Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bollywood, Tollywood, Don, Bile and Pontification

There are times when the urge to pontificate overtakes one. To be truthful, the urge does overtake be rather frequently. This is one such time. Therefore, without much ado, I proceed to pontificate.

There was once a nice, quaint commercial Bengali movie industry. I do not use the was qualifier because the industry has disappeared. I do so because the sad fact is that it is no longer nice, quaint and entertaining. Also, I do not intend to express the view that all fare produced by this erstwhile entity was stupendous. Even during the its better days, Tollywood, (as it was called during those days) would produce its share of horrendous, tolerable, nice and lovely movies. Now they are just cheesy and embarrassing. The reason why they are so is rather simple. From being a original and Bengali affair, it went on to become a poor man's Bollywood -- a pathetic wannabe for the consumption of the tough eggs who craved for some Bollywood action the Bengali way. They are very bad Hindi movies made in Bengali. That is all I have to say about the Bollywood Tollywood thingy.

I just happened to watch Don a few days back, and am sorry to say that I found the movie to be rather horrible. I can envisage the Nike heeled, lovers-of-Anurag-Mathur hissing in anger at such an unfair judgement, but let me assure you that it truly is a bad movie. You just do not realize it is bad because you are the target audience -- the semi-literate tough eggs who speak in bad and broken english and who want some of that Hollywood action the Bollywood way. For you, it is a good movie and so you may calmly un-hiss.

Now I shall proceed to unship some advice for the benefit of the nitwit who is the scriptwriter for the cinematic abomination that is Don.
Dear Scriptwriter,
When you proceed to write the script of a movie in a particular language, you are assumed to posses a fair command over the language. Thinking up witty lines in English and then, mindlessly translating them to Urdu or Hindi does not make a witty line in Hindi or Urdu. For example, the direct translation of "You forgot to say please..." in Hindi does not make a witty line, it makes a tardy one. The same could be said about "I might just change my mind about you." I could have cited numerous other examples but I really did not think the movie was worth paying attention to. If you cannot think in Hindi or Urdu, I would advise you to write scripts in English. Please do not burden us with your pidgin Hindi. It is jarring.
Yours faithfully
A Lover of Hindi Movies

There are and will be paeans sung in praise of Don the movie -- on the high production values and how cool it looks. The truth however is much sadder. The movie is what it is --- It is a cheap, cheesy, outlandish and laughably bad Hollywood movie. The only difference is that the characters happen to speak in very bad Hindi, very much like the bad Tollywood Hindi movie in Bengali.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Word Verification

It was a lovely nippy morning. Just the morning to sip some (free) coffee at work and surf the (free) Internet and post a few inconsequential comments on some markedly horrible blogs.

Commenting on blogs is a lowly, but well established method of wasting productive time. To add some consequence and weight to this activity, has introduced the system of word verification. Word verification claims to keep the spam out of the comments. The actual purpose of it all however is to add to the otherwise useless activity of commenting on blogs, a certain grandeur and importance -- a sentiment and motive I have wholesome respect for. I am therefore extremely sad to announce that this very morning, my esteem for the whole word verification thingy has been subjected to some damage.

I was, in my harmless and inconsequential nature, posting a redundant comment on an equally redundant blog when it happened. Without any prior warning or any discernable motive, confronted me this monstrosity:

The trauma caused during the decipherment of the number of w-s and v-s in the whole thingy has been considerable. After duly posting the comment, I had to rapidly suck in two cups of very strong (free) coffee to fully recuperate so that I could resume dutifully dawdling over my work.

Word verification for me does not hold that same golden stature of glory that it did in its days of yore.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


A rather feeble attempt at some Haiku. The images of nature are from the north-east and the north of India where I have lived and grown up in. My visits to Japan have been too short and hectic to actually spend any time alone with nature.

Silent rose shaped cloud.
A cold winter afternoon --
My long lost childhood.
Sultry humid night.
First short, cold monsoon shower --
Fresh sheet. New poem.
Slow rain on the trees,
gently washing drooping leaves --
Cleaning memories.
Warm, whispering winds,
mourn in the bamboo forest --
Her last fading breath.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One Act Play

Dramatis Personæ

Bald Monkey, a code monkey from India.
The Other Code Monkey, another code monkey from India.
The Subway Lady, the sandwich artist at Subway.


Scene I -- At a Subway franchisee in a mall in Maryland. The Other Code Monkey and Bald Monkey are in queue. The Other Code Monkey is in front of Bald Monkey.

The Other Code Monkey: Can I have some of that capsicum in my sandwich ?
The Subway Lady: Sorry. What was that ?
The Other Code Monkey: Some capsicum ?
The Subway Lady: Sorry. I dont know that.
The Other Code Monkey: Some capsicum ?
The Subway Lady: Sorry. I dont know that.
The Other Code Monkey: Some capsicum ?
The Subway Lady: Sorry. I dont know that.

[Repeat for five minutes]

The Other Code Monkey: Some capsicum ?
The Subway Lady: Sorry. I dont know that.
Bald Monkey (to himself): Bollocks !
The Other Code Monkey: Some capsicum ?
The Subway Lady: Sorry. I dont know that.
Bald Monkey: The green peppers please ?
The Subway Lady: Aaah. The green peppers ! Here you are.
The Other Code Monkey: Thank you.
[Exeunt The Other Code Monkey]

[Bald Monkey finally gets his lunch and does happy dance.]

Monday, September 25, 2006


Raising the fubar...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Coming To America

History, of course is rife with examples of extremely weighty reasons for hearty souls making a beeline for the United States of America.

Christopher Columbus did so in the process of making a spectacular mistake. Arnold Schwarzenegger made the journey for his undivided love for acting. After successfully executing a bunch of superb movies, he came to the sad conclusion that the movies thingy was not exactly where one could unleash one's acting skills. He therefore in an act of extreme prudence, joined politics -- where the real acting is required.

