Saturday, December 18, 2010

My New Place

I am moving into a new house this decade end. It’s a little duplex, an independent two-bedroom house, not far from where I stay currently. At 900 sq feet plot area, it’s rather modest, but those with a propensity to exclaim “so cute” won’t find many reasons to hold the complement back.

There’s just about enough parking place for my little car in the front; then there is a hall, followed by stairs that lead up to a bedroom on the first floor which opens up to the terrace where I shall be spending mornings brushing teeth, and evenings, laying on a bean bag. The stairs are followed by a small kitchen and a room which opens up to a backyard that can accommodate four coffins in a two by two file.

I will finally un-wrap my television and put it in the hall, thereby ending nearly six years of forced abstinence. I am also going to fulfill the ambition of having a pet-fish. The fish-bowl too goes in hall. Somewhere in Bangalore there exists a fish yet to be christened Deember (While chatting with a friend about how different this December is, the “c” was missed and the result was immediately recognized to be an apt name for a squirrel).

Kitchen will have the usual things along with the only matchbox I have ever bought in Bangalore, six years ago. The matchsticks are still crisp, fully capable of burning, and have somehow mastered the art of reproduction inside the box.

The ground floor bedroom (the one with the creepy backyard), will be my supposedly-absurd-thoughts-room. It will have books and my personal laptop, but no internet connection or any timepiece. The room will largely be empty and devoid of any physical clutter.

After immense considerations, the internet connection goes to the first floor bedroom which will be my otherwise-normal-bedroom. (Wi-fi is not an option since the supposedly-absurd-thoughts-room must remain sacred). I didn’t check the attached bathroom of the first floor bedroom because by the time I was taken upstairs on the visit, I knew I was going to take the house, no matter what existed beyond the bathroom door. Besides, it’s too embarrassing to check the bathrooms in a house still inhabited by others. And the one of ground-floor had all things expected of a bathroom.

The current occupant (a colleague) and those in the know, emphasize the benefits of specially arranged security in the locality. At this stage of my life, security is the least of my concerns, but I still mention it when describing the place to friends/acquaintances and they nod their heads approvingly.

I kind of feel guilty towards the current place for being so eager to move out of it. This was my second house in the city. I have become so indifferent and condensing towards this place that I calculated the total rent I paid for the place. It’s nearly three hundred thousand.

All waiters in the area can predict my orders. The car-cleaner, maid and dhobi know me enough to look at me with pity. That’s one thing I got going for me. I am prone to be pitied upon, regardless of how I might be placed in various spheres. It’s an evolutionary trait perhaps.

There are quite a few schools in my current locality. I will miss watching poor kids rushing to school, mugging up on exam days; my daily dose of schadenfreude with a bit of nostalgia thrown in.

As I will move into the new place, I am bound to discover some drawbacks. The rain might be too noisy, there could be big fat rats (or even small ones), some new construction might begin in the area causing noise and dust, and so on and so forth. One negative that I have gauged already is that the neighborhood offers no chance of amusement or adventure.

My first house (in Gurgaon) allowed for hearing to the next-door twenty-something accusing his father of discouraging him at different stages in his life and the examples he used to cite were funny and deserve an entire blog-post.

We were thrown out of our next house from a posh apartment in Gurgaon because boys staying in the room next door used to make porn. We saw neither the porn, nor the actors. They were caught later on and the news was covered on Aaj-tak. Following that, Society Council pushed all the bachelors out.

We shifted to a nearby Society which employed a swimming pool supervisor with erratic timings. Our apartment didn’t offer the view to the pool. If the boys in the neighboring building, which offered the view to the pool, were out smoking in balcony, we used to infer (almost always correctly) that the pool is open.

Later I moved to Bangalore and have been staying on my own since then. My first house in Bangalore had three college going girls on the floor above. One fine day in March years ago, four girls knocked on my door and drenched me. We played Holi. They invited me to come along and I politely refused.

The next house, which is the current one, has pink walls, pink basin, pink tiles and pink toilet-seat. I was summoned to police station once when I had a drink-party with loud music on the terrace. The matter was solved “amicably”. And there are a few pretty faces around this place.

But the future house, on first inspection, offers nothing promising. The current occupant assured me that there is little to worry about and everyone is peaceful and all the houses have families with kids.

I will find solace in my supposedly-absurd-thoughts-room. And in Deember.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trip Home

Lull is a funny word. And that’s what this place has been going through for a long while now. I have forgotten how to structure a post to the level this blog has been used to so far. Staccato shall be the norm in whatever drivel that follows.

