Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The long weekend

A 5 hour spontaneously planned drive from Philly to Massachusetts pretty much for no specific purpose at all.

Lunatic drivers in New Jersey, extreme gasoline-fume-fueled heat in New York City and strategically positioned traffic delays on I-95 in Connecticut. All part of the fun of driving from the Mid-Atlantic to New England.

Tea halt in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Observed old cranky man in Denny's yelling at the waitress for cutting his turkey club sandwich the wrong way. On being told it was how they did it for seniors, claimed not to be a senior.

The old Alma Mater. Looking older. Looking a bit run-down. But still looking great.

Puffer's Pond. Robert Frost's alleged haunt. For me, the site of countless hours spent in idle daydreaming. No poetry did result.

Was informed at every motel that I visited that it's graduation 2006. Everything's booked up. No place to sleep.

The Holiday Inn Express at Hadley, Massachusetts. Where the teenaged receptionists had halos around their heads and worked in pairs, calling up everyone in the neighbourhood, trying to find me a bed out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. That's how they do things in New England.

Stood and waved at this live webcam outside Antonio's pizza. The last time I did it I was in a position to run back to my apartment and run the archived video of my waving.

Sushi dinner in a great new Japanese restaurant in Amherst that hadn't existed during my time. Pity.

Amherst Brewing Company (ABC). The old watering hole. The site of numerous good times. Today, it would be the Two Sisters Imperial Stout and the Graduation Ale. Both awesome brews.Then, Massatucky Brown. Fuckallness of the beer compensated by the immensely nostalgic nature of it's name.

BBC Steel Rail Pale Ale on the motel bed watching Glengarry Glen Ross.

Loss of consciousness.

Coffee at Cumberland Farms in North Amherst. Lost count of how many cigarettes were smoked, standing outside the joint, drinking coffee at 3.00 am with friends. The place also has a large collection of coffee mugs which I succeeded, to a large degree, in appropriating for myself. Legally, of course. After graduation, I donated my collection of Cumberland Farms coffee mugs to charity.

Lunch at the only Indian restaurant in downtown Amherst, wondering why I'd never gone there during my student days. We always used to frequent the one in Northampton, about 15 miles away.

Lunch over, I realized why not. Blech.

The Mystery Train Record Store. Haven for starving young music nuts. One of the few places in the world where you will find a used cd for a buck. Enter the store and you will hear the low mumblings of a man over gently plucked guitar tones. It turns out that's the ambient music. The kind of music you wish you were hip enough to appreciate. When I was a student, come paycheck time, half of it used to disappear promptly down the maw of this beast. No regrets, though.

Mt Sugarloaf in Sunderland. Bird's eye view of the Connecticut River.



The Montague Book Mill. Motto : "Books you don't need in a place you can't find". Found it through a stroke of serendipity while biking the rural country roads of Western Massachusetts with a friend long long ago. Fell in love with it then and think about it all the time now. Could time be better spent than lounging in a window seat with a view of the gushing river, poring through a book? Well, yeah, lounging in a window seat with a view of the gushing river, poring through a book, swigging Alagash White on tap, of course.


Came to know a schoolmate was visiting Amherst at the same time I was there. Spent a couple of hours with him and his wife criticizing American immigration policy. A couple of pints of Honey Pilsner accompanied.

Another mate called up from Connecticut, asking me to come visit him and his folks, meaning his landlords. An hour and a half later, found myself drinking Steel Rail Pale Ale with him and the insane landlord couple on the deck of a house in the middle of a forest on the banks of a rushing stream. Flaming torches were scattered throughout the grounds, occupying the space between the house and the stream. A human-sized barbeque pit was positioned strategically near the stream, presumably for the convenient disposal of incinerated remains. I inquired whether virginal sacrifices were a common occurrence in this household. I was assured not to worry since tonight wasn't the time of the full moon.

Dinner took place under a canopy erected on the grounds in virtual darkness. Feeling my way around my plate, I could make out that the delicious smelling mountain of flesh lying therein was an entire uncarved bird of some sort, hopefully a chicken. Morsels of another unidentifiable animal accompanied the main course. Landlord couple talked about the time they had a blizzard party where everybody stripped down to their underwear and jumped into the snow.

Left New England at 12:00 a.m, intending to drive through the night.

Drove four hours back to Philly, trying to stay awake by yawning loud enough to dispel my own sleep.

An aimless, entirely enjoyable long weekend.

Friday, May 26, 2006

An investigation into whether blasting music through your car window is productive

In theory, driving around with your car windows open, blaring Himesh Reshammiya's latest number through your speakers would appear to be a pretty intelligent and fulfilling activity for you to indulge in. But is it useful? Does it have any tangible benefits? Let's examine this issue closely. Let's lay out all the facts, subject them to scrutiny and verify if your theory would hold up against the cold hard light of reason or be exposed as an exercize in futility.

The question that needs to be asked first and foremost is, why do you drive around blasting music from an open car window? The answer is simple. It's a window into your life, an opportunity for the rest of the world to get to know you better through the choice of music you listen to. Basically, when you pull up next to me at a traffic light, lower your windows and start gyrating your head to "Who let the dogs out", taking care that you lip sync the "woof woof" part and carry out an accurate enactment of a dog clawing the face off its owner, you are, in your own way, letting me know how much you contribute to the overall hipness of the joint by getting me to notice your impeccable taste in music.

And all this looks pretty good on paper, yes, in fact, you would believe that you've got it all figured out. But is this really true? Is your plan practical? Let's take a look at your target audience.

There are two kinds of road-residents you would wish to cater to : pedestrians and car drivers. Now I have seen very few pedestrians walking around on American streets. Most citizens of this car-crazy nation only pull their vehicles off their bodies right before they jump into bed and that too 'cause they don't want nocturnal emissions spoiling that expensive leather upholstery. So let's take pedestrians off the list of people whose lives you could possibly touch through the medium of your Monsoon sound system.

How about car drivers? There are a number of different categories. For example, those who keep their windows closed while driving. These people would obviously be deaf to everything other than what they are playing inside the car or their own heavy breathing, assuming they are suburban white men pleasuring themselves to Rush Limbaugh's oxycontin drawl. Let us then take those guys off that list as well.