My reasons for temporarily coming to the USA however are infinitely more mundane. After one's markedly sordid (but fulfilling) experiments with truth, one realizes that although such intrepid acts do behoove the broad brave man, they also tend to tire him. With G. happily imbibing Burrito Bols at Chipotle and Yankee twangs at work, it does get a wee lonely in Bangalore dawdling over that Masala Dosa in silent solitude. Also, in my truthful nature I cannot deny the fact that clean, white sheets and simple, warm meals do have their merits. Therefore, in an act of Schwarzenegger-esque prudence and home-grown pusillanamity, I decided to forsake my rugged life on the frontiers of Bangalore and adopt the cushy compromise of regular warm meals and moderation. I too made a beeline for the United States of America. G. has been taken by surprise. She still does not know as to what has hit her.

My sombre and distinguished readership much accustomed to my extremely informative posts must be rather appalled at all this senseless drivel surrounding warm meals and clean sheets. I do understand. They would expect, (as they are wont to have) incisive and intelligent insights into the life and times of the American people. I too, in my responsible nature, aim to please my scant readership. The sad news however is that I have not had the opportunity to observe, and as a consequence, remark on the American. My failure emanates from the fact that he never gets out of his car. That is his natural habitat and is not seen anywhere else. The rest of the nation is deserted.

I would however urge my readership not to lose heart at such an unexpected turn of events. I shall follow the path much trodden by similar shameless, untalented, ridiculous hacks and at regular intervals shall produce shallow, inconsequential observations based on vignettes scavenged from television and the tabloids. Please do watch this space for some bad journalism. One is urged not to hold one's breath since my stuff is just not worth it and also, it is not a particularly easy thing to do.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Profound Words

"A child who has not travelled says that his mother is the best cook."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Superman Returns -- A Wimp !

Warning: This is a very bad review of the movie Superman Returns. It might also contain a few spoilers. The author does not remember.

Superman is back in the building. The fact is that he has been loitering the corridors for some time now and his perambulations have been received with the customary fanfare and swooning. This is my out-of-date, irrelevant and inconsequential review of the cinematic abomination.

The astute reader, after a cursory glance at the title will have discerned that I am have not exactly relished the cinematic endeavour under consideration. Also, after seeing the title, I can envisage the more sensitive section of my readership ejaculating an orotund accusation of me being yet another Beer Drinking Pseudo-Macho Boor. I am an honest man and shall not shy away from the description. I would however urge the perturbed reader to consider the fact that the Beer Drinking Pseudo-Macho Boor(BDPMB) too deserves his abominable place under the sun as much as the fashion designers and the celebrity hair stylists do. The BDPMB is a species of animal which has been much harassed and spurned in recent times. During the golden era for the BDPMB, he was tolerated. His grubby nails and even grubbier jeans were looked upon with slight, sympathetic disapproval. His grunts of pleasure upon the arrival of his favourite lager at the table were looked upon with a variety of mild, condescending disgust. His bad jokes were never laughed at, but never scoffed at too. Times since then have changed. The advent of the metrosexual has thrown into sharp relief the ugly, redundant excrescence that the BDPMB is. Wine is the new beer and the BDPMB is no longer welcome at parties. His sense of fashion too is no longer acceptable. There was a time when movies were made to cater for his tastes -- Movies in which the trigger happy Dirty Harrys would rule the roost and Superman would kick alien posterior with wanton ease. Not anymore. These days, Dirty Harry is happily mentoring empowered female pugilists and Superman has gone all droopy and forlorn. These are trying times and I am a stricken man. I however, shall have my say.

The truth however unsavoury, has to be told and I shall not shy away from it. I have watched many an Ally McBeal episode with more testosterone than this new Superman movie, and that is the truth. One watches a Superman odyssey to watch Superman and another uber-alien/super-villain kicking each other into hyperspace. I am sorry to report that nothing of that variety happens in this particular caper. I was waiting, even while the closing credits were doing their rolling bit, for some sharp image of an oddly shaped villain to spring out from the soft-focus and finally indulge in some serious damage. No such luck. When the whole attempted sensitive love story was over, the caped-romantic-in-tights gently wobbled off into the sunset and I would not be lying if I said that I was left flabbergasted, and with a rather profound question to pose to the person who thought up this tripe ridden drama -- What the hell were you thinking man ? What ?

Continuing in this investigative vein, I also have another very pertinent question to pose -- What was with all that moping dude ? Superman returned to earth after a prolonged five year jaunt in the woods to find the love of his life, Lois Lane happily betrothed to another man. I admit that it indeed is an extremely trying scenario, but there certainly were a number of options that Superman could have explored at that juncture:
(a) He could wallop the living daylights out of the new kid on the block. That would teach the pesky busybody not to mess with the alpha-male that Superman is.
(b) He could royally ignore the old flame, disappear for two scenes, and triumphantly emerge with Carmen Electra as the new girlfriend. That would teach Lois Lane not to mess with the alpha-male that Superman is.
(c) If nothing else, he could have hit the local bar with unprecedented gusto, got suitably sozzled, and then could have made a call on Lois Lane's mobile phone at two in the morning, accusing her of ruining his life. That would at least make Superman feel like the alpha-male that he is, before the alcohol wore off.
Superman however utterly fails to employ any of the above mentioned methods. Instead, the man mopes. He pulls long faces. I would be putting it rather mildly if I said that I am not in complete agreement with such spineless tish-tosh on the part of Superman. Whereas he should have been using his super powers to wallop the rival, (see point (a)) the man ends up super-stalking his lost love. He uses his x-ray vision to peek into Lois Lane's house and uses his super-hearing to eavesdrop on private conversations between Lois and her fiance. I am rather appalled I must admit.

To add vagueness to injury, the plot also introduces the biological son of Superman in the fray. That asinine angle to the story is left unexplored and inadequately explained. I however have heard from very reliable sources that there indeed is method behind this moronity. Having successfully imparted a Notting Hill hue to this edition of the Superman movie, the next edition will sport a Kramer vs Kramer flavour. All I can say is "Pah !". (Am I even allowed to say that these days ?)