So I went home for two weeks to celebrate Diwali. Supreme confidence with a false sense of control, in combination with a strong tendency towards judicious procrastination, ensured that I was yet again the last man to check-in thereby having to settler for the middle seat in the last row of the plane. Sandwiched between two adult males, one of whom carried a one and a half year old kid with a strange mythological name, the meaning of which he shall be obliged to explain for the rest of his life to those who enquire, I resigned to two more hours of discomfort to this three decade old body. The father was very careful in the beginning of the journey to keep the baby and himself within the domain he has paid for; by the time the pilot announced the landing, expressing the practiced gratitude, a ritual as unnecessary as the safety instructions, the kid’s shoes were resting on my lap. I pretended to ignore the inconvenience and kept my eyes closed throughout the journey.

On the eve of Diwali, when mom was finishing the pooja, I finally finished reading Lolita for the second time. Scared by the noise of crackers, a street-dog rushed in our house and trembled till well past midnight in the passage. I thought of taking its picture and uploading it on facebook with the title “Dog in Distress” (haa haa). But I was in throes of laziness which was furthered by illness (such a demeaning way to be reminded of mortality).

There was another interesting subject which I didn’t click. Three female models, one with a seductive expression, one in black mini, and the third in a dress typical of mid nineties, adorned a packet of crackers called ‘Priya’s Chakkar”. The cover should be acknowledged as a remarkable piece of diligence if all of those three models were named Priya in real life.

The place where that dog trembled in fear all night once used to be home to a stray cat, which, despite being pitch black, managed to give birth to white little kittens. When I was nine, mom told me to take those kittens to a park about three kilometers from our place. Chores, more often than not, aren’t as easy and straightforward as they sound. Catching and putting those kittens in a bag while their mother was out, gathering food, wasn’t really the hardest challenge as I had perceived before beginning to execute the task. Having done with that triviality with ease, as I walked on the road to the park, I was surrounded by the most ferocious dogs of the kind found only in small towns (dogs in Bangalore have been reported to be shooed away effortlessly by cats on more than one occasion).

The dogs had smelled and heard the little kittens. And their number increased with every turn I took. The knowledge that those dogs aren’t after me, but the kittens, gave me the courage to keep walking. However, after a while the dogs began jumping and growling greedily. Before the situation could turn graver, I opened the gates of a big bunglow , emptied the bag full of kittens, quickly closed the gate and returned back home, leaving the hounds barking on top of their voice in front of the house. To this day my eyes search for white cats whenever I pass by that house. Mother cat meowed around our house for the whole day and then left the place for good.

The journey back to Bangalore found me again on a middle seat of an Air India flight. The muffins they serve on Air-India flight are worth all the risk and nuisance. The gentleman on my left snorted regularly and so made me listen to some good music on the in-flight radio programs. Being forced to sit with seat-belts tied around the waist, while the air-hostess walks and shuts the overhead cabins with great difficulty with her nail-polished tender hands, never fails to make me feel helpless and guilty and yet I find the situation sexy in a way.

So the trip ended and it’s great to be back sleeping on the most comfortable bed in the world.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Jazz Album

In a bid to up the cool-quotient I’ve taken to jazz these days. Have come to realize that jazz is an interest that will need a bit more cultivation. Listening to the numbers on “Smooth Jazz” on 91.9 FM, I couldn’t help wondering, sometimes, at the connection between the title and the music, especially when there are no words in the song. Of course when there are words, it’s straightforward and apparently I am yet to go beyond the straightforwardness in jazz.

I acknowledge that I have a lot to learn and understand. However, the possibility of naming such songs whimsically led me to create a jazz album of my own. I’ve tried to keep up with the contemporary themes and hence you’ll sense an inclination towards the matters of heart. Following are the songs with brief introductions:

1. Your Imperfect Teeth: Tune for a lad in love who finds his object of desire to be perfect, almost though.

2. Did You Sneeze On My Hanky : Let’s face it; we breathe in a devious world. No one, I repeat, no one, can be trusted; especially with your handkerchiefs.

3. One And Two And One And Jump : The song lacks universal appeal. It’s an expression against the guys who go to aerobics class near the park I go for my weekly jog. Douche bags.

4. Promise You Won’t Chew My Red Rose Again: A haunting melody of repeated attempts at unrequited love. Set to be a critics' favorite.

5. There Is No Fork Either: Melancholic psychedelic rhythm set to bring nerds closer to jazz and putting fear of God in ill mannered butlers.

6. Petty Coats: A rendition that forces the listener to contemplate the lack of fashion scene in the downtrodden blocks of the society.

7. Don’t You Marry That Monkey, My Baby : A misleading title, granted. This is not a song for the jealous or disowned. Au contraire, it’s about a discerning father trying to put sense in the smitten daughter’s head.

8. Wash Wash Wash : The only song with lyrics in it. It goes “Wash Wash ,Wash Wash Wash,..” in a feeble feminine voice that seems to be fading away, but never does so . Partial inspired by Macbeth, this song is expected to be popular in a niche audience, the over qualified housewives.

