Monday, December 27, 2010

An almost 100% merry Christmas

I am a Christmasy person. But its just another holiday, why are you making such a big deal out of one day? you ask. Here's what I love
1. Christmas shopping (go on, call me a girl),
2. putting up the Christmas star (minimum effort required) and decorating the tree (not really, its too effort intensive),
3. munching on sumptuous lunch (duck, chicken, pork, prawns) followed by the most amazing dessert ever made (Pandhal in Cochin is where you need to buy it from, if anyone from Pandhal is reading this do I get a free dessert for openly recommending your stuff?),
4. sweets to savour (chocolate balls, marzipans and a whole lot of others),
5. rich plum cake and a dash of good old fashioned family made wine (sinfully heavenly),
6. visiting relatives (who doesn’t love them)
7. Santa Claus
8. and much much more.

The only thing I worry about on Christmas is my phone. The thing is every year I end up getting sms's from a lot of unknown numbers wishing me a very merry Christmas. Since most of these messages have my name in them, the sender obviously knows me well enough to have sent me a sms on this wonderful day. I on the other hand don’t know the same person well enough to have his / her number stored on my phone. Which sort of leaves me in a fix as I ponder on how exactly to reply to these sms's. I usually send a unisex reply that does the trick in most cases that doesn’t encourage further sms contact. Sometimes people, God bless them, in the spirit of the holidays respond with further questions - so what’s happening / what big plans etc. Now since I don’t know who I am messaging I am conscious about the amount of information I divulge so I usually respond with eating n sleeping and say I’m just about to doze off (good conversation ender) even if it is 9 AM.

The only thing worse than this is the kind hearted souls who decide to do away with sms-ing and call me on Christmas instead not knowing that I do not have any clue who they are. I am terrible at identifying voices & the conversations I have are deliberately bland and lack in detail (don’t want to give out too much information, what if the sweet sounding unknown woman is a stalker?) & I usually end the short calls with "Hey someone from the U.S is calling me, might be from the office, Ill have to call you back". And proceed to store the numbers as Unknown Christmas 1, Unknown Christmas 2 etc: So every year I have Unknown Christmas n calling up & talking to me about life while I am blissfully unaware of who I am talking to. And since the same people have been calling me year after year I think its too late to ask them their names.

Next year I think Ill leave my phone switched off. That way the same people will have to resort to emailing me or pinging me on Facebook. At least then I'll know who they are. Which means I can call them the following Christmas and spread the holiday cheer. Which would add another point to my Why I love Christmas list. Which would make me even more Christmasy & make the day a perfect Christmas.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The low point of low waist jeans

They say fashion is constantly evolving, that what’s 'in' this season is a far cry from what was 'in' a few months back and that you need to keep changing with the times. I, for one, am not the most fashionable person around, primarily due to the fact that my fashion sense hovers perilously close to zero. What I do know is that low waist jeans have been 'in' in India for the last decade & a couple of recent incidents have made me pen down (misnomer really considering that I’m typing it out) a few thoughts on this perpetually 'cool' style statement.

Before I get to that, permit me a few minutes of nostalgia. Around 10 years ago when I first decided to try out low waist jeans it wasn’t because of an enhanced sense of dressing. It turned out that I was rather scrawny for my age & getting a pair of jeans to fit me was about as easy as topping my class in the annual exams. So I was left with jeans that would dangle somewhere below my waist line (held up by a belt) at the mythical NELWJP (Non Embarrassment Low Waist Jeans Point). Which is the exact point at which the jeans are low enough to pass off as low while not being in danger of falling off with the next gust of wind but succeeding in scandalizing your extended family by its lack of proximity to your waist line. Of course I never stepped out without a belt, wasn’t daring enough but I do know of a lot of people who did. Gutsy buggers. Nowadays they aren’t the rage anymore but it isn’t surprising to spot someone sporting the low waist look and carrying it off well.

What is surprising though is the fact that people still think that it is acceptable to walk around in low waist jeans that display more than a hint of their undergarments. We were at a movie hall recently when we spotted guys from a large group sitting in front of us moving out to grab some popcorn. All of them were flaunting their boxers (most in checks, i think one of them had Mickey Mouse if my brief (pardon the pun) glance serves my memory correctly). And the best part is that none of them bothered to make any attempt to pull up their pants which led to much grief and shock for the rest of the audience.

In fact, I was thinking I should approach these right wing extremists in our country (we do seem to have plenty of them) & use their money and / or muscle power to launch my automatic low waist jeans lifting contraption which is rather self explanatory. All you have to do is walk up behind a person who is unsuitably attired in low waist jeans and clip the device onto his jeans without him knowing it. Then from a safe distance using the remote control, select the intensity of the upward pull and watch as it pulls his pants up using the combined effort of its tiny twin motors. Please do remember that the motors are pretty strong so please do think twice before putting it on the highest intensity. Lets just say the consequences could be long lasting. In fact I could and should patent this device. I’m sure parents would lap it up. This could be my goose that lays golden eggs. Swiss banks, here I come!

Of course, defenders of all things fashionable will say you cant impinge on someone’s fundamental right to dress up the way he / she wants. Which I agree with as long as they don’t display their boxers to the entire world each time they decide to cross the room. They might say ..... you know what, forget it. It doesn’t really matter what they say.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The question that has no answer

"Does this dress make me look fat?" The dreaded devious question hung menacingly in the air. Like Damocles sword, its razor sharp blade ready to drop at the slightest hint of a mistake. Dumping whatever clothes we had picked up we rushed towards the changing rooms of the store from where the fiendish question had arisen. Pretending to carefully check out the stuff on the racks near the changing room (never mind that it was all womens wear) we carefully sized up the situation while preparing ourselves for the impending massacre. None of us had ever laid our eyes on this guy before and now that the question was popped, we honestly weren’t expecting to see him alive again.

To be honest, the two of them made a cute couple. One of those picture perfect duos that you would probably spot on the walls of a photography studio. That is if the bugger managed to wriggle out of the predicament he was in right now. Highly improbable but we sent up a collective prayer for the poor sod.

Educational Lesson 1 - Hesitancy. Of all the things you should never do when a woman asks you a question, hesitancy is number one. Especially if she asks you a sensitive question. Even more so when it is about her weight. Remember that, fellow lads, never hesitate. It makes you appear as though you have to think before replying. And women don’t like men who think. Especially men who think before replying about their weight.

"Does this make me look fat?" This time there was a noticeable difference in the tone of the girl’s voice. Like rivers up in the mountains that slowly begin to freeze as winter begins its gradual descent upon us all, the sentence slowly increased in iciness, word by word, second by second.
"Blimey, has dead meat" said my friend (henceforth F1).
"Err (pause) I didn’t get what you said" replied the soon to be carcass of a friend / boyfriend / fiancĂ© / husband.
"He paused. He is soooo dead" pitched in another of our guy group (henceforth F2).
"How could you not hear my question? I repeated it twice. What is your answer? A simple yes or no." came the frigid reply.
"She wants a simple answer. Poor guy" I said as we watched the guy wither away under the steely glare of the girl.

Educational Lesson 2 - When a woman says she wants a simple reply, do not, I repeat, under any circumstances give a simple reply. When a woman says she wants a simple yes or no, you are expected to give a long winding, elaborate and eloquent speech that is both yes and no and does not commit yourself firmly to either a yes or a no. Examples of questions that are a prelude to the "It’s a simple yes or no question" are
a. Have you done the work that I’ve been asking you to do for the last 3 months?
b. Have you bought anything for me on the occasion of our upcoming anniversary?
c. Do you find your attractive secretary attractive?

The reason why men find the "Does this dress make me look fat" question highly revolting is because the question rapidly descends into either one of the following scenarios
Scene 1:
Guy - Of course not sweety, that’s rubbish. You don’t look fat. In fact you look extremely pretty in that dress. I think you should pick it up. (Internally congratulating himself for having handled the situation with poise and diplomacy)
Girl (about to descend into tears) - You think this makes me look fat (descending into tears)
Guy - What? No, I never said that. Why would you think that? Please stop crying, I don’t think you’re fat.
Girl (sobbing) - Is it too much to (sob) expect you to (sob) be honest with (sob) m(sob)e? Why don’t (sob) you tell me (sob) instead of (sob) trying to (sob) hide it. (Big sob) You think I’m fatttt ....
Guy (thinking to himself) - WTF?!

Scene 2:
Guy - You know what sweety, this isn’t really a good dress. The stitching is all weird. It’s a bit loose here and tight in other parts. It doesn’t really compliment your body. Why don’t we get you another dress. (Internally congratulating himself for having handled the situation with poise and diplomacy)
Girl - You think I’m fat (in a tone akin to someone saying 'You think Im racist') !
Guy (panic beginning to set in) - What? Of course not! I just said there was something wrong with the dress.
Girl - So you think I’m stupid as well as fat. Something wrong with the dress it seems, didn’t have the guts to tell me straight! You know what, there is something wrong with you! You can go to hell .... (Storming off)
Guy (thinking to himself) - WTF?!

Needless to say, the two of them pretty much stuck to the script (Scene 2 in this case) and as we walked away shell shocked from witnessing the verbal dressing down of a lifetime, we realised that we had to do something about it. All 3 of us were sure that we would not be able to handle such a cataclysmic event (not having a bitter errr better half helps but unfortunately all our parents are keen on rectifying that). And so we made a pact. Not as dramatic as the pact as the one made in the Lord of The Rings or in the United Nations but it was close enough.

