A Pound of Flesh for Refinance

It was a couple of years since I had bought my house. The interest rates had dipped since I had taken the Mortgage. This was a perfect time to utilize refinancing options. Luckily, one my close friends is a lender. I discussed my options with her and agreed upon a refinance plan. She said she will send a list of documents that are required for the process in an email. She warned me that the list would be quite an extensive one. A day later, she sent me a professional email including her colleagues with the following list.

Hello XYZ,
As per our discussion, the following are required for Home Loan Refinance

  1. Last 2 Pay Stubs
  2. Tax Returns for current year
  3. W2s for last 2 years
  4. Homeowners Insurance
  5. Title Insurance
  6. Current mortgage statements
  7. Home equity loans
  8. Credit card Statements
  9. Auto loans
  10. Student loans
  11. Checking Account Statements
  12. Savings accounts Statements
  13. Stocks and Bonds
  14. Mutual funds and CDs
  15. 401K statement for past 2 years
  16. A Pound Flesh
  17. Your First Born
  18. Our real estate logo as a tattoo of allegiance *



Not to be outdone, I replied:

Hello ABC
I am working through the list of documents and should have everything consolidated and sent to you shortly. I do not wish to add any delays to the process and am currently on my way to get the tattoo. Are you sure that you don’t want me to sport a Mohawk? I believe the last person I spoke to had mentioned that it is needed for processing refinance loans. Awaiting your response


* Anyone who has had to refinance their homes will know that the list of documents required is slightly more extensive than this. If you are in USA on a Visa of some sort, more documents will be required.

** This did not happen to me. It is a slightly modified version of what happened to my friend. Thanks to JG for letting me write his story.

*** If you did not get it, look at the list of documents numbered 16-18.

Hungry for Etiquette

This past Friday, a friend and I volunteered\participated in a Shuttle Badminton Tournament. We expected the event to go on until around 5-6 pm in the evening. However due to many participants, it ended much later in the evening than we expected. We had our lunch at around 12:30 pm in the afternoon and we got busy with the volunteering activity and our matched post that. Food wasn’t really a priority.

After the event ended at 10:30 pm, we stayed back to help with cleaning the place. At 11 pm, while driving home, exhaustion hit us bad and we decided to stop for food. We stopped at Eddie’s Place Restaurant. I ordered a bowl of lobster Soup and my friend asked for a plate of pot stickers and Wings.

My food was served with a Soup spoon, 2 pieces of bread and 2 packets of butter. I used the spoon to smear the butter on the bread and dunked it into the soup bowl and relished the amazing food. After my first piece of bread had disappeared along with half a bowl of my soup, sensibility started to set in and that is when I realized that the silverware and napkins had been lying next to my plate the entire time. Laughing it off, I picked up the silverware and continued with my dinner.

A couple minutes later, I heard an expletive from my partner. I looked up shocked and asked ‘What happened?’. He held up his hands with which he had just finished eating half a plate of wings and said ‘I just realized that I did not wash my hands and the last thing we did was pick up trash’

What’s in a Name ?

As a rule, a bunch of colleagues head out for lunch on every Friday. We try out different restaurants in the area. There is this one restaurant that most of us love and pretty much have our ‘Usual’ defined. Today, we had been to this restaurant.

I asked for my favorite – Cashew Nut Rice. Stir fried veggies in a special gravy, rice on the side and golden brown roasted cashew nuts on top. When we were served, the cashews were no where in sight. I called the waitress and asked her about this. She dismissed me and said they are below the veggies. Surprised that they had changed the way they serve their food, I took my fork and shifted the veggies around searching for my much loved cashew nuts. But Nope, no cashews were to be found in my plate. I called out to the waitress again and pointed out that there were no cashew-nuts anywhere around my plate. She looked at me, with no expression and said ‘ I shall get you cashews’ and much to my surprise, she was back in a minute with a small bowl of non fried cashews. She set it on the table and walked away without another word.

I guess this restaurant wont be on my to-go list of restaurants  for anytime in near future.


