Monday, December 24, 2012

Better things ....

They say that when it rains it pours. Combine that with the good things happening to good people bit from my last post and you have the makings of a December to remember.

Now almost everyone who knows me will concede that I am the peace-loving, harmless, couldn’t hurt a fly even if he wanted to sort of bloke. Anyone who knows me very well will conceded that despite what everyone else thinks, I am the violence loving harmless sort of bloke. Well what can I say? Appearances are deceptive. But shhhhh dont tell anyone.

My predilection for watching physical combat all started when we discovered the magic of the WWF on cable television (  And then sometime in 2006 my Dad and I discovered Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) through the airing of Pride Fighting Championship. And just as wrestling blew me away as a young kid in 1992, MMA positively changed my view of the sporting world forever. With limited airing of Pride events on our sports channels and the eventual downfall of the Japanese organization when they got taken over the up and coming US based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), I had to resort to the internet for my fix of real fighting. And I’ve been watching monthly PPVs ever since. In fact I thought I was the only one crazy enough to be doing so in India all these years.

Now the fastest growing sport in the world, the UFC has taken MMA to new countries and we in India finally have our daily dose of no holds barred combat through the launch of a new sports channel. In a bid to attract more viewers, the channel had a contest where viewers had to list their favourite moment from the upcoming live PPV. I strongly believe that participating in most of these widely advertised contests is a colossal waste of time given that you are competing against tens of thousands of fans. But if there ever was a contest that was a blind folded walk in the park, this was it. In a country obsessed with cricket, cricket and more cricket and with a strong following for soccer, Formula 1, tennis, hockey, badminton and chess, MMA probably wasn’t even on the radar of 99.9999999999 % of sports lovers.

And yet, rather annoyingly, there they were. At least 15 - 20 other MMA fans logged in as the event went live and it was an online slobber knocker till the show ended as each of us did our level best to get our hands on the promised prize of autographed UFC merchandize. Autographed by Rich 'Ace' Franklin nonetheless. Which probably means nothing to all my 3 readers, think of Rich as the MMA equivalent of Steve Waugh. A bona fide legend of the sport. A few days later I received a message from the channel congratulating me for having won the contest! Woo hoo baybeh!

I had to wait for a bit to get my hands on my prize though. And what a prize it is. The UFC encyclopedia is just 390 + pages of unadulterated brilliance. With detailed write-ups on every past and present fighter and two page articles on each and every event that has occurred in UFC history, this book is a MMA fans wildest dream come true. As I slowly and carefully flipped through the pages, I felt that I was in sports heaven. All those hours spent in front of my laptop watching, learning and analyzing the subtle nuances of jujitsu and other forms of martial arts while the rest of the world was out living life king size, finally paid off.

And so Im waiting for my holidays to get over so that I can get back to my daily work life grind with the knowledge that I am going to be coming home every evening to the book that has now taken centre stage in my 60+ book collection. Sorry 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Sorry Yes Prime Minister. I will have to finish you two later. You've been replaced by the perfect book for winter nights. And summer days. And given its size, I think it will last me till the onset of our rainy days as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Good things

They say good things eventually happen to good people (Warning: I’m taking extreme creative liberties to the extent of stretching the truth by classifying myself as one of the good people here….)

Now 2012 hasn’t been the most electric of years, even by my not too elevated standards. There was a bit of office travel to foreign lands, a few memorable weddings, one huge family get together, a massive inter-state bike trip, the rediscovery of my passion for guitar playing (matched only by my complete lack of guitar playing skills and even worse voice), an absolutely epic cosmic scrabble session and a whole lot more. Ok, so you’re comparing your 2012 to mine and thinking 'Man he did all that in 11 1/2 months and he says he hasn’t had a great year ....' but let’s not go there.

Now I’ve been reading superhero comics for nearly two decades (Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Thor, Green Lantern, Flash, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, JLA, Fantastic Four and any other character / group you can name) and I’m probably the biggest comic book nerd around. Well what can I say, looks are deceiving. This year in the middle of another ridiculous 16+ hour daily work routine week I received party arranging phone calls from some truly wonderful friends (who aren’t even reading this blog, ok wait I take back the nice bit) regarding my birthday. With that work routine I barely had enough strength to whip myself up a very late dinner before crawling into bed every night and I knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy to celebrate my birthday which fell on a weekday. Besides turning 25 wasn’t a big deal anyway.

