Wednesday, December 28, 2005


woah!! a month..and 6 days..that's how long it has taken me to return to my warm, cozy corner of the web. i've not been lazy though folks. i've been making stuff up. mostly words. there is this group of fantastic wordsmiths who've been kind enough to let me post on their/our blog. so while i google my puny brain for a memory worth exploiting, here let me goose you over to the wordmint for a gander.

and you thought this was a regular mile long post..ha

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

get a load of this

regular programming resumes. opening the past-facing eye, i peered into my distant past once again. and just so you know its not all that distant. despite my regular "past"ing dont picture me in an armchair, white shawl matching the color of the few wisps in my head , puffing an ivory pipe and coughing intermittently while i reminisce thus. i said DONT. i spy (as usual) a small kid struggling with the burden that low school imposes on all its temporary prisoners. a canvas bag full of somewhat neatly brown-wrapped,labelled notebooks and tattered textbooks. that's me. i used to think of the 200 meters or so from my quarters' home to the quarters' school as my own epic journey with the cross. my cross of course being the canvas bag . with multiple front flaps that closed pockets that could at the most hold a breath of air. shoulder straps that were once the width of my pencil box had twisted themselves into helices the width of dna strands thus causing the maximum stress on a 10 year old's shoulders. still i liked that bag. it was way better than the aluminium boxes that some kids used to lug to school (if you havent seen one of those, you are probably too young to be reading this).

when i moved to middle school, the workout increased. while i suggested switching to a meat-based diet to supplement my rapid muscle growth, my parents citing religious reasons simply upgraded me to the next level in backpack technology. so in sixth standard i was the proud owner of a waterproof chennai. Ha! take that you pesky rare droplets of rain. waterproofing of course had no relation to load bearing capacity and within a couple of weeks, i came home dragging the backpack with one strap severed from its moorings on the bottom of the bag. i suggested hiring a few million ants. i'd just learnt they could carry 50 times their weight and our house already employed them to signal us when i spilt something on the floor. one small,high density schoolbag shouldn't really be a problem. turned down again. having expended my bag budget for the year, i had to get it repaired at a roadside shop. the guy there, fashion guru that he was, tore down the other strap and attached what he claimed were the most reliable bag straps ever. created by the goddess saraswati herself,so kids like me could bask in the glorious light of education. appositely they were in brilliant yellow and gave out this beatific glow that am pretty sure made me visible from outer space. he was right about one thing though. that strap lasted till the bag was in tatters and even now a piece of that strap lies somewhere in my home, with pieces of rats' teeth stuck to it.

my next few bags weren't in the same class as the duckback. some couldn't take the leaky pens i'd throw into the side pouches and would safely and securely transfer the ink onto my notes. a few others weren't made to be carried on one side as the style was in high school. their center of gravity pulled me to one side and everyone had to twist their head sideways while talking with me. i went through school causing no problems to the bag manufactures, ensuring them of a steady revenue till i reached college. that age of rebellion. i started making plans about the fuel to be used and checked the old newspaper supplies so i'd know the right composition of the bhogi bonfire to set the backpack alight. turned out that my college was just another school. albeit one without uniforms. and back to the bag it was.

(just one more paragraph and i'll stop, i promise). i've done a lot of absent-minded stupidity in my life. but i may yet be unable to beat my friend who used to sleep everyday in the college bus. he would get off on a stop before mine and it was my duty to awaken the kumbhakarnan from slumber. one day our fellow is over sleepy, almost misses his stop, wakes up, asks for some coffee and somehow gets pushed off the bus, still a little woozy. as i look at him standing there i realised that he does not have his bag. good friend that i am, i just assumed that he didnt bring the bag that day. turns out he did and it was apparently sitting right beside me for the 5 mins between his stop and mine. after a high-speed chase of the bus on a tvs champ, he finally caught up with it in the depot and rescued his precious. an olive green bag containing an empty stainless steel lunch box. now what do you think my next post is going to be about :)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

the most useful post here, ever

since you've pretty much gotten nothing for being such a loyal reader i thought i'd make it up to you and post about something that is fast becoming public knowledge on the blogosphere. to give credit where its due, i came across this atSepia mutiny and then saw another post over at anti's fortress of gregaritude.

this is what i did today. went to registered for free, chose to download Agni Nakshatram (for free again...its among the 20 or so titles that are up for grabs) and am watching it as i write. it took me about 2 mins to register and about 10 to 15 mins to download the 3 wmv movie files. its not dvd quality as they promise on the website but its much better than that vcd quality crap that floats on various websites. they have a motley collection of titles, many of which belong to the time before asin was born. but hey they are free for now.

so go forth and enjoy the utility of this blog for now. it's a rather limited time offer.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

black as hell,strong as death,sweet as love

i'm a coffee drinker. wait, i take that back. i'm more like a mochaholic. if i knew swimming i'd probably be diving off a high board into slightly lukewarm coffee. i dont know who got me started me on this stuff but till i did i was the poster child for complan. like the very nice complan boy, i too took off vertically achieving heights that few in my family had ever achieved. in fact when I was in my teens my mom ditched the step stool and ottada kucchi(the long stick with a broom attached to the end that'd remove cobwebs) and used me instead. once i reached the elevation where the loft was within my arm's reach, they promptly discontinued the rather expensive complan and switched me to the even more expensive coffee lest i get tired while working thus.

i fell for the trick quite easily. coffee was nice. the smell of filter coffee and the distinct sound that a full tumbler made as it clanked on the bottom of the davara were enough cues for me to wake up in the mornings. now i'm still talking abt the pre-qwiky era when the only hot drink that was cool enough to be drunk outside was a nair kadai single chaya. when i got to the US, i went through the experimental stage and tasted various beverages of varying temperatures and alcohol content. and when i finally turned to coffee at my host's place i hit the tasteless wall of instant coffee. having repeatedly seen that ad where arvind swamy happily gallops away to office after drinking this filter coffee doppelganger, i'd figured it wouldn't be that bad. little did i know that he was running from this crystallized abomination. i refused to believe in the granules as a manifestation of the supreme nectar and stopped drinking it.

it was at the height of my non-caffeinated stupor that someone pointed out a starbucks. i went in, ponied up my lunch money for a cafe latte (the menu has the right accents in the right places) and then promptly decided i would be a long term investor in the company. while the baristas smiled sweetly and swiped my credit card till the black strip wore off, my money mixed with theirs like coffee and low-fat soy milk. lattes and mochas and frappys took pleasure trips on my blood stream till one day ,out of purely non-monetary reasons (yeah right), i decided to try the coffee of the day. and hey with a little milk and about 6 or 7 packets of cane sugar it wasnt bad at all. i soon got back to eating lunch

i've moved on from starbucks since. i even subject myself to instant coffee as long as it has enough sugar in it to give the mug cavities. but like the millions of coffee lovers i'm thoroughly addicted to the bean to the point where i can probably snort it. Step 1 of the mocaholics mysterious: "I admit that i am powerless over the potent mix of dark french roast with skim milk." Having sampled most of the decoctions that the midwest has to offer, i'm sure i've tasted the worst cuppa joe's. it was at a burger joint that i won't name. but the best coffee, i havent had that one yet. a fine italian restaurant came quite close but it was still missing something. maybe i'll brew it myself . so in a few years when hits chennai, look up "Okka Mocha" (TM). that's where i will be , davara in one hand, tumbler in another, serving up the best brew to chennai's millions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

compare and contrast

it was towards the last part of my drive that I started noticing it. The long beams thrown out by the headlights of the oncoming vehicles pierced my brain like pins entering a cushion. silent and painless. they reacted with my cells changing them more than my own thoughts could.the fusion caused my brain to burst out releasing metaphors like the many offices ejecting workers at the stroke of 5. there were metaphors of all kinds. some as colorful as the expletives uttered by our honorable members of the legislative assembly. some were plain like white text on black paper. a few were unnecessarily long like oscar acceptance speeches. and a few succinct like mani ratnam's dialogs. but among all of them one stood out like a sore thumb. it was the one comparing my mistake to that of an unlicensed poet:
"these are not metaphors, you fool, all of these are similes"

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

early morning nirvana

things are invented regularly. more than anything else purpose determines their design. and if you dig a little deeper, the purpose is almost always determined by something that already exists in nature. and thats just a way of taking a trip around the moon and then saying we copy shamelessly. being "cleverly designed", we conveniently use a saying that justifies means and the collective human conscience is appeased. besides nature can't sue us for plagiarising, can it?

one such amazing creation (like many others) probably had its seed in one of the -asic eras. the caveman had been enjoying peaceful sleep after devouring a rather rare bear stroganoff when he was woken up by this hideous sound. he woke up and ventured out of his cave to discover the yellow ball slowly climbing from between twin mountain peaks. the very picture that would later become the template for every 2nd standard student's drawings. he looked around for the source of the sound and found this most regal of birds standing on a rock. it was brown and had a brilliant red crown on its head and when it opened its beak to render what it thought was melody, the hideous sound emanated again. he admired the beauty for a moment,carefully took aim and flung a stone, missing the bird and his breakfast at the same time. but this memory imprinted itself in his genes and evolved till finally a rather evil scientist invented the alarm clock(yeah thats how subtly i state the obvious).but this post is about something that followed.

going back in the past again. the next morning the same thing happened and it repeated again and again for centuries and our Man evolved on the side.his work load increased significantly and one morning our guy wanted to sleep-in while the bird continued to alarm (covering the name origin angle ppl) him without stopping its cries. a strange combination of his half-awakened rage and the rooster's concentration on screaming its crown off, meant the stone thrown by our man knocked the rooster out cold. only temporarily though. it was back at its crowing best within a few minutes. but in those few minutes our man experienced the sleep of gods. this too went into the gene pool's memory banks and aeons later the evil scientist met his nemesis. the snooze button.

