Jan 24, 2010

Vadhyars perform Shashtiabdapoorthi for Indian Republic

The Vengayam
By our Ordinary Correspondent

Unconfirmed reports from an unpronounceable village in Palakkad indicate that a group of Vedic priests performed Shashtiabdapoorthi for the Indian Republic. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, Nayayana Sastrigal, the chief priest explained, "Shasti means Sishty. Yesh, the same number that comes after Pipty-nayan. Apdam means year. No, not the ones you touch when you do thoppikaranam, but the calendar one. Poorthi means completion. Turning 60 is an event of great Vedic significance."

"Swa-ha", chorused the side vadhyars who had assembled behind Narayana Sastrigal, unaware that he was not chanting mantras, but giving an interview. 

When queried about why they celebrated the event 2 whole days before the actual anniversary, the chief priest smirked, "According to our panchakam, today is the nakshtram for the event."

"Bharata varshe, shukla pakshe", the side vadhyars chorused again, at the mention of the word panchakam, before they were shushed with a glare from N. Sastrigal. 

The event gained publicity when Shashi Tharoor sent an illegible as ever tweet, "Hrd dey prfrmd a puja for India. Puja strts wid wht sounds lyk my name!", which was immediately pounced upon by the national media and splashed across the front pages with the word "Shashi Tharoor in another twitter controversy!"

A Congress spokesperson said, "I hear they even performed abhishek on a copy of the Constitution! We will not accept such watering down of the Constitution. Only Indira-ji has the right to do that! And maybe, Sonia-ji and Rahul-ji! And oh, Shashi, this is your last warning! One more wisecrack and we'll dunk you in water"

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Saajan Red said,"The Indian (Hindu) civilization is millions of years old. The Shashtiabdapoorthi should have been performed in 3200 B.C.", thus displaying his brilliant grasp of Indian history and Vedic mathematics.

It is rumoured that the vadhyars even sent a bill for dakshinai to the PMO. The PMO spokesperson refused to confirm this, but said "This is ridiculous. How can a bunch of priests perform a whatsitsname for the country and send us the bill? And that too, in triplicate!"

"Every year they do the same thing. March past, atrocious floats, security blockade on roads and President's speech. Give us credit for trying something different! And wait till we perform Sadabhishekam in 2030!" N Sastrigal had the final word!

Jan 18, 2010

Why am I a financier?

There are three kinds of people in this world. One, the people who know what their passion is, follow it with all their heart, and end up being mostly happy and occasionally successful. Two, the people who put away their passion, in pursuit of more practical options, and end up being mostly successful and frequently unhappy. And three, the people who have no clue what they like, accept whatever life throws at them, and end up convincing themselves that they are happy about their mediocrity.

I used to think I was in the second group, but nowadays feel I am in the third. This bit of senti thinking is triggered by a never ending week of work, where I have given up three holidays, spending long hours at office generating bullshit which I hope is 'analysis', and which is surprisingly accepted as such. Analysis, not bullshit.

Why did I take up finance? While I may have given all the right sounding answers in interviews (there has to be some reason I got hired!), the plain truth is "for lack of a better option". Ticking Finance on the b-school admission form seemed an obvious choice after a degree (and more!) in commerce.

When I look back, I see how I took a life-changing decision with a very simplistic decision making tool: the process of elimination.

I couldn't have done Operations (or Ops, as they call it). I had never seen a factory or shopfloor in my life. Machines were alien to me (ok, I knew the zipper, but then I hadn't seen the Hirani movie then!). Being closeted with a roomful of engineers wasn't very appealing. And most importantly, there were few girls in Ops. They apparently took Total Quality Control in the opposite sense. Sex stigma was their one-in-a-million mantra.Or rather, 3.4 as they would claim, but that's just more than a pi. Which, I hear, is never ending. Only after a point. Ok, my point is that there was too much Greek (and Japanese!) in this subject and not enough Latinas.

I couldn't have done Information Management (or IM). I had no Comp. Sci. background, no software industry experience. The Computer skills section of my resume read: "MS-Office". Going down that road would have meant a life of Patni (the tam word). Or rather a life without a Patni (the hindi one now!). Coding meant drawing lines. Debugging was too gross. I mean, who wants to be a pesticide all his life? Especially when you can be the pest ever in something else.

I toyed with the idea of Marketing. After all, every tom's harry dick thinks he can do marketing. Except I couldn't sell to save my life. No, seriously. You could put a gun to my head and say "My way or the Amway" and all that'll happen is I'll end up dead. With a hole in my head. And a bagful of useless products. I realized I would suck at this when my prof said "A brand is a brand is a brand!" I mean, if you have to repeat things for people, I am not the guy for it. Like I said before. The moment they started talking about a cash cow turning into a dog, I began to see stars. And question marks. Floating around my eyes.  Plus, having successfully escaped a boring small town and tackling culture shock in Bombay, the last thing I wanted to do was a shout-out for Whisper in Muzaffarpur. I decided to Stayfree of that shit. But much as I mock them, I really admire the smooth talkers who can put fake shit in a sachet and call it sham-poo.

So, that left Finance. And the promise of a jet-setting life, big fat bonuses, and wheeling and dealing. Who was to realize one would end up enjoying dragging cells in MS-Excel for 'growth' models, writing meaningless sentences like "The market is volatile" (which means it can go up, or down, but we have no clue) and haggling with lawyers over whether to use "and" or "and/or" at the end of a paragraph?

But then, such is Life...

Jan 6, 2010

It's a dog's life.

Warning: Absolutely pointless story, completely unconnected with what I want to convey.

They met at the park. Like they did every evening. They happily wagged their tails at each other, since the park was mutually agreed as 'common ground'. No territorial fights here. Every one of them could raise his/her leg and leave his/her mark wherever he/she wanted.

