Monday, December 26, 2005

Best of Seinfeld 2

[1]
Jerry and George sit in a booth, discussing the previous night. George fingers his chin thoughtfully.

GEORGE: The same outfit?

JERRY: The exact same outfit.

GEORGE: How many days was it between encounters.

JERRY: Three.

GEORGE: Three days. Well, maybe you caught her on the cusp of a new wash cycle. You know, she did laundry the day after she met you, everything got clean and she started all over again.

JERRY: Possibly, but then shouldn't the outfit only reappear again at the end of the cycle?

GEORGE: Maybe she moved it up in the rotation.

JERRY: Why? It's our first date, she's already in reruns?

GEORGE: Very curious.

JERRY: Indeed.

GEORGE: You know, Einstein wore the exact same outfit every day.

JERRY: Well, if she splits the atom, I'll let it slide.

[2]
(Setting: Monks Cafe. George and Jerry are sitting across from each other)

GEORGE: Let me ask you something. When you go into a store, does it bother you that they make the security guard just stand there all day?

JERRY: No.

GEORGE: See, didn't bother Susan either. That's why I'm different. I can sense the slightest human suffering.

JERRY: Are you sensing anything right now?

Friday, December 23, 2005

1980---85

Our generation barely experienced the television revolution. Lucky ones, like moi, had cable TV since class 6th. (don't squirm please - no smugness intended).But most of us only briefly soaked the beauty of Friends and Philips Top 10 before we were whisked away for our graduation. School stuff didn't have anything to do with cable television. We were the captive audience for the broadcasters of Doordarshan - Chandrakanta, Alif - Laila, Mahabharat and similar shows had its fan base in the 80's kids. In retrospect, these seem like terrible productions, with archaic quality and sluggish storylines. But we loved them. I remember my friend dressing up as Kroor Singh for some function (I of course, being the non-DD-kid, found it to be quite uncool).

Email, internet, mobiles and the whole networking phenomenon completely missed us. Life had school friends. Life had neighbourhood pals. Some were common, and I couldn't have cared less about that fact. We shared lunches, punches and cricket games. Contacting someone meant cycling/walking up to their house. I don't have a single memory of calling up friends from my place for any reason. The phone was expensive. period. When we shifted to a new place, we bid farewell. Sure, addresses were exchanged with the pretty females (where are you Anshumala, Neha Jolly, Neha Sharma, Ruchika,,,,). But letters were tedious and unmanageable for a teenager who was busy making new friends in a new school/place. So I simply started all over again. After 12 years of schooling in over half a dozen institutes, I am left with 15 odd contacts, most of them being from high school. It'll be a miracle if I find my old buddies later in life. 1985+ of course have had gmail,email and airtel at their disposal. Pretty lucky, I must say...

The transition, or the first experience of english music is always special for a hindi-bred Indian. For majority of us, this experience happened in the last few years of school life. A few popular and common numbers are :

Aqua - Barbie Girl
Backstreet Boys - Everybody
Boyzone - Words
Macarena

Our generation wasn't about MP3's and illegal music. We quitely and systematically exchanged tapes to share our music. Custom made collections were revered. Buying 40/- hindi tapes was uncommon. Buying 125/- english tapes was unimaginable. It simply wasn't done. Some hep rich kid would do the good deed, and the 4 minute masala would trickle down to the have-nots - slowly but surely. The simple song structure and unusual accent seduced even the most ardent hindi song fans...Saturday Night I feel the air is getting high....It has made me swing right now. Somehow, those memories/visuals are etched deeper in my grey cells than what the last five years have offered me. There is this little neuron that perks up when one of those songs are played - Hey, I recognize this one really well. Remember Sameer's birthday party....And visuals start pouring in - clear and fuzzy ones. Thankfully, my brain remembers the fun moments quite well. And how can we NOT have fun with Macarena!

Watching the first western video was also a big deal. The auditory freshness, combined with the new oomph of western culture makes an explosive combo. The colours are different, sexual content is noticeably higher, lyrics incomprehendable and they seem to be having a lot more fun. Any newbie is left flabbergasted, immediately filled an urge to emulate. A teenager's brain captures the frames, movements and details much more efficiently (obviously - a gaping mouth and wide eyes will accept more content). I watched the video of 'Get Down' by Backstreet Boys tonight. My first reaction was goosegumps. Then I started dancing. Amazingly, I knew when exactly Nick (the blonde one) would flick his head and AJ would bawl. My third reaction was to put this all down in words....

I feel the 'music' years of one's life are not the baby years, or the pre-teens. It is wholly and only that brief decade between the age of 13 and 18 that just zips by. The tunes you listen to and appreciate in these years stay with you. After that, your taste buds tend to appreciate only those styles/genre of music. A decade later, these kids pop up, whose music pricks you - and you end up sounding like your dad - 'What crap are you listening to ? Aaj kal ke bacche bhi...'

Boy I love my generation :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Requiem for Moochie

You were great while you lasted
Always looking so falsely plastered
You slowly grew from thin to thick
But not really bushy as I had imagined
Some said UGH! and some said AAH!
And I said to hell with you all

I never knew what to do with you
Did I want to be an Uncle or a coo-chee-poo
Why was it so obnoxious to have a moochie
Was the man symbol not even a bit sexy ?

As you lie there in the sink
It really makes me think
Will I regret this step
Am I enjoying this new chikna look
Questions of this kind
Will only be answered with time
Some will say UGH! and some AAH!
And I'll say to hell with you all

Monday, December 12, 2005

Chachi and me


A twin purchase at Sarojini Nagar Market.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Neal n Nikki

Welcome to Canada.
Step into Van Couver - the land of promiscuous bouncy girls who are eager to jump and jiggle for our hunk Neal.
Hey
I am the Neal
I am the man
rockstar
superstar

For all the pre-hate I had built up for Uday Chopra, his role in the movie turned out to be quite subdued. Well, he did pretend to be a cool-unperturbed-football playing-female magnet. But by the end of the movie, someone had successfully surpassed him in his IQ - Irritation Quotient. And do you want to know who that is ?
She's Nikki Bakshi
Sweet and Sexy
Always Rocking
Hot and Happening

They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I've got another wisecrack for you - The way to a woman's stardom is through her breasts. Meet Tanisha Mukherji. Did she act well ? I have no idea. You see...She was mouthing dialogues. Some might have even made sense. But her clothes were amm...amm...Sadly, that is all we males noticed in the 120 minute brassiere commercial. They were everwhere. I tried. I tried hard not to talk about them. But....
If you think for a second, you'll realize that all the past few entries into Bollywood have done this. Done what ? They sold their 'badan' to the indian audience and then turned to meaningful cinema after a few movies (or at least claimed to do so) - Neha Dhupia, Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra and of course Mallika Sherawat. Of course, the last lady has truly accomplished something. And I am not talking about the 9 minute scene in The Myth . She has made kissing a part of the indian melodrama. Sure, the actors appear quite uncomfortable. And the kiss, which seems appropriate in most of the english movies, seems out of place in this film. But hey! At least Shiv Sena isn't tearing down the posters anymore. Whatever happened to good old indian culture ?

All the songs in the movie are jarring. Each giving Miss Nikki a reason to display, flaunt, strut or jiggle. Each song also had valuable rap-inputs, a phenomenon that definitely requires another post. I can't understand what makes the music directors add a line like 'shake your booty' or 'i want you baby' within a bhangra beat number. Lets face it - a majority of the audience doesn't even know what booty is. Most of them are probably awestruck by Miss Nikki's assets. Who cares about the lyrics!

This new urban-hip-indian is going to appear on the screen quite a few times in the coming years. Isn't that the new Indian dream ? To wear good clothes, to swig that mug of beer, to glide in the shopping malls and spend a fortune on the line of girls wooing you. Sadly, the last piece is missing for most of the males out there. There are no such flirting females. No one to call them cute/handsome/crap. No one to whom they can pretend to be chivalrous. And hence Yash Chopra manages to concoct a fantastic dream for this average BPO moron. Well done!

Nice is out. Naughty is in.
Ya right.

Friday, December 02, 2005

AIDS

Please go through this first (thank you Sandeep) : PM at NYL convention
We all know what AIDS is. We, the smooth middle or upper-middle or middle-upper or upper-class of society, blessed with telephones, broadbands and access to the world's information know how deadly it is. We, the public/private/sainik/government school bred population, know that a condom can arrest the spread of the disease...So ?
How does the message penetrate to the groups that need it badly ? How will the sex workers (the profession unfortunately is illegal in our country) learn the basics ? This certainly isn't the medium. There is no bleak possibility of a truck driver, the major customer of this trade (and hence the disease), reading this post. So what can we do ?
I felt exactly the same way after watching Matrubhoomi. It was a commendable effort by the team. But I AM not the perpetrator of these acts. So how did it help the cause, the fact that I (and many other IIT brains) got disturbed after watching the film ? Logically, it seems the vision was to mobilize public sentiments so that it effects stricter laws against infanticide. Well, that certainly hasn't happened. So what can we do ?
A dozen India problems are popping in my head now (all common jargon now) - corruption, poverty, Deve Gowda, population, labour laws.... But if it is of any consequence, I agree with the PM. Let's get our youth out of this AIDS mess first.
So what can I do ?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Best of Seinfeld

(A few Seinfeld quotes will be put up here periodically so that at least a few of those sitcom cynics relent and start watching what the world and I consider The greatest TV show of all time )

George : "Let me ask you something. What do you do for a living, Newman?"
Newman : "I'm a United States postal worker."
Jerry : "Aren't those the guys that always go crazy and come back with a gun and shoot everybody?"
Newman : "Sometimes..."
Jerry : "Why *is* that?"
Newman : "Because the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there's never a let-up. It's relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more! And you gotta get it out but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in. And then the bar code reader breaks and it's Publisher's Clearing House day!"
(Seinfeld - The Old Man)

(Jerry,George meet Marla, Stacy)
Marla : Jerry.
Jerry : George, Marla.
George: Marla.
Marla : George. Jerry, Stacy.
Jerry : Stacey.
Stacy : Jerry.
Jerry : George, Stacy.
George: Stacy.
Stacy : George.
Jerry : George.
George: Jerry... Marla... Stacy!
(Seinfeld - The Virgin)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blog Symbiosis

A few days back, a friend of mine bluntly asked me, "I don't think many people read your blog, do they ?" While I grappled to find a nice defensive answer, he added, "I mean - I don't see many comments." I was perplexed, slightly dented and wondered if the shift from mailing to blogging was actually a good idea.