9. The Man With Concrete Ambitions : A dedication to the solid men of the society, the men with square heads on squarer shoulders. Let me tell you this: Jazz is all about improvisation. But this tune is tailored to leave no scope for hocus-pocus.

10. Your Almost Always Covered Body Parts: One can sense the perversion with a concern for hygiene and regular toilet habits in the title. The tune is bound to be popular in bands that play in baraats.

11. Ain’t Got No Damn To Give No More: A pinch of blithe and rebel in the beats. Targeted towards teenagers and middle aged men alike. Acid-Jazz at its best.

12. Hazards Of Broken Heart: A sad soft song. Guaranteed to leave a lump in a few throats by the time saxophone kicks in. The tritest of the lot, but done with elegance.

13. Nibbling The Sibling: The piece that pushes the album from the clutches of ordinary to the realms of grandeur. Limits of jazz are flirted in this surrealistic rigmarole of incest, gore and cannibalism.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Restaurant

I picked up the menu card. The first page said ‘For Gents’. A bit odd, but you never know with these upscale restaurants.
“Can I have My Youth Back?”
“A bit late for it, sir. We don’t serve it after 5 PM.”
“How about My Fair Lady?”
“Out of stock, sir. We don’t compromise on quality and all the good ones are taken.”
“Can I have It All?”
“I am afraid, you flipped over to ‘For Ladies’ page, sir.”
“Oh right. Well, I’ll have two of What He Is Having."
“We can’t serve two of that, sir; defeats the purpose.”
“To hell with this menu. Why don’t you being me any salad and we just get over with it.”
“The Food-section is upstairs, sir.”
“And what section is this?”
“Silly Desires”
“But why do you list the items as dishes?”
“Sir, it’s a clever signifier for wishes.”
“I wish I had never come here.”
“Sir, before you leave, here is something for you. It’s the most recommended dessert from our menu.”
“What is it called?”
“Sir, Be Careful What You Wish For

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Usual

So this guy walks into this pub. With swagger and all.

Looks around. Three chicks drinking. None good enough for him.

Goes straight to the bar.

“The usual.” He says checking his watch. It’s 4:58 PM.

Bartender gives him the glass with a nod of bitter familiarity.

He empties the glass in a single gulp and walks out. No payment needed.

Checks the watch again. Has the smile of a conquerer.

5PM is always the right time to have your fifth glass of water.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unborn




Before she died, she had one last look at the sky. She has been sleeping since then, only to keep waking in another dream.

Now she found herself on an island with no trees and three crystals. The crystals were the shiniest she had ever seen.

“Do you like them?” said a voice which came from nowhere.

The sparkles told her that she wasn’t in a dream. Nothing so pure can be untrue.

“They were sons of the same mother.” the voice continued.

“Sorry??” she mumbled, uncertainly.

“I’ll explain. What was Newton’s greatest accomplishment?”

“Calculus? Laws of motion?”

The voice smirked.

“No, child. Newton became ‘The Theory of Relativity’.”

“So, the dead turn into theories or crystals?”

“Yes, they do, into ideas, into events, into all things that are beyond the realms of meek, the living beings. Mona Lisa, the Ninth Symphony, Zero; each one of them came into existence after centuries of suffering of the dead. ”

“What about the beginning, when there was no one to die?”

“No creation is free of the guilt of destruction.”

“Then who died for Big Bang? Was it God?”

“A force more potent.”

“What was it?”

“Loneliness.”

Even the waves paused for a moment.

“Nothing else explodes with such magnificence.”

And then the voice disappeared. And the crystals melted into tears and were stolen by the momentary breeze before the sand could swallow them, leaving her alone on the island of melancholy, till the day she turns herself into lyrics, yet unsung.


(My entry to the contest here . 250 words-limit and the story must be based on the image above. The contest is still open July 28.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

All Apologies

I did this guest post here at Preeti's blog last week.
And then Atrisa has tagged me with honest scrap here. Thank you Atrisa :P.

The post fits in well (since it's of confessional nature) with the tag. So here goes :

All Apologies:

1. Apologies Led Zeppelin, for using one of your songs in a game of Antakshari. Couldn’t help it, the opposite team had stooped to using regional songs. It was “Stairway to Heaven”. “The” se gaana tha.

2. Apologies Rats. I persuaded a friend of mine to study biology. He has dissected hundreds of your lot since then. Honestly, I didn’t foresee that at all. My soul is as pure as yours.

3. Apologies nations playing in World cup football, for one of my countrymen did this. On similar lines, if you are a proud Mallu, you better be prepared with explanations for this .