F1, F2 and I thus created the Helpline for Evacuation of Languishing Pals (H.E.L.P), an organisation that has the following rules
- A member of H.E.L.P will always assist a fellow H.E.L.P member, whatever the circumstances the rescuer is in
- Any guy who is a member of H.E.L.P and has been asked the dastardly question "Does this dress make me look fat" will immediately send the following sms HELP to our secret number
- On receiving his sms, our systems will track down his location (God bless technology!) and send instant sms alerts to all other H.E.L.P members in the vicinity
- All nearby H.E.L.P members will rush to the location and assist in the immediate evacuation and rescue of the victim
- It is recommended that the rescuing H.E.L.P party uses one of the following excuses to enable the rapid escape of the unfortunate victim
a. Your uncle has died, I’m sorry. You need to come to the hospital immediately
b.Thank God I found you. The boss has been trying to get in touch with you for the last few hours.
c. Do you know (insert name of high sounding official), then come with us without a moments delay. This is a matter of national emergency.
d.Your dog has died. You need to come to the vet clinic immediately.
e. That critical assignment is due in 2 hours, come immediately.

Be prepared my fellow brothers. One knows not when the cursed question may befall thee. Pay a minimal joining fee and ensure that you are safe and sound every time you go shopping. So that instead of having guys discreetly watch you getting dissected, you can instead have the very same guys help you escape nature’s wrath with a single sms. Remember, we at H.E.L.P are always there to help.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Too grey or not too grey

In a solemn tone that would have been more appropriate for a doctor about to tell the dashing hero of the movie that he had life threatening cancer or a sidekick telling the above mentioned hero that his house along with his dog was going to be blown up by terrorists, or both, my friend slowly said me "You have grey hair!". It sounded like the curse of our forefathers was upon me, the end of the world was near, the sky was falling blah blah.

"Of course I do" I replied nonchalantly, "I’ve had greys for quite some time now. Ive just stopped getting rid of them". I watched her eyes grow to the size of saucers and worried they might pop out I proceeded to explain "It gives me a distinguished look. And women these days like men who have that sophisticated air. Right?"

"I don’t know who feeds you all this drivel. We women like nothing of that sort. Grey hair does not make you look smart at all. All it does is make you look old. Like our uncles. We don’t want to be seen with old men. Except our Dad's of course .... You should dye your hair or cut those grey hairs off ASAP if you want to find yourself a woman. Otherwise you can continue to remain single!"

As I pondered on the benefits on continuing to stay a bachelor for the next few years, it dawned on me. "What about George Clooney?" I enquired. "Oooooh, I’ve had a crush on George Clooney since like forever. I could go on a romantic dinner date with him followed by a walk on a moonlight beach and .... "

"But he has grey hair and hence looks old" I interjected before the details became too embarrassingly mushy. "Rubbish, he is perfect. He's so smart, so handsome, so so so what is the word I’m looking for ummmm yummy." Gross! "But he is old enough to be your Dad" I added, trying to fuel the fire. "Nonsense, we would make a perfect couple, George and I. Neil, can you imagine the perfect wedding George and I would have, our sons would be so handsome and our daughters would be so beautiful ...."

"But hes got grey hair!" I exclaimed as I realised logic had made a hasty exit a few minutes back. "How can he be perfect?"

"Shut up, you’re just jealous" she said as she walked away with dreamy eyes as visions of little Georges running around her filled her happy mind. My mind, on the other hand, was still reeling from the conversation. It was almost as if I’d been sucker punched by Mike Tyson. Was I better off with grey hair? Or was I supposed to not have grey hair. None of it made sense any more.

I ran my hand through my hair as I looked at myself in the mirror. Maybe I could go bald. Like Andre Agassi. I’ve never tried that. Im sure women would dig that. I think I should talk to my friend about it. As long as she doesn’t start dreaming about pushing Steffi Graf out of the picture and starting a family with Andre ….

To Be A MMAHN .....

"Aaaaaargggghhhhhh !". The blood curdling scream wasn’t exactly my idea of an ideal alarm but out here in the wild I guess I couldn’t really complain. Jumping out of my tent (read slowly making my way out as I fought drowsiness) I half expected to see one of the guys battling a big bear or fending off a tiger or chasing away some cheeky monkeys who would've tried stealing our food. Instead all I saw was Mr. X (name withheld due to the embarrassment it would cause him if this incident became public) with his travel kit in his hand looking pale as a ghost. Fish! Maybe he spotted a snake or a scorpion or something. The thought of a snake in your campsite sure does leave you wide away in an awful hurry.

"What happened?" I asked as I ran towards him (after making sure there weren’t any creepy crawlies in the vicinity). "My stuff, where is my stuff ??" shouted Mr. X, the displeasure becoming more and more evident with each passing second. By now the others had slowly woken up and had made their way out to the clearing. "What stuff?" one of them asked. By now, Mr. X's breathing had become more laboured and his face was turning red, ostensibly with anger. “I want to know, where my skin cream, my sunscreen lotion, my face wash, my hair gel and the rest of my essentials have gone!".

"Is that all?" one of the others replied as he made his way back into his tent and plonked back into his makeshift bed, more from laziness than from exhaustion. Realising that it was close to 7 AM and that we city slickers were out there in the middle of nowhere, the others proceeded to silently follow suit until someone said "Neil, tell him how to be a MMAHN". "How to be a man?!" Mr. X exclaimed indignantly as he proceeded to stomp towards the other tents but he stopped when he heard the sound of snoring.

"Relax, they wanted me to tell you how to be Mildly Metrosexual And Hence Normal i.e. a MMAHN. The night before we left on this week long outdoors camping trip away from civilization, the guys realised that we had packed too much. Actually they realised that you had packed too much. So while you were sleeping, they opened out your suitcase and dumped everything that you didn’t need into the back seat of the car."

"But but but ….." sputtered Mr. X in disbelief, "I need all those products! I use them everyday, why in the world did you guys think it was not essential? Just because you guys don’t take care of yourselves doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t. Who said only women have to look good?". Mr. X was becoming rather cross, I would have to step in before he blew his top.

"So here's the thing. You use all these products, you go for a pedicure and a manicure ever so often and get yourself waxed every month, is that as painful as they say it is, ok doesn’t matter, my point is all this is actually not necessary. Being metrosexual was so last year. No one is saying don’t look good. But don’t become a victim to the evil conspiracy that has been hatched by all these companies that make you want to buy more and more of their harmful products that offer only psychological benefits. Which is why you should be a MMAHN."

"This means looking good but with less effort. No long waits in the parlour, no yanking off your manly chest hairs while stifling the urge to scream like a little girl, no spending hours in front of the mirror wondering if your skin looks a tone fairer and glows more than it did last week. Instead use a limited set of products that achieve the purpose with minimal time and effort. And that is exactly what being a MMAHN is all about. Think of all those hours you spend grooming yourself. Would you not have benefitted from working out in the gym instead?" I had to pause to take a breath. More importantly it looked like he had cooled down.

"Hmmm, you might have a point there". So he wasn’t totally convinced. Time to drive the final nail in the coffin. "Think about this, do you really need all that girly (extra emphasis on girly) when you are going out for a week long camping trip. With guys. In the middle of the freakin' jungle. Its not like we are surrounded by women out here."

"Maybe youre right, if I had a fiancĂ©e I am sure that she would keep complaining that I spend more on cosmetics than her. And I could do with a few extra hours in the gym every week (involuntarily flexing his biceps in while he is talking). Maybe you guys are right after all. Thankfully there are no women around". Phew! Mission accomplished. I didn’t know what was more difficult, get highly metrosexual men to understand that they need to take it easy or getting normal men to realize that they need to take care of themselves.

We proceeded to have a glorious couple of days of fishing, trekking, lazying around, cooking and swimming. A campfire was the perfect way to end our second day as we recalled old stories and laughed heartily at incidents and jokes, some funny and others not so funny. We finally retired to the not so comfortable confines of our tents and just as I was in the transition from light sleep to the glorious deep slumber that follows a perfect day, I was awakened by one of the guys who had scrambled into my tent.

"Dude I think we have a problem" he said. I asked, "What is it?" while my brain was furiously trying to scramble itself out of its deep sleep shutdown mode. "Shhhh, listen" he said. All I could hear were crickets (of the multi-legged kind) and assorted insects chirping away to glory. And then ever so faintly, I heard the sound of women laughing. It couldn’t be. I turned to the intruder in my tent. He nodded without me even asking. "I took a walk and checked. Looks like it’s a group of 30 women on an office outing. And they have camped 5 minutes away from our site. Mr. X is going to throw a sissy fit tomorrow morning when he finds out. What will we do ??"

All of us, with the exception of Mr X with a new found hideous stubble courtesy his MMAHN bliss snored away all night, barely slept a wink. And the next morning we all pretended to be fast asleep when he woke up and walked around and spotted the women’s campsite and let loose his trademark "Aaaaaargggghhhhhh !"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winner take all .....

It’s been brewing for years. Below the surface the opposing undercurrents have been strongly clashing with each other, neither side ready to give up, neither side ready to back down. On occasion raising up a storm but mostly restricted to the awe inspiring sound of the thunderous crashing of waves. A battle in which both sides believed that they were right. A clash of ideologies that would have continued for years to come but for the fact that leaders on both sides
believed that the time was ripe for the final blow to be struck to their opponents.

