Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Up the Ante!

Its quite the norm that wives don't like what the husbands like. Its also norm-ish that wives hate those who like what the husbands also like. It's hence only possible that my wife doesnt like ants, one bit. I love sweets. Ants love sweets and she hates both of us and that fact that I sometimes benevolently share some of my sweet crumbs in the little town square (or in our world - small vitrified tile) of the ant colony that has been quietly building up in our current home.

These ants, however are quite unwieldy in the manner they are going about building their lives around us (or rather about adjusting their urges while we are living amidst them). There is this washing machine drain outlet which seems to froth a load of fly ants every week and they all come out spreading through the rooms like "the irritating dog lifting the trunk" stickers that you see in the city's small cars.

For temporary reprieve, we buy mortein ant sprays with the pointy spray hose which leaks in a way that soils your fingers. Some finer aspects like me rubbing those fingers against my wife's soap to kill the smell, dont deserve a mention here. This blog doesnt carry that class. But it does make sense not to reveal much in a way to damage our congenial-ish relationship at home ( of which I am the only contributor).

In the first few days of our (now almost 3000 years old, it feels like) marriage, she fought with me (with tears, hands thumping carefully against soft bed) for the fact that the ants are raiding our kitchen. Given such troubled adolescence in the life of our marriage, nowadays I dont get into controversial positions like "Veeduna Erumbu Laam Iruka thaan seyyum" ("If there is house, there would be ants"). Its a mystery however why ants are so prevalent in Indian homes and we dont find them anywhere else in the (developed) world.

Nowadays I just play along cursing the ants, architecture, hygiene conditions and all in between in a carefully coordinated chorus, when my wife does the prima donna singing a string of abuses against the ants. I however havent still come to terms with her merciless punching of ants with thumb. Apart from being cruel, I know that the same thumb goes into her mouth while she tries to pull the imaginary peeled skin (a habit that's as disgusting as sweaty cricketers hugging each other after a match win).

Now that our daugther has become more active with her crawling behind anything moving (including ants), I wont be surprised if my wife ups the ante by inventing a birth control sweet crumb for ants.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The ascent of (the legend) - Part 1

The Legend - The last 2 words in the title gets replaced with "Ashwin". Silly, you thought I am so preposterous to call myself a legend? Anyway, this post is about the first day of my mini europe tour after the disappointing business class travel (read the previous post & comment, if you havent already).

When I touched down @ Deutschland (that's how complicated they make 'Germany' sound, back there), I did not have much to figure out. My cognitive sense had reset its expectation to encounter only german in all signboards and instead started looking for desi/paki cab drivers. Without much ado, I pulled into a car driven by a Schwabian (significance of this word, in the following paragraphs) driver and reached the hotel.

The lady at the reception (also the owner of this family owned hotel) was not of Paris Hilton lineage but good nevertheless. I did not have to use one of my lines to charm her. Her husband, a 7 ft old Schwabian and his dog appeared in quick succession without much smile on their face. I decided to wind up my attractiveness and behave like normal uncool Indian (read, amit sharma/venkat kommireddy/sukumar vallarasu/dilip jha).

While they did say that its a cozy family hotel, the details didn't elaborate much about the lack of shower gel tubes (which I generally take back home) or shampoos or hair dryer (apparently very important said a blonde colleague later). The awkwardly polygonal room looked more like a cellar than a room (with its post war airconditioning conveyors and all that). I could not really shower my angst with choicest of words like "mediocre", "claustrophobic" or "pathetic accouterments" as the only language they know is German and their English fluency stops where "Hi..How are you" stops. I had to still vent my disappointment with a curt "Room.Bad". It delivered a lot less punch than "High performance. Delivered" of Accenture. I later realized that the bewildered smile of the hotel owner had to do with the fact that 'Room.Bad' meant 'Room.Bath' in German and he had thought that I was asking for the bathroom which was indeed attached to the room. Oh, the un-intended third-worldly image I wore that moment!

Apparently in Schwbia (which is as German as it gets), they spend the saturdays buying grocery and the sundays at the church. Thats how cool the place is and anything that dint fit into this definition was given a miss (including serving food for the guests at the restaurant). Instead they served a rather big map in easily understandable german, printed in 8 font about how to navigate the city in the metro lines. After parasiting with a bad smelling german couple through the ticket booking & train ride episodes, I found salvation a.k.a country burger @ BurgerKing. Thus was made that day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Business class is like novice's first experience with ***

I was as excited as I was when I had *** first, when I knew I was going to fly business class. (Censor Notes: Being a father of a girl child brings with it, such responsibilities..uff!). As with ***, it surely was not bad but not as hyped and envied by many. There were a few surprises, few things to figure out, a couple of things to get used to, at least one thing to learn by watching others do (in this case, realtime) and then there were interruptions. There were occasional curious first-timers reluctantly asking for some advice, without realizing that I am a novice myself.

Since the last time my ticket read 'First class' and made a complete fool of myself by walking into the lounge (and later realizing that I am booked for economy), I treaded carefully without showing any airs of business class traveler. I respected the sweaty smelling co-passenger like my own brethren, walked with no abnormal upward elevation of chest and din't quite stare in random directions with 37 degree tilt, unique to snobbish & "I-dint-know-cattle-class-still-exists" travelers.

Only when the male (how boring) executive in the counter offered me a business class lounge coupon, did I even realize how upmarket my fake-Christian Audiger t-shirt and tester sample boss perfume are. I couldnt really elevate my chest upwards or stare in an alternate space fashion, as the immigration queue was quite like how it would be if they had announced free H1B visa for anyone named as Venkatesa Prasad. I dint hence risk any unusual postures, fearing the mob running me down before I realize the luxury I just am being bequeathed with.

There was then an embarrassing moment with a customer company employee, flying economy class joined me in the waiting area, devising a solution for the queue problem, when boarding is announced. I had to politely participate in the operations research problem, while not thumping my chest about my belonging to elite class. The feeling did not last quite long, when I realized that the priority boarding itself has a queue of fellow-elites (which included Kamal hassan, I am told). I did not see him because of the 37 degree tilt I could practice for the first time in a fairly less populated area.

I did not take the newspapers from the entrance (as I assumed that I would get a copy of Conde Nast Traveler). I had the choice of reading the air sickness instruction or the fake deals on fake brands that they sold online. I instead decided to focus on the inflight media entertainment which had some german music, german films and german shows (all of which are as enjoyable as watching ETV Bangla). So then I decided to focus on other forms of entertainment like starring uncomfortably and yet within the harassment limits tolerated by air hostesses (only till I spotted the missing tooth in the otherwise good looking air hostess). With all usual comforts not living up to standards (of mine), my attention went to the seat. The seats were pretty big but not as plush as thought them to be. There were about 43 ways to move the 10 buttons that controlled the seat position. By the time I figured out the most comfortable position the flight was on the landing path. There was a memory button that knew exactly where my ponch protrudes and hence the next time I fly, all I need to do it click that memory button and I would have a custom seat (if no one takes that seat till then).

There were also a few unnecessary rabbit holes located deep inside the armrest which I found a use for. I threw the pickle packet into it. There wont be any need for another enterprising traveler to worry about what to use it for. That pickle will become fossil there. My contribution to preserving lime pickle eating south indian heritage.

