Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aaaarrgghhh...stupid download...


With much pomp and fanfare I joined the league of people who download interesting stuff from the internet. Spending days and days and nights and nights downloading such gems as all of the top all time great 250 movies as annointed by IMDB ( ), or all the seasons of Friends, Wonder Years, Desperate Housewifes (not me, not me - a friend does this as well) was how I had dreamt my days were going to be like in the coming days. Vast dreams of buying a 100 GB external drive which would soon be full by my phenomenal efforts of day and night downloading were dreamt of. Great collections of movies were thought of and carefully tabulated.

Finally I started on my first download that was to become the cornerstone of future super movie collection. After much deliberation I decided to download 'Rashomon', the Akira Kurosawa all time classic that I wanted to see for a long time ( ).

And now comes the stupid part.

Torrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing software. So you see a number of files of the same item out of which you choose one to download. For Rashomon I had some six or seven files showing up. I finally zeroed in on two of them by evaluating the size of the file. 600 to 800 MB is the size of any normal movie of decent picture quality. One was 620 MB long and the other was 700 MB.

* My thought process:
- First movie download
- Should be high quality
- Screw the time it takes i'll get the bigger, and so obviously better quality file.
- Yay! that was a good decision Swapnil. Excellent choice. Has anyone ever told you that you're amazing and oh-so-decisive? - yeah, yeah, I get that a lot :)

SO the gist of this entire thought proces piece was that I started the 700 MB download.

I nurtured it like a new born baby, I did! Making sure that it was fed well with internet bandwidth. Kept checking up on it to ensure that it is all right and its growing (file download progress) was on the right lines. Before the second night of downloading it gave a lot of anxious moments as it took a lot of time to start the download process. Two anxious and sleepless nights I spent monitoring and caring for my new baby.

And this morning it finally gave its first joyful gurgle when I played the file on my media player. Much rejoicing was in the air as I hugged my laptop, danced around on the bed. Whoops rent the air as I leapt around punching the air. Dreams of a huge and amazing movie collection seemed just on the verge of realization.

And suddenly I paused.

The first gurgle, much like baby talk, wasn't understood by me. I cocked my ears and listened again. Yes, it was some language quite alien to me.

Indeed, it was in Japanese.

(no, no, this can still be salvaged. I'm sure there are english sub-titles. I won't let all this effort and blood and sweat go to waste. )

Yes, you guessed it. The subtitles were in Swedish.

So ladies and gentlemen I spent two effing nights in downloading a Japanese movie with subtitles in Swedish!

AAARRGGHHH...I could kick myself

Corollary: The 626 MB file (remember the one I disdainfully rejected? You do remember it, don't you?), in sharp contradiction is in English.

Corollary: I've got it! I shall not let the effort go waste. I'll learn Japanese instead. Ah, what a brilliant idea, as simple as iti ni san !!

(1 2 3)

Monday, January 28, 2008


So I went to the karaoke night at Firangi Paani ( ) yesterday evening – my first time at a karaoke place.

I was there with a karaoke experienced hand – DU (She’s part of my non-engineer, non-MBA friends. Long story – was really bugged with the fact that all my friends, due to their similar backgrounds, spoke on-and-on-and-on about the same things, namely

– career going no where
- not enough money because XYZ is making more,
- will I ever go onsite
- my manager sucks and has a vendetta against me
- did-I-make-the-right-choice-in-job/studies/lovelife
- what do I really want in life after all
- …and of course the omnipresent – is it all worth it?...oh, by the way did you see my new car/phone/meaningless-electronic-gadget-that-I-bought-for-a-obscene-amount-of-money?

SO I decided I need to meet people with more variety in their lives, people with diverse interests and career plans (or no plans at all), people who have the capability of living in the present than forever think about the future. DU is one of the few friends I made while actively looking for people with different thought processes. We don’t meet up very often or anything but its always fun to catch up with her. [Also, she’s on first name basis with almost all bouncers/barkeeps/managers in all the pubs in this city – she NEVER pays cover charge..yes, yes NEVER- its amazing (and incredibly cheap) pub hopping with her].)