And so it happened that on the seventeenth day of the eleventh month of the year two thousand and ten, both sides laid it all on the line. No more unfriendly jibes, no more below the belt comments, no more going for the jugular. One representative from each side would step up in a verbal joust for the ages. No draws, no timeouts, no mid sparring coaching, no pausing for your breath. There would be only one winner. Only one side would walk away with their heads held
high saying "We were right all along" while the other side would hold their heads down in shame. The stakes, were well and truly, high.

But before such a history altering battle could commence, both sides realised the need for a fair arbitrator. The leaders on both sides had too much pride to win through a tainted victory. They knew they needed a man of great wisdom & intellect. A man who could slice and separate the nonsense from the core of the issue with ruthlessness and without favour. A fair and just man. A man whose judgement is without question. So they chose me.


I woke up this morning to the drone of an angry mob. The police are always jittery when crowds begin to emit that steady drone which signifies that the crowd is talking animatedly amongst themselves. And an animatedly talking crowd almost always descends into pure, unadulterated chaos. I walked up to the hotel window and tried to rub the sleep out of my eyes. As my eyes adjusted to the bright sunlight, I saw a mass of humanity that was split down the middle by a heavily armed police force. Men and women, people of all shapes, sizes and colours constituted the two equal halves. They were all here to be a part of history. The camera crews were setting up the giant screens outside. I looked at my watch. 45 minutes to go. Lets do this.


4 minutes to go. I’ve been sitting on stage for the last few minutes. The air-conditioning is on but I can see people sweating profusely. I close my eyes for a moment and smile. A battle like this ought to have been settled in a Roman arena. Scenes from the movie The Gladiator flash across my mind. Instead here we are, like civilised men and women, in the conference hall of one of the world's plushest hotels. Both sides have been given an equal number of seats and a police cordon stands guard in the middle. I don’t expect trouble but with such sensitive issues, you never really know till the fat lady sings. I scan the crowd. There is not an empty seat. People shifting uncomfortably in their chairs. I nod at the front rows of either half. 2 men stand up and make their way up the stage from opposite ends and take their places behind their microphones.

I step up to my microphone which is right in the middle of the stage. My eyes blink from the popping flashlights. I should’ve worn my sunglasses I think to myself. Crap ! Don’t smile now because of your stupid joke and spoil the whole thing. This is history in the making. I manage to keep a straight face. I take a second.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure all of you know why we are here and what is at stakes here. But just in case you have avoided newspapers, television, radio and other people for the last one month and have decided to switch on your television set or radio, let me inform you that you have tuned in to the final battle between the vegetarians and the non vegetarians that will decide once and for all which side is correct and justified. My ruling will be fair and final.

I have a simple scoring system, akin to a tennis match. Either side can bring out a point and the other side will have a chance to reply. The winner of the exchange wins a point. The first side to reach six point with a two point lead wins the debate. There will be no tie breaker system, the
debate will continue till you have a two point lead after you reach six points. Parliamentary language (Crap ! Don’t smile now because of your stupid joke and spoil the whole thing. This is history in the making.) will not be permitted and will result in disqualification. To my left we have the vegetarians represented by Mr VG and to my right we have Mr NV." I look at both participants and ask them if they have any doubts. I’ve been through the rules with both sides backstage several times. I look at my watch, 10 seconds to go. I pause for the added drama. "Fight!"

Mr VG - Don’t you non vegetarians know that animals are living beings with feelings? They go through the same cycle of life that we humans go through. How can you people be so heartless and cruel? All animals deserve to lead a full life. It is inhuman to butcher them just to satisfy your greed.
Mr NV - You’re right, animals are living beings that go through the complete cycle of life and ultimately death. Just as plants are living beings that also follow natures cycle of life and death. Take for example that salad you had for breakfast this morning. All those vegetables would have grown on the plants they belong to and died on those plants had it not been for the greed of you people. And speaking of greed, I admit our greed might result in the loss of lives of animals. But tell me, how many vegetarians seated here are wearing leather shoes and carrying leather wallets and bags? Aren’t animals killed for that?

"1 - 0 non vegetarians" I announce into the mic. The last couple of sentences sealed the deal.

Mr NV - And speaking of natures cycle of life and death of plants. Tell me something, is it not your selfishness and insistence on eating fruits and vegetables that is depriving herbivorous animals all across the world their natural source of food. Here you are telling me about what is right for animals. Is it right that you take away their only source of food? What if you vegetarians swell in number and deplete all our food resources? What will our animals do? Do you want them to become cannibals?
Mr VG - Err that is a frivolous errr ummm ....

"2 - 0 non vegetarians"

Mr NV - Is it not true that with all our scientific advances in agriculture, man has been depending more and more on the use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides to increase the productivity of crop? And is it not true that digesting these is harmful to the body? And is it not true that if a person were to digest an animal that has eaten this chemically treated crop, the chance of contamination is less because it has already been processed once by the system of the animal ?
Mr VG - (mumbles something into the mic)
I - Could you repeat that louder for the benefit of the audience and the judge ?
Mr VG (Stammering) - Yes, yes and yes ....

"3 - 0 non vegetarians" There was a steady murmur throughout the crowd.

Mr NV - Is it not true that most vegetarians also eat eggs? And is it not true that in order to ensure that the eggs do not get fertilized chickens are injected with several hormones that result in them becoming egg laying machines and nothing more. Is it right to play God with these poor animals just so that you so called clean vegetarians can eat eggs while justifying your actions saying that there is no life in the egg and hence it will never fertilize?
Mr VG (dipping his head) - Yes, yes and no.

"4 - 0 non vegetarians" The excitement levels were rising and the mood in the crowd had changed perceptibly. The non vegetarian speaker paused and turned to me asking "O wise and honourable judge, it appears that we do not have a level playing field. Would you allow one round with a little back and forth questions and answers, your holiness?" It appeared to be a fair request and I agreed. It was after all turning out to be rather one sided.

Mr NV - " Tell me, Mr NG. Do you like to travel ?"
Mr VG (taken aback by the unexpected direction of the discussion) : "Yes, yes I do. My wife and I like to travel a lot."
Mr NV - " You looked like a travelling man to me. The moment I saw you I knew that I was pitted against a man who has seen the world. Am I right?"
Mr VG - " Well I wouldn’t go so far as to say that but yes I have seen several countries and cultures."
Mr NV - "Rome ? Paris ? Milan ? The Niagra Falls?"
Mr VG - "I have been fortunate to visit these wonderful places in my lifetime. But why do you ask?"

The audience by now was also visibly intrigued. After the rapid fire first few minutes, they could sense the seemingly innocuous questions were leading upto something big.

Mr NV (ignoring the last question) - "What about India? Have you been to the Taj Mahal?"
Mr VG - "It is most beautiful. My wife loved it. But I really don’t see where you are going with this."
Mr NV - "I’m sure you have been to the lovely city of Cochin, in the state that is called God's own country, Kerala. What memories do you have of that place?"
Mr VG - "Why yes, we have been there. It is gobsmackingly beautiful. But they did have dreadful mosquitoes. We used to wake up covered in mosquito bites. I used to sit up and swat those mosquitoes for hours on end and they still kept coming. It was terri ...."
Mr VG realised he had been setup.

"5 - 0 non vegetarians"

"This is ridiculous, my statements were taken out of context. There was nothing we could do" he protested.

I could see Mr NV smiling. He was going for the kill. Like a lion in the savannah, he had played with his prey and was now tired. Let it be swift and painless I prayed. Already one side of the hall looked disconsolate.

Mr NV - "Imagine you are on a safari through a jungle. Somehow you get separated from your guide and the rest of your team. You have no weapons, no compass, no food and no water. You come across a clearing and suddenly you see a male lion and a pack of female lions. Would you turn around and run ?"
Mr VG - "Of course I would."

They both turned expectantly to me waiting for my judgement. I unfortunately had no clue what had just transpired. I looked at Mr NV quizzically.

Mr NV - "So when confronted with a lion you would turn around and run. But when a mosquito comes towards you, you would jump up and kill it. Why don’t you run instead ....."

My ruling of 6-0 non vegetarians could hardly be heard over the commotion and the celebration. The jubilation of the crowd outside had to be heard to be believed. I walked up to the winning speaker who couldnt wipe the smile off his face and shook his hand and said "Congratulations. No pun intended but it was a bloodbath."

Monday, November 15, 2010

(H/Cr)appy Holidays !

"Incoming !" yelled the guy next to me as we ducked just in time to see a rocket whizz past us and crash into the wall. I was picking myself up while dusting off all the dirt on my clothes when the world stopped for a moment. BOOM ! An explosion that was loud enough to get my ears ringing all over again. "This is not good" I muttered to myself as I regained my temporarily lost senses and tried to gauge what was happening. Rat-tat-tat-tat. The sound of gunfire. No point in ducking this time. More explosions. My ears were taking a battering by now and crying for some relief. I looked up and saw another rocket take off and burst into a gay riot of colours. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, not to a battlefield, but to India celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.

Call me old fashioned or boring but I prefer the type of Diwali which involves lighting of diyas and sharing of sweets and the sensible use of fireworks. Fireworks that do not include bombs (the deafness inducing firework) that will wake even the dead from their eternal rest or the 10,000 (a headache inducing type of firework that has 10,000 individual crackers that go off one by one). Give me a fountain, sparklers and the crazy spinning fireworks any day which make hardly any noise and don’t cause the dogs to head for cover.