The food was pretty average, considering I expected it to be as authentic as it can get, mid-air. There was macro-waved oothapam and idly with some poorly made upma (which all hardly qualify to be gourmet food). Emirates have a better meal plan even in economy class, hands down! Before I could gulp down the disappointment about food, I realized from my neighbor's angst that they dont come and cover you with blankets & kiss a good night, as they show in promo clips. You are on your own, with that.

Come on! What was the whole thing about flying business class? Oh then, I wrote this post & I learnt how to set the seat position preference for the next flight. Lets see if it breaks even on my return flight.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Impressions from a muddled class neighborhood

Its been exactly..hmm..well, its been approximately a month and a half since I posted anything here. The exactification urge got consumed by the laziness of a(nother of those 300 consecutive) work-less afternoons.

It seems like my leave of absence from the blog hasn’t been that attention grabbing. Kalmadi jokes are still dropping onto my inbox; Obama shows no hint of expectation that he surely has for my posts and hasn’t yet planned to drop by to ask “enapa aachu?”, when he visits India in November; Chennai seems to be obsessed with PrabhuDeva-Nayanthara couplings. So I guess, it doesn’t matter if I don’t write here. “Fowks are gaetting raedy” for Endhiran busily.

But there are certainly things that happen around me which are worth tweeting about (even if you wont retweet). Here are some of those “world this week” beats:

  • The old government office uncle with GRT bag, that walks his way to office, who I have labeled as “Khaadhim” has either retired or died of mosquito bite. He gets his label from the convex-ly shaped ear lobes that look like two dish antennae placed upside down.
  • The 3 seater couch that I bought 3 months back, broke when a 97 kg aunt of mine sat on it. Since then the supply chain of the nearby furniture shop has been inundated with death threats from yours faithfully. The threats have followed the below mentioned path, to give you some idea of my villan-thanam:

Ondiyamman street fake furniture shop --> Slightly larger, suburb based regional party councilor’s furniture distribution shop --> Delhi based importer of cheap Indonesian furniture a.k.a aggarwal furniture peoples --> Aungwar Yongsin Chi snake oil company, china --> Some random firewood seller in rural china

A yellow category terror alert has been sounded in 2nd cross street, devi karumari amman nagar, where I can be seen raising hell, every evening.

  • Our maid Mrs.Gaja has become richer by a 3-year old open-to-air, perforated and water resistant, slightly stained and smelly dust bin, after she enterprisingly advised us to get rid of unwanted things. She also met with partial success. One dustbin still went hiding into our crowded bedroom closet (based on my stern warning against charitable acts, to my mother and wife)
  • I successfully thwarted a covert attempt by a gang of apartment owners & secretary, to fix us as the reason for drying river beds in the state in general and our apartment complex sump, in particular. When pure logic doesn’t win, you could use complex sentences like “ I am totally & completely in consonance if you opine that we shall all co-work on a federated approach towards sharing utilities. Until such logic prevails, I shall not take the onus and responsibility for scarcity of water”. As I can observe from my windows (of non-technical lineage), my tank gets water from neighbors, as they find it to be a better approach to retain their dignity than to lose it in front of me, trying to answer back in Toefl-ian English.
  • Successfully migrated to a pay-per-wash payment mechanism with my watchman-cum-car cleaner, who kept coming with innovative excuses for not cleaning the car. The last straw was when he said “It’s a hot day and if he splashes cold water on the car, the metal would shrink and cause less legroom issues in a hatchback car”.
  • There is of course one thing, that has continued to be an unresolved simmering conflict, much like stone pelting in Kashmir. My housekari is not quiet happy with the game mechanics I use to encourage my mom on her awesome ability to make south Indian breakfasts and encourage her (housekari) for similar endowments with north Indian cooking abilities, which all result in three different fresh meals through the day. She says “You cant have it so well worked out, everyday”.

The world’s not going to be different, the coming week. Oh could be. As I dot across a few European nations, I shall remember to bring perspectives from the other side where napkin-based methods are considered cleaner.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pleasure car

In the 80's, in my village when a car drives in, it still had only 4 wheels, but at least 20 tiny legs running behind to catch up the spectacle of a marvel. A person getting off of an ambassador car was nothing less than an astronaut (well, even if he just paid for the ride instead of being the owner). Do we ever say Buzz Aldrin, "Hey you orange suited, high jumper! Its after all your company's space craft that you are travelling in & heck it doesnt even give 10Kms/liter of rocket fuel!" A car even if it was a non-a/c ambassador of 1950 make, was still a car!
In fact, the men and women who got out of those cars faked an immense level of butt- tiredness, of having to sit in the plush back seats. They got out of the cars through the crevice between the door and the seat, in luxurious laid-backness, that invited instant deep breaths of the have-not hosts. Ladies let their slipping sarees slip for a little more and gents let the crumpled hair be that for a little more, all in the way of subtle communication that it was "a helluva ride".
It din't matter that the window panes were not tinted, nor did it matter that A/c was not an afforable indulgence. They came in a car and that established their pedigree for another two generations. I have heard sons of 70's say even today ''Engappa andha gaalathlaye car otinaar..morris minor" (Our dad drove a car in those old days. Morris Minor).
The rider always loved every minute of the experience. He put his arm around the half drawn window pane, signalling the precarious cycle rider that "its his car and hence he can hug it that way".
Some thought themselves to be kings and demanded a place in the co-rider's headrest to extend the arm around the other one's neck. It was their way to feel being seated in a throne. Some gently car'essing the curves of the door from within the car, throwing all security norms to the air. I'm sure some them got horny by the ride. That was the love for the car.
Faulty vibrations in an idling car were symbols of power. Sandal paste smeared all over, was just necessary to keep the gods by their side. Dried lemons hanging in the front had to be there to keep the evil away. My neighbors even squeezed the lime under the tires everyday for the first three years. They gave up after their first car and after I once told them in front of a used car sales guy "Mama, you're car and lemon, synonymous!".
It's a lot of fun these days to see my dad in his fully air-conditioned car. With no hald-drawn windows, no vel (spear) in the front, no lemon danglings and no children to follow the ride, his car rides hardly are as eventful as in those 'pleasure cars'

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tagged for Gender Bender

Joshi Mukard tagged me. Purba started it all through this!

So here is my gender-bender list:

1. I love wearing pink. In fact I have a pink t-shirt, light pink shirt, pink and golden flowery patterned shirt (which I wore for my engagement). I even sponsored a pink jatti for the pink chaddi campaign against Mutalik.(see the spelling difference. I am a proud south indian who maintains that its jatti)

2. I have a high SPF sunscreen (Tropica), Body Lotion (Bvlgari), Body spray (Bath n Body works), Skin cream (Nivea), Perfume (cK and Boss), Deo (Adidas and Brut), Hair gel (L'Oreal), Hand wash (Bath n Body Works), Aroma therapy hand cream (Bath n Body Works). I use each for a different occassion. My wife uses Pears soap (and none of the above or its female equivalents). No. No one asks me the age of each of these. Sigh! Some of these were gifts for my marriage!

3. I have scented pot pourri for the car and the closet

4. I could make all south indian and most north indian side dishes and can effortlessly slip into a cookery conversation with women double my age. I sulk about washing vessels (like them).

