Dec 29, 2009

Idiotic! Triple Idiotic!!!

Long time readers of the blog know that we usually don't do movie reviews. For reasons elaborated earlier.

Of course, we have been tempted to break our own rules, as and when we found them convenient. Like here. and here. What use is a rule, if it can't be broken, eh? Especially, when the movie encourages us to play by a different set of rules...

So, here we go... of course, with the mandatory *SPOILER ALERT* warnings, though we suspect that everyone has already watched this movie and is singing its praises on twitter and facebook...

So, here we go...

They show a guy feigning a medical condition to get off a plane. Another guy running out without his pants on (Aside: what's with the pant-dropping fetish throughout the movie anyways?). Apparently, because they are soooo excited at the prospect of meeting their long lost friend. We keep quiet at the sheer impracticality of it all, accepting humbly that we have come to watch a light comedy, and we shouldn't be nit-picking on logic anyways.

A glimpse of a favourite Hirani stereotype is introduced. The muggu-geek who HAS to have a South Indian name. While Swami of the "what is the procedure to change your room?" fame was funny the first time around, this repetition begins to grate on your nerves. Aren't there other muggu communities to pick on? But, leaving regional chauvinism aside (not to speak of personal pride: I have had enough people pulling my leg calling me Swami post Munnabhai... now they might start calling me Chatur... or worse, Silencer!), a huge kudos to Omi Vaidya who played this role, to still make it watchable. To me, he was the best actor on show (with Aamir running a close second). And for him alone, we keep quiet again.

Suddenly, the 'comedy' switches to some nauseating visuals of paunchy men in their underwear. Apparently,  it is necessary for the movie to be realistic to show pot-bellied men since collegians are not the fittest of people around. It is ok to have 40-plus guys playing collegians though. Since we are big hypocrites ourselves (like we promise not to do movie reviews and proceed to do just that), we keep quiet.

There is a stereotype principal with his cuckoo-talk of ruthless competition. Which he proceeds to demonstrate by breaking an egg! (I half expected some Peta beauties to land up there all naked!). Somehow, for reasons I find hard to explain, I absolutely adored the 'Dean' of Munnabhai and really hated this 'Virus' character. Since we can't say why, we keep quiet. And laugh like the Dean did.

And then we go to the supposedly funny gags. Filched from internet mail forwards of all places. Yeah, I have never heard of the 'why didn't they use pencils in space?' before. Or the 'do you know who I am?' no?-so-I-smartly-thrust-exam-paper-into-the-bunch one. Or the 'squeeze toothpaste back into the tube' line. Or even the burkha-clad ladies posing for a pic. This from a guy who gave us the amazing Circuit. Sob. Sob. We are too nostalgic on Munnabhai and Circuit to say anything here.

Suddenly, we go into the sermonizing mode. About the rote-driven education system, about pressure induced student suicides, about price-tag 'watch'ing pseudo dudes, about making your dreams 'click' and not getting 'engineered' by parental pressure, about the importance of making fun of paralytic fathers and poor moms. Oops, scratch the last one. That was apparently meant to be a gag and not a sermon. And we decided, may be we should speak up a bit.

But wait, this was apparently supposed to follow Chetan dude's novel. So, throw in the romance with the princi's daughter, the breaking into his house to talk to his daughter, the daughter giving the keys to his office, the question paper stealing, the jumping from the window and hospitalization etc etc. Since they did not show the sex scene with the princi's daughter, which Chetan had dutifully outlined, we started to howl in protest.

And then all hell broke loose. A pregnancy over webcam (to showcase Airtel broadband?), a irritatingly inane slogan which even induced newly stillborn babies to kick out (in disgust?), a totally Bollywood-ish shaadi-se-bhagaake-jaana scene (what? no guys in jeeps following the runaway bride? note to Kamal: when you remake this in Tamil with Prakash Raj as the girl's dad, please ensure that some guys with handlebar moustaches give the car a good Kollywood chase...) and we were already pulling my hair apart. We decided to strongly diss the movie after the 'Aal is well' pregnancy.

Surprise, Surprise, Aamir Rancho is unpronounceable-name wala scientist. Whoa, that's a kahani mein twist that I never saw it coming. Abbas-Mustan would be proud of you, Hirani Sir. And thus, we end...

Oh no, wait... the movie isn't over till the geek drops his pants. And till, Kareena does the one thing for which she was really cast in this movie... Smoooooooooooch...

As Shakespeare once said, "Aal is well that end's well"
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PS1: I did like some bits. Like the chamatkar-balatkar speech. And the breath-taking shots of Ladakh.

PS2: My super boss loved this movie. So, officially, I give it 5 out of 5.

Dec 24, 2009

The Secret of Happiness...

"Merry Christmas. And Happy New Year!"

*Chuckle chuckle*

"Huh, who's that?"

"Some call me God, dear boy"

"Yeah right. And I am the sexiest man alive."

"You do think highly of your sarcasm, don't you, my son? Pity it's not all that good though..."

"ok, ok, no more sar-caustic comments from me. But seriously, who are you?"

"I told you. I am God"

"Hey, didn't we just agree on a 'no-sarcasm' pact?"

"You may choose not to believe. I don't have to prove myself anyway."

"Ok, whoever you are. What's with the chuckling?"

"Oh that! 'Coz of the Happy New Year greeting"

"Why? What's wrong with wishing someone a Happy New Year? What else do you do? Wish 'em a Miserable New Year?"

"So much for the no-sarcasm pact. Anyways, I was just chuckling at the marvelous stupidity of you humans to always wish for a happier future. In spite of knowing that you might end up being as miserable tomorrow as you have ever been."

"Hey, that's called Hope! That thing that is supposed to keep us going in the face of all the hurdles that you throw at us!"

"Hell, I know what it is called. I'm not called Omniscient for no reason. I'm just chuckling at your foolishness. Where has your hope led you anyway? You were born a loser. You are still one and chances are, you might remain one forever."

"Hey, I have a gold medal in academics. And I was awarded the 'Best Student' in my undergrad college!"

"Precisely what makes you a loser, in my opinion..."

"Er... can we also have a no-inconvenient-truths pact?"

"You can have any number of pacts. They'll be as useful as Kyoto was to the world's climate."

"Also, a no-stating-the-obvious pact. After all, we are not Arun Lal."

"Don't ever do that again! Compare me to Arun Lal!!! I'll ensure you rot in hell for eternity!"

"Ok, my bad. Coming back to the topic. If I can't be hopeful of a better future, I won't work towards one anyways. And if I don't work towards one, I'll end up with a bleak future! So, aren't you like, trying to trap me in a self-fulfilling vicious circle?"

"Tip for the day: Re-read the awesome discourse I gave to Arjuna on the battlefield. You ought to do your work regardless of the result. Not just in the hope that it'll lead to a better future."

"Er... I am a banker. I don't do work if I don't see a possibility of a big, fat bonus at the end of the year. If you want selfless workers, go talk to some teachers."

"You see, that's the problem with you guys. You are overtly greedy. You don't work because you love what you are doing. You work for more money, or rather for the 'more money = better life" hope. To me, that's like living on perennial dope."

"Your lecture is more than my little brain can cope. See, I can rhyme too!"

"Shut up and pay attention. I am telling you the secret of happiness!"

"Which is? To live life bereft of all hope? Sounds like a really ecstatic life to me..."

"No, you effing idiot. The secret of happiness is to be ambitious and contented at the same time."

"Whoa! Now you are sounding like one of those inane positive thinking books. The secret to winning is to never quit, but also to know when to walk away from a losing deal. The secret of success is to be yourself and not pretend to be something you are not, but to also emulate role models and imbibe their qualities. Be assertive, not aggressive. Help other people, but know when to say 'No'. Stick to your principles, but have an open mind. And my personal favourite: the secret to a happy relationship is to screw your girlfriend but not impregnate her!"