Which got me thinking, has the true essence of festivals been lost in India? No longer do people want to head home and spend quality time with their families for the holidays. Instead people seem to look forward to the holidays only because discounts are available everywhere. When did this commercialization take over? Whatever happened to being happy and hence nice to others during the holiday season?

Take for example the situation every Christmas. Roads are clogged as last minute shoppers are on the hunt for stars and decorations. In the ensuring traffic jams, people stick to the whole season of giving mentality by giving each other the bird accompanied by a healthy dose of abuses as they jostle for real estate on our roads. During Diwali, people take over our roads to burst crackers (often late into the night) while not giving two hoots about pedestrians or commuters. I remember seeing an old man fall off his cycle because he was struck by a rocket that was set off by a boy who was placing them parallel to the ground and lighting them instead of pointing them to the sky.

How about it people? Why not take a small little vow to be more responsible and thoughtful the next time the holidays come around? Spread the word. That way I won’t have to jump behind the nearest tree every time a dimwit kid fires off a rocket at me. And considering that I’m losing more and more of my hearing with each passing Diwali, the next time it happens I just may not hear the shout of “Incoming!”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Viva La Raza

Today is the 5th death anniversary of one of the greatest wrestlers and entertainers of all time, Eddie Guerrero. The man who made "Latino Heat", "Mamacita" & "I lie, I cheat, I steal" familiar to millions of wrestling fans around the world. The man who had his demons and overcame them to get his life back on track. The man who literaly stole our hearts with his passion, dedication and enthusiasm.

R.I.P Eddie

Monday, November 01, 2010

Looking or searching for an extra roommate?

Looking or searching for an extra roommate?
  • Did your roommate perform so badly in the last quarter that his boss decided to ship him off to Timbuktu?
  • Did your roommate foolishly go find the girl of his dreams and promise to marry her soon?
  • Did your roommate get tired of the big city life and decide to home and look after his dad’s collapsing business?
  • Did your roommate think that he is going to make a pot load of cash by working abroad?
  • Are you left without a roommate and the entire rent to pay by yourself?
Come find others like you who are searching for a roommate at the next “Looking or searching for an extra roommate?” meeting at Abcd Hall on the 1st of April. Contact us at 098652xxxxx.

‘Bloody ‘ell, this is it’, I said to myself triumphantly as I finished reading the advertisment. No more scanning through the classifieds every 6 months as yet another new roommate of mine packs his bags and moves out. Usually to get married. In a couple of cases, before my new roommate could finish unpacking he had to start packing because his folks had found him a suitable match out of the blue. I’m not making this up! In fact it has reached such a stage that no longer am I breaking my head about having to settle down myself. Instead I have to keep worrying about how I am going to pay the next months rent if my possibly soon to be ex - roomie decides to do a Houdini on me. They said marriage was tough. I don’t think they were talking about the difficulty people like me have to go through each time someone decides to bite the dust.

“Gentlemen, welcome to the first ever ‘Looking or searching for an extra roommate?’ meeting in Bangalore. My name is John Smith (name has been deliberately changed to protect this persons identity) and I have created a startup - “Looking or searching for an extra roommate?” after my MBA.” I groaned internally. Not another I think I’ve hit the magic jackpot because I’ve done an MBA nut. But I had to admit his idea was good and he seemed enthusiastic enough. Wearing a rather dapper suit he did stand out though the pink tie wasn’t to my liking. But, what do I know about style anyway?

“… while doing my MBA I remember so many of my seniors telling me that they faced a tough time finding flat mates because they came and went with the speed of the batting lineup of the Indian cricket team on yet another insipid collapse. And so I thought to myself …”. Another groan. This time it isn’t a silent internal one. When will he get to the point I wonder. People sitting next to me turn and look disapprovingly.

“ …… and so all you need to do is to tick the boxes on your application form which will help us identify the sort of roommate you want. Our propriety software will then pick the best possible roommate for you. Sort of like a dating agency” My hand involuntarily smacks my head as his last sentence runs through my mind. Male roommates. Dating agency. Gulp! Is this for gays? I desperately try pushing the thought out of my head. I scan the ad again. I re - read it. I put his dating agency quote down to him being a schmuck with an MBA degree in hand.

“Being the first ever “Looking or searching for an extra roommate?” meeting, we have a special contest for the members of the audience. Whoever can come up with the best name for this startup group gets a wonderful prize”. Highly audible groan from me this time. I hate the wonderful prize gimmick. Unfortunately it was within the earshot of our hotshot MBA who turns to our direction. Using my old trick, I turn and look accusingly at the rather innocuous chap sitting next to me who in turn gets a cold stare from Johnnie boy.

“Lets have a demonstration for the benefit of those present here. I would like to invite 5 volunteers onto the stage to list out their requirements from the ideal roommate. Then see how our system matches their requirements and finds the perfect roomie”. Hands shoot up everywhere. As always mine stay firmly rooted down. The 5 selected volunteers trot up and the first guy is given the mic.

“Hi, I am looking for a roommate who should be highly presentable. I have a lot of relatives staying in Bangalore and my parents keep flying in regularly. Hence the house has to be spic and span all the time and my roommate has to be presentable at all times. The last time my mom and sister flew in on the midnight flight they saw my half asleep roommate walking to the loo for a piss dressed only in his underwear. And to make matters worse he didn’t shut the door. It was embarrassing to say the least. And then there was that one case when …”

“Thank you sir” said our young gun interrupting the first volunteer, obviously not expecting to have gotten off on such a note. “How about we try the next volunteer?”. “Hi, I am new to Bangalore. I have never been away from home for more than 2 days at a stretch and I really miss my Mummy & Papa. I am looking for a roommate who will provide a shoulder to lean on and be a true soul mate for me. He should compliment me perfectly and ….”

“Thank you sir, thank you” said our man with the MBA as he jumped in rather hurriedly. Strangely I relished his discomfort. “How about we try the next volunteer?” he said as he turned to the man who had taken possession of the mic. All his marketing and HR sessions couldn’t help him mask the fact that he wished the 3rd volunteer wasn’t on stage. Cause the man was visibly drunk. Or stoned. Or both.

“Hey. I’m working the graveyard shift most days so my potential roommate doesn’t have to worry about me getting in the way. In fact today is one of the rare days that I’m awake at this time. The only problem is that since I’m awake only at nights I cant get any work done since everything is shut. So my roomie will have to help me a bit. Like taking my clothes to the dhobi. And buying groceries. And occasionally dropping my vehicle for servicing. And getting me some booze once in a while. And he should like heavy metal. And ….”

“T – tttha – thhaank you” stammered Mr Smith who obviously realized he was in over his young head. “How about get some responses from the audience for the naming contest?” in an obvious attempt to prevent further embarrassment. Awkward silence. It was time to put the young man out of his misery. And so my hand slowly went up.

Visible relief. “The gentleman in the last row. Yes sir, you have a suggestion?”. “Why not an acronym?” I ask. “Acronym? Of what?” asks the young man. ”Your tagline. Its everywhere. Its your motto. Its your signature. It defines your startup” I reply. He turned to the large poster behind him and read out slowly, “Looking or searching for an extra roo …… LOSER ?!”

He turned around with what I was later told was a murderous look on his face. But by then I had already disappeared. As I strolled down the street I realized there was only 1 thing left to do. I pulled the flyer out of my pocket. I read the tagline one last time “Looking or searching for an extra roommate?” before tearing up the flyer and dumping it unceremoniously in the next dust bin. Losers. Now to find myself a new roommate ....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Red, White Or Blue ?

Being so sure of something, that you know come rain or sunshine, nothing is going to change your mind is a lovely state of mind to be in. Its like you've flipped a switch somewhere. You've made your decision and that is it. You’re the master (or mistress, in case you’re a woman) of your destiny and the 4 knuckles of doom (read a closed fist) to anyone who stands in your way. A feeling you wish you had more often in life. Right now I am sure of one thing, when I do get around to buying a car, it’s going to be the Fiat Grande Punto.

For once I’ve decided to stop pretending that I know the solutions to the world's problems and cribbing about life in general and instead blog about the one thing that been on my mind for quite some time. I can’t help it, after all it’s a Fiat. And my family loves Fiats. We've had the pleasure of owning a good old Fiat (the Premier Padmini), a Fiat Uno and a Fiat Palio over the last few years.

Why the love affair with a Fiat Grande Punto ? For one, it’s gorgeous. I do my best not to be shallow but I cant help it in this case. I could just buy one, park it outside, pull out a chair and just look at it all day. And feel happy. Two, its breathtakingly beautiful. And three, I love the way it looks.

Which is important because the interiors are nowhere close to the best. And the engines are mediocre to put it mildly. And Fiat India has apparently fired its Quality Checking team because they were convinced that people would buy the car based on its looks alone. Which explains why parts fall off all the time. Which is also why you need to keep checking the rear view mirror to see if any bits and pieces have decided to bid you a fond farewell after the last pothole. That is assuming the rear view mirror hasn’t worked itself loose and fallen down. Fiat lovers like to describe this tendency as 'character' when their Puntos are compared to the soulless tin boxes on our roads.

