Friday, October 22, 2010


My dad is a man of few words. His ‘KISS’ act can rattle anybody, anywhere, anytime. Here’s a classic case, which I for one, cannot erase from my mind.

I was at the NCC Republic Day Camp, New Delhi (Yes, the last 3 posts were about that, and no this is not Part IV cleverly disguised with another title!). There was just a week to go. I was asked to report URGENTLY to the camp office by my camp commandant and superiors. I entered to see worried faces and a glint of sympathy somewhere. They handed me a telegram and waited anxiously. I ripped it open, my heart almost in my mouth.


It was from my dad, of course.

I hadn't written or called my parents in the almost 1 month period that I had been in the camp. My camp superiors were furious. They got me to write a long letter to my folks back at home, right there, just in case I changed my mind when I got back to the bunker.

The telegram had served its purpose. My dad proved it yet again. Keep It Short and Simple (KISS) if used appropriately gives the desired (most effective) results. And this true story proves it beyond doubt.

You’re wondering why I didn’t write to them or call them? Well, that's me. When I get out of home, I presume everybody else knows I'll do fine and just let me be.

And here’s another lame excuse… I didn’t have a mobile phone back then, in 1996. Making a telephone call, meant waiting in long queues, and others breathing down your neck if ever you get your turn. Receiving calls was also long shot, since the lines were almost always engaged, that any sane person would give up trying.

Someday, I'll mend my ways.


Ugich Konitari said...

Wow! Perfect telegram :-)

30 years before you went for the Republic Day thing, I ended up gong for a Science Talent Summer Camp at IIT Delhi, for a month. Folks were then in Alibag. Near Mumbai. Telephone landlines were a luxury and were fiercely guarded by the hostel types. My mother had actually given me preaddressed inland letters, which I wrote every so many days and posted on my way to class. (Just so I dont give an excuse of "no time to go to the P O...etc etc).


Shilpa Garg said...

Liked your dad's KISS, though a bit scary!! :P

Anonymous said...

One month! Gulp! I think my mom would have landed up in person at the camp with a rolling pin! :D

Rachna said...

I liked your dad's message. And yes, when we did not have cellphones, we did not have the urge to be constantly in touch. But, one month is too long girl ;-). I remember that on my official tours, I had to call my parents once a day. Else, all hell would break lose once I came back home.

Bikram said...

you know what RGB this will seem I am making up all the time .. Lucknow camp, and it was Gurupurab day, I was called by Camp commandant to his tent .. It was my Father on the phone, how he got the number I have no clue, My Chacha was Lt. General Mann maybe through him..

and what a bollocking I got, for not writing or calling myself.. this was a long camp first the Pre-vayu-sainik for 20 days and then the Vayu sainik for another 15-20 days ..

I can fully understand and same here I did not even think of writing or calling, thought we did go to the city a number of times ...

poor parents man we have given them so many troubles nights :)


Insignia said...

That KISS telegram served its purpose :)

Yeah, I do the same when I am away. Just let me be and the otherwise responsible me goes aloof. Its a nice thing to be away from everyone for few days! :-P

Tomz said...

That was a startling KISS. I was completely out of conscious when I reached the part u wrote the telegram in all caps. For a moment, I suspected whether I was reading a mysterious part of a Sherlock Holmes story.
Btw, I succeeded in posting yet another post last night

sm said...

very interesting

Nona said...

I like the "KISS" principle.

Waiting in front of the STD booth! Old days! :)

Kavita Saharia said...

They must have been so worried !I liked his KISS theory - it had the desired effect on you !

Nethra said...

Phone-less when we think about it, weren't those days peaceful? Sometimes, when I'm out even I forget to inform my parents that I'm alright and very much alive.

BK Chowla, said...

I also "disappeared"when I went for a scout camp.

Kavi said...

Wow ! Brevity is the soul ! I hope enough and more people read this and learn !!!


RGB said...

@ Ugich Konitari,
Looks like your mom saw it coming and took all the necessary precautions! I'm not very good with keeping people posted on my activities when I'm out of sight. Post, mail or phone, unless somebody reminds me (like the KISS), I just put it off for another day!

@ Shilpa Garg,
My dad sure knew how to get his daughter to respond IMMEDIATELY ;P

@ Jyothi,
I guess my folks know me only too well, to expect anything better. They just wanted to make sure I was doing well (Dead or alive!)...hee, hee! Hope to see you around more often:)

@ Rachna,
I know I'm guilty on all counts. But it just didn't strike me that I was away for that long and that I needed to call them and let them know how I was doing!