in the dark early morning hours when dreams are projecting your fantasies in amazing technicolor and 5.1 Dolby surround sound, evil lurks outside in the form of the alarm clock. and when the hour strikes, succor is at arm's length. and as you press it down, remember this quote by an anonymous soul who no doubt experienced the pleasure of the snooze button :
"Your future depends on your dreams.
So go to sleep"

happy snoozing

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

a moving story

several days ago i woke up, stretched till my long hands hit the ceiling and then yawned loudly making a sound that resembled a certain dialect of ape. it was a good day to blog and i promptly did the first thing that years of grad school have trained me to do. i put off blogging for another day. and that day is today

the time off helped. first i found that my body didnt consider paper a foreign substance not having felt it for ages. and though my fingers and wrist had evolved into the best possible conformation for typing , i was able to reverse a bit and take up a book or two. i went with the mammoth harry potter first (found a typo in one of the starting pages, so found i could still spell), used a few of the narnia ones for breaks. yeah i know. mostly juvenile stuff but good fun still. i'm now going through a few crichtons that i missed. i bought that bill bryson 'history of the earth' book but i fear it might be too heavy right now. if u have any other recos do throw them across.

oh yeah i moved a few miles north as well. but i still consider chicago home, so that's that. new place. new people.and more folks to whom i need to explain my food habits. its become a little tiring to say the least. "so you are vegetarian eh? " . " yup" . " do you eat fish? " . "no". "what abt other seafood". "no, but i eat eggs". "hmm interesting. what abt caviar". "no". "but they are fish eggs". "never thought abt that". stumped. what is more confusing for the questioner is the reason for my lack of appetite for well roasted meat. i've repeatedly failed to explain sufficiently the link between my religion and my food habits. anyone know why a certain sect of hindus stopped eating meat a long time ago? for once i'm a little lazy to google it myself. got to get back to reading. the sphere beckons. later

Friday, August 26, 2005

the dog ate my blog

yup if u can believe it thats the best excuse i could come up with.doesnt matter that i dont have a dog, not even a nintendog. you wouldn't have believed my other excuse of suffering from temporary dyslexia of the kind where one forgets long blog addresses. i had to learn language all over again, competed in a spelling bee with a few 7 year old south asian kids and i lost out spelling T-E-S-T-O-S-T-E-R-O-N-E.

i was doing other far less interesting things when i could've written abt the time when my cycle was swallowed alive during the night by a giant robot that needed the grease (or at least thats what my parents told me). turns out its going to take some more time for me to reorganize and sort my brain and remove the cobwebs that've been woven between the links on the right.

but as one of the future great rulers of this noble country so succinctly put it :
"ah'll be bach"

Monday, August 15, 2005

add arizona to that list

a week without the net and i am still alive.i didnt jump off mather's point or the abyss in search of a wi-fi signal. just a couple of quick thoughts and i'll be gone :

in vegas the party is still going on with no sign of relent. i wrote about it at length(measured in meters) after my first visit but will not subject you to the worst travel writing ever. did get to the top of the stratosphere at last. also learnt to navigate the side streets of vegas like a vegas cabbie.

the grand canyon is incomprehensibly vast. probably the closest i'll ever come to experiencing the Total Perspective Vortex. at most points it was quite difficult to assess the depths/heights. google didnt reveal where shankar shot that song for jeans so had to skip the idea of asking ash to go out there for a run around the stubby bushes.

unfortunately a digital camera fell into my hands and the total mayhem that resulted was like a version of die hard with cameras instead of guns. i went about like bruce willis shooting his enemies behind, above and all around him without aiming. my (t)rusty slr was there too and made a case for its instant execution by running out of film just as the sun was rising over the canyon. after such a long break, it'll take me a bit before i remember how to do things like uploading pics, so hang on for a bit.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

stop the blog

i've been thinking and thats a pretty rare occurence. nevertheless i've been thinking about my blogging and i've realised that all i've really blogged abt has been about my past memories (u'd say DUH and i concur ). but the point is that many of my memories have jumped from being mere encoded neural connections to the physical realm taking the shape of a collection of words. no longer are they vague and hidden in a corner of my mind only to be woken up by a smell, sound or visual cue. they are now monsters on their own, roaming the blogworld scaring the wits off anyone who comes here looking for some decent writing. whats more scary is that i still have some more dormant in my head.

there are some consequences to this permanent form i've given them. lets say in a few years or decades i attend a family get together. having been blessed with some nice genes i volunteer myself and my memories to entertain the assembled masses and start to recollect how i was once saved by unhygenix from near drowning and a niece interrupts saying 'oh is that the one where u pushed him down..we've heard that' . after affirming that fact i begin relating another of my spelling prowess only to have some other child ask "can we watch the live webcast of the India vs Indiana cricket match now..we've read ur blog a thousand times after u made it compulsory reading for any child who knew the alphabet in the entire extended family". would i be happy that my blog could now suitably pass off as my clone or should i be sad that no one wants to listen to my stories any more?

another consequence is of course one that any blogger would be afraid of. what if someone steals my identity. its pretty easy. people can already comment as if they are someone else , so why cant some moron with no memories of his own steal mine. (the moron part of course quite obvious..who would want my memories in the first place). it would be like an old bad joke if i ran into him. he would be from the same country, city, street and house as i am but he would be like my evil version ( in all probability my good version). would i be worried that he has my identity or would i be more concerned about the fact that he gets more page hits than i do?

two many questions and not many answers. should i then stop this blog and save my memories from permanence ? the good consequences however may yet outweigh the bad. what if by some strange sequence of events i completely lose my memory? maybe the clever, beautiful lady doctor (who took me in from the fishermen who rescued me) would read my blog and then painstakingly relate it back to me while feeding me tomato soup ( no chicken stock pls). i'd probably do the same thing that many of our fillum heroes do - pretend that i dont recollect a single thing even after 6 months of tomato soup (double advantage, one more unique visitor to my page..HA). for all this to happen i need a way to convey my blog address to clever, beautiful lady doctors. if my memory serves me right a new tattoo parlor opened up down the street. i'm rushing there right now. how do u think would look in a nice gothic font ? and once its inked in i'm going to have to stick it with it for a lil while.sigh. i guess i'll stick with this blog for a lil while too. lets see where it takes me and my not-so-fleeting memories.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

english as the first language

this conversation happened close to 12am . the scene - me & my 2 roomies at their lab, where i'm supposedly working on my thesis while they work on theirs. we decide to take a break to get a drink from a vending machine.3 cans and $2.25 later we are walking back. one roomie has his can open, other roomie and i are struggling hard to get our cans open. thirsty and lazy, we hand our cans over to him. he opens both with relative ease. i start referring to an age old joke

me : you got it open cos of the shri ram factor

roomie1 : whats that

me : roomie2 and i'd already put a lot of effort trying to open it and we gave up just before we could get it open. all you did was put a little more effort into it and got it to open

roomie1 : so what is the shri ram factor

me : in sita's swayamvara, all those other kings tried breaking the bow one by one and successively increased the stress on the bow. when shri ram finally stepped up, the bow was almost broken. all he had to do was touch it and it crumbled instantly

roomie1 : the point is why did shri ram's turn come only towards the end after all the others?

me : maybe they were going in the alphabetic order..i mean "s" does come towards the end of the alphabet right ?

roomie2 : so they already knew english during the time of ramayana ?

at last count each of us had a masters degree in engineering

Saturday, July 30, 2005

little streams of alcohol

the last time i tried singing was in a cottage in top slip on the TN kerala border. the wildlife which is supposedly quite abundant in that area bolted to god's own country after my rendition of the spoken word version of 'mujhse naaraz ho' from papa kehte hain (remember jugal hansraj singing the more popular "ghar se nikalte hi" thinking abt mayuri kango). so when i start posting about a small subset of my most played songs over the past few days, you need to understand that its entirely subjective. here goes :

cornershop - brimful of asha : sepia mutiny has always been a regular haunt of mine and a post about mathangi arulpragasam aka M.I.A had a link to this song by cornershop. the last time i heard this song was probably when i was in my first year of college when it used to play on MTV. cool,trippy song with the kind of lyrics that one neednt really concentrate also had a link to this article by someone on kuro5hin with an explanation for the lyrics. one cool song.

stealers wheel - stuck in the middle with you : heard this one on 'malcolm in the middle' just got stuck in my head till i googled for the lyrics and found the song. it was on the reservoir dogs soundtrack too and there is a version by bob dylan. i also read somewhere that the stealers wheel singer deliberately used a dylanesque voice.

big rock candy mountain from the " o'brother where art thou ? " soundtrack is a sweet sweet folk song. lyrics that make you chuckle as the song continues its slow course. they are here .the version i'm referring to is the one on the right and the title to this post is part of it as are these awesome lines:

    I'm bound to stay
    Where you sleep all day,
    Where they hung the jerk
    That invented work
    In the Big Rock Candy Mountain

music has this amazing ability to create a mood. some songs do this through memories we have of listening to them and some merely by the sounds and lyrics . the 3 i've listed distinctly scream summer .i'm sure each person has their own list.wud love to hear from anyone who cares to share.

rahman had 2 releases - the rising(hindi) and ah aah(tamil) - over the past few weeks. i havent gotten around to listening to them since i've been doing other insanely interesting things like moving apartments and pushing a loaded moving truck. theres too much invective in that story.i'll let it simmer down a bit before i write a PG version of that rant.

