Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WTF moment of the day

One of those "Am I drunk or is she drunk" moments.

Miss Teen USA - South Carolina replying to the question, "Why are many Americans bad at reading maps".

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cutting chin

Hello razor blade manufacturer attempting to sell me your product on television,

If you are a man or a group of men, which I kind of doubt, you should know that we, men, are already quite apprehensive about applying sharp metal objects to our chins during the removal of facial hair. To take a particular case, namely mine, this is due to a constant awareness of the presence of my jugular vein somewhere in the vicinity of my neck. My lack of knowledge of its exact whereabouts doesn't help in dispelling the fear that I might somehow cause its destruction while shaving.

So keeping this in mind, I would like to tender some advice to you regarding your television spot. Your attempts to convince me to apply your particular brand of sharp metal to my skin would go a longer way if you were not to illustrate the sharpness of that very same metal by demonstrating the remarkable ease with which it slices through tin cans, bibles and a variety of assorted vegetables, the raw consumption of which would leave one with sore gums.

Since I am merely covered in skin and hair, I would not wish my razor to possess the ability to slice through metal and cardboard. Furthermore, I would even go so far as to suggest that I would like my razor to be as docile an organism as possible. In the event of a showdown between my razor and my skin, I would like my razor to back down. Instead, I would like to see my skin slice through my razor. I would want my razor to break in half and my skin to climb atop its prostrate body and bellow victoriously to the high heavens. That razor, show me that razor. I will buy that razor.

Look, men don't really care if hair gets trimmed during shaving or not. For us, the joy of shaving lies in the act of shaving itself. It is a ritual more symbolic than substantial, with very little utility value, kind of like sticking pins into an enemy doll or washing your hands after taking a whiz.

So anyways, quit wasting your time making sharper razors. Just give me what you already have.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I am back from Vegas. This was my third trip there. We had lots of fun and frolic. Luckily we didn't have time to slot a lot of machines and that is why you are hearing the sounds of casino owners weeping. Another is outsourcing the gambling to Bangalore. I didn't win anything this time around. During our last trip we lost a lot of money and when we were waiting at the airport to catch our flight back, my wife decided to go for a final attempt at the airport slot machines. She won 330 dollars. They had to give the machine first aid. By the way, I discovered that they don't allow you to insert quarters inside slot machines nowadays. I guess slot machines developed some self-respect.

During this trip, we didn't spend a lot of time in the casinos. Instead, we visited the Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks. We rented a Chrysler 300 car which should have been better than my Volkswagen Jetta but wasn't. The speed limit in Nevada is 75 mph. It made me happy and I shed a tear for my own state's ubiquitous 55. But the highlight of our trip was our final night spent in Caesar's Palace. Something happened somewhere in somebody's brain and instead of an ordinary room, we were given a suite. It consisted of :
a.> 1 living room
b.> 2 bedrooms
c.> 4 bathrooms
d.> jacuzzi with massage jets
e.> 5 flat screen HD television sets.
f.> 3 different views of the Strip.
g.> Complimentary bag of cashews.

Okay I was exaggerating, I had to pay for the cashews. But everything else is true.

I think the reason behind this benevolence was the intense sentimentalization of the guy at the reception desk due to the fact that we were both from Pennsylvania. And luckily, when he said he was from Pittsburgh, I did not say oh, I thought you said you were from Pennsylvania ha ha. Also, when he said are you Indian, my mentor is Indian, I did not say really, what a coincidence, my mentor is American. Due to all these non-sayings of mine, we received the suite, thus proving once and for all, that if ever I feel like saying anything, it should be best left unsaid.

The Grand Canyon was quite windy. I offered her my Philadelphia Eagles cap and she accepted it with dignity and ferocity. The bus driver was probably a Republican because he kept taking pot shots at Hillary Clinton from the airport to the park. I gave him a gratuity of 5 dollars regardless. What better way to shame a Republican than to subject him to charity?

Zion National Park is amazing. We had to pass through three different time zones to get to it and we lost count. My watch kept showing different times as I passed from Nevada, through Arizona and into Utah. Finally, when we returned to Vegas, we realized that we had returned an hour earlier than planned. Inside, the park is breathtaking. You are surrounded by all these huge mountains which were formed as a result of erosion by the Virgin River, thus proving that even nature will tolerate all kinds of shit from a virgin. The majesty of the canyon monoliths makes you feel humble. You realize that no matter how great you think you are and how much you earn in US dollars, your body could never be sculpted into those massive peaks by a river. The weather in Zion reminded me of my Pune. Hot without being humid and you could feel all your bodily fluids slowly making their way into the atmosphere.

As a final note, hello Atlantic City NJ, you should quit trying to be like Vegas. It only makes you look foolish.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Off to Vegas

For a week. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows.

Friday, August 10, 2007


My friend zambezi does not like people calling him "dude". I am okay with that. I am also okay with people using the word "dude". My own nemesis is the word "dear". I don't like people using "dear" with all and sundry. Especially if those people happen to be male and are addressing other male people. For example, when a male friend emails you beginning with the line "How are you, dear", somehow you feel violated in a very intimate way.