4. Apologies that person who studied Electronics for four years simply because your elder brother was a vague acquaintance of mine. Long back, your elder brother asked me whether you should opt for Electronics or Computers and I convinced him for Electronics just to see whether I could do that. I hope you are doing some kickass solid state physics work at Princeton. Fat chance though.

5. Apologies Berlin sky, for I have peed in open, right beneath your stars and inspired three others to do the same. While we are at it, apologies Miami sky too.

6. Apologies the interview candidate whom I rejected a few years ago. You sneezed on my hands and didn’t apologize. There is yet to be a study which reveals a correlation between bad manners and ability to crack complex algorithms. I suspect it to be positive, but clearly I got carried away with that fine gesture of yours.

7. Apologies Megan Fox, but I can’t marry you.

8. Apologies all those who were beaten up or appeared stark naked in my dreams. Although I seek redemption in the fact that more often than not, the victim has been me, myself. Megan dear, you belong to one of the two mentioned categories. Excluded from this apology is a fellow who was the only one to be murdered. Thrice.

9. Apologies person X, for, well, whatever.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hello World

This poor thing has been starving for months. And so, here’s an update on what I was up to during this time. Not that I expect/wish/accept that anyone would care; it’s just that something must be written for the blog to be not declared dead and there’s nothing worthwhile brewing in my mind for the time being. So here’s the list of things I did in chronological order during this period of absence:

  1. Turning Thirty: Yes, pity me, but kindly keep the feelings to yourselves. No sympathies in comments, please. I know age is just a number, but that number right now is greater than 29, is twice that of 15 and it’s sad to think that I have an experience greater that of ten kindergarten kids combined. Henceforth, I fervently support replacing decimal system with hexadecimal; a respite for two more years. (If you didn’t get this, congratulations.)
  2. Visited Germany: Well, I mention the trip because it was fun and I was drunk for five consecutive nights and everyone in my neighborhood in Dewas knows that I have been to Germany. I must confess (with Desi pride), that I peed right below the stars in a Berlin street (it was 4 AM). Also, an empirical rule is that at any point of time, someone in Berlin is jogging.
  3. Visited Dewas and other nearby furnaces: A cousin got married in Jalgaon on the hottest day in memories of all those who were present at the wedding. Folks over there, in their infinite wisdom, have marriages at noon in the month of May. And so it happened that I danced on “Mangtaa hain to aa jaa rasiya” at 1 in the noon when the temperature was 49 degree Celsius. Later that day, we learnt that a groom in another wedding died due to heat while he was still sitting on the horse. That became the topic of discussion in the region for next two days and we all were really proud of our groom. Here's a shot of mango trees in our farm. The mangoes, although not fully ripe, were delicious.
  4. A Qualified Mathematician: Given what mathematics has done for me, it would have been a disgrace to die without a degree in the subject. I am now B.Sc. in Mathematics and Economics from London School of Economics. Please excuse me for reiterating: I am now B.Sc. in Mathematics and Economics from London School of Economics. With that, I am a bachelor three times over and none of the ways has been easy.

A lot more insignificant and/or secretive (nothing scandalous, sadly) events transpired during this period of absence, but let’s stop this self-indulgent show now. The number of 'I's in this post makes me shudder with shame.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Facebook Agony Aunt

Pokers
Q. I am being poked and tickled a lot. Yesterday, a classmate I haven’t met for seven years pinched me. How do I react?
A. It would have helped if you had mentioned your gender. Having said that, such gestures are common online displays of affection and are not considered violating any norms in the book of facebook etiquettes. Go ahead old bean; throw a sheep at the one who pinched you.

Bitch Diaries
Q. My name is Rita and I am a final year B.com student. Lately my classmate Rosy had been posting all the ugly pictures of me and she never forgets to tag me in all of them. Am I being too suspicious? Please help.
A. No Sweety, you aren’t being too suspicious at all. Don’t we know how bitchy girl friends can be towards each other? I bet all your requests to remove those snaps have been shrugged away jokingly. You must not revert to posting groggy pictures of her lest both of you would end up scaring away all the suitors.
Effective communication, as always, is the key. Try and take snaps of her oversized clothes (preferably inner-wear) with size in focus. Initially allow access only to her and tag her. Next day you will find only pretty pictures of yours in her albums. In turn you must knit a scarf for her.

Mama moments
Q. I have a 2 month old kid. Is it the right time to create a facebook account for him? What pages should I join from his account? What is the optimum number of fan-pages that will have a positive long term impact on his personality? What kind of pictures can I upload through his account?
A. First of all, congratulations on your motherhood. Well done. Rest assured that all your worries regarding your kid’s FB account are ill-founded. He is going to chuck off all the internet accounts that you would have created for him before he turns twelve. And whatever fan pages you join now, he is sure to avoid each one of them. Refrain from posting nude baby pictures of him; you are only increasing the chances of dealing with a rebel teenager.