Monday, July 25, 2005

current events

darkness engulfing space like a giant, black marshmallow. candles placed on tins,floors and the rare candlestand. kids running about with torches howling and trying to scare other kids. small flames and weak beams of light that interfered with the electricity board's agenda for the night. except for that weird marshmallow reference, you probably know what i'm getting at. a powercut in chennai( and elsewhere too i guess) was like a festival that wasn't on the calendar. sweltering chennai heat meant that familes would often move out to the balcony or to the front of their houses in the hope of catching a breeze. the powercut would thus transport families to a time when the best primetime show was put up on the sky (its still running but most of us are watching the wrong channel). the ones that remained indoors would feel their way to the special corner that always housed the candle which would then be lit.

and thats when i would take off from my house taking along a huge orange torch which was almost never the first thing that one would find in case of a powercut. most of my friends had those bulky stainless steel ones with ridges along the sides. ours was in orange plastic and had a plasticky yellow button that was once white. it was a tad too heavy and when tinkle or some such general knowledge magazine featured a DIY torch , i jumped at it. went to the tiny electrical shop on the main road, bought a couple of AA batteries and a small bulb. went back when i realised i needed a small wire to complete the circuit and finally had the shopkeeper do all the work. i'll point out that my life's ambition at that time was to be an engine driver of the nilgiri express. so if u r thinking budding electrical engineer, hold that thought right at that railway crossing. the DIY torch didnt work out. i could never find a way to hold the bulb and the wire to the terminal and investigate dark recesses like frank and joe hardy.

i'm not sure if the orange torch went out in a blaze of glory but it was the season for something bigger and better. twas, after all, the night of the emergency lamp. it was a device that from front-on looked like an iron box and had a handle on top. the designers i heard were aiming at the niche market of people who wanted to build muscle during powercuts. it was so heavy that the handle was probably put in so you could tie a rope and tow it when you moved. one thing was clear though, no kid was going to run up and down our street flashing the emergency lamp in other kids' eyes. it had a tubelight, a searchlight and an orange light that could be set to blink. kind of like an indicator..but of course, dumbo.. u'll need it when you are towing it. but why would someone name it an emergency lamp. i mean its a lamp and all , but "emergency"..maybe it was invented during a certain period of indian history. the only emergency that i can think of is maybe when your boat springs a leak and you need to unload some weight off..the first thing to go overboard would be the emergency lamp. how your boat started floating in the first place with the emergency lamp on board will be left as a homework for you to solve.

the power would always play spoilsport coming back just when the fun was reaching its peak. a few kids would still linger around till their parents called them in.i was probably already inside doing my homework ..heh heh..i meant watching the last few songs being called out on super hit muqabla. stupid current cut. made me miss most of the show.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

weekend self suicide

stop stop...stop ... STOP
i've been here for 5 years and except for a really insignificant incident at a grocery store the first day i stepped here ,culture shock was just a term i heard in the international services office. i didnt flinch one bit when i faced shelf upon shelf of different kinds of cereal and quickly picked out the cheapest one without confusion.i thought i was immune to the phenomenon. until today. my culture , traditions and values were jolted right out of the comfy sofas and swimming pools they were lounging in and were treated to about 50 million volts of the most shocking combination of visual and auditory sensations. there they were. ash and sonali kulkarni stepping out of a shop in what i presume is one of those bylane bazaars in amritsar. one where indian culture is displayed in all its colorful splendor on store fronts , available in kilo and meter measures for british directors to buy and then shock endlessly. it looks like any normal indian market till ash and sonia kulkarni burst into some of the worst english lyrics set to an indian tune by that gifted music director anu malik. and thats when i heard a huge thud inside my head and looking inside found culture lying shocked on its side near its couch and tradition pulling its hair in despair was running circles around it.

as i continue seeing bride and prejudice, i keep repeating to myself that this must be a satire. surely gurinder chaddha didnt shoot a english video of ash near the golden temple. i can't make out some of the genres that were cut up and pasted together to make this frankenstein creation. dialogs often acquire a victorian accent (ok ok maybe thats just english and my ears are blocked) with people asking permission to introduce their family. i shouldnt carp abt it so much i guess cos the movie has been funny in parts , especially the part where this indian dude who has struck gold in amrika comes back to seek the hand of ash. hey alexis bledel just entered the movie. you go GILMORE GIRL. and a mariachi band has just started singing in english in a hindi tune. stop wait let me watch the movie..maybe i'll spot anu malik playing a harp in the snow, singing "let it snow,let it snow". ok i stop here. i have to go finish my sambar rice and appalam before the appalam loses its crispness.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

collector's edition

i can imagine this like i was there shooting it all on home video. in one of those triasic or mesozoic or some other era my ancestor along with his fellow neanderthals through luck and sheer stupidity managed to stun a huge brachyosaurus. the giant lizard which was chewing placidly on the leaves from some tree was shocked when a group of tiny humanoids jumped from somewhere making guttural noises that unknown to them consisted of the choicest bad words in dino lingo. like any garden variety dinosaur it should've normally responded with a sweep of its tail knocking attackers of their feet,but now it was confused. its tiny brain, unable to decide between responding to those bad words in kind and giving a command to its tail to thwack the neanderthals (my ancestor included), went into overload, burst a few arteries and succumbed to internal haemorrhage. while the other neanderthals harvested the meat ,most of which would go waste because they chose to invent fire before ziploc bags, my ancestor after having a small bite was busy scavenging for the 113th neckbone from the skeleton. on finding it he carefully and clinically jumped on either side and then hit away with a club till he was able to separate the neckbone. he then lifted it and added it to his velociraptor skin pouch. for you see he was one of the earliest to take to a hobby. he was a bone collector (no reference to that serial killer movie) .

this trait had passed unhindered through generations of wiser men and women till one day (in the past of course) it surfaced. out of the blue i decided i had to start a collection of marbles. those glass spheres were like tiny worlds that were begging to be discovered. i was fairly good at the game but i think i played it only so i could buy more of these. i had a large collection in various sizes and colors. some of these were blue or green ones that one could also find inside those ancient soda bottles. one just had to admire the ingenious way by which the makers had sealed those bottles with those marbles and had ensured that no eight year old, with the singular aim of increasing his marble collection, could possibly extract them. thus a 50 paise panneer (rosewater aka attar ppl..not that cardiac clogging cottage cheese) soda would surely result in a sticky but fragrant t-shirt for the rest of the day as i quite literally showered in that sweet stuff in my hunt for the precious orb of glass. the last time i counted i was upto 102 of them stored in a piggy bank that was actually quite representative of my savings.

when i grew up (not a lot) i quickly jumped onto the bandwagon that many a indian kid was already riding. coin collecting and stamp collecting were the hobbies du jour. i took to stamp collecting after i discovered a huge cache at an older cousin's place who was only too happy to give it all away as he had other "interests" to occupy his time. so without effort i had a huge stamp collection that was neatly organized already. i'd pester our neighbors ,whose daughter was abroad, everyday to see if she'd sent them a letter and had a hand in several shady dealings in school. the dealers would almost always meet up under a tree or a corner of the playground. out came the stamps from the middle of textbooks or dirty pockets. after a quick recce of the other one's offerings and a nod to seal the deal the stamps would quickly exchange hands. one had to be extremely clever to avoid being fooled by the "fakes" for once the deal was closed that was it. the stamp mafia had its own set of laws and no one dared to break it. i got a stamp album that alloted pages to each country , intending to populate it with my collection but grew tired of maintaining it soon and it was mostly empty after Australia.

the whole collection/hobby thing was becoming less fun and i gave it one last try with the bus ticket collection. frankly i dont remember why i even started collecting them. i guess i was trying to be the anti-conductor...he would tear out the tickets and i would collect them and create books organized by denomination. my noble intention to recycle the tickets by selling them back to the pallavan transport corporation was shattered, rather bit, into pieces by a family of rats. they deemed their need for comfortable bedding more important than my intention and that was the end of that collection.

people collect all sorts of things these days. everything that was ever made before 2000 has become a collectible and thanks to ebay even toasted bread has a significant value. i stopped collecting bus tickets after the rat event . the cta issues a silly magnetic card that neither me nor the rats particularly favor. but i'm still collecting memories, real and imagined, by the busload and filing them all away. i'll give you a couple of guesses to figure out where they end up eventually.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

a fair evaluation

i went to "the taste" last week. 'the taste of chicago' is a 11 day feastival dedicated to gourmands from all over the greater chicagoland area who try to solve an age old problem. given an infinite number of food choices, a limited amount of money and a stomach with a somewhat finite capacity, how best to fill it while still retaining the train fare to go back. being a member of the ilk that sprints as far as possible at the mention of math , i wasnt too worried about those choices confusing me. the choices were also severely limited considering the fact that i am of the species that eats fruits and leaves. 10 minutes after i'd purchased 11 tokens for $7, those plundering pirates, pillaging poltroons who call themselves chicago's best restaurateurs had decapitated my long, perfectly perforated token sheet leaving me with exactly 1 token. 3 tokens had fetched me a "taste" of some pita,hummus + tabouleh salad (of course i had the recording of "is this vegetarian?" handy and just had to press play to the first pirate) ..a taste being a small portion of the full dish. they should actually be calling that a "sniff" , cos thats all i did once i got the plate of hummus and salad and it'd vanished. one not-so-good funnel cake later i was pretty much done for the day. wandering about in the jostling crowds, i soon got a familiar feeling and the tortoise mosquito coil that should've been the logo for this blog made its appearance in front of my eyes ..rotating slowly.

i was staring at a stall with strings of chillis hanging around the sides with a small crowd of people around. i smacked my lips and waited for my dad. he was somewhere in that crowd trying to justify our long bus ride to get here. he was getting one of those large appalams that combined with the chilli powder,sprinkled on it with finesse, made for one super snack. it was an essential part of our annual summer excursion to what we kids referred to as the egjibichan and the tamil nadu govt referred to as a trade fair. it took place without fail every summer (how we chennaiites differentiate between the seasons is a highly classified topic not covered in this post) on the Island grounds which was surrounded by the perennially stagnant Cooum. there were a lot of stalls put up by different state departments. the only ones i really remember are the police department , probably because of the weirdly scary, smiling statues of policemen saluting, the one for the fire department, which had this fire engine outside and a stall that sold books from mir publishers of USSR.

