Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Bye, 2011 Hi...

A for Ayodhya, verdict pronounced...
B for the BP Oil Spill, company denounced.
C for Chennai Super Kings, all else trounced,
D for Dabangg, Salman and Chulbul bounced...

E for Endhiran, Rajini the super-star,
F for Facebook, age no bar.
G for Grandslam, Nadal the czar...
H for Haiti quake, contributions from far.

i for iPad, a new tech trend,
J for Jyoti Basu, met his end.
K for Katrina, Sheila made you bend...
L for Lalit Modi, Tharoor no more a friend.

M for marriage, Sania Shoaib surprise.
N for Nithyananda, and his vice.
O for the Onion Price Rise.
P for Pacman, decades surpassed thrice!

Q for queues at airports, ash snow got under the skin...
R for the rascals, Raja Kalmadi and their kin...
S for Spain and the world cup win,
T for Tendulkar, a double ton well within!

U for US President, reception like a king...
V for Vuvuzelas and their sting.
WXYZ are too tough to rhyme anything...
Welcome an Xcellent Year 2011 with a Zing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 reasons why eating in a buffet is similar to playing cricket

Yes. A pretty vague comparison. But if you look at it in-depth, you will realize that going for a team buffet is very similar to playing a cricket match. And here’s why…

In cricket...

In a buffet…


The team-split between batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders

The split is between grass-eating veggies and non-veggies who only eat something that walks, crawls, swims or flies on earth. The fence-sitters are the ones who hog on both well enough.


The Abdomen Guard

Your guard is a paper towel – used around the same area to ensure that you are not mistaken for having an awry bathroom break


Taking stance to observe the field

Doing a quick survey of what food is present in the buffet so you can plan accordingly


The cautious opening to not lose your wicket

Ensuring you don’t eat only the starters and fill your stomach


Running the quick singles but saving energy with boundaries

Taking quick trips to take any good item twice but stocking up on two big plates so you don’t have to leave your seat often


Placing in the gaps for maximum benefit

Ensuring the correct distribution of food in the stomach so it can take in more


The bonus free hit

The complimentary mock-tail that is thrown in sometimes


The slog overs before the innings-end

The dessert round where you go for the kill because the buffet is going to end


The commentators. And the general public

The been-there-done-that folks who have already visited the restaurant passing expert comments on the food! And those ala-carte folks who are sitting around you passing comments on your eating capacity.


The umpire who finally gives you out

The waiter who gives you the bad news in the form of the bill

Any more similarities, please ensure you update them in the comments section...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Diwali Wishes...

Alpha beta gamma,
We might be hosting Obama...

Theta Delta Epsilon,
Rain or shine shall pile on...

Kappa Lambda Mu,
Firecrackers, sweets and dresses new...

Sigma Rho Phi,
Diwali wishes and happiness sky high...

Omega Psi Chi,
Celebrated best at Chennai :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The 10 types of people attending a lecture

In any lecture or speech or workshop, you can typically identify 10 types of people who are attending it (other than the speaker himself / herself). Check out which of the following you fall under -
  1. The organizer - He is the one who introduces the speaker. And of course gives the vote of thanks, which however different or humorous he tries to make it, always consists of the same words. All eyes are usually turned on him when he announces where the snacks / lunch would be served.
  2. The sleeper - Afternoons (and many times, mornings) evoke a special kind of reaction from him. One moment, he would have been the most vocal guy. But two minutes later, he would just doze off with an appreciative nod. Advanced sleepers also take a pen and act as if they are writing while busy engaging in playing mind games inside Level 3 of Inception.
  3. The foodie - He comes to these workshops to hog on the nice cookies, the coke (and / or diet coke) cans, the Bisleri water bottles, and the special lunches. The organizer does not have to worry about food being wasted since the foodie usually compensates for up to 3 absentees. Taking more desserts than allocated is his USP!
  4. The silent nodder - The very serious looking guys for whom a smile is worth more than their life... They intersperse their boring existence with appreciative nods towards only the speaker. You could be pardoned in thinking they ignore everyone else.
  5. The class participation (CP) expert - All pent-up words come out of their mouth when they enter the lecture / workshop room. They touch upon history, geography, biology and mathematics before they come to their actual point.
  6. The dumb question irritator - A special version of the CP guy is the one who only asks questions to which everyone including his grandma know the answer to. These questions are deliberately planted so that the speaker reduces his / her charge for the workshop given the company has to make do with such low IQ levels.
  7. The good point accumulator - Another variation of the CP expert is the one who gets silly pleasures in being applauded on another 'good point' by the speaker. They keep count of how many times their points have been validated as 'good' by the speaker and put the number on their resume.
  8. The laptop exhibitor - This guy has a perennial appointment with Microsoft Outlook during the course of the workshop. It is another matter that he is looking at interesting forwards from friends than any office mail.
  9. The phone-call attender - Even if he usually gets only 1 call every week, his phone never stops ringing just during the duration of the speech / workshop. The ring-tones start with a loud one, then change to a Nokia / Blackberry default tune and end on an irritating vibration note. On an average, they do about 10 trips out of the room though hidden cameras point to 6 of them being toilet visits.
  10. The cross-talker - They like laughing, poking, hair-pulling, farting, and general chit chat, specially when the speaker is in the middle of something important. As soon as the primary job of distracting the audience and the speaker is accomplished, they immediately become the most attentive listeners.
Am sure all of us hop into one or more of the above over time :) Any more, kindly add in the comments...

(P.S: For simplicity sake, have used a 'he' in all places, also applies equally well for a 'she')

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Then versus Now - The top 10 differences

  1. Something plugged into your ears indicated you were deaf, not listening to an mp3 player
  2. 'Social network' meant something to do with USSR, India's biggest ally
  3. You needed advanced computer skills to transfer a file > 1.44 MB
  4. 'Gay' was just a simple synonym of happy
  5. Using the phone would utmost cause blisters, not cancer due to hidden rays
  6. 'Channel 2' or 'Second channel' always implied only one thing
  7. Colored-clothing cricket indicated a major world cricket tournament, not Ind vs. SL again
  8. Kissing a girl on the February 14th got the same tight slap
  9. If you had a Maruti car, you were 'different' from those that had Fiat or Ambassador
  10. Work from home meant you were out of a job...
Any other ones, please post them in the comments section...

