Tuesday, November 20, 2007
She used to be a year up in school, and I had the constant pressure of being judged as her brother. Have no doubt – she was (and still is) brilliant! In academics, co-curricular, sports, everything. And with my li’l sister joining our school a few years down the line, the teachers thankfully figured that I was the exception and not the rule. Mom used to ask her to mind me when we used to go out to play too. So, in addition to the usual football, cricket, and other randomly violent sports or fights, I was quite adept at skipping, hopscotch and stuff. The boys and girls used to play in adjacent playgrounds, and neither of us could concentrate on our games. Chechi was always had one eye trained on me, lest I pick up the customary daily fight. And I used to feel watched and be helpless to try some of my patented maneuvers on-field. She used to always watch my back. And I haven’t thanked her for that…
Then came the high-school days. My classroom was at the ‘T’ where Chechi’s classroom’s corridor met the main one. And almost always, she could see me in/out the classroom in various poses of punishment. Kneeling down, hands up, on the bench, etc.. Her classmates never tired of teasing her and she, of twisting my ear. Whoa, those days, I remember, she used to dread going to school! Then one day, she broke down at home. That was the day that I was punished in front of the whole junior and senior assembly. I wish she had my perspective – now everyone knew me, and I didn’t bother telling her that because I knew she wouldn’t be amused. Oh no! And that was just the beginning of many such incidents to follow. However, she never gave up on me. And I haven’t thanked her for that…
But one thing never changed. Despite all this, her love for me grew stronger. Sure there were days she would have happily walked me to the guillotine, but love always won. And I’m glad. I still remember her taking leave from college to come and tutor me for my 12th standard boards. I also remember (with morbid amusement) the look on her face when I admitted to her that I have ‘left’ Integration and Differentiation for my finals. (For non-math students, this was a topic in the syllabus put by some sadist to solely torment poor souls like me. And these put together had 60% of the total marks!) That was the first night-out of my life and I got 75% in my boards the next day for math! And I haven’t thanked her for that…
She has sacrificed a lot for me. She gave up her dream of becoming an engineer thinking Dad would be stretched a bit when I went into engineering too. And I’ve always mocked her hopes for me, like not taking up engineering. And to this day, I fail to understand why she thinks I am the most brilliant human ever to walk this planet. She regularly reads my blogs and always has something good to say even about the crappiest post. I attribute that to her ‘Mother Syndrome’ towards me. Every time we meet, I see in her eyes a great man. I so wish I could be that man! And she has never lost that hope. And I haven’t thanked her for that…
So, I dedicate my post today to a dear friend, a loving sibling, an inspiring guide, and a great human being.
Chechi, you have always been my pillar of strength during school, college, and even for my marriage. I’ve told you you’re impatient, fat, inflexible, ugly, boring, and lots of other things. I lied (except for the boring part :). You are the most brilliant, beautiful, loving, understanding, and caring person I’ve met. And you’re a killer cook too! There’s nothing I would like to see changed about you. I’ve always prayed for you if not for anyone else, and Leeona and Paul are answers to that.
So, this is my confession. This is me saying ‘Thank You’. And though I’ve never admitted it, I love you, Chechi. More than Mamma and Dada. You’ve been my guardian angel, and nothing I will ever do can repay that.
Happy Birthday Chechi.
Monday, November 19, 2007
And, the only thing you end up watching on the telly are the advertisements. I have written posts on how dumb these could be, even had a category called ‘WTF award for advertising excellence’. I feel guilty now. I realized that in their own way, these ads teach us so much about the world around us, and life in general. Don’t believe me? Check this small list I complied over the weekend:
‘Jab baal ho jaaye dry, toh dikhtey hain rookhey-sookhey.’ Literal meaning: When hair becomes dry, it looks dull and dry. Wow! Did you know that? Thanks to Parachute for that gem…
Eat Gold and Silver to increase vigor and intelligence! That is because scientists discovered that the kings of India were smart and healthy because they ate in Gold and Silver plates. And when ShahRukh Khan tells you that, you better listen! This is courtesy Himani.
‘You don’t have to be perfect when you look smart in Duke.’ I shall remember that always. Somehow, is a very weird way, it’s comforting. This wisdom was discovered by (the) Duke of ‘Ludhiana – The fashion hub of Punjab’ (Quoted from their website).
‘Brand nahi toh style nahi’ meaning, no brand, no style. Damn! Now that means that I’ll have to wear logo tees and stuff. Or, probably stitch the tags on someplace more conspicuous on my clothing. This tip thanks to Zeiss – the ‘branded spectacle lens manufacturer’.
‘Daag achhey hain’ which means, stains are good. My mom better read this and apologize! I’d brought home so many good things and all she ever gave me in return were immobilizing stares and scolding. Why wasn’t Surf invented then?
‘Thinking is such a waste of time’, this from the Hero Honda CBZ Extreme ad. I can totally relate to this having stayed in Gurgaon for two (excruciating) months. The ad guys were probably impressed by the people around the plant (in Gurgaon), they waste no time at all. Ever!
Well, these are just a few of the things I’ve learnt and can immediately recollect. In addition to this, you also get to know a lot of other ways in which people live in the world around us. Like:
Pet crocs addicted to candy (Alpenliebe)
Choco-wafers that make you chase dogs (new Perk)
Sodas that offer levitation (Fanta)
Deos that bring hot, long dead mummies to life (Axe)
Mobile phones that may be used as weapons (Moto Razr 2)
Holidays that get you laid (White Mischief)
Solution to power-cuts (Happydent)
Mints to make you smarter (Minto Fresh)
The list is endless… So, the next time you are watching your favorite program on TV, don’t switch channels during the commercial breaks. You never know what you’ll be missing! So guys, keep watching and Keep Walking :)
Friday, November 16, 2007
A similar “Breaking News” was aired on some national news channels this morning. “Manoj Kumar will file a defamation suit against Shah Rukh (SRK) and Farah Khan”. Hyper excited newscasters, breathless reporters on the field, viewers calling in… the usual. And all this for what? Well, you gotta believe me when I say this – Manoj Kumar (MK) hurt his soul while watching Om Shanti Om (OSO)! He said (verbatim), “Meri aatma ko ghaat pahunchi hai”, when he saw himself being imitated on screen.
