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Showing posts from 2008

The Best of 2008


Thank you for reading stuff on Almost Famous. Here is my blog's list of Top 5 articles from 2008 (in alphabetical order):

Country Club
For building trust and awareness, there is nothing more effective than a rotund leader with a fat moustache, mysteriously grinning and giving a thumbs up sign. I've decided to plan all my fun-family trips from Country Club henceforth, unless the rival firm's head decides to do the chicken-dance.

Director Writer Hyung-rae Shim's "interview" about his latest movie D-War - 'unknown creatures will return and devastate the planet. Reporter Ethan Kendrick is called in to investigate the matter, and he arrives at the conclusion that a girl, stricken with a mysterious illness, named Sarah is suppose to help him. The Imoogi makes its way to Los Angeles, wreaking havoc and destruction. With the entire city under arms, will Ethan and Sarah make it in time to save the people of Los Angeles ?'

I Knew Something was Wrong

As we all…

The Tale of the Water Tanki

There is a classic rumour, a horrendous tale of engineering stupidity that exists in the campus of IIT Kharagpur. You haven't heard the rumour yet ? Here goes: "There is this Professor Roy in Civil Department. See that tall water-tank near the PAN loop? He designed it. He is so stupid, he forgot to add the water's weight to the calculation. Which is why it stands there empty and unusable." I was proud of this tale. We passed it down from one batch to another. And I did watch this Professor ride his wobbly cycle to the department. Combined with other incidents heard about him, I thought he was a complete fool....

But we came to know in those years that even IIT-Kanpur had the same story. We were the oldest of all IITs. So we just assumed that they were inspired by our culture and chose this story to emulate it in their own campus.

Yesterday, while sharing a few drinks with my office friends here, we began to narrating crazy incidents from our engineering days. They were…

Bachna Ae Haseeno...

My mama ji too graduated from IIM, though a decade before I stepped into IIML. From his odd set of worldly advices, I found one to be surprisingly accurate and timeless - "There are two kinds of males at IIM - Those who do it, and those who talk about it."

In my long years of graduation, I had survived a batch with 590 guys and 18 girls. You've heard the saying right? "If a group of IITian girls are placed on the moon, the average beauty level of Earth will go up." I don't subscribe to that view. We won't actually take pains to place them on the moon, will we?...Come on! Be reasonable.

So when I heard my mamaji's profound statement, I resolved to belong to the former group. In what I'd vicariously seen and heard about IIM, I thought it'll be a radically different crowd. But it turned out people were not quite different in their sensibilities, just their mannerisms.

It was called bakar/gupshup there. It was called networking here.
It was called B…

Wash, Rinse and Repeat

Our washing machine has been acting strange for the past few weeks. As it counts down to the last 6 minutes of the wash-spin cycle, it gets stuck. It makes ugly wheezing sounds, like an old fiat trying to speed up. It never manages to reach that final goal of '0 minutes'. The machine runs that last 6 minutes for a couple of hours before giving up on our soggy clothes.

We've got so used to the automatic lifestyle - hurling clothes inside the machine and recovering them after a day or so, when they would still be fresh and fragrant. But after getting pampered by that habit, standing by the machine and supervising each individual procedure is quite hard.

It is indeed a problem. And we don't have any easy solution.

Won't LG, this giant superstar of white goods, have people to handle this? Yes. As devices have got complicated and problems deviling, they have made it easier for us to reach customer care. But with the same gusto, we have gotten remarkably sloppier and leth…

O Pigeon, What art thou thinking!

The title of the news video reads "Exclusive: कबूतरोंपरग्रेनेडकाकहर "

The reporter Vishal Agarwal seems to have been given a formidable task of filling up a 1.5min slot of fluff reporting. He's reporting live, clearly unedited material about pigeons in front of the Taj. He successfully captures a kabootar / pigeon's perspective on the Mumbai attacks.