Well, now we have the open window drivers. There are again two types here; The ones who play their own music, and the ones who don't. Those who play their own music wouldn't be able to hear you anyways since their own stuff would drown out whatever it is that you are playing. Trust me, I have conducted research on test cases and that's my definitive conclusion. Secondly, we have people whose windows are open but are not playing any music. These guys would have been prime candidates for delivering their musical approval to you, except that the very fact that they are not playing any music means they are not musically inclined and so, wouldn't be able to gauge the depth of your character and the decency of your heart based on your fanatical headbanging to "I want it that way".

So who's left? Nobody, really. We have thus proved that all that window-open-music-blasting business accomplishes nothing. So pull up those windows, lower that volume and try a different approach. Here's what you really need to do if you wish to broadcast your musical preferences to the general public.

Be direct. Whenever you overtake another vehicle, catch the driver's attention by first flipping him off, then ask him to lower his window and when you are sure that he's within earshot, yell out that you are currently playing Marilyn Manson and that this makes you a rebellious heretic who will not succumb to societal pressures of conformation.

Or just put up a sign in your window boldly stating that your brutish Hummer is actually resonating with the sensitive yet assertive feministic sonnets of Shania Twain. And then laugh as people try to force you off the road and fail miserably. Those idiots wouldn't know a good thing if it rode up to them on a horse wearing a cowboy hat and sang into their ears.

Of course, none of this applies to you if you're a black guy in LA playing rap music in your 64 Chevy. I can hear you from here and you're a cool dude.

Favorite letters

You can tell which your favorite letters of the alphabet are by looking at your keyboard and observing which keys are the shiniest. Those are the keys you've been punching in the most.

Apart from Alt Tab, my favorite keys appear to be "a s h i t e o l n".

Yes, shitanole is one of my favorite words.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Scene : Indian restaurant

American colleague pokes and prods with his spoon at something on his plate.

Colleague : So what makes this thing sweet?

I peer into his plate. He is asking about the "kheer".

Me : What do you mean?

Colleague : Well, what is that far-eastern spice that imparts a delicious sweetness to this dish?

Me : Sugar.


Colleague : I thought it was something exotic.

Me : At least sugar is more exotic than high fructose corn syrup.

Colleague : No it isn't.

Me : Ok, what makes it sweet is the dehydrated crystallized juice of the sugarcane plant.


Colleague : See, that wasn't so hard now, was it?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Search engine query reply of the day

"punjabi rituals how many dresses for bride should be given"

Answer : This is a serious topic so I will refrain from being flippant about it. As we all know, post-marital bridal disrobement is well on it's way to becoming one of the most serious problems for women in 21st century India. In what is surely a glaring example of the sad state of women's rights in this country, many Indian husbands have begun to insist that their brand new brides consentingly disrobe in front of their eyes, some even as early as on the very night of their wedding. In fact, parents of many newly wed maidens find themselves worrying about whether their little girl will be exposed to the evil machinations of her husband and be seduced into shedding her clothes for him, and if so, what they can do about it. However, there is a solution to this conundrum. To ensure that their daughter doesn't fall prey to such consensual-sex fiends, many parents nowadays have begun to gift-wrap their daughters in the manner of a Christmas present before sending her off to her in-laws.

The most popular way of achieving this is by emptying the bride's suitcase of all her clothes and mounting them on her body just before her departure. This serves two purposes; one, when the actual hour of consensual nudity arrives, declothing the bride becomes a chore of such monumental proportions that not even all the spiced-milk glasses in the world delivered to all the husbands in the world by all the shy brides in the world would be able to provide the muscular strength, stamina and willpower necessary for accomplishing this task.

Secondly, with all the clothes in her possession residing simultaneously on her back, if the bride were to resemble a giant ball of twine, there would be very few husbands curious enough to allocate any physical resources towards determining what might lie at the center of that ball.

However, the query in question, namely, "how many dresses should be given" is a misleader. It is not how many dresses, but what kind of dresses to be given that is key. To flummox a lustful male, quantity is not enough. As long as there are visible buttons that can be undone, switches that can be flicked and trap doors that can be opened, leading into tunnels containing secret levers that can be pushed to unstrap a bra, a typical male will go through all these motions gamely as long as it's not too taxing on his brain. The key, therefore, is to tax his brain.

Enter the Maharashtrian nine yard saree. Maharashtrians have, since long back, perfected the art of packaging their women in an ISO 9001 compliant technique guaranteed to ensure their continued virtuousness even after marriage. The nine yard saree is the indigenously developed chastity belt, the Gordian knot of feminine apparel. It is a complex mesh of intertwining color and fabric that can only be untied by the hand that tied it in the first place. There exists no male libido in the entire world that has ever achieved success in battle against the nine yard saree. This magnificent garment is the perfect guardian-angel for your adored daughter as she sets sail from the safety of her childhood home into the tumultuous sea of lustfulness that is her husband's cave. Wrap nine of these nine-yard brutes around your daughter and this will reduce her once proud, loving husband into a cowering, sulking slave.

I hope that answered the question.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Three Days in the Life of the PA Turnpike

Day 1





Day 2




Day 3




I was gonna add a couple more pictures where George W. Bush comes up to me and gives me a tax cut and I use those wads of cash to fill up the pothole, but I didn't because Christianity recently came out with a law forbidding the depiction of its prophets on paper and I didn't want Pat Robertson issuing a fatwa on my head.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I find me some corporate intrigue and blog about it

So I was snooping around in the sitemeter of my other blog trying to find out who's been sending me some of that delicious low-cal, yet vitamin-enriched web-traffic. And then suddenly, before I could say "Fuck Ken Lay and may Jeff Skillings' testicles get sucked into a time warp", I was right slap bang in the middle of a corporate espionage scam.

This is what happened. Let's say there's a Washington-based aircraft manufacturer called Starbucks and Sons Aeroplane Trading Company (motto "We get you high without the hangover"). Now let's say there's also this other aircraft manufacturer, a long-time rival of the first one, let's just pluck a name out of thin air and call it Airbus. Now these companies thirst so much for each others' blood that they no longer allow both these companies to compete in the Olympics at the same time 'cause it might start a World War. In fact, they are so fiercely competitive that if one comes up with a plane that can carry 400 passengers, you can be sure that the other will come up with one that can carry the same 400 passengers pregnant with sextuplets. You get the picture.