Monday, September 27, 2010

An ode to Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings...
The whole city sings,
Cause you do great things...
As the yellow midnight rings!

To the year when everyone else we thulp...
In your presence all others gulp...
Cause they know you shall turn them to pulp...
A spectacular year with a double IPL and CL wallop...

The best local team,
The Indian superstars as the beam...
The outsiders on top as cream,
Together ensuring we never run out of steam!

Raina can swat but Vijay for the golden bat...
In the middle they chat, bowlers run off like a rat.
Murali just behind, Ashwin for the golden wicket..
To batsmen, they give you your pavilion ticket.

When Dougie hits the stump, the sweet sound,
Badri and Hussey the dependable, Albie all round!
Jakati Balaji Anirudh, confidence new-found...
Kemp and Hayden can pound anything out of the ground.

Dhoni you are always chill...
Forever your support we will.
To sign off we shall put the whistle...
Ending a night for world-over Tamilian thrill!!!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

When internet searching becomes faster...

Google (or Bing or Yahoo!) probably add a few more servers now and then to make internet searching much faster (read today's announcement by Google here)

This is the mental model that I get whenever this happens :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

10 types of lunch-eaters at your office canteen

Whenever you walk into your office canteen, you are faced with hundreds of people eating away to glory. If you notice carefully, these people usually fall into 10 different buckets that are described as follows -
  1. The solitary man: He has a very serious expression on his face. Or is mostly expression-less. The food is either very little - so he can finish fast and get the hell out of the lonely place. Or is a lot, and that is precisely the reason why he is sitting alone, so others don't make fun of him.
  2. The 'different' folks: They are the ones who do two or three rounds of the regular canteen. And then go order a sandwich in the side shop since they don't seem to like any food. It is usually the necessity to be high on the 'being different' coefficient that makes them pay half their salary on outside-canteen food.
  3. The giggly girls: You feel that this gang is laughing about anyone and everyone that goes past them. In reality, they just have a disease. To keep giggling at everything. And make loud noises to announce their presence to the entire canteen.
  4. The bosses: Bosses are of two types, ones that sit far away from anyone except their peers and discuss global company strategy or the state of the Indian economy. The other type is of course the ones who utilize lunch as an opportunity to socialize with their next rung, only the next rung utilize it as a chance to put in class-participation and pain the hell out of everyone else in the table.
  5. The dabba-walas: These are the home-food specialists for whom canteen food spells doom, or they have a spouse who forces them to take the home food. The dabba-wala folks follow a pre-defined process which consists of 4 steps -(i) Heat up the food in the micro-wave (ii) Utilize the plate from the office canteen (iii) Pick out the choice delicacies from the canteen food to go with their own house food (iv) Sit down like true kings who have the best of both worlds and hog away.
  6. The dieters: These are the people where the empty area on the plate shines from afar. The quantity of food taken puts baby food to shame. Reasons include hidden lumps of junk food in their cupboards, failure to understand a concept called 'exercise' or the long length of the weight-reduction prescriptions prescribed by the doctor.
  7. The treat-givers: This is the noisy gang that has ordered pizzas from Dominos as a treat for someone leaving the company! (enjoyment for the person surely) The ratio of veg to non-veg is always a point debated for close to an hour. Finally when the pizza lands, everyone wants to dig their hands into as many different boxes as possible. They never realize that the pizza folks have fooled them into believing they are different pizzas by altering the amount of the same toppings.
  8. The silent couple: This can be a newly formed romantic pair or a husband-wife combo that has been working in the company for dogs' years. 'Silence is golden' is a rule that is tried and tested. Since they have too much to talk back home or over the phone, they hardly make anything other than gestures during lunch time.
  9. The intellectual marathon: Heated conversations happen in a few tables. This heated conversation can be about a game of sport or about who will be the new boss. Opinions and counter-opinions are exchanged in the middle of gulping down parathas or curd rice. The ones that are most vocal are usually the least knowledgeable (applies in generic circumstances too)
  10. The big gang: This gang roams around the entire office, always sticking it up for one another. The 'gang' laughs together, cries together, takes food together, washes together (their hands) and makes a hell lot of noise together. The gang usually has more girls than guys. The gang's loud-mouths sit at the extremes of the table so that everyone else can hear them talk. The gang is usually made up of a mix of all of the above types of people...
Any other types you have encountered, please add them to the comments section...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 much-needed technology innovations

This was a post that was hidden somewhere for better expansion and putting up on the blog. But laziness ensured I never got around to it. This contest on Indiblogger - the HP My Demand contest - ensured I dig it out from the 'In Process' folder and put it up here. In a shoddy state, but I guess the laziness cure by technology would be a welcome addition to the list...

Why can't technology be used to create these machines or innovations across countries -
  1. Transferring weight from one to the other - It is supremely painful for someone who does not want to go on a diet or go near a gym to lose that 1 kg, leave alone the targeted 10! It would be just fantastic as well for all those lean mean machines who actually pain the hell out of others saying they are going to the gym to 'put on weight'... This machine can just transfer weight from the fat to the ones who are not!
  2. Observe the sights and sounds of another country - This would be the poor man's tourism dream. Mimic the sights, sounds and probably even the cleanliness and the weather (and the food and the people and the dressing etc.) of another country inside an enclosed space - with an artificial roof - huge investment but possible with the help of technology and the running costs would be more than recouped by opening it up to the millions who can spend but not that much on an air ticket.
  3. One universal voltage and socket everywhere - Is it that electrical engineers in these countries were also fanciful about their own designs of voltage systems and sockets? Why on earth do different countries have different systems otherwise? Leave alone the socket, even the voltage. I know of fat converters that exist right now but we need a mechanism where the same socket in every device is ready for it instead of fixing a fat converter...
  4. A noise canceling chip inside your ears - Why should it only be in the very high end ear-phones from the Bose and the Sony of the world. Why can't we have a noise canceling chip inside our ears - switching it on may just involve a short pinch of the ear and you are taken into the world of peace and solitude away from the honks of the Bangalore traffic.
  5. A machine to do all your chores for you - Early morning is the worst time - you are just cranky after you wake up. Won't it be just wonderful to quickly get a machine to do all your brushing, bathing and ablutions without having to move a muscle. Then morning is more a massage in sleep than a painful chore.
I am sure more ideas will emerge - if so please put them on the comments. Or write them on your own blogs to win a printer :)

Friday, July 02, 2010

A typical shopping experience with the lady

One of the most endearing experiences in a man’s life is the weekend shopping adventure with the lady for her apparel. The experience is akin to a board examination in - patience. A lot of pre-planning, clever tactics and deft touches go into passing this examination with flying colors! Injuries are common but would not deter the brave man from taking a shot at the trial by fire!