OK, where was I? oh, yeah, karaoke…

Now, you people know that music and I somehow don’t mix together too well (water and oil some people would say. We stay in touch [what? I have 3 music CDs in my car…so there!], but a polite nod is the maximum we ever acknowledge each other with). So I was a bit apprehensive about the whole karaoke thing. But I was so wrong! It was absolutely awesome fun!

The place was full of regulars who sang almost every Sunday (Firangi Paani has karaoke Sundays). And the talent! Amazing singers – in fact after the karaoke started I asked DU when the whole over-hyped karaoke thing was going to start – she gently nudged me towards the guy singing the first song
! It was amazing, he was singing so well that I couldn’t make out that it was someone singing instead of a song playing. And then one after the other people were walking up to the mike and singing really really well. The atmosphere was getting quite electric – reminded me of college festivals – everyone was singing along with people breaking into dance as well. There was the manager/owner of the place who kept taking up the mike and belting out beauties. Almost every table had a couple of singers and it was great to see the cheering companions to the singers. DU also took up the mike a couple of times and inspite of her nervousness, sang brilliantly (she has that tenor voice, the high note taking type singing voice – I had no idea. Pretty darn good)

Aaargh, why God, why? Why didn’t you give me singing talent, instead of just good looks?

(Taken from a Jughead comic: Juggie says this about money, when Pop refuses to give him more credit at the choc’lit shoppe  )

It would be amazing to just walk up there and sing your favourite song with an enthusiastic crowd behind you!

If you haven’t been to a karaoke – highly recommended. And if you can sing better than a frog’s croak (sigh, now you know how bad I am), you get UP THERE AND SING!

Why was only one member of the 1983 world cup winning indian team allowed to enter Firangi Paani on Saturday?

'cos it was 'kapil's' only.
Yeah, i'm sorry. Someone told me this joke at work - thought i'd offload it on you :)

Key: (couples)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

National Holidays...

This is a slightly rhetorical post - possibly a short one.

Just what is the significance of national holidays (Independence day, Republic day, Gandhi Jayanti etc.) in the present context?

I mean when we were younger I believe we 'celebrated' these with more gusto. And i'm not talking about the forced celebrations in school. Even at home, getting up early on Republic Day was a given as we had to see the parade on TV, the lovely floats and the cool oh-so-awesome fighter jets (They flew over my house in Delhi enroute to Janpath. We would rush outside on hearing their thunderous sound and rush back in to watch them do the fly past in the parade - very very cool).

Independence day though was more subdued as the elements that would appeal to a kid weren't there. However there were usually celebrations in our locality. Unfurling of the flag, a bit of a cultural show, lunch with all uncle aunties around.

Gandhi Jayanti was synonymous with Richard Attenborrough's Gandhi ( ) on TV. Mom usually made some interesting lunch too (Incidently, my mom has some specific dishes for special occasions. For example, Diwali is always celebrated with chhole bhature ( in my household, Bhai dooj has namkeen sevai etc.

And now these festivals have deteriorated into mere holidays with no connotations attached to them. This morning I found myself flipping channels past the Republic Day parade which was earlier such an important part of the whole 26 January experience. Instead I idly moved to the cricket match in Adelaide, a Bruce Willis sappy movie called 'The Kid', a tennis match re-run etc etc. I stayed on the parade for exactly one minute and as soon as the 'President' got up to give bravery awards, I switched channels. As a kid, especially during the time 'Paramvir Chakra' used to come on TV on Sunday morning (I used to bring out my red plastic rifle while watching it :) ), this award giving ceremony used to be very emotional for me. I used to get moved a lot when they described the supreme sacrifices our soldiers made for us. But now I just casually flipped channels.

Gandhi Jayanti has also deteriorated with a lot of people I know being more worried about the fact that it is a dry day rather than any other reason (No, i'm not talking about me here...jeez, you guys...). 'Preparations' for the day begin a day in advance with friends calling each other up across cities warning them about it being a dry day (Again, NOT me and my friends... YOU shut up), and then adequate liquor is hoarded.

Independence day, I hardly see any celebrations in any colonies nearby - this could also be because I get up so late.