A blog is similar to shouting out to the world - your views, stories, pictures..anything. A better analogy would be that every day 15,000 individuals are getting their own TV channel. But what good is a TV channel if nobody watches it ?

Hence it becomes important in the blog world (and possibly the real world too) to develop a mechanism of - "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine."

There are 2 reasons why traffic may be low in a blog :

1) It stinks - bad content (although the reverse may not be true)
AND/OR
2) The owner has not developed an active BC (blog circle)

Assume that a person P is a fortnight old in the blogging world and wants to create his/her circle of blog-readers. Exhortation and direct advertising never works well (ask me!). Assuming that the content is decent and interesting enough, how can a blog turn into a hit ?

The back-scratching mechanism demands that you read other people's blog if you want them to read yours. Secondly, an active blog with comments sprinkled from various sources looks much more appealing than an ominous 0 comments.
Here is the 3 step method to become a hit @blogspot :

1) Comment like hell! Standard responses being nice; cool!; I agree with you; A pertinent comment will always be preferred. But hey! Don't waste time reading all the junk out there.
2) Using step one, develop a BC (blog circle) that does back-scratching. An existing circle like a wing or a dept group would make things easier.
3)Of course, you better write well if you want the hoopla to sustain!

The truth is that there isn't an easy way to keep track of blogs right now. It takes a ton of effort to go to all the blogs that you want to read. I am still grappling with this RSS thing. Once I am done exploring, I promise a post that'll make your life much easier....

Sunday, November 27, 2005

India-China

It is amusing that BBC decides to use this picture

to represent India as an emerging power...

But uses this picture

to describe the same status for China...

weird.

original article can be viewed here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Solidus

Tagged by Sudarshan

1. flip open a dictionary and point to a word / get word of the day from dictionary.com
2. type the word into google images.
3. pick an image that strikes you.
4. write a 10 line riff off the image.
5. use the word or the meaning at least once within the first 5 lines.
6. tag 3 other bloggers on your list.

solidus \SAH-luh-dus\ Audio icon • noun
1 : an ancient Roman gold coin introduced by Constantine and used to the fall of the Byzantine Empire
*2 : a mark / used typically to denote "or" (as in and/or), "and or" (as in straggler/deserter), or "per" (as in feet/second)




The question haunts me repeatedly
Do I belong here or there ?
A solidus to my two selves
fabricates this impervious wall

I can't run back to my family
I can't forego this silly royal crown
A cartload of solidus
Won't relieve this anguish of mine

Where did I come from ? Where do I go ?
Where do you come from Cotton Eye Joe ?


3 people I tag :
Sameera
Deepak
Arnav

Seven Nuggets

Oh god. another stupid introspection.

7 things to do before I die

1) Bungee Jump
2) Meet the Seinfeld Cast (provided they are alive then)
3) Earn lots of money
4) Learn how to buy happiness
5) Understand modern art and all that shit
6) Open a restaurant(s)
7) Savour all kinds of music of the world

7 things I can do


1) Drown myself in good music
2) Swim Decently
3) Savour a cup of tea
4) Remember numbers,lyrics,tunes,people well
5) Tune my sense of humour to many forms
6) Listen.Talk.Both
7) Go crazy/dance/sing/laugh like no one's watching

7 things I say the most


1) Accha ? Serious ?
2) Yaaaaa...But..
3) Hahahahahahaha
4) Crap
5) Moron
6) What the hell!
7) Okkkke

7 things I can't do


1) Hide my happiness or any other emotion
2) Feel anger for a prolonged period
3) Not be cynical
4) Ignore off-beat or off-tune performances
5) Take a hint
6) Be generous to stingy individuals
7) Play cricket or any other sport well

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex
crap!

1) Looks (the whole bloody anatomy)
2) Intelligent conversation
3) An extremely keen sense of humour
4) Down to earth(iness ?)
5) Soft hair
6) A damn good fashion sense
7) A wide unfettered smile

7 celebrity crushes

1) Angelina Jolie
2) Catherine Zita Jones
3) Ayesha Takia
4) Jennifer Aniston
5) Mariah Carey
6) Alanis Morissette
7) Aishwarya Rai

7 people I wish to tag
seven ?

1) Sameera
2) Poornima
3) Deepak
that's enough!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hip Hop

The masses have no clue what's in store for them. Suddenly, because of a series of voluntary actions, the cruel forces of gravity take control of everything. Chests heave, asses jiggle and one's body is exposed to a limit only short of nudity. Any rudiments of fat, obesity and paunches that one had effectively lost or hidden under tactful layer of clothes gain the attention of onlookers. Oh god! He's skipping!

I don't disavow it. There is something distinctly wrong with the whole sport. Some want to deny this activity even a membership of the sports club. The root of its problem lies it its actions (Karma, if that helps) - there are no limits to break. Take for instance the game of cricket. A batsmen can whack the ball to distances unbound by the field; Oooh..nice shot! While skipping, I genuinely can't do much. I can skip. I can skip faster. A bit smoother. That's about it.

There is a putative belief that Skipping is for the opposite sex. The moment one tries to mobilize and move with the rope in some direction, the action becomes distinctly girlish. Girl hops. Man runs. Girl giggles. Man growls. Girl skips. Man doesn't. Masculinity melts away when one's wrists flick a curvy rope in a smooth curvy action over one's head while the legs snootily ignore the oncoming rope and gently hop over it. I am proceeding in a direction, looking distinctly unintelligent. As if I missed the early classes of 'How to Walk' and am destined to reach places using this dysfunctional stride.

I might be in a really bad mood. But while repeatedly jumping up and down, I am sending out strong signals of joy. Yipee ! I screwed up my viva. Some of the inquisitive neighbours choose that very moment for a bout of small talk. 'Why are you doing this ?' 'Ha Ha. Abe you are looking ****' 'Hmm...If all you wanted to do was jump a thousand times, and really go nowhere, then what's the rope for ?' And as my brain struggles with the two actions of jumping and not-tripping, I am unable to come up with the right zinger. So I do what I think I do best. Skip.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Kill K3

Here's the question that has really wracked my brain. If you were given an option to kill one and only one of these three individuals, which one would you pick ?

1. Kumar Sanu
2. Shahrukh Khan
3. Karan Johar

Any strong reasons supporting the same are welcome.
I love the confusion that overwhelms people when they are presented this googly. I hope the net doesn't ruin that.
Think hard.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bubbly Times

Denunciation of Advertisments is one of my favourite pastimes. Some of them are truly spectacular. But the rest...well..

It is very probable that this para will take an ugly turn and no longer convey the opinion(s) it was supposed to. So here's my primary feeling - I HATE SHAHRUKH KHAN. phew ! Lets continue.
There is an awkward feel to this ad. It seems to say, 'We, the owners of Pepsi, can put up any kind of sh*t and people will still call it cool and buy more of our stuff.' I have always been a loyal Pepsi guy. It probably has something to do with the red colour of Coco-cola, or the fact that at the age of 13 it was really important to have strong opinions. The ones that didn't matter didn't change and hence eight years later I still frown at Coca-Cola fans.
There is something quire irritating about the smug female in the snug pepsi shirt ; or the primitive frame-animation technique used in the ad ; or the great Shahrukh Khan himself. It has provoked quite a few heated discussions at home But surely an ad which stirs such emotions will have a high recall value ? Ha. I am sorry Pepsi. 'ye pyaas hai badi'. But 'ye dil maange more' than just SRK.

I love this kid. Her name is Shriya Sharma. When the Asian Paints Ad was shot in 2004, she was just 6 years old. Oh boy what spunk! The ad shows her as a sanguine elder sister goading her brother to cut books, drawings and clothes to personalize the walls of their house. A vent for their imagination - kyonki har rang kuch kehta hai. The theme, the catchline and the ad are all tied up to form a colourful 30-second package. Her language is adorable - 'bindass kaat' ; 'main hoon na. bas kaat'.

: I am sure those of you who spared even an hour over these few weeks for the idiot box would have seen this one. The jingles goes like this :

Naya Maggi, Aaya re aaya
isme protein, HO isme calcium !


A preposterous claim by Nestle that Maggi (which apparently has suddenly turned 'healthy') will provide upto 20% of nurtition for the child. These guys just love statistics. Since majority of the aunty-public can just crunch maggi and not these numbers, they are the supreme tools of swaying opinions.
The ad also features the 'cute-surdi' who seems to be a current favourite among ad-makers. Upto 33% of those who claim to be in-charge of 75% of the creative opinons have tried to incorporate the caricature. There is the Green-Ply ad, which features a tamil-speaking baby surdi. Maruti alsodisplays a jovial baby-surdi who jiggles and expresanses amazing amount of enthusiasm for a car which he won't drive for atleast another decade (Unless they live in Tilak Nigar, in which case the boy will drive on the streets after conquering the 5ft height barrier).
I appeal to all the aunties(and their children who are more likely to read this). Maggi won't contribute to any nutrition you want your children to relish. They in fact will turn out out fatter and a lot of more stupid if they dig into Maggi every day. On the flip side, they'll be much happier, like the yellow kids in the advertisment... tough choice.

Others :

Good ones : Hutch Delhi Half Marathon; Hutch chota recharge; Garnier Shampoo
Bad ones : Tata Indicom (Kajol and Ajay D) ; Hawkins ; Pizza Hut - Freshizza

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

La da dee dum...

It is that time of the year again....

When bathing is no longer a priority, a necessity or a part of the morning routine...
When the fan is dispensable, when ONE is as good as TWO and THREE is a bit excessive...
When a stubbed toe is slightly more painful than before....
When normal water is too warm and frij-jal is too cold...
When not wearing a jacket is neither manly nor wise, but wearing one is silly...
When I search for my slippers more frequently...
When tea can be savoured and sipped immediately after it is served...
When I no longer need to say, "Verma ji, aaj badi garmi hai..nahi ?"

ahh...winter is on its way...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ecologics

The decision to subscribe to ET was a cold-calculated decision. Delhi Times had not printed the legs of Mallika Sherawat for quite a while and my brain longed for some pointless matter. Of course, there was this whole mumbo-jumbo about Economic Terms making sense to people after a fortnight of regular ET perusal. It's been a fortnight. I think the paper is cool (if that word is still legal & functional), despite the caramel semblance. Supplements add weight just enough to justify the two rupee tag. It consists of a front page, displaying more colour than its kins. The centerpage, similar in format to TOI, has opinions of heavyweights on serious topics. Somehow, I get a feeling that the news is recycled....