i was never aware of the politics between india and the erstwhile soviet union. all i knew was that it was an awesome bargain when one could buy bundles of 5 books for Rs.10 each. i would carefully choose bundles that only had russian and ukrainian folk tale books. it was almost impossible though and i would always get one book in the bundle that had puzzles about old men who bequeathed a princely sum of 17 kopeks to their 3 sons and we were responsible for dividing it in a fair manner. the folk tales also had such puzzles but the authors themselves solved them in a rather creative manner by sending the sons on a long journey towards 3 mountains each taller than the other and with a wooden,silver and golden castle on top. of course each castle also contained a maiden each named evening star, morning star and the sun princess respectively who turned into song birds during the day and a evil tsar who guarded them. so at the end the sons would've forgotten about their poor father who'd probably spent his lifetime saving up those 17 kopeks. i clearly digressed there but i guess u get the story. i must've bought at least 3 bundles over a 3 year period of which only the puzzle books survived, the others having being sent on long journeys themselves after "friends" borrowed them.

the other big buy on every trade fair visit was this top + flying saucer. there was this ingenious little mechanical device to which one could either attach a plastic top or a flexible saucer which was pretty good at flying in the air. the saucer would be lost the same evening having being sent out of our second floor flat's window to explore outer space and moments later the top would unsuccesfully try to emulate the saucer. lacking the aerodynamicity it would plummet down to the concrete floor and fail to make the emergency landing thus reducing a 3 component toy to one useless piece which would also be sacrificed to my curiosity.

our evenings at the exhibition would always end at the rides. i would aways go there no matter what to stare at great giant wheel and wonder if i'll ever be brave enough to go up on one. another tortoise coil and there i was back at the "taste" staring at the ferris wheel that'd been put up at one end. the kids on it seemed to be having a fantastic time. i just turned around and went back searching for a stall that would accept my lonely token. where was an appalam stall when you needed it most ?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

lost ... and found

so there i was staring down at the ground . i was looking at a lonely ant scurrying for its appointment with that black bug over there. standing at long off or long on or whatever that far end of the ground was called was rather boring business. despite assurances from both the captains of our under-10 cricket team that my corner was one that was frequently visited upon by the ball , i was rather skeptical. i knew enough cricket to realise that a tennis ball hit by a 8 year old with that rather cheap plank of a bat would never reach me without rockets attached to its rear. everyone knew that the bat was all that mattered. now had that been an SG , i'd believe that even the next door toddler who practiced tirelessly with a hollow plastic bat would be able to blast that ball to the moon, without rockets.

the ant had by now concluded business with the bug and was heading towards the pavilion. i looked up and realised play had been stopped and that meant only one thing. my game was about to start. you see i didnt own the bat or the ball or the wall on which the 3 squiggly stump lines were drawn. i could hit sixes and fours at will but only if everything including the bat was imaginary and of course during my long stands at the far end of the field i'd even imagined some hatricks while bowling ... to myself. yet my inclusion into any game of cricket being played in the staff quarters we stayed in was a foregone conclusion, for i was a golden retriever. wait let me rephrase that before u go thinking this is the story of a dog. i was a seeker a la harry potter long before rowling even imagined quidditch. any cricket team playing anywhere in that huge quarters knew about my unique capabilities and those were the days when a slazenger tennis ball, even a tattered old one was worth a lot more than one of those silly snitches.

soon there was a call that echoed all around the ground and to a man, the whole cricket team started chanting my name. i looked around and started to slowly walk towards the evil bushes that had recently gobbled up our ball, acknowledging the cheers from the crowds. then quickly broke into a run as the captain of one of the teams told me that i would not get the customary baby-over batting if i didnt come sooner. after interrogating the batsman and the fielders, i quickly calculated trajectory, accommodated for bounce and age of the ball , added in a few of my favorite constants for luck, dived into the bushes, scratched my scrawny arm on some of the branches, tore up some leaves to do unto the bush as it had done unto me and came out with the ball. i even declined any assistance to help me out of the bushes. i knew my job and the baggage that came with it. fully satisfied with my performance i went back to search for my ant when a boy from the other side of the quarters came huffing and puffing across the ground. that could only mean one thing. i strained my eyes to look at batsman, realised no one had given him an SG bat. assuring myself that there was no way he was going to hit the ball to me, i quickly left with the other boy. some other team needed my skills more than this one did.

yesterday i got to play the gentleman's game after quite a while. my first ball bounced near my legs and went towards long on, my next went one bounce towards point and my third ball went right over the batsman's head. yup i was bowling. my batting fared much better though. a greek guy who'd never played before insisted he wanted to try bowling and the other team, seeing it was me with the bat, gave him a chance. after much swishing and slashing, i made contact for a single. the best part however came when someone edged a ball into a corner of the concrete courtyard we were playing in. play stopped and i started walking slowly towards the corner with a lopsided grin. compared to evil bushes, this one would be a piece of cake.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

powerbook sans power

Shakti , age 1.5 , size 40gb , master volume and storage device of arun kedarinathan spun its disks one last time and gave up with a final wheeze at 10.11pm CST on June 29 2005.

Shakti is survived by a 2 month old 4gb ipod mini and a cheap free-after-rebate 128MB jump drive neither of which, while containing part of it's soul, can never replace it.its extra-brilliant owner who often refers to for word meanings, has now added one more word to his vocabulary.

Additional resources or duplicate copies of data on different storage media for emergency purposes.

he plans to use this new word in many sentences in the near future or in just one sentence repeatedly viz. "i lost all my files because i didnt take a backup".

services will be performed on a future date. a fund has been established in shakti's name for the "purchase a new 200gb hard disk for arun kedarinathan" program. blogging will be suspended for a brief period, while this mac user works hard at re-acclimatizing with windows.(yeah its a bad excuse for not blogging..i've killed several windows machines as well, though its a comparatively easier task.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

a quick tale

the bite

there it was again. this bug was spreading faster than others. this one did not wait for the infected one to contact someone else. normal, sane people were succumbing to this bug one after another for no apparent reason. he clicked on a couple more, experienced instant gratification a couple of more times and with a sigh logged on to his blog and started typing "a qui.."

there are a lot of good ones where it all started, in this filthy, funny, flawed,gorgeous blog and all over in infected blogs. unfortunately for you brevity is not the soul of my blog. you will never know how i restrained myself from making this post a 30 chapter book filled with metaphors and past incidents where bugs have bitten me. i'll stop before this post nullifies its title.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

a general theory of distant relativity

to sum it all up, math totalled me and the chemistry just wasnt there. but physics had a gravitational pull of its own. i'm an engineer by degree. i'm not sure if thats euphemism for geek or if geek is cooler these days. but if one were to extrapolate based on that fact, the conclusion would be that i had an interest for physics in high interest that was exceeded only by a desire to become a board of education director and abolish certain math topics from the syllabus.

physics was glorious if i left out the proofs and equations that one was expected to memorise and churn physics teacher in high school did the best to make us like it. he would liken a capacitor to a member of a tribal group and when they were in series, he would demonstrate, it was like a bunch of them holding hands and performing a tribal dance around an imaginary fire. while the description was pretty good as a memory aid, come exam time all i could think of was groups of male and female capacitors dancing in colorful costumes, feathers on their plates and some beating on drums. the equations were forgotten and even if i remembered some,i would often miss out mentioning units which in high school translates into exactly zero marks. describing the series capacitance equation as an item number probably didnt help much either.

college physics was much better. it should be mentioned that my college unlike others in india was a total party fact it merits a post on its own..maybe some other day. but yeah, total party all the time.but due to the weird laws of physics governing engineering school seating arrangements, no matter how we tried, the girls always ended up on one side of the party, segregated from the boys. apart from the fact that we were made to sit in class from 9 to 5 , it was like a huge carnival without the tents and the rides and the jolliness. to convey how easily college can kick high school's ass, we were assigned 2 chemistry teachers and 3 physics lecturers in our first year. these guys were not ones to joke about the subject though. no singing or dancing. more work for my right arm as they competed with each other at breaking the official black-board speed writing records. we were like pythons, swallowing all that crap as a whole and regurgitating it on exam sheets spelling mistakes intact. yeah we skipped the digestion part. we were clever pythons. thermodynamics, acoustics, optics - all words that we were fluent with in high school merely represented different huge notebooks that reflected the blackboard. one such "ic" pursued me for 3 more years forcing me to learn and then participate in capacitive and then resistive tribal dances. that i managed to escape with an electonics degree was largely as a result of dancing in a huge crowd where my 2 left feet went unnoticed.

i'm done with physics for life. praise should indeed to go those 3 lecturers of my college who caused recurring nightmares in which schrodinger's cat and einstein were tag-teaming against me in a wrestling ring. if not for them i'd have become something pretty cool like a quantum physicist or an astrologist.

Monday, June 20, 2005

(re)verse gear

i was planning on posting this the day after my previous post. but a few world-altering events happened after that..australia lost to bangladesh in a ODI, only 6 cars started the US F1 race to which i almost went and this blog was reviewed in the Indian Express by a reviewer i do not know. you'll just have to take my word for it, it was in the magazine section of the paper edition and yeah i dont understand the logic of doing a blog review on paper either..but i'm glad to see my blog mentioned anywhere.
since this microbe of a blog is now under the microscope of some n readers, i thought i'll hold back my original post and put up something that fits the description in the review more. but you know what its my blog.
first a little introduction to what i'm about to do. chapter 7 of the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy begins :

    " Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe. The second worst is that of the Azagoths of Kria.......The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England in the destruction of the planet Earth. "

given how H2G2 is revered all over and now that its a movie and all, its time that i laid claim to that most undesired of titles. so here is my entry for all of you to judge. it was written ages ago and lay covered under layers of dust when i found it in the archives of my mailbox.