This is not a judgement call, just an observation, but it seems that we're celebrating Christmas and New Years way way more than these National days which are so much more significant in a country with a history like ours.

PS: On an attached note, I have been meaning to read a lot more about our independence struggle ever since I read Shashi Tharoor's 'The Great Indian Novel', but sadly I haven't done it. Seriously, when you read that book you get in awe of the tremendously larger than life leaders we had during those tumultuous days.

And then I look at our present President...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Me wants to judge too!! ...

What an absolutely awesome job those two guys have! You know the ones I’m talking about – the bald one with strange spectacles and the one with the goatee and the oh-so-difficult-to-reach-boiling-point. Yes, yes I’m back to watching Roadies on MTv ( ).

Last year we had the most awesome time as everyone around was hooked on the show and watching roadies was a very regular feature every week. Bani (sigh…) was my favourite and many a pitched (verbal) battles were fought in our living room while I defended my damsel’s honour against a bevy of Bani-haters. It was the first time I saw a reality show in its entirety and enjoyed it (Yes, I do not watch chhote ustad, bade ustad, sa, sa re ga ma, sa re ga, sa re ga ma, sa re ga ma pa, sa re ga ma pa dha…unto infinity. And I’m proud of it! ).

Ok, ok coming back to the judge’s job.

To be paid to be sarcastic is such a dream come true for me! Its like getting money for ragging – how cool is that! So you sit infront of the hapless interviewee, go through some crap he/she has written in the hope of getting attention (and hence a spot in the final 13) and then you unload with both barrels on the wet-behind-the-ear-guy who thought, while sitting in his college canteen – surrounded by a bevy of admiring friends, that he had written such clever answers.

Hey, its even better than ragging – here you get a form full of mines and bombs to be used against the rag-ee (er…probably a wrong word, but you get what I mean, don’t you? There, that’s my loyal intelligent readership  ). Its heaven. You can take each and every word that the poor chap has written, lace it with oodles of sarcasm and throw it back at him and watch him feel like the biggest idiot on earth!

Its like shooting fish in a barrel, I tell you, just too easy…

And of course, when the pretty girls walk in to give their interviews, emphasis here please, you get their numbers on the form straight away! No effort required to chat them up – the number is just right there! How brilliant is that? Hats off to Raghu who created the show and fixed himself as the permanent judge. I bet his li’l black book is teeming with amazing phone numbers now. Lucky bugger…grrr

And to add to that, you can filter out the chaff by asking personal questions. So you can ensure there’s no goalkeeper (read: boyfriend, husband, parole officer, psychopath stalker etc.) lurking in the background, find out her interests (so you can sound intelligent and interesting atleast on the first date, before your real 'intellect' peeks through)

All in all, what an amazing job to have even though I haven't even spoken about the amazing journeys you make, the adventures you see people do etc etc. I'm sure those two guys had to play a dirty dirty game of office politics to get the job!

Whaaa! I want the job too, please please…somebody help....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Feverish pace...

I got up on Friday morning shivering and cold, tips of fingers and toes seemed to have gone numb. Wrapping the blanket did nothing to assuage my condition. I was forced to admit the obvious, I was running a pretty high temperature. So after wearing a bunch of sweaters and slipping under the covers again I was faced with a very important decision - To go or not to go (to office)

My super-computerish brain immediately kicked into overdrive (after a slightly sluggish start on account of morning grogginess and high temperature). Doing teraflops of calculations per second I took into account a number of factors: a boring meeting at work, the Strings ( ), Parikrama and Saif Ali Khan concert in the evening, a looming game of tennis on Saturday morning.

On second thoughts, I took less than two seconds to decide that I was too ill to risk missing both these things.

As all DCEites are wont to remember and boast, Strings had their first visit to India when they performed at our festival in 2001 or 2002 (Anyone from DCE who remembers the exact date, please corroborate here). No one had heard Strings before that. (A small history lesson here: Strings started as a group of 4 college guys in 1989, then after 1992 the band disbanded only to be revived again by two from the original four - Faisal Kapadia and Billal Maqsood. And of course after that they came to DCE, mesmerised us with Duur ( ) and Anjaane ( ), and the rest, as they say, is history)

So taking the day off, and loading myself with Crocins, I curled up in my bed in the hope that the temperature would go low enough to ensure that I do not miss the concert. Fortunately, and through exquisite timing (I took a crocin exactly two hours before the scheduled time) the temperature was in the normal range.