So I was kinda curious when I saw that someone with an ip address belonging to Starbucks and Sons had happened upon my blog. And this was the search engine result that had referred him : "Airbus Business Model". You see what I'm getting at? Starbucks and Sons was trying to replicate Airbus's business model by using the rigorously tested and time-proven technique of googling for it.

And boy, were they in luck. 'Cause the blog they had happened upon contained just the shrewd advice that could give their aeroplane manufacturing business the boost it needed. For example, a radical proposal for conserving space and increasing the profit margin by twisting coach class passengers into the shape of a chair and seating business class passengers on them. And a brilliant plan to reduce operating costs and save fuel by requiring passengers to blow violently into a human-powered jet engine while being urged on by other passengers sporting whips and paintball guns.

So my fellow air-travelers, the next time you drive to the airport, chortling in glee because of the awesome cheap tickets you were able to rustle up through, if it's a Starbucks-manufactured plane you're gonna be climbing aboard, just a word of caution. Don't be too surprised if you find yourself wedged into the asscrack of a rich fat Texas oil tycoon as he spanks your behind, yelling at you to get on with that blowin, 'cause the goddamn plane ain't gonna fly itself. And you know who to blame for it. I'll be awaiting your brickbats.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


If you walk into a meeting and no one laughs at you, it means that the toilet paper you deliberately stuck to the bottom of your shoe got detached and came off somewhere between the restroom and the conference room. Go back and do that bit once more.

Oh, and also, if anyone knows anything about podcasting, let me know. As in, the headachery involved in putting up a wave / MP3 file in a streaming format on this blog. I know it's probably not hard for me to google a bit and dig up the requisite information by myself but getting the audience involved, that's called showmanship. For example, look at rock or rap concerts. The lead singer / rapper keeps requesting us in the audience every once in a while to stand up and clap our hands and make some noise. Sometimes he asks us to "wave our hands in the air like we just don't care". And not only do we willingly wave our hands in the air and stop caring, we even erupt into paroxysms of pleasure as we indulge in this act of extraordinary futility. I don't know if it's our inherent inferiority complex which rejoices in our new-found societal acceptance when the big celebrity onstage speaks directly to us or if it's something else entirely.

In any case, people, please stand up, clap your hands, wave your hands in the air like you just don't care and find me some podcasting info. Thank you please.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Gym-related nugget of wisdom for the day

If you enter the gym and there's someone on the treadmill watching one of those sad-ass channels on the tv such as the WB or Lifetime or something equally crappy and you just can't stand that shit anymore, you turn to the guy or girl and say, "You can change the channel if you want." 9 times out of 10 they will give you the remote.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jaani Dushman : A Unique story

AVS TV brings so much joy and unmitigated pleasure into my life that it's not even funny. Every saturday I wake up early, clear away the previous night's beer cans and make space in front of my television screen just so that when the clock strikes 11:00, everything will be in place for the awesome moviegoing experience that is about to follow.

In my household, saturday mornings have always been dedicated to viewing AVS TV. It is the television channel renowned for showcasing artsie movies from Bollywood, independent films which, luckily for the mainstream, never made it to the mainstream and should have gone directly to VHS. For example, the amazing entertainer "Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya", which on one blessed saturday, filled my humble two-bedroom apartment with the sweet sounds of what the Guinness Book of World Records, which I am misquoting just to prove a point, calls "The worst Hindi film song ever in the entire history of bad Hindi film songs". And last weekend, AVS TV did not disappoint. It was time for "Jaani Dushman : Ek Anokhi Kahani", or as one reviewer on IMDB calls it, "The worst Hindi Movie ever".

For my non-Hindi speaking readers, "Jaani Dushman : Ek Anokhi Kahani" means "Worst Enemy : A Unique Story". I'm not sure about the "worst enemy" part. My Hindi kinda sucks. Anyways, first of all, let me begin by saying that Raj Kumar Kohli, the movie's director, displays the extraordinarily high metallic content of his balls by naming this movie "A Unique Story". 'Cause guess what, about 25 years ago, he came out with a movie called, hell yeah, "Jaani Dushman". Both movies were horror flicks with somewhat similar themes, both indulged in the gratuitous misuse of big Bollywood stars and both sucked some major ass. Unique? Hardly.

Since this isn't really a review, I'll just lay out some points in the movie that I found interesting. But before I do that, let me give you the gist of the plot. And if I stray away from the truth, bear with me because my brain went into lockdown mode quite a few times during the movie which led to my missing quite a number of subtle twists in the storyline.

So there's this couple see, during some past golden Indian age when people wore gaudy, unwieldy clothes which I'm sure would have been pretty unsuitable for the performance of one's daily ablutions, except for the fact that they didn't have a whole lot of fabric hanging below the waist area. They are a couple of "Ichhadhari Naags", which, through my limited translational abilities, I can only decribe as a couple of metaphorical snakes who can pretty much do whatever they wish and can take the form of anything that can do the macarena. And this couple, it dances and it sings and it's probably in love and then I look away to check what George W. Bush has been up to of late and when I look back, the couple has fallen through a hole in the ground into the presence of a meditating sage who, along with being livid at being disturbed during his cogitations, has also become painfully aware of a raging boner that has begun to bud and blossom 'twixt his holy thighs. The cause of this boner being the female half of the couple, who's fallen directly into his lap. And we all know the dire effect inadvertant boners can have on the temperaments of the righteously sanctimonious.

So this lethal combination of boners and interrupted musings leads the sage to curse the couple to a life of unrequited love till the 21st century when, as the fine print of the curse specifies, they would be able to get back together again. Fast forwarding to the 21st century, the female half of the couple, who, even after going through numerous reincarnations, still looks the same, is seen cavorting with her friends. In the course of cavorting, she once again gets back with her old flame from the bygone era. However, she is then raped and ravaged by a couple of her friends and dies in the arms of her lover. Her lover, who is actually an evil spirit, then exacts vengeance on everybody and their uncle by killing them in a variety of different ways that would have made Adolf Hitler proud. In this noble venture, he is assisted by the ghost of his dead lover who takes "If not in body, I am with you in spirit" to a whole new level. Sadly, I don't know what happens at the end. I stopped watching because I had a food processor waiting in the kitchen with the name of my brain on it.