Fortunately they wouldn’t take no as an answer and I said to myself, what the hell, I should try my luck and asked for a theme cake - a Green Lantern one. Keep in mind that I never have been a birthday person. Fast forward to a few days later and all my worries about a massive client submission, the lack of meaningful content, the piling pressure from everyone due to the lack of content all vanished as the clock struck 12 and I saw the cake. Like a little kid looking under the Christmas tree and finding the gift that he had asked Santa for, I just stood there speechless. It didn’t matter that Didi's cake tasted much better (character introduction : Didi - My twin from the other end of the country who arrived into this world all of 2 minutes before me. We celebrated our birthday together this year). It didn’t matter that 1/27th of the cake found its way into my ears and nose and I suspect some of it is still lodged in there. In fact for the rest of the day nothing mattered as I had a smile plastered on my face. Best. Birthday. Cake. Ever. (Sorry Mom!)

And so for the first time I’m looking forward to my next birthday. I think I'll have a Flash birthday cake. Like the one below. So what if I will have to wait for another 11 months for a good thing to happen....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Two double O

Drum roll please. The trumpets. 

It’s finally here! 6 1/2 years after having kicked this blog off with a massive bang that shook the very foundations of the blogging universe, I am finally on my 200th blog post. Woo hoo! (Cue gentle smattering of reader applause....)

Ok, to say that it hasn’t been my greatest year in terms of writing would be a massive understatement. I haven’t made any progress on my books since March and to make matters worse I think I’ve stumbled upon another brilliant idea that needs to be put down on paper which makes it a grand total of 3 books now. I don’t even get time to blog, where on earth am I going to find time to write, polish and publish 3 books? Sigh!

I did have big plans to change my style of writing in an attempt to kick start the moving in ever so slow motion blogging train but as all you loyal readers can see, nothing came out of it. So from a massive 63 posts in 2009 (that’s just over 5 posts a month) I’ve dropped down to an average of a post per month in 2012. How the mighty have fallen. Sigh!

The great thing about having your own blog (besides giving you a platform to showcase your substantial creative and literary skills though in my case the substantial part is debatable) is that it acts as a mirror to your life though you realise it only in hindsight. If I did have sharp readers, they would dutifully point out that the recent lack of posts is hence an indication of a larger problem in my life that I need to address. Thankfully my loyal readers haven’t been known to top the IQ charts (What? I know all three of you and come on let’s be real .....) Ok so being honest is probably going to lose me a chunk of my loyal reader base but I don’t like to lie either. I have this feeling that I’m digging a massive hole for myself here. Sigh!

I’m tempted to go the publicity route and make bold claims like 'I will shut this blog down if I am not able to revive this one time hotbed of creativity and humour' but I suspect that everyone will say the sooner the better. So while popular people with mediocre blogs get thousands of readers, this mediocre person with a blog that ought to be popular but has a grand total of three readers will rise like a phoenix from the ashes. The glory days will soon be upon us and the 400 post mark will be ....

Note - Readers, this is where your loud round of applause positively drowns me in emotion. Errr readers? Hello? Anybody there?

Note to self - 200 posts! Self high five!!  

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Adventures in TV Land: Part III

The only thing that I enjoyed more than this was watching the Republican and Democratic conventions. For those not in the know, the conventions are 3 day events separated by a week, held by both parties and act as a platform for nominating their candidate, spreading word on their policies and to pat each other on the back while shooting down the opposition.

You had common folk adversely affected by the policies of the other party, former presidents (the Democrats had Bill Clinton and the Republicans kept George Bush away, self explanatory), the vice president candidates and wives all speaking before the presidential candidates themselves.

Just sitting back and watching what each party was saying, the audience that each party attracted and the fundamental difference in thought process on basic issues was just fantastic. This is the sort of stuff they do not teach you in text books. I must say I was blown away by the reception that Michelle Obama received and the speech that Bill Clinton made (look it up on youtube if you have the time, great speech in terms of chopping the Republicans into fine pieces) in the lead up to the speech by Barack Obama on the last day.