Sure, the stocks are up. But everyone knows that 'what goes up must come down'. T.V's are cheaper. Gold is dearer. I recall televisions being cheaper a few years ago. And I remember Sharma aunty cribbing about the price of gold at that time too. So what has changed baby ?

The best job that the ET organization currently offers is that of the 'cool-photo-guy' (I believe that is the offical title). Here is a man whose job is to procure irrelevant pictures for each article to divert the reader's attention from the cornucopia of figures and numbers. He probably functions from a plush office with lots of google windows streaming rays of polychromatic hoochamoocha. I assume that the firm has given him quite lucid instructions - translate the title directly,nahi to masti maaro . Even Poornima puts in more effort than the mammoth publication.For instance, a waitress with a fruit bowl gazes towards something as Data Corp plans to set up shop in India; Or a woman displays her jeans clad butt for us (the snapshot reads 'Back to Front'). Politics is thankfully free from this, which is why a disconcerted Advani is inserted in the article, instead of a female's belly, for an article on Madhya Pradesh.

Not a penny of mine has found its way into the stock market. Consequently, as the mid-caps and the large-caps fight amongst themselves, I feel a certain indifference for the small investors. The FII's draw more admiration, pulling out and pushing in money as they please, unlike the former who receive just sympathy. Who are these people ? Are they actually smaller in size ? As I glance at the other incomprehensible analysis, my conscience laughs at me ...Ha ! you ignorant fool. But my confidence lies unperturbed. An MBA will definitely solve all my problems. If not, I can always fake it....

I mean, the weather is quite bullish, isn't it ?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What is and Isn't

What is more disturbing than the poor kid on the road who doesn't have access to basic amenities ? A panju aunty passing by the same kid with an empathetic countenance. Whats more phoney than the panju aunty ? An aunty (panju, or any other brand) feeding the helplessly corpulent gou-mata every tuesday. What is more annoying than a generous gou-mata blocking the traffic ? The Dilli waala bellowing his horn at the juncture. What is more maddening than a Dilli Horn ? The root of the traffic jam effecting the din. Whats more annoying than traffic lights ? The poor kid on the road, who doesn't have access to basic amenities, begging for money.

Moral of the story : The poor kid is the root of all problems.

Before you nod and draw some more obscure morals from the above piece, here's another :)

Isn't it better to look away
Than to look and do nothing ?
Isn't it easier to be selfish
Than to pretend that you aren't ?
Isn't it better to get rich
and then be philanthropic
Than to drop that coin
that is pretentiously loud ?
Isn't it simpler to be happy
Than to feel sad for another ?
Isn't it wrong to fake joy
To compensate for another's sorrow ?

Sure there are plenty who perish
And those who achieve little in life
I can sit atop or amidst this junk
and feel blessed and content
Or I can surge to the real summit
And drag a dozen along with me
For if there is rich
There will always be lot of poor
Let us not pull down the pyramid
Leaving everyone with a smile
And a single loaf of bread
Let us thrust the structure upwards
So that the rich will still remain rich
But the poor is no longer poor

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bookish Love

As a last attempt of resusitating my ailing CAT preparation, I boldly went and bought a book specializing in QA (Quantitative Ability). As you may have guessed, crunching numbers was my forte a few years back. But now I struggle with quanta and relish whining about it. It is authored by R.S Aggarwal, a name JEE victors are acquainted with.

Mind you, days without the rigour of a 9 to 6 office routine have their peculiar liabilities, once we accept and eliminate the obvious advantages. Kharagpur's pictureque campus have become unbearably rosy in my visions. And this re-painting happens primarily during my preparation. A few days back, I decided that a new spark was needed and did the good deed yesterday...

I cradled the book quite a few times these two days, doing what I've expalined above. Buying this book was no easy decision. When I offered a few minutes to this topic, it occured to me that it wasn't any different from embracing a girfriend in my life. Flummoxed ? Well thats one of the many emotional aspects of this relationship ...

Love : Ours definitely wasn't a love marriage, or a match made in heaven. I mean, I hadn't felt the need for this book till a few weeks back. Of course, it has its own charm, with the boldness of its letters and the freshness of its pages. But will this last forever ? I know I need it, but is this a permanent feeling ? Will a new, hotter publication with silky smooth pages and wilder colours take her place a few weeks later ?

Commitment : This book did exist on earth all this while, endowed with linear beauty by nature and S.Chand Publishers, enjoying the stationary-scented atmosphere of Delta Stationers. Now, I am obligated to devote to it a few minutes, an hour and many of the same if possible. Frankly, my other material(s) have been with me for a much longer time. Is it justified to rob them of my attention for this book ? Is it so special...Come on ! Its just another book!

Space : Haven't we heard this phrase "I need more space." often? Well, the shelf definitely can handle another burden of rearrangement, but how will my heart react to this change ? The xeroxed and marred pages of IMS tutorials have made pleasant and deep impressions in my grey cells. How can I accept the same formulae, of buyers and sellers, of men and their infinite supply of work and hours, of inaccurate clocks and tardy trains, of milk and wine in a new bottle ? Won't this shake my existent rickety foundation of fundaa ? Have I just made a big mistake ?

I fear I will undergo such feelings of guilt and confusion as the relationship deepens. I hope its presence in my life changes things. Its time now to devote an hour to my love...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Grrrr...

The tents are surreptitiously making their way onto the wide Dilli roads. It is heartening to realize that unlike the city of joy, this city isn't going to come to a halt in the ensuing week. It's just the traffic thats going to be nudged to the pavements.

The disgust caused by the existing jhuggis and the ones growing under the bridges, near the flyovers and along the roads is quite similar to the mental bubble that bursts everytime a tent embellished with red-glittery sprouts on my route. They look so pretentious, so full of politics and crap. My glasses are the exact opposite of rosy-eyed. They are bloody. I see corruption in the sweaty pujari, bogus faith in the devotees and feel impartial malevolence for anyone involved in the drama.

There's no stopping them. No place to scream my head off. No thaana where I can complain about the disturbance, or the excessive noise that'll soon engulf every residential area.

It is tough to explain to an atheist the beauty of the gods and how sacrosanct the whole festival is. It is inconceivable for a devotee to acknowledge the ruckus he is creating, or invigorating. For me, the DP feeling is so alien that Kali ma could have worn a green spacesuit for this spectacular festival.

Happy Durga Puja everyone.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Seventh Sense

As I proudly displayed the ppt presentation to my aesthetically challenged boss, the slide trickled down from the top, like the matrix, the tiny particles taking their respective places and forming the title page. The template was carefully chosen from a bunch of 'Andhra' related images. The subject, since you all are unaware, is a building complex for the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, creatively titled "Andhra Centre". My boss stared at it and said, "ye niche kya kya photo lagaaya hua hai ?" As I patiently sold my idea, I could feel a glaze over his eyes, his brain refusing to comprehend the aesthetics of it. He said, "haan haan...wo drawing sab lagao, phir dekhta hoon"...The wall of the seventh sense, an entity as old as time.

I can imagine the stone age maverick Tim, sharpening his stone tools with his stone knife and heating the stone tip on the flames of the stone fire. As he put his final touches to the disparate image of 'Man Killing Animal', his quarry buddy Bob must have walked into the cave, stared at the painting and said,
"Why are you making holes in the wall?"
"It's art."
"Baah...sab bakwaas hai."

Haven't we all faced a situation, where our brain refuses to countenance an idea, when our apparent ignorance harps at our image ? When the other guy extracts joy from an article, a song, a dance form or a scenery while we gape sans cognition ? While I risk sounding arrogant and undesirably proud, I can confidently say that I am adequately high up on the scale to go ahead with this. I think it isn't a binary switch, or a DNA gene chromosome-thing that God forgot to attach. It is a pleasant scale (from one to ten) where the seventh sense displays its strength at varying levels. I think it follows the 80% - 20% fundaa too. I am sure researchers are devoting months into this issue, trying to discover a way to gauge it. So lets not get pseudo-technical, ok?

This concept of pseudo appreciation flows into the realms of music too. I feel this novel kind of pity (with a streak of amusement) when I come across an individual devoid of a beat and/or music sense. There are few images more counterfeit and pretentious than chinki (or non-chinki) dudes head-banging in a concert, out of sync with the song. I guess peer pressure can make one do crazy things. Back home (at Kharagpur), we encounter aspiring musicians and image-builders, who informally audition for a spot on the band. Bengal, with all its music background and rich culture, seems to have a lot of chlorine in its gene pool *. I have really come across gems every year, who refuse to stick to the rhythm, trip and eventually fall out of the music group. A good voice without a beat sense is as pointless as a blonde bimbo without you-know-what. At least an incompetent guitarist has a functional instrument to offer. A singer's larynx neither makes a good dish, or a showpiece. I wish I had the velleity to say it to their face (like Kramer) - "Why don't you just give up ?"

My dad relates these horrendous anecdotes of officers, playing Jagjit Singh tracks and wah-wah-ing endlessly. I am sure there is a buffoon living in your neighbourhood too, who elaborates with pride 'Uske chehre se parda sarakta jaaye...wah wah wah'. Kawaali and Shaayari are much worse, and I wouldn't want to drag them into the mud here. Maybe some other day...

There are quite a few of us, wondering "Why is a skewed image of Kali selling for over 1.5 million dollars ?" I wish someone would give the answers.

* quoted by Jerry Seinfeld

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Crow Water and Stones

[Dedicated to Doel Ghorai, the sparkling star of Sept. 2005]

You know, finding old pals of yesteryear doesn't have the same charm anymore. Where are the scented/non-scented letters, the euphoria of long years of absence, the delight of hearing a friend's voice on a crackling phone ? It is like the story of the crow and the pot of 'little' water.

Back then, papa crow smiled and explained how little stones plopped into the pot would eventually lead to a rise in the level of water. The little crow boy nodded and went about collecting the otiose stones and dropped them one by one. Eventually the level rose satisfactorily.
The little crow, his pot of water, his girlfriend all lived happily ever after without any thirst.

The End ? Of course not.