In one scene Manisha Koirala, who is the reincarnated "Naag", turns into a skeleton after marrying a guy who, I guess, is one of the gang that is destined to die. For anyone who was curious about whether Manisha Koirala would make a convincing skeleton, the answer is no. The excellent rendering of the skeleton, presumably programmed on some kind of PC-XT 286 with 64 kb RAM and 25 MB Hard drive space, reminds one of the amazing production values of a Ramsay Brothers' movie. Also, there is a heart-warming moment during the skeleton scene when its fist gets detached from its wrist and then gets reattached through a complex web of wires that is clearly visible.

Manisha gets raped twice during the course of the movie. The first time, she is asked to forgive her assailants. Akshay Kumar takes the lead in demanding forgiveness for the rapists by saying something to the effect of "Your beauty makes even me, purportedly a sane responsible adult, go crazy when I look at you, so imagine what effect it might be having on these two juveniles who were merely displaying a similar appreciation of your looks when they violated your vagina." And not to be outdone in the stupidity, Manisha's female friends agree with Akshay Kumar's astute analysis and add their voices to the steadily increasing demand for amnesty for the rape perpetrators. Ah Bollywood. You were always the one with the progressive message.

Other features of the movie include the killing of Arshad Warsi who dies after the ghost, displaying his technological savvy, electrocutes him as he is thrashing about in a swimming pool. The ghost then tries to kill Akshay Kumar by taking the form of his girlfriend, indulging in a song and dance routine with him, then walking off a cliff and hoping that Akshay Kumar would still be so into his musical performance that he would fail to notice the lack of earth under his feet, thereby continuing to follow her to his ultimate doom. Devious. He then kills Aftab Shivdasani by taking the form of his girlfriend, giving false testimony in court that convicts him of murder, thus sending him to the gallows. It's times like these that makes me wish I had the highly evolved mental faculties of a disembodied spirit.

The movie abounds in similar twists and turns, most of which will make you run to that food processor time and time again. But you should watch anyways. Not just because it is a great way to spend your saturday morning, but really, when it comes down to it, what else can you do on a saturday morning anyways?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Head on

So I was watching television and this commercial came on.

Voiceover guy : "Is head on right for you?"

Then, two female voices started speaking in a conspiratorial manner as if they were discussing feminine hygiene at an Al Qaida convention.

"I just bought head on at the drugstore."

"What is head on?"

"You don't know what head on is?"

"Should I know what head on is?"

They would probably have continued in this vein indefinitely right upto armageddon if it weren't for Faceless Voiceover guy, who, realizing that all that womanly yakking was taking up valuable air time, jumped back in to make his closing statement.

Voiceover Guy : "Head on..available at most pharmacies without a prescription."

End of commercial.

If I asked you "what do you think head on is" and you replied "probably a blowjob simulating gel", I would say, "well, that's what I thought it was too". But it isn't. It's a cure for headaches as explained here. Ok it's not exactly explained there either. It's as if the company that manufactures "head on" went to great lengths to shield consumers from exposure to knowledge about what this product actually does for you.

But when you think about it, you realize that it makes great business sense. Say you are the maker of "head on", as you may well be. "What does your product do", someone asks you and you tell him with a wink, "why don't you find out for yourself, my friend", and so your friend buys it and uses it and then suddenly the rash on his buttocks is gone 'cause he was too worried about the rash to sit down, and he thinks it was the power of head on that cured him. So now everytime he has a butt-rash, he buys head-on, thus becoming a loyal customer. And similarly, anyone else who has a cold, enlarged prostate, cirrhosis of the liver or lung cancer uses head on and keeps using it. Everyone except the guy with lung cancer, of course, who dies just as he's sniffing his last unprescribed dose of head-on and that was stupid of him 'cause head-on wasn't meant for nasal ingestion anyways.

And on an utterly unrelated note, "Stewart Greenleaf for PA Senate" campaign posters actually have the picture of a green leaf on them. I'm trying to remember if Vote Bush posters were accompanied by pictures of hirsute genitalia.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sad Little Bald Man

I was in the Subway today. To a casual observer it might seem that my life revolves entirely around Subways, but it isn't so. I can also be seen occasionally in the Wawa. It is strange what Pennsylvanians will name their sandwich shops. I guess "Wawa" originates from the primal sound cavemen would make when they were hungry and wanted to sink their teeth into something juicy and dripping with animal protein and sandwiches hadn't been invented yet. You can still see the vestiges of this behavior in starving babies who are in urgent need of a nipple.

But I was in the Subway nevertheless and there was a couple in the line ahead of me. This couple was a guy-guy couple. One was tall and one was short. One had hair and one was bald. One had 20-20 vision and one was wearing glasses. I wonder if it is a trait peculiar to an Indian to type in spectacles first, then realize he hasn't heard anyone using the word in this country, then backspace and type in glasses.

But on with the story. It is going to get more exciting soon so don't stop reading yet. Tall Goodlooking Guy was talking and joking with the sandwich lady, a girl in her twenties or so. She was having a fun time and Tall Goodlooking Guy was getting all the wrong things on his sandwich but he didn't seem to mind since he had her attention. And Sad Little Bald Guy was intermittently trying to make a contribution to the intellectual diversity of the conversation. The problem was, sandwich lady would merely give Sad Little Bald Guy a somewhat uninterested stare, a nod and then return back to her conversation with Tall Goodlooking Guy.

This happened a number of times. Soon Sad Little Bald Guy began to get agitated. The frequency of his interruptions began to increase, his voice began to get higher pitched and he started waving his arms. The net result was nothing. Apart from a polite look from the sandwich lady that lasted a microsecond, he was getting nothing.

Then, Sad Little Bald Guy began doing somersaults on the floor. His glasses fell from their perch and he became a Sad Little Bald Guy Without Glasses. After whirling around for a bit, he returned back to the counter and said "Tada". "You lost your glasses", said the sandwich lady in an absent-minded sort of way. She was trying to picture Tall Goodlooking Guy in a leopardskin leotard. She was an animal lover, you see. Tall Goodlooking Guy, never at a loss for topics to broach, chimed in, "You know, I had an uncle with glasses....". Soon sandwich lady was engrossed in the exciting adventures of Tall Goodlooking Guy's vision-impaired uncle.