Bill Clinton's Arithmetic Speech

With the cooped in my hotel room lifestyle, I might not have got too many insights into the workings of St Louis but in the process I think I have learnt a bit about what makes America tick.

My Adventures in TV Land : Part II

And so there I was in a hotel room half way across the world in a city notorious for its ridiculous crime rate with no option but to park myself in my hotel room after getting back from work every day. Now I’ve always been a TV guy and settled back for what I expected to be television heaven for a guy like me. Well it wasn’t quite what I expected.

For some inexplicable reason, the TV show 2 1/2 Men has been a monster hit just about everywhere. The premise is fairly simple - take one rich jingle making alcoholic womanizer Charlie (Charlie Sheen supposedly playing himself) and a broke, down on his luck, twice divorced brother Alan and his son Jake who somehow grows dumber and slimmer as the seasons go on. Add a few assorted characters, throw in the same old woman jokes, subtract any premise of an actual story line and proceed to shoot season after season after season and then get TV channel to pick up the show. Except for the news and sports channels, every single channel aired 2 1/2 Men at some time or the other every single day. Which really gets annoying as you switch channels after watching an episode of the show only to find another episode playing on the next channel.

Now I’ve seen much much more than the average person’s dose of crime shows over the years but things went to a whole different level in St Louis. Ive been a massive fan of shows like Law & Order (especially their Special Victims Unit series), CSI (to a much lesser extent), Criminal Minds, law shows like the Practice etc. It’s difficult to explain but there is something wonderful about watching a well scripted crime show that highlights the extremes of the human mind. Well who ever said birds of a feather flock together was wrong ....

My landing in the US coincided with the start of the academic year and for some reason Law & Order:SVU was airing multiple episodes every day as part of its Back to School program. Seriously? Back in the day TV channels coincided the beginning of a new series of cartoons with the start of the Indian academic year. All said and done, I enjoyed sitting back and watching a couple of hours of L&O:SVU every evening after a long day at work.

I guess a large part of why these shows are so big in the US is because the American people seem to be inherently more trusting and hence don’t expect crimes to happen to them. We were out for a stroll and my colleague left his pram by the steps of the Gateway arch for over 45 minutes and we found it there untouched when we returned. In India one wouldn’t even dream of turning away for more than 2 minutes. Ok I think Ive said a little too much about my massive fascination for crime and have scared off most of my female audience ....

My Adventures in TV Land : Part I

The most interesting and honest insights into any city come not from the big tourist spots or the lobbies of large hotels but instead from observing the day to day life of people on the streets. Now I’m the last person to plonk myself in front of the TV in a hotel room when I’m on a business trip but after my first evening in downtown Saint Louis I realized that discretion is the better part of valour and that it was better to not get mugged, molested, stabbed or shot at and live to work another day.

A week or so ago I had blogged about how bad I was when it came to signs. I will do my best to capture what happened when I finally landed in St Louis on a weekday evening after having spent close to 40 hours on multiple fights. I stepped out of the hotel by around 7 PM to find myself a mobile connection and to get a feel of the city which boasted of the quite magnificent Gateway arch that was visible from my hotel room. What I usually do is take time to explore the surrounding blocks on day one and then from day two onwards I keep exploring a few more blocks in each direction till I am quite familiar with the area. Initially I found a few people strolling around their hotels but within a few minutes I realised that streets were deserted. And by deserted I mean straight out of a zombie movie deserted.

Gateway Arch

Every few minutes or so the eerie silence would be broken by a passing car a couple of streets away but people were nowhere to be seen. I checked if any restaurants were open but most of them were shut by 8 PM which surprised me quite a bit as I just came from Bangalore where restaurants and pubs shut down at 11:30 much to our annoyance. The only few people I did spot looked to be the sorts that could and would leave me mugged, molested, stabbed or shot at and I was planning on returning to India with all my limbs intact.