5. I cannot stand the smell of booze and cigarette

6. I have 8 pairs of shoes

7. There are times I've gone to a dress showroom only to return back buying nothing. I am that picky

Tagging sriram, revs (she better start writing soon!)!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A sunday

I am not chronicling a dramatic outburst of an ordinary citizen like they did in the movie - A wednesday. But my story of this sunday is by no means less consequential and in fact, is one that any bored and forced bachelor would go through.
It was about 5 pm and the crowd-delivered loads of semi drying faecal matter would decide to emit organic fragrance across our apartment complex and by the time I tuned my nose to sense the early wave it was already late. I quickly shut down the windows (IT Folks: Windows also means a non-software contraption that you find in your homes, if you relate to surroundings anymore) and was debating (alone) if I need to cook or eat out. It was easy to leave the house to suffer alone in the stench, while I could taste food in a better environ.
Driving several kilometers to find a nice restaturant is environmentally insensitive decision and also considering the racial slurs that waiters throw on single visitors that try to occupy four-chaired dining tables, I decided that a snack in a kay-yendhi bahvan (street food) would be better.
After a few not-so parlimentary opinions openly voiced about dys-functional apartment secaratary and his approach of idiocity as apartment governance policy, I drove to the nearby market, half-salivating for the corn-filled soup. Alas, it was not be. The guy wasn't there.So I had to settle for Anandha bhavan.
After elbowing my way to the counter which is manned by a stare emitting male species, I quickly muttered "Our bonda, Oru sev puri" before that species turned its head down without acknowledging my plea. Before I could fathom the insult, it handed over 3 pieces of papers which had started to float in the air before I could collect them.
Elbowing my way again to another counter where they mix 4 drops of sweat every 2 minutes with pre-made chaat and other snacks, I again pleaded for attention. It was quiet a satisfaction having completed my endeavor to not just handover the sev puri bill but also to stake my preference to not have sweet in it (sweat is not optional). One sweaty bihari male ordered me to get out (apparently it meant that bonda shall be collected outside).
Negotiating my way across rice eating over-sized middle aged tamil men and their equally blessed accompaniments, I presented myself to the bonda counter. They were frying both bonda and flies (the latter using Pest-o-Flash and they generally try not to serve it). I did prevail when the bonda fri..err reluctantly agreed to give me one more serving of chutney.
After a balancing act of two plates in two hands, I roamed around the tables several times (after facing hostile single women who felt that my presence across the table will mysteriously make them pregnant) and finally found a table with just one fellow battered male bachelor.
At this point, the taste of the snacks dint matter. I just had to finish them before another high-carb laden machine could crush me under her weight.
Organic faecal stink is no better alternative but isnt emotionally abusive after all!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A 25g ecstasy called Maladu

Mom was here for an entire week this time around, which meant that any food without the high

carb is unhealthy. On top of those liberal servings of intoxicating sambar, rasam and more sadhams, I did give in to her bait on "Maladu" without much ado.
Visits to two provision shops, aavin booth later, the preparation started. For those that dont know what 'Maladu' means, its what sages seek in abodes of himalay. You know it is nirvana when your tongue refuses to gulp in the residual taste of maladu for the want of eternal pleasure. To shower lesser justice to the phenomenon, Maladu is just a mighty version of Laddu made with roasted bengal gram, liberal amount of ghee and fried cashew nuts, all rolled into a ball shown next.
Eating method: Well, like all good things in life this needs to be relished like a note from a smooth playing violin. Toss it onto your mouth, roll it with the tongue, sip the melt and bite in for a gush of passionate sweetness to engulf your mouth. For the connoisseurs out there, microwave it for 20 seconds and realize the first brush of hot massage of a sweet ball on your tongue.
Question to wife and other marwadi types:
At about 125 Rs. raw material cost and 10 Rs of fuel, would it not mean a nearly 100% margin at the retail level (Lets say 30% after labor, infra and social media PR).
I think this is a better way to change the world than my uber-cool enterprise social network & group buying ideas.
No VCs, No term sheets, No option pools, No vesting,No Series A, B , C funding..
Aah! Nirvana or just "maladu"..
Perhaps I should latinize a bit and make it Ma' Laude (which literally means Mom Honorable). Topical!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavan or Ravanan Movie - Review

Buk Buk Buk Buk..dandanaka dandanka dandanaka!
Oops..sorry! I'm so captivated by the dialogs like the one above that I forgot to start the review. Lets start with the cast.
Vikram (Veera) - Made immortal by the above dialog. Wears designer vests made by Adidas or Choromozone. Knows tamil poetry. Scheduled tribe in the remote hamlet in tirunelveli. Mother tongue - A tribal language that they dont use often. Bad guy who is actualy good. But mostly does bad things till the end.
Prithvi (Dev) - Aishwarya Rai's husbandu. He is a SP and so by that definition wears jeans, full-hand indigo nation casual shirt and white round neck t shirt. Wears Rayban. Good guy who is actually bad. Does good things mostly but for the end.
Kuruvamma (Aishwarya Rai) - She has a more modern name (Ragini). Vikram calls her kuruvamma. She is the good looking wife of Prithvi. Struggles to establish the goodness due to ageing face. Shows ample cleavage to distract that fact. Maniratnam heroine and by that definition wears red/crimson/yello/green colored designer churidhars or sarees. In her spare time she teaches bharatanatyam to kids from the "Indra" movie. Anu hassan would have fit this role well, but for her ginormous size these days. Aish has trimmed her nose hair perfectly. Need to check which remover she uses. Vikram needs it. Ah! I found some perfection in this movie!
Forest Ranger (Navarasa Nayagan Karthik) - Plays the hanuman character. Established by wearing monkey kullah all through the movie. Re-establishes by jumping all around in the intro scene. Speaks incoherently as always. Behaves crankily. Sad comeback film to have opted for!
Elder Brother to Vikram (Prabhu) - Same scheduled tribe gang leader. But wears denim shirts (XXXL) and timberland outdoor work shoes. Does not know poetry like Vikram. Speaks the better version of fake tirunelveli accent.
Vennila (Priyamani) - Sister of Prabhu and Vikram. Comes, speaks urban tamil one-liners like a maniratnam heroine though a part of the tribe. Dies in a few minutes after some adiga prasangi dialogs. I suspect she was killed for it as against the make-believe suicide the screenplay shows.
Prabhu's wife (Ranjitha - Nithyananda Fame) - No special need that she fulfills, except for the front benchers who were very amuzed by her comic presence in a commercial movie. She is an "art movie" specialist "apparently"!
Then there is a eunuch comedienne character played by that silly comedy fellow - Vyapuri.
The story:
Vikram's a bad guy and his people are bad (we dont know why. Maniratnam says so and we believe). In one of the songs, Vikram bats for the rights of the tribals on the lands they live in. May be on the day of that shoot, there was some naxal headlines in the newspaper and Mani did not want to miss a topical idea. The next day there could have been a kidnap news. So he makes Vikram finish the song and kidnap Prithvi's wife to take revenge for the death of his sister who was raped by police men. Not sure if Prithvi was also a gang raper. But since he is Rama's reincarnation we dont believe so.
Prithvi searches for Aish in the rain forest, water, village etc. They search for 14 days and not a day more or day less, as ramayan has 14 years of vanvaas. No other reason! Vikram in the meantime likes Aish very much (because?). But in climax he lets her go. Prithvi doubts if Aish slept with Vikram. At this point I wished Aish jumps down the train that they were in and lands in an underground sewerage drain (like Sita did in her day and age). Nothing like that happens, disappointing the viewer in what is otherwise a meticulous and utterly intelligent script that does complete justice to the Ramayana epic.
By this time, you have realized that the story dint matter even to maniratnam or the actors.
Lets come to the dialogs which are done by Suhasini. She runs a movie review show in some tam channel. I hope she takes moral responsibility and shuts that show down.
Some dialogs that are novel or shocking:
- Bak bak bak bak..danda nakka..brrrriiii(Vikram makes this sound after every third dialog)
- Vikram first conversation with Aish is a pleasant exchange of sanga tamizh poems whose meaning not one soul in the theatre understood (Congrats Suhasini for the dialog coup)
- In the climax when Prithvi escapes death and nervously kissed aish (after all kissing aish is a big deal and his nervousness shows in the movie). Enter the dialog from aish "Padhinaalu naal acha..neenga padhinaalu nimishathla vanduruveenga nu nenechen..vanga veetuku polam" (Did you need 14 days...I thought you would come in 14 minutes..okay lets go home)..Gosh, was she kidnapped? Did he defy death? Or did she just go for a visit to the gynec and he came in late to pick her back to home, on his way back from office?
- Aish to Vikram :En uyire edukka onaku yaar urimai kudithirkaa? (Subramaniam swamy can write better tamil dialogs than this)
So whats good about the movie?
Music is decent, though at some point you feel that a very alien islamic tinge seeps in. We dont care as this is the least glaring of the gaffes in the movie.
Cinematography is spectacular and truely world class. I never knew there was so much woods to explore in my backyard (tirunelveli). Lets forget the shoddy graphics gig in the climax.
Props - OMG..amazing..heck who cares if brown and green colored translucent stones neednt be there in the middle of the forest where Aish is held captive? As long as its good, it has to be in the screen. The beautiful lamp in the boat! Wow what screen presence it adds in spite of its utterly useless or unnatural existence! How about those artistically woven cane compound walls in adivasi village. It does look a bit gautier merchandise like.Heck adds to the screen presence.
If you remember the narayana idol that acted in Dasavatharam movie, the same idol has acted in this movie also. Agarwal movers and packers have moved it to the tribal hamlet's water falls so that Aish can take all the effort to go there to pray for her release (instead of spending the same time to find an exit route)
Go for the movie for sure -
Good locales (if you dont get Nat Geo in your TV)
Good Props (if you dont get travel and living channel)
Good music (if you cannot download it online)
Good looking aishwarya rai in some parts (if you dont have jeans movie in your DVD collection)
PS: Technically, I did not pay to watch it! My mom who paid for it, liked the movie for some strange reason. So it looks like if you try hard, you might even like it.
PPS: I am waiting for the hindi movie review from the blogosphere. It must be fun to read how Abhishek played Vikram's role.. There is quite a bit of mandham-ness he needs to overcome!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bad Hair Life