English We-nglish

Before coming to the USA, I had always been prepared to face difficulties related to accents. As difficult as it is for me as an Asian-Indian, to understand other foreign accents, it is equally difficult for the others to understand the distinct Indian Accent. But more than the accents, I faced difficulties in the way words are used and so did many others with whom I had a chance to discover my adventures. Here are a few of my experiences:

1. This was at a local Store near my place and was within the first week of me landing in the US. I wanted a couple of postage Stamps as I had to mail something to another part of the USA. I walked to the counter and asked for couple of stamps and when I asked how much it was, the man at the counter said ‘Dollar Ten’. When I looked up at him blankly, he repeated ‘Dollar Ten’.  I was still getting used to the Dollar to INR Conversion rates and thought that the stamps were outrageously expensive. I reached into my wallet and gave him a 20$ note. He gave me a 10$, a 5$ and bunch of coins. That is when I realized that ‘Dollar Ten’ means 1 Dollar and 10 Cents. I walked out of the shop with a smile on my face.

2. I was at Chipotle having dinner with a few friends when there was a need for an additional Bowl. I walked up to the counter and this is the dialogue.
Me: Can I please have an extra Bowl?
Lady at the Counter: A What?
Me: An additional BOW-LL
Lady: Excuse me, a what?
Me: A B-OWL?
Lady: (Calls another person and they are now trying to decipher what I am saying)
Me: Bowl, BOW-L, B-OWL?
Lady: Oh, You mean a “BOHL”, of course you can. Here you go.

3. This one was at a Costco . My weighty issues were getting out of hand and I wanted to buy a weighing machine. I went to my nearest Costco and when I could not find it after a couple of aisles, I went to a Costco Associate
Me: Excuse Me, Where can I find the Weighing Machine?
Him: Hmm, Let me see. What is it for?
Me: For measuring my weight…
Him: (With a Smile on his face) Oh, You mean Scales? We have them right here.

The Full Circle

For the uninitiated, the Hierarchy at the IT Office where I work is as follows:
Software Developer Reports to the Business Analyst who reports to the Project Manager who takes inputs from the Data Architect, who in turn, may at times consult the Solution Architect.

Software Developer to Business Analyst: For the files I have been asked to build, is there any specific order to be followed or can I start with the easiest one first.
Business Analyst: Let me check with the Project Manager.

Business Analyst to Project Manager: The files do not seem to be interconnected. Can I ask the developer to build the files according to the level of ease?
Project Manager: Let me check with the Data Architect.

Project Manager to Data Architect: I have been asked if there is an explicit sequence in which the files should be built?
Data Architect: Let me check with the Solution Architect.

Data Architect to Solution Architect: Would you be able to shed some light on whether there exists a predefined framework to arrive at the precise arrangement for the files to be built?
Solution Architect: I shall find out and get back to you on this in sometime.

Solution Architect to Software Developer: Do you have any idea if there is a specific order in which the files should be built or do you think you should start with the easiest one first ?
Software Developer: I don’t think there is any specific order and I can build taking into consideration time to build.
Solution Architect: Great !


This is a slightly exaggerated version of what happened to me sometime back !

A Little Bit of Magic

I had been to Broadway-Cochin. It is a street famous for shopping. It is said that if you are shopping and you find yourself on sale at one of the shops then you are at Broadway-Cochin.

I wandered into a shop selling all sorts of plants. I was looking for a particular variety of plant and I had a hunch that I would find it here. The minute I entered the shop most of the attendants there started helping me at their earnest. There were other customers too, but I got the special treatment and I never really gave it a second thought.

After about 15 minutes, I got the plant that I wanted. I went to the counter and paid for it. He asked me if I wanted it wrapped. Since it was a dried plant, I asked him to wrap it in a paper. He asked me if I wanted it gift-wrapped. I said no, took the plant, put it in my bag and turned around to leave the shop.

They were all staring at me intently. One of them ventured to ask: “Are you leaving?”. I was confused at his confusion. So I just nodded my head and said “Yes”. he asked again: “You mean that’s it? You are leaving?”. Yet again, I nodded my head and said “Yes” and I quickly ran out of the shop. All pairs of eyes were on me till I got away.