Finally I made my way back to the hotel and spoke to relatives of mine who warned me that St Louis wasn’t the safest of places in the U.S of A. A quick internet search threw up the following numbers. Gulp!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Well behaved

Spotted in the U.S of A and had me speechless!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rude Awakenings - Part II

Now while everyone tells me that I always look to be in good shape and never seem to put on any weight, I have to admit, looks can be deceiving. There is that little pot belly that keeps popping up every few months or so which has recently led me to wipe the dust off my sneakers and after 3 weeks of careful planning, an additional 2 weeks of being delayed on account of the rains and a further one week of postponing on account of laziness, I finally started my jogging sessions in the nearby park.

By jogging sessions I mean a few rounds of walking, a mild trot, a steady walk, a fast paced walk, an attempt at a jog, a sheepish return to a fast walk (while hoping that no one noticed), a relaxed walk and finally the long walk back home before collapsing exhausted and unable to move my feet. Strangely the story was repeated every day. Now this is most unusual as all these years it has only taken me a day or two to get my body warmed up (while most people take 15 or 20 minutes but let’s not dwell on that) after which I would go jogging for a month or so and then proceed to lose so much weight that everyone would tell me I need to put on a few kilos.

Which is when I usually stop jogging and start hogging which leads to the appearance of the pot belly in a few months’ time. And so the circle continues. As much as I tried to avoid the thought, my logical mind could arrive at only one conclusion – I’m no longer 24 and time is catching up with me. On the bright side, 25 isnt too bad .... 

So while we get caught up in our day to day lives and give up on the smaller but equally important things (blogging in my case), life moves on and before you know it your ashes are being dispersed or you are six feet under the ground. No longer! For quite some time now the fan mail from loyal readers of this blog has been pouring in to the extent that the current postman has requested for an additional postman to be assigned to this route so that he doesn’t have to lug around the heavy stack of letters alone and break his back.

And while I have been meaning to blog more frequently, I just never seem to get around to it but I can deny the hordes of anxious readers no longer. This new and improved me (I hear you ask yourself, how does one improve on perfection?) is back to blogging though I will be experimenting with a different style going forward. Word of warning though – if the new blogger in me isn’t really as good as I think he is, don’t just post a comment saying “Go Back!” under each post. You will need to do something about it. Send in more letters, pick up the phone and call me, stage a protest march outside my place. I’m not that good with signs you see ….

Rude Awakenings - Part I

Signs. It could be the steaming dish that the waiter is carrying past you to the family seated at the next table just as you are about to place your order and despite knowing that behind the absolutely sinful aroma lies a combination of devastating spices that will turn your insides out in 12 hours, you still go ahead and order the same dish anyways. And then you pray. It could be that lingering look that you get from the pretty girl sitting next to you on the first day of college and before you know it, you've spent 30 years together and it’s time to send your kid to her first day of college. And while nervousness is in the air, you secretly hope that she finds Mr. Right just as your wife did.

It could be that pair of jeans that just seems to shout out 'Pick me! Pick me!' at a sale and while you don’t really need it you go ahead and buy it anyway. And then it becomes your favourite pair of jeans to the extent that you tell all your friends that you have many pairs in almost the same colour, lest they suspect that you wear the same pair of jeans over and over and over again.

The thing is, I’m not good with signs. But things have transpired recently and even someone as significantly signically challenged as me, has had to sit up and take notice. First things first, of all the things we take in life for granted, it is ironically life itself that we take for granted the most. A few days ago, my boss and I were in my car waiting for the signal to turn green at a busy junction (stationary for at least 45 seconds) when BAM! we get hit by a cab from behind. And by hit, I don’t mean nudged or bumped. Precious (yes I do call my car Precious, live with it) really got whacked by a moving cab that somehow managed to rear end my stationary car despite there being an empty lane to the right. The whiplash was severe enough to ensure I had some serious neck pain for the next couple of days and cause me to think about life as I know it. Annoyingly everyone was concerned about Precious and not one single person asked me if I was fine. I’m trying to live with it.

Unfortunately this is the second time, this has happened to me and I’m starting to get a little worried. A month or so ago, we were in a Chrysler 300C when we were rear ended by a moron who wasn’t paying attention to the road. Americans and their road habits. And people tell me biking is not safe....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My writers block ensures that I cant even think of a smart subject line

How difficult can this really be? 6 years after the debut of this rib tickling must read blog (ok ok you can stop rolling your eyes now), I have to admit that I have well and truly been hit by a terrible case of the most dreaded (cue background horror music) writers block. It doesn’t seem to be a communicable disease as I have recently met people who blog with alarming frequency and still continue to do so after meeting me. There doesn’t seem to be a straight forward cure or if there is, nobody seems to be sharing the secret (Jealousy I say! Hmmmph!!). There really is just one symptom - the complete and utter inability to be able to write anything remotely interesting.