Driving to Palace grounds in rush hour traffic was obviously a pain, but the anticipation of seeing Strings after so long saw me through (Yeah, I know, i'm not giving any screen time to poor Saif and Parikrama, but well my paisa wasool (value for money [Jeez, is that all the marketing courses I took speaking?]) was to come from Strings. Girls obviously would be more interested in Saif Ali Khan (Well, you got to admit he was playing the guitar quite well, and of course he's extremely good looking for a 40 year old man. So the girls were quite right in screaming for him) and Parikrama is more heavy stuff - Now i've never been the AC DC, Megadeth guy so Parikrama was more of an also ran for me.

But Faisal's voice, the songs that we love and the way they play the crowd. They had us whipping out our cellphones, lighting them up and waving 'em in the air - me amongst the frantic ones. It was awesome. We were singing along, we were trying to be louder than the other sections, we were swaying, we were jumping - it was the most awesome fun ever. Even last years Indian Ocean concert wasn't as much fun. And and and the 'Saare jahan se accha' their lead guitarist played in the end was goosebumps-raising.

Absolutely awesome.

And this morning, after another carefully timed crocin I went to play tennis. Three lovely sets. But am suffering now. The temperature is rising and I spent the entire afternoon curled up under my blanket feeling the extremeties go numb between bouts of shivers. In between I got up and sms-ed to get the score of the India-Australia test match (Didn't have energy to go to the living room and switch on the TV)

I've cancelled tennis tomorrow, but no regrets about yesterday evening and this morning. I will burn with fever, but will have a smile on my flushed face!

PS: If you didn't see Roger Federer vs Janko Tipsarevic (6-7 (5), 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-1, 10-8) magnum opus - you missed something huge. Watch it if it ever comes on TV - absolutely stunning tennis

PPS: India won at Perth, Aussie ki taisi! Yay!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Blog LoTs...

Came across an interesting line of thought in one of the blogs I read.

Incidentally another interesting line of thought hit me right now, so the earlier one will have to wait till after this.

Now, recently i've been reading a lot of blogs ..damn, another line of thought. I'm positively spewing out LoTs today. Lets assimilate and consolidate them before I lose all these threads -

LoT 1). Life through a blog:

This is one thing I love to do. I take an unknown blog, start from the beginning and read through all the posts right till the end. Sometimes you can see the entire life of the person unfolding infront of you. His trials and tribulations, his triumphs and tragedies, his thoughts and actions (Damn, couldn't get a word for action starting with T :) ). Its amazing to think that people pour so much of themselves in their blogs. (Analogy to the Chamber of Secrets - Harry Potter. I hope for your sake that you're a Potter fan)

Sometimes if I just lean back and close my eyes, I can positively imagine the person and how he would behave in a particular situation. So I think I know that a blogger X would take something very emotionally while another Y would hurt inside but would move on with a gruff word. I know that A is funny but very insightful, though B's thoughts need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Is this a voyeuristic exercise? Maybe
Is it ethically correct to analyse and judge people on the basis of posts written under severe tension, or joy, or boredom? I don't know.

But whatever the actual answers may be, it is in human nature to try to understand other people. Thats why we're social animals - probably why language developed in all corners of the world. But another question does come up when this line of thought is pursued -

Does blogging make the blogger vulnerable?

We've all heard of employers going through potential employees' blogs as part of reference checks. Again, is that an ethical practice. A person may be interested in the occult arts and his blog may reflect that.

But does it really affect his work as a banker?

But it is again human nature to want to surround oneself with 'safe' people. People who are just like you, same aspirations, same thought processes. Non-conformity scares people. It shows up a mirror to people about what they could've been if they'd followed their hearts.

To talk about me, I am very honest in my blog and my guess is that if someone had the inclination to (and absolutely no work in the whole wide world !)read my blog in its entirety, they would be able to draw up some fairly correct conclusions about me. And thats a scary thought. To be predictable to strangers is a disquieting thought. Maybe private and closed circulation blogs do have something in them.