"Whoa, that was some rant. But I stick by what I am saying."

"Ok, let me process it a bit slowly. The... secret... of... happiness... is... to... be... ambitious... and... contented... at... the... same... time. Still doesn't make sense."

"Ok, let me give an analogy. Imagine you are walking along the road. It's a nice, tree-lined path. You are enjoying the scenic beauty all around. You are... contented. But that doesn't mean you just stop at the same place. You'll get bored soon. So, you walk, at your own pace, because you choose to walk. Not to keep up with your fellow pedestrians. And keep walking. You might end up at an even more scenic place. Or you might end up near an overflowing dustbin. It doesn't matter. The walk is what is important. And that's the 'ambitious' part, your choice to walk... of course, you should have the ability to look at the dustbin and still feel contented..."

"Ok, that just ended up confusing me even more than I was..."

"That was the idea, my son..."

*poof*

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PS1: New Year Resolution for this year is to 'be happy'.

PS2: On a totally different note, long periods of inactivity on the blog can be partly blamed on being timed out at work, it can't be denied that sometimes I feel I have run out of ideas. And that's why I am caught writing stupid posts on philosophy. And of course, on past crushes.who bowled me over. And if you ask me whether spending too much time on cricinfo has anything to do with it, I'd be stumped for an answer. Dismissed.

Dec 20, 2009

"What are we all working for?", he asked, "At the end of it all, what are you working for? A bigger house, a bigger car, a more comfortable life? Where does it all end?"

It was 8.15 pm. End of a tiring day of to and fro with the client, checking things off on a long list of 'things we don't agree upon as yet'. And yet, somehow ending up with a list longer than we started with. Such is the nature of due diligence, we tell ourselves. And then, their Group CFO enters. The man who seems to be able to, with a mere nod of his head, tick off items that we had argued over for hours.

And just when I was getting ready to leave for a dinner meeting with friends for which I was already late by an hour, he starts this lecture!!! One part of me thinks "easy for you to say, sir. You have the bigger house and the bigger car already. And the comfortable life too. And hence, you start thinking of the 'purpose of life' etc. To a guy struggling at the early part of his career, all this is only so much gas."

And I hurry off once the meeting gets over.

Except the thought stays with me. And nags me. Late into the night, when I should ideally be dreaming about Asin, all I seem to be thinking about is: "What are we all working for?"

This is not the first time. Such thoughts occur occasionally, only to be waved off by more pressing engagements. But lately, they have been occurring more frequently than I prefer. Signs of growing old I guess.

My mind refuses to sleep.

Why do people live as if they have a checklist to tick off? Degree, then fancy MBA, nice cushy job, the first car, the first house, marriage, bigger car, kid, bigger house, second kid, promotion at work, saving for the kids' education, their marriage... and before you realize it, your life has passed you by.

But at the end of the day, Maslow was right. That is the MBA part of me, always ready with a matrix or a pyramid to hang my thoughts on.


Image credit: wikipedia.

My thoughts continue to wander. To my first OB teacher, who had a nice way of explaining this pyramid. I don't know if it was original, but I still remember the story.

It went thus... (suitably exaggerated by me, of course)

Imagine you are at a bus stop, late for an appointment. An important appointment. One you cannot afford to be late for. All you need at that time is for a bus to come. No matter how crowded. Simple Basic Need.


Once the bus arrives, and you have clambered onto the last step on the foot-board, hanging by your fingertips with one leg dangling in the air, you start to think "what's the point of going there if I don't reach in one piece?" And you start to push your way in, desperately trying to avoid falling off. Safety Need.


Now you are finally in. You are no longer worried about getting hit by the truck who swerves a bit too close for comfort. And you see a friend of yours standing at the other end of the bus. She is attractive, and you have been wanting to talk to her for quite some time. You slowly start to make your way towards her. Social Need.


And inching forward through the crowd, you start to look at yourself. Adjust your shirt a bit. Tuck it in a bit more properly. Maybe even smooth out your hair. After all, you want to look nice when she sees you. Maybe you take out that fancy phone you have. A little bit of showing off is not harmful after all. Self-Esteem Need.


And then, finally you are standing next to your girl. Making small talk. And wonder of wonders, 2 people get up and you grab those seats. There you are, sitting next to a lovely girl, breeze blowing in from the window making her sweet smelling hair fly wavily, and you look behind and wonder "What are those people hanging out of the door for? Can't they wait for the next bus?" Self-Actualization.

End of story. Back to the subject we were on...

My mind wonders... "Why do I have to go through those steps? Checking them off one by one. Why can't I simply be happy hanging out of the bus? After all, I am going to reach my destination that way too."

And then the naughty part of me chips in, "It'd be nice to have a girl hanging alongside though. I can even crack the "we hung out together" PJ when I meet friends..."

And thus, like every single time I try this, what began as a serious introspection ends in silly, naughty, PJ-inducing thoughts...
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PS1: On a slightly serious note, I hope to myself that I won't put up a pic of me posing next to my new car, or write "Moving into my new home!!! :D" on miscellaneous social networking sites... Nothing against the people who do it, but just that I don't want to...

PS2: On second thoughts, if I do buy a Merc or a Malabar Hill bungalow, I might...

Nov 21, 2009

The Sixteen Sutras...

It was a normal, boring day. I was sitting in the cramped ICWA library, struggling with my Saxena-Vashisht and VS Datey. My exams were around the corner. I had this unexplainable pride in my ability to concentrate on the sub-sections and case laws of the most arcane tax laws and quote them in my exam papers. That I don’t even remember the basic definition of excise duty today is indicative of how ‘useful’ those sessions were. But I digress.

That day, my Arjuna-like concentration was disturbed. It was not my fault. Any guy would have been distracted. She was that beautiful. She caught me staring at her. Or at least I thought she did. I quickly looked away. Back to Mr. Datey’s explanation on applicability of excise duty. CENVAT and MODVAT to be done after this. “Concentrate, concentrate, you need to crack this” I told myself. Or rather, the inner voice angel did.

And then, despite myself, I looked up again. Into big black beautiful eyes. Sitting across the table. “Of all the 3 seats available, she had to sit here?” the angel asked. “Maybe, this is your lucky day!” suggested the devil (in case you hadn’t read this, I have these conflicting voices going on in my head, most of the time, but especially in situations like this). “Concentrate, concentrate!” the angel repeated.

“Excise levy cannot be imposed on imported goods or goods manufactured in Nepal. This is also true if goods are imported in SKD or CKD condition and they are only assembled in India, as no new product emerges - Walchand Nagar Industries  v. CCE - 1995 (79) ELT 485 (CEGAT - 3 member bench order)”, my eyes were merely glossing over the words, nothing registering in my mind.

“You should at least say hi. Make small talk. What’s a few minutes when you have hours of studying this crap to do?” the devil was a convincing salesman. “Yeah, ask her if she has read CENVAT rules” the angel was no less convincing when it came to reading up on Excise duty. “Duh, CENVAT rules! Can’t you think of anything better?” the devil sniggered.

I needed to stop this cacophony of voices inside. I got up, went to the water filter, wiped the film of dust off the inner side of the tumbler, and slowly filled it up. All the while, my eyes never left her. “Pervert!” the angel barked. Glug, glug, glug, refill, glug, glug, glug. “Ok, we say hi, if she responds, we take it forward, else we go back to the book”, the devil made a pact. Apparently, he is an experienced hand at that.

I walked back. Breathe in. Deep. Deeper. Ok, here we go.

.

.

.