Like molten gold
your form pours
through my senses,
filling them.
a monument to seduce my mind
a beauty melted and reshaped into perfection
am i a satyr?

so go ahead and let me know...if you were at the counter of the department of english literature, would i get a poetic license or would you confiscate my keyboard and give me the undesired title?
the poem ended up there..these 2 lines are not part of it

Friday, June 17, 2005

bloggers on blogging

as a blogger i'm interested in feedback..heck i'll be honest and let you know that i've spent hours refreshing the page to see if there have been comments. i also like responding to makes for a good conversation. you are obviously interested in what i wrote( or not if u r one of those who i threatened into commenting) and thats more incentive for me to keep writing. i'll stop the lesson here.i didnt really want to don my professorial glasses and become the most boring blogger any side of the atlantic.

the point is that conversations are good. monologs...hmm..not so much. so when a not so random set of bloggers convened to answer a few questions about blogging, it quickly became an interesting conversation. for once its not about my boring past and for once i shall drop the silly metaphors .instead i'll point you to a very well sewn tapestry of all the bloggers' answer threads on

whats in it for me ? nada..nothin..zilch..emi ledhu. just that i was one of those bloggers who sent in answers..and as a blogger i'm just interested in one ad revenue.oops.sorry for the typo. i meant your feedback

whats in it for you ? an insight into what bloggers think they are doing..a look into what blogs mean to us in this networked world. u can either agree or the comments section of course and thats not the only post there..there is tons of brain food. links to articles that will make you think, to blogs that you should be reading right now.

check it out and leave some comments..i might just have the apt reward when you come back here. i'll give you a hint : its something that may defeat Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings and the vogons

go here : ifaqs

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

this post is injurious to health

i'm thankful to the govt of india for having cleansed the silver screen and getting rid of all that black smoke. i was beginning to have problems seeing the item number's face through all that haze. while we are on the topic, i'd also like to highlight several pertinent yet ignored aspects that the government should consider. the very obvious has now been removed from sight but the subliminal messages that the evil movie makers have been sending need to be carefully taken out of the equation lest they corrupt the movie-goer's mind and remind him/her of the tar monster

first of all , brand names.we'll start with scissors , no more scissors in any scene, even if it is the murder weapon of choice for a serial killer..additionally consider banning the scissor kick from being shown during the football world cup telecast next year. there shall be no gold (no more treasure movies :( ) or flakes (even if they are snow flakes) or kings(if it is an english epic, the word king shall be replaced with the rather safe and harmless 'raja')
there shall be no wills ( rama has to find something else to break in tamil translations of the ramayana, "will and grace" shall henceforth be called "dhill and grace")
and no more governor or khaja(whatever that means..i know its a beedi brand thats all) character in movies
thats as many brand names as this non-smoker can remember - oh yeah no camels either.

then the words associated with the evil, injurious,death causing habit. no more butts. yup though it will make me extremely sad and may cause several youth to pay attention to unimportant aspects such as acting and dialogs. no buts either,the phonetic similarity is too much to ignore. theatres shud be banned from selling puffs, the snack that has long been associated with intervals. you know what people do during intervals. they come out and take a long puff after getting reminded to do so by those puff-laden trays on the counters. thats actually two bans in one bill, considering that the puffs by themselves are probably more injurious to health than cigarette smoke.

i'm not done yet, but i have to go do some work. i'm writing an algorithm that when coupled with a smoke detector will automatically scan reels of film for the occurence of any of the above keywords and will instantly send notification to shri anbumani will also obscure those illegal occurences with square black pixels and add a bright red warning that says : "smoke karne wale, thera mooh kala"
gosh i have to beat those guys on the bench at infosys.considering how hard-working they are , they might have thought of this one already.

Monday, June 13, 2005

a cook in time

yet another search and rescue mission. my five years here have seen quite a few of this. this time though it was a matter of rice and death. i'll have you know that i'm the undisputed rice-cooking champion of the upper midwest south indian male graduate students association. among other traits that south indian males do NOT inherit from their moms is the ability to take raw rice and water and make it something edible. but its our staple food and sambar and rasam take back bench in deference for there can be no magic without the manna. so we start trying from a very early age (ie the day we step into the haloed apt kitchens and find out the flame is now a red,glowing electric coil). after 4 years of flying lids, whistling cookers and pasty white globs that are just one big,fused carbohydrate molecule i started to come into my own. i was conferred the title of l33t rice-geek by my roomies and promptly garnered the requisite CMM and six sigma certification. this caused rice making to become one of my primary duties and the art form that it was, it was a challenge, day after day, to come up with the quality that i'd made standard. it was an even bigger challenge yesterday, when i found that the all important weight/whistle had deserted me and gone awol.

if in all those words above , "whistling cookers" caught your fancy , there is some explanation in order. why not , you may ask, just go with an electric rice cooker like all those other grad students ? no spare parts that are small enough to get lost in the hell hole, all you need to do is plug and play. there are quite a few reasons but let me explain it in the worst way possible - through an unrelated metaphor. lets say you travel a lot by train. you go from madras to bangalore or hyderabad or wherever it is that you want to go in a train pulled by a electric locomotive. sitting inside one you really dont know what is pulling the train, the journey is quite immaterial and the destination is all that matters. now think of a trip from mettupalayam to ooty. the train is pulled by a steam locomotive. unless you are a ruthless serial killer hunting your next victim or you know that you are the next victim of a ruthless serial killer riding the train with you, you are bound to love the ride up the mountain with all the smoke and whistles. cooking with a pressure cooker as opposed to an electric one is somewhat exactly like that (due credit to mr.douglas adams for that line). you enjoy the sounds that scare your neighbors into thinking you have some sort of a mechanical monster and the sights that turn your kitchen into something that resembles a cloud gently invading a walkway in ooty. another reason is that i like giving out subliminal nods to things i enjoy, like heavy metal, and going by weight alone its tough to beat a Prestige in that category (ok..bad reason..sorry ). so steam beats electric and thats settled.

coming back to the weight, the rice was already on the heated coil and i was beginning to get flustered. timing was of utmost importance in my secret process and if things didnt go well i'd just have to start all over again. i ran through a mental checklist of what had happened after my extremely rigorous ritual of cleaning the leviathan vessel. the weight had to be in the corner of the drawer but it wasnt. i stole a glance at my roomie who was busy perfecting his version of a golt rasam for certification and decided against accusing him. it took all my knowledge of poirot and holmes to deduce that there was a possibility that the weight which can balance itself fairly well when vertical might've fallen on its side and rolled off into the deep recesses of my kitchen's closet and there it was , slightly dusty but still ready to face action.dinner was saved. my process is still intact , but the pressure has gotten to me. if only i could find a way to apply the same template to other south indian favorites. something tells me it wont work that way, the variables will change. so i'm stuck without an option unless.., unless the weight "accidentally" falls down from my window when i am doing a close visual inspection in daylight. something tells me its either going to be frozen parathas or sticky rice from lao sze chuan for dinner tonight.

lagniappe : madman has a he knows best. since my process is classified, i'm sure he wont mind if i direct you to his.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

paperback reader

as i watched this meme spread through the blogworld, i was wondering if i'll ever be tagged. suhail was the one who came out of the closet (no not that one..apparently he is a closet fan of my writing) and tagged me. since he also said nice things about my writing, i shall oblige...thanks for the tag, dude.

Total number of books I own: around 10 - 20 here, around the same number back home. after i discovered that there are places that give out books for free here, i stopped buying them..hey i'm just a student living in a not-so-cheap city. being frugal about things like books and lunch allow me to have the odd drink every day

Last Book that I Bought : must be that Calvin and Hobbes i got abt 2 years back, but i gave it away without it must be the lord of the rings i got in dec 2001 from odyssey, adyar...sigh

Last Book I Read : State of Fear , Michael Crichton sometime in Mar this and the selfish gene from the library, intending to multitask...took abt a day and a half for state of fear..selfish gene went back after 6 chapters because it was overdue and someone else wanted it more than i did

Books that mean a lot to me (at least five) :
what does this question mean anyway? if there was any lesson to be learnt from the books that i read, it was that i have to return them on time or pay a fine.. the ones that are listed here are the ones that got stuck in memory..there are others that i thought would make me seem geeky yet cool, bookish yet suave, smart and sexy all at the same time but they are all taken. damn all u bloggers who really read those books. most my posts are from the past , lets start from there :

the mystery of the stuttering parrot - the 3 investigators..jupiter jones, pete crenshaw and the bob guy kept me amused through many a summer vacation..but for some reason i remember more of this mystery than the others

H2G2 : cos its funny. i like to think my life is being run by mice...its much easier to give up and blame it all on them..i've only managed to read the first book in the trilogy and till the bit about elevators that knew abt the future from the second

lord of the rings : all that detail.i'm fascinated by really small,irrelevant details about anything. and am a huge fantasy/sci-fi fan. LOTR is easily the best combination of both these trivial interests of mine.

i,robot : a set of short stories each of which is a logically beautiful puzzle..i "solved" one of them as i was reading and am still patting my back for having done so . sci-fi rocks.

i'm finding it very tough to come up with a fifth book..i want to list 'ponniyin selvan' but i am still on the 4th book in that series and at the rate i can read tamil its going to take at least a year more to complete this and then the 5th book. i enjoyed reading the spy genre -ludlum,clancy and others- though none sticks out as being better than another. i also like some jeeves books, dont really remember any of them distinctly..i'll leave you with a couple of lines from one of them that i remembered and googled for..u have to get something in return for all this narcissistic crap :