In case you are still interested in the analogy, the pals i am talking about are the little stones, whom I, the little crow, have to carefully choose and retain in the pot, so that I may enjoy the water, which signifies the fruits of true friendship. Too good huh ? Here is another one. The Papa crow is our conscience, asking us to act the right way. The stones are the efforts we put in, allowing us to taste the water. The impatient and careless ones add no stones, and expect the water to rise when they want it to (wow, this is fun).

Here's the final one. The water is actually various forms of communication. The papa crow is the ideology we follow that decides how well we stay in touch with our friends. He is ignorant. The water doesn't need help. The little crow does. He shouldn't drink more water than required, which would eventually make him sick. The right amount of water and the right number of stones would ensure that he doesn't remain thirsty, drunk or stone-less.

Ignoring the bakwaas, I feel this age provides us with tremendous opportunities for reinforcing relations. The snickering and giggling ones please understand I am not restricting this to ladka-ladki stuff. Around 400 of my batchmates passed out this year (yes, with degrees..not daaru). . Sure, my frenergy (friend-energy) peaked around July, when I carefully enquired about their health, their job. Now, the Abhinav Gupta's and Amlan Ganguly's have slipped out of my circle. Of course, an 'out of sight out of mind' attitude has its peculiar advantages. And is much easier to maintain too....

The Yahoo Msg! and Orkuts are great tools to make one's presence felt in another's zone. Forwards and birthday messages are a reticent method of doing this, where you can answer 'present madam' without attracting too much conversation. A tailored message requires a bit of effort and some brain-power. Mails are tougher, requiring an investment of time too. Phone calls consume money. and aaj kal signal bhi nahi aata....

Of course, Technology is not to blame. Nor is my daily schedule the culprit. A few years hence, my phone bill will (hopefully) be a makhhi in my overall expenditure and hence, not a great concern. Now, it is merely a question of choice. Not of chance. I decide. And act.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

WARNING!

These signboards have fascinated me for quite a while.
I wonder if it has an effect on ANYONE at all.
Exhortation of course, has suffered huge limitations.
Here are the top 5 signs I saw on the way to Shimla (which I plan to blog about soon).
Here Goes :
5.

4.

3.

2.

1.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Requiem for Delhi

You sadden me my love
You don't deserve this
Your arteries are choking
Too many of them little worms
teeming, eating you up
Where are you headed Delhi ?

You were aura, you were power
You were grand, you were majestic
What have they done to you Delhi ?
The tumors have spread too fast
The blemishes have turned into scars
Green has turned brown
Blue has turned black
You were so pretty Delhi...

Poor disadvantaged unemployed sick
minority majority rural urban
They all have drowned you
Your endeavour to please them all
Has weakened you my love
The spark in your eyes
is no longer steady
RWA's can't help you today
Can I save you Delhi ?

Your heart silently chokes
Too many of them little worms
and more are breaching thy territory
Khakhi and sparkling white
Are raping you dear
You still smile bravely
and give them space in your heart
How will you survive Delhi ?

Will you survive Delhi ?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tis the season silly!

[from the archives]
You won't believe the weather we are having here for the last few days. Weather is of course the quintessential conversation filler, but this one is exclusively about it. So I am obviating all the disgrace attached to the topic just for this piece. ok ?

The rains have always been unpredictable here at Kharagpur. The day would be sunny, all bright and pretty and WHAM ! We would have heavy rains an hour later - uprooting trees and pushing the cows and dogs to take shelter in our hostels. This year, the truculent batch of rains ended somewhere around mid august, in turn gifting us with ten days of light breeze and azure skies. We ignored mother nature for a while, too preoccupied with pseudo academic activities. Then, the new improved Kharagpur rains came unannounced.

It started off with a chilly night a week back. People dug out smelly blankets and hideous full sleeved t-shirts. The following day's breakfast session seemed like a day from deep winter. Handkerchief covered noses, majority of the students with unshowered hair and uncleansed body beneath it, double layered clothing and a few of those fashionably matched too. The tea that morning was relished like God's own nectar. God it seemed, was undecided about the weather he wanted to present to this forsaken institute. Hey ! He wasn't even sure whether to puncture the cloud and let the water pour down.

So it all froze in mid-air. Yes..Droplets so small, that they were too scared to touch the muddy ground, so lethargic that they waited for our skin to move through the air and tagged along. The clouds would neither cry their hearts out, nor move on with their life. They remained transfixed, not sure how and when to let go off their offsprings.

The dilemma seeped through our skins too, infecting our brains. Was the rain really umbrella-worthy ? A tough conflict between bearing the teasing drops on the face while having an umbrella in the bag and putting up such a strong defence for such a feeble foe.

We all waited. We all silently wished the clouds away. We wished that the classes would be suspended. We hated it. We loved it. It was the right thing happening at the wrong time, like most of the events of our lives....Imagine a slight breeze at one in the afternoon, pushing out all the stenches of the hostel room. Imagine the droplets bouncing on the sill, some bold enough to wet your feet. Picture yourself doing the thing you like best - reading a novel, watching your favourite Shahkrukh Khan or simply dozing off. Who would anyone want to read drivel about Summer Air Conditioning Refrigeration Cycles when the room is blessed with the exact humidity ratio and the dry air flow rate is just right ? It is one of those moments in life when you undergo a violent battle with your conscience, justifying the laziness, trashing thyself, blessing the weather, cursing the class schedule, repeatedly delaying the alarm on the computer, minute by minute, to the limit when you can't grant yourself a second of inefficiency. Here the class of IITians gets divided into two simple groups. Those who win the battle with their conscience and blissfully enjoy their free hours, and those who are bold enough to tolerate the ennui that IIT offers us, all paid for of course.

I am not really sure who has the last laugh. The one who enjoyed this miniscule fraction of his life, or the one who was productive during the same span of time. It doesn't really matter anyway. Does it ?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Logo

My Output.
As expected, I am damn proud of it.
It makes no sense. Just some logo-like things. If any of you own a startup, and want a logo made within a budget of Rs 300/-, you know who to contact :)



Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Male Fantasy - Oo La La!

No Intro. No Lies. All truth. Here Goes :
There is this female (who can also be called a lady), who I pass by every day. This bandi (noname.001) marches within the confines of her plot every evening around 6:30p.m. She is young, fair, short, cat-eyed, possibly panju. I eye her from the corner of my eye as she purposefully struts from one corner to the other. Although she isn't the cynosure, she does occupy my mind for those few seconds (minutes) as I pass by her house. Diverting from the crux of the article, I think the walk itself deserves a few lines. She isn't rambling. It isn't a leisured stroll. Instead, she marches towards each respective corner with great ferocity. Driving by everyday and delibrately NOT retarding, I have not been able to decipher her exact expression. I am sure she displays a countenance of sound determination.

I am curious. I know - female, opposite sex, attraction, sex...yada yada yada... I am ready to abnegate all that. She intrigues me (like many pretty females). I wouldn't mind halting near that formidable corner gate and yell out, "Aur ji, kya chal raha hai ?" ( "Whats up ?" is too foreign and "Ki Holo ?" is too Bengali). It requires a great amount of courage and some seeds of stupidity to show genuine interest in someone who marches with such purposefulness. The latter I cultivate in great quantity, while the former I am ready to purchase from China. Just what would be the best way to broach the subject ?

An Ice-cream would be perfect. Not too personal, not too time-consuming. Quite friendly for the common amm...light walleted individual. Maybe a platonic hand-wave would serve as an ice-breaker (in case any of it exists in the sultry Delhi weather). But what kind of a nut-case wearing a crooked helmet and riding a non-Pulsar vehicle greets a stranger ? A false enquiry from an allegedly lost stranger would surely gain the interest of the subject. But sadly, our conversation will limit itself within the boundaries of Nirman Vihar. Our chats many years later would gently revolve around Delhi and its housing settlements. While I may enjoy the repartee as an aspiring architect, once in a while I might long for other delightful discussions. And what about my (our) kids ? Would they sustain the same respect for their father, when they hear the lame incident resulting in the holy matrimony of their parents ? Surely, such kids devoid of love and regard for their parents would grow up to be criminals of great nuisance. I am surely not ready to foster such punk offsprings. Hence, the 'stranger' character isn't quite the right move.

A rapid vehicle upgradation should boost my image considerably. This weekend, I went to my favourite mechanic and got the front brake lever installed. The indicators work occasionly. That should do. Do females notice scooter indicators ? Phuleeez ! The new rearview mirror has a fancy rectangular shape, a breakaway from the banal circular ones. The scooter wasn't given a wash to give it a cool natural look. But sadly, this overhaul hasn't improved things for me. I still feel incomplete.

I am ready to try the new brands too. The 'hassi' toothpaste Close-Up, Sugar-Free tablets for my office tea, 'DJ Doll' ringtones. Some of that advertising crap has got to be true...I hope..

Being quite naive regarding the greeting females-who march in-your office neighbourhood subject, I am struggling hard to find the best solution. Any suggestions ?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

India @ 2005

I enjoy wallowing in this pseudo feeling of anti-patriotism.
I refuse to humour pretentious expressions of India.
India is not defined for me by the flag and the anthem.
The truth is I don't have a definition for 'my India'.
I am not ready for it. yet.

The songs we sang in school extolling have had zilch effect on the P word's definition.

'ganga jamuna saraswati milte hain...somewhere'
'himalaya on right, kashmir on top and some stuff down there'
'keep going, lead the nation, you youth of india etc etc'

Big deal.
And don't even start on the culture crap. If Bharatnatyam and Yoga were the key to success, we have been attacking the wrong locks!

They say (and I do believe the statistics this time) that India is going to be a youth-majority nation for the next few decades. Our ideas and enthusiasm are going to push India into the league of developed nations...hmmm...

I have these little aspirations, which presently I don't mind spilling out here. No harm done. No ideas to steal.
I want to open up a restaurant, explore the ghaplaas that take place in running it.
I want a career that satisfies my subdued need for adulation.
I want to open institutions which impart knowledge - of furniture design, of thinking rationally, of construction...

It is no surprise (to me) that "India" and its upliftment doesn't explicitly appear as an agenda up there. In fact, through these few months in Delhi, I constantly frown at India-ness. The illegally occupied lands, the traffic, pan-spitting people, garbage,fraud in business, bribes....Pity ? No way. Just shoot down those ba*tards !

For many ulterior motives, I force myself to read articles beyond my immediate interests. These encompass views of entrepreneurs, visionaries and those who wish to and are changing the face of India. I love the way they are painting future India. The way SAHARA and RELIANCE are foryaing into completely new territories. The way RETAIL is going to expand and lift up the standard of distribution and products. And my dear Construction field is supposedly going to be refurbished too (hah !).