The afternoon starts off when you enter the perfume-filled women’s section of any big store such as a Lifestyle or a ShoppersStop. The initial part of the drama always has the guy actively looking out for clothes along with the lady. Early signs of boredom will be met with a strong look of disdain and constant egging on to enthusiastically participate in the cloth-buying process. After a few minutes of looking around, you are armed with five dresses that you believe will positively charm the lady. However, one look of hers’ at the ‘gorgeous’ dresses you have brought gives you an indication that your choices would have suited Lady Gaga better than a sane girl.

Having been reduced to a ‘man of questionable tastes in dresses’, you start the hunt for a good seat to plant your rear in. Apparel shops are very stingy in their seating space. One would assume that big retail chains ought to keep the accompanying males in mind and have separate rooms or areas stocked up with comfortable sofas. Instead, you are greeted with exactly one and half two-seater pieces of wood that are occupied by grandmas, dogs and fat aunties (in that order). Though you spare a moment in wondering what on earth grandmas and dogs might get in this shop, you are quickly alerted to a few potential hours of standing.

The mobile phone is the man’s best companion on these occasions. Anything from the dumb ‘Snakes’ game to a boring song on FM can act as life-savers. Loading up the phone with mp3s prior to the shopping trip also helps. GPRS is a boon. You stand tinkering around with your phone, longingly looking at one of those sofas hoping that someone would get up or be called upon to check a dress. If and when that happens, your only job is to employ a maneuver combining a fly, a dive and a jump to ensure that the seat is not taken by one of the many other prowling husbands.

After what looks like an eternity, you get a call on your mobile. You wonder if the whole process has finished in less than an hour. However, the call is to take the lady’s handbag so that shopping can resume with renewed vigor and a higher capacity for carrying clothes. You oblige and take the handbag to complete the frightening picture of a hopeless man standing with a woman’s handbag desperately eyeing fat aunties.

After many a failed attempt, you finally grab a seat and settle down. As one radio RJ after another disappears into the evening, you also lose count of the number of dogs that have managed to give you company. A call awakens you from the self-enforced slumber and you are summoned to the trial room to check out the selected dresses. You rejoice at being able to finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Giving up your throne needs to be well thought out. If there is a chance that there are more dresses that need to be picked up, you would rather advise the lady to continue for some more time. If not, then you give up the place that has served you well for the last many hours.

As you start walking towards the trial rooms, you cross millions of ladies who are standing in a serpentine queue with anywhere up to fifty dresses in their hands. You wonder whether some of them are actually going in to check their make-up and appearance. A thought also occurs on whether a few women are checking out the dresses that the others have stocked up in their hands. Research has indicated that over half the dresses in a shop at any time are probably inside the trial room or in the hands of the dames in the queue.

You also cross many guys holding kids and yearningly looking towards the dressing room for their spouses. These were the unlucky ones that could not get a seat and had to stand around. You make a nodding eye contact with these poor souls indicating that you do understand their plight. The nod acts as a telepathic motivation to ward off the constipated look of despair in their eyes. You do have a mean laugh to yourself feeling you just crossed that hurdle and wish them the best of luck.

The positioning of the ladies trial rooms is one of the most puzzling things ever. You always need to cross the lingerie section to get into the same. The lingerie section of course has a lot of mannequins showing off various (cloth) pieces. You become suddenly aware that you are standing in the middle of half-naked models (of the wooden kind). You just can’t lift your head and look up in the lingerie section knowing what is going to stare at you. Your mere presence around this section makes the ladies behind the counter give you demeaning looks and questioning your existence in the shop. You quickly wade through the barrage of discerning sights and reach the trial room where the lady is waiting to show her final picks.

The final cloth choice is one of the well dress-rehearsed activities (pun intended) Two items are shown to you. This is where the examination comes to the rapid-fire round. Most often than not, only one of them is the right choice. Sometimes, both the items are desired and the objective is to confuse you enough to get both. You have to realize that the choice has already been made. Your job is to judge which one that is, and correctly guess! The trick here is to study the facial reactions by throwing back the question and then make an ‘informed’ decision depending on the level of the smile / happiness in the lady's face. This process is repeated for many sets of cloth pieces.

As you finish the approval process and walk towards the billing counter, one last-minute round of cloth retrieval, trial and triumph starts paining you no end. This is a rare occasion when you can actually throw the tantrum. An electronic gadget that you wished for or a big sumptuous dinner breaking the diet is never far off on these occasions. All it takes is a whiff of disapproval at the lovely afternoon (and evening, and night) being spent inside a cloth shop and the lady obliges with the compromise gift. After many rounds of the whole process illustrated earlier, you are armed with the final shortlist of apparel that shall head out of the gates.

At the end of finding your way through a billing-counter queue that would put the American visa counters to shame, one or more of the following things always happens just about the time you are ready to finish your adventure -
(a) A cloth item had the tag missed; so a messenger is sent to retrieve the tag from the Pacific Ocean, that is the ladies section
(b) The machine crashed and it would take 13 people around 37 minutes to repair the same (which is still faster than the neighboring counter which is being hogged by that same fat aunty who has bought a zillion items for entire extended self and family)
(c) A sudden realization on the lady that Item X that has been taken is not as good as Item Y that was rejected around half-hour back; hence Item Y needs to be retrieved

After what looks like another hour or so, the payment done and the mission accomplished, you walk out of the shop. You would not be at fault to think that the security guys were having their own private joke going on about when you would leave the shop. You stock up the various items on the back-seat of the car (which suddenly feels very small) and drive back home through the traffic comprising of others who have also just about managed to finish shopping.

