Friday, May 14, 2010

Join the Beard Brigade !

The cliché “If I had a buck for everytime someone asked me that question …..“ is way too overused these days but I don’t think I would be out of line if I used that statement with regard to people asking me whats up with my new bearded look. Apparently the fact that I like the way I look nowadays doesn’t count for most friends. Society says we have to be clean shaven to look professional. Looks like I didn’t get that memo. So in my defense I have listed out a few reasons why you should also attempt the hot new look that is the rage this summer (trust me on this one)

1. No more ducking and hiding behind pillars to avoid someone you’ve just spotted and intentionally not met for months
You can actually walk past people you haven’t met in ages knowing that they will not recognize you come what may. Its worked for me in the past. Of course the flip side is that if you do want to meet that person they wont really belive that its you unless you have someone backing you up.

2. Keeps potential in-laws away
If you’re in your mid twenties and all your relatives are busy convincing your parents that it’s high time you get married (for your own good of course) the smartest form of non cooperation is growing a beard. No self respecting father will want to give his daughter’s hand in marriage to some hooligan, however impressive his details are. And they would be thinking think, at this stage if he looks like this imagine what he would be like 10 years from now? All while you smile and behave at your gentlemanly best.

3. Provides for midnight snacks
Ever felt hungry in the middle of the night while you’re busy watching a movie or curled up reading a book? No more getting up and heading to the kitchen to grab a packet of biscuits. All you need to do is rummage through your beard and you will invariably find some left over crumbs / pieces of biscuits from earlier in the day. Seriously.

4. Turns you into an instant magician
No more plucking a coin from out of thin air or making a card appear at the top of the pack. Smuggle a bird inside your beard & watch as kids believe that you magically made a bird disappear. Enough to make you earn the Favourite Uncle In The Whole Wide World tag.

5. A future movie career
If they ever get round to making a sequel to 300, youre bound to get a role in it. There arent that many people sporting beards these days. Clean shaven, chocolatety, mummys babys are a dime a dozen in hollywood these days. Fat chance of making it big with the competition in that segment.
6. A picture is worth a 1000 beards !

Monday, May 10, 2010

Secret Agent Johnny

Real Name : Unknown
Nickname : Johnny aka Chung Wung Lee
Origins : Unknown
Description : Medium complexioned with medium height & build
Location : HSR Layout, Bangalore
Mission : To chase down any bike / car that is passing by our lane by charging at them at full speed while barking aggressively to frighten them off the lane as soon as possible
Mission Success Rate : Rather high

Johnny / Chung Wung Lee is our adopted mongrel who stays outside our place and who lives off the food that the neighbours (& we) provide him every night. Why the oriental name ? That’s cause he used to be fed Chinese fried rice all the time by my roomie who used to get a separate dish parceled just for the dog. Honestly. Actually Johnny kinda adopted us considering that he was there much before we started renting out our place.

Johnny is one of Bangalore’s numerous strays who have all apparently signed some secret pact to help protect the houses in their neighbourhood by chasing off any suspicious looking people on bikes or cars. The only problem is that someone somewhere forgot to reinforce the ‘suspicious’ bit. Which leads to these dogs running after anyone on a bike or car (who doesn’t stay in that neighbourhood mind you) while barking madly. Ive seen numerous incidents of guys on bikes almost running their bikes into trees in fright as Johnny has chased them down our lane. Ive even witnessed people in cars swerving in panic as our hero set off on yet another chase. Unfortunately these dogs think that their ‘job’ is a disguised kamikaze mission & are always on the lookout to sacrifice themselves for their food providers. Which is why, if youre riding through Bangalore’s residential areas, you might suddenly find yourself braking in panic as one or more of these crazy mutts decide that you were destined to send them to your maker.
Corollary: And by extension that they were destined to send you to your maker.

Fortunately these dogs aren’t really the blood thirsty maniacs that I might be making them out to be. Fall the hundreds of times he has terrorized motorists, he still gets really puzzled when a regular visitor to our flat leaves on his electric motorbike which doesn’t make a sound. It is hilarious watching him all confused as he knows he should be chasing the bike but he stops after a couple of steps cause he doesn’t hear a sound. Im sure this scene plays itself out on every street when a person on an electric bike passes through. For all you know they could be against motorized transport. They seem to have no issues with people who walk by them. Maybe these crazy dogs just need to rethink their mission statement.