Friday, July 21, 2006

Time to Speak Up

The fact of the matter is that a large part of my formal education and my skills are related to writing clever code so that a microprocessor may efficiently access and use peripheral devices. That rather neatly does sum up my areas of expertise. I do not opine on the Indian political jamboree and the form and technique of members of the Indian cricket team because of this very reason -- ineptitude. It is not due to the lack of attachment or emotion but due to the marked absence of erudition and knowledge that I do not venture to comment on the above mentioned subjects, which frankly are beyond my ken. Therefore, I had previously decided to maintain the stolid, silent, gawking silence on the matter of the ridiculous censoring of the and domains and a bunch of other websites by the imbeciles in the bureaucracy and the government. I have however decided against it and as a result, I will make this boring and pontificating exception for reasons which I shall also try to put across. I really do not expect the storming of the neighbourhood Bastille after this post hits the stands mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, my writing is not evocative enough and secondly, if my regular readership (roughly three in number) did decide to embark on an such an adventure, they would be hopelessly outnumbered by the prison guards. What however, I do expect this post to do is notch up my expression of protest, disgust and frustration as a citizen of the Republic of India because now is the time to speak up.

We are a democracy with flaws. Our politicians have been merrily filching public money and buying their children guns -- guns with which they shoot barmaids in the face because they were refused drinks. We are one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Despite the flaws, at the end of the day, there is hope. There is hope because we are a democracy. There is hope because the fathers of our constitution had envisioned a nation with a free, empowered society. It is just a matter of time before our people realize that. It is just a matter of time before we fulfil our destiny. It will not happen in my lifetime or my children's lifetime, but it is inevitable. It is on the cards. The promise of a free, empowered society is our fountain of hope.

There will be people who will deem the blocking of a bunch sites as trivial -- "Somebody must have blocked some sites. What is your problem ?" they will say. Well, here is my problem. When you selectively block a bunch of sites, you are stifling opinion and debate. You are are shutting out certain ideologies since you do not like them. You Sir, have no freaking right to do that to MY society. You are screwing around with a vision and a fundamental right that has been granted to me, to us -- a privilege that I hold sacrosanct. You are destroying my, our vision of the free, empowered society. That is my problem. That is our problem.

In a democracy, one hopes that the functional fourth estate would be that entity through which public outrage would be expressed and viewpoints debated on. The sad truth however is that, when the Indian Government and its entourage of incompetent bureaucrats were walloping the living daylights out of the freedom of expression, the headlines and the news (sic) channels were too deeply involved with the return of Sachin Tendulkar in the cricket team to bother about other unimportant topics like the heavy handed stifling of free speech. That Indian MSM sadly has got its priorities so yellowed, that it is no longer functional.

We therefore now have a scenario where we have a very very scary example being set by the authorities coupled with a dysfunctional, disinterested and boneheaded public press. The government says that I can jolly well select and shut up the opinions I dont take a liking to, and the public press responds with a nonchalant shrug. So, it is time to grab the nearest soapbox, stand atop it and holler. Whatever minuscle platform or forum one might have, it is now the time to put in a word of protest. I know fully well that a handful of writings on the internet like this one is not going to make any difference to the government or the vote banks but we as citizens of a free country and a society will do all that is possible on our part. We will do our bit. We will register our protest. As I have said, now is the time to speak up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blogspot Blocked in India

I am not an erudite man. I am not really capable of unshipping a voluminous discourse on free speech and the functioning of a free society and how I feel aggravated and all that. I will say it the way I can:

The Emperor: [to the Senate] In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society which I assure you will last for ten thousand years.
[Senate fills with enormous applause]
Padme: [to Bail Organa] So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause.
From Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Early Monsoon Rains and Other Potent Liquids

Although I am not in complete agreement with this passage-of-time thingy, the sad truth is that time does pass with exacting surety. And while it goes about doing the passing thing, it does strange things to the market value of your mobile phone and even stranger things to Michael Jackson's face. Also, at most times, it changes the people one once knew and the places one once used to live in. Due to this remarkable phenomenon, the exercise of chewing the fat with a close friend after a long long time can culminate in two varieties of experiences. The first kind of experience is very much akin the finding of a significant amount of money in the pockets of an old pair of jeans and the second like the discovery of a putrid pail of ice-cream in the dark recesses of the freezer. I am therefore happy to announce that spending the weekend with ADJ after the above mentioned long long time has most certainly been of the former variety. No putrid ice-cream in the freezer -- just a lot of beer. (ADJ's refrigerator is not now that strength which in the old days moved earth and heaven, and so the freezer does not actually manage to freeze the beer. It just keeps it crisp and cool)

The nature of the monsoon in and around Delhi like all other things is marked by rude curtness. It makes intermittent, squally cameos to make way for steamy, humid sunshine. The last weekend however was a welcome difference. It was late in the afternoon when we finally rose and shone to find the whole of Gurgaon soaked in a continuing slow, silent, seeping shower. There was nothing else we could do. ADJ and me settled down into a couple of rocking-chairs, bought out the good scotch, and watched the rain gently settling into ADJ's expansive terrace. When the good scotch was exhausted, we bought out the cheaper stuff, and then the beer. As we sat there, we talked of time gone and innocence lost. We talked of the evils of not drinking. We exchanged notes on the merits of long, steady relationships and steamy one-night stands. (We both have concluded that both of them are not too bad) We made plans to drive across the country. We called up old friends. While I had easy conversations with a few, some I could not connect with anymore. Specific female anatomies were also discussed and critiqued upon with due diligence and sincerity.

Type of Writer

The all knowing, sanguine www has finally discerned that I am a poet at heart. That does not come as a surprise since I have contributed with some extremely brainy stuff in the past. What however surprises me to a degree is that I am a very leggy woman also.

You Should Be A Poet
You craft words well, in creative and unexpected ways. And you have a great talent for evoking beautiful imagery... Or describing the most intense heartbreak ever. You're already naturally a poet, even if you've never written a poem.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Reservations Protests -- The Post-match Press Conference

The possessors of perspicacious minds and sharp memories will faintly recollect the printed media having had passing mentions and the blogosphere having had rather vociferous outbursts regarding the new reservation policy which the Indian Government has prudently decided to unleash unto its unsuspecting citizens. For the unacquainted, the reservation policy is an extremely erudite law which has been formulated after rather large portions of research by people with significantly bulging brains. This law simply states that the racial variety of the testicles of one's father is more important than one's brains and academic achievements combined, when it comes to securing a place in an institution of higher education.