The Optimistic Testosterone
Q. A girl in my friend-list has been sending me mugs of beer on facebook. I think she wants to have sex with me. Any tips?
A. A friend of mine once asked the time from a random guy in office. Three months later, she ended up resigning and the Romeo is still unmarried.

Postmodern pets
Q. Is it ok to have an account for my cat?
A. It is perfectly legal to have FB account for your pets. There haven’t been any surveys yet that measure the effectiveness of FB on general well being of an animal. Be careful not to throw a barrel of monkeys at your pet; though you can have a bubble bath with it on a regular basis.

The spy who tagged me
Q. How can I see all the activities of a friend that she has done since June 2007? I had to click on “more” 86 times to read all her activities.
A. Facebook has nothing against voyeurs like you. They show only one page at a time to avoid loading the entire data in one go. Moreover, if you are not able to draw helpful inferences about your prey in 4-5 pages, then you are anyway doomed to fail in your endeavor.

Status Spoilers
Q. I sweat my head all day to come up with clever status messages. Many times I steal them from unknown twitter handles. However, no sooner do I update my status, a dumb-wit replies and takes away all the charm. Take this for example: “From the Club, where Diamonds are held dearer than Hearts, Spade away o Joker; such Blank souls are not on your cards.” He replied “Playing too much cards, eh?”
A. Honey, first stop trying so hard. But I do understand your dilemma. You don’t want to block him, lest you lose one guaranteed commenter. You should simply smile in reply to his comments while giving elaborate answers to other commenter. Sometime, ignore him totally. Be careful not to snub him completely. Your ultimate goal should be to make him simply “like” your status and not utter a word on your wall.

Office Hours
Q. My boss and colleagues have added.
A. Be glad for the opportunity presented to you to impress them. Use status messages suggested here.

We, the Deluded
Q. I don’t like Facebook. Please advice.
A. Unfortunately, Facebook hasn’t yet come with a functionality to dislike. You can do unlike to an already liked post. However, unlike the usual usage of the work unlike, which means that two or more things are not like each other, the FB unlike simply implies that whatever was liked earlier isn’t liked anymore; no questions asked.

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You may empty your Facebook woes here and the agony aunt will try her best to soothe you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Trip to Chilka Lake

Couple of weeks ago I went to my friend Chitto’s wedding in Bhubaneswar. Yes, another man down. Back in Kharagpur, his room number was C-209, mine was C-206. Also attending the wedding were Satwik C-207 and Piyush C-208.

The day after reception, Piyush, Satwik and I drove to Chilka Lake, about 100 Km from Bhubaneswar. Chilka Lake is the second largest lagoon in the world and a globally renowned sanctuary for migratory birds. It is also home to a rich mix of rare species of aquatic life, not to forget the dolphins. Now, none of us are nature lovers per se; we were doing it for the “been there, done that” factor and take back pictures of exotic birds to show off.

The night before the trip, we planned to reach Chilka OTDC (Orissa Tourism) office by 1PM; the next day we were there at 3 PM (don’t ask). At the counter, they told us that we are late and don’t have enough time to go to the place where dolphins are sighted. There was a standard trip of 1.5 hours available which takes to a small island which has a temple but not any colorful birds to speak of. We paid extra money to hire a boat for 3 hours so that we can travel to another island a little farther where some of the Caspian Sea birds migrate.

As we started the journey, a group of sea-gulls started following us. They were white and not that big, but no one debated once I suggested that they must be from Siberia. We hadn’t taken all the trouble only to see good old local birds. Here’s a video of them. I would continue to deny that they are regular Indian birds.
video

All this while we were guzzling beer and the evening-sun was shining beautifully on the water surface. Below are a some photos. Click on them to enlarge.






Just when we were getting into a dreamy mood, the boat-owner told us that we don’t have enough time left to go the island which was promised to us at the counter, instead he can take us to another place called Cheerihaagu. We didn’t have any option in the middle of water. Satwik told me that Cheerihaagu means bird shit. That place has whitish rocks which look as if birds have covered them with their shit; so much for the exotic experience.

On our way to Cheerihaagu, we sighted a few birds which we all agreed amongst ourselves, must have migrated from Mongolia even though they too were not colorful.



As we continued moving, the photo of the day was clicked:



It evokes so many stories. A lonely being on a lonely island; a somber evening hue; the bird which belongs to the wind, standing on a piece of land amidst an endless sea of water. A further dimension was added once we learnt that this bird is sitting on Cheerihaagu.