If evil creepy looking aliens invade our fair planet tomorrow and by some wicked twist, the salvation of the world rested on my ability to write a chuckle inducing blog post (an activity that i could have done in my sleep once upon a time), then you better go out and quickly complete those naughty things that you never had the guts to do all these years cause we will be, well and truly, doomed. And the worst part is, I have no clue about what to do about this seemingly insurmountable wall that stares me in the face.

The quality of my work on the professional front is as good as always. Not that it really was much good in the first place. My conversations with my friends involve sentences that are as long and complicated as ever and often go on for several minutes together. Being concise has never been one of my strong points. Well it’s probably my only not too strong point. Modesty on the other hand ....

I’m not one to post for the sake of increasing my blog count and have a certain minimum and admittedly extremely high bar that I have set (ok ok you can stop rolling your eyes now) when it comes to the quality of my posts. Back in the day, ideas used to come to me all the time and all I had to do was sit down and write. The first drafts of almost all my posts were very close to the final version that went up on my blog. Now it’s a case of ideas just refusing to pop up altogether which in itself is a strange phenomenon as I have always had a very fertile and infamous imagination.

If you were to hold a gun to my head and ask me why my brain freezes each time I open a file to type, I would probably say that every true genius (remember that bit about modesty) needs a muse and I have lost mine but that would be an outright lie as I never had one in the first place. Well of course I did have several of them but I can’t share the details on this family friendly blog.

The only other reason that I could possible think of, is that all my creative juices magically diminish as I spend more time with my two guitars. Implausible but not impossible. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is another story for another time. If only it wasn’t so difficult to write about it!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

You little box

Now that I look back, it’s almost like I had inadvertently flipped on the Autopilot and Fast Forward switch for life over the last few months. I know blaming the crazy workload is the easiest way out but in this case it really was a case of suffering from a mountain of work that had buried me under mudslide after mudslide on a daily basis (using the drowning with work cliché is out of fashion these days you see). I had absolutely nothing to differentiate a Tuesday from a Thursday and most weekends were spent clearing up the backlog of work and trying to make up for the sleep that was lost over the week. Exhaustion was my ever constant companion. Before I knew it, I was back in office on Monday morning and writing the long list of the day's activities on my board which most people walking by considered to be my monthly tasks, seeing as they did only that much work over 3 - 4 weeks and yet still get paid 3 - 4 times what I am.

What all this meant was that my book collection has grown but the number of books that I have read remains stationary. The last thing you want to do after spending 14+ hours in front of your laptop is straining your eyes and doing even more reading. The initial rapid progress that I made with my guitar work slowed down to a sloths pace (using the snail pace cliché is out of fashion these days you see) despite having a pretty large number of YouTube tutorials of songs which I like. I missed out on a trekking adventure of a lifetime & a Goan wedding that was a must attend event. Being ambitious and all (not really) I wasn’t satisfied with trying to write & publish one successful book so I went ahead and started working on two of them several months ago. I haven’t opened the draft of either soon to be best seller since mid-February. I couldn’t even meet friends of mine who had come down to Bangalore for a couple of days on account of my preposterous amount of work and have received a ton of abuse for that as well. My riding was limited to the daily office run only. The icing on the cake is that I didn’t even have time to check my motoring forums or other blogs that I read (despite frequent threats errr requests). I had well and truly lost my mojo.

I’m not really sure what snapped me out of it. Maybe it’s the news of the impending salary hike which is supposedly so low that it is going to be nowhere proportional to the work that I have done over the last year. Maybe it’s this friend who has lectured me on the issue for such extreme lengths of time with all the finesse of a a rampaging She Hulk (despite her petite build and otherwise docile behaviour) that even a Kevlar grade thick skinned nut like me has seen the error of my ways. Maybe it’s hearing about the 33 year old lady who unfortunately died of a cardiac arrest in our office last week. Maybe it was sitting back and enjoying listening to my favourite ex-roomie as he described his plans of backpacking across the Himalayas this year while my biking trip to the same region remains on cold storage this year as well. Maybe it’s the other 4 reasons I have in my mind. Maybe it’s a combination of all the above. Or maybe I just snapped out of it.

