again is employed the GMATic skill of elimination in a multiple choice question – one wonders what might have been (or not), had one actually proceeded and taken the said test instead of chickening out at the ninth hour).

In 26 words, the bank had clearly told us that a Maybach or a Phantom was not an option, niether was any of the thoroughbreds from the stables of Mercedes, or from those of BMW. In little over a couple of a dozen words, the bank had decreed that Toyotas and Volkswagons stretched the certain figure beyond the certain limit, that the Hondas started beyond the certain limit as did the Mazdas; and Ford and all the Jaguars and the Range Rovers that it owned brought a new perfection to stretching. There were not to be any Suzukis, Daihatsus, Hyundais, Kias or Fiats, and GM motors just did not qualify.

I am spoiled for choice, like I said… there are so many cars out there which I cannot buy, that I am just stumped as to which one not to buy first!

For Sale – GMC Jimmy.0

Looking to invest in a vehicle? I might have just the thing for you …

The model is slightly older than you might be looking for, but then you will agree youth is no substitute for experience. Jimmy boasts of over 15 years of diverse experience, on-road as well as off-road.

It has automatic transmission, but the driver in you can take confort in the fact that all automation stops there. It is a hardcore manual, so much so that sometimes the whole drive becomes manual – no transmission required. An excellent proposition, if you look at the levels of physical inactivity prevalant in our lives these days. I must have shed loads of pounds (sterling as well as non-sterling) since I bought it. I am sure you will find this option difficult to overlook. Just think of the immense savings that will result with the Gym becoming redundant.

It is fitted with 18” alloy rims, and three of the tyres mounted on these rims are the same size too. The fourth tyre is slightly smaller than the other three, and considerably bigger than the spare – sort of balances out, I would say. All four tyres grip the road very well, and seldom has any road surface affected their function. The trick, actually, is to get them to loosen their grip on the road.

With the passage of time comes wisdom, knowledge, and …. sigh, a malady called old age. Many a body part loses it’s youthful agility. Nontheless, fortunately for our Jimmy, it was always blessed with some very compassionate attendents, and thanks to their dedicated nursing all diseases were fought back effectively. For example, the steering shaft had snapped two months ago, and was replaced with a part donated by a philanthropist Jimmy just as it smoked it’s last fumes. The new part is sturdy and may be counted upon to deliver the goods without snapping or bending for ages to come. The belts and belt tensioner were replaced last month, while the transmission was overhauled last week. The dynamo had gone up in fumes yesterday, and our Jimmy has now been fitted with a brand new one. The RHS door handle had become unable to perform its stated function for sometime, but now thanks to some timely medical attention from the local mechanic, and some physiotherapy sessions after that, has regained it’s former glory. The LHS window machine had had a bout of amnesia, and did not really know if it were winding up or down, but a trip to the local Window psychiatrist cured the attack, and the window opens and closes exactly as it should. The experience has left a few emotional scars, and the machine is still shaky, but recovery is comfortable and well on the way.

The paint is original, whatever is left of it. But, then again we should not judge anyone on the basis of color.

The car has only one bad habit – it smokes. Havana Cigars, or anything that gives rise to such cloudy fumes. It has a healthy appetite for fuel though, and drinks loads of water everyday.

For one thing it does have excellent taste in Music, and to cover the vast variety of music genre it subscribes to, it is fitted with a 12 CD changer. In itself it is not such a great singer, having a voice more suited to that of a drill master, but one should not say so in as many words, lest Jimmy’s feelings may be hurt.

If you are interested in meeting Jimmy, I could fix you folks a date.

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