For me, patriotism is not limited to, or rather defined by inch long flags and tri-coloured clothing. I want to change things. I want improvement. I am ready to do something.

But what ?
Can I be a part of it ?
A part of what ?
How ?

Happy Independence Day.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Saturday, August 06, 2005

3 Men and a girl

Tis funny how one helmet can screw up your day. How often one uses a cellphone just because it snugly lies in one's pocket. How Swapnil's suggestions can lead to unbearbale situations, and some good ones too. August 3rd left me drained of all energy and full of kissas, which I'll capture here ASAP (As Short As Possible).

Quick Facts - Surya came over to Delhi for a day. Swapnil and I skipped work for the same day. Vatsala joined us around 1pm and stayed till dinner. What you don't know is that we spent a majority of the day in 2 groups. Surya and I traversed Chandni Chowk and the rest of Delhi, hopping buses,rickety rickshaws and handling the scorching sun. The other two spent the day at JNU (I think), travelling through the beautiful lanes of Delhi on a scooter. MY SCOOTER! Tis funny how the lack of a helmet can screw up your day..

August 3rd began with a healthy breakfast at Holistic Food Centre in IIT Delhi(yes, you can laugh at the name). 3 people. 1 helmet. Hence, I drove to IIT-D. They came by bus. After spending an hour in the campus, Swapnil drove back to his place. We followed in an auto.
Sandwich cost - 7 x 3 rupees
Travel cost - 12 rupees (auto) + 8 rupees (bus) + petrol cost.

Time passed quickly at Swapnil's residence and soon it was 1p.m. Vatsala joined us around then, and was lucky to witness ace decision making by 3 archi's. Shahi Paneer or Matar Paneer..Butter or no Butter Roti...We finally got the dishes right and ordered from Swapnil's favourite "Punjabi Dhaba" - only 17 rupees lunch. Food was good, and worth's its price.

The afternoon events were quite enervating. A string of bus journeys commencing at Yusuf Sarai and ending at Dilli Haat - some meetings, some shopping, some arguments, some shady deals. The four of us met at round 8p.m at Dilli Haat. For all the driving that had taken place, the scooter had apparently been refilled with petrol worth just 20 bucks. But you know how efficient vehicles are nowadays. And with the dirt-cheap petrol prices, who cares about money!

Dilli Haat shopping was fun - exacerbated by Surya's indecisiveness and Swapnil's sarcasm. Vatsala gave excellent "girl" suggestions. I nodded with perfect timing. I'll recommend the place to anyone who adores "Indian" goods and is unaware that the same is available at Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar market at half the price. Shopping over, we headed back to Yusuf Sarai for dinner.

As we walked through the nostalgic lanes of the market, images of yesteryear flashed in front of Swapnil's eyes - his escapades, his friends, his favourite dining spots. Surya and I were new to all this. We had been repeatedly brainwashed about "City Inn" and its 15 rupees sabzi and 2.5 rupees roti. Some of us were (possibly) excited about having a sasta-dinner. The rest just walked along...

After reaching "City-Inn", we climbed 5 floors non-stop, surveying the one-room dwellers as they did the same. My architect eyes and brains couldn't help being appalled at the ventillation, light, harmony etc...Maybe the restaurant would compensate for all that. We huffed and puffed and reached the roof-top...Lets just say that it was so shabby, that it would have repulsed even the most ardent Cheddi's fans...I vacillated - Maybe the food would expiate the lack of asthetics, seating space and lights. Swapnil hopefully enquired, "kya milega abhi ?". The obese chef/owner replied, "aaj ka special - aalu-parmal sabzi".. . . s i l e n c e.

I ran down the stairs, just in case the scorned waiters decided to stuff some 'parmal' sabzi down my throat. We couldn't eat that, even for enviable archi camaraderie. We instead went to "Punjab Restaurant" - a normal place, with normal waiters, and good tandoori chicken.

The next few hours involved a few more trips on the scooter, which I wasn't a part of. At around 2a.m, we made decisions for the next morning. Plan A was that I would drop Surya (sans extra helmet) at the station en route, and head back home. The safer Plan B was that he would board an auto, and I would drive alongside (tension free)...Instead, what really materialized was Plan C. And as usual, it involved a punctured tyre, discovered at 6:30am...We both hired an auto for the station and left the scooter in Swapnil's custody....

I slept sporadically in the office that day. The boss's presence would perk me for a few minutes. The body ache reminded me of all the events of the previous day. The ordeal ended in the evening, when I took a bus to Yusuf Sarai and drove back home on the repaired scooter. Dilli traffic gifted the last sting by fabricating a traffic jam....just for me. It took me an hour to cover 6 km.

A synopsis :
Sites recommended in Delhi - Chandi Chowk, Indian Habitat Centre, SPA...
Sites to avoid - CITY INN, Dilli Haat...
Buses we used - 502,503,26,335...
Should Swapnil's recommendations be trashed - ?

Photo's will be uploaded soon...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Despo II

You won't believe who else they roped in for Desperate Housewives promotion- Karan Johar!
Well, he's reinvented himself with an OLD UNCLE look (His hair is a homogenous mixture of white and black...and the gay feel is starkly noticeable)I know I sound 60, but fashion has really hit its low-point. Is looking OLD and CRINKLY fashionable now ? You know..I really don't understand today's people...with the generation gap and all.
Three conclusions I've drawn within the last minute :
If you are naive' and read both these posts, you'll think I am obsessed with Karan Johar, Desp. Housewives or both. Well, thats not the case.
If you are like me, then you will feel a built-up urge to kill the subject (not me, Karan Johar!). I am proud of you.
If you are a news-reporter, you can go and blab about how thousands of bloggers are reshaping the world with their views. I can assure you at least 6 people read this and 12 pretend to do so. Thats quite a huge fan following.

Life's dull and revolving sluggishly around 2 planets - my office-life and my home-life. I can't wait to get back to Kharagpur. After that I can complain about my life at kgp and hence crib ad infinitum....sigh..

yee...weekend

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Desperate Housewives

It has such a conspicuous title that 'Friday 10p.m' got stuck in my head. The journey from a cynical "what crap" opinion to a "I am looking forward to the Friday 10p.m show" was quite pleasant. There were a few bumps on the road. First and foremost was the active print-media propaganda (courtesy: Delhi Times). This TOI's supplement suffers from a chronic sex disorder. Here are the headlines splashed over the past week:

"MMS RIYALITY - Riya Sen on the MMS featuring .." - July 20th '05
"Is it okay to have a one night stand with a friend?" - July 19th, '05
"Sex up your Style" - July 11th, '05
"Would you like to Seduce me ?" - July 10th, '05

I am sure even the liberal parents of teens of the 21st century are having a nightmare, deciding how and what exposure to control. Squeezed between the clevage of Pamela Anderson's third marriage pictures and the legs of Mallika Sherawat is the current blog's subject. And ho ho! Far from the K Klan of "Kasauti Zindagi Kay" and "Kab aaegi Meri Zindagi Mein Bahaar", this title emits that formidable stench of sex, turning people away and towards it.

Then Star World decide to attack the issue from another angle. They brought the quintissential suave lady Simi Garewal to convince the ladies of India. With an accent that no being on the planet relates to, she reiterates in a five minute long commercial about how the women of India will (and should ?) relate to at least one of the protagonists. Ya. Thats what the overworked husbands require - An Indian wife who identifies with four desperate lives of four american females.

The 30 second commercials as usual highlighted the "SAX" in the show:
"He wants to grab my ass."
"slurp...." (Female licks young male's index finger)
"uhhhh..." (Female's towel drops and she runs down the street naked)
And then the reverberating voice of the narrator asks- "Are you a Desperate Housewife ?"

Despite all the above stated points, I did watch the first show. Here's what I thought:

Four housewives - Susan, Gabrielle, Bree and Lynette are the lead actresses. Their dead friend Mary Alice (also a part of the D.H gang) acts as the narrator of the show. Most of us (MALES) can be content just looking at Gabrielle (as happened with Pamela Anderson and Baywatch).
***DO PHOTO-SHOOT PRODUCERS REALLY BELIEVE WE ARE INTERESTED IN THE HOBBIES OF HEIDI KLUM AND WHAT KIND OF A MAN SHE'S LOOKING FOR. COME ON! ***
Thankfully, the show goes beyond the sex aspect. There is the "comical dating" content, similar to a zillion other Amercian shows. There is the "being a mother is a pain" stuff, which a broad category of females will enjoy. And the usual "control freak" humour, which is compulsory for any show to succeed.
(F.R.I.E.N.D.S - Monica Geller; SCRUBS - Elliot Reed ;TWO-1/2-MEN - Alan). Editing is slick. There is an annoying parallel storyline solving the mystery of Mary Alice's death. I hope they get over with it soon....

Have I muddled up my line of thought ? Here's the gist of it -
I liked both episodes I've seen so far, but the marketing is awfully annoying. Celebrities and their petty opinions were never squatting on my head, so it is OK...
I wonder if watching "Desperate Housewives" will gel with the existing personalities of the Aunties. Will they be proud/shy/happy to admit they watch the show. I can't wait till ZEE TV apes this concept too and comes up with "AUNTION KI DAASTAN"
Till then, watch the show...but hey! don't let your husbands/boyfriend know...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Good Days Bad Days

* A few defintions so that the newbies are not deterred by the terms :
-->Compartment/Boogie : the 72 berth module of a train
-->Coupe : The 8 berth module within a compartment

As my train (Jhelum Express : from Pune to Delhi) left the station in the evening around six, I arranged my three piece luggage - compacted it into two pieces, chained one of them, used the other rock-hard bag as a pillow...and gazed out. Pune city is beautiful...nature wind weather etc etc. I had great confidence that my diffident poetic self would find courage to emerge and spill some thoughts for the next July blog. The situation was perfect. By some grace of Laloo Yadav, my S7 compartment was empty. A few ticketless gentlemen boarded at Pune, but they were company only for a little while. I munched some chips, read the book(s) at a leisurely pace. Sleep itself wasn't a delibrate task. It just happened...bliss...