The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club

Was re-watching the extremely fascinating Fight Club last night and I realized that the movie is packed with amazing dialogues which I probably didn’t appreciate the first time I saw it. I’ll blame the stellar acting, crisp directing & great plot for my earlier lapse in attention. Picked out two of the best IMO, quite possible that someone else might pick different ones, big thumbs up to the screen writers. If I ever get round to writing my book which might hopefully become a runaway success & I am approached to make it into a movie, then I know who to get in touch with first ……

" The things you own end up owning you. "

“God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.”

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Same wine , new bottle

Isnt it amazing to see that time hasnt mellowed any of our oldest practices. Came across this quote in a book I'm reading
"Just as it is impossible to know when a swimming fish is drinking water, so it is impossible to find out when a government servant is stealing money"
- Kautilya, Arthashastra (The Science of Wealth), c 300BC
This on the day that the media reported how the Karnataka Lok Ayukta conducted raids on seven government officials and found assets worth a staggering Rs 7.86 crores ....

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

No Comedy Central this

Its funny how short the public’s attention on events that startle / horrify / shock us, is. I was skimming through today’s news when I saw an article on a cop who said he should’ve been honoured for killing one Sohrabuddin. I had no clue what the whole thing was about and decided to look it up on the net. Turns out this Sohrabuddin was an extortionist and rubbed off enough people the wrong way for someone to green light him. Sohrabuddin, his wife and an accomplice were travelling by bus when cops led by the Deputy Inspector General of Police intercepted their vehicle and whisked them away. Investigative reports have shown that the cops then eliminated Sohrabuddin and made it appear that he was riding a stolen bike and was shot dead in an 'encounter'. His wife Kauser was also killed by the cops and her body burnt. All this by top cops loyal to their Chief Minister, Narendra Modi who coincidentally was responsible for letting the massacre of minorities (read Muslims) happen while instructing the state administration to stand aside and do nothing.

The most fascinating part of this tale is that one of the accused cops, Rajkumar Pandiyan, is now claiming that since he has killed a notorious criminal he should be honoured for this and not hounded. Morbid humour to say the least.

Z for zoo

The last time I went to a zoo was probably around 15 years back and truth be told I didn’t really enjoy it. Seeing all those animals kept for public display in brutally small cages / enclosures in the Trivandrum zoo left a bad taste in my mouth (for the record, it has apparently improved drastically since then) which added to my aversion to zoos and circuses. In fact I dislike circuses with performing animals more than most things but that’s another story.

However my weekend visit to the Mysore zoo has changed my perception on the whole thing. It is one of India’s better known zoos and for good reason. It boasts of large enclosures for most of the animals & on several occasions I felt like I put was in the middle of a NatGeo episode as I observed the birds, animals and reptiles up close. I loved watching the ring tailed lemur (the Madagascar guys) prancing around almost as much as I enjoyed standing between two cages containing a pair of blue and gold macaws in one and scarlet macaws in the other while trying to decide which pair was more beautiful. Still haven’t been able to figure that one out. There was a giraffe with lovely dark spots which we were fortunate enough to get a good glimpse of, which was truly spellbinding.
The humongous Gaur did cause us to wonder how many pieces of steak we could extract from just one of them(a second Madagascar reference). Probably enough to feed a small village considering the size of those massive fellows. Pictures cannot do justice to . Another contender to the deceptively massive throne was the rhino that was content on munching away to glory oblivious to the milling crowds.
As amazing as the experience was, I couldn’t help but notice that the entire purpose of the zoo was lost somewhere. I believe open air zoos bring people face to face with animals in a replication of what their natural habitat is and more importantly, in the process educates you and me.
What reptile is this ?
And yet, people went “Crocodile, crocodile” whenever they saw alligators or gharials or crocodiles (Did you just realise that you don’t know the difference either?). Every snake that was seen was called a cobra and all the different monkeys were called chimpanzees. You get the picture.

In honour of the Mysore Zoo Ive decided to institute the Neilsrandomramblings blog Zoo awards. Future trips to zoos will result in new winners and possibly new awards. Without any further ado, here are the winners
The awwwww so cute moment of the day : Spotting a baby hippo swimming next to it mom, its tiny snout just about visible above the water. Enough to make even the hardest heart melt.
The dumb schmuck moment of the day : A woman slipping through the barricade to get a closer view of the baby hippo and its mama. Someone should’ve pushed her into the mud pool where the hippos were cooling off.
Roll eyes moment of the day : Hearing the crowd behind us explode and turning around to see that they were buzzing because one of the peacocks flew over them. Hearing the noise one wouldve thought that they spotted an escaped lion or something.
Most enjoyable moment of the day : Watching the truly majestic tiger make a u-turn and walk slowly away from us only to hear a small kid next to me plead to her mom “Ingote veraan para (tell it to come here) ” while pointing to the tiger.