Manoj who? Well… a long, long time ago, there was this actor who was renowned for his patriotic theme films. He was nicknamed Mr Bharat! His last hit was before I reached the age of reason, so you may read more about him here.
So, here’s the man, who has helped India define her values and culture, teach us something new. Respect. (Do not confuse this with the higher end r-e-s-t-e-c-p of Ali G.) MK was rather slow to react to his portrayal on OSO where his trademark style of covering his face is parodied, and the guard/usher at a movie theatre does not recognize him (in the movie). And… well that’s it, but HOW DARE THEY! SRK, what got into you? How could you even think that a caricature of MK? You might have been encouraged by parodies on heads of state, (B/H/T/K)ollywood legends, Even Gods. But MK? No effin way!
And Farah Khan what the FarahKhan were YOU thinking? That you could even in your dreams, imagine MK not being recognized even by a new-born? That too in a movie? Ha! So what if he’s not as popular as Big B, Rajnikanth, Mithunda, Chiranjeevi, Feroz Khan, Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Amjad Khan, Rajpal Yadav, Aditya Chopra, Himesh, Rakhee Sawant, etc.? He is the legend - MK. We didn’t expect this from you.
And to the rest of the Bollywood fraternity – Never ever use your hands to cover your face! Ever! Even though he has not patented it, it will not go unnoticed or unpunished. There are some people who are beyond ridicule and if you dare imitate, parody, caricature, whatever… them, woe betide you! Now our very own MK joins the revered group of people who do not accept any form of jokes, criticism, or comments about them or what they stand for.
Welcome, Mr Manoj Kumar, to the august company of Osama bin Laden, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, and the likes, against whom, free speech is punishable. And dear MK, thank you for setting the bar high for Bharat. Let the world know, we do not take any bullcrap about ourselves!
P.S.: I have not seen OSO nor do I intend seeing it till it probably comes on TV. But the graphic detail in which the reporters explained the scenes to me on the telly made my heart stop! Revolting I say… How could somebody cover his face when only Manoj Kumar could do it? And how dare they have a dupe for Manoj Kumar? And worst of all, how did the gap in the screenplay where the watchman refuses to acknowledge Manoj Kumar go unnoticed? I am appalled!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Yes guys, the long wait is over… Need for Speed 11 – Pro Street will be launched today! Not that I’m rushing to the stores right now, but I’m still excited. Why? Because I trust EA - the developers of NFS. I’ve been hooked on to NFS and have played all their games released till date. Let me confess – I am a slave! And the only games I play are the NFS series.
By the time I could afford to buy one of these games, I was married. My wife was not exactly thrilled about my escapades in the NFS world. She used to draw parallels between my driving in the real and the virtual world. So, there were times, I used to sneak out to this place called Starbucks and race online. It didn’t discourage me a bit that I was beating 10-15 year olds in this game. Believe me – these guys can be mean when you make a mistake! When ‘Walker’ used to come online for a race, most racers started to chicken out. I kinda used to hold court and give free tips to budding online racers. I felt like a superhero… But like Superman, Batman, and all other superheroes, I had to keep this ‘Superhero’ identity a secret from the missus :)
But these were the Underground 1 and 2 series. Win races, challenge racers for outruns, earn money, pimp your ride… you were in car heaven!
Then, one day in Delhi, I bought NFS Most Wanted. I installed it on my notebook that had a 256 MB RAM, which meant that the game was forever in slo-mo. I was granted 30 minutes (max) a day to indulge in my dark (racing) fantasies. I guess the ladies will never understand the thrill and excitement of Most Wanted. The plot is simple! You drive into a city, you are picking up races and winning them, and then a local punk sabotages your ride and beats you. The rest of the game is spent trying to win your ride (and respect) back. To get your ride, you need to challenge the punk, who is No1 on the blacklist (that has 15 members). To challenge each member, you have to win some races, damage property, and engage the cops in pursuits, wreck cop cars, the works!
So, with the rationed 30 minutes a day and close to 20 hours on the days my wife was traveling, I finished the game and became the ‘Most Wanted’. I have been tempted to put that on my resume! The days I was alone at home, I used to hook it on to my sound system, crank up the volume, and soak in the sweet music! Dopey, our Lab initially was psyched, but got used to it. The maid used to me near tears! But I must also admit that I managed to do all this without pissing my wife off (or so I’d like to believe), and I even coaxed her to allow me some extra time. That will change if she came to know about the ‘crush’ I had on Mia, the animated character who guides you and watches your back in the game…
Later, when work kept us apart, she bought me a PlayStation. Yeah guys – A PLAYSTATION! Isn’t she cool or what? That keeps me pretty busy when I’m off work, and I rarely have time for anything else. Which is cool with me. And my friends too. NFS Carbon was nothing to write home about as far as the PlayStation version was concerned, and the system requirements for the PC platform are obscene. Same with ProStreet. Check it out:
OS: Windows XP/Vista (FAT16 and FAT32 File Systems are not supported by Digital Delivery)
Processor: 2.8GHz or faster (Windows Vista requires 3.0 GHz)
Memory: 512 MB RAM (Windows Vista requires 1 GB RAM)
Hard Drive: 8.1 GB (16 GB required for Digital Delivery)
DVD Drive: 8 SPEED (not required for Digital Delivery)
Video Card*: 128 MB with Pixel Shader 2.0 (AGP and PCIe only)
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatibleDirectX - Version 9.0cOnline
Multiplayer: 512 Kbps or faster; 2-8 Players
Input: Keyboard, Mouse
Optional: USB Steering Wheel / Dual Analogue Gamepad
*Supported chipsets: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 greater (GeForce MX series not supported); ATI Radeon 9500 or greater. Laptop versions of these chipsets may work but are not supported. Updates to your video and sound card drivers may be required.
I would have to be a millionaire if I want to play the PC version. And I’m ready to wait. In the meantime, I keep dreaming about the races and hoping that my system magically upgrades itself… In the meantime, if any of you can afford the system configuration, I say – Go for it! This time, the races are legal, the damages stay, and there are bucket loads of aftermarket accessories and upgrades available from real tuners!
And, till I get my hands on such a machine, I guess I’ll just have to ‘Keep Walking’.
