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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