The point is I’ve made up my mind. There just seems to be one tiny problem. I can’t decide which colour I should go for. The red is extremely catchy but is a little too bright for my nature. The black is subdued and regal but a little too sober. The white is gorgeous but will be a pain to keep clean. The blue is definitely not me. The silver is so corporate that I can’t even think about it. The dark grey is an uncle colour. And yet it looks amazing in all these colours. Looks like I haven’t made up my mind after all .....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The happy SAHD man

For most people happiness in life stems from that one golden rule - Always be the best at what you do. If you’re in school you have to be a class topper. If you’re in college you have to be dating the prettiest girl. If you’re working you to have to get the highest rating and consequentially the highest pay hike. If you’re getting married it has to be the grandest and fanciest few hours that you can (in most cases cant) afford. And then you have a family and your kid starts from scratch cause you want him to be the class topper ....

So here we are, India's middle class in their 20's men looking at fancy degrees, dreaming of high paying jobs, hoping to meet the perfect woman who will take care of our kids (as and when they arrive) and settling down happily ever after while enjoying a super successful rise to the top career while faithfully following the one golden rule. All except for me that is.

So why do I not subscribe to the golden rule that has been so successful for so many people that it should be christened a platinum rule, you might ask? Here's what you need to do - take out a piece of paper or click on Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Notepad if you’re technically inclined and list out 25 things that you want to do before you move on to the afterlife. If your friends have you certified as boring then you need to jot down only 20 and if they think you’re filled with too many dreams, aspirations and non stop nonsense then you get 30 (Just so you understood, the guys get 20 and the women 30). Now sit back and think how many of those you actually have a chance of doing in the next 15 years if you were to follow the one golden rule. A prize to whoever crosses 10, seriously.

The answer lies in being a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD). I’m sure that by just reading those 4 words, half the men reading this would’ve collapsed, another 20% would’ve had breathlessness leading to palpitations and the remaining 30% would’ve thought "This is nonsense, how can a well educated Indian man be a stay at home dad. It’s against all that is right in our society. This guy is off his rockers. I’m closing this blog". The truth is its so simple and sensible that I don’t know why nobody thought of it earlier. There's only one ingredient to the wonderful recipe - 1 successful career oriented and flexible wife. The way things are going finding one isn’t that tough these days.

The concept of being a SAHD came to me last year when our team was discussing the fact that women get 3 months of post delivery maternity leave while men get nothing. That’s right nothing. Welcoming the most adorable baby into the world today ? Congratulations ! Make sure you’re not late tomorrow and don’t expect your work load to reduce. Why should men not enjoy their release from the dreaded 9 months of pre delivery slavery (much worse than the 5 minutes of pain women go through during the actual delivery) ? And the fact that their wife has delivered a lovely healthy baby ? When my time comes I’m going to take a month or two off for sure. Which got me thinking, why only a month or two?

Think about it, most Indian middle class newly married couples are the double income sorts which means that when they do find the time to have kids, they are asleep when the kids get ready and go to school and reach home so late that the kids are already tucked in and snoring. All thanks to the maid who substitutes as a mom. And dad. Most of these double income no care (DINC) parents are so shameless that when asked at the what is their kids favourite colour they stare intently into their Blackberry's while pretending not to hear because they didn’t even know their kid had a favourite colour in the first place. Of course they feel guilty for not being there for their kids so they end up spending a big portion of the latest salary hike on the kids at the nearest mall. Guilt erased they go back to their worlds of not caring.

Which is why being a SAHD makes so much sense. You get to be the only dad who actually drops his kid off at school as compared to all those other drivers who are employed solely for the purpose of ferrying the kids around. You get time to have breakfast and more importantly a conversation with your spouse before she leaves for work and you get to drop her off to the office as well. Once you come back you have to take care of the laundry, gardening, grocery shopping, supervision of cleaning and cooking. In the evenings you get to spend quality time with your kids while ensuring that they complete their homework and listening to all their school adventures. And you get to know what their favourite colour is. And the biggest bonus of all – you get to play the perfect supportive spouse to your hard working wife.

Plus you have time to follow your passions - always thought you had a hint of Michelangelo in you, painting away to glory is what you should be doing. Feel J.K. Rowling made millions on a crappy set of books, prove you can make billions by writing a better book. Secretly thought you would be good at stitching but were too afraid to take it up for fear that you might get spotted and ridiculed, this is your chance to develop the budding stylist in you. As a kid ever felt that the perfect life involved playing video games all day, this is the answer to your gaming prayers to Duke Nukem and Super Mario. Wanted to walk around the house in nothing but your jockeys all day (don’t ask why but guys find this appealing), just make sure to close the windows and live out your dream. Missed out on all those TV shows and movies while you slogged your butt off for the last few years in the hopes of making it big, treat yourself to a nice big sofa and rent out DVDs day in and day out.

Of course it all comes down to how you spin the whole thing. You just can’t go tell your better half 'Sweetie I always thought I would make a better gardener than a supply chain consultant. I’m quitting'. Instead what you need to do is tell her 'Sweetie, I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve realised that you seem to have a more promising career than mine (free brownie points for saying she is superior) and I don’t want to hold you back with the kids and so much responsibility. I will make a courageous sacrifice and give up my career and bring up the kids to the best of my ability. Of course, I cannot hope to be half the perfect parent you would be (more brownie points for more lying) and I will need your support but I think if we are in this together, we can pull it off'. Watch her melt before your very eyes and judiciously make use of the fact that she will never say No to you again.

Which is why I am sure that I will be extremely happy by being SAHD !

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Highlight of Twilight

Horrendous! That’s the first word that came to my mind when the credits started rolling. I spent a little more time thinking but there didn’t seem to be a more appropriate word. Actually the word was bouncing around my head throughout the time I was watching the movie Twilight but I kept giving the movie makers the benefit of the doubt thinking that they would add some major twist in the end that would somehow make the entire exercise meaningful. Was I wrong or was I wrong?

On the face of it, the movie seemed promising for a Sunday night watch. After all the Twilight series of novels has sold over 100 million copies worldwide as of march 2010. Add to that pirated prints and ebooks and you have a massive reading audience. Gross revenues of $ 1,747,822,231 from the 3 movies made so far sealed the deal. To me any movie that is made based on a best selling book is usually good because the author would have taken time and effort to build a plot and characters and weave a story that will have you hooked.

Unless you are a best selling Indian author who has achieved critical (?) acclaim for writing books that are to put it modestly a bucket load of horse crap but seem to fly off the shelves for no apparent reason and ultimately get made into movies. Coming back to twilight, the formula seemed to be pretty straight forward, how could you mess up a teenage love story with vampires and werewolves?

Apparently it’s pretty easy to do so. The heroine Isabella is drawn to the mind reading vampire Edward who used to eat only animals for decades but now that he has smelt Isabella's scent, he lusts for her blood and fears he cannot stop himself. This of course would convert poor Isabella into a vampire as well and being the normal sensible American teenager that she is, she falls in love with him and cannot keep herself away.

Waitaminute, why would a normal sensible American teenager fall in love with a vampire who wants to take a drink from her bloodstream? Guess I forgot to read the memo about leaving my brains outside while watching the movie. If you are still are confused as I am check out these quotes from the movie.
Edward – “My family, we're different from others of our kind we only drink animal blood, but you, your scent, it’s like a drug to me you. Its like youre my own personal brand of heroin.”
Isabella – “About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him, and I didn't know how dominate that part might be, that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."

Hah, free brainfreeze !

It seems that the lead pair was half way through the acting course of some fly by night operator on Broadway when they started shooting the movie. Consequently it looks as if they have under acted (if it was done deliberately, then its even worse) and they have no chemistry whatsoever. So you don’t really want the two of them to end up together (even if it appears that he would love nothing better than to dig his fangs into her neck in the 1st scene of the next movie) which defeats the whole purpose of adding a love story to the plot.

Did I say plot? So here's what 5 minutes of thinking when you have nothing better to do in life can get you as an excuse for a movie plot
Girl moves to small town - Vampire saves girl - Girl and vampire fall in love - Bad vampire chases girl - Good vampires kill bad vampire - The end

Compare this to a movie with a proper love story like Notting Hill where Hugh Grant turns down Julia Roberts and you automatically think - Bollocks! William Thacker, you are the daftest guy in the history of movie characters. And when he realises that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life you feel incredibly happy and want him to somehow reach Julia Roberts before she leaves England for good. With Twilight, all I kept thinking was is she really that stupid? Why would she trust a vampire who wants her blood? Or am I stupid for still watching the stupid movie with a stupid storyline?

It’s been 3 days now and my head is still hurting from trying to figure out the movie. I’ve heard the sequel to Twilight is rather unbelievably, worse. In fact I’m already wondering what will be the first word that comes to my mind as the credits start rolling for The Twilight Saga : New Moon. Terrible? Atrocious? Appalling? Abysmal?

Have you joined CRAP ?

Gentlemen & ladies, I request your assistance, time and well wishes for the next few months as I set off on my endeavour to bring equality to the sexes in India's workplace. I have decided to setup the Committee for Removal of Apparent Partiality (CRAP) which will ensure that men have equal rights as women in offices all across our glorious nation.

For the last few centuries Women have been considered the oppressed sex as men have garnered the glory and honour associated with the most important events in history. Men have gone on to become leaders of nations, sporting icons, deal makers and breakers and all along women kept a low profile knowing that their time would eventually come. And so they plotted and planned and waited for men to fall from their high horses so they could grab the reins of history writing from the unworthy hands of men. And trust me, this modern capitalist era is their time.