I open my mouth. Nothing. Not the first time it has happenned. Won’t be the last time too. The tongue freezes. The brain decides to go along. Damn. Never mind, get back to the book.

And while taking that 'one last glance', I noticed something that hadn’t caught my eye till then (not surprising, considering that there was tough competition around as far as catching the eye went). A book with a bright reddish-pink cover, with “Vedic Mathematics” written in bold on it. “Ooh, a figure with a thing for figures!” the devil could hardly contain himself. “Hmm, sounds interesting. Check it out at the Fountain book sellers” said the angel. “Vedic Mathematics? What for? To calculate how many cow dung cakes to put in the homams that you don’t do?” the devil retorted, with his usual display of bad sarcasm.

But, check it out I did. Bought it too. For a hundred precious bucks. All the money I had in my pocket. Skipped lunch, went home and devoured the book instead.

Went back to the library every day of the week. She was nowhere to be seen. At least I was making good progress with Mr. Datey. However queer that sounds.

And then she turned up one day. The book was still in her hands. “This is your best chance. Make some remark about the book. Much better than those CENVAT rules anyday” the devil pushed.

“Hi, er, interesting book that, nahi?” I was surprised that I managed to say something coherent.

“This? I don’t know. My brother was preparing for CAT. He said he wanted it, so I picked it up for him. Personally, I hate Maths”, she said.

“Hate this stupid costing as well. I am here, only because my father forced me to take up this course. Said I am wasting my time doing only B.Com and loafing around. I am going to flunk this exam just to get back at him!” she continued.

Before I could say something appropriately sympathetic, a guy in a flashy tee with a picture of a fist-and-one-strategic-finger-raised appeared... “hey babes, wanna go for some coffee?”

And off they went, hand in hand, looking very much in love.

Sigh. Breathe in. Deep. Deeper.

And back to Mr. Datey.

And, to surprising fourth standard kids in family get-togethers with my ability to say “74 square? Hmm... 5476” in less than a minute. I stopped doing that only when even they started give me the “eww, the geek” look.  

Nov 17, 2009

Bad Pun Alert!

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Example of a good pun:


"The ‘fakhta Marathi’ directive could end up doing just that..."

from one of my favourite columnists...

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Example of a bad pun:

Q: Why does the Gujju get all orgasmic when Sachin's at the crease?
A: Coz of the master batting...

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PS1: Apologies to any Gujju bhai/ben who might feel like taking offence... please don't crash the stock market in anger.

PS2: Extremely busy days at work... but there's always time for a bad pun

Nov 14, 2009

In all humility...

What is it about us that we, as a society, give inordinate pride of place to the virtue of modesty?

Why is it that we teach our kids to be humble, and not go to town tom-tomming their achievements?

Would we have admired and applauded Sachin the "master-blaster" if he had acted like say, Sreesanth, on the field? Ceteris paribus, if the only thing Sachin did not have was his trademark modesty, his ability to be superhuman but not appear as one, would we still have oohed and aahed at his copybook straight drives and punched off-drives? Or would we have gone "oh, what does he think of himself?" and dusted him off in our perpetual search for a more modest hero? In short, would we have been as proud of him if he had been overtly proud of himself?

Is it a coincidence that some of our most-beloved heroes, from Mahatma Gandhi to Narayanamurthy to Sachin Tendulkar, have been seen to be very modest in spite of achieving all that they did? Or is it, that we as a society, love to remember and highlight the success of people who don't proclaim it themselves? In the process, probably, glossing over some equally talented people who happen to score a little lower on the modesty-meter?

Is it because of our own insecurities? That we feel bad because we cannot achieve as much, and if someone  says so in our face, we would feel worse. And hence, we all gravitate towards those who do a lot, but don't speak about it as much, just so that we no-hopes may feel a bit better.

Is it because of our need for hope? If our heroes appear to us as super human, may be we would just shake our head at our own inadequacies and admire them. But if they have super human abilities but appear humble, appear like "one of us", we all get to renew our hope and think "hey, maybe I can do something too. After all, he has done so much and he looks like one of us..."

To put it more crudely, is it because we want to feel like better people than we are that we demand our heroes to act like lesser people than they actually are?

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying humility is a bad thing. If I have kids someday, I'd teach them the same too. But sometimes, I cannot help wondering if it is a tad overrated. This "aww-look-he-is-so-great-yet-so-modest" fetish that we all seem to have.

I can't help but wonder, if in our collective subconscious, we reject people who may have oodles of talent, but somehow come packaged with oodles of self-pride as well.

I can't help but wonder, if there has been actually another kid as talented as Sachin, but who got the short shrift since he went about proclaiming at age 15 that he will be the greatest batsman of his times... and some selector decided to "put the boy in his place" by making sure he never got the chance to do something...

I can't help but wonder, if as a society, are guilty of placing so much emphasis on modesty that we are blinded to everything else... or even whether we should even feel guilty about it at all...

after all, what is a hero that doesn't give us hope...

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Disclaimer: I am an out and out Sachin fan... for a long time in my life, I used to select my friends on the basis of whether they liked Sachin or not... while I am not as vehement as before, I still find it difficult to get along with people who question Sachin's abilities, temperament, committment etc., So the above post need not be interpreted as questioning Sachin's virtues...

PS1: I wanted to write a 'dedication post' for his twenty years of international cricket, but found that whatever I wanted to say has already been said, and much better at that, by many people. So all I can say is, thanks for all the wonderful memories...

Nov 5, 2009

Remember, Remember, the fifth of November...

How long will we stick to the Brit version, cute bald actresses notwithstanding...


So we came up with some suited to our own country...
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Congress version:


remember, remember, the last of october
when our Great Iron Lady was shot
The surds wanted a state and went to war
but our lady gave them Operation Bluestar
so now we put ads to ensure it is not forgot...
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BJP version:

remember, remember, the sixth of december
when our Loh Purush got on a rath
he wanted a mandir for Shri Ram
and so we declared it our only kaam
and on a mosque, we inflicted our wrath...
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AIADMK version:

remember, remember, the 24th of december
when our puratchi thalaivar's kidney failed
we went crazy, burning, rioting and looting
the police couldn't control us with their shooting
and finally, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma was hailed

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I would love to come up with more, but I have some serious work deadlines to adhere to... so no time to spare :(

Oct 30, 2009

Priceless

You know those stupid face-book quizzes that everybody seems to be clicking on these days? I never do them. Because the one or two I did in the initial "I-am-so-excited-to-be-on-facebook" stage gave out patently false results. As expected. One even suggested that I'll die from a shoot-out in a gang war. Yeah right!

I have usually been skeptical of such links. The ones which says "You are 51% female" even when your blog url does not read "http://ardhnareeswara.blogspot.com", or the ones which say "This blog can be understood by a school dropout" etc etc...

So, imagine my surprise when I finally found a link through some totally random browsing that finally gave a true result!



Reminds me of the quote made by my friend: "If you set out to do nothing, and end up doing nothing, haven't you achieved 100% of what you wanted?"
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PS1: When there is nothing happenning in one's life that is blog-worthy, can a post about the worth(lessness) of one's blog be used as a filler?

PS2: From 3 day weekends a month back to working Saturdays now... how the leisurely have fallen :(

PS3: Any investment banker out there who can tweak the terminal growth rate and the WACC to give a respectable value to this space? Like a certain power company, I promise to write 28,000 mega posts by 2015.

Oct 25, 2009

Exam Fever...

Sunday 10.00 a.m.

“Aiyyo, I have an exam tomorrow!”

“So?”

“I don’t remember anything. I am sure to fail!”

“Oh c’mon! It can’t be that difficult!”

“You don’t understand! Ennaku mandayylaye yera maatengarathu!” (“I just can’t get this into my head!”)

“It’s ok. Show me your notebook, I’ll help you.”