I am not an expert on animals. But by a superficial analysis of their head-bobbing and extent of toilet training, I do believe that they are one of the dumbest animals (or at least the biggest morons within the birds category). The reporter attempts to attribute to their little pigeon heads ace qualities of memory, cognition and emotions like desperation, nostalgia and disappointment.

The flip side is none of the pigeons were available for comments - they were busy crapping or reminiscing their old Gateway of India days.

The wikipedia article I perused for getting some estimate on an average/achiever pigeon's dumbness me…

Logic Fail!

(the title is a tribute to my current favourite Fail Blog!)

Logic Fail: A seemingly correct response derived from logic which is inappropriate, inaccurate or absolutely wrong.

Recently, I was subjected to a besieging task of expressing my opinion to a girl about a guy's pictures. Fact is guys cannot opine about guys. We can make quite rich comments about girls - from poignant descriptions to details bordering grotesque territory. But pictures of males can at best evoke a qualification response.

Hence, I sent the same response back.


Verbosity failed me at an opportune moment. The bottomless well of colourful opinions dried up. I've been told that through those two innocent letters, I had sent additional signals of indifference and insensitivity.

Logic: Brain thinks 'ok'. You say 'ok'.
Logic Fail!

The problem is one doesn't learn from logic fails. It is quite possible to commit another blunder of same or higher degree. Here's another:

There are four …

Lesson of the Day - 1

When a office colleague meeting you for the first time over tea asks you politely 'So are you married?', do not gasp "NO!", pushing your head back with a revolted look on your face. Instead, politely nod sideways to indicate your status and gently ask her the same question. Because chances are that once you do so, the answer could be yes.

Copy Paste

Some moron somewhere was duplicating excel rows as a substitute for productivity...
Subway Business Hours

I, Robot

This week I attended a play with my friends called The Wedding Album. The play, written by Girish Karnad and directed by Lilette Dubey, was quite interesting for all of us. This small incident is of course no blemish on the quality of theatre work.

After the play, the director (Lilette) and the cast sat on stage to have a discussion with the audience. One person posed a question about the difference in the way the play was perceived in different regions. So Lilette responded.

'I find it heartening to see audiences across countries react to our work. It touches them at the same level. It makes us realize even though we may be separate geographically, as humanity we are binded by the same emotions.'

The audience heartily smiled.

We were pleased with the self-indulgent praise. Just by watching a play, we had managed to unite humanity. Ah, the noblest act of all.

Savouring the effect she had created, Lilette went on a bit further. 'In fact it is quite surprising, audiences seem to …

By the Way....

I was having a conversation with Rohan (my flatmate) yesterday about a possible movie plan in the evening. He feigned some mild interest in the idea.

'See Arvind, I think I would spend that time much better by calling up some old friends, mailing and scrapping people....Or maybe I can read a book in the same hours.. Or I can do some basic planning for the work I've to cover in the week...Even if that doesn't happen I can sit here....and relax...'
I was flabbergasted - 'You'd rather waste time on the couch than watch a movie with a good rating?'
'Yes. I'd rather sit and do absolutely nothing than go out and watch a movie.'

This is Rohan's level of enthusiasm for movies. This strong dislike has been built over time. Apparently, every odd movie he had been dragged to was loathesome and reduced his respect for the activity. People have upbringing issues related to parents, bullies or relationships. Rohan had his bad memories through the big screen. …

Tandoori Nights - The Party

Q1. What is Tandoori Nights?
It is an awesome song composed by Himesh Reshammiya for the movie Karzz. It was also the name of a party we had this Saturday.

Q2. Was the party fantastic?
Yes, it was!

Q3. Why a Himesh title ? Why Himesh of all people?
When mockery, desperation and incredulity form a cocktail, one loses all senses. Stupid turns into cool. Silly becomes the in-thing. Hence the title and the ensuing theme of the party.

Q4. Were fun stuff, drinking games etc planned by us?