Sad Little Bald guy wasn't about to give up. He then took out a sword from his pocket and balanced it on his tongue. He walked around the room, head pointed towards the ceiling, blood dripping from his tongue, but he didn't allow the sword to hit the ground. Then, he took out a foldable unicycle from his other pocket and with arms outstretched began to cycle and balance the sword at the same time. He also started singing, a horrible gurgling sound that wouldn't have won him any record deals because the sword was still wedged into his tongue but I guess there's no accounting for musical tastes. In the midst of all this action, Sad Little Bald guy looked at sandwich lady, awaiting applause. She said to him, "I think your tires aren't fully inflated". "Speaking of inflated ....", said Tall Goodlooking Guy, launching into an anecdote about inflated things. Peals of sandwich colored laughter rang out through the room. A good time was being had by all.

All except Sad Little Bald Guy. He was dejected. Collecting his unicycle and sword and restoring his glasses to their previously dominating position, he went outside and sat on the Subway steps. And it was there that I found him staring into the distance, wordlessly looking at people with hair and without glasses. And I couldn't bear to see him sad, man. I stroked his bald head and folded him up to take him back home with me. I wanted to feed him and clothe him and tell him everything would be alright with the world. I put him in my car and locked the trunk because he started to scream.

He is still in my trunk. It's not yet time to feed him and clothe him. He should be okay, even though he still won't have hair.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A wild game to kill an idle spring afternoon

Catch all the grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and stupidity in this article and win a trip to Africa where you will be able to frolic with wild wetty animals. Read with color-blind goggles first. For answers, remove goggles and read again. To make the game interesting, every time the word "wild" appears in the article, drink a shot of Jack Daniels and slap yourself with hawaii chappals.

Don't forget the key :
grammatical error
spelling mistake
Wild Wetty Dreams

Being a celeb doesn't accomplish all your dreams. One still desire for more. And specially when it comes to something wild and romantic, our actors dream like anyone else.

Once being abreast of wildest romantic dream of some of them, you will realise that they are like us. Diana Hyden, a beauty with brains thinks of forest, wild animal and her sweetheart.

Says she, "My wild romantic dream is to get married in a different style. I want to get married somewhere in a forest in Africa. As you know African forest are dense and you have deadliest of creatures there. I dream of wild animals all around me. I think this one dream I will ever want to get fulfilled."

Even Priyanka Chopra has something mushy in her wild dreams as she says, "In fact I love all religions and communities so I have a very wild dream to get married each time in accordance with each community's rituals. I love to dress like a Punjbai bride, Christian babe, a beautiful parsi girl and like other communities' bride.

So I love to get married to a man in several times in several ways. I have a great desire for marriage rituals of all communities.

And I want to experience all of that. If possible I will tell my husband-to-be to marry me as many times as possible so that I will enjoy the traditions of as many communities as possible."

Bollywood hunks also think wild and something out-of-the world. For Dino Morea wild romantic dream would be an isolated island and lots of Hollywood hot and sexy babes like Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron and some Bollywood babes like Aishwarya Rai. Says he, "I wish this dream of being with all these girls on a lonely island would come true one day."

Update : Apparently someone took the time to proof-read the article and make a few much-needed corrections. Although it's still not syntactically perfect (one kinda gets the impression that the proof-reader got about halfway through the article then said fuck it), one does not have to jump through hoops of comprehension any more in order to get its gist. Hey, it's a good thing I copied the entire thing verbatim, yeah?

Update2 : Just in case the Hindustan Times decides to eliminate this festering pimple of an article from the buttock of its journalistic pride by deleting it altogether, let us immortalize it for posterity by copy pasting the new version in its entirety on this blog. This will allow future generations to read it and recognize the vital importance of taking Proof-Reading 101 before embarking upon a career in journalism.

Wild Wetty Dreams version 2.0

Wild Witty Dreams

Celebrities do not dream differently. Their wild and romantic dreams are the same as of any other person.

Talk to Diana Hayden, the former Miss World, and you would know she dreams about a forest, wild animals and her to be love.

Says she, "My wild romantic dream is to get married in a different style. I want to get married somewhere in a forest in Africa. As you know, African forests are dense and you have deadliest of creatures there. I dream wild animals all around me. I wish I could fulfil this dream."

Even Priyanka Chopra has something unique in her wild dreams as she says, "I love all religions and communities. So, I dream of getting married in accordance with each rituals of various communities. I love to dress up like a Punjabi bride, Christian babe, a beautiful Parsi girl and like brides of other communities.

"So, I love to get married to the same man several times in different way. If possible I will tell my husband-to-be to marry me as many times as possible so that I will enjoy the traditions of as many communities as possible."

Bollywood hunks are no different. Dino Morea dreams of spending time in an isolated island with lots of hot and sexy babes from Hollywood like Jennifer Lopez, Charlize Theron and some also India beauty Aishwarya Rai. He says, "I wish this dream of being with all these girls on a lonely island would come true one day."

Update3 : Hey ho and away she goes. And away she went, the article, not to be found at her old url. The HT will no longer cater to connoisseurs of wild wetty stuff. But thank God for resourcefulness. Mine.

Actual things

Actual things I've said :

To CEO of the last company I worked for in his house on Turkey Hill road : "So, like, are we on a hill right now?"

To a cop who pulled me over doing 75 in a 45 mph zone : "Officer, I was speeding because I wanted to catch the light before it turned red."

Actual things I've seen on the news :

NBC news teaser : "A body was found in a local cemetery. Police are still investigating."

ABC news teaser : "In breaking news, a local woman gave birth on the Vine Street Expressway. Our camera crew went behind the scenes to investigate."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Student of the month

Oftentimes you see these moms and dads driving around with "My child is the Student of the Month at Our Lady of the Upright Cross school" stickers on their SUVs. In fact, you see so many of these proud parents that it seems as if you would have to drive around for hours on end in order to find a car containing a parent whose kid is NOT the student of the month.

Now I'm not saying that these children aren't worthy of the recognition they recieve from virtual strangers who happen to have braked and almost hit their parent's car carrying this sticker on its back. But what I would like to know is, if there exists any oversight on the part of the sticker administering authorities to make sure that these stickers are removed once the month of celebration is past and the student of the previous month has surrendered the award to the student of this month.