After coming back home, the new dresses need to be re-checked for size and fit. One of the dresses ends up having a big blot under the arm (this missed detection during the pre-buying process). A sudden thought that the said dress was probably anyway not a great one (you see, this one had created the maximum doubt in the lady’s mind at the shop itself but was bought because it was cheaper by around Rs. 27) also accompanies this finding. After concurring that Indian shops would typically not be open at 11:30 pm, sleep beckons with the thought of having to go back the following weekend to return the dress and find a replacement all over again…

(Disclaimer: A lot of exaggeration has gone into making the post the way it is. And obviously this is a general observation on all males accompanying all the ladies for their shopping! So don't make any smart ass comments now :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Top 10 Hollywood Plot Generators

If you thought that Bollywood movies have become formula-based, re-think! Every Hollywood action / disaster movie has become completely predictable as well. If you take the 2009 hit movie ‘2012’ or ‘Avatar’ (the 2D Version), there is not much that has changed with respect to the likes of ‘Independence Day’ that came out in 1996.

The idea is to put in a mix of standard plot items and make a movie and earn billions out of it… In the end the viewer has a satisfied look of watching yet-another ‘greatest’ action movie of all time. Here is a list of the top 10 plot items that are typically used…

1. The bomb that looks like a lego toy: The villains will make a bomb, typically nuclear, sometimes chemical or biological or maybe in the future, social! The bomb always looks like a mechanical engineering college project gone wrong. One such device used in New York or San Francisco, could blow up the whole world, such is the power of the device. A sample bomb usually goes off in a smaller city (where the building blowing to smithereens effect will be copy-pasted for the millionth time) so that the users get an idea of what might happen to a big city. There is usually a time period of 24 hours up to a week before which the device has to be de-activated else the world will end, and you probably would not have been able to catch this movie!

2. The over-powering rude boss: The good guys will always have an overpowering boss who takes his own stand at all times and pains the hell out of the hero and his team that is trying to save the world. There will be at least 2 – 3 examples shown of how the overpowering boss is mean to the team, so you are left with no sympathy when he is finally either killed or shown as a complete moron.

3. The magic screen: A huge screen with numbers and letters and complex symbols floating around is used to show not just where the hero and the villain are, but probably assemble the entire Wikipedia! What it probably actually displays is the dialogue that needs to be said during the scene, but the special-FX folks super-impose so many graphical images that it all looks very sophisticated to the viewer. Sometime during the movie, the screen goes blank since a bomb exploded and they are all left wondering what happened to the hero. This continues until the final scene when the radar is able to again pick up the signal to tell everyone that all is well.

4. The apprentice: One fresher has to be the guy with the remarkable suggestions and always interject the experienced 60-something men in uniform or have an outstanding idea that needs to be tried out. This apprentice will have a youthful face, and try to act very apologetic for whatever he says, at the same time telling everyone that if they didn't follow his advice, the world will explode. The hero knows that listening to him will make a lot of sense, because the apprentice either knows the plot first-hand or is the director’s son, destined to be a hero in the next movie. Of late, this apprentice is being replaced by an Indian-origin scientist.

5. The CIA or FBI bad guys (or jokers): Mid-way, the CII or the FBI will come and try to takeover the case. One black and one white guy always form the crack-team that has been advised to look into the matter since whatever the hero is doing is apparently not working. They pain the hero to no end and act very demanding and interject anything and everything that the hero does. Finally they make a complete fool of themselves by getting mercilessly killed.

6. The random motion of helicopters and cars: Helicopters just cannot fly straight or normal. Cars need to show off their flying skills and their ability to drive in water, air and fire. The cameras provide a card-swiping effect on how the helicopters fly or the cars zoom past. This peculiar motion was accidentally first captured when the car or the helicopter was going kaput or the driver was drunk, but since the viewer enjoyed it, the directors have chosen to continue with it.

7. The over-acting coordinator: One over-acting coordinator does the fast talking to the people in the control room. He needs to move his body parts at rocket-speed and talk as if there was a gun to his head. Complete over-acting usually ends with a strong and involved dialogue saying ‘Yes, we did it’ with a totally surprised look at the end of the movie. The others in the control room can heave a sigh of relief when this happens, more at having to no longer take his overacting, than anything else.

8. The double-crosser: A mole always does a double-cross or a triple-cross at the time when the director thinks you are least expecting, but usually when the intelligent user can predict the easiest. This turning point is put in to show extra value to the ticket money that you have paid, and to add a few extra chase sequences.

9. The animal that gets saved in the nick of time: A dog or a cat (or sometimes a child as has been seen recently) is always saved in the nick of time. The said being brilliantly jumps just when the fire or the lava or the water is about to engulf the remaining part of the terrain. This save sometimes happens at the expense of some 100k humans or an entire city.

10. The almost-sex scene with the side-kick heroine: Mid-way in the movie, the hero and the heroine are close to showering their feelings on each other so as to introduce some passion to keep the viewer interested, but they decide that it would look lame and stupid to indulge in an act of pleasure in the middle of the world coming to an end. You might however think that this gives all the more reason to indulge in the act in case they don’t survive! The scene unfortunately never happens and culminates in a simple kiss when the movie ends happily for everyone.

Any plot generator items that you think, please add to the comments section…Whatever said and done, we love watching these movies. We shall certainly go to the next one as well…

(P.S: Images all got using web search, thanks to the original sources. Since I am using only the thumbnail to indicate what movie it is from, I have not put effort linking out to the original ones. You should know which movie each item stands for by now!)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Daily visit to the toilet versus a trip on a bus

It is remarkable to realize how many similarities our daily visit to the toilet has w.r.t. a trip in a public bus. Having said that, there are also a few things that you need to watch out for to ensure you don’t end up in a soup…

5 things that are SIMILAR
  1. You certainly prefer a vacant seat in both - in fact, you compulsorily need a vacant one in a loo!
  2. You are elated if the same one that you use always is vacant – after all, ‘familiarity breeds comfort’.
  3. A corner spot is the most preferred, you don’t want to feel squeezed between two other folks!
  4. You have good use of the paper in both cases – albeit newspaper in one, and tissue paper in the other.
  5. You almost certainly have something funny to read, including instructions such as ‘Do Not wet Tissue Paper’ or ‘Julie loves Peter and f%#@% someone else’ etc.

