Sunday, January 15, 2006


The cell phone rocks to "Smoke on the Water". The LCD of my Nokia 6610 flashes "Prachi Khandeparkar".

"Yes Ma'am..."

"I want you to coach a third year student. Bhavya is bright but needs help as she was unable to attend lectures due to ill health."

"Oh, ok. I'd be more than happy to help."

"But this would be proper tutoring so you must charge her."

"Charge her? I've never charged to teach. I wouldn't know what to charge !! "

"4000 to 5000 per month . Coach her once a week for a couple of hours."

"Ok. Fine....."



Mrs. Neeta Ramakrishnan insists I coach her daughter twice a week, and that I come over to their Mahim flat to discuss the details.

Twice a week !!! No way !!! I don't have the time !!!

Let's ask for an absurd sum !! She's bound to refuse.


"I will charge Rs. 10,000 for coaching her twice a week for one and a half month. She must come over to my place. Is that ok?"

"That's alright. When will you begin?"

<< Is this woman insane? >>

"13th of January. Friday the 13th. And by the way, I will need a 50 % advance. Is that ok too? "

"Fine. Do you want cash, or will a cheque do?"

"Cheque is fine."

"Right, I'll give it to you just now."

"Oh no, no. 13th will be fine."


Flabbergasted. Boggled. Dumbfounded. Stupefied.

Paycheck !!!