People with voluminous brains have already commented on the relative merits and the utter rottenness of this whole scheme and it would be considered impertinent if I in my limited intellectual capabilities were to pass any variety of judgement on it. However, now that the entire brouhaha has met its natural death and has been consigned to the dusty cabinet of forgotten inconveniences, I would like to follow the path much trodden by the inferior columnist and bring you the post-match interviews. Therefore, without much ado, and with an unprecedented and vigorous cut-to-the-chase, I present the variegated opinions and viewpoints unshipped at the post-match press conference.

The Fat Bald Politician (FBP)
The FBP with the customary smug, constipated demeanour said
"On a personal level I do not give a rat's posterior to this whole thingummy. I am beyond any sort of higher education and my offspring too have no requirement for it. In fact they have no requirement for any education or skills at all since I have skimmed enough from public coffers and lottery frauds so that they can lead the lives of the idle rich.
At a political level however I was not exactly sleeping over it. As soon as these blokes made for the protests, I set my aides to find out as to which exact vote bank the chumps belonged to. Much to my surprise, they did not belong to any of the established mass-voting entities. We all know that in a democracy, one pretty much does not possess any rights if one does not belong to any of the vote-banks. So, being the undeserving cretins that they were, I promptly instructed the police to wallop the living daylights out of them. That for some strange reason did not go well with the pesky fourth estate. (Ingrates that they are) So I simply decided to ignore them. Worked well actually."
After saying so, FBP then went to sleep.

The Fourth Estate
The representative of the public press arrived late. He however profusely apologized for his late arrival -- "I am very sorry to have kept all of you waiting. I was actually held up since I was covering the live telecast of Shah Rukh Khan's tummy tuck surgery. You know how these surgery things are don't you ? It went into extra time." he said with an apologetic shrug. When asked about the whole reservation thing he said
"In all honesty, it did start out pretty well. We did have a whale of a time when the police were thrashing the protesters within an inch of their lives. We did get a few of the gory shots of students rolling in the mud and reeling from the treatment being meted out by the police. That really did give the ratings a decentish prod. The problem was that it was a bit repetitive. Also the news really did not have zip to it. Not a single celebrity joined the protests. Those lazy bums could not even manage compulsive, jobless protesters like Shabana Azmi and Arundhati Roy, leave alone a Shah Rukh Khan. We finally decided to stop covering the yawn-fest in favour of a MMS message which was doing the rounds. It is a rather scintillating MMS actually. It has a Kareena Kapoor lookalike kissing a Kader Khan lookalike with an Irfan Pathan lookalike looking on in the background."
He then, rather excitedly went on to explain as to how that the contents of the message would be exclusively telecast on a particular news channel very soon.

The Protester
The markedly dazed protester when asked about the key learnings and experiences he had gleaned from the whole ruckus, rather resignedly remarked
"These stupid movies and newspapers had us actually thinking that we are a democracy and we have rights and all that. So we started this protest nonsense thinking that somebody would actually listen to us. Those movies and feel-good articles are really not very truthful. Nobody really cares for us and our opinion is pretty much crap. Also killing the FBP is not that easy. Whatever those stupid movies say, those obese bastards never really go for morning walks when you can shoot them !"

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Friday, May 26, 2006


There exists profound differences between the modi operandi in which the fairer and the unfairer sexes socialise and exchange thoughts between themselves.

The male method is simple, straightforward and robust. The process consists of the collective absorption of alcohol or caffeine or both, interspersed with a few infrequent, random views on the traffic, weather and the general well being of the substance being imbibed. There are times when highly animated conversations do throw up thorny and controversial comments regarding the comparative merits of different rock bands, the ailing form of a particular cricket team or the dodgy knee of a particular footballer, but such occasions are extremely rare. If one stumbles upon a normal version of such a session, one is expected to be greeted with warm, amicable silence.

The female method, in sharp contradistinction to the above explained racket, is one fraught with fervent vocal activity. The topics in the fray range from the Absolutely Nothing to the Utterly Insignificant. The frugal content of the exchange however, never translates into the paucity of volume. Large helpings of ideas are exchanged on the topic of linen and the colour combinations for various things. Voluminous exchange is also observed on other miasmic topics like literature, social trends and Oprah Winfrey, but I would not be able to comment on them and neither do I intend to draw the attention of the peruser towards that direction. The remarkable quality towards which I intend to draw the attention of my scant readership is the sheer volume of stuff that is actually exchanged during the whole affair. This trend is certainly admirable for the purpose of creating and nurturing the bonhomie thingy, but suffers from one serious flaw -- One runs out of things to say.

Whereas men are not encumbered by the superfluous desire to converse or talk for the maintenance of a relationship, women for some strange quirk of character deem it a necessity. This quirk combined with the exhaustion of topics (as already explained) to discuss between two girlfriends result in what could be termed as churning. Women flit from friend to friend after all mutual topics of interest have been discussed at length.

The astute reader, much accustomed to my informative posts at this juncture would raise extremely pointed questions regarding the general direction of this banter. Therefore, without much ado, I would now like to broach the core topic. As a result of the diligently described process of churning, the individual involved in a marriage thingy in the capacity of a husband is exposed to a rather variegated selection of friends-in-law. As a result I, in my capacity of dutiful husband coupled with the character of an intrepid researcher, have finally come up with a list of categories of friends-in-law. I would like to clarify that this research is far from exhaustive and can certainly be added upon.

Type: The Sappy Nitwit
Marked by the inexplicable tendency to hallucinate. Will find the strangest of things beautiful. Will startle one with unexpected and sudden ejaculations of oohs and aahs upon chancing upon any sort of animal (including buffaloes). The animals are generally not found to reciprocate the gesture. Will suggest the worst movies and holiday destinations to the wife.
Pros: None.
Cons: The wife at times will drag one to the suggested movies and holiday destinations. Also, sudden oohs and aahs tend to distract one when driving in heavy traffic.
Husband/Partner: The husband or partner of the sappy nitwit posseses the admirable trait of unleashing blank grins to accompany the perspicacious observations on the part of his loved one. Privately, this person is generally found gnashing his teeth.