The obnoxious kid stared right at me as he squealed, "Aap utro, ye poora boogie hamaara hai!". I looked at my watch to decide whether it was Rahu-Kaal enough to slap the moron. It wasn't. I retorted, "S7. bateeees. mera hai." He turned and walked away. The train began to rumble a few seconds later. I peeked from my side berth. A gazillion replicas of the kid of various sizes began boarding. I thought it was all a bad dream. The kid appeared again and repeated himself. I replied ditto, at an increased volume. He probably heard me this time. I slept no more. The army in orange had arrived. As they established base, I peeked through half-closed eyes, plain confused. Another kid (probably 12 years old) emerged from the chaos, with teeth that screamed chocolate dosage and behaviour that oozed pampering. I enquired, "Kahaan jaa rahe ho aap log". "Vaishno Devi" he said. Pat came the next question, "Kitne log jaa rahe hain?". He nonchalantly replied,"four hundred". Thats when I noticed the t-shirt graffiti - 'Ma Vaishon Devi Samiti, Durga Chowk Itarasi (M.P)' The front side had a curvy 'Jai Mata Di' imprint.I knew it....
This was penalization for all the sins I had committed over the last 20 years - the extra bit of tea I poured in my cup at home, the scale I didn't return to Sameer, the beer I shouldn't have had, the classes I shouldn't have missed...This was the ulitmate Hollywood horror film, and I was the ultimate blond in the bikini screaming at everything, minus the sex angle (Sure, there were two good looking females. But like...nothing happened).

Once the T-shirt ceased to interest me, other aspects took precedence. What amused me initially was that all the saffron people had an urgent need to move in the other direction. And I am giving a full half hour buffer for travel confusion. Bade Miyan, Chote Miyan, Mama Ji, Bhaiya, Fufaa, Fifa - each had a duty they were completely aware of, and it had to be accomplished within that minute...or else.. They pushed and jostled and continuously transported boxes and bags towards and away from where I sat and meekly observed. Aunties screamed for 'mera waala blue bag' while males sincerely searched everywhere. Soon, amusement sublimed to form irritation.

My pee sessions were momentous tasks. I had to plan, mitigate, evaluate and implement mission impossible amidst the din. As I said, the JMD highway no. S7 was no place for mortals like me. I feared I would be swept to the end of the coach by the stampede. Believe me, I have waited over 20 minutes finding the right monent to get down.
Getting down itself consisted of 3 acts -
first : Making sure the floor was clear for the next 30 seconds
second : Spreading whatever stuff possible across berth no 32 so that encroachment was minimized
third : finding my displaced sandals before another contingent attacked.

Ironically, the prettiest lady with the most squeaky voice gave me the dirtiest looks whenever I rummaged under the berth. When I removed her sandals and placed them aside, mama ji sitting above received a curt order, "Mama ji..mere joote andar rakh do !"

While I have felt anger, amusement and indifference for the Pantry workers, this journey evoked a completely fresh chemical reaction - pity. The poor guys (Binay, Jitender and others...) had to wait indefinitely while the JMD gang did all this. And their signals weren't a subtle 'please wait a second while I clear this'. It was a rude stare, followed by 'abe ruk naa yaar!' or a more terse 'time lagega'. This behaviour was quite naturally aped by the kids.

Here's the final pee incident, before you close the window with revulsion. One of the little ones did a little pee-pee (specifically on the pretty lady in the yellow suit). She yelped and handed over the baby to mama-ji and rushed out. I noticed a glittering puddle on the berth and I am sure the other JMDs saw it too. A minute passed and another wandering JMD felt an urge to sit at that very spot. Yes, over the past minute the baby had received all the attention while the berth lay neglected. The tapori's hand rested over the little puddle. No aahs ! No screams. Uninformed, he coyly wiped his hand on his trouser and continued to enjoy the breeze. I silently screamed inside and prayed to Mata that things shouldn't get worse than this.

If the above mentioned atrocities aren't enough, my coupe was also turned into the nerve centre of all food activities. Movement, emotions and volumes escalated during the distribution. The time-table as I remember it :

9 a.m : Poha, Jalebi and Biscuits
11a.m : Tea for everyone - homemade..not pantry stuff.
1p.m : Food : some squishy stuff
4p.m: Kela. Cartons of them. Each individual probably received more than one.
5p.m: Samosa and Cold Drinks
9p.m: Dinner - Pulao and Raita

Ahh..So you noticed the abnormal interval between Pepsi Time and Dinner. That my dear reader(s), was Puja time. And you know what Puja Time is all about ...

dhum dhum chuk, dhum dhum chuk...Three drummers, a clarinetist and thankfully no vocalists. The little babies and aunties presence around me ensured that they sat 3 coupes away. But hey! enthusiasm and raw noise knows no boundaries. Each significant station's arrival would herald a cacophony session lasting for indefinite periods of time. The ensuing energy burst would ripple through the annoying kids, leading to more kiddy-panju behaviour...aaah...

At Nizammudin, as the train left the station, you bet I didn't wave goodbye to a single soul. I didn't exchange addresses. I didn't make small talk with ANYONE throughout the journey (except the abject pantry-waalas) . I didn't smile at the cute babies. I finished a book from start to end, in that order. I do hope one of those JMD's accidently lands up here. That, would be a real test of bhakti...whatever that is...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

You've got rain

Ever had one of those days with azure skies and light breeze where the air is so delicious that you want to take it all in, and the cheerful people strolling on the road wave to you ? Well then, you certainly aren't in Delhi.

(I had no intention of writing this. I read this 'rain' blog on Poornima's and well...I had to trash / complement it.)

It rained a few days back. This isn't about that. It is about this...

Rains look good from a distance. I like the concept of wet-ness and I love wet t-shirts, but I don't want anything to do with it. The surreal impressions of rain, eschewing umbrellas and hairbands, rebelling against the norm, being normal and dry...Sure, the greatest writers and filmakers have caputured felicitous moments and these have percolated through our subconscious too. But are they the moments we know...or just factitious memories ?

The rain is an escape. It is the garibon-ka-saathi politican, the ice-cream vendor, the alms for the beggar, the slayer of heat and its sidekicks. It is the hard-cash we impatiently wait for at the ATMs, the vrrrom.. sound of the vehicle on a cold morning, the weekend after almost a week of labour.

Rain is a phenomenon we all experience. It isn't an everyday experience, like traffic lights, the sunrise or poverty, that become so hackneyed that our emotions have turned stale. Albeit rains occur every year (well, almost), the 9 month gestation period gifts it a refreshing countenance. It is the epitome of equality. It requires no money, no car ownership, no Hutch connection. I have as much freedom to love, hate, comment, enjoy, observe and write about it as any other being on earth. But of course I don't. I have better things to do.

The rain looks pretty while the obese earth pulls it towards its surface. The auditory senses are delighted when the droplets patter on the planes of concrete and tar, or when they merge with their other little friends and go plop! Alas! Man afflicted with the infamopus 3 second attention span doesn't want them around anymore. The poured rain is no longer the cynosure. It is the ex-girlfriend, the vanilla of ice-creams. It is the MMS boy and girl, the guests after dinner..

"Sure we had a good time. Now if you don't mind, could you please go through that hole...Yes right there..the left exit. Watch out for that gulley trap...Quite tricky you know! It isn't that long a journey. You won't even notice the smell. See you soon.."

As I said before,like unpotty trained kids and panju houses, I am happy watching the rain from a distance. A home (with or garma-garam tea) is the perfect place for the rain hedonist. Out there, it isn't a picture. It is war. On the road, the line between the haves and have-nots grows into a deep groove (or a bump, as you like it).The slush on the ground is a good contender for Mr.Equality too. It is either the worker on the cycle or me who gets the splash. I hate wetting him, but hey! at least I am safe..splosh!

As the clouds gather a few kilometres above my head, a rationalo-meter inside my brain warns me of impending danger. It isn't "Aishwarya Rai in Taal" that occupies my head. Nor is it the pakodas at home. My previously defunct survival instincts urge me find a shelter. The desire to reach my office has never been this intense. An instant belief in God materializes, as I pray that the rain doesn't pour down for the next few minutes. It doesn't. The reach the firm almost dry. Already late, I settle into my chair and pretend to work. Ahh... four walls and a roof-slab. What else do you need in life ?

God bless Architecture.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Crisis - Hairstyle

I read quite a few blogs to notice that most of the morons of my age were going through an identity crisis (Who am I ? What's my purpose ? and all that crap). I realized it was too petty an issue to be worried about. I also learnt that most of them write crap and hence, as a blanket rule ; quality doesn't matter in this world. Goodbye "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" fundaa. Goodbye Phargeus ! You never made sense to me.

There are three things that are occupying my mind right now :

1) Are blogs/bloggers really a force to reckon with (as the media portrays it). I'll figure it out sooner or later (in the latter case the media will inform me). It isn't that big an issue.

2) I had a sudden writer's crisis of sorts a few days back; No, not a writer's block (my block is so permanent that I've bored a hole through it to survive in the blog world). I thought writing only funny stuff was a sick thing to do. Since I am doing it again, you know how well I've resolved that issue.

3) But the foremost issue gets title Three. It is a hairstyle crisis. I know Men (I am no longer boy. no arguments on that) styles are available only in two sizes - long and short. Yes, over the decade we have tried to improvise and make the platter appear full - spike, mike, crew, slick, mushroom, potato and other hot titles.

My teachers always had me believing that I had a wonderful head. My mother always had me believing that I had a wonderful head of hair. While the former point is ruled out, my unshakeable confidence in these follicles are beginning to weaken at the keratin level.
Hairstyles in my bachpan were no issue. In fact, till a few years back, hair-style wasn't a term at all. 10 straight years, it was a curt instruction given to the barber - "Bhaiya zaraa baareek kaatna", which meant a close shave effective for the next n months. I am sure it wasn't a monetary issue. Mithun-da style has been lampooned in this house since my birth and any association with it would have meant outright blasphemy. Hence the procedure. The barbers gave it different names - Katora Cut, Crew Cut, Army style. It was a peaceful 'setting' till KGP happened.

Kharagpur instilled in me a great disrespect for the discussed profession. Believe me, they do a really bad job here, especially Sunil Saloon. Hence my hair grew beyond the unthinkable two inches length at college. With time, I relaxed my standards. Now, I sit at home with hair almost reaching 5 inches, and waving beyond control.

Now, my guilt and style fundaa are in conflict.

Centre-partition has given me temporary relief. But as a principle, I'd never attempted this at all. It's a sin! My decade of ignorance robs me of any other ideas. I find Hrithik Roshan sporting lengthy hair, Aamir Khan with curly locks (or is that a wig). These non-entities of peer pressure suddenly seem to support my stance.