Q5. Was the Pseudo-MC, Pseudo-HR, Pseudo-Activity planner of the party given spontaneous bums/kicks?

Q6. Did people drink and dance?
Yes. Over two dozen of them!

Q7. Did they pay homage to Himesh bhaiyya?
Yes. The ones that could hold a pen by the end of the party.

Q8. Aren't these questions stupid? Won't pictures do a better job of showcasing the party?
Yes. So here you go.

Tandoori Nights shall return in 2009....

Virgin Nurse

The title caught your attention didn't it! Well, agencyfaq reports that this Virgin Mobile Ad involving a nurse has stirred the I&B Ministry too, which is considering banning the Ad.

"The I&B ministry is setting up an inter ministerial committee, comprising joint secretaries from various government ministries."

I really appreciate the big-wigs devoting their time to this important cause. Yes, I am sure these are the right people to judge an ad. At the top of this bozo collection is the head of the committee, the I&B ministry's additional secretary Uday Kumar Verma.

How will a conglomerate of government secretaries decide whether the hot nurse in the video is derogatory to the nursing profession? Probably they'll freeze the ads to scrutinize the nurse aspects of the TVC:
"Mr. Verma, what do you think the legs of this hot nurse signify? "
"Hmm...I believe they are two firm pillars of our society - culture and tradition"
"I agree with …

And I crap you not...

Title inspired by Barney's line in How I Met Your Mother

Prerna and I visited the Night Safari (at Singapore) last week. Thanks to Halloween celebrations and interesting animal shows, the event was enjoyable. But if I were to single out the best element,it would have to be Clint - the tour guide on the night safari tram. He possessed a dubious accent - Singaporean base splattered with French tones, some American touches and that secret ingredient. He had some rehearsed puns and witty lines for most descriptions en route. They evoked strong silent reactions from the tourists. The animals seemed to know the punchlines, so they didn't time their laughter properly. I have attempted to do an impression of Clint in the audio clip below. If you possess speakers and an appetite for derision, do play it. (Transcript also provided here as an alternative.)

"And to your right, lies the Asian Elephant, weighing not ONE, not TWO, but THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED KILOS. That's right TH…

The Package

25 points to the readers who can guess what this is:

To be revealed in the next post.

An additional 90 points if you correctly guess from which country it was bought(Hint: It's not Singapore).

Karzzz - The Review

He holds the guitar like a heavy log crawling with an unspecified number of ants - keeping it straight and uncomfortably separate from the body. There are multiple scenes, where he attempts to look cool and rocking on stage, but just manages to look plain silly.

Every moron who aspires to learn the guitar either begins by strumming DDLJ (Tujhe Dekha) or Karz (Ek Hasina Thi). And even with rudimentary music knowledge they figure out where to play it - lower strings and higher frets. It is ironical that a music director looks so uncomfortable with the guitar and plays absolutely wrong frets; Such a critical thread to the story is so carelessly ignored. It is amusing that Himesh had such consuming obsession with his attitude on stage that a basic detail about the guitar was forgotten. But I guess associating him with music itself would be quite irrational.

Karzz will turn out to be a hit. That is inevitable. Like other bloggers who have seen and posted reviews of the movie - I sat through …

Run! Run! Run!

The world is in peril right now. A lot of people lent money to a lot of people and two years later everyone in the world is screwed. The world's most powerful nation has a bimbo as a vice presidential nominee. And Himesh Reshammiya's second movie is being released this week. Its tragic. And we surely require the best of people to lead us. It's these crisis situations that help in identifying the true leaders, the visionaries.

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."- Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are having a fire drill in the office today, spanning across 25 floors - with a whole collection of interrupted lift services and a really long stairway.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”- John C Maxwell

As the day progresses, most of us have just grown numb to the alarms and announcements. We have not identified the potential of this new scenario. But a select few have managed to show coveted…

MacRitchie Reservoir

As you walk into the reservoir, the paths lure you inside. Greenery begins dominating the surrounding space; the high rises reluctantly move out of sight. Soon you are left with with just the purest of elements - water, trees and the enthusiastic joggers. An occasional appearance of a monkey amuses you; But you realize you are the visitor in the space and not him. You nod respectfully and continue walking.