What all this means is that I’m still working quite a bit. Yes, my boss even went so far as to tell me that it looks like I enjoy working while cribbing about it at the same time. But I’m working much smarter these days. I enjoy plonking down with the book - Six Men Who Built the Modern Auto Industry though that will last only for the remaining hundred odd pages. Speaking of books, I do have some new ideas for my soon to be monster best sellers and will start typing away to glory in a day or two. The fingers on my left hand bear the scars of daily guitar playing and a frustrating day of power cuts meant that I ended up composing a song and I’m working towards the lyrics of the same. My social skills are slowly & steadily picking up, long lost friends don’t be surprised to see me calling you soon.

And I stumbled upon a fantastic band Walk off the Earth which is everything I aspire to be somewhere down the road. They are talented, have a ton of creativity and use humour to excellent effect in their videos. They are the best thing I’ve heard since I got introduced to Jack Johnson's music. And even if my Ladakh-Leh trip doesn’t happen this year, I have a feeling that I will end up taking 2 weeks off & disappearing on a solo bike ride after the monsoons.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. I'm on the road to reclaiming my life. One day at a time. Maybe it was this video from Walk Off The Earth that helped me snap out of it. Who knows? I’m just glad to be back. Ask yourself - are you also a little box on the hillside?


Monday, March 05, 2012

Ni Jao

To be honest, 2011 didn’t really involve a whole lot of travelling. Which is why, on the 31st of December, I decided that 2012 would become my ‘new’ year of travel (see what I did there?) I wasn’t really too sure how successful I would be. Little did I know how wrong I would be to doubt myself.

As with all big plans, this one too was supposed to involve a lot of people and a lot of sightseeing. In the end it came down to four people, quite a bit of sightseeing (visits to a charming Buddhist monastery, a lovely palace, a church with a morning school assembly complete with pious students and the atheist variety throw in for good measure and the nicest home stay with 8 daschunds including one that rather thoughtfully decided to wake me up), even more eating (that’s another long story in itself), hundreds of photos and a whole lot of fun that included sinful ice cream gorging, a bonfire to remember with the starry sky providing the perfect board to play Cosmic Scrabble, unfortunately unforgettable home made Coffee, a beautiful long winding road to nowhere that threw the schedule out the window but ensured the drive was memorable. Sigh! The list is endless.

By far the best road trip in a very very long time. I think I lost sensation in my right hand with all the photos I clicked during that short while. Which explains why I’m present in all of 4 photos. Oh wait, I just realised, that was the intention of the others all along! Grrrr ….

As thoroughly memorable as that trip was, the ever cruel Lady Fate decided to step in and even the playing field of sorts. Before I could even upload all the pictures onto my laptop, work flooded me to the extent that I needed to use a straw to breathe. People say that my line of work is comfortable but trust me, after sitting on chairs for 10 days straight for over 14 hours every day, back breaking work gets an all new definition. And so when it came to travelling I threw in the towel and resigned myself to a repeat of another 2011.

But here I am, on the 26th of February, writing this entry from my hotel room in a very cold Shanghai unable to post this because well blogging as the rest of the world knows it, is blocked in China. More on the fascinating neighbour of ours in the days to come.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Time for a change

Location, location, location. In this global economy where business is driven by the perpetually connected using a laptop + data card / wi-fi crowd, the golden location rule might not really apply too much but in good old fashioned retail its still all about location. Companies are jostling for advertising space and are becoming increasingly innovative in the spots they capture.

Just last week I noticed that Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India (for the benefit of the gazillions of readers from across the world, LIC is the largest provider of insurance in our country and a behemoth that has long considered to be a bit behind the curve in terms of being aggressive and cutting edge) had advertised on the back of the drivers and passengers seats in Bangalore's most popular chain of cabs. Surprisingly smart, extremely effective and yet ever so simple. However it isnt all good news though.