Bad hair day is what you'd have heard. If there could be a lifetime grievance award for worst hair, I would win it thumbs down. Bad hair is not a lifestyle issue or a style faux paus. Its a handicap of hair raising proportions.
Never did I worry more about this curse than when I was going to go on a blind date.
Note to wife and other affected parties: Date to me means nothing more consequential than a method to measure chunks of time or something as boring as that.
Note to the dates that I had been out with: Call me! My new number is 97*** ****5.
Getting back to the topic, it was a blind date competition in Saarang, our insti's mega cultural fest. One who has the most creative line for an absurd question gets to date a girl. Your's faithfully, cracked the most creative line of that day and up I went to the stage, all glee and macho!
Next to me was a girl personifying an hour glass gone wrong in the middle. So she was more like a burette than anything else. Unlike her, the fatty entrapements beneath the epidermis were limited only to my brain and I was in shape. But to her, something else mattered. The girl flatly refused to date me saying in front of about 100 frustrated souls that my hairstyle is so screwed up that it wont be cool to date me (my fcuk beach shirt and clever lines notwithstanding).
I did a strategic withdrawal without causing visible upheavals, reserving all of those teary traumas to my hostel room.
Circa 1995 - I was popularly called in school as "Springkuth thalaya" (Springy head) - a rather uncouth reminder of my place in the class of boys who vie for the girls' puppy love. Few curling sessions, visits o hair straighteners in college days didnot yield much result.
In the meantime, one of my experiments with brylcream aiming for an italian mafia look, left me with a thankfully shortlived name "Chinna Goundar" - A popular vijayakanth character that sported castor oil laden long hair combed backwards leading to a small oil spring running down through the back of the neck.
Amply humiliated and simply tired of unwanted attention from unkind blind dates, friends during various formitive years, I decided that a sharp and short military look is what it takes to keep a check on the terminal handicap. So suddenly I started looking like Lt.Col.Ashwin Ramasamy in plain clothes.
The problem however was that the girl-types kept a safe distance from me thinking I could be a future wife-beater, with that stern looks. The extra nice and "let-me-comfort-you-with-a-lullaby" approach you see me in, all these years is a lingering byeproduct of having to practice sweet demeanor to keep the girls coming and to ensure cosmic balance of dating boys and girls.
After a few years of perfect military cut and complying hairline, one fine day last year, waves started appreaing in the hairline near the forehead, resembling embarrassingly close to 1960's Shivaji and MGR hairstyles (minus the pencil moustaches).
Though I am married now and hence there is no way my wife is going to reject an outing citing my uncool hair, my primal instincts tell me that I should keep options open and hence the hair, as closed and organized as possible.
Any suggestions that are tried and tested?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

First Night

When we were in the first year of college, it was rather gentlemanly for someone to say "Maplai..I will not have sex on the first night da..Pavam Ponnu..Tired a iruppa". My curiosmometer would break down at the levels of anxiety I would have for that event, especially when its first. But gentlemanliness as portrayed by a tam hero in one of the movies and a few oaths by fellow roomies in college, it did seem like a good idea not to go for it.
The often unsaid and understood reason for not going for it, could perhaps be explained by the sheepish smiles and bountiful blushes from aunties, mamas and nandu nasukus when you get out of one of their convertible bedrooms (into honeymoon suites). Reactions can emanate in ways imaginable (just smiles or avoidance or heckling or in between) to unimaginable (Enjoy, Jamai, Enjamaai or thumsup signs from father-in-law denoting..maplai elam nala padiya pannitel polrukke)
Delicacy while it is, its delicate to face such a situation (even for a brutally shameless guy like me). For the aesthetically inclined and for those whose domicile is not where the marriage is taking place, another piquant (for the reader alone) situation is to sleep on a steel or fractured wooden cot with mattress that carries vintage urinaroma of beloved nieces, nephews and the stains of obvious multiple occurances of coitus interruptus. The idea of a crumpled jasmine flower or two sticking to the butt, however pleasantly smeling for its geographical coordinates, does not impress me and when it is manifested in front of the crowd that waits outside for us to make a federal appearance, in lines of manmohan and obama, explaining how its all good and we look forward to more co-creation.
So we decided to hit the road, veshti and podaivai laden to a nearby four star hotel with of course some perfumes, bath oils, aromatic candles and with carefully packed nightwears that are bold enough to put naomi campbell & miami beach gaurds to shame. Of course, coming from the conservative families, we never were bold or romantic enough to try them on ourselves. Our adventures reached the descent the very moment the items were billed in their respective sales counters.
The idea of doing the do in a hotel suite is however embrassing in another way. From the receptionist to the bell boy knew why we were where we were and they made no effort to hide their smiles that were products of unbounded imagination let loose in their minds. There is no scientific explanation I know, to why pleasures cannot be internalized without coupling facial expressions when the intent is not to share those pleasures with someone who is pleasured at!
The curious mami and mami who self appointed themselves to drive us down to the hotel, like in anyone married couple's case I bet, were also of age that did not preclude them from the possibilities of another production (though it would be social mockery displayed all over There was a golden handshake and controlled smiles that we ignored, much to their relief.
Moments later we both were in and how. Cozy room carefully sealed from outside noise and din, with nice aroma and dim lights, unnecessarily strewn with lotus, jasmine and other flowers. I am not sure if that night was romantic. it was surely funny even without the elements that contributed to it till we were left alone.
The protocols of the first morning (after that night) are also well understood. The mama and mami committee incharge of taking us back to the mandapam shall not call our room or knock at it. They shall wait for us at the lobby. The dilemma we had was to whether leave the complimentary breakfast after having paid a substantial amount of money to do nothing (remember the college vow). We are till date value buyers and we dint miss the elaborate breakfast buffet while the two member transportation committee waited outside, salivating.
Our trip back to the mandapam went without any word being uttered between any of us. I imagined it could have been any question and that could have turned un-intentionaly
Hope you guys had a good night? (How was sex?)
How was the room? (Did you manage to run around naked?)
How was the flower arrangement? (To which we could not have answered normally without imagining how it set the romantic mood or not)
One question they could have asked without sounding corny would have been "How was the breakfast?". However that would have brought down the social status of the transport committee by several notches.
While all went smooth, the statement of my mom swept the carpet under my feet. "Nee vera hotel-la than vechikanum nu solite..Camera keemara vechirndhana ena panradhu..adhan mama fulla check panitan. Aprom than nimmadhi! (What if there were hidden cameras? So mama checked it completely before the event)
We got punk'd!!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