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Sunday 12.00 noon

“Aiyyo, it’s all so confusing! Why did I join this stupid course? I am not going to use any of this ever in my life!”

“Not everything you learn has to be used in your life. Besides, this is going to be useful, you just don’t realize it.”

“Poda! I don’t want to write this exam. I don’t want to pass this course. I just hope everybody will leave me alone.”

“Stop putting nadigar thilagam style drama! Why are you getting so worked up over such a silly exam?”

“Precisely my point! It is a silly exam! And I will end up failing in that too!”

“Listen, your performance in this exam does not in anyway reflect the kind of person you are. You are the best, irrespective of whether you pass this stupid test or not.”

“Kadavule, pazhani aandava, enna indha kodumai lerenthu kaapaathu appa!” (“Oh God! Lord of Palani, please save me from all this misery!”)

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Monday 9.30 a.m.

“Did anybody see my pen? Where is my pen?”

“It’ll be where you put it after writing your notes last night!”

“I can’t seem to find it. Don’t just stand around passing wise comments, help me search for it!”

“Inniki exam nu theriyum illa? Nethikke pena ellam eduthu vechurkalam illa?” (“You knew today’s your exam. You should have kept everything ready yesterday itself!”)

“Aiyyo, onakku vellayaata irukka? Unna, vandhu pesikiren! Ippo, just help me find it!”

(“All this is a joke to you? I’ll get back at you once I get back.”) [Sorry, couldn’t resist the translation pj]

“Ok, ok...”

“Hiyya! Kedachuduthu! Poitu varen.” (“Aha, got it! Ok, I’m leaving”)

“All the best. Bhayapadaama paathu ketu ezhudungo, Amma.” (“All the best. Don’t get nervous, and write carefully, Mom.”)

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PS1: When I suggested to my mom to enroll in a computer course, I never imagined that it would lead to so much drama in the family!

PS2: I never thought I’d use “my Amma” and “cute” in the same sentence. But this episode was just that! Too cute! And yeah, role reversal is much fun!

PS3: The "exam la paathu ketu ezhudhu" is literally the most misleading advice one can give to youngsters. And yet, I have seen (and heard!) most relatives using this. Of course, yours truly was really honest in exams!!!

PS4: Back from the home trip which included the mandatory social visits to ageing relatives. Why don't they ever realize that “when are you settling down?” is the most unsettling question one can ask a 26 year old?

Oct 15, 2009

Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth...

Unlike me, my mom is not someone who is obsessed with money. She even violates the founding principles of economics which starts with "human wants are unlimited". She always seems content with whatever she has, and shuns most comforts that I crave for.

May be it has got something to do with growing up in a large, not so well off family. Where one learnt to put off costly luxuries since there wasn't enough to fulfill the necessities.

I am amazed at how detached she can be when it comes to material comforts. And yet...

"Keep the house clean, or Lakshmi will run away."
Not "it is so messy", or "you'll fall sick with all the dust", but "Lakshmi will run away".

"Light a lamp at sunset, to welcome Lakshmi."
Not "to keep darkness away", not "to help us see better", but "to welcome Lakshmi".

"Keep the front door open at dusk, or Lakshmi will go away."
So what if the only things that come in are blood sucking mosquitoes. And a small rat at times.

She also has a velakku shlokam routine while lighting the lamp, which starts with "Velakke thiru velakke..." something something, and the single stand-out line I remember in that goes "pasu maadu thaarum amma, potti neraiya bhushanangal thaarum amma..." I remember chuckling at that and asking her if she really wanted a cow and a boxful of treasure, only to be shushed at with a rebuke, "Don't make fun of Lakshmi. She'll desert you."

And it is not just my mom. I have seen it across Tambrahm households. Most of them express an inexplicable distaste for hankering after money and material comforts, preferring (pretending?) to be interested in spiritual pursuits.

And yet, the obsession with wealth (or at least its Goddess!) is to be seen to be believed. Half the time, the curses will be "Moodevi!" (the other half being shaniyan!), and half the threats for not following some ritual will go "Daridram pidikkum" (Poverty (or misery?) will haunt you!). Why not "paithiyum pidikkum" (given that I am more afraid of going mad than going bankrupt!), or even "jaladosham pidikkum" (since I sneeze all the time as it is!)? One can only speculate that losing your wealth was considered infinitely more scary than losing your marbles!

In private, they sneer at the business class. And yet, go to work for them, remaining loyal workers for life. Risk-taking is an anathema, the stock market is a gambling den, and the constant message every child gets is "study well, find a nice job and settle down." "And invest your money in post office monthly income schemes," they might as well add.

Money is not a tool to be used for purchasing comforts in life. Money is a whimsical goddess who'll desert you if you don't adhere to certain arcane diktats.
So, I grew up hearing both "Don't run after money!" and "Worship the Goddess of Wealth and don't incur her wrath!"

And the tragedy is that since she is my mom, I know she hasn't taken a hypocrites oath and genuinely believes in those two opposing value systems!

on that note, Happy Lakshmi Puja! and Happy Deepavali too!
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PS: Going home for a week! Let's rephrase that: "GOING HOME FOR A WEEK!" :D :D :D Limited access to the net, and a good time to check whether I am truly addicted to this blog!

Oct 11, 2009

Of working weekends, loan signings, unplanned trips and more...

This is going to be a personal post (and extremely long). If you came here expecting PJs, and are not in the least interested in knowing what an exciting social life I lead, please brace yourself for some disappointment.

Since we wrote that epic limerick in anticipation of a long weekend, Murphy decided to show up and remind us of the old line, "If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans". So what if we don't actually believe in God. Or tell really godawesome PJs that would make even an imaginary God forget to laugh. May we remind you that we refer to ourselves in the plural whenever we are happy. Also, when we try to imitate Bihari Hindi. Hum bas ee bolna chahat hai tau ki hum bahut kush hai. I know I got it wrong, but whatever!

So, the long weekend was spent in office. Struggling with a huge loan document. With a cold pizza to ensure that we don't drop dead due to starvation. But we just attended our first multi-million dollar loan documentation, and boy, are we boasting about that ever since?

Anyways, once we were done and dusted with the official work, and all the lawyers were happy, we asked boss for a day off to make a trip to Kutta (South Coorg) with our friends from Bangalore (Bengaluru?) over the next long weekend. Yes, thanks to the same holiday given to us because of the great man's birthday. The same person whose smiling photograph on green coloured crisp paper makes girls go weak in the knees. We love him so much we keep multiple pics of the man in our wallet. No girl has gone down on one knee for us yet, but then girls are not so lame. But we are still hopeful...

We are lucky to have some really enthu friends who arranged for a vehicle and acco and off we went. To a beautiful unplanned holiday that got us thinking why aren't we taking more such trips?

Now, we were in half the mind to do a travelogue kinda post, with nice pics and detailed write-ups on what to do and where to go and other boring useful stuff. But, we figured that there are nice forums which do that anyways. So, we just put together a collection of random pics. If only to remind us that we need to take off on impulse trips more often.

Apparently, the drive from Bengaluru to this place is nice and scenic. Of course, we wouldn't know anything about that. Because, we subscribe to the policy of sleeping through the journey so that we can remain awake once we reach the place. The fact that we can snugly fit into the backseat of the Qualis is but a minor incentive.

Yes. We have a tendency to sleep in any moving vehicle. Cars. Buses. Trains. Planes. Even when riding pillion on a motorcycle, as our friend never stops reminding us.

Of course, we did wake up when our friends spotted spotted deer. And we came up with a PJ: "Why are there so many deer?"... "B'coz deer are horny!". Our friends who were trying to convince us to stay awake were now regretting their decision. "Thoongara singatha thatti ezhupeeta" as Thalaivar used to say. And we would be polite enough not to repeat the "Spotted deer is not a verb" PJ that we used in this post.