P.S: I am eternally grateful to EA Games for NFS.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Pakistan's General Pervez Musharraf had another landslide electoral victory... This time in the prestigious HR award for superlative humility. He has defeated his nearest rival, Sheikh Osama Bin Laden by 18% of the total votes polled.
Take it away, Perv Musharraf!
I really wonder how people describe that the most wonderful day was when their brother/sister was born (usually a year or two younger)… It surprises me, because, that age you can’t even remember when and where to poop! To be honest, I don’t remember how Kochu looked as an infant; I was having trouble remembering my ABCs then… I guess.
Kochu was an extremely hassle-free child. She was God’s way of apologizing to my parents for giving me to them! My first memories of her were when she was probably a year old and Mummy said that I was not old enough to carry her. So, my first challenge in life was to be old enough to carry Kochu around and I still am trying! Chechi (my elder sis), and I, were about a year and change apart and we used to bring the house down with our fights. I can hardly remember an instance when we had fights with Kochu. In retrospect, she seemed like a re-incarnation of the Buddha!
Kochu proved to be a star at school too! She excelled in everything she tried – studies, sports, co-curricular… just like Chechi! And Kochu was (and still is) an extremely gifted singer. But unlike Chechi, she did not need to work hard and late. It came naturally to her. Actually, everything she does, is with a natural panache. I am yet to meet someone who has not loved her. So, it was no surprise that the only other person who could rival her, became her husband! Kochu is Dad’s pride, Moms joy, and Chechi’s best friend… My wife thinks she is the sweetest thing on Earth. As for me, she will always be my kid sister, who thinks she’s the elder one. We have a unique relationship and it always brings a smile on my face whenever I think of her. There's an old, black and white photograph of the three of us. I will always remember Kochu as she was then. Innocent, beautiful, precious…
So today, I leave my usual cynical self aside, and I pray. I pray that each of you have a Kochu in your lives to love and be loved. I pray that all her wishes for the rest of her life come true. Most of all, I pray that she always remain the Kochu we all love so very much! Happy Birthday sweetheart… and yes… mmuaaah!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
So when the very few that read it out of free will suggests a topic to write about, I am obliged to oblige. So, here’s to Sue, who wanted to know about my IQ theory.
Caution: Overtly sensitive readers, please spare you and me the trouble. What follows is a veritable ‘Mein Kampf’ish ideology.
My IQ theory, like me, has a strong right skew. It’s my ‘Sistine Chapel’ of theories, and I intend to use it as a stepping-stone to my dream of becoming a God-man. This theory suggests that we live in a world that does not discriminate you based on your religion, race, caste, or gender. People will be segregated based only on their IQ which, for people with less than an 80 score, stands for Intelligence Quotient.
Some facts first:
Lewis Terman (1916) developed the original notion of IQ and proposed this scale for classifying IQ scores:
· Over 140 - Genius or near genius
· 120 - 140 - Very superior intelligence
· 110 - 119 - Superior intelligence
· 90 - 109 - Normal or average intelligence
· 80 - 89 - Dullness
· 70 - 79 - Borderline deficiency
· Under 70 - Definite feeble-mindedness
This formula works for well only for children. So, in the society of the future, every government issued ID, it will be mandatory to state the holder’s IQ. Privileges for the holders will be based on their IQ. The theory is extensive, but I present the gist of it here.
IQ Score of 110 and above: All privileges.
90 – 109: Not allowed to lead nations or hold a public position. These individuals will no be allowed to manage people with a higher IQ score.
Acceptable occupations: Drivers, ticket checkers, cashiers, postman/woman, etc.
80 – 89: Not allowed to drive, they can ride in a vehicle provided they are supervised. Will be required to take the stairs. Can marry; however, will not be allowed to reproduce.
Acceptable occupations: Coding, sanitation, house-helps, talent show contestants, etc.
70 – 79: Will require supervision while walking on streets, eating, interacting with others etc. Not allowed to meet people of the opposite gender. May participate in political rallies.
Acceptable occupations: Stunt doubles, waving for visiting dignitaries, play cricket, talent show judges, etc.
Below 69: Cordoned off in special gated communities. Allowed rations of food, water and oxygen. Not allowed to communicate or even think. May watch cricket, can send SMSes…
Acceptable occupation: Crash-test dummies, Kung-fu movies, Hindi soap operas, talent show audience, etc.
This intellectual cleansing of the society will rid you of most ills that we complain about in our society. And like any groundbreaking idea, it also has its negatives. The one main drawback due to which I was yet to formally present this theory is – lack of amusement. Most of us live to be amused. Amused by your colleagues, managers, friends, store clerks, actors, politicians… With the implementation of this theory, we will all lose that spice in our lives. So now you need to tell me a way around this. And I shall co-name you in my IQ theory for a better tomorrow… think of it…
Lemme know what you think. (In case you have a score below 80, I meant to say that you need to click on the link below, that says ‘comments’ and type your thoughts in the page that opens, and then… Oh forget it!)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
But what prompted me to write about marriage is this. Chiranjeevi’s daughter, Srija, elopes with her boyfriend of four years and seeks police protection from her family! Now the only reservation that the family could have had was the criminal history of their new son-in-law. But the 19-year old has managed to turn it into a media circus, what with the event being covered live and later, sitting in for a call-in program on national television answering questions and basking in congratulatory messages from equally juvenile callers.
The only thing that comes to my mind is that the constitution should be revised to not allow anyone with an IQ score lower than 90 to get married. With that, we will not have a dumb kid, taking the pants off her family on national television… ever! Sirish Braradwaj, you are a dead man! This man has bit off more than he can chew, and his afterlife don’t look good to me L Come on! This guy knew her for four freakin’ years! No prizes for what’s going to happen within the next four years…
The reason I mentioned IQ, was because it’s easier to measure than intellectual maturity. Some people mature fast, some normally and some don’t. My younger sister was intellectually mature when she was 10! I reached there sometime when I was 25. Let me try and put this in perspective here. Answer the following question:
You are in the final year of college. On your birthday, your father promised to buy to a PlayStation 3. He buys you a computer instead. What do you do?
a) Accept the gift graciously. Afterall, you can still play games on it :)
b) Cry and throw a tantrum till dad buys you the PlayStation.
c) Go postal and break the computer. You wanted a PlayStation, for cryin’ out loud!
d) Get the message that your dad wants you to study, not play around. Top your class.