* On a positive note, I love the fact that a couple of years later I would be able to read all this and have a record of what I was as a person. Its one thing that motivates me to write here, and i'm closing in on a hundred posts - so the motivation is definitely strong)

LoT 2). Blog "connections":

How do you discover new blogs? Mostly it is through blogrolls and links provided in other blogs. So you start reading one blog, like its content and the updates. Then you go to links the blogger thought should be put up. Like that content too. Add them to your favourites too.

You comment on various posts where you feel you have something to say. You get responses and reciprocal visits and comments on your blog. But pretty soon the frequency of posts on those blogs reduce. You also get itchy to explore new blogs, so the frequency with which you visit those blogs goes down, comments too. And slowly they become a part of history. So the exchange of ideas and thoughts that is the basis of any lasting friendship comes to a halt.

Thus, the crux of this LoT, that i've lost in the paragraph above, is that blogs breed fickle connections (friendships?). They spark up, go through their honeymoon periods and then flicker out.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ze sports, ze keep you fit but ze kill ze nightlife...

So, my house has become a den for all kinds of sports equipment. When I was staying with R we had amassed a number of sporting items in our house. We have assorted racquets (Tennis and Badminton), a basketball, a racing cycle, a carrom board, darts and of course the mandatory cricket bat. But then both of us were the polite word for is NO polite word for it, just spit it out...lazy.

So we had one basketball session all the way in IISc (Some 30 kilometres from where I stay) at 10 in the night - awesome fun by the way, TS was also there and we shot a lot of hoops and generally had fun exploring a campus and the campus life that we've left behind (sniff), one badminton session outside our house, a few ipod-attached-to-the-ears cycling trips. Of course the indoor sports fared much better with numerous carrom matches and tournaments and of course the ever present dart games.

But that was the extent of our indulgence in sports. Most of the time we preferred the on-TV variety of sports. (Which was great for R because he has the metabolism of a 5 year hyperactive kid, but was a bit of an issue with me, because my metabolism seems to be inspired by some particularly geriatric 70 year old.)

But since moving in with RB all this has changed. AK and RB go swimming or cycling every morning. Yes Ladies and Gentlemen EVERY freakin' day at 6 am! I have been actively avoiding meeting their eyes when they return tiumphant and bronzed after yet another strenuous swim or with wild stories of their adventures when they cycled half way across the city and then nonchalantly cycled back again. All this time i had been, in sharp contradiction , lazing around either reading or blogging or chatting or plain watching TV. After a point in time I had to admit that pretty soon I would be referred to in polite company as 'that tub of lard' and more advanced unmentionable names in impolite company.

Thats when I decided to do something about it. I've always wanted to play good tennis and fortunately I found a willing partner in a colleague of mine (my boss actually, so it helps with the appraisals as well (evil grin, rubs hands). According to my calculations I have to start losing to him in another couple of weeks time to get a really good appraisal rating).

So with the help of R's racquets I started going to play tennis every weekend morning. We blundered and we floundered, but we stuck to it.

We watched tennis coaching videos and realized they were trash (well, not all), but we stuck to it. And now I am proud to say that we play quite well.

I still remember the first time we went to play (screen takes a sepia tone here, signifying nostalgia). We were hitting roughly 2 % of balls right, the rest were getting lodged in the net, flying out of the side courts or mostly just sailing over the far back-grill. And we played one set and were panting like we'd just been chased down by a voracious cheetah or had conquered a particularly irksome cliff.

The next weekend things deteriorated, if that was possible. 1.86% balls in the playing area; sharp, shooting pains in a small muscle below the third rib ( ). And yes, we collapsed after one set. I had to drive back and I seriously thought it was going to be too much for my 26 year old bones. But we still stuck to it. If i'm proud of one thing, it's that inspite of numerous distractions that could've been cited as reasons to avoid the early mornings on Saturday and Sunday we've missed play only once in more than two months.

By the third weekend the body was moving more smoothly and we managed to play a nice and gentle three setter.