To Do or Not to do?

Someone said that India stands for "I will Never Do It Again."

I went a step closer to that declaration today.

9 Am: I frantically drive through the maze called morning traffic congestion to find a stationery shop in what is the fastest growing suburb of the decade. Found one which had no name board.

It had notebooks, books, dust, a newborn baby inside the shop, its mother who also is the shop co-owner, her husband and a few assorted things that neednt be there. They had no stapler or pins. No complaints..It happens everywhere...Why blame the country?

I made a tough U-turn made tougher by impatient users of the road. Soft pedalling all the way to office, trying to catch a glimpse on both sides of the road, I reach the 40 ft gully where the state of the art IT companies have located themselves without much thought about approach roads.

9 30 AM: A speeding car at 60 Kmph hit my car mirror and gave some unpleasant free advice about the perils of sticking to a lane and driving under 40 kmph...Why blame the country..Its just a few people here and there (mostly around me, perhaps?)

I park the car in the safest possible area that wouldnt disturb traffic and walk to the petty shop for a cigarrette lighter (Note: To melt the seal that is used to seal confidential business documents). I got free advice, free "kangu" from used cigarrette and free matchstick all without asking my purpose and all without asking me if I needed an alternative method. Finally I settled down for the wax match box. Why sulk about lack of professionalism in a shack? Okay!

10 00 AM: Office. Sir we cannot print your document because we have only black and white printer. After a few airs of disbelief, calls to remote and unimpressionable people, I found a way to reach someone who can do just that - Print in color.

10 10 AM: Sorry sir. We have file size restrictions. Your 2 MB file is too big for us. We cannot get it.

10 20 AM: Sorry Sir. we need approvals to send the file in any other means. You can try telepathy instead

10 40 AM: Sorry I am alive!

10 50 AM: I hit the road searching for a color printer. 20 Kms and 4 stopovers at seemingly purpose built shops for print outs that dint conceive the need for color printing, I went back to the maze of a place where it all started.

11 30 AM: After precariously coming close to a vertical fall from an improbably tilted and compressed stair case, I ended up in a shop that proclaimed to print in color.

11 40 AM: The shopkeeper laid the bait of "quality" job and asked me to be back in 30 mins

12 30 PM: The shop boy had been sent to print the stuff out in a japan printer and where? 20 kms from where I was! And how? In a bus! And when will he be back? - Just now Saar!

1 00 PM: After impatient wait in a sultry car in a messy traffic junction, I climb back to the shop. The hot air from the fan named "toofan" (hindi for storm) blew the sweat of my face so that replinshment can go uninterrupted.

1 25 PM: The boy was not back and could not be communicated.

I wasnt close to thinking what someone said about India (until I realized that a couple of pages were missed out).

After a few catcalls, silent protests and unavoidable ambushes to strangers' cubicles, I finally printed all the stuff.

Can I not afford to buy a printer? Not until someone scientifically proves a printer's inability to sniff data from across the floor and teleport them to competitor organizations.

I may probably not do it again!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kamal Hassan & Gautham Vasudev menon - New Movie - Story Exclusive and all that..

Living up to the name of this blog for the first time, we (?!) are bringing you a world (as though it cares) exclusive of the story of the yet to be shot movie staring Kamal (who still shamelessly carries titles "Ulaga Nayagan" & "Oscar Nayagan" after A.R.R sealed the deal) and to be directed by Gautham "appa per comes here" menon.
Like all GVM movies, this movie also has a story. Its the 43rd chapter of the life of a police woman. If you read the book from backwards like I do, it is the 37th chapter. The novelty is that, from that angle it becomes the story of the mother-daughter-daughter-mother relationship. If you read the same story in an amazon kindle optimized format, the story is the 2nd chapter and is all about another different love story, once again.
There is also a casting coup. More on it later!
Kamali is a 28 year old Aay.PeeYes! officer of 2005 cadre. She is an ultra modern police (cooling glass, nike sleeveless black t shirt with cleavage display feature) who also has money to buy a brand new jeep wrangler imported from dubai (fully assembled version). For this role, Kamal has reduced 90 kgs and now weighs only 50 kgs. Surya has been roped in, to train kamal on slimming down while maintaining the girly features.
The story revolvers around andhra, bihar, orissa, madison avenue, some backwater, ecr road, times square and some locations of europe shown as new york. Yes. You got it. Its a story of a policer officerini who is pattaya kalppufying against naxalites in India while the trail leads her to NYPD's office for the suspected links between naxals and the NY car bomb plotter, Faizal.
From reliable sources (who eves dropped on kamal while he was soup nakkifying in Le Royal meridien) we learn that Kamal said this to GVM "Kadhai illa nu sollala. Kadhai irundha nalla irukum nu than solren". Enna Makkale.Naa solradhu cheri thane makkale?
As usual Kamal has introduced his directorial head butting overtures and there comes the double role. Kamali's mother Camila played by ulaga nayagan (hence that title is justified) again, is a british aaypeesarrr of 1930's (she ate vajradanti and hence produced kamali in her late 40s and hence she is 28 years old. Not that GVM would have given this explanation. But duty to report unbiasedly). She and appa rao had some gajabujaks and Kamali is hence half gult/half brit. The brit portions of the voice over are given by Shruthi hassan. It is also reliably learnt that GVM wanted to cast Anu hassan in the role of mother for the portions where she is supposed to be 70 years old, but kamal's (non)sense prevailed.
Ok..javvu izhuthufying..start the story.
Camila once wanted to take pala pazham from the andhra forest and strays into kolli malai where malayoor mambattian (Prashanth's father Thyagarajan) mistakes her to be a moving mass of atta (make up was melting in the heat) and suttufies her. He feels bad when instead of becoming chappathi she becomes deadbody. No facial reaction from thyagarajan.
Kamali now takes a vow to quell the naxal menace (as she thinks her mother Camila was killed by naxalites) and now we come out of flashback. She veri ethufies herself by imgaining how good it would be if camila amma would have meera shikakai thechu kulipatifyed her every saturday. GVM has his trademark mummy mummy english song by celin dion.
Kamali in between all this vellai, turns to the screen and says "I am Kamali Camilla Rao. Enga appa raovukum, raw-ukum sikkadha naxalites a indha rao, raoda raova pidippa". For this dialog alone crazy mohan was consulted by GVM. Rest of the dialogs were anyway written in his earlier movies..
During the second half prashanth who is now acting as new malayoor mambattian tells kamal that its not naxals, its his father who chappathi suttufied her mom. Prashanth also saval vuttufies "I am in NY..come if you can". Kamali goes in continental airlines with jet lag and all that, with his peter england suit. There the officer on special kollywood interaction duty "sathya" is Kamali's counterpart. we first show the face, muttai kan, and then when we go a bit lowe we realize that its infact a familiar face. Yes. Sathyaraj plays a 30 year old divorced female officer in NYPD. Din't I say casting coup? This is perhaps a casting coup with genocide.
Kamli and Sathya roam around m.avenue and penn station with the "So you think you can dance' drop outs. GVM comes in a scene as desi tasty take away lunch stall owner in NJ. One thing leads to other and kamali kills prashanth to revenge for his earlier generation injustice. While at the JFK airport Sathya drops 2.5 tear drops which nanchifies her otherwise spotlessly clean white chudidhar. Kamali approaches her very ganniyamly and they both decide to have a live in relationship in boat club road bunglow.
The movie ends with a song in ECR with the imported jeep with Kamali sipping red bull and Sathya holding an ipad based navigator.
- A Gautham vasudev menon & Kamal Hassan mis-demeanour-