5 things that are DIFFERENT

  1. You would want to stay away from the bus if you have ‘motion’ sickness, while you cannot afford to stay away from a toilet then.
  2. You do not want a loo seat with a window view, at least others prefer not to see you!
  3. It is OK if you use a lady’s seat in a bus that is empty, a similar case in a toilet might lead to permanent mental and physical scarring.
  4. You don’t want to be woken up by the cleaners, saying you missed your stop and it is time for them to do their work.
  5. The conductor can afford to kick you out in the middle if you didn’t pay, but no-one wants to have that choice in a toilet.
Any more such in(s)ane observations about this clash of public versus pubic, please mark them out in the comments section!

Monday, March 08, 2010

The 3 Ladies of my life

(Disclaimer / Warning: Sentiment Attack in the offing!)

On the occasion of International Women’s day, I want to pay my tributes to the 3 women who have so painstakingly and meticulously made me what I am today - in an ungrudging manner. At times, it gets so ridiculous that I ask myself, ‘What did I ever do in my previous birth that I deserve this magical treatment from these 3 souls?’… I guess I am not the only one having this particular string of thoughts. Probably, a good part of ‘man’kind has similar thoughts too. And not for no reason…

God has created this remarkable woman race that way - to bring in patience, compassion and selfless love into this otherwise crude and aggressive world of men. Those grandmothers who pray and toil for the education of their grand kids… Those moms who multi-task more than the brightest of CEOs to take care of husband, kids and in-laws… Those wives who continue the tradition of the moms and grand-moms and compromise and sacrifice their career dreams, and put your baby to sleep so that you can continue your rise up the corporate ladder…

And these are the 3 great ladies in my life too…

Let us start off with the oldest of the lot, my paternal grandmom. ‘Keetha’ is what I named her when I was aged 3. Her actual name was Seetha and my not-so-legible diction created the name that I called her as! She was a renowned radio singer and had retired from active singing around the time I was born. I was the eldest grandson and the darling of the entire household. And more so for Keetha paati... She would always hold me and be around wherever I went. Keetha paati had a super stress on education given that was our only way to success in life as a poor family, and that sort of set the trend for my entire student life. Though she had probably never gone beyond her 10th Std. in school, she was my tutor for all subjects. If I had to be woken up at 4 am to do some last minute studying, she would ensure that I wake up with a cup of coffee to start the day with. She had the pride in her eyes when I got first in class even in a small assignment.

She had to take care of the entire household – from cooking, to managing the accounts, to running the household activities. Despite all the pressures and day-to-day difficulties that a typical lower middle class family had to endure, she always had a smile to cheer everyone up. The only time I saw her cry was when I stood first in school in my 10th Std. When I came running in to see her reaction, she was inside the puja room. I could see her sobbing softly in front of the deity. Those cries were of happiness, of an achievement that she felt was more than any of her own. I did reciprocate the tears many years later when she passed away after a prolonged fight against Parkinsons. It had pained me no end to see the hyper-active lady lying on the bed without being able to do much activity for many of her final years. When God took her away, I felt that he probably needed her compassion and energy to help the deprived people up there…

The same compassion and energy is visible in my mom too. She has to be the craziest person inhabiting this earth. She has this undying faith and love for her kids. Managing the triple role of daughter in law, wife and mom, she feels that her life revolves around making the people around her happy. Managing my 90 year-old granddad in a way only she understands... Managing the household tasks through the entire day, 365 days in a year, with a not so cooperative maid servant... Managing my over-worked dad's spiritual trips... All, while being away from her sons for the most part of the year is a tremendous achievement.

For her, the whole world comes to a standstill when her sons are around. Her ears become deaf to any request from us to stop doing anything for us. Suddenly from nowhere, food items will land around us. The AC would be on automatically when we come anywhere near the house. Her chronic back pain suddenly vanishes and she is able to effortlessly accomplish a million tasks at one go. To see such a lady smile for two days in a month is the least that the career focused guys of this generation can do. Whenever we get a chance, my brother and myself go to Chennai to just see the happiness in her face. The happiness that would not arise if you gave her a crore rupees, or make her live like a queen in Chennai, away from her sons. The mom she is, she understands the career aspirations of the so-called 'educated' class of this generation and keeps her feelings to herself... Luckily, she does have two very good daughters-in-law whom she can share her feelings with...

A lady with a fantastic mix of the traditional and the modern - my wife is the most beautiful lady on this earth. She is a lot more educated than women of the previous generation, so her career is certainly important to her. But it is certainly not as important as seeing me happy. Sometimes it pains me that she cannot pursue her banking interests sitting in Bangalore. She has accompanied me wherever my job has taken me to, so Bangalore it is, currently. She has adjusted her work interests to ensure we stay in the same city. For her, this world is me. And I know that she loves me a lot. And I love her a lot too...

As a modern woman, she has a mature mind for her age. She likes planning for the future. For a good life ahead. And has inculcated the Finance 101 lessons in a carefree person like me to help us save up for a bright time to look forward to. At the same time, there is still a small child inside her. I know that when we are ready to start a family, she has to bear and take care of one herself. And that is probably going to drain her energy even more than taking care of the household with me around (I am assuming our kid will certainly have some of my lazy qualities!). Whatever support I give her, which I will, she is going to physically and mentally be the center of the child’s ecosystem. And to continue running the household and taking care of the kid while having a successful corporate career - she needs to have abundant energy and will power to win... She certainly is the modern day embodiment of what my grand-mom and my mom were...