And today, I came back from playing two matches, four continuous sets (Yes, I won both matches in straight sets :). Played for three and a half hours with a short break in between. And this was after I went for a jog in the morning. And since i've come back, i've had no inclination to collapse and sleep for hours on end. This weekly sport has made me regain some of my earlier stamina.

Ok, this was the awesome part (Yes, it was long, meandering, took too much time to get to the point. So?...shoot me!)

The flipside is that RB pops off to sleep at 9:30 while watching tv in the living room every evening, sitting on a plastic chair. He just nods to the side and I have to dive to catch the remote control before it hits the floor. I spend more time watching with peeled eyes for the remote to fall than the actual stuff running on TV. But then again, thats hardly a loss considering the trash that comes on TV. Also, on Friday and Saturday, I make it a point to sleep early so we can go and get the good court early.

So what in effect this does is, our household has become a early-to-bed-and-early-to-rise household. 10:30 and a somnolent air pervades our house and light snores can be heard emanating from everywhere.

Sigh, gone are the weekend-nights of yore when friends kept dropping in and hours stretched into hours as potent liquids were consumed and poultry across the city shuddered in their feathers as Friday evenings approached. I can't even remember when people came over last without a celebratory reason (Christmas, New Years etc.) Even PR hasn't come for a long time.

Is the domestication complete? Have we become 'kushal grahinis' (expert housewives)?

Not quite - plans are already afoot to visit the newly opened Hard Rock Cafe in Bangalore next weekend.

Not this weekend though, I have to get up early tomorrow !!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Abstractions of a Bored Brain...

Why am I even writing this? I have absolutely no idea what I want to write about today, no flash of 'inspiration' to guide me.

Do I tell you mundane facts about my life? Facts which would have absolutely no significance to any reader, even the ones I know in real life.

Should I wax eloquent about my philosophy of life, love and God?

Should I make this a bitching blog where I rant and rave about how everyone and everything is against me? How the world is conspiring to prevent me from doing justice to all the awesome talents I have?

Or should I break tradition and write a short story?

Nope, not yet. But one is in the works and I will post it soon. Though I don't know if it would be good enough for discerning readers like you (ahem). The plot is clear in my head and , atleast to me, it looks good. But writing a story is a lot of hard work. You get stuck for a particular word and you spend agonizing hours in its pursuit. Its not like blogging. When you get an inspiration or idea about a blog post, the actual writing part is done in a flash of fingers in fifteen minutes or so.

But that is true for any work involving creativity - the doer gets obsessed with finding the holy grail of perfection. An author puts his soul into every bit of writing he does. It may be bad, but for the author it is the ultimate form of meditation and dedication. One incongruous word, which the readers may not even notice, will always pop up and jar the author when he reads the story.
The only way to appreciate the writing process is to indulge in it atleast once.

And poetry! It would be near impossible for someone like me to write it. I'm not a very lyrical person. Ok, i'll say it out loud here and get it over and done with. I'm indifferent to music. Very rarely will I spend time just listening to music and currently listening to it is only restricted to when i'm driving (punctutated with swear words that I hurl at idiotic and maniacal drivers and pedestrians - two very pertinent adages come to mind :
"Have you ever noticed how people driving slower than you are idiots, and people driving faster than you are maniacs?"
"You never really learn swearing till you start driving".)

Hence, the lack of appreciation for the intricately woven poetry that forms the basis of all songs and music. (But I've read Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. Its beautiful- and on such an amazing and uncommon theme. Thanks AD for insisting I try it. And YOU, if you haven't read it, its highly recommended)

Even painting is a strange labour of love. (Incidently, for those who've been following this blog wide-eyed with interest, I've continued to paint off and on. But it is still juvenile in execution so maybe the time to put my 'works' up here still hasn't come.). A single colour, a single out of place leaf and you feel like everything is lost and the painting is doomed. And others do not even notice any difference before and after the "disaster".

Anyway, I think I lost the thread of this post ( figured it out now? You've been blabbering around since the very start). So I'll close this post down. But now that i've typed so much, i'll publish it. And you have to bear it :)

Also, my blog statistics have been showing me that as soon as I update my blog and change the status message on my Gtalk chat (I provide a link to my blog from my status message, with the latest post's name) I get a big spike in readership. So now i've put in a couple of options for those who'd like to keep up-to-date with my blog (NOW would be a good time to say you want to :)), you can subscribe to the blog via email or take an RSS feed from here (Look at the right panel).