Of course, things got slightly more exciting when we spotted our favourite animal.

We really love elephants. Behenji notwithstanding, we think they are too cool. They can be majestic, they can be cute, they can be frightening, and best of all, they have big pot bellies. Just like us.

Unfortunately, that was about the only wild life we spotted. Though we had heard that the Nagarahole forest range has lots of wild animals. Like tigers (well, no Gujju family this time, but still the striped one stubbornly refused to show up. Makes us wonder whether we were the ones who scared the tiger away at Corbett). Like bisons (the only bison that was there was beneath my shirt. Or was it Poompuhar? We are too decent to publicly state our brand preference!). Like wild boars (ok, no smart ass comment this time. Even we are fed up now!)

But what we did find, at the place we stayed, were spiders. Hundreds of them. We went crazy clicking them. So much so, our friends started calling us Spiderfan. (Main 'ma' ko 'fa' bolta hoon was the only kaminey-type PJ we could come up with...)


Take a minute to appreciate the world's best web designer. Next time you do ottarai at home, remember that you are destroying such beautiful creations. That's why we don't clean our house. And people think we are just being lazy.

Of course, we also spotted a lonely cow somewhere. And thankfully, no dumb Farmville players around to claim points for it!


And that concludes our pseudo-travelpost.

We are approaching the festival of loud noises, which usually makes us go all senti. Let's hope we come up with something more funny this time.

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PS: We were desperate to put up a one-liner on Obama's Nobel Prize. Like how "any US President who doesn't declare war and kill English is eligible for the Peace prize". But this dude beat us to it. And put it better.

Ps2: Most pics clicked by friends. Who are welcome to claim copyright if they want. The spider pics clicked by me! You are free to use them, unless you make money off them. In which case, pliss to share!

Sep 23, 2009

DDLJ in limericks!!!

Yet another extremely silly post. The prospect of another 3-day weekend, coupled with some lighter workload in office, could be the possible reason behind such continued inanity.

So, sit back, give your brains some much needed rest, and enjoy... DDLJ in limericks!!!

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We open with a shot of the strict father,
his grim set face indicating some bother,
And even as he feeds yet another dove,
you know he's gonna oppose beti's love,
that's something even a novice can gather!

We cut to Kajol chasing a moving train,
you think all her running will be in vain,
at the last minute, SRK gives her a hand,
a scene so magical, you search for the wand,
but why couldn't he simply pull the damn chain?

Look, there's Kajol in a sexy cocktail dress,
oh my god, my eyes pop, this one's backless!
and as they cruise across breathtaking Europe
in some corner of my mind, flickers a small hope
maybe this movie won't be such a boring mess!

But no, SRK hams on with his irritating "Senorita"
while Kajol acts as if she's the next Ramayan ki Sita!
Well, she does dance after having too much to drink
but even then all that my bored mind could think
was that sin theta by cos theta equals tan theta!

Next we see the hero baring his romantic heart
claiming to have been struck by a Cupid's dart
but the lady claims that she is her father's pet
and hence she'll marry a man she's never met
and on this tearful (snif) note, they both part...

"Bye bye dear, remember, don't you lose hope"
while the problem seems more than we can cope...
"C'mon now, gimme a cute smile, don't look so sad,
I'll come to India and convince your mom 'n dad"
But no, we won't take the easy way and elope...

Thus, we cut to Punjab, the land of fields so green,
Mehendi, songs, dance, the typical wedding scene,
All seems lost, till the hero arrives on the farm,
and wins over everybody, with his famous charm,
even the cobra of the dad is now dancing to his been!

But to win his girl, our hero puts up a fist-fight,
as if to show this lover boy also has some might,
ah, what relief, they show (finally!) "The End"!
I stagger out, "Howz the movie?" asks the friend,
I quip "Kajol in a towel, quite an exquisite sight!"

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PS: Acknowledgements:
1. The cable guy for showing some songs of DDLJ over the weekend, thus triggering my nostalgic hatred of this movie that everyone else seems to love.

2. The evil gang of autowallahs, who refused to go where I wanted, for some reason best known to them, forcing me to walk some 40 minutes. Leading to my mind running riot.

3. An old crush, in whose memory, I had written this long back...

"When life throws up challenges that you can't cope,
remember one simple thing, there's always hope!
C'mon now, smile a little, don't look so sad,
I'll find a way to convince your mom and dad
else, my darling, why don't we just elope?

Just tweaked what would have turned into an inane senti personal post into this :)

4. Friends, who shall remain unnamed unless they want to reveal themselves, who happenned to bring up 'hope' in a conversation, leading me to dig out this long-forgotten tripe. You shall share part of the blame for this stupid post.

Sep 18, 2009

Career Choices...

We are so happy with the prospect of a three-day weekend that we couldn't help coming up with a totally random, totally silly post. And since three day weekends leave us feeling like royalty, we can't help referring to ourselves as 'we'.

Anyways, here goes...

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Q. What did Vijender Singh's mom say when he donned gloves for a career choice?
A. Arre yeh kya pagalpan hai! I'll have to knock out this nonsensical idea!
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Q. What did Abhinav Bindra's mom say when he refused to give up a rifle for a career choice?
A. Shoot, that sonofagun is really focussed!
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Q. What did Jeev Milkha's mom say when he insisted on picking up a golf club for a career choice?
A. I guess I have no choice but to putt up with it!
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Q. What did Vishy Anand's mom say when he politely asked if he can pick up a chessboard for a career choice?
A. I don't know, I'll have to check, mate.
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Q. What did Sachin Tendulkar's mom say when he picked up a cricket bat for a career choice?
A. Let's see, we'll have to bounce that idea with your dad and hope he doesn't smash it.
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Q. What did Saina Nehwal's mom say when she wanted to smash a shuttle for a career choice?
A. Well, I'm only afraid your dad might create a big racquet.
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Q. What did Leander Paes' mom say when he decided to make tennis his career choice?
A. Well, I was hoping you'd become a divorce lawyer, but I guess it is destined that you'll just go to court and break up with your best partner.
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Q. What did Narain Karthikeyan's mom say when he revved up behind a set of wheels for a career choice?
A. Go ahead son, I'll not stand in your way.
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Q. What did an average-no-name-Indian's mom say when he contemplated commerce for a career choice?
A. Aieee Saala, you have to do engineering.
And the boy meekly said "Jee Maa".
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PS: Couldn't resist that last dig at the engineers. As usual.

Sep 13, 2009

Extoll mystery spiel... or Sell mystery exploit...

Imaginary convesation among bankers...

Banker 1 (B1): Hi buddy, long time no see, so what's your bonus?
Banker 2 (B2): Not all that great! Didn't even touch six figures!
B1: What are you saying? After all, you guys slog so hard for the damn cash!
Banker 3 (B3): Yeah, and that too at a bank accused of being land scam hogs!
B2: Your bank ain't all that great either! It is accused of being an analyst monger!
B1: Yeah, and I heard your traders moan strangely every time they lose money. And all they do is rant about money and gals.
B3: Hey, our bank got no measly grant from the government. After all, unlike your bank, we did not have an abhorrent man at the helms.
B1 (looking at his Blackberry): Anyways, got to go. Loads of work pending.
B2 & B3: Bye!

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PS1: Inspired by this news. Never knew having a name which is an anagram of the place you work for makes you CEO material.

PS2: For those who are still scratching their heads, the italicized words in each sentence anagram to a bank's name. Some repeat the same bank.

Ps3: Er... the title is also an anagram. 3 words. Result of my usual goofing at the anagram solver.