For I can't help but think that for every parent driving around with an expired sticker falsely boasting of a son or daughter who's already handed over the torch, there's another parent whom he's depriving of some well-earned glory, a parent whose kid is not being subjected to the jealous adulation he deserves for excellence in the field of good studenting. If no one ever removed their sticker once the month in question is over, what is someone like me, who would like to bestow congratulatory stares upon the current student of the month, expected to do when he sees a "student of the month" sticker adorning every car on the road? If every parent's child in the world were to be special all the time, wouldn't it kill the very specialness of being special?

To resolve this issue, I propose two things. Firstly, using the annual inspection sticker on cars as a template, add the month and year of validity to the "student of the month" sticker in order to discourage abuse. Secondly, every cop patrolling the streets should make sure that when he stops someone for speeding, along with the license, registration and proof of insurance, the "student of the month" sticker is also given a cursory inspection to determine whether it has overstayed its period of validity. Stiff penalties should be imposed upon parents who are found to have committed a violation. Along with a 2 year blanket ban on applying for a new sticker, the next one earned should contain a legible disclaimer stating "I overstayed the previous sticker and I am a cheat".

Only then will the "Student of the Month" award regain its lost prestige and the parents of children who've actually earned this distinction get the respect in society that they deserve.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Raj for Congress

As I drove out of my office parking lot today with the intention of going to the Subway for lunch, the first thing I saw was a number of signs on the street that proclaimed, "Raj For Congress". Naturally, it piqued my interest. Who was this Raj, I wondered. Did I know him?

I followed the signs. Curiously enough, they appeared to be taking the same hungry route to the Subway as I was. They even entered the parking lot of the Subway which, incidentally, it shares with the only Indian restaurant in this area. The owner of this restaurant who I've written about here, was standing outside, wearing a suit, which was kinda strange because I've never seen this guy wearing a suit. Sullen, anti-mankind expression yes, suit no.

Good God, I said to myself, is this the Raj who's running for Congress? My head started to swim with the implications of this possibility. What's gonna happen to the Indian restaurant then? Would Mr Raj have to rename the joint Billy-Bob's Ye Olde Beef and Ale and start selling burgers and beer in order to appeal to the Pennsylvanian voter base? Dammit, that would be a tragedy. Where do I go then for my weekly fix of lamb roganjosh, chicken cashmere and Kingfisher lager? I felt a pit forming in the bottom of my stomach where Indian food would normally have nestled, but was now in a danger of not nestling because of Raj's Congressional ambitions.

No, this wouldn't do. He needed to be brought down fast. The restaurant needed him. The hundreds of kababhead Desis in this area needed him. I rushed back to the office intending to write a scathing anti-Raj-for-Congress article and post it on the blog along with a link to the story of how he wanted to con me out of my lunch special. This would turn public opinion against him and solve my food crisis.

The first thing I did after I returned was to google the bugger. Which was an intelligent thing to do because this is what I found. Well, it turns out that Raj wasn't the restaurant owner at all. This was someone else. A much younger handsomer guy who's apparently made an appearance on Donald Trump's The Apprentice. And moreover, the reason for all the "Raj for Congress" signs outside the restaurant were only because he likes the food there ( I guess), 'cause I've spotted him eating at that joint a few times. Gah, there goes my exposè, I thought.

Then, I went through his campaign manifesto and there were a few things I liked in spite of the fact that he's a Republican. For example, he claims to be "not your typical Republican" and an avid environmentalist. And he is all for reducing the bureaucratic red tape involved in foreign graduate students becoming citizens of this country. Don't we all want that? Sure we do. Plus, he was apparently invited to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and he accepted, which was a gutsy move, whereas his opponent, Allison Schwartz refused. Shame on you, Miss Schwartz, I would have expected a Democrat to show more testicles.

But most of all, I liked his stance on tightening up border security. Which I'm all for 'cause man, those goddamn immigrants from New Jersey just won't quit crossing the border into Pennsylvania. And even after they arrive here, they won't adapt to the Pennsylvanian way of life. Most of them don't even know what a hoagie is. And the bastards continue to cheer for the New York Giants when every Pennsylvanian knows that to do that while living in this state, which is home to the Philadelphia Eagles, is tantamount to treason. Now I know that New Jerseyians do the jobs Pennsylvanians refuse to do, such as live in New Jersey, but still, if today you let New Jerseyians in, what's to stop Delawarians from following their example tomorrow and scurrying across the state boundary into what is now known as Pennsylvania's Delaware county, the name of which proves that the immigrant threat we face as Pennsylvanians is not just a figment of my own imagination?

So you go girl, Mr Raj Peter Bhakta. I am on your side and will support you in your Congressional campaign. And this blogpost will be my humble contribution. Plus, of course, I will continue to patronize the restaurant owned by someone I thought was you. If that counts.

Pliss to help

Anyone with a degree or at least a working knowledge of South Indian scripts, go here please and tell me what is being said. And don't be coy if it's a whole bunch of brickbatting. Let me have it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The period between two teeth-brushings

Most nights, as I stand at the washbasin brushing my teeth, a habit that I have recently cultivated due to my desire for maintaining my teeth in a state of steak-compatibility till such a time as I myself turn into a piece of steak, I realize that I remember absolutely nothing of what transpired during the day.

In fact, my last recollection of having indulged in any kind of activity during the day is when I brushed my teeth in the morning. Thus, to me, my days appear to consist of teeth-brushing in the morning, followed by something that apparently takes up 16 hours of my time but leaves behind no memories and then it's back to teeth-brushing again at night.

As I lie on my death bed and historians who've made it their life's mission to chronicle my adventures wail out their eulogies, they will say of me that I was a diligent teeth-brusher, that I scrubbed my teeth to hygienic perfection, that I made them glisten and shine. They will admiringly recount how I maintained myself in a state of impeccable oral health and that I used Aquafresh because I was impressed by how its three different ingredients with three different colors (not including white) magically collaborated together in my mouth to give it that icy-fresh sensation while also wreaking havoc on the germs within. They will claim that my practice of using mouth-wash after the teeth-brushing further imparted a fragrance to my mouth that made breathing into my hands the pleasure of a lifetime. And finally, they will celebrate the fact that I tried not to waste any water, that I turned off the faucet while brushing my teeth, as opposed to keeping it running all the time, thus leaving some of that life-giving liquid for those thirsty tribes in Africa.