RGB said...

@ Bikramjit,
No wonder they say: birds of the same feather, flock together;) Looks like we're all quite the same. Yeah, we've given some awful sleepless nights to our parents with our antics. Someday, we'll be at the receiving end, huh?!

@ Insignia,
One more birdie in our flock, yippie! True, but I guess as parents, we'll be twice worried over our kids. Then we'll know, what our parents have been through!!

@ Tomz,
That KISS was enough to wake anyone out of deep slumber and respond without any further delay! Ha, ha,...Sherlock Holmes, eh?!

radha said...

I was wondering if the post had anything to do with HISS! Hats off to your dad. And telegram charges were counted by words, so I am sure the message cost was economical and the desired result immediate!!

RGB said...

@ sm,
Thank you :)

@ Nona,
KISS sure did work. Yeah, and I was not one to wait in long queues, leave alone to make a 'hurried' call!

@ kavita,
They knew me quite well and so didn't expect much, but I'm sure they must've been worried. Yeah, the KISS worked like a Kick in the butt ;p

@ Nethra,
No-phone seems unimaginable these days! But yeah, I would still prefer the face-to-face talk over telephone conversations. You too? What should I say, welcome to our flock ;)

RGB said...

@ BK Chowla,
Well, well...more birds than I can count, already!

@ Kavi,
Speaks right to the soul, unhindered, eh?! Sure hope lots of people read it and share what they think of it ;D

Destiny's child... said...

Your father should have been in advertising. He knows how to drive the point home ;)

The Holy Lama said...

A real man of few words begets nil words daughter

This is that said...

I like your Dad, he was being a good dad, letting you be, but letting you know that he was letting you be :) nice memory.

Sandeep Kodam said... were an NCC cadet,must've been really tough going through all this.I went till Pre-RDC and without any proficiency in any musical instrument,I don't think any JD cadet would survive.I was seriously not into it 'coz we had to take huge leave from the school....As for the food and the accomodation,the less said,the better.It's a splendid achievement.kudos!!! well,hoping that you are not a cadet any more...I would've said,Cadet K.Sandeep,AP Sainik School Coy JD NCC Korukonda,reporting maam(haha...)

KParthasarathi said...

There cannot be a better example though laced with humour for the adage'Brevity is the soul of wit'

Darril said...

yeah.. i remember same thing which happened to me in college.. hope you will not forget this in ur lifetime.. and hpy to see that u r RDC candidate.. i am also a RDC return in 2004 batch.. all those were unforgettable moments.. have gone through ur blogs..nice posts.. keep writing...

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello RGB,

In your excitement and thrills at New Delhi camp it appears you have forgotten your folks at home.Your father is very clever.KISS, we used to expand it as Keep It Simple,Stupid.

In any case your clever dad got immediate results from you in the briefest possible words.He is a real go getter,no nonsense man.I am amazed at the way he got everyone in the camp on their toes and made them spring into action.
Well, it is a wonderful life time lesson.

Mobiles have become so handy.I wonder who can do without it. But those days even making a trunk call was such a tedious affair.It took three years for BSNL to give me a land line connection.Everything had changed these days.The world has really progressed by leaps and bounds when compared to those days.

Best wishes,

Rajlakshmi said...

woaaa that definately was a powerful KISS ... how effective were those those words :D

Unknown said...

uve written this so wel..simply worth reading!

Aparna said...

Your dad was super cool! Mine would have landed at the camp surely. Brilliant strategy, wish I could keep things as simple as that, though this was the first thing that was taught to me at an advertising agency.

Chandrika Shubham said...

I liked the telegram message.
I also liked the first excuse for not calling home. :)

Rama Ananth said...

Liked your father's KISS act very much.I have a husband who is a man of very few words. Like he would briefly open his mouth, if there is something in it for him. As if he opened his mouth pearls of wisdom would fall off.
But looked like your father was really worried, and naturally so.
Does he read your blogs?

RGB said...

@ radha,
Just KISS, not HISS. Yeah, cost-effective, instant and with the desired effect ;D

@ Destiny's child,
Father isn't, daughter is ;p

@ Holy Lama,
Yup. Perhaps he knew me too well, that's why I waited till the fag end of the camp, just to make sure I was alright.

@ This is that,
Like the way you put it - short and simple.

RGB said...