Type: The Pseudo Women's Libber
Posseses a rather unexplicable malevolence for men in general and the bald ones in particular. Professes the equality of sexes but somehow holds the opinion that men are blots in the landscape of their angst ridden life. Strangely this variety gets unusually perturbed when not given any attention by these very men. Even the bald ones. I have found this contradiction a trifle mysterious.
Pros: Due to the utter disdain with which one will be treated in one's house, one may dispense with all social graces and merrily attach oneself to the television and the beer.
Cons:Being subjected to basiliskesque glances within the confines of one's own happy home gives me the heebie jeebies.
Husband/Partner: Nonexistent.

Type: The True Women's Libber
Brevity of expression marks this particular species. Realizes the redundant excrescence that one is. Keeps the interaction to the minimum. One never gets to know the traits of the person.
Pros: As already stated, one is treated very much like a piece of furniture. Rather perfect.
Cons: None.
Husband/Partner: The company of the husband or partner is never thrust upon one.

Type: The Shopper
Appearence cannot be discerned due to the fact that the subject shall be smothered by shopping bags most of the time. Will make frequent appearences to pick up the wife to go shopping.
Pros:Conspiciously agreeable by the absence.
Cons: Severly degrades the doubloon abundance in one's life.
Husband/Partner: Seen in shopping malls with a demeanour which may be termed as dazed. Generally very well dressed.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Analyze This

Delhi, India: In an expected turn of events, the combined number of hours clocked by braindead cricket match and cricket player analysis programs on Indian television have surpassed the cumulative time for all the actual cricket shown on it. The momentous occasion came upon the unsuspecting world during 32nd minute of the immensely popular Match ka Joker Kaun ? post match analysis show which was being aired on Aaj Tak at 8:35 pm last Saturday. A large number of channels had been vying for this prestigious achievement but Aaj Tak pipped the rest of the competition by going in for a post-match analysis program without any actual match to analyze. Bald Monkey, our chief researcher has created the worms which describes the timeline for the whole process:

Although it has made no difference to the actual viewership, the [FILMY] channel has called for a rematch. "The post match analysis program in question cannot be deemed as official since there was no actual official match before or after the show. Aaj Tak is cheating !" was the official statement from the management of [FILMY]. The Aaj Tak channel has responded saying "Talking of official, we are not even sure as to whether the Eurasia Cup thingy that the [FILMY] channel has been covering (and analyzing) is even official or not. Also, that match between the movie stars and cricketers-from-the-geriatric ward which [FILMY] telecast and analysed was certainly not official. Official Shoffical ! Pah !" . Set Max, (the pioneer of meaningless post and pre match analysis) has for unknown reasons remained silent on the matter.

When Sharad Pawar, the president of the BCCI was approached, he informed us that the BCCI had been anticipating such an eventuality. "We in the recent past had drastically increased the number of irrelevant matches and tournaments but clearly our efforts have not been enough to thwart the problem" he said. The BCCI is now looking into ways in which it might grant official status to some of the analysis programming and in the process generate some revenue for itself. "We will put in place a board of selectors who will select a panel of experts to analyze the matches on television. For the rest of the flim flam on these programs, we will have a reality-show-talent-hunt with huge portions of melodrama." the president of the BCCI said.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Lessons as King of the Apartment

Unbeknownst to the common multitudes, there exists a bunch of parallel universes. The most notable and well known among them of course is the ballpoint pen universe where all ball point pens and whiteboard markers silently slip away, never to return when one's attention is directed towards the keyboard. A not very well known example however is the rather tersely addressed onsite. For the benefit of the unaware, I put forth the facts. This particular variety of parallel universe is well known to individuals who are acquainted or related to those merry souls dabbling in the very lucrative Information Technology racket. Onsite is that nebulous alternate reality into which one's acquaintance shall disappear into for protracted periods of time and emerge after this period with significant alterations in wardrobe, girth, hairstyle, accent and marital status.

Having armed my scant readership with the essential facts, I would now like to unship the sad news that G., (the light of my life) has also gone onsite. When I confer the title of the light of my life to her, I do not do so with the frivolity of a traipsing teenager. G., over all these years has been singularly responsible for also paying my electricity bills apart from the other assorted collection of ransom notes which invariably rear their ugly heads at the beginning of every month. Now, left to my own devices, I foresee darkness.

Every tumultuous dark cloud however is not bereft of its silver lining and these dark times too are not devoid of merit. We are all aware of that old saw about a man's home being some sort of a castle and the man in question being the king of that castle thingy and we also are equally well aware that it really is all tish-tosh. I have however decided to implement the word and spirit of this old saying. I am therefore proud to break the news that due to the very regrettable temporary absence of G., I (completely disregarding prevalent laws) have proclaimed myself as Actual King of my proverbial castle, thereby elevating my status from that of a piece of coveted furniture to the lord and master of the limited 1200 square feet I survey. I am sorry, but I am quite drunk with power. I however feel obliged to admit that apart from the power, there might also be an assortment of other potent stuff which might be responsible for my inebriation these days, but shall not do so because it really is not of any relevance in this particular discussion. In my prudent nature however, I am aware of the temporal nature of this high position of advantage I hold and ere I relinquish it to the proper authorities, have decided to document below the salient points and revelations of this heady experience.