MacRitchie Reservoir, built close to 150 years ago, is in the heart of Singapore. It contains multiple boardwalks and walking trails of varying lengths to suit everyone. Some prefer to jog. Others take leisurely walks. We did a bit of everything. We saw people of all ages - the bubbly kids didn't bother me (they normally do). That was done by the 70 year old uncles who confidently paced ahead of our malfunctioning jogging bodies. I guess fitness is a long way ahead.

My favourite moment was when all four of us spotted a docile turtle gently meandering in the water. We tacitly sat d…

The Ring of Batman

You may be wondering right now - 'What the hell is Batman doing with a giant key ?' I hope by the end of this I would have put things in perspective and reinforced an important learning of life.

First, some basic assumptions:
- It is normal to seek attention and appreciation.
- Given a choice, a human being would choose something cool like Batman for a keychain over a 'Jai Mata Di' or 'Mamta Enterprises'

In case you disagree with the above two, you can still read ahead. But I warn you - it may offend your value system.

A fortnight ago, I too was living a drab life like you. Luckily, that day I was gifted a Batman action figure inside a nutritious box of Milo Choco Cereals filled with the goodness of wheat(Note: this is not a product placement). The toy could have either adorned a side table in my room, or traveled the world with two cool keys wrapped around its waist. Considering the plastic figurine's feelings, I chose the latter.

As long as it rode in my bag, w…

See no evil, Do no evil

I fear words won't do justice to this vivid colourful story. But nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this tale vicariously, just like I did hearing it an hour after it happened.

A few days back there was a fresh face in our condominium gymnasium - a 5 year old kid who was accompanied by his mother; She took a place to the left of Mallika on the cycle, while the kid wandered to Mallika's right near the second treadmill. Somebody had left it powered and he soon mounted it and began pushing buttons randomly. As it always happens, he quickly figured out the ones for speed and began jabbing at it repeatedly.

Seeing his feet precariously tottering on the speeding belt, Mallika felt concerned, reached over and cut off the speed. Being a smart alec, he again began speeding up the treadmill. So Mallika got off her own treadmill and switched off the power to it. The belt stopped and the intelligent kid realized that the red glowy buttons were not glowing anymore.

So he started cryingbawling. He…

Pink Pop

Pink Microphone.
Pink Microphone Stand.
Pink Drums.
Pink Piano.

I think my rugged friend who accompanied me to the Avril Lavigne concert (called the Best Damn Tour!) would be quite embarrassed to reveal his identity. So Akshay, I'll keep your blog and orkut links a secret!

Since this was not a conventional 'rock' performance, we both had expected a slightly different audience for the show. We found our seats in an organized row of chairs, numbered and tagged. Hmmm...The audience milled around us for a long while before the show started. Average age of fans - 10-14 years. Profile: Little girls in pink outfits, squealing and moving in hoards unapologetically excited about everything around them. They say music knows no boundaries. But I am sure its an exception when you are a decade older and over two feet taller than your neighour. Its not the same you know.

Pink Top.
Pink Streaked Hair.
Pink Glitter.

When did Avril turn into this powerpuff caricature ? An overdosage of what young a…

It's so much butter

What is it ?
It is Body Butter. A refreshing intensive creamy all-over body moisturizer.

Moisturizer for your esophagus?
No. Its for your skin. You apply butter on yourself like any other cream.

As men reading this get confused and look for answers, I assure you this is no concocted BS. Body Butter is selling like hot cakes (I thought a food pun is appropriate here). Having accompanied two different friends to BodyShop outlets in India and Singapore, I inferred it is quite popular across different world markets.