Now compare your answer:
a) 5 points. You have the maturity of ‘The Walker’. Keep Walking :)
b) 0 points. You are as mature as Srija or Karunanidhi. See a Psychiatrist.
c) –15 points. You are comparable to Ted Bundy or Osama. Shooot yourself!
d) 10 points. You are intellectually on par with my younger sis. Apply for Mensa.
See what I mean. So, for all you guys, please come back here and take this test when you are required to take an ‘intellectually mature’ decision. Needless to say, you need to score 5 or 10. If you do score well, you can expect a reasonably good life in your afterlife.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
This award honors individuals for their audacious belief in themselves or their causes (which they invariably link back to themselves)…Great men and women, who have made bold remarks, outrageous suggestions, amazing deeds… Just like HR (sorry Human Resource folks, I’m talking about the one and only HR – Himesh Reshammiya)!
Love, they say, makes you do things you never thought possible. And only when you love someone, do you realize its strength. Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal for his wife, Bhagat Singh laid down his life for his country, and HR makes a movie – ‘Aap ka suroor’… For himself. Alas! Only if people loved each other even with a trillionth of HR’s love for himself, the world would’ve been such a wonderful place. But hey! This post is not about HR… I’m just drawing inspiration from him for this award category. And your nominees are:
K Karunanidhi – The Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, India.
Senility has done many things to many people, but not what it has done to our man… He questions the beliefs of a billion-strong nation based on his expert understanding of religion. More on this old geezer here.
Osama Bin Laden – The savior of the world (from the capitalist American pigs)!
Self-belief is good, very good. Better if you are leading a legion of misguided zealots who are willing to kill for ‘your’ cause. And over a period of time, this belief manifests into reality and all you see around you is what you believed in… OBL’s call for the US to convert to Islam is in itself, a lesson in humility. He has also donned the mantle of peace with his assortment of causes. Do I see a Nobel peace prize on its way?
Pervez Musharraf – The only good thing to happen to Pakistan after al Qaeeda.
Mush has contested and won elections in Pakistan. The landslide victory, he claims is a tribute to democracy. The others are crying foul, but little do they know that this victory was as tough for Mush as a 100-meter dash with your hands tied… alone, of course! Even his ally OBL has expressed his concern over his victory.
So, who is it going to be this time? I agree that none of these nominations can compare with SuperHR as far as their humility goes, but you tell me who is second best! As usual, you need to click on your choice and hit the submit button. And then you could use the comments section to share your insights and suggest further categori.
Keep Walking (and voting) folks...
(Thanks to GreatBong for the piece on Aap Ka Suroor)
Monday, October 22, 2007
The Gladiator ad was a monument erected to draw attention to the pitiable state of afairs in our ad industry. Very similar to positioning Fanta as a levitation accessory. Even Goa pan masala beats these ads pants down!
For the time being, Gladiator is the daddy! The next award category coming soon :)
Race 1: Kimi, Alonso, Hamiltom. (Kimi leads the standings)
Race 2: Alonso, Hamiltom, Kimi. (Alono leads)
Race 3: Massa, Hamilton, Kimi. (Kimi, Alonso and Hamilton tied)
Race 4: Massa, Hamilton, Alonso. Kimi retires. (Hamilton leads)
Race 5: Alonso, Hamilton, Massa. (Hamilton and Alonso tied)
Race6: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Wurz. (Hamilton leads)
Race 7: Hamilton, Alonso, Massa. (Hamilton leads)
Race 8: Kimi, Massa, Hamilton. (Hamilton leads)
Race 9: Kimi, Alonso, Hamiltom. (Hamilton leads)
Race 10: Alonso, Massa Webber. (Hamilton leads)
There’s a twist now… The ongoing ‘spygate’ scandal between Ferrari and McLaren is underway. Alonso threatens Ron Dennis (McLaren chief) by saying that unless he slows Hamilton down, he (Alonso) will hand over the evidence to FIA. Dennis does not give in and McLaren is found guilty!
The standings are: Hamilton – 80, Alonso – 63, Kimi – 60, Massa – 51
Race 11: Hamilton, Kimi. Heidfeld (Hamilton leads)
Race 12: Massa, Kimi, Alonso (Hamilton leads)
Race 13: Alonso, Hamiltom, Kimi (Hamilton leads)
Alonso and Hamilton are not on talking terms now. Alonso wants to be the No.1 driver in the McLaren team and the team decides on a no favorites policy. The spygate ruling sees Ferrari already crowned constructors champions. Its now down to the last four races…
Race 14: Kimi, Massa, Alonso (Hamilton leads)
Race 15: Hamilton, Kovalinen, Kimi; Alonso retires (Hamilton leads)
Race 16: Kimi, Alonso, Massa; Hamilton retires (Hamilton leads)
The standings are: Hamilton – 107, Alonso – 103, Kimi – 100. The rest are out of the title race. Here’s what each of them had to achieve in order to win the driver’s championship:
Hamilton: Finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd. If 4th, Alonso to finish 2nd or lower…
Alonso: Finish 1st with Hamilton finishing 4th or lower…
Kimi: Finish 1st with Hamilton finishing 7th or lower, Alonso finishing 3rd or lower…
Race 17: Kimi, Massa, Alonso; Hamilton 7th!
No thriller could have been this exciting, no writer could have dreamt of this finish, but the prayers of the Tifosi have borne fruit. Ferrari are the world champions – Constructor and Driver. Boy, oh boy! What an awesome season it turned out to be… Kimi wins his 15th GP and his first World Championship. The Iceman smiles. Jus as we have come to expect of him, he does not get his emotions in the way even for the press conference.
Now, it doesn’t seem very likely that Alonso will stick to McLaren. Renault is only too eager to have him back. Hamilton will remain with McLaren. Kimi and Massa will race with Ferrari again in 2008. Kingfisher now has an F1 team. I can’t wait till next season!
Sources: BBC F1 and Fromula 1 official website.
Friday, October 19, 2007
I am a part of numerous mailing lists. Some are funny, some loony, and some are outright torturous. And then there are the religious ones… While cleaning up my mailbox, I saw one that sent shivers down my spine… I realized that I was going to hell! Just like most people I know. And going by the mail, I guess that will be where more than 99% of us land L
The mail was about the seven deadly sins, also known as the Capital Vices or the Cardinal Sins. And I don’t know why, but the first thing that came to my mind while reading that was food! Believe it or not, food often evokes feelings in me that are otherwise quite latent. And that is why I will go to hell.