@ Sandeep Kodam,
Good to know that you were in NCC too and attended the pre-RD camps. So you must know what I'm talking about! And my experience date back to 1996, so don't worry abt the 'madam' bit ;p

@ KParthasarathi,
Oh yes, agree with you.

@ Darril,
Welcome to my blog. Another RDC Cadet? Wonderful! Glad you like my blog. Hope to see you around more often :P

@ Joseph Pulikotil,
I like your version of KISS too! Yeah, my dad's this no-nonsense no-frills person. Gets instant results. And yes, we've become so dependent on telephones, mobiles and internet - cannot think of a world without it!

RGB said...

@ Rajlakshmi,
The KISS is still wet in my memory ;p

@ Madhu,
Thanks Madhu. Glad you like it :)

@ Aparna,
My dad's cool, but my mom gets very anxious and her constant worrying might have led my dad to shoot that KISS, South to North! He, he...some lessons we've learnt in Advertising ;D Hope to see you around more often.

RGB said...

@ Chandrika Shubham,
Few words can do it, isn't it?!

@ rama,
Maybe he does have some precious pearls of wisdom, what say ;p

Mom must have got dad worried, bcoz she gets anxious all the time! Nope, dad or mom don't read my blogs ;D

walk2write said...

Parents are good at that kiss of guilt to the conscience! Now that I've been one for a while, I've decided to perfect that aspect of my responsibility. I guess Americans are a little more crude about the acronym. Here I've heard it means "Keep It Simple, Stupid!" Never from my dad, of course.

RGB said...

@ walk2write
Very true. Never could understand why parents were so concerned about us. Now as a parent, I seem to fully understand :P

In business schools, we're taught 'Keep it Short and Simple', but outside of it, we also follow more or less the crude form 'Keep it Simple, Stupid'...ha, ha!

R. Ramesh said...

Keep It Short and Simple (KISS)..hahha..excellent post ya...cheers friend.:)

A New Beginning said...

Hmm Parents have a way of saying things that can make our soul soul shiver ..:D
But nonetheless they are the ones who make us feel special...loved the post!

RGB said...

@ R.Ramesh,
Tks. Glad you like it :)

@ A New Beginning,
Yeah... 'Parent instinct' I guess! Now as a parent, whatever they did or do makes better sense. Glad you like the post :)

Jon said...

I wonder how the parents sent off kids to camps and outing before the era of cellphones...

I had my sis who went for a tour ...developed conjuctivitis and spent the entire tour chattin with mom thru the cell

Neha said...

ye waali KISS does work :)

shail said...

What brevity! :) I echo Neha, Ye waali KISS does work indeed! :)))

RGB said...

@ Jon,
Yeah, wonder how we survived those days without mobile phones & internet connectivity! Patches up the distances, these techy gadgets, and I don't think we can do without it anymore ;)

@ Neha,
Yes. It's sort of like a permanent KISS! You don't dare make a mistake like that again, ever!

@ shail,
Welcome to my blog. Yeah, one KISS did it!

Anonymous said...



kochuthresiamma p .j said...

looks like your dad doesnt believe in keeping it short and sweet.
loved the post.

RGB said...

@ TD,
You seem to follow the KISS act in letter & spirit! Welcome and hope to see a longer comment next time ;P

@ kochuthresiamma p.j
short, yes! sweet? not by a long shot! Glad u like the post and hope to see you around more often :)

Balachandran V said...

I have arrived quite late here, I know. Somehow missed the post. Loved the post.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to that KISS

I was laughing reading the content of that telegram...

any ways it served the purpose...

RGB said...

@ Balachandran V,
Better late than never :) Glad u liked the post!

@ Stranger,
Yeah, the KISS telegram did serve its purpose. Thanks for dropping by and hope to see you around more often.

Sandhya said...

I missed a couple of posts of yours, RGB!

I could feel how your father felt. Your parents are great for sending you to these camps. I wonder if I would have had the guts to send my children, esp. daughters away for such a long period!

And I admire you, RGB!

RGB said...

@ Sandhya,
So nice of you to stop by my earlier posts :) My dad's very different - he has brought us up to be self-reliant and independent and has never interfered with what we wanted to do with our lives. There were these unwritten rules of course, which my sis and I stuck too and never took advantage of the freedom we had. My mom on the other hand is quite the opposite (striking the balance in our family!). She gets anxious for just about everything. It must have been her constant worrying that my dad bothered to send that telegram!

I'm like my dad I guess. But my hubby is sort of over-protective (like my mom - role reversal for the fine balance in life!).

Sandhya said...

'role reversal'...good! Take care.