It was only when my eyes fell on my reflection on one of the several window panes, that the humor of it all dawned on me. I was wearing a magician’s hat(Well- it was sunny and I thought why not) and had a trench coat on (which is a rare thing in India). I guess they assumed I was one of those street magicians about to perform tricks in their shop. That also explained why they were peering intently at the car parked outside the shop. I bet they were searching for a camera hidden in it.

*The above story is as narrated to me by a friend

Outsmarted by the Parents

You all might have heard the Russel Peters joke where he threatens to call the child services and his dad gets better of him. Well, I have my version of it.

This happened when I was 11 years old. I heard a friend describe how she gets her mom to do whatever she wants. She said she would huff and puff and refuse to eat dinner and go and sit in her room. The mom usually came to her room with a plate of food in a little while and coaxed her to eat while agreeing to all her demands. I being the ‘Smart’ one decided to give it a try. After all it wouldn’t hurt – or so I thought.

I waited for an opportunity where my parents disagreed with something I wanted. I told my sister we would get what we wanted if she just acted along. At 9 pm, we huffed and puffed and we announced that we will not have our dinner and stormed off straight to our room. I should have realized something was wrong when my dad did not even raise an eyebrow and mom did not give any reaction. My friend had told me that she usually had to wait for 15 min. So we giggled away the first 15 minutes, in anticipation of the knock on the door. There was no knock on the door. We assumed that mom would take a little while longer as she had excellent patience.

1hr later, we are still waiting in our room. My sister is starting to get cranky and is giving me “this is all your fault” looks. So I went out to check what was taking my mom so long. The lights in the hall were off. My parents had gone off to sleep. I ran to the kitchen- all the utensils were empty. Mom had cleared the kitchen for the night. My ego prevented me from waking my mom and we thus went to sleep with grumbling stomach and next day we were greeted with wonderful smiling faces of our parents asking ” what happened to your anger? You had decided not to eat right?”

Its one of the most hilarious things that has happened to me. And that also was a lesson well learnt. No matter how smart I thought I was, my parents were one step ahead. It also taught me, tantrums would get me nowhere with my parents, Patience and Logical Reasoning would !

Bigger the better

*May contain offensive content

She: It is huge.
He : I know its big.. But I want you to take it. I know that you will manage fine.
She: But its too big…

He: ha ha.. size always matters baby.. bigger, the better… Just take it..
She: Are you sure I can..??

He: Don’t worry.. I am there and will be there if you don’t like it. Now don’t argue, don’t think and just take it please..
She : Ok.. If you say so..


He: So.. How is it ?
She : You were right.. Bigger the better…
He : Told you so…
She: Oh.. I am in love with it.. This is just so amazing…

Don’t know what you were thinking but She now owns a Samsung Galaxy Note..

Remember when

Do you remember how close you were holding me when we entered the house together for the first time?
It took me a while in the hall before I could move to your bedroom.
You were so loving and caring that you even took care of my cleanliness and hygiene for me.

I have no idea what happened to change this way of lifestyle.
I was thrown out of your room and into your kitchen.
You threw rotten eggs, tomatoes and everything else at me. I bore it all with silence.

Is it my fault that you stopped taking care of me? Is it my fault that you turned your concentration to other things in your life ? Maybe staying silent was my fault.

I stood there silently, accepting every sad- bad thing that came my way. Under your uncaring eyes- I grew filthy , discolored and began to reek of unholy odor. I still did my duties well…

How unfaithful you are… I know you are going to throw me out, just like all the dirt that I have been carrying over the years.

I heard you tell your husband yesterday “Honey. Remind me to buy a new dustbin. This one has become old and dirty”

Late Indeed

Lunch Hour at the Food Court. As usual, we were busy with the day’s chatter. Halfway through a friend got up to get a glass of water. And it was at that exact minute that I recollected that he had asked me to remind him about a meeting.
I called out loudly to him: “Aren’t you getting LATE”

The next thing I know, everyone around stopped what they were doing and looked at me. I did not understand what was happening till all my friends burst out laughing.

The way I pronounce the words had made ‘LATE’ sound ‘LAID’.