I have to give it to women, they prefer to wield the scalpel as compared to us men who prefer using a sledgehammer for any and everything. Their rise to power has been done ever so subtly and most unsuspecting men think that they are still in charge. If you don’t believe me, consider this - women have ensured that they don’t slog late into the nights citing kids, cooking and feeding the dog (?). In certain companies, women have to leave office by late evenings while men keep working not just to complete their work but also the work that women haven’t completed since they left early.

The other reason cited for women leaving early from offices is it is unsafe for them to travel in the nights. Well if the thieves don’t get their hands on women then it is natural to assume that they will end up taking money out of the pockets of men who are working late and returning home.

In Kerala, one third of the seats in the front section of public buses are reserved for women. A couple of years ago, there was a major accident involving one such bus and a number of women died as the front of the bus bore the brunt of the collision. The government then decided to shift the reserved seats for women to the back of the bus. A few weeks later there was another accident with the back of the bus getting rammed in this time resulting in more women dying. Hence they shifted the reserved seats to the front again. Almost makes me feel that men’s lives don’t matter.

Ok, so you’re not a conspiracy theorist. Fine look around and spot the smaller signs. I’ve tried getting an extra papadam for lunch at the office cafeteria for months but all I get in return is a dirty look. The other day a woman standing in front of me asks for an extra papadam while flashing a winning smile and gets two extra! 30 seconds later I try flashing the same smile and ask the guy behind the counter if I can have an extra papadam and I get the same dirty look that I’ve been getting all these days. I’ve got loads of examples but I think you get the picture.

And so here I sit, typing out this blog entry as I urge you, my brothers and sisters to take up this noble cause and fight for what is right and help bring men to a level playing field. Let us not ask for concessions, reservations or freebies. Let us not ask for special treatment. Let us educate and empower. All we will ask for is to be on an equal footing with women.

So that men and women will together lead the way to a bright and glorious future where gender does not play a role in your success. So that the next generation is not dominated by one particular sex and men and women can work hand in hand to shape our destiny. So that we no longer need to be members of CRAP and we can go our separate ways knowing that we have been a part of history. So that one day men would be able to go home and play with their kids in the evening (on a weekday) and not have to worry about being mugged, stabbed and looted on the way back. And so that one day I can get the &*#@$&%^*% extra papadam !

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Chick flicks vs BroMos

"Suddenly, a familiar song. And, you're off your chair in one, exquisite movement... wondering, searching, sniffing the wind like a dapple deer. Has God heard your little prayer? Will Cinderella dance again? And then, suddenly, the crowds part and there he is: sleek, stylish... radiant with charisma. Bizarrely, he's on the telephone. But then, so are you. And then he comes towards you... the moves of a jungle cat. Although you quite correctly sense that he is... gay... like most devastatingly handsome single men of his age are, you think... what the hell. Life goes on. Maybe there won't be marriage... maybe there won't be sex... but, by God, there'll be dancing."

Those rather amazing couple of minutes of film making have to rank second on my list of awww movie moments. Of course all you chick flick lovers out there (read women) will be jumping out of your seats to list out another half a dozen but I have probably havent seen those movies so they dont count. Come to think of it, there really isnt too much behind writing a script and converting it into a chick flick. Its a simple recipe really. You need one good looking hero and one adorable but not too attractive heroine and make them best friends who never think of getting married to each other (that makes them stupid and good looking). Instead they both look elsewhere in the world and surprise surprise one of them finally finds their not so perfect match. Now make the other person realise that he / she is losing the best thing to ever happen to him / her. Add a handful of funny wedding related incidents. Preferably including the in laws. The story ends happily ever after with hero and heroine together (while someone gets ditched at the alter, how come nobody feels bad for that person) or the wedding doesnt get interrupted ( a la the above mentioned My Best Friends wedding). Dont forget to intersperse the movie with the mandatory 5 - 6 classic love songs that will definitely bring tears to the eyes of the women in the audience. Ok, maybe a few men as well.

Speaking of men, all this mushy weepy stuff isnt likely to go down well with them. What they would prefer instead is a good old fashioned BroMo (taken from BROtherly MOvie i.e. a movie where guys who are strangers in a theatre hall at the beginning of the movie feel like they are brothers at the end because they have witnessed some solid butt kicking together). Of course there are 2 types of BroMos. The first appeals to the suave audience (Oceans 11/ 12/ 13) while the second is targetted at the average joe. Ill explain the latter. The recipe here is pretty simple as well. You can choose between 1 or more heroes. You will need some evil looking and muscular baddies as well. Add a damsel in distress, acting skills not required. Plus a wafer thin story line. The only real effort for a BroMo would go into creating 10 minutes of amazing conversations for the lead characters. Big cars, bombs, explosions and helicopters are a must have. Some kickass background music. And, to borrow a line from the Matrix, guns. Lots of guns. If you are looking for the perfect BroMo, look no further than the ridiculously amazing The Expendables which has knocked the Fast and the Furious off the top spot. The difficult part of being a BroMo fan is that its almost impossible to agree with someone else on the all time #1 BroMo movie spot. For me it has to be the interaction between Bruce Willis, Arnold and Sly in the Expendables. Pure brilliance that is likely to be unsurpassed. Most wont agree.

As for my #1 awwww movie moment, Notting Hill walks away with it with the timeless " After all... I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her."

Put a lid on it !

Its happened to me more than a handful of times. Attired in my daily riding gear (1 KBC Bulldog helmet 12/10 for style, 1 black DSG Nero jacket which adds 2 inches of shoulder width and makes me look like Im 10 pounds heavier than I actually am coupled with a pair of admittedly catchy black and white Cramster full gauntlet TRG2 gloves) I pull up at a signal alongside a bus full of school kids. The bike has always been the star but with me sitting astride it looking like Im about to join Valentino Rossi on the starting grid of the next race, the excitement level in the bus noticeably increases. Kids by the windows call their friends. I can hear oohs and aahs. I pretend not to notice. A faint hint of a smile creeps across my face. 5 seconds to go to green. I thumb the starter, give the throttle a couple of twists of the wrist. The kids are impressed by the grunty exhaust note. More oohs and aahs. Green. The bus is ahead of me. I can see the kids in the last row staring intently. I get excited waves. I wave back. They have big smiles on their faces. Unsurprisingly, so do I.

Riding gear doesnt elicit the same reaction from other people though. At signals Ive had people ask me whether I was going to participate in a local race. Some jerks take this as an open invitation to indulge in reckless riding to show off that they have more skills and / or a better bike than me. A cold shoulder is all they get and the retards lose interest in 30 seconds. Did I mention that these guys are retards?

A couple of days back I was talking to my office colleagues about the new KBC helmet which I had bought on a closeout sale in the States. Doing some back of the envelope calculations, one of them mentioned that I couldve made the down payment for a mid size sedan instead of buying a bike and spending a lot of dough in riding gear. I on the other hand prefer to look at it as investing in riding gear.

In my 8+ years of riding a bike Ive had a couple of spills that have proved to me that accidents can happen to anyone however careful they are on the road. The first time I was introduced rather harshly to our tarred roads was on a regular ride through traffic way back in 2002 when I was trying to shift my bike into 1st gear (which it stubbornly refused to do) while I could see in my rear view mirrors a honking bus bearing down on me with full speed. All of a sudden my bike decided to be obedient, shifted directly to 2nd gear & up popped the front wheel. 2 seconds later I was sprawled on the road with intense pain shooting up my right leg. I was relieved cause the bus wasnt anywhere close but seeing the bikes piping hot silencer on my leg was a cause for serious worry. I had a torrid 1 month as I slowly recovered from the burn wound but emotionally the scars lasted for much longer as it took me a few months to get my confidence back. Ive still got a scar on my ankle which I look at as a war wound.

Late in 2009 I was on my bike on a rather deserted stretch of road with just a guy on a moped pottering along slowly to the right of me constituting traffic. I spot an incoming truck in my rear view mirrors (habit of mine this, looking in the mirrors) and give way to let him overtake. The truck driver blows his airhorn to get the moped guy to get out of the way & the petrified chap on the moped obliges by cutting across the road and lands directly in front of me. Twin disc brakes and years spent perfecting careful riding techniques cant help me as my handlebar knocks the box that he is carrying on his moped and I fall over. Fortunately I had shed most of my speed and my jacket and gloves get in the way of me meeting Ms Tarmac again and all I suffer is a slightly bruised knee.

To me riding a bike without my helmet at minimum is impossible. In fact, Ive always been super careful about my head since the day I bought my first bike all those years ago. I still recall the guy at the helmet shop trying to get my head into those tiny local helmets & I was actually getting hurt cause the helmets were too small (actually my ears are too big but thats another story). In the end he rather reluctantly took out a good branded black helmet that was my size and told me it was Rs 500 more expensive than the other ones. After years of seeing people penny pinching when it came to helmets, he got the shock of his life when I bought it. A couple of years later it was time to replace my helmet & I had come down to Mangalore to look for a suitable replacement. So I went off to Big Bazaar & found Helmie. Helmie was attractive, to put it mildly. Helmie had all the colours of the rainbow on it (except pink which someone actually threatened to add to it!!) and was an ever so faithful companion. Every morning helmie would be found on the rack outside our classroom & whenever I went out Helmie was given a chair of its own (no being dumped on the ground business).