Saturday, May 08, 2010

10 Reasons to not work in IT sweatshops

The IT job of today is like what the bank was for the graduating batch of 1960's. Everyone and his mother would get a job and they lived happily ever after. The only difference is in today's days (is that right english?), they live happily ever after an appraisal or a job change, whichever comes first.
There are some blindingly obvious reasons why you shouldn't be in these lack of applied innovation, low per capita smartness per sq.ft. etc. Lets leave those to the startup companies' career page comparison tabular column. There are other and equally important reasons though.
1. You've got to carry an ID card, a car pass, a laptop pass everyday. Three biomechanical robots would check them while one could have done the job. If you are an outcast (who is not an employee of the company that he/she works out of), the process doesnt recognize you and hence the biomechanical robots wont too! So till some "Head of something" carrying a templatized approved business card that reads totally title to his/her actual job writes an email (at 10 30 am) to "Head of security" you wont get in.
2. The quality of marble in the ground floor and top floor (fat cats floor) are better those you would find in the finest italian monuments. But let that not fool you. The ones in your floor are only slightly better than the anti-skid tiles in my 2 bed home. Is that a problem? No. Its just very wal-mart/McD-ish philosophy of saying "Anything that the customer wont see is not worth investing in"
3. The lifts wont have a/c. With people hopping on like its an irresistible disney ride and packing it enough to rub some hugo boss perfume off your body and onto theirs, you need a/c.
4. Lets compare. Google - Innovation is the line that separated the organic searches on the left from the paid ads on the right. Indian IT company - Innovation is the underground car park that is also used as the mass canteen for 3000 people to eat in a span of 1.30 hours. Cattle class, any body?
5. The water dispensers have the hot and cold taps, only if the board decides to ratify the usage of electricity for such menial purposes. The green aspect that needs to be appreciated though, is the eversilver tumblers that are used by all and sundry without the washes in between. Take water bottles. Dont take if you are a veep.Veeps get office water bottles as they have thirst. Others dont.
6. A funky card reader that shall have to be pleased before you get a one-fourth cup of a coffee could well have been used as a universal scanner for car, id and laptop entries.Being an outcast I dont get my coffee before a reluctant and yet benevolent coffee maker decides to feed my carving for a coffee. If everyone who gets in is authorized, why not just do away with the bums (bevarage user management system!!)
7. You can have any color print out as long as its black in color. Oh well, shades of grey are okay too. You have no right to print out if you are an outcast
8. Visitors and guests are those that need to be met with at the nearby cigarrete shops. A visitor with no official purpose is as bad as an epidemic outbreak and is treated as one such.
9. No one reaches office beter 10 00 Am and no one leaves before 8 00 pm.
Disclaimer: My company and my offshore office are good. This post is really about the rest.
PS: If you notice that the 10th point is missing and hence the title is not quite right, you still have some ability to question. Thou shalt not work in Indian IT company.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Incredibly Tolerant India

No. This is not a part of the clever tourism marketing campaign from Indian Tourism department. Its actually that part of the bigger construct that is not clearly represented in those adverts.

Relocation is always a stressful event that comes in two parts - when you leave out an old place and when you settle in a new one. If it happens that the settling in also includes an India angle to it, its no longer stress. Its acute depression that is just a part of a grand journey towards a cardiac collapse. In India, tolerance is taken to intolerable extents.

Right at the airport (which looks like the 1970 rajini movie climax pazhadanja bangala) I was harassed for bringing in a used LCD tv, even though law allows me to legally bring them in without duty. My nasal drawl dint work wonders with a chechi officer who said that I need to pay the duty. Much to my discomfort and resentment I realized that it was a kickback only after another chechi took the money in a dark room where any resistance would have to led to her running out proclaiming that I harassed her. I had to tolerate because otherwise, I would be made to wait for ridiculous amount of time for trivial reasons. My bags were strewn away from the conveyor belt in what seems to be an illconceived idea of organizing the bags in a perfect matrix with unapproachable walk paths towards them, much like how most processes with public or private enterprises are conceived. No one except me complained and insisted that my bags need to be re-dumped onto the conveyor. Its a system that works. In the hindsight its a bad idea, as the contract worker literally 'dumped' it in on the conveyor belt like how maniratnam made arvind swamy to dump madhubala in a meadow in Roja. Dumb then, dumb now. No one told him meadows were not spine massagers.

The roads from an international airport, could well have been laid anyother way or at least laid. That was not to be. In places where it was of international standards, the drivers went berserk, like flies running around sweets in no identifiable pattern. People find it easy to tolerate a rash driver who doesnot understand lanes. Honking irritates people but they dont care to work it out between themselves so that they could drive noise free. Taking a turn on a road seems to be a crime. No one has time to wait for someone to finish a turn and you are expected to tolerate the world's urgency while you are stranded in an awkward angle in the road, creating an impossible traffic jam without intending to.

Searching for a house for rent is another manifestation of the tolerance rot. Houses that cannot be in the market for the want of better sanitation were put up for top rent. Houses that had soiled closets, broken windows and chipped out floorings were advertised as premium houses. The least one could have done is fix them before calling visitors. May be everyone except me finds it okay to step into a rest room of a "house to let" which has yellow stains all over. The next time someone advertises for a house with lake view, I am going to drown them in that muck pit.