Three ladies… Many generations… Tons of compassion and will power... Mentally and emotionally the center of our lives…

I am sure that you all will be able to relate to some, if not all of the above characters in your lives too. If you have also been lucky enough, then take a moment off to thank them for that. If you have not, it is high time that you go out into the real world and find your true love at least…

(P.S: It feels good to have written this article finally. To single out one day in a year for celebrating the greatness of women is not fair to the impact they have on our lives. However, it does help in poking the lazy bums like me to at least write something on that one day. And probably poke some other lazy bums in passing a long pending bill in the Parliament…)

(P.S 2: There are a lot more ladies that have had a great impact on my life and I am thankful to every one of them. My grandma from my mom side, my aunts from both dad and mom side, my cousin sisters and bro's wife, my wife's mom and sis, tons of my friends and friends' spouses, colleagues, blog followers etc. The 3 that I have called out in this article are the ones that I have had the longest association with...)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Arbit Thoughts - Why would you ever change caterers...

Today, we had the umpteenth change in our caterer for breakfast. I am sure this happens in almost all companies regularly. There are several conditions under which this usually happens, some of which include - (a)The Facilities Dept. decides to do some extra work (b) Jobless employees crib to death on your bulletin board (mind you, they always crib about all food, or rather, about everything under the sun) (c) >5 cockroaches were found on the same day in the food. Almost always, it takes off from points (a) or (b).

Just as Rachel responds to Ross in F.R.I.E.N.D.S, "No uterus, No opinion", people should probably be told, "No cook, No talk". After all, mediocrity in catering is the established norm. From the caterer's side, you can well imagine their predicament. If they increase the quality of their food, that puts them in direct fight with their industry counterparts who will boycott them. They would also be made fun of, that they’d rather be in the restaurant business, not in the catering business, if they want to do cook really food. If they reduce the quality of the food to abysmal levels, cribs reach all time highs. So they have to maintain a standard in mediocrity perennially.

If the people in your org crib about an existing caterer the next time, the best strategy to follow is to implement the revolving caterer policy. This is how it works – you have one test caterer every week for a period of 4 – 5 weeks, after which the employees can themselves choose the best one. The first day always starts off with cribs about the speed of service. The second day is about the lack of variety in items. The third day is about the general quality of food. The 4th day - a cockroach would have been found in the sambhar. And the 5th day of the week, well no one actually cares as they eat out! So by the time the caterer’s test period is over, he is more or less out of there. After 4 – 5 weeks of painful tries, people would just want to go back to the original caterer since he is a known devil. For once, too many cooks, do not spoil the broth!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Arbit Thoughts - Why are the S sized fellas subsidizing XXL ones?

Why is it that the cost is the same, whether you buy an S size or an XXL size apparel? Isn't it painful for those who are slightly built that they end up subsidizing the cost of the XXL guy's cloth for a lifetime? They eat lesser food all their life. Or spend the extra energy forever to be slim and thin. And finally end up paying for the big ones to get their clothes at the same rate. A lifetime of spending extra for a XXL cloth might just make one think of reducing a few kgs!

The only ones who should not have this grudge are those that genetically cannot put on weight even if they eat and drink mountain-loads. Those are the lucky buggers for whom the thought of having pizza every once in a while does not bring guilt pangs. Those lucky buggers...

The one place where this grudge turns into admiration is for men's underwear. You might actually feel "Oh yeah, that guy I am actually subsidizing is awesome. He is my God. Maybe every rupee I spend, is actually going for pubic welfare"...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top 10 unwanted exercises when having food

Eating food is part of our daily life. However, there are various interruptions and physical activities that annoy us at different points in time while performing this important activity. The following list contains the top 10 pain points* in my list, and proposed mitigation strategies to overcome them...

  1. When: During any buffet
    What: Standing in a line for food + Walking and eating + Sheepish grin to the server for second helping
    Mitigation: Wear a shirt with enough pockets for storage, so you can go hide the food and go home and conveniently have it in your plate
  2. When: Washing your hands using a finger bowl
    What: Water is just not enough and you can't use it after 2 seconds once dirt mixes with it
    Mitigation: When no one is watching, pour drinking water on your hand into the finger bowl; In case of a Chinese restaurant, you can utilize warm Chinese tea as an alternate to ice cold water
  3. When: Badly made 'bakshanam' (thats Tamil for oily snacks / sweets!)
    What: Chance of losing a few of your remaining teeth
    Mitigation: Utilize a road roller** that might be near your house / grinder inside house to have a liquefied / powdered snack
  4. When: Eating curd / rasam rice from a banana leaf (in South Indian marriages)
    What: The buttermilk / rasam generally has a liking for flowing out of the leaf on to your lap
    Mitigation: Befriend the cook and get a small plate to have 'liquidy' items (also utilized by Maamis for stealing the extra payasam or sweet for their beloved sons)
  5. When: When you are stuffed to the brim by your in-laws
    What: Showing you have not wasted too much food
    Mitigation: Disperse the wasted food across the entire plate / neighbour's plate (obviously, when they are not looking at it)
  6. When: Separate coffee, milk and sugar, served in aircrafts and five star hotels
    What: Any mix of the above always ends in a crappy product to drink
    Mitigation: Have tea or better, alcohol!
  7. When: Chapathi / Roti
    What: Tearing out a small piece, one after the other
    Mitigation: Tell spouse that it is very romantic if he / she does the tearing and feeds you (in Tamil, called 'ooti-vittifying')
  8. When: Food is too hot
    What: The 'oof - oof' blowing to remove the vapors and the endless wait thereafter
    Mitigation: 1 minute in the freezer
  9. When: Pizza with fork and knife
    What: That feeling of a wood-cutter working hard, with sweat all over.
    Mitigation: The hand of God!, rather use your own hands
  10. When: Spreading hard jam or butter on bread
    What: You end up cutting the bread or breaking it rather than spreading the jam or butter
    Mitigation: Adopt the idli - chutney mode of taking a piece of idly and mixing it with chutney / sambhar and having, where bread = idly and jam / butter = chutney (fall back option for #7 above in case you are pained with that as well)
Any more, please add them in the comments section along with the mitigation strategy...

* All in jest, so don't take any comment personally against your region's food
** Adopted from Koundamani suggestion in the movie Yejaman (Tamil)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Story Time - The mystery of the dead...

Given that Sherlock Holmes released last evening in India, I decided to unravel an old mystery story that I wrote in 2001. My English then was certainly worse than it is now (not that it is any great currently), so pardon for any errors. And please do not hit me after reading the story... BTW, the Sherlock Holmes movie was a pretty good and worthwhile watch...