Lust – no other word in the English language can better describe my feelings for food.
Gluttony – it is a common occurrence.
Greed - the thought of food makes me drool!
Sloth – there is nothing I enjoy more than a siesta after lunch.
Wrath – woe betide anyone who keeps me away from my meals!
Envy – I envy most cook show hosts who travel the world just to eat…
Pride – do I pride myself on my appetite?!
I am a foodie. Yes! I love to eat. Rarely does anything match the satisfaction I derive from a tummy full of goodies. Some consider me a glutton, others, a legend. Frankly, I don’t give a damn!
My mom is an excellent cook. And she loves people who appreciate good food. So, it was little surprise to people that I am her favorite child. (Sorry sis, but that’s the truth!) She used to equally dote on all my friends who had this admirable quality. And so do my aunts, my elder sister, mother-in-law, some friends, and of course my wife. My cholesterol levels, BP, other vitals are good and way below borderline risk (Touch-wood)! So, I ain’t going to hell any sooner…
I was told that a hearty appetite is the symptom of a happy mind. A soul without worries or guilt, a heart that loves and is loved. And I believe it, for most people I’ve met with good appetites fall into this category. In most Indian cultures, when a prospective groom declines to eat, he is politely refused any alliance from the household. It’s going to be one hell of a party down there…
And I’m not for a moment saying that all people who cannot eat well are twisted… It’s just that I find it really difficult that people starve themselves to look anemic, anorexic, malnourished, and terminally ill! These losers may go to heaven; I don’t envy them a bit! Blame it on generation gap, but I still prefer people who are healthy – Physically and mentally. After all, only in a healthy body can a healthy mind survive. Oops! Now what kind of people go to heaven now?
I leave that up to you to decide where you want to be headed. Probably I got it all wrong and I might just end up ‘up there’… Like I say, there’s only one way to find out… Wherever I end up, I am reassured to think that I’ll be with like-minded folks. I that reassurance, I Keep Walking…
Monday, October 15, 2007
Advertisements are usually what we always end up watching on TV... So what better category to start these awards with? It has always amazed me that companies that can afford to pay obscene money for the air-time are not willing to pay a fraction of that for something creative? Especially the pan masala ads! Never seen a good one! Even otherwise, there's a huge list of ads that make you go WTF! Oye Bubblyy, Pepsi TV (Pepsi), Fair n Lovely, Harpic, Swagat Baniyan... the list is endless. And, they never stop!
So, we try and rate them here and vote for the worst, the one that offends your senses, sensitivities, sensibilities, sanity, intellect...
Category : Automobiles
1) Yamaha Alba:
Hot babe sees dude riding a Yam. Sighs deeply (almost climaxing) while thumbing for a lift. Dude doesn’t care and rides on. Hot babe goes on to get the bike tattooed on her back! Thumbs dude again for a lift while turning around. Dude stops and says, “The new Yamaha Alba”. Hot babe retorts, “I’ve got it too”, and turns around. The two ride away…
2) Yamaha Gladiator:
Babe with a gang of boys in a club. Loser dude (the kinda guy who would be perfect for the MLTR crib song, “I’m not an actor, I’m not a star”) is smitten by girl. Takes out a can (mind you – a single can) of paint and does a graffiti of babe’s face on the wall. Babe smiles, kinda bites lower lip… Stud with girl defaces the painting. Loser dude sprays paint on stud’s shirt, grabs babe’s hand, and runs for it. Cut to loser dude and babe locking themselves is a shed of sorts and the gang of boys beating down the door. Loser dude then gets a bright one and proceeds to do another graffiti, this time a bike. Bike comes to life, Loser dude and babe smash wall and ride away!
3) Hero Honda CD Deluxe:
Architect boy gets call letter from an American company. Gets on his ‘deluxe’ to mail his Visa application. Just before mailing it, he asks himself, “America mein aisa kya hai jo India mai nahi hai?’ Realization hits him and he tears the application into pieces, litters, and rides away (now you know why we love it in India!). The catchline goes something like, “India ka naya deluxe bike aur seat pe naya Indian!”
So, cast your votes, on the left of your screen. And vote for the ad that really makes you go WTF! Send in categories and nominations using the comments section!
Well, here’s a series of Awards being instituted by ‘Keep Walking’. The inspiration comes from the famous Darwin Awards. These awards, “honour people who ensure the long-term survival of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool in a sublimely idiotic fashion.” Click here for the Wikipedia article.
The modus operandi is pretty simple. I shall nominate up to four (or maybe more) entries, and the winner will be decided by a poll online (not SMS). You may suggest both award categories and nominations in the comments section. The post will be updated to include popular entries and the poll results close in a week. All original entries shall be acknowledged :)
The categories could include anything under the sun as long it is stupid enough. Movies, books, TV Series, websites, politics, celebrities… anything! For, if there’s one constant in the human race, it’s stupidity. And it never ceases to amaze you! Some people go through extreme hardships to prove it, some are natural. But they walk among us, indistinguishable from others until the inevitable…
Friday, October 12, 2007
Who will be the next Indian Idol? SMS your choice…
To wish Musharaff on his birthday, SMS your message to…
Who will be the next contestant to be ousted? SMS your option…
Like I care! But it seems that quite a lot of us do… Just look at the number of people who send in their entries for such asinine stuff! All the while, it’s the (media) producers and the mobile operators who laugh all their way to the banks! When will the ‘blue billion’ realize that it is a rip-off?
And what is the guarantee that the SMS polls are actually used to determine the winner. Take the case of Abhijit Sawant. Gimme a break! Do you actually think that millions of Indians wanted this loser to be our ‘Idol’? Preposterous! The only poll that someone like him could hope to win is “Do you want this guy out of your face?” kinds. Let’s face it; we Indians determine winners on the basis of many factors, talent NOT being one of them. Case in point: ALL your talent shows! For a perspective, Indial Idol 3, about 700 million SMSes poured in. And an average premium SMS ranges from Rs 3 to Rs 10… you do the math!