Over the years, my bank balance has grown and so has my riding gear. Now I do understand that not everyone feels the need to spend so much on saving themselves in case of a fall (not really, but I like to live and let live) but a couple of things do bug me when it comes to this. I cannot fathom why smart educated and normally sensible guys fall for the typical Indian retarded line of thinking - Im just riding my bike to the nearby shop & back, I dont need to wear a helmet for that. Even more annoying is when I see people riding their bikes with their helmets on their elbows and not on their heads.

So is it easy riding around with all this everywhere ? Of course not. But I would rather live life arriving in office with a slightly crumpled shirt and a distinct lack of a hairstyle than be a chocolate hero who rides around without a helmet on so that the ladies can admire my pretty face (the fact that I do not possess a pretty face has nothing to do with it). If 2 dogs were to decide to run across the road in an attempt to reach doggie heaven, Im pretty sure our chocolate hero would have crash landed with a splat. Followed by a trip to the mortuary. While I would probably suffer more from my dented pride. This is not to say that wearing riding gear will save someone in every instance. The fact is they do make a massive difference between a one way trip and a two way trip to the hospital.

If you have read till here, well helmets off to you. You do have some patience. But in all seriousness, if you do know someone who is important to you who rides a bike regularly, ask them to think about investing in riding gear. At least request them to wear a helmet at all times when they are on a bike. Even if they are a pillion. The following ad for Bell Helmets says it best "If you have $10 head wear a $10 helmet".

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Da Man

There's no doubt about it, he is India's biggest movie star. In fact he is more than a movie star, he is a legend, the likes of which India will probably never see again. He is Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington and the entire star cast of the Expendables rolled into one combustible package.

To truly understand how big a superstar he is, read the following facts:
1. Rajinikanth killed the Dead Sea.

2. When Rajinikanth does push-ups, he isn't lifting himself up. He is pushing the earth down.

3. There is no such thing as evolution, it's just a list of creatures that Rajinikanth allowed to live.

4. Rajinikanth gave Mona Lisa that smile.

5 .Rajnikanth can divide by zero.

6. Rajinikanth can judge a book by it's cover.

7. Rajinikanth can drown a fish.

8. Rajinikanth can delete the Recycle Bin.

9. Rajinikanth once got into a fight with a VCR player. Now it plays DVDs.

10. Rajinikanth can slam a revolving door.

11. Rajinikanth once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are today called giraffes.

12. Rajinikanth once ordered a plate of idli in McDonald's, and got it.

13. Rajinikanth can win at Solitaire with only 18 cards.

14. The Bermuda Triangle used to be the Bermuda Square, until Rajinikanth kicked one of the corners off.

15. Rajinikanth can build a snowman out of rain.

16. Rajinikanth can strangle you with a cordless phone.

17. Rajinikanth can make onions cry.

18. Rajinikanth destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

19. Rajinikanth can watch the show 60 minutes in 20 minutes.

20. Rajinikanth has counted to infinity, twice.

21. Rajinikanth will attain separate statehood in 2013.

22. Rajinikanth did in fact, build Rome in a day.

23. Rajinikanth once got into a knife-fight. The knife lost.

24. Rajinikanth can play the violin with a piano.

25. Rajinikanth never wet his bed as a child. The bed wet itself in fear.

26. The only man who ever outsmarted Rajinikanth was Stephen Hawking, and he got what he deserved.

27. Rajinikanth can talk about Fight Club.

28. Rajinikanth doesn't breathe. Air hides in his lungs for protection.

29. There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Rajinikanth lives in Chennai.

30. Rajinikanth kills Harry Potter in the eighth book.

31. Rajinikanth does not own a stove, oven, or microwave, because revenge is a dish best served cold.

32. Rajinikanth has already been to Mars, that's why there are no signs of life there.

33. Rajinikanth doesn't move at the speed of light. Light moves at the speed of Rajinikanth.

34. Rajinikanth knows Victoria's secret.

35. Water boils faster when Rajinikanth stares at it.

36. Rajinikanth can throw the Thackerays out of Mumbai.

37. Rajinikanth kills two stones with one bird.

38. Google won't find Rajinikanth because you don't find Rajinikanth; Rajinikanth finds you.

39. Rajinikanth gave the Joker those scars.

40. Rajinikanth leaves messages before the beep.

41. Rajinikanth once warned a young girl to be good "or else". The result? Mother Teresa.

42. Rajinikant electrocuted Iron Man.

43. Rajinikanth killed Spiderman using Baygon Anti Bug Spray.

44. Rajinikanth can make PCs better than the Mac.

45. Rajinikanth puts the 'laughter' in manslaughter.

46. Rajinikanth goes to court and sentences the judge.

47. Rajinikanth can handle the truth.

48. Rajinikanth can speak Braille.

49. Rajinikanth can dodge Chuck Norris' roundhouse kicks.

50. Rajinikanth can teach an old dog new tricks.

51. Rajinikanth calls Voldemort by his name.

52. Who do you think taught Voldemort Parseltongue? Rajinikanth did.

53. Chuck Norris once met Rajinikanth. The result - He was reduced to a joke on the internet.

54. Rajinikanth got small pox when he was a kid. As a result small pox is now eradicated.

55. Rajinikanth’s calendar goes straight from March 31st to April 2nd, no one fools Rajanikanth.

56. Rajinikanth grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils the water with his own rage.

57. The last time Rajinikanth killed someone, he slapped himself to do it. The other guy just disintegrated. Resonance.

58. Rajinikanth once had a heart attack. His heart lost.

59. Rajinikant is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.

60. Rajinikanth can run at speed of light around a tree and screw himself.

61.Rajinikant can lick his elbows.

62. Rajinikant once ate an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him blink.

63. Rajinikant does not get frostbite. Rajnikant bites frost.

64. Rajinikant doesn’t wear a watch. He decides what time it is.

65. Rajinikant got his drivers license at the age of 16 seconds.

66. When you say “no one is perfect”, Rajinikant takes this as a personal insult.

67. In an average living room there are 1,242 objects Rajinikanth could use to kill you, including the room itself.

68. Words like awesomeness, brilliance, legendary etc. were added to the dictionary in the year 1949. That was the year Rajinikanth was born.

69. The statement "nobody can cheat death", is a personal insult to Rajnikanth. Rajni cheats and fools death everyday.

70. When Rajnikanth is asked to kill some one he doesn't know, he shoots the bullet and directs it the day he finds out.

71. Rajinikant can give pain to Painkillers and headache to Anacin.

72. Rajinikanth knows what women really want.

73. Time and tide wait for Rajinikanth.

74. Rajinikanth sneezed only once in his entire life, that's when the tsunami occurred in the Indian ocean.

75. As a child when Rajinikanth had dyslexia, he simply re-scripted the alphabet.

76. Rajinikanth collects Honey from his private Moon - HoneyMoon.

77. Rajinikanth can answer a missed call.

78. Rajinikanth doesn't need a visa to travel abroad, he just jumps from the tallest building in Chennai and holds himself in the air while the earth rotates.

79. Rajinikanth's brain works faster than Chacha Chaudhury's.

80. Rajinikanth doesn't shower. He only takes blood baths.

81. To be or not to be? That is the question. The answer? Rajinikanth.

82. The quickest way to a man's heart is with Rajinikanth's fist.

83. Where there is a will, there is a way. Where there is Rajinikanth, there is no other way.

84. Rajinikanth's every step creates a mini whirlwind. Hurricane Katrina was the result of a morning jog.

85. Rajinikant doesn’t bowl strikes, he just knocks down one pin and the other nine faint out of fear.

86. Archaeologists unearthed an old English dictionary dating back to the year 1236. It defined “victim” as “one who has encountered Rajinikant”.

87. There is no such thing as global warming. Rajinikanth was feeling cold, so brought the sun closer to heat the earth up.

88. Once a cobra bit Rajinikanth' leg. After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died.

89. Rajinikanth is a champion in the game "Hide n' seek", as no one can hide from Rajinikanth.

90. Rajinikant proves Newton wrong all the time. Every time he performs an action, he simply eliminates anything and everything that can provide the reaction.

91. Rajinikant is a weapon created by God to use on doomsday to end the world.

92. Aliens do indeed exist. They just know better than to visit a planet that Rajinikanth is on.

93. We live in an expanding universe. All of it is trying to get away from Rajinikanth.

94. If at first you don't succeed, you're not Rajinikanth.

95. Rajinikanth's first job was as a bus conductor. There were no survivors.

96. Rajinikanth does not style his hair. It lays perfectly in place out of sheer terror.

97. When Rajinikanth plays Monopoly, it affects the actual world economy.

98. Rajinikanth is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Smart politicians at the zoo

“The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They're dumb.
Orangutans are skeptical ….”

I couldn’t help but sing along as I listened to Simon & Garfunkel’s extraordinarily simple and catchy At the zoo as I was strolling down a nearby lane on my way back from work. Which is probably why I didn’t initially notice the disconsolate middle aged guy sitting on a pile of stones on the side of the road.

“Of changes in their cages,
And the zookeeper is very fond of rum.

Zebras are reactionaries,
Antelopes are missionaries,
Pigeons plot in secrecyowwwwww! “

I was hopping on one leg as I realized that I had been hit on the foot by a stone. Looking around for the miscreant I realized that there was a guy sitting on a pile of stones and throwing them across the road at no one in particular. My rather melodramatic scream seemed to have awakened him from his lost in thought & hence throwing stones mood.
“Did I hurt you?” he asked with apparent concern. “No, I was actually screaming along with the song” I replied, each word dripping in sarcasm. “Oh I thought you got hurt by the stone I threw” he said and sat down again with a glum look on his face.