Enough said - Read on for 'The Mystery of the Dead...'
(Long Post Alert)


It was a bright Sunday evening. The mood was joyous. There were around twenty to thirty people who had come for the supposedly grand occasion in this far-off village. The weather was just a classic English setting. Slight drizzle, but sunlight still bright enough, even at well past six in the evening. The air had just the right fervor for a celebration.

And wasn't the occasion big?!...Their village boy had come first in the inter-district music competition. Mark had always been a great Casio player and everyone in the village had great respect for his talent. But winning a big competition was something never done before. Something unheard of in this village, far away from the walls of the bustling cities… And so the village elders had decided to felicitate the boy. He would play the song he got the prize for. They were all eagerly awaiting the moment. And they would present him with a cash award.

The village called Austra, after a British colony of the same name, had been famous in the district for its disciplined law and order that there was not even a police station. The people were so confident of their village-folk that they used to leave their doors and windows open even in the night time. Theft or murder was unheard of in the village. There were very few people in the village. And the houses were fewer and far spread out from each other. Some houses were spread out as much as a mile from others. And Mark's was one such house. People in the village did not have cars or bikes. They had to walk miles to reach Mark's house but still, there was a considerable crowd to grace the occasion.

It was nearing seven and the party was about to start. Almost all the important people had already come. And of course there was Mark's own family as well. His father, Waugh, a proud dad, with his big curved moustache, was taking care of the arrangements. There was Mark's mother Linda who was taking care of the dinner. She went about her tasks in her silent but effective mild-mannered way. She was a seasoned home-maker. There was Steven, Mark's younger brother who was crying as usual. But he was crying more than normal today. It surprised his family but they felt it could be because of the crowd that was so unusual to this calm place. Little did they realise what it was about.

There was Mark's old but energetic grandpa. Sitting as usual in his easy-chair and tapping the floor with his age-old walking stick. He was thought to be eccentric for his uncanny behavior at times. But he usually had a pleasant smile to everyone whenever he went out for a walk. Today, he had to smile at so many people coming in and going out, it almost looked too artificial.

There was Glenn, the house servant. Glenn was new to the house; he had just joined the household a week back. Not much was known about him, but Waugh had appointed him at the request of his close friend. He was thought to be a dumbo who would just do his work. Nothing more, nothing less. There was absolutely no life in his movements or thoughts. Nothing exciting about him. But he had not been much of a problem to anyone, Waugh thought. He was efficient. He was punctual for work. But today was like a test for him. So many things to do… So many things to arrange… And so many guests to serve... The real test! He had looked out of sorts in his evening work today. Waugh had himself shouted twice at him for having dropped things. He thought that the situation was getting to Glenn. He had had a terrified look since evening. And Waugh felt that the poor chap could not handle the pressure of the work.

And then there was Mark's little dog, Shane. He had been excitedly running around since afternoon. But the elders had had so much work to do that they hadn't bothered about the dog. Even Mark hadn't seen his dog for sometime that day. He had just landed from his city expedition for the competition. He had been tired but this was a grand occasion. He would not let down his parents by complaining about the function being the next day itself. His body was aching all over after the long travel, but he was just thinking about the prize he had won the previous day, and the function that was fast approaching. He had come back and slept, and had had time just to have a quick wash and dress up for the occasion.

They were all there too. Mark's school friends, his teachers and the school headmaster… Even the ever-frowning aunt and uncle and their quarrelsome son were there. Mark had a great dislike for Adam, who always used to make fun of Mark in school. But now the time had come to pay him back his dues. But no - Mark would not retaliate. He would not show off. He would not make fun of Adam.

Mark was always like this. He was considered a very level-headed chap, even though he was all of ten years old. People knew him as a well behaved kid who always presented himself immaculately in front of elders. He was a no-problem kid at school. He would say his prayers without fail. Play cricket in the evening with his friends. And he was a brilliant kid at his studies. And of course, he would go to his music classes without fail. He used to work musical wonders with the little fingers of his, on the small Casio he had. He had been presented this battery-powered gizmo, a rarity in the village, some years back by his uncle who had settled in the city. This lovable boy had now made the village proud. And the people had come to celebrate.

But someone else had other plans...

It was now almost seven. Everyone had assembled. Almost everything was in place for the event. Or that is what it looked like. The big chandelier lit up the hall. It was getting dark outside. And the weather was getting murkier. The rain now seemed to be getting heavier. There was the occasional streak of lightning. But things were still calm. Mark came into the room from the balcony, neatly dressed for the occasion. His dog followed its master running excitedly to the small podium-like arrangement that had been made for this occasion - immaculately designed but still simple in its look. Mark's mother was standing just beside the podium. His father was still trying to pacify the crying Steve. And grandpa was starting to get up from his chair.

Then it happened.......

A loud burst of thunder and lightning at the same time… And the door to the bedroom opened all of a sudden. And then they saw it.....All of them....With their mouths open. They were all in a state of shock. There on the floor, all in red, lay.....

They were all dead. Or so they seemed to indicate. They had a worn out look. Being battered and bruised all over. There was pin-drop silence in the hall. Mark started to cry. Not many had still realised the gravity of the situation. But Mark was quick to understand. This was the first time in the village this was happening and....

The occasion lay spoilt. Mark was crying inconsolably. His brother was crying too. Linda had no clue of what was going on. Everyone still lay in a state of shock. There were murmurs starting to emanate. They were all proud people of a great village. And the village was not famous for nothing. They were all proud of the law and order in the village. Now, they were all proud of Mark. They had all come for this occasion, in spite of the great distances to travel. What was about to be a lovely Sunday evening marked by celebration now seemed to lie in tatters. And everyone seemed to be murmuring in low hush tones. The question was...who had done it?

Mark's father was the first to come out of this state of shock. He asked everyone to calm down. He had to first pacify Mark. Mark's grandpa came over and asked him to carry on with the job of proceeding with what had to be done. So many people had come and there were still murmurs. The party had come to an end abruptly. And someone amongst them had been the cause of it. It could certainly not have been done by someone else who was not there. Their house was one of the secluded ones in the village. There was no chance of some third person doing it. It had to be someone in the household.... And this sent shivers down Waugh's spine. How could he handle the situation? How could he face the elders? How could he face his wife? How could he face Mark!? How had this happened?...