The news channels have adapted this trend too! Apparently, it’s too good a gravy train to miss… And as a rule, if your audience thinks so, it has to be true! Talking about how responsible our media is, take a look at Ravi’s post. We are, however, discussing the oh-so-gullible Indian masses and SMSes here. And all the masala associated with it.
The premium SMS service, as I’ve already said, brings in obscene money for the operators. I don’t believe the operators when they say that the audience does not mind these rates. It’s like Musharraf claiming that Nawaz Sharif wanted a holiday in Saudi! But no matter how expensive, that does not deter bored aunties from voting (and gathering on streets) to show their support. Talking about aunties, I recently came to know that the soaps are also going the SMS way! No, I’m not talking just about the ‘SMS KSKBT to... to set it as your ring tone’ variety (dayum!) but these days, you can SMS options for the storyline… Possibly something like, “What do you want Tulsi to do next?”
A: Stare him down for a further 10 minutes
B: Cry in her trademark ‘constipated or sneezy’ style
C: Give a lecture on morality that would make Osama Bin Laden squirm
D: Cut scene, show someone else cheating on someone else
Send your option A, B, C, or D to….
That is the cue that our aunties wait for, and they get into SMSing frenzy! And the Ekta Kapoors of the world don’t even need ad revenue!
I tried an SMS poll once. Something to do with the World Cup 2007, I believe… Sent in my entry, got a reply to choose another option, and another and another till I gave up! Patience was never one of my virtues. But I fail to understand how people get hooked on to it and send away all their extra money to the ‘deserving’ producers and mobile operators. How selfless! Well, I don’t belong to that category. I just Keep Walking…
P.S.: To join the rally against SMS scams, Type F*** You on your mobile phone and send it to...
Thursday, October 11, 2007
However, what got to me early, were the commentators on DD National. They had invited a dumb-looking 'expert' commentator, who was going on and on about how India is sure to make 350 plus on this dream batsman's pitch. He opined that this was the sort of pitch that bowlers had nightmares about (or something like that). I was as usual, running around trying to finish my morning chores and get to work, so the volume was turned up and I could hear him being egged on by two equally insipid hosts who thought he was the cat's whiskers...
After the toss, this dude seemed to be on the seventh heaven and suggested that it was a sign from above! Well, it didn't take him too long to change his views. Within a few minutes (a few wickets later), he went on to say that this is the 'perfect bowler's pitch and that the batsmen were sure to face hell. The equally asinine co-commentator agreed only too enthusiastically! I was getting extremely amused by this chap! Alas, I valued my job more and that overcame my need for 'morbid amusement'.
I later heard that we were bundled out for 148! I thought to myself, hmm... that dude could've been right. The next I heard was that the OZs beat us pants down, with 9 wickets and about 25 more overs to spare! I thought to myself again, hmm... that dude could still have been right. Now that's what I call an opinion for all occasions! Attaboy!! He should've been in politics... Kumaraswamy seems to be the only 'true blue' politician who has the courage to go back on his words and keep the tradition alive... (Post Nayanar, but of course)
Rather than having such morons on air commentating, we should have them in the team. They would at-least (serve as 'nazar-tattoos?' and) help to ward off the evil eye on our team... The least that these types do are to act like a bad omen. Mandira Bedi did that to the Men in Blue during WC 2003. At least have good-looking people for Chrissakes!
But you got to give credit to our boys as well... We shine where there's no light. Our batsmen create perfect bowling wickets, and our bowlers make the ultimate batting wickets out of nowhere!
No wonder, there are some people (like me) who feel quite strongly about it. Hell who wouldn't? Out of about a dozen countries that play the game, can't we still be the best? All our sponsorships in sports are directed there! So, what do people like me do? We 'adapt' or 'internalize' jokes to suit the need of the hour! Here's one:
A primary teacher explains to her class that she is a fan of the Indian cricket team. She asks her students to raise their hands if they, too, are fans of the Indian cricket team. Everyone in the class raises their hand except one little boy. (Obviously Chhottu)
The teacher looks at Chhottu with surprise and says, "Chhottu, why didn't you raise your hand?"
"Because I'm not a fan of the Indian cricket team," he replied.
The teacher, still shocked, asked, "Well, if you are not a fan of the Indian cricket team, then who are you a fan of?"
"I am a fan of the Australian cricket team, and proud of it," he replied.
The teacher could not believe her ears. "Chhottu, why, pray tell, are you a a fan of the Australian cricket team?"
"Because my mum and my dad are OZ cricket fans, so I'm a fan of the Australian cricket team too!"
"Well," said the teacher in an obviously annoyed tone, "that is no reason for you to be a OZ cricket fan. You don't have to be just like your parents all of the time... What if your mum was a prostitute and your dad was a drug addict, what would you be then?"
"Then," said Chhottu, "I'd be a fan of the Indian cricket team."
Now, that's a boy who's bound to Keep Walking :)
Monday, October 8, 2007
The question, “What is a meeting?” is yet to be answered. Though most of us have been in one, none of us can really explain it. But this enigma continues to thrive in the corporate world. A tougher question yet is, “Why do I have to be a part of a meeting?” and the generally acceptable answer is, “Because my boss is bored” or, “Someone needs to feel important” or even “Damned if I knew! I’ve been attending this since the time I moved in”. I shall try and clarify my understanding and you could also help me out here…
What is a meeting? Hmmm… A meeting is a form of expression. I endeavor to generalize a few validations for an interaction to be counted as a meeting:
It requires more than one person. It would be silly to announce, “I am going to meet me”. If someone actually does that, this will lead to another meeting of his supervisors, peers, and anyone else interested to determine if the company can afford to institutionalize him.
More than one person speaks in a meeting. This is unless some people are allowed to speak at home.
A meeting has a specific agenda. This is a must. But there is no rule that the discussion has to be around it. You may call a meeting about growing attrition and end up with a heated discussion on the geopolitical scenario.
It is time-bound. Again flexible. People may come in about five minutes to the meeting (if its your boss, he’s on time, if it’s you, you have nothing better to do), five minutes into the meeting (again, if its your boss, he’s had something better to do and if it’s you, you need to be more punctual). Some people even rush in about the time things are getting wrapped up. Your level in the organization determines the attitude of the attendees.