Last week I had gone to LifeStyle, one of big city India's more popular retail chains to make full use of the half yearly sale (blame my Indian roots on this mentality) and had picked up a few trousers given that my wardrobe can accomodate no more shirts. Off I went to the trial room optimistically hoping that I could squeeze myself into size 32 trousers and not the size 34 ones (which is my correct size, shhh dont tell anyone). I placed the pieces I wanted to try out on the stool and dropped my pants when I realised there was someone else in the same trial room with me! With a fright, in my half naked state, I turned around and there in all his glory was the gentleman in the picture below. It took me a second to realise that it was just a full size print advertisement of an apparel retailer that was placed on the back of the door of each individual trial room but the person in charge of advertising and marketing at this company must be one sadistic sonovagun.

Seriously, who would ever place such an uncanilly realistic picture inside a trial room in which 3 sides have full length mirrors (which only serves to makes things worse because from whatever angle you look in the trial room, you can always see the guy)? Jittery, I went to another set of trial rooms where I was afraid to remove my shirt given the way the guy on the back of this door was looking at me (picture below). I almost wanted to ask him 'Why so serious?'.
Needless to say this time I ended up buying clothes without really trying any of it so I will have to put on or lose weight if I have to fit into 2012s shopping. All because of that twisted, demented advertising head .....

This reminds me of a Jay Leno classic - " According to a new survey, women say they feel more comfortable undressing in front of men than they do undressing in front of other women. They say that women are too judgmental, where, of course, men are just grateful"

Monday, January 09, 2012

Wish you a smoldering 2012

I might have missed the date by a bit but then again it never is too late to wish all you troglodytes and hermaphrodites a very happy and prosperous new year. Now I've never been too much of a New Year eve person and true to form I had a sound night’s sleep as the world sweated and drank their way to 2012. I’m not really sure what there is to celebrate, January 1st is just the same as all the other days except that most people would have a massive hangover and not much recollection of the previous night's revelries unlike the remaining 364 days of the year.

Nothing changed overnight. The Indian cricket team is still getting a butt whipping the likes of which would make any self respecting cricket fan switch channels and start following golf. Or snooker. Anna Hazare is still in the news for his protests but still most people don’t know what he is fighting against. The condition of roads in Bangalore which has always been on the verge of going from bad to worse is still unchanged for the most part but it is inching perilously close to the worse zone.

I've never been too much of a New Year resolution person either because my resolutions last a month at most and then get consigned to the history bin never to be brought up again. This time I’ve got a longer list than usual and I do hope that i can carry forward my good form into February. And March. And April. I've got two books to write (that explains the lack of too much writing on this blog, apologies to all faithful readers, yes all two of you) and while one of them is shaping up nicely (39k words and counting) the second one is a different story. It is something I know I definitely should write and I've received guidance from an anonymous person who has helped shaped some of the most crucial characters. I’ve got the story in my head but all I’ve managed to write is one page. A perfect case of writers block if there ever was one.

I’ve also decided to reawaken the guitar maestro that has enjoyed a really long slumber in me and I am on the guitar (the best Christmas gift I’ve given myself) for anything between an hour and two every day and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. The only flipside is that the fingers on my left hand are terribly sore at the end of it and I have a torrid time typing once I’m in office. Exploring Bangalore's theatre scene is another item on my list for 2012. All thanks to Cyrus Broacha's incredible performance in the hilarious play One Out of Six that I saw in December. In Cochin. Who would've thought that? The bustling metro in the making staging some really good plays.

And finally, after years of watching MMA bouts and becoming a black belt arm chair expert I’ve decided to go sign up for martial arts classes. I recently bought 4 MMA training books and I’m looking out for martial arts training centres in Bangalore. Good luck to all those who want to mess with me 6 months down the line.

I firmly believe that a new year should always start with a good movie and I began 2011 with the hilarious Bheja Fry which remains one of my favourite Indian movies to date. 2012 deserved as good a start as last year and I decided to try something different with Disney's take on the Rapunzel story - Tangled and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. For years I’ve been successfully using my melt even the coldest of women's hearts with my sad look that I was never able to christen. Tangled has the hero pulling off the exact same look which he calls the smolder. Perfect name.

Have a great 2012!