The apartment complex I rented in, shoved me with a electricity card which bore the name of a person other than the owner. The car park lot is yet to be re-worked to make it worthy.No one cares. And those who care park the car outside, dogs copulating under the chassis notwithstanding.In my street which is more like an enlarged nasal passage, there are 11 stray dogs. No one cares. Heck! They dont care for the neighborhood which is turning into a nomad's rest and an open shithole in the mornings.
Buying grocery is another hair raising experience. Firstly the air curtain blows the already raised hair into irrevocable patterns when you are least prepared. Secondly they have devised a rolling gate system to get in, which is a welded pipe that can perform a tubectomy if the shopper is not good at gymnastics. The stores stink. They dont switch on the air conditioners. Each store has more sweepers and helps than the employees and they giggle at you for every thing. I am yet to reason out what that giggle meant. But they do stop it when I hand them a debit card when I have bought items worth less than Rs.200. It sends shivers of megawatts if you had them a debit card without minimum purchase. There is no "Sorry, we cannot use this blah". Its just "What the could you have done this" look, that I would not mind to convert myself into a murderer for. I protest. But no one does.
Sadly all of these could be fixed over night. No investment. No flyovers. No swanky new shopping districts. When will the society and polity stop tolerating the laisse faire attitude in every walk of life?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dilbert Mashup - My ending to the strip!

Its way too cool. Now I could compete one up against Scott Adams and create a funnier ending to a dilbert strip. Check my first attempt here!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

DesITny - Disaster Transformation

Saturday, February 27, 2010

DesITny - Ted & Bulusu

Friday, February 26, 2010

DesITny - The fate of Indian IT

Friday, February 19, 2010

டவுன் பஸ்

நடுத்தர வர்கத்திற்கும் கிராமங்களுக்குமே வாய்க்கப் பட்ட ஒரு சாபம் டவுன் பஸ். அதிலிருந்து விடுபட்டு குளிரூட்டப் பட்ட காரில் போகும் போது, டவுன் பஸ்சின் வாழ்வியல் பாடங்களை எப்.எம் கேட்டுக் கொண்டே அவதானிக்க முடிகிறது.
பாளை பஸ் நிறுத்தம். பஸ் நிற்கிறதோ இல்லையோ, என்னைப் போல நின்றே மெலிந்தவர்கள் பல பேர் இருப்பார்கள். பஸ் நிறுத்தத்திற்கு வெளியே உள்ள புளிய மர நிழலில் நிற்பதே பஸ் பிடிப்பதற்கு சாலச் சிறந்த உத்தி என்று பெரியோர்கள் கல்வெட்டில் எழுதாததால் பலர் உள்ளே நின்று சார டக்கர் காலேஜ் பெண்களையோ கான்வென்ட் மாணவிகளையோ சகோதரி போல பாவித்து சற்றே விலகி நின்றபடி பாசம் பாலிப்பார்கள். சிலர் பஸ் ஸ்டாண்டு பிள்ளையாரிடம் ஏதேதோ வேண்டிக் கொண்டு முக்கியமான கோரிக்கையான "சாமி பஸ் சீக்ரம் கெடைக்கட்டும்" என்பதை மட்டும் கோட்டை விட்டு விடுவார்கள்.
நூறு அடி தூரத்தில் பஸ்சைப் பார்த்த உடனேயே ஸ்கூல் பையை லாவகமாக தோளில் மாட்டிக் கொள்ள வேண்டும். பின்பு நமக்கும் மற்றவருக்கும் உள்ள ரிலேட்டிவ் மோஷன் எவ்வாறு உள்ளது என்பதை அனுமானித்து அதற்கு ஏற்றவாறு ஓடாவோ, நடக்கவோ அல்லது பறக்கவோ வேண்டும்.
கிட்டத்தட்ட் எல்லா பிகருகளும் வேப்பெண்ணெய் தடவி இருப்பார்கள் என்பதால் ரஜினி காந்த் போல் ஸ்டைல் செய்ய வேண்டிய அவசியம் ஏதும் இல்லை. சுமாராக ஓடி வண்டியின் சக்கரத்திருக்கு தலையை விட்டு அழுக்கு எடுக்காமல் லாவகமாக தொத்தினாலே போதுமானது. என்னைப் போல் உடல் பலம் இல்லாத மன உறுதி படைத்த நோஞ்சான்கள் பெரிய ஸ்கூல் பேக் வைத்திருத்தல் மிகவும் முக்கியம். அதன் கனம், நீளம், இதிலிருந்து விடுபட்டு பறக்கும் கரப்பான் பூச்சிகள் எல்லாவற்றையும் தாண்டி முன்னேறும் பட்டாளம் மிகக் குறைவு என்பதால் பூட் போர்ட் இடம் கண்டிப்பாக நமக்கு தான்.
ஆர்வ மிகுதியில் உள்ளே நகர்வது மிகவும் ஆபத்தான ஒரு செயல். செவத்த மூதி என்று பலரின் வசவுக்கு உள்ளக வேண்டியிருக்கும் என்பதாலும் ஷூ கால்களை நேர்த்தியாக வெற்றிடத்தில் பாவிய படி நடக்க முடியாது என்பதாலும் வாசலுக்கு அருகிலேயே நிற்பது லோகக் க்ஷேமத்திற்கு நம்மாலான பங்களிப்பு. தவிரவும் கழுவாத கருவாட்டுக் குழம்பு சட்டி, பீடி, பட்டை சாராயம் ஆகியவற்றை சரி விகிதத்தில் சுமந்து வரும் மண்ணின் மைந்தர்கள் நடமாட்டம் அதிகம் என்பதால், முடிந்தவரை பஸ்சின் வெளியில் இருக்கும் ஏணியில் பயணிப்பது உத்தமம்.
தங்கள் பட்டப் படிப்பிற்கும் சட்டை அழுக்கிற்கும் தகாத ஒரு தளத்தில் அரசியல், ஆன்மிகம் மற்றும் உலக வர்த்தக நிலவரம் பேசும் பல்கலை வித்தகர்களிடம் வாயத் திறக்கும் முன் ஊதச் சொல்லி பிறகு பச்சை வளர்ப்பது நமக்கும் நம் குடும்ப பின்னணிக்கும் நல்லது. அதிலும் சுவர் முட்டி எனப்படும் ஒரு அசகாய சரக்கை ஏற்றியவர்கள் பேசிக்கொண்டிருக்கும் போதே தலையால் நம் வயிற்றை முட்டித் தூக்கி விடுவார்கள். மீறி விலகினால் குடும்பம் மற்றும் பிறக்கத குழந்தைகளுக்கு அவப் பெயர் நிகழும் வகையில் சில தத்துவ முத்துக்களை உதிர்ப்பார்கள்.
என்னை போன்ற பள்ளி மாணவர்களுக்கு பிட் பாகெட் பயம் இல்லை. ஆனாலும் எவரது கடப்பாரை , சிமெண்டு சட்டி எப்போது நம்மைக் குத்திக் கிழிக்கும் என்ற பயம் இருப்பதால், சுவாலஜியில் படித்த வாட்சன் கிரீக் டி.என்.எ போல் வளைந்து நெளிந்து நிற்க வேண்டும். பட்டாலும் பரம்பரைக்குச் சேதாரம் இல்லாமல் பர்துக்க் கொள்வது "வரலாறு முக்கியம் அமைச்சரே" என்பது போல ஒரு முக்கியமான ராஜ தந்திரம்.
இதையெல்லாம் சமாளித்து முன்னீர்பள்ளம் பஸ் ஸ்டாண்டு வரும் போது கண்டக்டர் டிக்கட் மிச்ச பணத்துடன் காணமல் போயிருப்பார். கந்த சஷ்டிக் கவசம் சொல்லிக் கொண்டே ராட்சடஹ்ர்களைக் கடந்து கண்டக்டரிடம் செல்வதா இல்லை இறங்கி விட்டு கண்டக்டரிடம் கேட்பதா என்ற தடுமாற்றத்தில் பஸ் ஆரைக் குளம் பஸ் நிறுத்தத்திற்கு கிளம்பி இருக்கும்.
"ஆள் எறக்கம்! ஆள் எறக்கம்!" என்று கதறியவாறே , "போங்கடா நீங்களும் உங்க மிச்ச பைசாவும்" என்று மனதுக்குள் முனு முணுத்தவாறே பஸ்ஸில் இருந்து குதிக்க வேண்டியிருக்கும்.
மூச்சிறைப்பு, கால் வலி, தோல் வலி எல்லாவற்றையும் புறம் தள்ளிவிட்டு மறு நாள் ஆட்டத்திற்கு தயார் ஆகா வேண்டும். இன்று இன்னொரு பயணம். இதுவும் கடந்து போகும்.