Sep 12, 2009

Trip to Chennai

Warning: Long pointless post. Like most ones in this space.
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Since the last post, things have improved. Thankfully, Ms.Asthma wanted just a one-night stand this time around.

The week started off well. I was to catch a train to Chennai on Sep 3, and I reached VT (ok, Raj, Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus!) without any issues. In spite of the fact that it was Ganapathy (or, Ganpati as Mumbai makkal say) Visarjan. And no, I wasn't running away from the threat that I may be mistakenly drowned by drunk revellers. Though my friends like to hint at it, not too subtly.

One of my good friends (and for a very long time, the only reader of this blog who did not call himself SRK) was getting married.

And though it has been ages since I wrote this post, I wanted to see if I was still nostalgic about sleeper class. I walk in, and it looks like a ghost compartment. Yes, 72 seats, and not a single person other than me (and the voices in my head). I was slowly getting the joke that my father had made when I mentioned that I was taking the Madras (ok, MK, Chennai) Mail. "The train that stops every time a buffalo wanders within 5 metres of the tracks to let it pass.", were his exact words.

Anyways, I had a very interesting read to give me company. A 150 page report full of descriptions of once-through boiler specifications, cooling water chemical dosing pre-treatment and other engineering stuff that I attempt in vain to understand. And after failing spectacularly, start writing posts cursing the damn engineers. You see, unlike mere mortals who carry a boring novel, we nation building champions of infrastructure lug along mega power project project reports. Small sacrifices for lighting up the country.

I drowsed off by the time I was in the second para of the executive summary of the report. I wake up to the sounds of chai garam and bread aamlayte. Smell of vada pav and bhajia.The stink of the loo (I was in seat 72!). People. And more people. Three guys sitting in what was supposed to be my seat. And telling me they'll get off at next station, tension nako. Aah, good bye empty train, welcome nostalgia.

And while I struggled through civil works and mechanical design, the stations hurtled past. And I drowsed off again. Yes, the train takes a day and two nights to do the Mumbai-Chennai distance.
This time, I was woken up by the tap tap tap of a police lathi on my berth. And before I could yell "you can't arrest me for killing that cockroach on my berth", he drawled "Chennai Central" and moved on to the next berth. Phew. Why hadn't my alarm gone off? I looked at my watch. Damn Indian Railways, how can Madras Mail arrive 1/2 hour before time. My dad might say there were no buffaloes near the track.

Having been forewarned about the greedy auto rickshaw guys of Chennai who think meter is such a peter concept, I just hopped along to Park Station and caught a local train. To St. Thomas Mount. Why does Chennai have such peter names for stations? Leave the Elphinstones and Currey Roads to Bombay and have more stations with names like Pazhavanthangal. Uphold Tamizh tradition I say.

Blame it on the effect of having stayed in Bombay for 11 years now, that I expected Nanganallur to have naked chicks. OMG, I am making lame indhi payyan jokes. Shudder.

Couldn't do too much sight seeing in Chennai. Short two day visit, punctuated with visit to uncle's place, visit to cousin's place where the 1 year old niece absolutely refused to come anywhere near me (in spite of chocolate bribes), and I spent most of the time at the wedding hall.

Which brings me to the only point of this post? Where have all the pretty girls gone? I was given coffee by a azhukku veshti payyan, there were no cute faces at the entrance sprinkling rose water, all the malli-poos were on the head of old maamis... damn, even the girl who sang Mukunda Mukunda was not an Asin lookalike, but a tiny eight year old!

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PS1: The pretty girls may be missing, but the food continues to be divine. Thank God (and the caterer) for that! If I had to choose between a good girl and a good payasam, I'll go for the latter. Unless the good girl can make good payasam...

PS2: And the friend, in spite of agreeing with my Mehendi post, had two big red circles on his hands. Traitor!

Aug 30, 2009

An old crush comes visiting...

An old crush came visiting this weekend. Bringing with her memories unpleasant. With a tiny bit of nostalgia.

I hadn't met her for about 4 years now. Or was it 5? It seems so long ago, that I don't even remember.

What I do remember is how she used to make me feel. One word. Breathless.

She visited only occasionally. But when she did come, everything else was secondary. Food, studies, games, even sleep. I'd lie back, she'd be close to my chest, but there would be no sleep. Together, we'd dream, sometimes wonderful dreams, but mostly nasty nightmares.

She used to decide what I could eat. What I could drink. What kind of clothes I could wear. What places I could visit.

In effect, she used to rule my life. And frankly, I was beginning to feel a bit suffocated in the relationship.

And I slowly broke away from her. It took some dedicated effort, in fact 3 years of it. But I did not want to do anything fishy, just for a quick break-up.

And even when we were through, done and dusted, I was aware that we may move on, but we'll never be able to forget each other. And that she may come back anytime she pleases.

But she didn't return for 4 years. Or was it 5?

And I had almost forgotten about her. Even discarded the sucker gifts she had given me during her visits.

Till this Thursday, when I went Cough Cough. Acchhoooo. Sniff.

All's well, in spite of all the swine flu fear, all we have to do is visit the doc and pop some pills. Relax, relax, take a deep breath...

Wheeze.

Wheeze.

Welcome back, Ms. Asthma.

I have always had a thing for names beginning with A. Asin, Amrita (Rao, not Arora), Aish, Alyssa and of course, you.
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PS1 : Fellow sufferers if any, please don't list down your inhaler horror stories, or miracle cures for now... I am kinda depressed as it is, so let's keep it for when I'm back in my happy mood.

PS2: In spite of the cold, cough, fever, and the associated "did you test for the swine flu" kinda depressing questions, one can't help but come up with a sicko PJ:
Q. What do they call swine flu in Tamil?
A. Panni Pani.
(non-Tams, please note the second word is not pronounced like the hindi word for water!)

Aug 27, 2009

The Mehendi we like... (may be NSFW)

I don't know if the friend did read the last post, but I find this in my mail box.


I have no words.

Aug 24, 2009

It is green, and it makes me turn red with rage...

Warning: Slightly MCPish post. If you are female and sensitive (is there any other kind?), please, please don't read this.

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Time was when a Tambrahm guy could just sit around, playing cards and ogling chicks in their finest silks, on the eve of a relative's marriage. When all he had to do was turn around, and some over-enthu pattu-pavadai-clad-mami-in-the-making would be running around with coffee tumblers and hand him a delicious helping of filter kaapi. With a cute smile too. Ah, those were the days...

The glorious days before the Barjatyas and Johars of the world came up with their Punjabi wedding videos disguised as movies. They introduced alien concepts like designer mehendi and what not, to the hitherto one-big-circle-on-the-palm-and-five-caps-on-the-fingers maamis and their daughters.

And that, dear fellow MCP mamas, was the day when we came to know what women empowerment was, and how it stinks. Much more than the stink of the green goo mehendi.

We would have tolerated it if it were just the bride. After all, it is supposed to be the biggest day of her life and one could tolerate a few eccentric wishes.

But no, the whole female section sits down, gets mehendi all over their hands and feet, and then whenever any work is to be done, they literally throw up their hands...

It gets worse if you happen to be the bride's brother / cousin (especially if you are in your twenties and single). Because, much as one would love to sit back and take in the sight of pretty girls in their pattu podavais and their jhumkis, one would be forced to run around like a dog. Fetch the key we forgot in the house, fetch a rickshaw for the bride's friend, fetch Paati's eye-glasses, fetch, fetch, fetch... At the end of it all, if someone throws a stick, one would go after it like a retreiver. All while the ladeej are sitting around admiring the designs (?) on their hands.

And after they are all done and dusted, they further infuriate you the next day with inane questions like "ain't my mehendi darker than hers?" For all I care, you could have horse shit on your hands lady, and it won't make any difference.