Is it made of butter?
I am not sure. But the ingredients have an exciting range - from Almond, Brazil Nut, Cocoa, Coconut to Mango, Papaya, Passion Fruit and Strawberry.

And its not just me who feels hungry within a minute of sniffing these creams. I quote one of these two friends - "I really feel like scooping it out and eating it".

Why would anyone want Butter on their skin?
Its a really sticky concept. The hormones for arousal and hunger have been beautifully confused and …

Small Talk

(Warning: A post full of rants and lacking depth)

It starts with the name.

"And you are?"
"Arvind Iyer."

The seasoned small talkers move on. I sincerely thank all of them. The rest follow an irksome route.

"Iyer? Oh! Just like Mr. and Mrs Iyer!"

You'd think the reference to the movie title was subtle enough. But some of them tend to drag the conversation to it. Soon after mentioning the title, they attempt a tough balancing act - a part of their face gazes upwards, showing compassion for the story's sensitive theme. Concurrently they also nod and maintain eye contact. Its a tough act. Believe me, I've seen it a lot of times. I have to mimic the same level of compassion. If I frown at them, they think I didn't get the joke and start pursuing a deeper discussion about the movie. And that's really avoidable.

Because its hard to opine about the movie at this moment. As the second comment in the conversation, its the shortest transition from name …

The Invisible Roommate

My friend Satbir tries to be funny at times. The jokes are predominantly lame. But at other times, he has produced quite memorable tales. Because he has a peculiar tendency to skip the most relevant chunks of information. And unwittingly, it becomes quite an anecdote.

One day we were talking about wedding food dishes, when he gave his views "You know I always eat a lot at weddings. Except for one where I was coming by bus. You know the bus had an accident. So my lip was deeply cut and swollen. So I couldn't eat much. The uncle kept saying beta kuch khaa nahi rahe. But I just politely smiled. Thankfully under my beard the red blood wasn't visible."

Of course we were waiting for the nearest pause to scream out, "Stop! What happened on the bus??"

Close to a month ago I met him and other friends at Mumbai. Eventually the discussion meandered to the hassles of accommodation in the city. Satbir said, "I hoping to move out into the 2BHK apartment real soon. I kn…

I Knew Something Was Wrong...

As we all sat waiting for our turn, the activity didn't look relaxing at all. All the previous colleagues (read victims) squealed and made visibly ugly faces as the attendants crunched their toes and poked at their feet. But free ka massage kaun jaane dega!

Foot massage is supposed to be a great relaxation treatment. Which is why there were two massage stations set up exclusively for the P&G team that had come down to the resort. Yes, I was lucky to be whisked away to a lovely team building outing just a week after I had joined. Apart from refreshing you, an expert massage can also reveal anomalies in your body. A spike in pain at specific points means something isn't right about your liver, your bladder, your intestine etc.

Of course I didn't believe that at first.

Somehow, my super-boss (my boss's boss) and I got our turn at the same time. My attendant was an old man clearly pained by the unending line of managers. He silently began his job, showing no traces of job…

The Source of Atheism

"Yaar, I think extending the holiday to Monday will be an issue. I have a saawan ending fast that day. Where will I get fresh fruits?"
"Why don't you just postpone the fast? Works out for all us", I suggested.
She gave an astounding dirty look - the kind I receive for saying really dumb things, not the usual banter like the comment above.
"I guess you are not religious", she said....

I'd like to state at the onset that we have received a balanced perspective at home when it comes to religion. Mom has been neutral about it, believing in some rituals but letting us decide what we want to pursue. But its my dad's disposition which appealed more to me. And I would not merely call it atheism. It went a step beyond that.

This happened around a decade ago. As we were passing by a crossing in Delhi, we (my sister and I) habitually sniggered at some signboard. "Kya naam hai jagah ka!" my sister giggled, "Jhandewalan!"

Dad interrupted our …