On our way back, a fly came and sat on my hand. It was green, blue and black. At last a colorful flying being was sighted and it didn’t matter that it was very much Indian. I honored it by taking a video. At the end of the video you hear the first line of this lovely song in a desi drunk accent.

video


And so the trip ended. There I was, in one of the most surreal places on the planet, on the verge of a uniquely romantic experience with promises of a million colors and shades, and all I am left with now is memories of bird shit and a house-fly. Déjà vu and Déjà vu, and Déjà vu again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Facebook Status Messages If Your Boss Is In Your Friend List

You can’t escape having colleagues and bosses in your Facebook friend-list. Why not make the most of it. Have status messages which show how much you value your work and your boss, how devoted you are to them and how much you deserve that salary raise. Below is a sample list:

1. Out in the woods, all alone by myself, no food to eat, no water to drink. All I can think of is, "Wish my boss were here!"

2. I have seen heaven. It's my office.

3. Monday. Lovely :).

4. Free trip to Miami can wait. Work beckons.

5. Filing Divorce. Ground: Spouse asking me to put her first instead of my manager.

6. It’s time for that weekly coffee break.

7. My three favorite animals: Ant, Dog and Worker-bee.

8. No Electricity. Ran out of money to pay the bill, again. I hope that raise comes my way soon.

9. My boss strongest.

10. If it were my boss in place of Adolf Hitler, the Second World War wouldn't have happened.

11. During my marriage vows. I say" I’ll give you all the happiness in this world, but I expect just one thing from you. Respect for my manager".

12. I’ll like to dedicate this song to my boss: "Everything I do, I do it for you".

The list was compiled with the help of one of my colleague Rekha, a real quick wit. Please join and add your quips here in this FB group. I will be regularly updating it.
Be gentle folks; I am a boss too :).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Tree, A Lizard, And A Dementia

This is not a “proper” post, in a sense that it is being done just for the sake of discipline. Am working on something interesting (hopefully) which is taking time. However, I would hate to break the “at least one post per week” rule. Can’t let the weekend go dry.

Be careful what you wish for: Three mornings ago, I saw a lizard in my bedroom as soon as I woke up. It was a big fat one. There have always been a few cobwebs near the ceiling, but they pretty much keep to themselves. But the lizard was a new intruder. Plus it had the ability to move. And you don’t want to see a big fat lizard first thing in the morning unless you are a lizard of opposite sex (with due respect to homosexuals and to those with weird fetishes).

I did what the helpless do. I cursed it. I pointed my finger at it and kept staring it, wishing it death. (You can get away with almost anything if you stay alone). After a while I got up and went to office.

When I returned at night, I saw my bed covered with red ants. They were feeding on the corpse.

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Heisenberg’s psychology principle: In my previous office, many a times if I was late, I had to park my car outside near a park (haa haa). In general, you’ll expect that most cars will be parked in areas which are shaded by the trees. But most of the employees left only after 7PM which meant that the cars had sufficient time to cool down. So they sought areas which were NOT under a tree to avoid having bird-poop on their beloved possessions.

One such area was my favorite spot; it was closest to office. Over two years ago, I saw a tree being planted near that spot. It seemed harmless then, the little one. I continued parking there for the next one and a half years, which is when I got shifted to another office.

Last week, I happened to go to that previous office and mechanically parked my car at the same old spot. As you might have guessed, it was found covered with bird-poop when I returned. There the tree stood; the big boy; still not fully grown, but big enough to attract birds on its shoulders.

What surprised me was that it must have been growing for the one and half years when I used to park there and I simply didn’t see it all that while. Strange, how sometimes the more one observes, the less one notices.

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That’s it. Those two were the only out of ordinary events in my life last week.
Wait. Well there was this minor detour which had me having a beer, an ice-cream and a chocolate pastry, simultaneously. The pastry was named “Dementia”.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Oversight

The Consultant”, read the board. An arrow mark on the board pointed to the first floor.

One might mistake it to be an arrogant declaration of unchallenged supremacy. Yes, the consultant was arrogant and supreme in his own ways, but the reason for putting no other text on the board was to remain as general as possible while attracting clients.

His office had a bed and a chair. Clients were always made to sit on bed. That suited his methods. He believed in attacking the roots of the problems without worrying about the details. Clients were barely allowed to finish telling their troubles. He would talk of fundamentals and show remarkable understanding of time and space and all things wrapped in between.

Crucial to his work, there were notes stuck on the wall. They read:

“This is not your problem. This is not your problem. This is not YOUR problem. Truth be told, this is not even a problem.”

“Lament not. Have a massage if indulge you must.”

“By the time you finish reading this sentence, four humans would have died. Go on, read it again. Eight more will be dead by then.” **PS Footnote at the end**

“Measure yourself not with what you can do; pleasure yourself with what you can get away with.”

“Who cares?”
There were four notes with this caption.