The next big pet peeve is the bride's mehendi. Apparently, the 'bhabhi' (or mausi?) who does mehendi attended some innovation class and decided, for a change, to earn her 1000 bucks per hand. So, she comes up with this great idea of writing the groom's name, one alphabet at a time, in some corner of the strange patterns she makes up.

Now, the bride is not satisfied with just harassing the guy she's getting married to. So, post marriage, while you are taking a 5 min breather before you are asked to fetch something, she'll call you, open her palms, and say (in what she imagines to be a cute voice) "find the letters on the hand".

Geez lady, for one, we are too old to be playing this treasure hunt thingy. And two, that mausi (bhabhi?) could have written "asshole" for all I care. And three, no that squiggle does not look like an 'A', whichever angle you look at it!

But thankfully, before the bride gets a dose of SRK's special brand of sarcasm, someone calls to fetch Paati's rubber chappals which she forgot outside the bathroom.

Believe me guys, I have never felt gladder to go and pick up a pair of slippers...

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PS1: This post has been sitting on the draft folder for quite some time. It is the result of attending too many marriages lately, plus an email discussion on the pre-marriage craziness with some like-minded friends.

PS2: I know some of my friends, and all of my cousins / aunts are gonna hate me for this. But it is ok. Sometimes, a guy's gotta do what he's gotta do...

Ps3: A personal reward of 5000 bucks from my side for anyone who can make mehendi with itching powder...

Aug 17, 2009

Pudhumozhi (Part II)

Excuse the lazy post, but I am running out of ideas and re-cycling old ideas don't seem that bad...

So, here goes... the uniquely Tambrahm proverbs...

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Keep your mouth shut...

And your nostril open while you do pranayamam!

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There’s no smoke...

As divine as the one from our Ganapathy homam fire!

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Laughter is the...

Best medicine, but you’ll still have to drink that kashayam!

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Practise what...

The swamigal on the Aastha channel preaches.

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A rolling stone...

Is the secret of paati’s lip-smacking chutney!

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Variety is the spice...

And that’s why we have manga thokku, narthanga and avakka oorugai.

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The grass is always greener...

In the You Ess Yay, so apply for the H1B.

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Ask no questions...

Just blindly follow what the shastrams (and the sastrigal) said.

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To err is human...

But how could you not get a centum in maths?

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Scratch my back...

I don’t want to ruin my newly changed poonal!

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PS: Once again, please bear with the recycled crap while we try to come up with something original and funny.

Aug 11, 2009

Beware, there is a new virus in town!!!

Beware, there is a new virus in town. It is said to be highly contagious.

The trouble is, governments are not yet on high alert, leave alone setting up committees to tackle the problem.

WHO has not declared it an epidemic, or a pandemic, and is not even monitoring the situation closely.

This virus is rumoured to affect people who stay in closed door environments, especially offices.

It is a new strain, and scientists have named it E1ME1 – Each One Mail Every One.

Symptoms include an irresistible recursive tendency to forward mails on the virus (topics including but not limited to listing down the symptoms, listing ways to stop the spread of the virus, listing phone numbers of various agencies and hospitals), a disturbing urge to wear weird looking ineffective masks, a heightened sense of imagination of experiencing some symptoms (usually occurring in concurrence with an inability to spell or decipher ‘hypochondriac’) and a penchant to offer some self prescribed medicinal advice.

While the number of people affected by this virus is unknown, we are happy to report that there have been no casualties. The virus is not fatal, though some of the recipients of the mails have been wishing otherwise.

No scientists are yet engaged in working on cures for this. However, sources on condition of anonymity opined that a slightly strong application of force by a human leg to the patient’s backside may help contain the spread of the disease.

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PS1: Speaking of diseases, did you know I suffer from Gymnesia - a tendency to forget to go to the gym. Not to be confused with Ghajinesia - a tendency to go to the gym and forget.

PS2: One of the side effects of Gymnesia is Fatigue - where the patient becomes extremely tired of people calling him / her fat.

PS3: However, let me clarify that I do not suffer from OBC-ity - a tendency to throw one's weight around without merit. Apparently, you are born with it. Or, you'll have to get a certificate for it.

PS4: Last heard, there was no punacea for these diseases. And so, I am doomed!

Aug 6, 2009

A little known story from Ramayana

There is a little known side-story in the Ramayana that very few people are aware of.

It happenned when Lord Rama was in exile. Living a peaceful life in the forest, with his lovely wife and devout brother. Away from cruel step-mothers and back bending maids.

Just when everything was quiet and nice, there appeared a terrible distraction.

Demon princess Surpanakha was roaming around in the forest, looking for some action. And she saw Rama, and she was smitten. “Wow, now that’s an ideal man”, she said to herself.

So she changed form, and appeared before Rama as an irresistible beauty. She tried to woo Rama, but he was not impressed. He was a perfect man, and a monogamous one at that (which firmly proves that the story is plain myth, but let’s not hurt religious sentiments here!).

Anyways, when Rama did not succumb to temptation, Surpanakha turned to Lakshmana. Who turned out to be even more of a perfect man and refused her saying he was a married man. (I mean, Rama at least could have been thinking Sita might sulk, but Lakshmana knew that Urmila won’t even come to know).

Anyways, to cut a long nose (oops, story) short, Surpanakha was humiliated and sent back. And perfect men though they were, they forgot one little detail: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!!!”

So, Surpanakha went back to Lanka, and cried her heart out to her dear brother, the almighty demon king Ravana. Ravana flew into a rage, and promised his little sister that he would make the people who did this to her pay dearly.

Now, Ravana was an all powerful king, conqueror of the three worlds, but he had one little weakness. You see, Ravana had ten heads, but as is the case with divided responsibility (also called group work in b-school lingo), every head used to assume that the other would take care of the all the brain work. So, he was a forgetful person.

So, to remind him of his promise, Surpanakha did what all women do when they need men to remember things. She tied a thread around his hand.

And in honour of that tradition, to this day, sisters tie a thread around their brothers’ hands. It is celebrated as Rakshas Bandhan, a symbol of the bond between a brother and a sister.

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PS1: Inspired by recent posts of Naren. A person whom I have never met, but who has made me chuckle quite a bit.


PS2: Not intended to hurt any religious sentiments. So, please spare me the sermon about respecting our epics.

Aug 4, 2009

SRK's Laws Part II

You know the feeling when you are poring over legal documents, trying to understand the hitherto and thereunder, and you say to yourself, "I wish I could make a law. I would ban the damn lawyers". You don't? Well, you don't do loan documentation. Lucky you!

And then it struck me, I can make laws. I made them sometime back, and they weren't too bad.

So, here we present (applause!!!) SRK's Laws part-II:

SRK’s First Law of Movie watching: Watching a good movie is fun. Discussing it is not.

SRK’s Second Law of Movie watching: Watching a crappy movie is boring. Dissing and cussing it is not.

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SRK’s First Law of Impressing the Boss: When you have too much work and no time to even list it down, the boss will have too much work and no time to listen to your list.

SRK’s Second Law of Depressing the Boss: When you have no work and all the time to list down nothing, the boss will have too much time and no work but to ask for your list.

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SRK’s First Law of Ageing: When everyone around you is talking of how old you are becoming, you pretend to hear them and keep quiet.

SRK’s Second Law of Ageing: When everyone around you is talking and you pretend to hear them and keep quiet, you are becoming old.

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SRK’s First Law of Life Cycle Planning: When everybody and his uncle ask you to find a girl and get married, it is too early.

SRK’s First Law of Life Cycle Planning: When everybody and his married girl ask for an uncle and find you, it is too late.

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SRK’s First Law of Getting Unlucky: After years of searching, when you start to like a girl, she’ll turn out to be a staunch believer in arranged marriage.