You agree to meet again. This is mandatory and is the only rule that is sacrosanct. You have to carry on the flame.
You may have a meeting for many reasons:
Reviews: You made a collective commitment. If you’ve kept it, the review meeting is a happy event. Otherwise, you become the object of collective hostility and ridicule.
Projects: You decide to do something. You make a team with the hope that someone actually will know how to… You get together and fix responsibilities. This is generally followed by a review.
Goal Setting: You are bored. No one knows what is to be done. You call a meeting at an exotic location (preferably a resort), eat, drink make merry. You then come back and decide to hold a ‘project’ meeting for the same participants to achieve the objective.
Budgeting: The simplest! You have money; you meet and decide how to spend it. You don’t have money; you meet to find out who’s spending more.
Pre-Brief: An activity is planned; you meet to decide how to go about it. You lay down the ground rules and hope everyone sticks to it.
De-Brief: After an activity, you chat up to see how it went. Goes well with cocktails.
Appraisals: This is the only meeting you wish you never had to attend! You realize that your boss actually knows more that you do… at-least about what you’ve been asked to do.
Interviews: This process usually follows the appraisal. You need to replace someone that quit following an appraisal.
Exit Interviews: Almost as inevitable as the sunset. What comes in has to go out. An employee decides to leave; you want to know why. Bad decision. Now that s/he is leaving, they would generally speak their mind out about you and your organization, shattering a few beliefs.
Rituals: The most common variety held for about the same reason you celebrate Gandhi Jayanti. It’s been that way and I don’t want to be the one that changes it!
A meeting makes a manager and not the other way round. A manager is incomplete without a meeting. It’s like a smoker craving for a drag. And it requires no specific reason but to satisfy your need to feel important. And even though most people in a meeting can’t tell a pie-chart from their elbow, you keep a grim expression and keep nodding (for whatever reason). And I’m positive that most of you are reading this in between meetings or on your way to them. I know I’ve written this between (ahem… and during) them.
But I have to add that I love them. They amuse me no end. Especially the way some people behave! It’s as if their life force was derived from the amount of entertainment they unwittingly provide us. My work life would be a drag without meetings. I shamelessly admit that. So, in and out of meetings, I Keep Walking!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Work in a city? Have office in a multi-storeyed building? If you have answered 'Yes' to these questions, you will certainly empathize with this post and me!
One of the downsides of having to work in a multi-storeyed building is the elevator. You are so dependent on them. More than a utility, it is now a style statement, and even health clubs on the second floor have lift access! It is so much a part of our lives that we seldom give it its due. And just like we wrote in our essays in school, this marvel of technology comes at a price. For the technically inclined, to understand this world of elevators better, look here. I am also listing a few types that I've seen in my days.
The Grill - Apt name that originates from its 'see through' grill sliding doors. Very Spartan, with floor buttons inside and call buttons in the lobby. It don't matter whether you are going up or down. You control it when it comes to you. The commies could very well have designed it, because of its Socialist approach to passengers. First come, first served. May have ventilation and lighting. Much-preferred accessories are the buzzer (for amusement), a stop button (again for amusement), a liftman (depending on your mood for amusement or to test your patience), and graphic images warning people what will happen to their limbs if they are caught in the grill.
The Grill 2 – A bit superior than the grill with umpteen variations. Some have a voice command reminding you (not so politely) to ‘please close the door’ to an extremely irritating beep/alarm. These put the fear of God into the passenger and ensured that they behaved. This probably was the one that pioneered the fan in the cabin.
Gen 1 with sliding doors – These were quite the ‘in thing’ when they were launched. These doors opened and closed automatically! The doors were generally made of steel (that may or may not be painted) giving the passengers complete privacy. It inspired Steven Tyler to write a dedication to this monument of transport ‘Love in an elevator’. The automatic doors meant additional buttons to open and close the doors (again for amusement). This is the model that was here to stay.
Gen 2 with sliding doors – When we were introduces to the concept of safety, there were additional buttons and accessories added to the already growing list. On the outside, you have buttons for up and down, and inside, the alarm button and the telephone! I have learnt to truly appreciate this during my days in Gurgaon. The Power Cuts meant that the lifts used to be intermittently out of service and you were often out of service with the lift. You then press the alarm button, there are outcomes that vary from a beep, to a shrill bell, to an ambulance gone crazy. Someone comes on line and tells you to be calm and in a matter of a few minutes (ranging from 1 minute to about 20) you are rescued.
Gen 3 with sliding doors – This one is the typical elevator you can expect to find at work. It comes with air-conditioning, buttons that light up when pressed, bright lighting, video surveillance, random additional buttons… the works! I miss having a vending machine in there though…
Gen 4 with sliding doors – Minimal buttons inside. You press the floor you want to go to in the lobby, the console directs you to the car. Insides similar to the Gen 3 but without the floor buttons, depriving you of amusement.
High-speed elevators – Similar to the Gen 3, but with different cars to take for every 20 – 3- floors. You experience mild g-forces while riding it.
But one thing that never ceases to amaze me, is the ways the elevator can get to you! Especially when you have challenged co-passengers. I have listed a few that I’m sure you may have come across:
The ‘Severely Challenged’ – These are people with an average IQ below that of a snail. They press both (up and down) buttons in the lobby. A variation would be pressing the button corresponding to the opposite direction of desired travel. And no matter where they want to go, they always step in when the lift comes in.
The ‘Completely Confused’ – This includes some people from the first category too. These are the ones that have great difficulty in figuring out where to go. They get in, realize that the elevator is going in the opposite direction, and panic. They then try to get out on the next level and end up stalling your journey.
The ‘Outright Stupid’ – These, you can easily make out. They appear to be in a state of ‘zen’ in a lift. They act in slow motion and quite often end up getting on your nerves and on the wrong floor. The cycle then repeats, but it’s not your problem now :)
The ‘Harried Executive’ – flies in to the lobby, jets from one car to another, screaming on the phone, usually realizing his destination late. They get the same vibes from others that Osama gets from Bush.
The ‘Low Lives’ – Used in reference to people who get down between your floors and from where you caught the lift. They may belong to any category, but the idea is that they’ve slowed down your trip :(
The ‘Frequent Fliers’ – Gentle, benevolent beings, who use the lift at-least 8 times for round trips. Typical behavior for smokers, everything okay when you go downstairs, but reek of smoke on the way up.