It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn't.
- from Ring for Jeeves

i've always been quite lazy , so if u've read this and are one of the few that are yet to post some form of this meme, by all means go fact i'll even let you mention my blog as inspiration for the post

Monday, June 06, 2005

angels in the cricket field

in my infinte laziness i forgot to point you all towards my favorite sports-fiction blog(its a new genre-defying sub-sub-genre that is less sport,more tasteless fiction and is a blog that will hopefully be a book one day), where i managed to sneak something under the mawkish oops hawkish vision of dopppsy
yup i'm scratching his/her/its back, (s)he/it is doing mine (not 'me' ppl 'mine') happens all the time in the blogworld and now without much further ado, here's jagguG, the debonair cricket administrator cum world traveler cum bengali svengali, revealing more than we'd ever wished to see..oh wait, the warning first :

its rated R for Ridiculous and X for "Xcuse my offensive language and racial slurs, if they dont offend you enough, you cannot have your money back"

enough said, just go read it: ughsport
its the one about deepthroat

for those counting or not, that's 3 posts this week already and to add to all those words, someone i never knew just tagged me with that book meme thingy

Sunday, June 05, 2005

more than a peck of gold

i've always liked movies that are based on some kind of treasure hunt. i think i might've once been a soul who was really close to finding some great treasure and was cheated out of it. call it a fetish if you want but i only like the ones where the treasure is old (darn i missed a 'g' there). well stacked crisp currencies do nothing to me. i like parchment maps yellow with age and the way in which movie directors have forever navigated great distances by simply drawing a red line on the same parchment from city to city until they reach the destination in a tiny corner of africa or a snow covered village in nepal.

why would i not want to be the hero? ignoring the fact that i probably look and act more like the irritating sidekick,its probably cos the hero is too ideal in most cases. To shun all the treasure, escape with his life and later find that the horse he rode off into the sunset is the one that the villain tirelessly loaded up with some treasures before dying - he is also too lucky. talk about someone getting what they dont deserve. the villain who planned the whole thing, lusted for the moolah openly, transgressed in several inventive ways that included tying up love interests over a pit full of crocs, barely gets to see the treasure when a quake decides to use the ground he is on as its epicenter. its like those flight points you pile up on your credit card, when at the end you find they wont even take you from the airport's parking lot to the gate and just like us, the villain too is an optimist who finds his glass completely empty in the end.

dont really know when this post went from being one about treasures to being one about how villains are more human than all other characters. bottom line : once i'm a salaried employee i'd like to get paid in gold, even if its only a few gold filings a month. i'll collect them all till one day i can pump them through a shower. i'm sure that that day there will be a quake measuring 50 on the richter with its epicenter in my bathtub.

a peck of gold

Thursday, June 02, 2005

must..write..something..S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G, something

more about me and my past. right now about 10,567 indi-bloggers have posted abt ABCDs, or to be politically correct indian-americans, kicking ass in the sport of orthography, or to sound less like a pompous ass, spelling, and this got me thinking about my childhood. yeah i know. this is getting to be a bad habit, this past-posting. but i have no option - my past just lends itself to posting. so what was i thinking about ? oh yeah..second standard (second grade to all you americans,indian- or otherwise ) or was it third when we had those dictation tests, i had been a stellar student till then as indicated by little silver (not gold) stars stuck on my report card..either i was eating my veggies and knew the solar system or my teacher was rather fond of stars. either ways i was one of those kids who sat in the first bench and built my right biceps by constantly lifting it whenever the teacher asked a question of the class. but wait , before you start judging me and words like nerd, geek and teacher's pet start spelling their way into your brain, there's more to this story.

one fine day the girl with the gold stars in her report card was absent. the same day we were having one of those dictation tests. with a gleam in my eye, i quickly scribbled down the words as the teacher called them out. the anticipation of what was coming up after the test was causing my HB pencil to quiver and tremble as it raced across the lines tracing one letter after another. i would show the world that all that glitters was not gold. when the teacher called out for us to spell the answers, guess whose hands would go up first. MWAHAHAHAHA. with ideas of class-domination firmly entrenched in my mind, i raised my arm, like a nazi adjutant eager to please the fuhrer , everytime the teacher called for answers. by the time she finally noticed that a hyper energetic kid was jumping up and down in the first bench, i was almost dehydrated. i rose up from my throne to accept the crown by completing this final quest. the word was "ENOUGH" and the phonetic champion that i was, i didnt even consult the sheet i'd written the words on. and proceeded to spell it I-N-A-F-F.

i am not sure what happened after that but i was scarred badly and i stopped lifting my hand even to say tata. my writing suffered the most, having had to wait till the invention of word processors and automatic spell-checking. i relinquished my first bench to the gold star girl when she came back and turned into one of those kids who defaced desks by writing on them. INAFF , i wrote on the last desk i shared with this guy who had no stars on his report card, INAFF , again and again and again...

disclaimer : obviously i just made up parts of the story .. to the teachers looking for the kid who wrote INAFF on second standard benches, do you have concrete, irrefutable evidence?..and to the girl who is missing one gold star from her report card..MWAHAHAHAHA

Monday, May 23, 2005

take your pic

i hate digital cameras..mainly because i cant afford one. so my stand, as i've told a million others, is that in the order of depreciating image quality, the human eye is followed by a 35mm slr, the one-time use plastic camera and finally by any of those ubiquitous clickathon participants, the digital camera.

i like to think that photography is one of my hobbies. its not. my slr is hiding in a corner of a closet lest i take it out and shoot some really badly composed shots. the few that i took (about 15 rolls) are all organized by a random shuffling algorithm i devised on the fly while dumping them in the same closet. note to any obssessive compulsive visitor of my room (and mom): open the closet at your own risk. biologists are however welcome to hunt for new species as long as they are named after me. enough gross out closet details. that photography was my hobby of destiny had been quite obvious to me from the beginning. my father had a yashica slr that was built for a slight variant of the time-lapse photography technique. once we assembled in front of the camera, a lot of time lapsed while my father tried to get the picture right in the viewfinder and then there was one photograph at the end. needless to say when i took that camera to my high school farewell party, all i had were photos without people and in the rare case the chairs that a few hours ago had been vacated by the last of my patient teachers.

when we went on this trip to kodaikanal ,a summer when people still thought about saving a click for a better shot, i was the resident expert on loading film into the cameras. its not like the other guys didnt know how, they were just too lazy and i was too much of a nice guy to refuse a chance to unload a sarcastic comment as i gently pulled the film a little out of its cannister, fitted it on the backside of a camera and then shut it up. by the time the trip ended i was as trained as one of those crack commandos who dismantle a canon (oops i meant cannon) in less than a minute. the slr had long been traded for this ultra-modern zoom (or joom depending on whether u like captain or not) camera that could have possibly taken good pictures. but i was so adept at loading and unloading film that i was content to keep doing just that and came back to singara chennai with no snaps and 2 complete rolls of kodak chroma gold.

obviously my youth blinded me to the fact that my best snaps were ones that required my presence to explain what the object in the snap was. so i plunked down a further $500 to buy myself an slr..a good one, the best one..the one with a setting for each shade of the sky...the one that was supposed to make a novice take perfect snaps of dew drops and make tail-lights of cars look like someone had drawn parallel red lines. it was slightly bulky , so what. after a few more of the aforementioned unidentified objects turned up, i was quick to set it on auto. a little later when i realised that pulling it out quickly, focussing and then shooting a shot required more muscles than those in my eye it went straight into the closet and started its hibernation. it still comes out to take a peek during birthdays and the roll i loaded back in 02 is still there with undeveloped photos of me blowing candles ( oh yeah i still do it).

but i refuse to vacate my fact i vow that i will never start a photoblog. if i do none of those photos will be digital or film for that matter. it may take a lil while but my latest camera consists of a drawing pad and a pencil. i'll personally capture each image to the worst of my ability. you'll still visit it , right ?

the disclaimer makes its comeback : i do not endorse yashica (now part of Kyocera Imaging), kodak, biologists, slrs,drawing pads,pencils or fact if someone paid me for doing this, i'll promptly run out and get a digital camera

Monday, May 16, 2005

the truth and nothing but

the men on my father's side of the family don't lie to save their skin or to gain any kind of advantage. we just use hyperboles in a rather exaggerated way. my sister and i always needle my dad and his brothers about their ability to spin whole kancheevaram sarees out of a single yarn. its hard not to when my dad insists he got his rather long name (my last name) just because his eldest brother liked it more than Narayanan and changed it when enrolling him in school or that he'd gotten his birthday because his sister liked a date more than another.

there was the "true" story of how my uncle (the same elder brother) had won an obstacle race in college. his only contender was this suave individual with jet black hair that was maintained with a host of creams and concoctions(an early metrosexual if u may). after they'd all lined up at the start lane, the instructions were dont confuse this with your ordinary steeple chase. this was an obstacle race a la the ones in full metal jacket, fauji and other such army while the announcements abt the obstacles and how to negotiate them were being announced, our hirsuit hero was showing his mane off to the scores of feminine admirers who were watching. at the sound of the starting gun (or the blow of the whistle, how wud i know..i wasn't there) the racers set off. the competition was clearly between my uncle and the brylcreem guy..split end to end they raced to the first obstacle , a set of low ropes under which they had to crawl and get across. at the other end brylcreem slipped out a little ahead of my uncle and raced towards the next obstacle - a sort of hurdle jump. while my attentive uncle nimbly jumped over the hurdle, the other guy, having focussed more on his curls than on the announcement, continued to crawl under these as well and was instantly disqualified. thus my uncle became the world champion of coimbatore in the obstacle race event.