Revelations and Learnings:
  • The good news is that leaving the wet towel on the bed after that refreshing shower is not cataclysmic. We have been led to believe that this act is responsible for bad things like the WWII and the way Hrithik Roshan dances, but it is not true. It however does leave your bed and the surrounding environs smelling like a goat.
  • That thing called the refrigerator is actually useful. It is not one of those wall hanging thingies one is forced to spend hard earned money on, but finds no practical use for. When not crammed with indigenously formulated facepacks, organic vegetables and the wide array of leftovers, the contraption is fully capable of storing a significant percentage of one's 24 pack of Fosters with significant residual acreage for the soda (which we all know goes well with the whisky). Quite miraculously, after all that, it even has some space for the cold meats and the mustard which we all know are of vital importance when the heart thirsts for that sandwich to go with the beer. In all honesty, I am rather pleased with the my refrigerator's recent form.
  • The division of the happy home into specifically purposed rooms always has been a bit inexplicable. After some research, I am happy to announce that it is all really bunkum. It is yet another superfluous, extravagant superstition. One may successfully maintain the status of a healthy, balanced and happy individual by having dinner, watching television, and going off to sleep at the same point of space. There is absolutely no requirement for one to frantically move from point to point for each of the above mentioned activities. All things may be executed from the same place and that venerated location being in front of the television.
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    Monday, April 17, 2006

    An Elegant Couplet

    Is tauba par hain naaz tujhe, zahid is qadr,
    Jo toont ke shariq ho mere gunah mein.

    -- Daagh Dehlvi

    The castle of the vanity of your abstinence o holy one,
    Is the mere dust, to mingle with the ruins of my indulgences.
    -- Inelegant translation by Bald Monkey

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    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Air Deccan aka Simpli-Fry

    I just have had the good fortune to offer Air Deccan some custom. The experience has been in a certain way, rather exhilarating. There is a robust quality about the way the merry lot go about conducting business. Any captain of industry will tell you that the secret to an admirable and successful business are not the satisfied customers, but the hapless, suffering and inextricably trapped ones. I am happy to deplane the news that Air Deccan has managed to amass the latter variety in droves. As already mentioned, I too was a proud member of this not-so-exclusive club a few days back, and am back with a first hand account of the whole blood curdler.

    In all honesty, the hair-raising episodes begin with rather benign, innocuous notes. Upon checking in, one is given that dull yellow boarding pass by a slightly surly stewardess. When enquiring about the conspicuous absence of the seat number on the boarding pass, one will be informed that the seats have been allocated by a brand new method called free-seating. Free-seating when taken upon face value, sounds like a rather benign, democratic phenomenon which can be tackled with the nonchalant wave of the hand. However I am sad to state that very much akin the elections in Bihar, ( which again, taken on face value does sound like an exercise in benign, democratic hobnobbing ) is certainly not to be taken liberties with. It is an exercise fraught with frenzied activity and ruthless blood spilling. I will therefore venture to digress a bit and explain the mechanics of the whole racket for the benefit of the innocent. This free-seating thingy comprises of the following steps:

    1. Collect roughly 2/3rds of all your material possessions and check it in as cabin luggage
    2. When inside the craft, seek and destroy all available space in the overhead bins by cramming your stuff into it. If the refrigerator does not fit in the bin above your seat, try and shove it under the seat in front of you. ( That is the law.)
    3. Distribute one's family far and wide inside the plane and try and ensure that nobody else occupies the intervening seats so that the loud conversation during the flight is unhindered.
    4. Try and browbeat any bald, unattractive man from occupying any seat near one, or the rest of one's family.
    The watchful reader however, will have noticed that to conduct and excel at the spirited activity of free seating, one must be inside the craft. I will now try and describe the process by one may insert oneself safely, and effectively into an aeroplane. The following treatise might not help one at all times to get into the desired aircraft, but will certainly ensure that one is in some variety of flying vehicle, with some nature of destination.

    The first point one should note is that the time and date for departure expressed on the boarding pass is not be taken literally -- It is more of a metaphoric direction, like a miasmal Nostradamus prophecy or the 30 minute pizza delivery promise from Dominos. A departure is destined, and the faithful are urged to wait. The scheduled departure time shall arrive and then slip away quietly, but the prophetic boarding call shall not do the same. Therein lies the second catch -- there is no boarding call. Air Deccan does not involve itself in such shameless spoon-feeding, but in turn depends on the enterprise, guile and cunning on the part of the passenger to get him/herself boarded. So, here are the broad directions if followed, will prevent one from languishing and withering away at the terminal for the rest of one's natural life.

    1. Roughly after an hour after the indicated departure time, take a wary, but careful look around. In one area of the departure terminal one will notice a large, thronging multitude of aspiring passengers waving random objects in the air. Upon closer examination, one will discover that the attention of the merry mob is directed towards a particular door. One is advised to make a mental note of the location of that particular door, since that is the area in which all things interesting shall occur. One is then advised to mentally and physically prepare oneself for the ensuing struggle with the above mentioned thronging multitude. I have, for the convenience of my fellow human beings captured a picture of this doorway:
      Action Stations
    2. One must be warned that getting to the door is not for the faint hearted. Prepare to push, shove, kill and maim to get there. Also do not forget to carry one's hallowed boarding pass.
    3. Once one has arrived at the door, standing amidst the remains of many fellow human beings who have perished on the way to the very place where one stands exhausted, one shall encounter a surly sphinx. Upon meeting with him, one is urged to vigorously wave one's boarding pass under his nose. The man then might allow one through. If one is rejected ( One should be prepared to be rejected about a seventeen times), re-insert oneself behind the mob.
    4. Repeat from step 2 till desired results are obtained.

    Once one has managed to please the sphinx and get into the plane, and has managed to grab a seat for oneself, one is urged to discuss with at least five fellow passengers regarding their personal opinions on the destination of the flight. If three or more individuals concur with one's views on the same subject, one possesses a fighting chance of arriving at the desired destination. The rest of the journey is much simpler -- It mainly comprises of twiddling one's thumbs and gritting one's teeth when being subjected to blank stares from the hostesses.

    The whole experience is however not completely devoid of merit and I, in my truthful and informative nature cannot deny the reader this fact. The pleasant aspect of the whole Air Deccan operation is that it does not serve any food, or water on the plane and I, for one am extremely pleased with the revolutionary step. I, do not react extremely favourably to free munchies or dinner served during a journey. I shall not lie -- I gorge and I uncontrollably eat. I have without fail, walked out of many a Rajdhani Express and langar, feeling rather uncomfortable and dyspeptic ( to say the least). Air Deccan has however not subjected me to any such tribulation at all. When I finally trickled out of the airplane, (about a four hours late) I might have been tired, scarred and disoriented, but there were absolutely no signs of heartburn or dyspepsia, and amazingly I was ready for dinner too ! Like numerous other things during the journey, this too was unprecedented.