He had a large sheet titled “On this day…”, which typically looked like:

Year 2040984 BC- The first ape to walk straight fell off the tree. Humanity set back by a thousand years.
Year 1330 BC- Tutankhamen did not like his oranges.
Year 1941 AD- Some president signed some bill to attack some country.
Current Year- Mr. Client has a problem.
Year 4918 AD- Planet Earth splits into two.
Tick the odd one from the list above.

His business thrived. Folks from all walks of life found solace in his office. Many revisited. A few competitors tried to copy his model, but none of them had the combination of the conviction and nonchalance. It stemmed from what he called “The Japanese-Man Wisdom”.

Some said the wisdom was better than Zen; it filtered out only the grief and let the fun be with you. It was the ultimate tool he used if nothing else worked. It went like this:

Client1: I bought five shirts in a sale for the price of two.
Consultant: Congratulations.
Client1: I didn’t notice that all of them have a hen painted at the back.
Consultant: So, what’s the problem?
Client1: My colleagues make fun of me.
Consultant: It shouldn’t matter. Do you remember what your colleague wore a year ago?
Client1: But what about the present?

Now that the temporal shift technique hadn’t helped much, it was time for using the Japanese-Man wisdom.

Consultant: Look at it from the third person’s perspective.
Client1: He too will ridicule me.
Consultant: I am not done yet. Look at it from a fourth person’s perspective; from the fifth; from the sixth. Are you with me?
Client1: I suppose.
Consultant: Let’s keep going. From the seventh; go beyond your neighborhood; cross the borders; look at it from the man-in-Japan’s perspective.
Client1: He can’t even see my shirt.
Consultant: That, my friend, is the point. When in trouble, you must look at yourself from the Japanese man’s perspective and everything will be alright.
Client1: Profound. Thank you. Here’s your fee.


Let’s take a look at how another client was satisfied.


Client59: Do I invest in commercial real estate or keep my money in stocks?
Consultant: Doesn’t matter.
Client59: Would you care to explain?
Consultant: Look at it from the third person’s perspective… Look at it from the man-in-Japan’s perspective.
Client59: Brilliant. I would rather blow it all away in Vegas. Thank you. Here’s your fee.

And so it went. Until one day, when Client666 dropped in.

Client666: I think I am in love.
Consultant: Good for you.
Client666: I haven’t met her yet in person. But we talk everyday.
Consultant: What’s the problem?
Client666: Should I propose to her?
Consultant: Doesn’t matter. Look at it from the third person’s perspective…from seventh...Go beyond…Cross borders…Are you now looking at it from the man-in-Japan’s perspective.
Client666: I am. I am.
(Client 666 sounded awestruck. Consultant waited for the Japanese-Man Wisdom to deliver again; always has been his rock.)
Consultant: So???
Client666: I don’t think Mr. Tomiro Nakagawa is going to like that his wife is being proposed to.

That was the death of the consultant’s conviction. Client667 never happened.

____________________________________________________________________

** Footnote**
1.8 humans die every second on an average.
Average reading speed is 300 words per minute.
The sentence had 13 words.
Number of deaths have been rounded off to the closest integer.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Riders On The Storm

I had a shocker today morning while driving. As soon as the radio was turned on, these were the words that fell on my ears:

Into this house we're born
Into this world we're thrown


91.9 FM playing Doors at 9.30 in the morning! And that too Riders on the Storm! The best ever.

“There has to be an explanation”, I told myself. “Must be a mix up. A new crew perhaps?” Riders on the storm is not, I repeat, not a candidate to be played on any radio station in the morning and this is a Bangalore station for Jim’s sake.

Turned out that they had roped in a lady author for an interview and the song was played on her request. She lost all my respect though as soon as she dedicated it to her son who will be “riding the board exam soon”, to quote her.

Anyway, it was a heady feel to drive as the song played. I feared that they will truncate the second part as they usually do when there are not much lyrics. They didn’t.

There's a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin' like a toad.


It got me stoned, completely. Stared hard at a rowdy looking school kid outside. I hope he got scared. There is only so much one can do when inside a car.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Four Whatevers And A Song

Saying Hi To The Dead

Get yourself a plain sheet of paper and a pen.
Find an ant if the dead was a nice fellow. Else get a tiny spider.
Contact me if you can’t find a spider.
Write “Hi” followed by the dead one’s name on the sheet. Block letters preferred.
Cripple the creature and let it roam on the sheet for a while.
Burn the sheet. The blighter must not escape the fire.

A Day On Planet Earth

Sun rises
Cock-A-Doodle-Doo.
Stuff happens.
Sun sets.
Corollary: Don’t take a cock along with you while flying west.

Entropy And The Exception

The fan has stopped responding to the switch.
The tap is leaking drops.
The car is taking more time to start.
I am nearing death.

