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.