Waugh decided to act fast. Knowing the village people had to be pacified first, he went about his task. He left Mark with his grandpa and went to the bedroom. He first asked the people to be seated. He appealed to them not to panic and the party would go on as anticipated . But at the back of his mind there were several thoughts going on. His child's feelings, what everyone would think, and so on and so forth… But uppermost on his mind, the question was... who had done it?

This was no mean act. There were six of them. And all were dead now. There was absolutely no other clue in the room. Or at least at first sight... There was just the big wall-clock, the window that opened out to the garden and Mark's cricket bat that was resting on the cot. It was normally always kept in the balcony. The window was always open. So there was no great surprise in it being open now, though it was well into the night. The rain was still pouring outside and the humidity could be felt inside the room. Sweat was dripping down Waugh's forehead, more from the tension than from the weather.

Waugh's immediate suspicion was on the servant. Glenn had just joined the household. And he had been jittery throughout the evening. But he would not decide matters just on the basis of suspicion. He needed proof. He would have to investigate. And that is why he had asked everyone else to clear the area. Now he was alone in the room. He was still looking at the window when he heard another bout of thunder and lightning. Then he saw something strange. There was a patch of liquid just near the bed. And there was a distinct odour coming from it.

He momentarily looked to check - they were all still there. Red in color… Dead...Dead for some time now. The odour was stronger when he took a step closer. He wondered if it was from the liquid he had seen near the cot. The mat had some patches here and there but it wore a particularly bad look today - as if some tussle had gone on in the room... But he could still not figure out what might have happened.....

He then thought about questioning Glenn, and then all the others who had gone into the room. None of the guests could have come into the room. It had to be one among the family. And the thought frightened him. The door from the hall was almost always latched from this side and the other entrance from the second bedroom, was used only by family members and the servant. The door had now been accidentally opened by someone frightened by the sudden thunder.

The lack of a clear lead worried him. Glenn could have done it. But what was the proof? He would have to question Glenn. But Glenn might obviously resist from properly answering any questions. Linda or grandpa would not have done this act. And Mark himself had come back only this afternoon. Waugh was still looking at the evasive clue.

And suddenly a thought flashed in his mind. He bent all of a sudden and gave a look underneath the cot. Yes. He had cracked the case. There it was - the tape-recorder set given to them by their uncle in the city. It was lying down on the floor beside the mat. And it had recorded the entire thing the whole day. And he had heard it all the whole day too. He had never bothered to take much notice of it. But now everything was clear. The bits and pieces were put into place. Waugh had got the culprit. How could his own father have done it?

Grandpa at once admitted to the guilt. There was not much questioning done. No forcing. Even Glenn was party to it. He had been silenced by Grandpa's promise to him that he would never do such a thing in his life again. And Steve too had been "silently" involved in it. But of course he was too small to explain things out. Shane, being a dog could obviously not be a witness, though he had been there when the "nasty" episode had occurred.

Grandpa first apologised to Mark, who was now more cheerful than before. The crowd had also warmed itself to the occasion and was getting back on track to continue with the event. Never mind if this has happened. They had to continue with the proceedings. A big event such as this could not be put off due an eccentric old man's misdoings. The only person affected by the entire thing seemed to be Waugh. He still had to get the explanation from his father as to how he could have spoilt this occasion. And the mystery of the ruffled mat, the cricket bat, the small patch of liquid and the final clincher, the tape-recorder. Grandpa offered to explain...

It was these eccentric feelings in grandpa all of a sudden that had caused this. This act from a man of such a stature… And such an elderly person at that... He had suddenly gotten the desire to sing and dance aloud in the room. And he had wanted to record it too. And this was what was happening until the door opened. And Glenn came in. He had Steven in his arms and he was to put Steven on his cot for his afternoon nap. Glenn was startled to see Grandpa behaving in such an odd fashion. But the threesome of Glenn, Steven and the dog Shane, which had followed Glenn and Steven into the room, were almost all shattered on seeing Grandpa sing and dance too. Grandpa was so huge that the ground started to shake and the mat was totally trampled upon. Steven had gotten so frightened and had started crying inconsolably. Now Waugh understood why he was crying more than his usual quota. He had been totally frightened by the picture of Grandpa dancing. The smelly liquid patch that was lying in the room had to be attributed to what the dog would have felt about Grandpa's dance. No wonder the dog had been running around excitedly all day. And Glenn had still not recovered form the shock of seeing Grandpa sing and dance so badly. And Glenn had threatened to strike Grandpa with Mark's cricket bat if Grandpa continued to sing and dance as horribly as he was doing. Grandpa had obliged and stopped. And last but not the least, the tape-recorder and the mystery of the dead....

Of course, Waugh had found it all by himself. The tape-recorder lay open, with a cassette that had been completely recorded. And the six batteries that were the only ones left in the household had all been used up to do this work. Grandpa had taken the batteries from the Casio in the afternoon and had used them to record his voice on tape. The batteries were already old and rusted and their last remaining power had been totally drenched up in this. But late afternoon, the event was announced and people had immediately started to pour in for the occasion. And Grandpa had forgotten all about this. All about everything, including the fact that the batteries he had used were removed from Mark's Casio, and that Mark had to play the Casio that evening to the gathering. The tape-recorder had fallen to the ground on Grandpa's continuous stomping of the ground. And the cover had broken open to let the 6 red-colored dead batteries out.

Sunday being a holiday, there was absolutely no chance of getting any batteries for the event. The nearest house was at least a couple of miles away and it would not be possible to get any batteries at such short notice when it was raining so heavily. And anyway, not many in the village had electronic gizmos. So the event would have to go ahead without the main feat. Mark could not play the Casio now. He could not play the song that had won him the award!

The crowd had a hearty laugh on hearing the story from Waugh. Grandpa and Mark too had a hearty laugh. The mystery of grandpa and the dead batteries are now part of Austra's famous history.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...