Boredom

So this well informed woodcutter throws his wooden axe into the pond and hopes for God to appear with the offers. Last week, he threw it in the shallow area and ended up getting wet at the end of the day. He showed more commitment today.

God, as usual, doesn’t have anything useful to do except, of course, to watch the rerun of Ashes 2005. The wood-cutter’s bawl interrupts the commentary.

Voila. God appears. Customary greetings follow and the cause of grief is communicated to God. God decides to check whether humans have evolved using the same old "three- axe" test.

Is this your axe?” God brings the golden one.
“I wouldn’t be a wood-cutter my Lord”.
You know the story, don’t you?
“Which story my Lord?” Wood-cutter followed the universal rule. Never admit.
Oh well. We’ll talk about it later. Is this your axe?” The bored God adds a twist.
“I haven’t lost any deodorant, Sir.”
Alright! Is this the one?” God brings forth the iron axe.
“Yes, my lord. Very kind of you, my lord. Can I have my axe my Lord?”
First let me tell you the story.” God continued, “Hundreds of years ago a wood-cutter was in a similar situation, responded similarly and in turn received three axes. The next morning, two of them cut his arms and the golden one beheaded him.
“Why cut his arms if he was to be beheaded anyway?”
That’s not the point. Point is that you must spread this story amongst all the moronic wood-cutters who keep throwing their axes in water. In turn, you get the golden axe.
“Won’t it behead me?”
Don’t worry about that. Too many have already died on this blog and I am done spilling blood for the day. I’ll go catch the rerun now. Just enough time left for the last session.”
“Thank you, my Lord”.
Take this deodorant too. You need it.”

A Song

Found this on BBC Introducing Program

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Six Whatevers

Tete-a-tete
“Nice wig.”
“Takes one to know one.”
“Mine is special. All hair in it belongs to my clients.”
“Same here”
“I know all the barbers here. Where’s your shop?”
“The post-mortem office.”

Playing God
Climb atop the tallest structure around.
Look down at the world.
Let a minute go by. Keep staring.
Spit.

The lonely drive and the billboards
Four women in a saree ad
3,2,4,1. No wait. 3,4,2,1.

Sleep
The tortoise had the win. But the hare got to dream.

Work
Come undone.
Enjoy your stay.

The Under-performer
Before marriage, potentially half the world is your wife.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mother



Mother, do you think they'll like this song?
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls?
Mother, should I build the wall?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five Whatevers

1. Object

Thou shalt not steal. Else, you are a thief. And the object, Stolen.

2. Work

Rose, “I shall have the glory”.
Thorn, “I too, will be in the story”.
Leaf, “Damn fucking photosynthesis #$&@#”.

3. Geometry

Everyone’s self centered, it’s the radius that matters.

4. Playing God

Pick up a stone.
Bring it to your forehead.
Breathe on it.
Give it a name.
Hurl it in a random direction.
Run.

5. Reality of the moment

My back hurts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Three silly, but very short stories

1. Droplet
"I would prefer a blackhole to a sponge", said the suicidal droplet. A river devoured it.

2. Shoes
Twins. Both one-legged. One had the left leg, the other didn't have it. Bought a pair of shoes. They split the bill.

3. Grapes
"The grapes are sour" said the fox. A squirrel climbed up the tree and ate them all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eight Seconds




“Not much of a hobby mate.” Johnny whispered loudly through the bushes.

“Ummm?” said Pete distantly. His eyes fixed on the sky, as always.
Always.

“Bird watching. Not for our kind.” Johnny stepped back; now better hidden.

“Look, how she glides! Such grace! She would back-flip one day. I know.” Pete didn’t budge as the predator approached him. “It’s a kite.”

“And you are a rat; a fat one at that.” Johnny found his humor as the claws flew past Pete, leaving him untouched, unfazed.

Pete was indeed fat. He never had to run.
No one knew how old he was. They said he lost his death with his tail.

At times he would be on the farm road and trucks would pass over him, depriving him of the sky above for a moment or two.
The limping cat didn’t bother him anymore. Once, she stepped on burning wood while chasing him.
Some rats got their tails castrated. The kite tore them apart nonetheless. But not him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A day dawned. The kite picked him up and soared high. Pete looked down at the world below. No feelings. No thoughts. No glory.

Eight seconds later the kite dropped him. Too heavy for the claws, probably.

And then:
A truck turned menacingly.
A hungry cat limped ahead.
A kite did a back-flip.
A rat closed his eyes forever.
But the eyes closed before the kite flipped back.

The tombstone read:

HERE LIES A RAT WHO HAD NO TAIL

NO FEATHERS EITHER

PS : This is my entry to the contest held by Jason Evans here.