Or hell if you don't want to get into all these technical thingies, just add me to your gtalk ( and you'll see the changes in my status message automatically.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Of slurs and races...

Scenario 1

Ram : "Ma'am, ma'am, Shyam just called me a m******f*****!!"
Teacher: (Sipping her tea in the staff room) " Ah, well boys will be boys, Shyam stand up on your desk. Don't say that word again, its not a nice thing to say"

Scenario 2

Ram: "Ma'am Shyam just called me a Big Monkey!"
Teacher: (Spills her tea as she topples over) "Shyam Shyam, you racist racist boy! You're suspended from school for three months. I want to meet your parents tomorrow, hell today!"

In case you're wondering just what the hell I'm talking about -

Now don't get me wrong. I hate prejudices and racism as much if not more than the next guy
(Heck, my favourite book is 'To kill a Mocking Bird' - if there's a better book with a background of prejudices, I haven't come across it) but sometimes people take things a bit too far and start exploiting and misusing anti-racism efforts.

Now the aussies are just using it to put pressure on a visiting cricket side. Atrocious that they would demean the efforts put in the war against racism to derive a petty advantage on the cricket field. When the aussies 'talk' on the field its always playful banter but when their back starts getting against the wall, 'monkey' becomes racist (cmon!). They know that just putting a racial abuse spin to anything would get immense media and public attention, pressure on the visitors and , as a bonus, a ban against a player.

These are perfect diversionary tactics employed by them. The thing that should be talked about in this match is the poor, biased umpiring that saw nine indian wickets falling through the umpires ineptitude and/or partiality. What should be discussed is why is Ricky Ponting's word 'above the law' in case of the grounded catch, why none of the aussie batsmen walked when they knew they were out (Yes, Mr. Symonds, that would be you), why Ponting repeatedly gets away with murder and why all visiting teams face the brunt of poor umpiring in Australia - even with nuetral umpires.

Instead they've comfortably focused the attention on Harbhajan. In a my word-vs-your word argument the match referee again takes the aussies' word as sacrosanct and imposes a huge penalty on Harbhajan when no umpires or batsmen heard him say the offending word.

Now if there something that reeks of racism in this entire incident, this is it.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Welcome to the Movie Hall

I can watch any, and I mean aaannnyyy, movie in a theatre and enjoy it!

Just returned from watching what could easily be the most arcane and idiotic movie to be produced last year - Welcome. And I was rolling on the seat, doubling up with mirth and clapping my hands to stupid and old jokes (Had so much trouble stopping myself from screaming and guffawing at the screen)
(Oh, so you want an example of the humour there? Here it comes, don't say I didn't warn you:

Paresh Rawal (to Nana Patekar): " Arre aap mujhe 'ji' mat kahiye" [Don't add a 'ji' to my name {Ji is a mark of respect, usually reserved for elders in India}]

Nana: " Arre kyun nahin, aajkal to biscuit ko bhi 'Parle-G' kehte hain! " [ Why not? Nowadays we even call biscuits 'Parle-"G"'] { })

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is what i've fallen down to. I was rolling on the floor on this dialogue, tears of laughter streaming down my cheeks!

Now this is nothing new, I could hate a movie if I watch its DVD, but put me in a movie theatre with comfortable seating, surround sound and any inane trash playing. I'd STILL come out with a broad smile on my face telling everyone I meet that 'I enjoyed the movie' (I've stopped telling them the movie was awesome/good - they come back and grab my collar. but they can't do anything when I say what I say, because I DID actually enjoy the movie. Thats just the plain truth. Smart, huh? :) )

But I guess this is good, it makes me very easy to please and also provides me with a simple and surefire way of improving my mood, whenever I want.

Also another thing about Welcome that would easily make me sit glued to my seat drooling is of course the presence of Katrina Kaif. Sigh. Siiiiggghhhh... Have I mentioned how her eyes crinkle up when she smiles..or, or her Brit accent? SSSSiiiigggghhhhhh.