my dad is a more trained exponent of this art having observed his brothers in action. he embellishes and adds to a story in a subtle way that what was once just a collection of gases and dust, quickly becomes a rock and then becomes a new world for people to inhabit. here's an example. when my parents landed here in the US , they went through the customs and as they were cleared to set foot into the Bushland, they noticed another parent couple being escorted to a closer scrutiny by the customs people. at least thats what my mom told me. when my father told it to me the first time, they were arguing vehemently with the customs guy telling him that it was their constitutional right to bring lime pickle into a country and that it wasnt a WMD like he'd thought it was at one whiff. the second time was at a friend's place soon now the "pickle terrorists" were being interrogated by senior customs official and one person who looked like an FBI agent. this time they rejected the husband's passport asking him to catch the next plane back. Seeing this the dharam patni instantly fainted thus converting O'hare International into a set for HAHK2-chocolate,lime juice aur aachaar.

if u know me , u r probably carrying a huge rock of salt around to take with whatever i say. dont worry too much though, unlike my elders, i've learnt to channel all that exaggeration into a written form - this blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

everyday superheroes

yet another morning. Vice-captain Patience stepped out of the shower mulling if today will be the day when he finally asks that bus stop seductress, Flirt-Woman, out. he slipped his costume on. what looked like proper dress wear could at a day's notice turn into the most fashionable evening wear and he didnt even need a cramped telephone booth or a dark alley. the saunter to the bus stop was done in an unhurried manner befitting his sobriquet and there she was standing dressed to kill. but who was that standing next to was that evil,conniving Babe-Magneto and boy was he packing it today. he had his babe-vision sunglasses, the flashiest 32-tooth smile and his flowing tie gave every indication that it had been designed to break hearts. articulate words flowed out of his voice box like polished cannonballs hitting their target with an equivalent force. Flirt-Woman was starting to look like Just-Another-Girl under the verbal attack. Vice-captain Patience ground his teeth silently and in a supreme display of his hidden waiting powers, stood a little away under the shade of a tree waiting for the bus. he knew his waiting powers far exceeded the villain's vocal abilities. he could stand there waiting the whole day if need be, lets see how long Babe-Magneto can keep talking. as if the devils had heard his prayers, a bus promptly came along. being the gentleman he was he kindly let the ladies go before him including a fragrant Flirt-Woman. be patient,he told himself, this is not the right time to talk to her. then in a flash Babe-Magneto promptly stepped on his toes and squeezed into the already crowded bus. in an almost never before seen display of his ultra-patience, Vice-Captain Patience silently bore it all, not even asking people to squeeze in to make more space. in fact he had used so much of his patience that growing woozy he stepped back for a minute , only to have the bus driver close the doors and take off. in that vulnerable moment, he almost let his weakness take over. repentance had a strange way of diminishing his wait time. no, he decided, this was no time to repent and summoning all his remaining patience, he turned back and went back to the shade and started practising waiting for the next bus. soon he was well on his way to becoming Captain Patience.

Friday, May 06, 2005

say no to reading

its a given fact that we are a very visual species..well i dont exactly know of any other species that can read pictureless books from birth but we do understand much more quickly with a picture. its probably safe to claim that barney has accomplished much more in teaching the importance of cleaning one's room than a manual on personal hygiene. my childhood was spent on a lot of comics that had talking animals. they were all created by a couple called amar and chitra and usually began with "once upon a time in a jungle". though i was clever enough to understand that a bubble above an animal's head meant that it was talking , the fact that a monkey was talking to a crocodile or that animals peacefully assembled at a banyan tree under the auspices of a lion king to ostracize a cheating hyena completely slipped beneath the radar of my bullshit detector. the point is that i learnt most of my morals - looking before leaping , doing things slowly so there is no waste, never to leave a royal garden under the care of a monkey etc - from a rich visual medium.

then someone told my parents about one of the Rs. the argument for reading a book against watching a movie goes thusly - you use your own imagination when reading, you imagine places things and people to have a certain form and assume certain features. a movie takes away from this "wonderful" experience. so the argument goes, reading will improve imagination but it doesnt stop there. the other 2 Rs -'riting and 'rithmetic - would quickly follow making life hell. its double the effort - not only does one have to read, you also have to translate the words into pictures. i know now that imagination produces false images 100% of the time. it stems from assumption and you all know what assumption is the mother of.

lets just do away with all the reading and go visual. everyone would then be on the same page. until N T Ramarao came along everyone had vastly different images of lord krishna and ben kingsley is for all purposes the only gandhi i know. i hope u didnt spend too much efffort imagining while reading all this. i'll try to come up with a 10 panel comic strip to substitute this post but no promises because the only thing i ever did right in arts class was writing my name on the left top corner.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

america's pastime/india's timepass

jagguG is the brainchild of dopppsy ..while to all others he is just a normal, multi-millionaire cricket administrator/manipulator , to me he is a ruthless think-tank capable of turning (fan)fiction to reality and baseball diamonds to cricket pitches and hence to real diamonds

sometime in aug 2005 when brownish-yellow leaves are strewn all over the outfield in a park in chicago, jagguG talks money with his fellow sharks - raju patel , raju shah, raju patel 2, raju patel 3 and kantibhai patel. did we give MLB a run for their money or what ?? i told u the grass is mightier than the beer. now lets see as per our schedule ,the regular cricket season should end sometime in november and the playoffs start the same day abt 2 hours after the last game. raju patel , the eldest in the group and the one with a grocery store in little india for the longest time, chips in with his infinite dal-packing wisdom. but , sir, but in november the grass will be gone..i mean from the outfield. it will be winter. no one will come here braving the chicago winds even if we give them free grass and viagra. the younger raju , with a gleam in his eyes, starts - we should move the playoffs to mexico, i've been to cancun, lots of nangi chokris there, heck we might even be able to cause a early spring break there if we market it right to the goras here. raju shah, in charge of logistics due to his experience in keeping track of frozen paratha packets - that would not work , sir, we've already announced the schedule, and this chicago crowd wont even go to indiana to see the latest rajinikant movie because gas is too expensive..they wont go unless we buy southeast airlines and fly them. this is a quandary. jagguG whips out his cellphone and calls his technical consultant - hey do u still have that rain machine we got to fix matches ? do u think u can reverse it and make it suck all the snow or something - we'll postpone the winter in chicago this time.what? it will take till next winter ?? phuck you man.kantibhai, the quiet chaat-corner owner - sir if i may, i have a canadian nephew who told me something. it seems the hockey league has cancelled its season because they wanted to keep all the money from the advertising, those greedy i suggest we move the playoffs indoors and onto the ice. the NHL fans dont understand the rules of hockey and wont care less if they were seeing balls instead of fucks i mean pucks.the stingy desi crowd will definitely drive from the suburbs to downtown - we can hit 2 penguins with one snowball sir. all our sons and nephews can be the parking lot attendants and our daughters and nieces can be half-saree clad cheer-leaders. we can sell bhel and samosas out of the concession stands. well the players have to be taught ice skating but we have that 2 hour gap between the regular season and the playoffs. we can charge these fans for that training session also. everything is in place, we'll just sign the NHL agreement. jagguG interrupts - then we can sell this to the canadians too.despite inviting them to the world cup the canucks are still ignorant abt our game.maybe when they see the ice they'll make the connection that it is a sport. so everything is settled, the first ice cricket playoffs shall skate out in november. wait a minute what is that i overhear - what people in sharjah havent seen a sheet of ice at all.hey raju3 , sun baenchod, as soon as the finals end here, cut out the sheet of ice from the arena and have it shipped to sharjah u hear.we're having the next season of ice cricket in sharjah

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

a class act

recently i saw this kid twirling a book on his finger. this reminded me of the many small yet brilliant abilities each person seems to innately possess. there used to be this guy in school who could twirl a pen like a baton with just 2 fingers. while i now know that baton tricks are "talents" that may decide if one beautiful girl deserves a crown and a sash more than another equally beautiful one, back then it was just plain cool. after desperate begging and giving him half my lunch everyday for a month , he acquiesced to teach me. formal training began and everyday (after lunch of course) i would sit there trying without much success while guruji supervised. he would teach the fine points of holding the pen exactly 2/3rds of the way from the bottom and then give it a subtle flick so it made one complete revolution. several teachers never knew i was in their class for i used to spend most of the class under the desk hunting for the pen that seemed to be repulsed by the sight of my fingers.

i quickly got bored with it when we discovered that rulers while to outside appearances looked like measuring devices, also possessed latent musical talents when mated with the desk and twanged. we were probably the first to form a band comprised entirely of ruler-wielding maestros. wooden ones, plastic ones, short 6-inch ones and the big, bad foot-longers all produced sweet cacophony during recess.(don't take my word for it, do your own thing here ..just turn up the volume) .the rebellious among our band even risked it by practising when a teacher was expounding on the volume of a sphere and were de-scaled in front of the whole class.

so there was a talent, there was a band. all that was needed to complete this circus was animals and we didnt lack those either. the unsuspecting ants that came hunting for morsels spilt on the desks were quickly ensnared and sent to the far away other side of the desk. there they were trained repeatedly to climb the dizzying heights of a pencil while some worked on the delicate balancing act of hanging from the underside of a paper. one particularly super acrobat could do both and actually had me wishing school could go on longer beyond the final bell.

needless to say the circus broke up when we left school to pursue more "stable" careers. all that talent, all that practice a waste. i still twirl a pen now and then at work trying to get it right but there are no ants to train on my desk.

no ants, beautiful girls or fingers were harmed during the writing of this blog. a few scales did break when we exceeded the material's tensile strength