SRK’s Second First Law of Getting Lucky: After years of searching, when a girl starts to like you, she’ll turn out to be a desperate believer in arranged marriage.

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SRK’s First Law of Blogging: Most people blog because they have something to say. But some sadly end up saying nothing.

SRK’s Second Law of Blogging: I blog because I have nothing to say. And I happily end up exactly as planned.

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PS: To those of you who are thinking of making a law to ban blog posts like these, keep dreaming...

Aug 1, 2009

Kambakht Ishq: Must watch!!!

Kambakht Ishq (KI) is a truly landmark movie in Bollywood. One which raises the bar on portrayal of women empowerment in Hindi Cinema. Truth be told, I am surprised that the Ram Sene didn’t object to its screening and our parliamentarians didn’t want to ban it outright.

There are very few movies which make me want to write about them. Going against my policy of not doing movie reviews. Kidnap was one. KI is even better.

For starters, there is the leading lady. Whose characterization on the script would have been just two words: “hates men.” But why would she wear skimpy outfits and come dolled up like a tart, you may be tempted to ask. And that, dear perverted MCP viewer, is the first sign of empowerment. Unlike the male of the species which hits the gym to develop six packs in the name of fitness, when the true reason is to attract chicks, the female of the species dresses up because she likes to look good. And feel good. Not for you to ogle at and grope. Unfortunately, Bollywood has so far upheld the male-centric ‘sajna hai mujhe sajna ke liye' view. And dear Bebo shatters that myth with a six inch heel.

Second, the lady is a doctor. And a surgeon at that. (mind you, not plastic!!!). And she moonlights as a model to pay for medical school. Doesn’t go, “papa/bhaiya/mamaji, mujhe paise chahiye”. In one shot, she destroys the myth that women cannot be financially independent. And proves that you no longer have to be the vamp in the movie to earn money by your looks. Another yay for the sisterhood!

Although they don’t mention that she is also an MBA, I think she is. When she makes an operational mistake, she rectifies it with a strategic plan. She doesn’t go begging for forgiveness. Instead, she tricks the hero into falling in love with her. Even if she has to shimmy down a boat wearing a black one-piece. (I was about to say tight black one-piece but remembered that nothing looks tight on a size zero). She has no qualms bedding him to achieve her goal. And the hero makes a weepy speech about love for a change.

And just when you thought this movie have reached the stratosphere of super sisterhood, they end it with a bang (not that bang, you perverts!). The lady smooches the hero to shut him up. Just like he did to shut her up at the start of the movie. (On that note, imagine if the ticket checker in Jab We Met had done it to achieve the same result!). While snooty reviewers (who probably sat in the first bench all their school life) may deride this as ‘pandering to the front benchers', it is another wow moment for the sisterhood. A gal can give it back twice as good as she gets. She can bastard you every time you bitch her. She can kiss you twice for the one you gave.

If only she had kicked the baddies' asses also. But then, why would you want to snatch away poor Sly Stallone’s retirement benefit fund?

Not since Madame Mallika walked up to the medical shop and asked for a condom in Khwaish, not since Rani sold her soul in LCMD, not since Preity had a live-in pregnancy in Salaam Namaste has a movie been so vocal about women and their innate power.

So, gals, what are you waiting for? Drag your boyfriend / husband to the nearest movie theatre and show him what stern stuff you are made of.

All in all, an eye-opening experience.

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PS1: Ladies, please don’t read this. Guys, it has chicks in bikinis and minis, long kisses, Denise Richards climbing out of a pool (remember Wild Things?)... a must watch with a beer pack, a pirated DVD (to pause at the right scenes) and a bunch of guys who can hoot and whistle at every pause. All in all, a fly-opening experience.


PS2: The movie made me introspect too... When Bebo goes, "Who would want to marry a sick bastard like you?", I felt she was talking to me and not Akshay!


PS3: For the tams who are probably gloating “ha, one more indhi padam remake”, remember KI is as different from PKS as I am from the real Shahrukh Khan. After all, what could be more different than veteran actor Kamal playing a hanuman-bhakt than veteran non-actor Akshay playing a kambakht?

Jul 27, 2009

Malice in Hinterland - II

Continued from Part-I...

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Meanwhile, in the western corner of the country...

"Who's the hottest CM in the world,

Pardesi bol, Pardesi Bol, Pardesi bol bol bol bol

MoU karade, jo baad me tu chahe invest kar ya hatade

paise dikhade, toh tujhe hum saara zameen dilade"

There was a mela going on. People who had escaped the inanity of the great country and were lucky enough to have made their riches elsewhere, had returned to 'give something back'. And were talking of putting up 500 MW solar farms. Clearly, Wonderland-ia was still ‘Shining’ as far as this part of the country was concerned.

"Who's the hottest CM in the world

Pardesi bol, Pardesi Bol, Pardesi bol bol bol bol..."

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"We don't want any paradesis in our land" announced the 'artistic' CM from the South. "Our language is rich enough, we don't want their riches. And to think they are talking about the sun now. We have had the sun as a symbol for ages now."

“Thalaivar Vaazhga! Kalaignar Vaazhga!” shouted the cadres in chorus as they lined up for their free TVs to watch ‘Sun TV in Tamizh Malai’.

“People are surprised that I agreed with the Italian lady to form a government. Little do they know that I have a long tradition of following Roman leaders. After all, like Augustus Caesar, I also decreed that the calendar be changed and now our people celebrate New Year when I want them to!”


"The New Year won’t be in Chitthirai, but will be in Thai

Shun Sanskrit, Respect the Tamil month, so proclaimed I!"


He wove a couplet, dreaming about composing 1330 of them and becoming famous like the other great poet.


To host the Nano, the east and the west put orey sandai

while we in the south quietly welcome the korean hyundai!


Another 1328 to go, he thought to himself...

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Should this be continued?

Jul 26, 2009

Malice in Hinterland

Once upon a time, in a country so near that we are living in it, there lived many kings and many queens, each squabbling with the other as to whose diamond set and vintage car collection was the bestest.

In the middle of this peaceful existence arrived India's first Fe-Male (yeah, even commerce students remember some chemical symbols from much hated science class!), sulking that he was not made the first prime minister. Undeniably a great man, but he decided to inflict his revenge for the gross injustice meted out to him. And he achieved this by unifying all those princely states into one huge country. And while the person who actually got to become the prime minister went around spouting 'unity in diversity', the First Fe-Male of India probably chuckled to himself, "Let's see you rule this unruly bunch sucker!"

And like the butterfly who flapped its wings not knowing it was going to cause a storm halfway across the world, our man did not realize what he had unleashed upon this nation, a nation so great that its people proclaimed its greatness on the 'backside' of their killer trucks.

Almost half a century later, thanks to him, we have many leaders instead of one, and that much more fun. (Did that ryhme, or what?)

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To start off, let me introduce you to that wonderful lady in the north, she who proves that having an illusion for a name doesn't make reality any better.

Lady M: "Are the statues ready?"
Chamcha 1 (C1): "Yes your Sisterness"
Lady M: "And did you make sure the handbag is visible on them? After all, owning a handbag is a symbol of empowerment"
C1: "Yes your Sisterness"

Suddenly, there is a lot of commotion...

C2: "Blasphemy! Some lady has insulted our Big Sister! Live, on TV!!!"
Lady M: "Off with her head!"
C1: "Er, we can't do that"
Lady M: "How I wish Lewis Carroll was writing this instead of this stupid blogger!"
C2: "But we can book her under a draconian law and not give her bail."
Lady M: "Ah, there is some justice in this world after all"
C1 (hurriedly passing an order to delete the word 'irony' from the dictionary): "Indeed"


(To be continued)...