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    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    A Bengali Man's Guide to a Punjabi Wedding

    My good friend D. just got married. Heres wishing the brand new couple all the cookies, biscuits and munchies. The news is that I was fortunate enough to have been able to occupy the much venerated position of awkwardly-dressed-gawking-friend at the ceremony. Also, despite my frugal social skills, I did manage to have a whale of a time. All in all, just the thing what the doctor would order.

    Reading of my favourable review of the whole racket, my markedly scant readership must be wishing to be a part of a similar cermony so as to make themselves available for the above mentioned whale of a time. I however feel compelled to warn one and all that it is not all that rosy and pink. The punjabi marriage is one fraught with nuances and if one does not keep one's eye's skinned for them, they tend to hit one's face with the intensity of a voluminous, cold, dead fish bunged by an extremist vegetarian. I have therefore garnered a few salient points which will keep the hapless, boring bengali like me in good stead and well prepared for the exigencies that inevitably ensue during the punjabi marriage.

    It is Fun : Punjabi weddings are just like the bengali weddings in most ways. It is full of the normal stuff -- the bewildered bridegroom, the coy bride, incoherent sanskrit mantras, the general confusion and the bad clothes. There however exists a profound difference -- the punjabi wedding, in sharp contradistinction to the bengali wedding, is rip-roaring fun. The individual habituated to the bland bengali wedding is warned in advance -- Please do not expect the moribund, machiavellean mukherjii marriage. Be prepared to have some serious fun and one is urged not to feel too guilty or alarmed about it.

    Dancing : There will be dancing -- and certainly not in dollops. There will be dancing in large, generous, kingsize portions. Dancing, for me always has been that activity which involves the vigorous shaking of the head to some obscenely loud Deep Purple number. The head may also be repeatedly banged against an object whose hardness is determined by the degree of inebriation. The variety of dancing in question however, is a totally different glass of lassi. The bhangra is more of a rhythmic flailing of hands and knees to some extremely similar sounding songs. Rhythmic movement on my part however has always been an impossible task. Like left-legged souls are therefore warned to steer clear from these immense dancing arenas lest they be dragged in by some extremely enthusiastic individual and subjected to the ignominy of awkwardly jerking one's legs amidst a collection of smooth, silk-shirted bhangra experts. The next logical question that would naturally spring to the mind of the astute two-left-legged individual would be "Where are these immense dancing arenas ?" So, here is the helpful answer: Be very wary of the carpeted areas. Also, if there is a part of the floor which has multicoloured rectangles which abruptly illuminate themselves at regular intervals, that is the part of the planet which is to be treated with extreme caution. The larger problem however is that the action is not confined to these areas themselves. They are just epicentres. It spreads. Therefore, simply zeroing in on one stationary location is utter foolhardiness. Any standard text book on bhangra avoidance would always suggest one to be dynamic, observant and agile. One is urged to keep a very close eye on the mass movement of the dancers and frequently shift base, pretending to have something rather important to execute at any spot where no dancers are present. Language Tip: For some reason, the bhangra is not danced (nachna) it is poured (dalna). Do not say "Woh bhangra nach raha hai !" (He is dancing the bhangra). Always say "Woh bhangra dal raha hai !" (He is pouring the bhangra). If you are in a position where you are about to say "Mein bhangra nach raha hu." ( I am dancing the bhangra ) and you are as talented as I am in the bhangra department, you might as well go and say it, since you have already embarrassed yourself.

    The Horse: Somewhere during the proceedings, a white horse shall make an appearance. Even though one will have been crazed by the surfeit of vegetarian food, one is very very strongly urged not to rub one's hands in glee at the hope of some meat on the table. The horse is not for eating. The poor animal, dressed like Kareena Kapoor will be the beast of burden which shall carry the bridegroom into the land where leaving a wet towel on the bed is punishable by death and drinking binges and good food do not exist. To add insult to injury, all and sundry shall cruelly mock the poor bloke by gleefully dancing ( See above ) in front of the very horse while the victim haplessly observes from atop it. I too in my sadistic nature, threw caution to the wind and showcased a few of my personal steps for the benefit of my friend, but was hastily stopped from displaying any more since I was scaring the poor horse. In review, one is advised not to scare, or eat the horse.

    Language Tip: The horse in question is a mare and not a stallion. So do not say "Ghoda aa raha hai" ( The stallion is coming ). Instead, say "Ghodi aa rahi hai" ( The mare is coming ). For some strange unexplained reason, "Ghodi aa raha hai" is also not very well received.

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    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    I reiterate about valentine's day as to what I said about the blighted occasion last year. I am a man of unwavering principles !

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    A Traumatic Experience

    The good news is that I do not have stones in my bladder or kidneys. The bad news is that I had to go through two of those ultrasound-scan thingies to make sure. The memories of the ordeal are still fresh in my mind although it happened yesterday. The stout hearted may opine with scorn at my marked pusillanimity, but one must trust me that this whole business of having one's innards judged by this ultrasound contraption is not one to be anticipated with relish. If one had a wide-ranging bouquet of emotions to pick from before the whole exercise, my personal recommendation would be a single Silent Trepidation.

    Most painful procedures (like eating at in Bangalorean restaurants or talking to Hutch customer care) are preceded by a protracted waiting period, which by no means is more wholesome than the subsequent gory proceedings. This rule, regrettably holds true for ultrasonography too. The waiting business however has never fazed me. I have been in queues of different flavours and have (in all modesty) performed rather well in all of them. I had once been in the queue for tickets at a movie theatre, vying for the tickets for a cinematic abomination called Barsaat. Due to my unbridled enthusiasm and my go-getter attitude in the field of movie-ticket procurement, the friendly neighbourhood policeman who had been appointed to keep the peace in the area was forced to draw the conclusion that beaning me with a stout stick was the only way the peace could be kept. He then had proceeded to bean me. Still too, I had managed to get tickets and even did tolerate a quarter of the whole movie. Using this pointless anecdote, I intend to impress upon the reader that when it comes to queues and waiting, I do not cower and I do not quail. The sad truth however is that during the wait for my ultrasonography, I did both in rather generous portions.