The ‘Going Postals’ – Ordinary people who act in an extraordinary manner when confronted with any of the above. Behavior may range from being a ‘rebel without a cause’ (pressing all buttons on the elevator when they get off) to being abusive or violent.
The ‘Mere Mortals’ – The silent commuters who endure this trip day in and day out. Their co-workers regard them as ideal candidates that may ‘Go Postal’.
After writing this post, I now realize that I may have been responsible for the actions of some of the co-workers in my Gurgaon building. But knowing Gurgaon, I would not be surprised even if it is otherwise. Nevertheless, I Keep Walking :)
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
India, yesterday, won the inaugral Twenty20 world cup. And in what style! Sure there were troughs of despair and crests of joy, but in the end, we managed to keep it together. That was what mattered.
A study (read numbers guessed by me) has revealed that 90% of men cry at-least once a year. That number used to be at-least 10-20 times for the Indian cricket fan. Oh! the melodrama... Indian cricket finally has a happy ending! And somehow, I can' help but compare the Indian cricket fan to your average soap watcher. Indian cricket over the last couple of years, has all the makings of one:
Anger: Mob destructions of cricketers' homes
Elation: Victory laps
Sorrow: Loss to NZ
Jubilation: The mob mentioned above lighting crackers and doing 'bhangra' outside the same cricketers' homes.
Suspense: The Final of T20, the first India-Pak match
Animosity: Saurav - Chappel
Camaraderie: The huddle
Rape: Ahem.. what else would you call Yuvraj's 6 6s to Broad?
Melodrama: Sree(anything but)Shanth
and much more.
Now, all this comes in a power-packed 3 hours! That to me is the success of T20. Purists will berate me for the alleged 'bastardization' of the gentleman's game. They may gladly come over to do my work and the chores at home while I leisurely sit, relax, occassionally doze off, and watch the 5 days of 'Pure' cricket. I refuse to fall into the category of a gentleman who vegetates in front of his television for 5 days. Oops... I don't want to start a debate on that.
But what is heartening is that India wins the World Cup the same year it was bundled out by Bangladesh(!) and that too without the 'Trinity' of Rahul, Sachin and Saurav. Finally, for the Indian cricket fan (which I do not claim to be one), there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In this assurance (and at-least till the 'dream team' stumbles again), the fans shall Keep Walking.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Now for those of you who haven’t read the latest, the old dude, at just the time he has to make peace with his God, decides to go senile. He makes comments like, “Who is this Ram, which engineering college did he go to?” and stuff. And to prove that Ram did exist, some ‘suspected’ sangh parivar activists pay a visit to his daughter’s house in Bangalore and put the fear of God in her. And to cement His existence, they also burned a Tamilnadu-bound bus with a couple of people in it. Yes! Now everyone believes.
Just the same way every Christian now believes in Muhammed because of Osama bin Laden and every Muslim believes in Ram because of Narendra Modi. What a sham! If you believe that you can prove the existence of God by such means, go ahead. Probably you will have the 72 houris (virgin, angelic girls) and 28 gilmans (supple young boys) waiting for you in the netherworld. But don’t blame me if you find your name on the gilman roster in hell! You most certainly deserve it.
Advani, probably was feeling left out of all the action. What if someone 1000 years down the line asks, “Who is this Advani, the avtar to save all Hindus? Did he really exist? I know there are ruins of a mosque in Ayodhya, but did he actually do it?”. So he decides not to rest on his bygone days of glory and proclaims that a civil war is rife in India! What excitement! And what a way to go down in history.
Here are some links relared to the post:
I am now waiting for the rituals to follow:
- Shiv Sena’s Maharastra bandh.
- CPI (M)’s Bengal and Kerala bandh.
- Trinamool congress’s Calcutta bandh.
- RJD’s Bihar Bandh.
- Congress’ ‘bandh ke khilaaf’ bandh. and many more...
The main (probably ignorant) perpetrator of all this mayhem is the ASI. That the ASI made such a comment in itself is surprising. I am surprised to think that people who study history and its preservation for a living did not predict the juggernaut to follow. We live in a secular democracy (or so we are led to believe), and a government body does not have a right to question anyone’s faith. Faith… now what’s that?
Faith is a belief. It does not require scientific validation. It is like common sense or conscience. It can’t be proved, only practiced. My faith is something very personal and I have no obligation to prove it to anyone. I believe. And that, I am sure, is the same with all of you. If you ask me which brewery Jesus Christ went to, or where Ram did his engineering, or who discovered the being on which the prophet took a celestial trip, I will say (censored)! It was once said, "Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe." That, my dear friends, is faith. Your and my faith is not open to discussion or ridicule. We were born with that right in this great country.
I will not trivialize my beliefs in God by engaging in an argument. I believe that MY God is MY business. No matter what anyone says, I remain steadfast. And in that belief, I shall keep walking.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
To summarise, the left parties in India don't want anything to do with US. No! No arguments! We don't want power (the bijli variety), we don't want military exercises, nothing! Let's look at some arguments put forward by the involved parties:
At this point, I would like to clarify that I have no allegiance to any political school of thought. I am a common Indian citizen and a patriot who is distraught at the situation around me.
What they do want, is maybe to live in a fool's paradise of a communist state. And history has shown us again and again and yet again what happens to a communist state in a not-so-ideal world. Russia is an excellent example of this. China, had a rude awakening and is now embracing globalization. Cuba, well, will remain Cuba! Perhaps, they would like to add India to the list of countries in this list: http://www.bookrags.com/wiki/Communist_state#Defunct_Communist_states
I, not for a moment would like to say that communism is bad on paper. And according to me, that is where it should remain! All this commotion about blindly opposing the nuclear deal between India and US should be called treason.
I would like all the protesters to please answer the folowing questions:
1. Are you Indians above being Communists?
2. Do you want India to be self-reliant in terms of power?
3. Would you like to live in a country with a strong military?
4. Do you want people around you to have jobs that can help them support their families?
5. Would you like to see India as one of the top three nations in the world in terms of its economy?
If they have answered 'yes' to these questions, why the commotion? Or is their political agenda higher than the nation's welfare? If so, arrest them for treason! Let the rest of us realise our dreams of living in a prosperous India during our lifetime.