But history will remain silent on the portion of my life not dedicated to teeth-brushing. Whatever occurred during that period will remain shrouded in mystery. And no one, not even I, will ever come to know about the person that I was, the lives that I affected, the jewish infants that I saved from circumcision or the Komodo dragons that I slayed during the period of my life that wasn't spent standing at my washbasin brushing my teeth.

It is a pity, really.

Goose related question of the day

"How do you tell how old a goose egg is"

To a layperson, the answer to this question might seem obvious, namely, chop it down and count its rings. But an expert in these matters, such as I, knows that sometimes what works on a human might not work on a goose or its egg. In this case, this is what needs to be done.

Insert a tiny camera inside the egg in order to examine the wall of the egg from the inside. Make sure you don't crack it or damage the wallpaper. This is what it should look like:

You see those crossed out lines? That's the goose fetus counting the number of days it's been imprisoned inside the egg. Logic thus dictates, that's how old the goose egg is.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Just a reminder

This is to remind everyone that I was actually kidding when I claimed that I was the honorary director of the Maine Tourism Bureau. I will therefore be vacating my non-existing office shortly and donating all the furniture to the soldiers of the Salvation Army who've appointed me as their new director of operations.

Because summer is here and I need the free shorts.

Setting up shop on Mars might not be such a great idea

As we pump bullets into our favorite endangered chinkara, or unload truckfulls of polythene and used condoms into our sludge-filled rivers, there is but one hope that sustains us in our day-to-day activity of planetary destruction; that the damage we are inflicting upon mother earth doesn't really matter in the long run because someday, when the wind blows north, we will all climb aboard our shiny new ships and shed these polluted lands for the gorgeous crimson skies of Mars. Our future home and the birthplace of our grandchildren.

Now I know what you are thinking: I do not pump bullets, I am more of a bow and arrow kind of guy. You, sir, won't be allowed on the mothership. Having said that, you still have time to purchase that cool new plasma rifle once it becomes available in 2025. But that is beside the point. For it doesn't matter what method you utilize for raping and pillaging the planet, what I intend to point out is the possibility that maybe, just maybe, it might not be such a good idea for us to leave these shores and establish new colonies on Mars.

First of all, I concede that it might be years, even centuries before our species is able to devise a commercially viable method for flying out all the men, women and Michael Jacksons out of our atmosphere and into the bracing carbon dioxide filled one of Mars. And it might take even longer to seduce an overtly hostile crotch-kicking, pepper-spraying red planet into one that would spread it's legs for us, allowing us to sow the seed of our civilization in its balmy womb. The question I am raising is whether this long arduous process of seduction is even worth the effort.

Historically, whenever humans have emigrated from their place of origin to settle someplace else, it hasn't been long before the umbilical bond they hold with their mother country has snapped and they've begun to look upon its current inhabitants with contempt. For example, take the case of America. Even though most citizens of this country arrived here after fleeing Europe, they currently have an opinion about Europeans that is only marginally better than the one they have about Californians. And this, a mere half-century after the last of the unwashed tea-drinking, snail-eating, protection money-demanding hordes from the continent made their way across Ellis island and took up residence in the slovenly ghettoes of New Jersey. Americans now despise the old continent with all their heart, considering their European ancestry to be an ugly sore on the asscheek of their family tree, something not to be discussed in public.

Secondly, through scientific conjecture, we are now in a position to predict exactly what would happen to the human race after it settles down on Mars. They say that due to conditions on that planet being entirely different from those on Earth, after a few generations of humans have lived, died and created bizarre new religions over there, the human musculoskeletal structure will change to adapt with Martian surroundings. For example, brains would grow larger, hearts would grow smaller and the body would grow more tenuous. Basically, humans would evolve and branch out into an entirely new species. A species of freakish hominoids bearing a greater resemblance to an Indian graduate student than their evolutionary ancestors, the humans.

And you know what such freaks will do. Especially those that are physically feeble and intellectually superior. They will sit around in their glass-walled research laboratories upto the wee hours of the morning, brains engulfed by a tired rage against everything that is not food, body suffering from a severe lack of sleep due to a looming deadline for demonstrating to their graduate advisor that they haven't been living off the research money without having anything to show for it. Goddamnit. Okay. So anyways, these psychotic beings will then devise powerful and spectacular new methods for destroying everyone else in the solar system using high intensity death rays brewed in their labs specifically for that purpose. And as I pointed out earlier, by that time, they would have developed a healthy loathing for the planet of their origin as well as its inhabitants to have any kind of qualms about its destruction.

Currently, we are mired in a war in Iraq which will probably continue for the next 50 years after which everybody would have blown up everybody else. At the same time, we have another conflict brewing in Iran which will culminate in the year 2075 after a robotic Salman Rushdie captures the Ayatollah El-Camino (By this time, the Middle-East will be 60% Hispanic) and kills him with one swat of his new book "The Koran was plagiarized from the Bible and other short stories". And who the fuck knows, tomorrow tiny little Turdistan might strike oil and turn out to have a murderous dictator who planned on killing the president's half-brother. With all of our earthly armies thus battling it out amongst themselves, how then will this planet manage to unite and cobble up a coalition to defend itself from the Martians?

Secondly, even if any two countries in the world engage in warfare, at some point they pause, think it over and realize that in spite of their differences, they still dwell on the same planet so it would be pragmatic not to try anything so extreme that it could quite possibly result in the entire planet blowing up into smithereens. But when its Martians versus the Earthlings, there would be no reason for cooler heads to prevail. Fuck that planet, the Martians would say, that blue ball always stuck out like a sore thumb in the sky.