I am okay with dude. At least when someone calls me a dude, I can pretend I am wearing a cowboy hat and riding a bull that is trying to throw me off and later that night I'm gonna have the same bull for dinner and then who's gonna try and throw off whom? But on the other hand if someone calls me a dear, I have a mental image of me simpering coyly and what makes it worse is that I still have on that same cowboy hat and I'm still riding the same bull but now I am also wearing a pink frock and oversized sunglasses with a color gradient going from brown to transparent and sipping on an appletini or some kind of cocktail with a miniature umbrella in it.

It's a very disturbing image so dude, quit calling me "dear".

Thursday, August 09, 2007


During my last visit to India, I purchased a miniature fake sitar souvenir in Bangalore for one of my office colleagues. I did this because whenever the topic of India comes up during our conversations, this colleague has a habit of raising his arms as if he were holding an imaginary sitar and uttering the phrase "tingalingaling". If you feel that the novelty value of this behavior would likely wear off after just a couple of performances, you haven't seen him impersonate 1.> an Indian flying carpet cab driver, 2.> a snake charmer having HR problems, or 3.> a snake charmer playing the sitar on a flying carpet.

So anyways, today my colleague informed me that he was pleased to report that yesterday his two year old daughter took her first baby steps towards becoming a sitar virtuoso by learning how to play the fake sitar souvenir. I guess Anoushka Shankar will be having some stiff foreign-born competition soon.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Regularity and the I-485

I need to keep blogging regularly. I feel that I am losing touch with the English language. I keep forgetting all these words that I use in my daily interaction with people and it is very frustrating. Lately, my conversations have been fraught with long pauses during which I try to remember the exact word I need to use on that occasion because I am such a perfectionist. Also because if I meant to say "user interface specifications", but actually said "Adolf Hitler" instead, it might remove a few rungs from my corporate ladder. But I think it's getting better with time because nowadays when people see me walking down the corridor in their general direction, they bring out Vikram Seth's "A Suitable Boy" to read during the forthcoming conversation. And that is fine with me. This way, America gets reacquainted with the printed word and I don't feel guilty for wasting a large chunk of her youth.

Some time ago there was this news article which said that regular blogging reduces the possibility of getting some disease. I wish I could remember what that disease was. Parkinson's, I think. Or was it Alzheimer's? I just went and google-checked and it turned out to be Alzheimer's. I think it is somewhat ironic that I forgot which disease can be prevented by blogging and that disease turned out to be Alzheimer's.

I finally sent out my I-485 application yesterday. It puts me in line for an American green card. It has been a long and frustrating journey which commenced in May this year when the US Senate decided to table this piece of legislation that they called the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill" just because the name "Turd Milkshake" was already taken. This bill intended to replace the current employment-based green card system with one that would be based upon merit. As you can imagine, merit-based systems are not very useful for people like me who are largely lacking in that department. Therefore, the period from May to June was a time of fearful apprehension and constant Senate-activity monitoring.

And then, just when all seemed to be lost, Republicans in the Senate rose to the occasion and defeated this bill. Twice. Man, I never thought I would say this, but Thank You, GOP, XOXOXOXO. But the respite was only temporary. The USCIS then piled on by coaxing all wanna-be immigrants into a state of quivering tumescence by making immigrant visa dates current for July and then applying danda to aforementioned KLs by rescinding the visa bulletin on July 2nd and disallowing anyone from filing for the final stage of the green card process.

This, of course, as history has documented, led to the Gandhigiri protests and the USCIS rescinding its previous rescindment and allowing everyone and their uncle to file for the final stage of the green card process, the highly-anticipated I-485.

In the meantime, immigration forums went wild. Clueless people began to ask other even more clueless people for help with complex I-485 filing details. "Birth certificate not have, family astrologer handwritten note will do?" "Medical certificate doctor asked to undress and touched in private portion, anyone else this happen to?" "Previously arrested for selling tobacco to minors, will this affect application or cause cancer?" "Filled out native script version of wife's name on her application, will USCIS find out it was me?" Correct answers turned out to be no, yes why God why, yes and are you fucking kidding me in that order.

And then there were those paranoid souls who dispatched their applications to the USCIS and then, for the next few days, sat in their darkened bedrooms surrounded by piles of their own hair, jumping at sudden sounds and wondering if their packages reached safely. "Who signed for your package at the USCIS Service Center? R. Williams? Mine was signed by C. Waterbury. Did I send it to the right place? Damn you, C. Waterbury!" How the fuck does it matter who signed for your goddamned package? Do you even know Senor Williams, I typed on my keyboard, pressed enter and watched my profile get flagged with a "rude commenter" tag.

I am not ashamed to say that I was an intrinsic part of this cowering fear-ridden pack until yesterday. But now that my package is well on its way to the USCIS, sitting inside a Fedex delivery truck the last time I checked, I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder. Although I still wonder if I signed all my checks. Or if my 6 photographs will be acceptable. And that there are no distracting shadows on my face. And that the white background against which my face rests is milky enough to satisfy even the most hardcore dairy-connoisseur on the USCIS payroll.

Also, I hope Mr. R. Williams signs for my package. He appears to be more trustworthy than this C. Waterbury fellow, at least within the immigrant community.