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 duckback..in 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 GVtamilfilms.com 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 local.google.com 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.