XOXO to Team 4B

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Last moments of Spelling Bee competition finals for Class 4.

Tie between 4G and 4B.

The tiebreaker question is to find a single word substitute for “One who works for free”

The team that spells the correct answer first will be the winner.

Hectic discussion between the nine year olds. There were four members in each teams.

Team 4B first with the buzzer.

“M – O – T – H – E – R   Mother”

There was a moment’s silence in the hall.

A moment of confusion.

The Spelling Bee master’s assistant, the scorer,  froze in front of the whiteboard.

Turn of Team 4G.

“V – O – L – U – N – T – E – E – R  Volunteer”

“Mary ma’am hugged them first… kissed them too… She is 4G class teacher! And it was 4G who won!” Vinayak is furious, he was in Team 4G.

“But I saw her hugging and kissing you all”


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What is there in a title!

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“You have to lose battles to win wars” tweets the unit head at 11.59 pm on the last working day of the month.

“My dear Watson, what do you infer from this?” Sherlock Holmes who happens to see this asks his buddy.

After a moment’s silence…

“The unit head sleeps in a tent in the battle field… someone steals his…”

“Tent!… he wakes up and sees the stars!!… you idiot! You are yet to get over that old Readers Digest joke doing the rounds in  facebook”

“Watson… first, the poor guy failed to meet the monthly target this time. Second, he got a dressing down from his boss this evening. Third, it was done in front of  the XXXX [a reference to the nationality, a synonym of ‘charming’] secretary  and, last, he did not open his mouth during the entire ceremony”

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I do not believe, oh no, I did not believe, in ghosts!

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The desert road from the small border town IXXX to the capital bifurcates after ninety five kilometers. Need to be very careful along this road… a single carriageway, a short cut to the free port at the neighboring country… no speed radars and a lot of tractor trailers flying either way…

The branches merge later at NXXX, the town famous for the remains of an ancient fort.

The one to the right joins the new express highway in two kilometers and it is the same story of black tea and shawarma at NXXX, petrol and cold coffee at SXXX, and finally, four hours later, home.

And the one to the left!

Gorgeous mountains… picturesque valleys…

But I avoid this road…

Wild goats that cross the road like bullets taking away your headlamp lens…

Camels that decide to crash in through the windscreen…

And… and… I did not believe any of them… the numerous stories of supernatural encounters at and near BXXX…

BXXX is an ancient city that witnessed major battles centuries ago… It is an archaeological site now…

The sand there is reddish black… some say it is blood…

I had been with a client in a crusher site near IXXX. Twenty kilometers of off-road driving and a non starting truck engine upset my journey plan. It was almost nine in the evening when I started from IXXX.

I was riding a Spanish beauty that day… one of the best cars I ever drove… I was ALONE…

I was a little tired… sleepy… and took the wrong branch at the bifurcation… when I realized it, I was almost twenty kilometers into it… at the heart of BXXX…

I thought of going back… before I could apply brakes the engine malfunction indication lamp flashed, the engine coughed and struggled for a while, like in an asthma attack, and stalled. I cranked the engine many times… no signs of firing…

At the wrong place… at the wrong time…

In cars like this there is nothing much you can do…

You can open the bonnet and stare if you want…

You can shake the harnesses in the engine compartment, pull out fuses or relays and fix them back, and hope for a miracle…

I informed IXXX workshop, our nearest branch. They promised me that a technician will be reaching me in one hour.

But I knew it was not going to happen.

The technician who attends breakdowns at IXXX is a local. For all the petrol of this country he will not come to BXXX at this time.

I pushed the car to the wayside.

Sleeping in a car on the wayside is not new to me.

It was not clear how long I slept… a knock on the window brought me back.

“Anything wrong brother!?”

A six foot tall man in traditional Omani dress was beside my window and a Willys CJ… yes Willys CJ…1940?… in front.

It looked like CJ-2A from the side.

I was surprised to see a Willys.

“CJ-2A!?” I could not hide my surprise.

“Very close… It is MB… no wonder you took it for CJ-2A… it is modified… what is this S? Not the S of Suzuki!” He was referring to the emblem on my front grill.

“SEAT!?… poor me… never heard of… but she is gorgeous… I saw you taking the S at lower MXXX at 140… it is dangerous… only the German cars can do that safely… may be a Mazda among the Japanese… ”

Another surprise lay at the back of the MB… a Winchester Model 1912!

I felt something seriously wrong…

He sensed it…

“Oh that gun! … my grand father’s… still going great… lot of wild goats here… ”

“You seem to be new here… usually none takes this road in the night, let alone stop…”

“I see… please open the bonnet… ”

He just glanced at the engine compartment.

“She looks fine… try to start now”

And it started…

“Two kilometers up there is an Z. 140 will be too much even for the Spanish lady… she will be in Times of Oman tomorrow… bye the way, two hundred feet from the Z you will find a white man in fighter pilot gear waving at you… don’t stop… it is Johnty the Menace… RAF guy… shot down there” he pointed towards the mountains…

“Ghost!…naughty guy! ” he whispered and continued with a chuckle “… luckily he doesn’t have the power to jam the engine control system of a car… just don’t stop”

My wife was horrified when I narrated the incident to her…

I thought she too believed it was a ghost… but it was not…her post graduate degree in Chemistry has severely restricted her field of vision… she can’t go above carbon, hydrogen, and the like…

Three days later a cousin of her who came back from home brought a packet. It contained a few bottles of traditional medicinal oil generally used in treating mild insanity…

2013 World Car Awards…a few hours to go!

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WCOTY 2013.bmp


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Wind noise in automobiles

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Wind noise!

Tired of handling annoyed customers?

Don’t worry… you are not alone…

Curious about what is causing wind noise in automobiles?

Found a nice research paper on automotive wind noise. Thought I will share it with you.

Try this…