Wait a minute, one exception does exist in this utopia of theatre movie watching. "Welcome to the Jungle", starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the only movie which I have intentionally and deliberatley left in the middle. (Only reason I went to watch it is that I'm a huge WWE fan {So, The bouts are pre-planned and scripted? Even movies are fake. Watching wrestling is like seeing a well orchestrated live performance of a particularly talented trapeze troop (er..the flying moves)} and the Rock was one of my favourite stars there. Of course the movie was so bad that I squirm whenever I see him in the ring, before settling down to watch the whole bout :) )

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Awkward numbers

The season of good cheer, festive season, happy holidays is a great time. Everyone is on vacation or atleast in a vacation mood. Work is generally light and bosses look at your work with an indulgent eye and a Santa Claus-ish smile. The smell of bon homie and camaraderie positively reeks in the air, and sigh, it’s a good fragrance.

Accompanying this are two problems. One is the obvious one – the ends.

The cheery smiles and indulgent bosses turn into hungover grimaces and red-faced dictators respectively. Work casually completed and applauded last month is reviewed and turned red with corrections. As you gingerly support your bloated-from-eating-too-much-cake-tummy and try to slide behind your desk without suffocating yourself on the first working day of the new year you are invariably faced with a grumpy boss who says ‘Happy New Year’ and promptly dumps huge piles of work in your lap (And how do you imagine this is going to make my year happy??). And to add to your woes the brain refuses to fire up to its normal razor sharpness, its subdued and slow and rusted from lack of use – in fact it’s a miracle that you were able to drive to work that day with your brain working atleast 5 seconds slower than normal – ok, ok maybe 5 minutes slower (Sheesh, cut me some slack here, it’s the first working day of 2008).

The other problem is a bit deeper and more awkward. With the advent of cell phones and rapidly reducing rates (see? A weak weak alliteration. That’s what Jan 2 does to me) people find it very convenient to send wishes and greetings for the new year via sms. Of course, because of the brain rust they fail to add their names to their beautifully crafted (er…forwarded) messages. Now I’m a popular guy (what…? You’re reading my blog aren’t you?..bleh) and receive a number of such messages. The problem is that despite all my other awesomeness, I haven’t yet managed to make a habit of storing a lot of numbers in my cell phone.

So my inbox is full of long, cheery messages which are orphaned by a lack of RSVP on them. Now when they are generic Happy New Year to all kind of messages, I’m ok, I do not feel bad that I don’t know who’s sent the message because a very small amount of effort has gone into wishing me (and the odds are good that the person also doesn’t remember me as some special friend on whom wishes need to be showered. It could be that I just happened to be in the phone book and nothing more than that. ).

However, when I see messages starting with Swapnil, followed by beautiful poetry or customized greetings and NOT followed by a name, I feel terrible. It obviously means that I have not been paying attention to someone who considers me important enough to take pains to wish me, and I haven’t even got his/her number saved in my phonebook – terrible, terrible feeling.

So now I have two beautiful, personal messages and no clue who sent them… :(

PS: Time for a new year joke:
“So whats your new year resolution”
“Well I thought and thought and have finally got a perfect one”
“Cool, what is it?”
“To adhere to my previous resolutions atleast till Jan 3!”

Now if you didn’t laugh at that, you didn’t enjoy your December well – brains not rusted enough :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The BIG Party...

If you were in Bangalore over New Year's eve, and were really really nice to me, you'd have got the following email a couple of days back...

2008 is knock-knock-knocking on our doors and nows the time to bring out your party hats and usher it in!!

Club 108 proudly presents the by-invitation-only-party to beat all parties across town



Barbeque Beer Biryani

The Terrace, Club 108

Twilight - Midnight, 2007 - 2008

7:30 pm (Be there, the BBQ ain't gonna last all night !!)

RSVP: Swapnil: *phone number*


PS: 108 is the house number where I stay. "Club 108" is, obviously, a wordplay on that number.

PPS: It was an absolutely awesome party, went on till 5 in the morning. The barbeque was a super hit :)

Have a Great New Year, you - and keep reading and commenting...