Now I take immense pride in my sarcasm and if he was a guy who didn’t even realize it there must have been something seriously wrong with him. I looked up and down the lane, there was nobody else around. Sigh! Why do I always have to be the nice guy? I asked him if he was ok. “It’s these smart politicians” he mumbled. “Bud, did you say smart politicians?” I asked him incredulously. “That’s what I said. They don’t let me do my job these days.” He sounded really sad. As in my wife ran away with my best friend sad.

I told him that what these politicians did wasn’t right. How could they stop a man from earning his daily wages? I was indignant and decided to do something about it. I asked him to explain his predicament and this is what he told me.
“My job description was pretty simple. With the upcoming Ayodhya verdict all I had to do was to whip up communal sentiments in this area. The people who hired me told me that Ayodhya issue was on the top of everyone’s minds and that the more trouble I incited, the more votes they would get. And the more I would get paid. So I went to meet the local troublemakers and started talking about the Ayodhya verdict.
But before I could get 2 sentences in, they interrupted me and started talking about some commonwealth games and how our government is bringing shame to the nation with our shoddy preparations. They were using the choicest abuses for one Suresh Kalmadi. Who is this @#%@&^ *%$^$ I asked them. They said he is the biggest crook in India and that he was a bigger thief than Lalit Modi. Imagine that !

Anyways, before I knew it I too was debating the CWG preparation when I got a call from my new bosses. I told them everything was under control & they seemed pleased. I tried one last time to bring the topic back to the Ayodhya issue but I had no luck. I went out on the streets and tried talking to some youngsters about the Ayodhya verdict. They asked me “What Ayodhya verdict?”. I asked them what was the most important issue facing the nation right now. They told me they were worried about whether we will be able to nail at least half the crooks who have profited from the CWG. I tried explaining the Ayodhya issue to them but they said they haven’t seen anything on that in bookface. I didn’t even know what bookface was so I didn’t ask them anything else. I tell you, there is something wrong with a country when the youth of the nation are not bothered about its historical conflicts. “
“But what does all of this have to do with smart politicians?” I asked as I still hadn’t figured out the connection.

“Don’t you see? It’s all been done by the government. I always thought politicians were dumb and out to make money but the current lot is smart. They have smartly made the media give so much coverage to the CWG fiasco these days that nobody talks about the Ayodhya issue. Which means nobody is ready to go out on the road and throw stones whatever the verdict is and however much I am ready to pay them. And that puts me out of work. What do you have to say to this friend ?”

But by then I wasn’t listening to him. My sympathy had vanished and I was already on my way with my earphones plugged in. I couldn’t help but smile at the irony of the lyrics
“At the zoo,
At the zoo,
At the zoo …..”

Cullinary misadventures - Part II

" Its just salt & spices, no big deal. There's nothing to be afraid of ". Deep breath. Second deep breath.

Sambar rice. Tried it. Paneer butter masala. Tried it. Masala rice. Tried it. Palak paneer. Tried it. Pulao. Tried it. Dal fry. Tried it. Could it be possible that I had tried out all the ready to eat offerings? “There must be something else in some other shelf” I muttered to myself as I set off to find a store assistant. Have you ever noticed how it is impossible to find a store assistant who is free when you cant find something but they always seem to be loitering around when you know where everything on your shopping list is?
“Sir, this is all we have” the assistant said as he pointed out the same shelf I had been looking at for the last 5 minutes. Okay, I couldn’t keep eating the same stuff over and over again & I needed to take the next step if I wanted delicious home made cooking. No, I did not mean getting married. What I meant was, it was time to abandon Project Ready Made Foods & start cooking myself. There was just 1 small problem. I didn’t know how. And I didn’t know what I needed. Ok, make that a large problem.

4 days later I was in a supermarket feeling rather happy. I had convinced a friend of mine to help me pick up all the stuff necessary for cooking. I told her that salt, cooking oil and couple of essential spices was what I needed. "Don’t worry" she said "Ill pick up the essentials only". (Note to self: any time a girl says don’t worry, you need to worry. Even if you don’t know what you need to worry about, remember that you need to worry).

You will need this. And this. You definitely need this. How could you forget that you need this? Pepper. Do you think you need this? Hmmm, you better take it. Chilly powder. Look for the dal, you need the X type not the Y type. I hope you know the difference. Why didnt you take a trolley to put the stuff ? You definitely need one of this. Ok almost done. But where will you put all of these ? You need containers. Lots of them. Do you want the pink ones or the yellow ones? They both look gay so you might as well take both. Phew done !

I believe the above paragraph contains the gist of the rather one sided conversation at the supermarket. The thought of offering meek resistance to the oddly coloured containers crossed my mind but I remembered that you don’t argue with a woman who is shopping (from an earlier note to self). Especially one who is shopping for you.
“Ill email you the instructions on how to make the best curry ever” said my friend who was rather happy to have shopped so much. Never mind the fact that I would conveniently forget my promise of a dinner treat the moment I was out of sight & all the purchased food was going straight to my house.

" Its just salt & spices, no big deal. There's nothing to be afraid of ". Deep breath. Second deep breath. I walked back to my laptop to read (for the n-th time) the instructions on how to make dal that my friend had emailed me. Soak the dal for some time & add it to boiling water. Add 2 spoons of salt & other required spices. Cover it for a while & add coriander leaves for added taste. This shouldn’t be too difficult.
I had soaked the dal in water for half an hour. Waitasecond, the instructions didn’t tell me how long to soak it. I felt half an hour should be enough and put it into boiling water. The problem was I didn’t know how much of water was to be kept boiling. Time to add salt but then I realised I didn’t know whether I was to use a tea spoon or a table spoon. Blimey, this wasnt proving to be a walk in the park. That familiar lost feeling began to envelop me again. The phone!

I quickly dialled my friend's number hoping she wasn’t stuck in office again. (Un)fortunately she picked up. Below is our conversation (this time I managed to get in a few sentences, not that I did myself any favours with what I said)
Me : " Hey whats up ?"
Shopping Friend (SF): " Hey, I just got back. Ive had such a crappy day & my boss took out her frustration on me. Again. Im exhaus ...."
Me : " How much salt to I put ?"
SF : " ...ted. Did you just ask me how much salt to put ? Where ? On my wounds ? "
Me : " Wounds ? What wounds ? Listen woman, for making dal how much salt to I put? "
SF : " Wheres my dinner treat ?"
Me : " What treat ? "
SF : " Neil, are you trying to wriggle your way out of my treat ? Thats it, I want my dinner treat tonight."
Me : " But errr I dont errr tonight"
SF : " Half an hour, Neil, half an hour"
And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of how I started to make dal curry & ended up eating garlic chicken with mixed fried rice and vegetable balls in hunan sauce. As for my cooking, I have gone back to the simple days of scrambled eggs and noodles for dinner ....

My cullinary misadventures - Part I

"Its just packets of food, no big deal. There's nothing to be afraid of". Deep breath.

All these years every visit to the local supermarket meant that I would skip the one or more aisles that stocked cooking stuff since
a) I have never dabbled in cooking and
b) I have never entertained the thought of dabbling in cooking

All this changed a couple of weeks back when I decided to pick up an electric cooker to do some elementary cooking. For years making noodles & 6 different egg preparations (bullseye, double fry, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, omelette & juice boil) was all i could manage but hey, it was more than what most guys know. But (for whatever reason) this time I can’t just restrict myself to noodles and eggs I said to noone in particular. It’s time to do something more. To move up the food chain (admittedly bad pun intended) of cooking. All of which meant that I was off to the nearest supermarket with absolutely no clue about what I was going to pick up.

10 minutes later I stopped at the entrance of the food aisle. This truly was alien territory and so I restricted myself to a cursory glance down the shelves as I laid my eyes on rows of pickles, masalas, packets of unknown content and just about everything else I knew neither head nor tail about. It was sort of like staring into an abyss and not knowing what lay in store for me once it sucked me in. Gulp ! Maybe I should go back to noodles & 6 different egg preparations I thought. After all it doesn’t take too much time to prepare. And I could always check on the internet and figure out another couple of egg preparations.

With a smile on my face I made my way to the magazine section to check if this month’s auto magazines had arrived. Instead all I saw were health magazines talking about surprise surprise - healthy eating. Noodles & egg wasn’t the healthiest of combinations I had to admit & grudgingly made my way back to the entrance of the food aisle.

"Its just packets of food, no big deal. There's nothing to be afraid of". Deep breath. Another look down the aisle. Visions of that abyss. I might as well have been looking at medical reports. Or reading the RBIs latest report on the state of the Indian economy. I was a rudderless ship in a stormy sea without its sails desperately looking for a lighthouse. Another deep breath. My first walk down the aisle (no I was not getting married!) wasn’t pleasant & my shopping cart was still unsurprisingly empty. And then I saw it. The answer to my prayers - ready to eat rice & curries. I grabbed a box & searched for the instructions.
Place the plastic packet in boiling water for 5 minutes. Serve hot. I was overjoyed. Talk about tailor made! Hah, who said guys can’t cook? Well technically I was heating stuff & serving but who was keeping track anyway? I grabbed a few packets & headed home. Dinner that night, as expected, was delicious.