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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