So you see, colonizing Mars is just not worth it since it will probably backfire on us in the future. Let us not not even take that chance. Instead how about we nurture this planet, eh? How about we go about our business as if there were no other planets we could run to after we are done squeezing the juice out of this one? Let us all do our bit towards keeping the earth habitable for the foreseeable future. Let us not kill any more chinkaras. Let us store our polythene bags in our laundry rooms. And most importantly, let us dispose of our used condoms in an environment-friendly way; namely, by reusing them.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Coffee Drinkers

I bear some amount of hostility towards coffee drinkers. Especially those I see hanging around the coffee room in the morning, waiting for the coffee pot to flower and bear fruit with that smug-cum-self-pitying look on their faces. These coffee martyrs will then tell anyone who is willing to listen that they just can't get any work done unless they inject some of that coffee into their systems first.

As a model employee of my company, I don't like this kind of talk in principle. My view is, coffee or no coffee, one should work hard, one should be productive and one should contribute to the global economy which really needs all the help it can get right now. And coffee, by the way, is a relatively new invention. If it really were impossible for humans to work without coffee, we would never have discovered coffee in the first place. All we would have done was to lie around on the floor of our cave groaning about the lack of coffee in our lives, yelling for someone to get the fuck out and invent some coffee for us, preferably mocha white chocolate with that hip brown-colored sugar. And then, we would have added by way of explanation that we would have gone out and done all the inventing ourselves but we really needed to get some coffee into our systems first.

But why give special treatment to coffee? What about the other substances of abuse such as alcohol or baby powder? How about my domestic policy of not operating unless I'm drunk? Do you hear me complaining that I can't work without any alcohol in my system?

So the other day while driving to work, I saw a couple of coffee drinkers emerging out of a Dunkin Donuts and crossing the street. Dunkin Donuts drinkers are even worse than ordinary coffee drinkers. 'Cause not only do they need a coffee fix before they start spreading joy into other people's lives, but they specifically need a Dunkin Donuts coffee fix. No, nothing else will do. They are similar to Starbucks drinkers, except poorer. Such people need to go into rehab. A life such as theirs isn't worth living. So I swerved my car towards them to rid them of their miserable existence.

But then one of them put out his hand in front of the other who wasn't paying attention, probably 'cause he didn't have any coffee in his system, to warn him of oncoming death in the form of me. The sight of this coffee drinker sacrificing his hand to the cause of a fellow coffee drinker, probably the same hand he usually employs to shove coffee inside his body, brought tears to my eyes. It was a beautiful selfless gesture, one that wouldn't have been particularly noteworthy if it had been just an ordinary person, but this was a coffee drinker for chrissake. It reminded me that coffee drinkers are also people and have feelings and emotions and their blood, though highly caffeinated, also flows red on being hit by a car, just like yours and mine.

This sentimentality lasted till I reached my office where I was informed by a colleague that he couldn't work till he had some coffee in his system.

Monday, May 01, 2006

What the hell is Malcolm Gladwell on about

Before I read this (via DesiPundit), I didn't even know who Malcolm Gladwell was. But Gladwell is apparently defending Kaavya Viswanathan from accusations of having copied her novel "How Opal Mehta got kissed ,got wild and got a life" from another author who is celebrated for publishing rubbish of a similar nature.

Mr Gladwell seems to be making two points in her defense. First of all, since this form of literature, if you can call it that, is drivel, why bother about plagiarism, since all drivel is fundamentally drivel anyways. For example, a hunk of feces is a hunk of feces, irrespective of whether it originated in the bowels of a cow or a horse. Secondly, in this genre of drivel, it is not possible to produce more drivel without making the newer drivel look a lot like the previous drivel, so lets not call it plagiarism but drivel of a similar nature.

But Gladwell avoids talking about the fact that both novels, the one Viswanathan claims to have written, as well as the one she is accused to have copied from, have curiously similar phraseology. And then, he ends his post with an example of plagiarism from the novel which has nothing to do with the two points he made, but illustrates the similarity of phrases in the two books, which he never even mentions.

From page 7 of McCafferty’s first novel: “Bridget is my age and lives across the street. For the first twelve years of my life, these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend. But that was before Bridget’s braces came off and her boyfriend Burke got on, before Hope and I met in our seventh-grade honors classes.

From page 14 of Viswanathan’s novel: “Priscilla was my age and lived two blocks away. For the first fifteen years of my life, those were the only qualifications I needed in a best friend. We had first bonded over our mutual fascination with the abacus in a playgroup for gifted kids. But that was before freshman year, when Priscilla’s glasses came off, and the first in a long string of boyfriends got on.”

"these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend" and "when *** came off and boyfriends got on". Gladwell would like us to believe that when you write prose of this genre, it would be impossible to do that unless you incorporated these phrases into it. Are you fucking kidding me? What the hell is he on about?

Although Ms Viswanathan claims to have subconsciously used those phrases, I am pretty sure that she's lying, and here's why. Yesterday, I was reading a Wodehouse after a long hiatus. And I happened upon a phrase which tickled me to such an extent that I memorized it (obviously I didn't do such a good job of it since I can't seem to remember what it was), and resolved to use it somewhere during the course of my career as a blogger. And suddenly, I realized what I would do if I were ever to write a book. I would make a list of my favorite Wodehouses, read 'em all head to toe and jot down all the phrases and imagery I find to be immensely humorous. Then, I would write my book and incorporate all those phrases in it.

But this would be plagiarism, and there's no doubt about it, because Wodehouse's comic genius is precisely in turning those phrases and evoking that vividly hysterical imagery. And that's exactly what Ms Viswanathan did. She jotted down a list of things she liked in the crap she read and injected it into her own crap. No, it wasn't subconscious plagiarism because an inadvertant verbatim rerendering of phrases such as "these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend" and "when *** came off and boyfriends got on" is just not possible because along with mere words, these phrases involve the conjuring up of ideas and imagery that requires some amount of deep thinking, an activity the subconscious is not very well-adapted at performing. Therefore, it's clear that this is blatant plagiarism and hence, unforgivable. And I just can't imagine why Gladwell would argue otherwise. No, wait, I do.

Most of us feel strongly about this (as in, we spend more than 10 seconds mulling over it), is because we find it kind of tragic that someone who is not only devoid of talent but also dishonest enough to copy freely from another's book would be paid 500,000 bucks, a sum we could only hope to make after a lifetime of blogging while at work. Gladwell probably makes 500,000 in a year or two. Hence, he doesn't empathize with all the jealous assholes out there who are raising such a hue and cry over what he believes is frivolous overkill. Plus, there's the fact that they both share a common publisher. That might have something to do with it too.