There were all kinds of them. Big, nasty looking ones, the kind that made kids cry and adults step aside to let them pass. Tiny, furry ones that made all the girls go "soooo cuuuuute". And the ones who were so utterly unremarkable that they were barely noticed and often shooed away. He was in the third category. And acutely aware of his ordinariness.

They were all walked by their owners. Or at least the owners thought so. He liked his owner. The big guy was never harsh on him. He had heard horror stories of owners mis-treating (or is it ill-treating?) their pets. While he may not have got those delicious looking bone-shaped treats or the pampering in a specially cushioned kennel, he was reasonably well taken care of. Meals at the right time, clean water, a walk in the park now and then with the owner trailing behind. His owner was confident enough to even let him run ahead freely from time to time, letting go of the rope around his neck. After all, he was obedient, sitting when told to, and rolling over when ordered to.

And it was in one of those walks that he saw it. A beautiful looking chain around his friend's neck, shimmering like it was made of gold. And he looked at his own and saw it was one of those boring old leather ones, frayed at its ends. And he thought to himself, "How wonderful it would be to have one of that!" Hell, even the snooty bitches that walked in the park with their noses held up in the air would be impressed. After all, bitches and bling went paw in paw.

As if reading his mind, his other much older friend trotting alongside barked, "stop dreaming, you idiot! No matter how shiny it looks, remember, at the end of the day, it is a leash. One that keeps you bound to your place."

"But, but... even you and I are on a leash. And while we are destined to be tied up, we might as well be tied to a fancy chain," he argued. His friend paused, drew in his breath deep and said in a calm, low growl, "All I can say is, it is much easier to break away from your tattered leash, if you have to someday. And the sooner you realize that, the better off you will be."

But he was young and reckless and this talk of breaking away seemed all old-fashioned. "Poor thing, he has grown so disgruntled in life that he cannot even relish the good things in life", he thought to himself.

And then one day, the unrealizable dream came true. Because, his owner, apparently in a bout of 'I-am-no-cheapskate' thinking, got him one of those fancy chains. Shimmering black metal, all new and shiny, cold to the touch.

His happiness knew no bounds. Not for long though. Because unlike his happiness, his neck soon came to know only the bound chain. And by extension (or rather the lack of one), he could no longer show off his leaps. Or his bounds (not even the one around his neck).

Ok, enough of puns on bounds. Else, everyone is bound to bash me up. End of stupid story.
PS1: This post is triggered by my employer giving me this. The bloody thing's pouch costs almost as much as my earlier phone.

PS2: No, I am not showing off. That I will, once I figure out how to operate the damn thing, especially its 'so sensitive it's gotta be a girl' touchpad. But the day I learn to do fancy stuff, especially how to put the irritating signature line 'Sent from my wireless handheld Blackberry" at the end of every mail, that will be the day man conquered technology!

Jan 1, 2010

Spammer sues 3 idiots producers for ripping off his joke

The Vengayam,
January 2, 2010

While 3 Idiots has gone on to create box office records, the makers of the film have been rocked with a 'idiotic' controversy.

A person, known only by his internet pseudonym 'Joe Spammer', has accused the makers of blatantly plagiarizing his joke on the 'NASA pen, Soviet pencil'. Speaking exclusively to the Vengayam's special correspondent, Mr.Spammer claimed he was the first person to have made up this myth and forwarded it to his friends.

"I was verbally assured by the producers that they would give me a still credit at the beginning of the film. However, when I took my mom to see the movie, she couldn't find my name in the credits. She cried a lot and  as every maa ka ladla knows, no grown man can take his mom's tears lightly," Mr. Spammer thundered. "We even waited for the rolling credits at the end of the film, even while people were stepping all over our toes on their way out. We did not move even when the cleaning boys swept up all the over-priced popcorn over our feet. And the usher was shining his stupid flashlight at our faces. And we get this! Not even a rolling credit!!!"

When asked for his comments, Aamir Khan said, "I met Spammer a month before the movie. I told him I have not read the joke since I don't check my own mails. He said it is alright, since he believed that the joke used in the movie was only loosely based on his joke. I don't know why he is reacting this way now. We should drag him to court for initiating this stupid mail forward in the first place."

Meanwhile, in Noida, Mr. Chopra, the head of the ironically named Copyright Holder Of Plagiarism and Ripoff Activities (CHOPRA) Productions, caused a controversy when he allegedly asked a reporter to shut up at a press conference. When a journalist asked him for his reactions to Mr.Spammer's allegations, he thundered, "Have you read his mail forward? I have read his joke, so just shut up." He also alleged that Mr. Spammer was just looking for publicity since people had stopped clicking on his mail forwards and were instead favouring some Nigerians.

Reacting to comments that he is allegedly doing a publicity stunt, a visibly upset Mr. Spammer said, "I am not looking for publicity, millions have read my joke in their e-mail already. Countless self-improvement book authors have picked up on it. I am already famous, but think of the poor anonymous New Zealand ad copy writer whose joke they filched." Mr.Spammer also achieved the never performed before task for linking to a you-tube video while speaking.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Mr.Spammer has been approached by Natraj Pencils for an endorsement campaign. However, Mr.Spammer said he was not interested in winning races, and would happily join Kaballah and dedicate his life to Madonna.

PS1: You should've read Chetan's post to understand the theme and especially the last para.

PS2: If by some mysterious internet link back, Mr. Bhagat reads this, please note that this is meant to be harmless humour, even though if it may not be funny. No offence intended.

PS3: Since I do not believe in plagiarism (unless I am buying pirated CDs of godawful films), let me list out the credits... this post is inspired by Son of Bosey style of writing. I wish I could write half as well though. And this awesome site where I picked most of the links for this post.

PS4: The pencil joke is really a myth. Says here.