A visit should solve the whole problem. But I find it hard to convince myself to part with this gift. Maybe this is what is called attachment. What is the purpose of my hair ? What is my purpose in life ? What-ever !

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Grade F

Oh no!
Excessive sarcasm.
Unwanted exaggeration.
Complete dependence on showcasing stupidity as a virtue.
My blog makes me sick.
Back to basics!
I need a new format.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

D.I.B - The rest of the story

As I was returning from my firm this evening (woo hoo! weekend !), I managed to brake the clutch wire and accelerated sluggishly towards our favourite mechanic shop. While my father's camaraderie with the mechanics is legendary and quite admirable, I distrust them from the bottom of my heart. I think every pore of my face screams out 'Iam ignorant about your profession' and even the most greased up mundu is able to pick up the signal. The scooter spluttered, jerked and halted near the shed. In my most baritone and authoritative voice, I commanded (read requested), "Ye clutch wire change karna hai ...growl growl". As the minutes passed, I began to ponder. What childhood trauma could have possibly affected me this badly ? How can I be so averse to this race, this masculine profession of nuts and bolts. Have some experiences etched my grey cells forever ? 6 bold letters flashed in front of my eyes - DIB 342

As a dedication to the clunks of the mechanics of the universe , I shall focus solely on the auditory aspects of our ex-car. Some of these were duly incorporated in our family lingo. If you think I am exuding family pride right now, think again.

Thoo!

Let me first get into the basics of how a car engine works. A battery sits on the right side (or the left), whose terminals should not be caressed at the same time. Towards the front end lies the radiator, which has a fan. The fan rotates, but for some reason that air isn't thrown towards the passengers (some designer has got his fundaas topsy-turvy. idiots). Between these two components lies the ENGINE. That's it. It is that simple. A lot of pipes run criss-cross. But explaining that is beyond the scope of this blog.

In the good old days, the car used to run on petrol. Quite often, the petrol would refuse to complete its journey to the ENGINE. Post-halt, Daddy would open up the creaky bonnet and following a swift algorithm of suck-spit, forcing the petrol to resume its flow. This was followed by the slamming of the ENGINE's top. A distinct metallic and musical sound we proudly and loudly called Thump-Thump. And then ...maybe..maybe..the car would start again...

Dha-daam

The door windows were quite a marvel - possibly second-hand maal from Hitler's tanks. Layers of iron - rusted, dented, painted (SKY BLUE!). Daddy used to urge us to be gentle with the doors. That word was meaningless to us. It'd require a minimum of three slams before some malleable (and ductile) metal would yield and the door would appear closed. The windows were independent entities and would rarely respond to their respective handles. Two of them weren't designed to descend completely, the other two wouldn't do so. The handles would often fall off and reach some unreachable corner of the floor (murphy's law! again!).

A super-true sad story - On one such stormy night, a cat managed to sneak in and do a little potty-business in the car. The next day, the odour wouldn't leave us, in spite of the open windows. One of our neighbours requested a ride to the MH. It was a short ride. Diplomatic mum lips and concealed closed noses made the journey seem a little longer. I don't remember if we were dealing with just cat-shit, or a homogenous stench of L.P.G and potty. The memories are slowly fading away...Thank god !

There are a few more anecdotes, but like a selfish dilli-waala, I am saving them for another blog. week ka quota complete. phew !

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Office Office II

Office is fine. Lunch is fine. AutoCad is fine. But sadly, my training is not confined to that. Once is a while, I have to visit...THE SITE!

Site visits embarrass me. It is a completely different world where the tread of a staircase is called TAPPA and reinforcement is called SARIYA. (I know a D grade in Structures in 3 consecutive semesters doesn't make me much of an expert of the subject, but still...).I know a great deal about cement and how it is different from aggregate (But I am still not sure what the little stones are called.)

People here are like aliens. Stepping out of that little cocoon of middle-class people and 3 meals a day society, I am confronted by names I hear in offbeat movies (and quite often from Swapnil)- Nathuraam ji , Dharampaal ji!

Clients are a better deal anyday. They are my people! I don't want to name them (ok. that was exaggerated- I don't want to name him). My people come from a world where we assume a minimum level of intelligence from others and a much higher level from ourselves. Hence, a comment like 'This will be out of proportion, scale and harmony' would get me affirmative nods from him, while I wouldn't understand the boombastic words I uttered myself...See, ignorance from others I can handle...But here...

The site is all rubble and red masonry. Through my boss, I know waatar-proofingg is currently being supervised. Somehow, I can't find the water, and all the material is either brick or grey! I try and ask the labourers my doubt(s) in their lingo - "ye sariya kab dalega ?. He says something I partially comprehend. Like my favourite client, I nod understandingly, scribble some scribble on a paper and move on. I make a mental note to read about waterproofing using Google. I smile at the little thought that pops in my head - The things I want to know are so trivial or pointless to them ! Like where is the material being stored ? What precautions are being taken for some thing ?

Precautions? In Delhi? In any pseudo-posh locality in the captial, construction simply comes down to constructing a monstrous facade, embellished with corinthian fake colums and fake arches and fake doors. Like blinders, the 2 neighbouring monsters allow this monster to show only a face and a butt. Hence all the money and effort are pooled in to make things look glossy. The back side is the truly negelcted butt of the family. A sliver of space at the back is left unused due to stringent by-laws. This is eventually covered by a grotesque corrugated sheet by my dear dilli-waalas to create more space. GIVE ME MORE! MORE! MORE! A city bred on pushing-the-world-aside and getting-my-work-done fundaa won't give two hoots to public comfort...

Hence the stones and sand indifferently spill over on the thin lane. A pipe gurgling water makes murky patches. A few labourers and my pal Nathuraam ji sit outside the compound smoking their favourite brand of bee-dee. I approach them awkwardly, examining my mentor of architecture and construction.

God save me. God save architecture.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Tagged!!!

(Please refer to The Adventures of TinTin and Snowy for the real thing.)

THREE NAMES I GO BY :
Iyer
Arvind
-should I cook up a third ? There hasn't been any other nickname (thank god !)

THREE SCREEN NAMES :

goo_goo_demons
sweety_priya_sharma
cooldude2000_yo (pre-college era, something that embarrasses me right now...)

THREE THINGS I LIKE ABOUT MYSELF :
1)Music sense
2)Sense of humour
3)Rationality

TRHEE THINGS I DON'T LIKE ABOUT MYSELF :
1)Nose
2)Complete lack of politics in my blood
3)Pimples...But i think that era is over...

THREE THINGS THAT SCARE ME :
1)Cows
2)Punjabi people
3)Irrational people

THREE ESSENTIALS :
1)Wallet 2) Handkerchief 3)Keys ...4)Mobile, at times.

THREE OPPOSITE SEX THINGS :

1)Curves
2)Brains
3)Face Value (haha !!)

THREE THINGS I WANT TO DO BADLY RIGHT NOW :

1)Skip Office tomorrow
2)Maaro an all-india tour and meet all my archi batchmates
3)Play my guitar (which I foolishly left at KGP)

THREE CAREERS I AM CONSIDERING RIGHT NOW :

Any non-9-to-5 thing...mon to fri routine sucks...

THREE PLACES I WANT TO GO ON VACATION

1)Any place that involves a plane ride
2)Any place that has snow
3)Any place which is dynamic (like a beach)

THREE KIDS NAMES I LIKE :

1)Pinky
2)Alankrita
3)Sandhya

THREE THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DIE :

1) Bungee Jumping (partially influenced by your list George)
2) Attend a big concert (Metallica, Aerosmith kind...NOT BRITNEY OR BEYONCE !)
3) Understand either Poetry, Ghazals or Modern Art
...and of course the SEX thing..

THREE PEOPLE WHO HAVE TO TAKE THIS QUIZ :

Poornima
Hemanth
Ashish Chordia

(the idea is to take the same questions and answer them on your blog, and inflict the same questions on 3 (exactly three, maybe 4) blogs you read...it's that simple)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Office Office

Four things that I learnt today :

1)My mother thinks John Abraham is good looking.
2)Dhoom isn't as bad a movie as I thought it would be.
3)Uday Chopra was worse than I thought he would be.
4)Monday Blues is an entity. I can't stop it. I can't escape it. It enters my soul at around 10a.m on Sunday morning, and doesn't let go till I have my cup of tea at the office and finally realize that Monday is back.

In case I didn't tell you what my office is like - here's the stuff :

My archi training lasts till mid-october ( it started on 11th may). Office is fine. Pakka dilli-type. I'll list out the names (in order of seniority) - Rakesh Vats (boss); Sardar (i don't know his name yet) ; Goyal (i don't know the first name) ; Naveen Sharma ; Amardeep Tyagi ; Me ; Surinder (chai -paani mundu) and my favourite - Verma ji (who is a 60+ guy handling estimation and talks a million words a minute when given a chance).

It's a 25min drive from my home. A consummate dilli-traffice experience - rickshaw, car, DTC, pedestrians etc. The work as such is uninspiring. It is exactly the same stuff Swapnil and I finished a month back with a super-compressed schedule. But thanks to my positive attitude and an unpolitical simpleton brain, I have found some little things in the 9:30 to 6:30 schedule that keep me interested - like the 2 cups of tea at 11:30am and 4pm ; the one hour break at 1:30 where I manage to take a nap on the chair (next to Verma ji).

I hope I learn some tact and some maneuvering fundaas from the office environment. Day 5, verma ji offered me his squishy sabzi for the 3rd consecutive day. Since I'd been bearing my own pseudo-negations in the past few lunches, I said this to his face (in front of 4 other people) in the most polite manner possible - "mein doosron ka khaana nahi khaata. bachpan se school mein log mera idli khaa jaate the, aur mein unka khaana choota nahi tha." Needless to say, there were some shocked responses and smiles. One of them gave a diplomatic "bada straightforward aadmi hai" comment.


sigh...Monday's back..

Monday, May 16, 2005

Imagination...or the lack of it

A week has passed by...
A billion thoughts (or more, or less) passed through my head every day; a few of them were written down.