    Let me put forth the points. The biggest problem in queing for a ultrasonographic scan is the competition. The other members of the waiting party are all expectant mothers, and walking into the waiting room is very much akin a sudden, uninvited appearance at a rather sombre slumber party. As soon as one trickles into the scene, the assembled gaggle unleash a barrage of glowers at one. These glowers then proceed to intensify in malevolence with the passage of time. I am sure that there is some warning on the wall outside which attempts to outline this particular peril to the unknowing man, and I in my customary pig headedness, missed it. If I have would have known that I would be at the receiving end of such persistent looks of disapproval from such a formidable assembly of pregnant women, I would have taken the easier way out by braving those pleasant little kidney stones. It is not that I have not been at the undesirable end of a look of disapproval before. It is an established fact that women hate ugly, balding men and I do fit the ugly, balding profile to a tee. This combination of alopecia and lack of visual appeal on my part has led to many a disapproving glance and I have handled them with aplomb. This phenomenon however was brand new -- whereas one has had to brave one withering look at a time, this was more of a concentrated community effort -- A sort of democratic movement to wither one's soul. I therefore, respecting the popular sentiment, dutifully folded. I started with some quailing and followed it up with some serious cowering.

    The above mentioned community driven brow beating exercise however is not the only blood curdling detail to the wait. The second part to it is as weighty as the first, if not heavier. The secret to a respectable standing in the ultrasonography world is the fullness of the bladder. That sadly is true. One might be brimming with sterling qualities, but if one does not happen to have a bladder with the precise degree of fullness, one's name sadly is mud. The path to a full bladder however is not an easy one. The whole process involves the imbibing of indecently huge amounts of water and then gritting one's teeth through the subsequent effects. As an additional test of character, the waiting hall is always adorned with roughly seventeen signs pointing to the numerous restrooms in the vicinty. One must trust me when I say that it is not one of the most enviable situations to be in.

    When one has survived the waiting period, the actual process might begin. The actual act is rather benign compared to the hellish aura which precedes it -- It involves the plonking of cold jelly and some severe prodding of various parts of the anatomy with a cold metallic thingy, on the part of a sombre gentleman. The problem with the above mentioned prodding is that the prodder is not really interested in what he is prodding at. The merry individual absentmindedly gives one a poke or two at regular intervals, while gazing into a screen which throws up strange fuzzy images. I do not blame the poor man. If I was in his place, I too would not have liked to look at me. I too would pretend to be interested in the soap opera on that malfunctioning television. The only problem however, was that I was not in his place. I sadly (as I have been all my life), was in my place. Occupying the status of the irritating commercial break which interrupts the airing of a rather gripping hazy fog is not exactly one of the most desirable situations one hopes for. When the credits for the hazy fog (equally hazy), finally started showing, the couch potato turned to me and said in a voice full of scorn -- "Your bladder is not full enough. Please come again tomorrow when you are aptly prepared !" Although tears were in order, I gave the man a stoic, wan smile and walked away. I just had been subjected to yet another new form of rejection.

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    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    A Bad Poem ( with Hyperlinks! )

    For some time now this blog has been quiet.
    This bad poem ( hopefully ) will set it right.

    "Has Bald Monkey had it ?" they say.
    "No more verbal diarrohea coming this way ?"

    Something's amiss -- they can surely tell.
    "For days now he hasn't fought over the GPL !!"

    "We know for real. The man is wasting away...
    He has reloaded Slashdot only thrice today.."

    They think that tis' a brain failure thats taken me aback.
    The truth is more serious -- It's like a DoS attack !!

    In some strange web my source code is ensnared.
    All my quicksorts are going O(n2) !

    It is strange. It does not make sense.
    My kobject has an unexplained reference.

    I however have with me the healing power of caffeine !
    A few sleepless nights and back I'll be, where I have been.

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    Saturday, January 07, 2006

    The Bar Episode aka Thats a First !

    The Legends of Rock in Koramangala is the bar I afflict on Fridays or Saturdays. The watering hole dishes out loud, tasty, retro-rock with unfailing sincerity. Also, if one can wave and holler vigorously enough, one might even coax those merry souls to dish out a few drinks. This post however, is not about those things and neither is it about the fact that despite my repeated requests, the DJ has simply refused to play Janis Joplin. It is about things uncannier.

    In circles wide and narrow, I have been known for the paucity of beans, but sang-froid I am known for. Unfazed is the state in which people would find me generally. I however will not unship falsehoods unto the unaware world. What happened yesterday did leave me with the Puzzled Gape. There have been episodes when I have got outside a whole plate of chicken tikka before the whisky could even say hello to the soda. I have, many a time, polished off the whole fried pomfret ere the cola could exchange common courtesies with the rum. These things regrettably do happen and I, to a large extent, condone it. What did happen, however cannot be condoned.

    So there I was with M., assiduously unwinding, trying to shake off the lethargy of a slothful week, watching Black Sabbath on the large plasma screen, who armed with an uncharacteristically young Ozzy Osbourne were belting out Paranoid. In the meanwhile, after a lot gesticulating, M. had managed to engage the flitting attention of the waiter and proceeded to order masala peanuts and a pitcher of beer. All was right, correct and pretty with the world.

    Then, it happened -- The waiter arrived with the masala peanuts. Follow me very closely here. Only the masala peanuts ! The beer was not be seen anywhere in the vicinity ! I have guzzled kegs of beer in patient waiting for masala peanuts, but this particular situation was unprecedented. It was the reversal of a complete world order. One needs the peanuts with the beer, not the beer with the peanuts. I was all masala peanuts and no beer ! I have had my share of trying experiences, and during those trying experiences, I might have faltered and I might have lost it, but the world around me always has remained rock-steady. This time however, I could see the whole world gently spinning before my eyes. This singular, conspicious lack of beer with such an abundance of masala peanuts really got me. It was Unexplicable. It was Unprecendented. There was nothing else to do. I proceeded with the Puzzled Gape.

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