Town Bus

I have never had a good childhood or growing up. Lemme qualify that statement better. I have never had a good childhood or growing up in those specific moments when I was forced to use public transport, which is pretty much everyday. {Parents, in-laws, wife and others who missed me by a whisker can breathe a sigh of relief here}
The particularly depressing routine of having to smell un-washed tiffin boxes of construction workers, while carrying a sack of books and small adolescent cockroaches in a buttermilk-stained school bag, makes it a journey that I dont look forward to.
Palayamkottai bus stand is more like Palayamkottai bus dont stand. As experienced matadors waiting for the raging bull, we stand outside the bus stand puliyamaram (tamarind tree), keeping a ear on the co-matadors to assess the muscle power to tackle when the bus actually comes over. The leg-eye-ear coordination is put to extreme test when you have to recognize the 14, 10D or 506 route bus when it stands in the signal about 200m away and then decide when exactly to run. There are times when the bus may decide to make a drastic 90 degree spin and get into the bus stand or decide to move straight ahead and stop exactly 10m after where a normal human's endurance will fail him.
The trick is to make totally indifferent acts of bodily movements like nondifying the ear or nose, doing a soil survey etc to signal the driver that we are not interested in him (which makes him complacent and drive into the bus stand). Then comes the part of brutal display of muscle power. For kids like me, the school bag more than made up for the muscle power we lacked. It also needed an attached detachment to not get excited about the free space inside the bus. At the same time its also important to not stay so close to the foot board that a policeman can aim at your butt.
I've never had lofty goals like window seats. I infact would stay close to the precious real estate where the steps begin. Its easy to look like a civic activist and do a jarugandi to the incoming gladiators than go inside the bus and sandwiched between a drunk wife beater and a sweaty plumber. Its also time for extreme caution as sharp objects are generally let free to find their own space relative to the surrounding body parts in motion. Its your prerogative to get vasectomy done with an unsurgical precision or save your apparatus for future productive purposes.
It was also a cardinal rule that you dont talk to a man next to you before taking a few clandestine breath tests. There is no permissible levels of alcohol for town bus travellers. Its often an acceptable level as long as they dont urinate or puke on you, both of which had happened to other co-passengers.
Superior coordination, brute power, strategic positioning, relative motion and caution - I had them all. Instead of being a high school basket ball pro in the naiiited staits, the town bus was my playground. Now read the opening line of this post.
There were also days when I had to endure extreme agony and financial uncertainties of not getting the change back for the Rs.5 or Rs.10 note I gave to the conductor. The distance of the conductor from you is always inversely proportional to the distance between the bus and your stop. In a split second, while hoping through those sharp objects, drunk men, smelling construction workers and negotiating an unconditional release of the school bag from the victim of its impact, I had to decide whether to get down the bus and ask for the change or move towards the conductor and pray that he doesnt blow the whistle as I approach him.
With hunger clutching the already dry walls of the stomach, legs that beg for a hastened retirement and shoulders that grow numb after waging a war to gain my attention in the midst of competing agonies, the journey is hardly that. It was just an excruciating passage in hell that repeated everyday.
In the life that is another town bus to another destination, the endurance travels along.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Oops!! I dont have any plan to procreate again to do justice to the above title. If you haven't read and COMMENTED on the previous post on the same topic, you can click here to read and then COMMENT!
Commenting on the topic of seemandham, I must say that the festivities and the ritual are no different from the 1043 other rituals you celebrate in a tamil brahmin household. This time around I was wise (nothing to do with the ageing process) enough to stay back for 3 days after the function, to reclaim the real estate that I lived, slept and ate in for years.
If I could comment on how it is like, the living space on a day like that would be occupied by junior, senior and executive C-level vadhiyars who could be differentiated by their distance from the central homa kundam. The closest (and hence C-Level) is always the executive vadhiyar. Another id is the fact that they sport more gold/diamond/platinum/unobtonium rings than the rest of the jama (colloquial for a seemingly calm yet unruly crowd). The C-Level is not necessarily the senior most in age. It all boils down (in the barrels of ghee used to grow-fy the homam) to how capitalistic you are! So thats so much ado about how my living space is occupied. Needless to mention that the semi-permanent fixtures like wooden tables (with plywood top), tea table (with an even older plywood top), diwan (with slightly handicapped legs) which otherwise encroach the living space in my house are moved to enighboring houses (without their permission).
The place I sleep is where the junior and mid-senior vadhyars sit (along with their improvised bags that once used to be polished white nylon packing material based rice sacks).
The place I eat is tharu-maarized by a cookmani maami who is referred through kallidaikkurchinkedin by the meg-avia-lomaniac mama of my mom. She, a host of black ants, left over coconut scrappings and an assortment of poorly cooked south indian excesses like avial, thalaga kozhambu etc. occupy the space where I normally sit n eat.
To cut the long story short, I hate functions organized at my home because they make me feel like I am a guest and there are some other enthusiastic "they" who invite me into my house after having arrived as guests. I love their hospitality but its weird to be 'welcomed' into your home. It just makes so alien a place.
The best part of such functions is that how easily i give in to believe that, by being sincere about repeating the hymns and verses from holy sacred vedas whose meanings are neither known to me or the C-Level, we could actually make the kid solve the puzzle of the universal theory that defines everything in the universe (well, that wont still define why my dad's fetish for making our house a dumpyard has grown exponentially..Gah I hate going into my own house now). Hope dad and the readers wont mind that comment.
There is a part in the seemandham where you pour a few liters of cold water on your wife in open space and she just needs to take them all on her. I couldnt imagine a better way to exert my husbandality on a hydrophobic person like my wife.
If getting up in the wee hours (3 am) is not enough to make you feel like a south indian boy eating colesaw stew in a remote german hotel in a snow-ruinned european outback, the seemandham function also tests your hand-eye-ear and bum coordination with routines like "take this quasi-ring like thing made of grass on this finger of that hand and move it in this direction from that direction three times while adjusting your bum to ensure that the veshti doesnt fall off".
At the end of it all, when it's really over, people already start to leave and you end up chauffering them to bus stands and stations (with genuine love and lot of tiredness).
I would anyday stay in an alien country and celebrate our rituals with our micro-waved payasam and head home to have a lot of time to do nothing than be a guest to my home invited inside by fellow guests.
--- For those visitors to the blog from google who came searching for punyajanam, seemandham, mallu aundie sex, avial, avani avittam, ashwin ramasamy or ashwin ramaswamy, here is to say that I dont have anything against "comments". We can sit and talk it out. So feel free to "comment"----

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