A husky male voice answered back. The lady tingled with enthusiasm. She recognized the voice. After all, the calls were made quite frequently. The man cleared his throat and said, "Kitne kilo madam ?" She said, "6 kilo. basmati" ....After this my brain-power died and the story took no direction. Here's another unfinished thing :

JYOTI AND THE PINEAPPLE!
* Inspired by 2 individuals - P.G Wodehouse and Jyoti

Thats right ! Pineapple in the middle of Delhi. While others squished and sqaushed their mangoes, Jyoti was one bold gal. There she was, standing at the bus stop with that pineapple in her hand.... Again, a complete lack of imagination...

I also finally managed to rip my worst T-shirt with the most awful catchline. I guess around 40 or more batchmates of mine would have bought this in our first year. It cost a whole sum of seventy five rupees . A memorial to this blunder of mine - A perfect ending to an uninspired blog :

FRONT -->
They say
Guys in the
TOP ENGG
colleges do
nothing but
FLAUNT ....

BACK -->
LOOKOUT !!!
I am from
IIT KGP
And
Amn't I
Modest ?

Monday, May 09, 2005

DIB 342 - The Roadtrip(s)

MHOW is one of the most picturesque cantt areas. While all cantts are blessed with an overwhelming share of trees,panju drawing rooms and snooty children, Mhow did have an undeniable charm. It had a tiny five km radius with juxtaposed civil and defense areas. These were strung together by pathways, moodily changing levels and directions. In quite a few crossings, reaching that pinnacle was a small victory of sorts. And for our pretty DIB-342, it was no sweet ordeal.

The market place lay on the lower contours of the town. For the unacquainted, Mhow is famous for Smocking Dresses (pronounced smoking by most residents). In that maze of slender roads and lanes, the car would cease to work at odd places. Inevitably I would have to jump out (ladies and guests excluded from the laborious act) and push it to the nearest safe spot. Restarting would take anywhere between 10 minutes and a week.

On one of the better days, we managed to finish off errands without any glitches. On the way back, we soon approached the Daunting Peak ( some pseudo name. I forgot the real one) Although I can't estimate the level change, I can surely say that the cross-section looked quite similar to a one-sided Bell Curve. As we drove uphill towards the crossing, the car began struggling with the potential difference. Just as we hit the peak, a 3-ton (an army vehicle capable of carrying 3 tons) crossed the orthogonal road. We stalled, for a few seconds. Unfortunately, the car lacked the velleity to finish the task. The slope was too daunting for the fiat. Mummy slammed the accelerator, we cheered. But it had to happen. Sometimes, you have to experience the past to appreciate the future. We were forced to drive downhill, in reverse direction, to gear up for another attempt. Embarrassment levels peaked to a new high (or low). If I remember correctly, the second try was a failure too. The third time, we were blessed with a barren crossing. The car lurched and crossed over to the other side. ah ! Victory was ours !

On another such workout, on some other crossing, the thing just gave up. My father pushed it a bit, and gave up too. The car was left at that place, around two kms from the house. There was no tension of any sorts, no threat of theft. Only a moron would think of stealing something as conspicuous as DIB 342.

The next day, my sister was cycling along with her friends on that road, when one of them curiously enquired, "Hey, isn't that your car?" Thankfully, she handled the situation with the best solution possible - denial. "naa...thats not ours". One of them persisted, "No. I recognize the plates. It is yours". She cringed, "Ohhhh..yes. That is our car." The next question was inevitable - "Why, is it lying here ?" With an emotionless countenance, my sister replied "Well, daddy has parked it here. Thats why."

I don't remember how or when it got back. It's resilience amazes me, now that I review the whole lifeline. The car continued to survive somehow, a new nut here, a new carburettor there. And soon, we began making The Great Trips to Bhopal...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Black Wednesday

27th April was not a good day for me - or for the 9 people who where involved in this gory tale of stupidity, chaos and luck. Presenting Black Wednesday :

It all started on the night of 26th April, when I decided at 11pm that it was quite necessary for me to wash my face. As I left the room with my St.Ives Apricot Scrub [direct maal from Sydney], I noticed a brand new Titan watch on my left wrist. My brain's right hemisphere crunched the figures and facts and zipped a wave of data to the left hemisphere - "Hey ! This isn't yours !" A millisecond later, the analysis and corresponding conclusion was drawn - Remove the watch and then wash your face.

My mighty muscles tugged at the local strap hurriedly realizing that their friend, the brain, had to study for an exam. It broke. I spent a few minutes feigning interest in repairing it. When that was over, I picked up the buckle and the rest of the watch and proceeded towards Vamsi's room [B-308 AZAD Hall] to return the watch to his friend [a clear abuse of the friend-by-association-relationship].

Of course this has little to do with the crux of the story. Around three hours after the faux pas, I decided to go back to my room. As I passed my hand over my right cheek searching for a bump that would represent the keys in my pocket, my right hemisphere crunched facts and zipped a wave of data to the left hemisphere - "Hey ! There's no bump !". This process was repeated for all possible pockets in my pant, shirt and the bag. Lots of milliseconds later, the analysis and corresponding conclusion was drawn - You have lost your key you nut. I startled quite a few and woke up one Gult as I searched all rooms I entered and exited. The unthinkable had happened - I had managed to lose my keys.

I walked back to the hall with consoling batchmates [2 to be exact]. It just wasn't possible....Jumping to end of part II - I found my room open. I had somehow not locked it at all. How this happened is a mystery that I'll never be able to solve. Maybe two minds can do it, but apparently no other living person is too interested in getting to the bottom of this.

All this excitement generated hunger and I was really in need of chai and a little...food. We three walked towards the gate. I checked the array of PH cycles a few times over. My brain's right hemisphere crunched the figures and facts and zipped a wave of data to the left hemisphere - "Hey ! Your cycle isn't here !" A millisecond later, the analysis and corresponding conclusion was drawn - YOUR CYCLE HAS BEEN STOLEN !

By now, I had little faith in my brain power. I skipped the adda session and went to sleep. In the morning, I thoroughly interrogated Patiala - 'Where did you park it? Sure? No, but where did you park it?' He was defensive, I was offensive. Soon, I was confused. I was not aware of the stolen-cycle protocol. Through the day I received advice from veterans (of stolen-cycle-protocol) and well-wishers. I spent the evening imagining life without independent transportation. Could I bear a life of unending ....end of part III - I had parked it in AZ hall a day ago. This occured to me today (28th) as I cycled back from the dept (borrowed of course). The worst part was that I had to drag two cycles single-handedly from AZ to PH. The best part was that at 6 in the morning not many saw me do the dual-cycle-calisthenics.

Happy Ending -
Apologised to Patiala - pretty smile always works.
Watch repaired - cost 2 bucks - one from me, one from Vamsi.
Exams ending on Friday.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Duplicate

It is quite a hard thing to accept, but there are quite amm...I can't find the right word - let us settle with duplicate, replica or a fancy facsimile. Yes, there quite a few *** in the world than you imagine. And let this misconception not riddle you for a second that you are the best or cream of the lot.

'Hate' would be too strong a word. I would say I have a strong dislike for people who share my name. Birthday buddies were hard enough to bear in school ( yes Vishal, I did not enjoy it :) Thankfully the rare "Iyer" tag in the northern half of the country ensured a certain identity, at least with the surname.

I terribly pity the Abhinavs, Nehas, Sameers, Varuns and Siddharths of my generation. What were your parents thinking ?
"Hi. I am Varun Sharma."
"Me too"
"Me too"
"hehe....I am Varun SINGH."

I recall this 100% true incident that happened in Mhow (yes, with the car and all - more on that later...). Our neighbourhood had its share of duplicates, both at Aunty-Uncle and Bachha-Party level. My father picked up the phone one day and heard the caller say, "Good Morning Uncle, I am Preeti Gupta speaking." He replied with the friendly uncle enquiry - "So Preeti, how are your painting classes ?"...a small pause. Preeti said, "Uncle, I don't have any painting classes". A quick reply - "Oh ! Well then you should have...ho ho ho !"

*ho ho ho - Army Officer laughter.

Makes you wonder what the trend was in those days. Did the panditji pick a chit from a dwindling pot of options ? Did the movie stars provide some inspiration (albeit none of these banal characters have materialized on screen). Of course, the situation is far better than that of Henry the XVths, whose birth concurred with that of an identity crisis. And who can ignore the big chunk of southee's, whose 16-syllable names are invariably truncated, abbreviated and of course lampooned.

Well, what do I plan to do with the unique identity ? Sadly, quite a few doors have already been closed. A quick google search startled me and life has changed forever. A quick synopsis of my anguish:

Arvind Iyer 1: The first abuse is dedicated to the moron who took up the title page on blogspot. Where's the philanthropy in this world when you need it? He's not only selfish enough to still keep the blog to himself, he has also plonked himself in the world of advertising. He also manages a rock band !! Advertising AND rock-jazz-western-music - two of my top alternate career wishes. Now what am I supposed to do ?

Arvind Iyer 2: Turns out HTML too can be a turn on in the world of celebs. I hate this character as well. The profession itself has a metrosexual (read GAY) feel to it. Our man makes websites for top celebrities. He boasts "Each of these sites will reflect the soul of the individual or organisation." Now that doesn't make sense to me. One whole year I struggled and tried to enjoy HTML. I even made my own website, resplendent with pictures and a prolix About Me page. I know how to change the colour too, though I always don't get the shade I want. But that is fine, since quite a few of the surfers are colour blind. But has it got me anywhere ? No. Am I a better person post-geek-efforts ? No. Has any celebrity (or ANYONE) requested me to put up a website ? No. And now this dude has closed that option for me as well. We can't have two Iyers in Bollywood (unlike the Khans).

Arvind iyer 3: I thought a long-enduring association with TDS (technology dance society) would lead to something fruitful. Although my back does occasionally surprise me with its flexibility, I know the poor thing has its limitations. Still, a career in the creative and artistic world of dancing did appeal to me at times. Hey! If Shamik Dawar can dress people half-naked and earn money for their prance, why can't I ? But it turns out, another Iyer fellow beat me to it. Just when I was ready to get jiggy with it !

As of now, the other domains are unconquered. With over a thousand companies waiting to hire me (hehe...IIT), the chances that I meet my bizzaro-counterpart are bleak. But just imagine - with the rate at which kids are being churned out, at this very moment, 3 sets of parents would be staring into a lovely set of beady eyes and announcing, "baby ! your name is ..."

*Arvind Iyer 3 is fictitious. I spoke before I thought and typed before I clicked. Turns out, it is the same guy (AI 2) who has designed something for some famous dancer. Still, the anguish remains..what if...