Thursday, April 21, 2005

fish (me) out of (the) water

i am from madras. you wouldn't need exceptional reasoning abilities or mathematical induction to then conclude that i probably dont know swimming. you can always test that conclusion by dropping me in a puddle on the road. my legs will cramp, hands will flail about to catch hold of the nearest passing vehicle and i'll probably drown in my own tears. if by chance the whole of india were to instantaneously turn into a desert, only two groups would survive - the very rich who would still be able to buy those water-packets and madrasis. my mom used to give me 2 tumblers a day - one to drink and the other to take care of the other necessities. i've often stayed back in school to sneak into our principal's office which had a water cooler and my neighbors had to give 108 water-laden lorries as dowry for their daugher. ok i'm exaggerating, but given the copious amounts that gush into our reservoirs courtesy of the excessively generous karnataka government, we could barely fill a bucket let alone swimming pools and our youth,never having grasped the concept of swimwear, have always assumed that the anorexic bikini-clad models on FTV are really extremely poor people from 4th world nations.

the first time i tried swimming, i also learnt the importance of angles. having stayed on the shallow side of a pool (if u r wondering where, it was in madras not chennai) for abt 5 minutes, i decided to put all of my 6ft height to test and ventured over to the deep side and slowly clung to the side while a friend (its unhygenix, if u should know, and he probably learnt swimming at his favorite raibareli) beckoned me over to the other side. you see, he was better at math and having worked out that the breadth of that deep side section was barely 8 feet, he put 2 and 2 together and said that i just had to kick my 6ft frame off with a little power and my head will be hitting the other side even before i could say "save me". turns out he misjudged my expertise at staying straight (thats directional orientation smirking or giggling). so for a moment i was like a torpedo headed straight towards the heat source and the very next i'd deviated from the straight line by 90 degrees. it was as if the navigational circuit blew a fuse and, as unhygenix would relate later, i turned slowly like a temple chariot turning around mylapore tank and was churning the water like a blender. when unhygenix came over with the noble intention of saving me, i did the first thing my genes and newtonian physics told me to do. i put my hands on his head and pushed down. as per the third law, i came up for air and then someone else seeing our plight managed to pull us both out to the shallow side.

the next time was when i decided to put my tuition waiver to proper use and signed up for swimming 101. though i was/still am scarred for life by the first incident, i just couldn't resist the sight of a large square space filled with chemical-smelling, sparkling blue aqua. the brief time i'd been living in the US had turned me into a greedy sponge lusting for water of several kinds. nope it wasnt enough that i had the marvel of plumbing that was actually used to deliver water instead of air like in chennai. i just had to get my feet wet and how better to do it than in a class full of undergrads. with the help of 2 instructors, freestroke and backstroke were mastered quite easily. the butterfly was not that easy, but i didnt give up. with a lot of effort i was able to slice through the water with the grace of a caterpillar that had half-wrapped its cocoon around itself only to find it had to go in search of more leaves. then one day they decided to take us to the deep side (u didnt think i was mastering all those on the deep side, did u?). while the others slowly swam from the shallow side onto the deep, i cleverly beat them to it by walking on the side of the pool. by blackmailing me with a E grade, my instructors forced me into deep waters and insisted on teaching what they called 'treading'. while i was discussing the semantics of using a term associated with terra firma for describing activities associated with natation, i realised that i was slowly going down and that my exposition on english usage wasn't exactly contributing to keeping me afloat.when feet touched the pool's bottom at 15 feet, i stood there like i was waiting for the bus. an instructor realising i wasn't buoyant like other humans, came down and indicated that i should try coming up. that was stupid on his part, it wasn't like i wanted to become poseidon and play with mermaids. finally he came down grasped my hair and yanked me up and soon i was in a familiar position , sucking in air like a vaccum cleaner.

despite all this i did try my hand at diving a couple of times later. only because the whole class (including some beautiful undergrads) stood around exhorting me to jump and more importantly because the whole set of instructors were in the water ready to pull me out. i got out of the water without help to thunderous applause and right then i knew that i'd nailed the course. there you go,the story of a man from the water-deprived streets of chennai who grew up to be a less-than-average swimmer (only shallow side pls).

suggestion for producers: in the movie version , lets replace unhygenix by a new starlet and let there be a song right after she rescues me. for obvious reasons let the song be in a water theme park.

mid-week movie mania

after a unsuccessful jeopardy try-out and omelettes for lunch at greek town i headed home and started the week's true end with 'Raincoat'. rituparno ghosh takes o.henry's 'the gift of magi' , tweaks it a bit and then thanks him in the end. ajay devgan in need of money seeks help from his friends in calcutta and while there goes to visit his past flame,ash, who is now married to an apparently affluent guy. 'apparently' because it turns out that the antique (pronounced wonderfully as 'aunteek' by ash's uneducated character) furniture in the hall is not their own but belongs to a furniture salesman who is renting their house. the script moves at almost the same pace as life which was just right to keep me engrossed. its tough to get devgan to overact and the effect that the lack of hamming had on each shot was quite shocking for someone who has been brought up on the staple crying and shouting in indian movies. i wonder if 'black' would've been better if it had been taken in this style of very-low-drama.

after returning raincoat, we braced ourselves for 'socha na tha' which from the cover promised to be the anti-thesis of raincoat. the DVD cover said that it was the story of a guy who turns down a prospective alliance to get engaged to his catholic girlfriend only to discover he is in love with first girl. fooled by the cover story's relative simplicity we took it home to find out how complex and utterly real this movie was. at one point one of the characters asks the aforementioned guy "tum paagal ho kya?" . i've never heard a truer line uttered in any movie abt its hero. both the actor and the character are frustrating enough that we were placing bets on who - among his brother, father,bhabhi,girlfriend and the girl - would kill him first. the funniest part happened after the movie ended. the dvd stayed in our apartment for 2 more days before getting returned with a late fee. i cried like salman in HDDCS while paying the fine. all the money i earned doing "work" was going down the video shop's drain

by then , a nice golt movie called 'Mass' had mysteriously found its way onto my laptop and seeing that the print was decent, i bought a DVi-to-TV converter,hooked up my mac to the tv + stereo and let sundara telugu fill the rather silent corridors of my apt floor. mass is the name of nagarjuna..he even gives some convoluted logic as to why he got the name but i didnt understand one word of what he said. a rather uncooperative golt room-mate , forgetting how i'd translated the prabhu crying "naan ippo enna seiyvaen saravana" joke just last week,refused to repeat or translate it for me. mass comes to vizag from hyd to rescue his lady love(a rather large tub-of-jo'thika) whose father and brother are huge dadas. he goes about smashing heads and killing the henchmen of the dada and the people of vizag stand around applauding and after finding out when the next show is , disperse peacefully. after beating up scores of bad guys and blowing up a few cars and 1 van, mass meets the evil brother face-to-face,again in front of a million jobless vizag golts and thulps him..seeing which the father dada takes a gun, and in a ending that might've surprised o.henry, shoots the brother (his own son) and then shoots himself. talk about ruthless villains, this one even killed himself . i was so inspired by his act that i ruthlessly deleted Mass freeing up about a GB of repressed hard disk space.

i ended this week's movie marathon with 'Mahanadigan', a really funny story with the ultra-sarcastic sathyaraj playing a conniving "young" man who stamps on everyone in his way, neatly arranges them as steps and then walks on them to a better life. along the way actors and politicians face his/the director's wrath. he imitates actors, disses the technicians, ridicules politicians on their own stage and still manages to become the CM. if anyone is still uncertain that tamil inherently lends itself to sarcasm, i would like to invite them to see this movie.
btw, does anyone know what sarcasm is in hindi ??

Sunday, April 17, 2005

so-so sunday

ladies and gentlemen, you are in the presence of mediocrity-ness. i am not a quizzer though i have a penchant for useless trivia that makes me appear like one. the last and only time i was on a quiz was in the ninth class when my geography teacher volunteered me for one. i upheld her clever choice by wrongly answering several questions including one about the tallest mountain in india( which i instantaneously answered as K2 and when given another chance, quickly changed it to the doddabedda peak). despite that the red house, who i represented, came in third out of 4 and i got a plaque that sits between a nodding dog and one of my sister's chipped vases in the showcase in our hall.

jeopardy is a game show that is said to be the toughest game-show and is a quiz of (mostly american) general knowledge. so when i got a few answers right while watching on tv, i quickly filled in a form online and registered myself as an ardent, brilliant nerd who was interested in appearing on the show. the huge lucky wave i've been riding all past month started swelling again and i found myself chosen to appear for a contestant try-out. i started preparing by memorizing state and country capitals and annoyed friends from other states by calling them up, deliberately mentioning that state's capital and then asking them if they'd been there. i also did a fair bit of reading on the civil war, the american revolution, the presidents, shakespeare (yup i now know that hamlet was a prince and not a danish omelette) and pretty much read all i could in a month. but in no way does that give you license to stop me on the street and ask me questions . on my part , i'll try to be quiet about state capitals.

when the day finally dawned , i knew i was going to fail miserably. its a 50 question test with about 7 seconds for each question and word on the web was that 35 correct responses would send me to the next round. in some practice tests the highest i'd managed was 25. there was still opera, american playwrights, vice-presidents and a thousand other topics i'd completely avoided. when i got to the test-center (it was just a small room in Navy Pier) there were about 60 other well-dressed normal-looking people with the engine of a nerd humming under their hoods. as we got in , we were given a pen and a piece of paper with 50 blanks on it. then after a short practice game , the test began. literary characters, first ladies, english grammar, english rulers, english poets and several other words flew by on the screen. i actually did much better than i thought i would and was guilty of secretly harboring hopes of getting called. it didnt turn out that way and as the organizers said, the people who didnt get through probably all just missed by one. so there you have it , i missed getting on the toughest game-show in the US by just one question. so, folks, i am mediocre and i got a pen with JEOPARDY written on it to prove it.

You can play a multiple choice version of jeopardy on the web at :