Sunday, August 7, 2011


Dogs teach us a lot of things. Among undying love towards the master and loyalty till death are lessons like “we eat a lot and by lot we don’t mean a lot, we mean A LOT” (dogs can stuff themselves beyond our imagination) and “we don’t really hate cats, it is just a popular misconception. Though postmen and plump aunties scurrying along are still on our list” (I’m shaking my head along with you). So having a dog (you don’t own a dog) exposes you to a world of curious happenings. For example my dog, a shiny black Labrador, who is going through an identity crisis at home, is mesmerized by cockroaches. During our walks together when she chances upon a roach jerking along, she freezes up and perks her ears up and stares at the nocturnal insect. She tries to sniff at it and the burgundy night crawler just speeds up. This excites her more! She brings out her paw now. She gingerly prods the nuclear-holocaust-surviving-creepy-crawly and grins a doggie grin when she sets it off on a different direction. She loves the fact that it irritates Mr. Roach Coach to be prodded away in a wrong direction. She waits for the long-whiskered-biology-lab-scalpel-food to grumble back to its original path to prod again and experience the fun once more.

One such enlightening walk inspired me to type these words. Recently on a warm, Bermuda-chaddi deserving night, we were walking our usual route when I noticed she pee’d at a different spot than the one she normally likes. This set the wheels in my brain in motion. I cooked up the following theory. Read on, pudgy little midgets (what! They are cute!)

Back in the cold war times, there existed a simple yet effective way of communicating with your fellow spies behind enemy lines. The dead drop box. The idea was simple. If you have a piece of information you want to send to the headquarters, be it a film roll or an envelope of documents, all you have to do is choose one of the pre-determined dates and times and go to the pre-determined place or the “drop” (it’ll be anything from a run-down building to a numbered post box to a loose pavement stone in an alley somewhere) and place your information at the drop and in order to let the right people know that you have made the drop you draw a pre-determined diagram (anything from a chalked cross on a tree in a park to a harmless “I love pooja” sketched on a wall behind a Chinese restaurant in another alley) every diagram, every word has a pre-determined meaning (example: a cross on the tree means the drop is made at the run down building three blocks away) so the right people know when and where the drop is made. Dogs use pee to do this…

There is this video- Daniel Powter’s “bad day”, which shows a boy and a girl communicating with each other in the form of sketches in a New York subway. They haven’t met but each day the other person adds another element to the sketch on the wall of the sub way. The next day the other person sees the new element and smiles and adds another. Full love. Dogs use pee to do this…

The road is like a matrimonial site for dogs. Male dogs spray around their territorial squirtings (eww) on car bumpers or heaps of sand at construction sites or blatantly on the road itself. Female dogs saunter about sniffing and giggling at potential hot spots and replying next to the ones they like. Some butch male dogs take matters very personally and go about re-spraying on their rival’s spot- “I shall see you at pee and raise you a pee-pee”

As I type these words I can sense my dog’s eyes boring into my back, behind me… she knows I know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A-musement Park! Be-musement Park!

it's long.. get some snack, relax, listen to some music, build your patience and then start. thank you.

It was a sunny day, let me tell you that. Not one of those warm, pleasantly soporific days, no, no, no! It was HOT! The night before had been wonderful for all my friends and myself and in the heat of the moment, a plan was hatched: “The gang” (including I) would go to a movie the next day! I badly wanted to pamper myself so I was geared up to see Jessica alive and well even after no-one tried to kill her. The night rolled away, peeling off the cool dark blue to reveal the cloudless sunny monster called day. So, here I was, the next day, the day in question, waiting for a call. I get the call. The movie plan was canceled and a new, radical plan was hatched! FUN WORLD! That archaic amusement park everybody thought died along with the dinosaurs.

After much whining and complaining I succumbed. I succumbed to the plan: meet “the gang” in FUN WORLD! Two hours after “the gang” had already reached the place, I reached. I paid the entrance fee along with some grumbling and got a band which the guard dutifully tied around my wrist- this made me a legitimate FUN WORLD-er. I was immensely skeptical of the place from the moment go. Flashes of weekends spent at FUN WORLD as a kid hit me as I walked past the ice cream stalls, wailing babies and the vacant rides. Then it happened. The better part of my skepticism was won over by bouts of nostalgia. I’m a sucker for nostalgia, folks. So I caved in. I started enjoying the scenes. I even commended “the gang” for their quick thinking. Mind you, all this was going on in my head during my walk from the entrance to the place “the gang” was waiting. You’re all wondering why the quotes… there has to be a reason. YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT THERE’S A REASON!!

I turned the corner and expected to see a bunch of familiar faces all smiling. There were four people, not including the obviously lost ice cream stall lady looking obviously lost and wondering where her life went wrong. Nandan was waving at me; Shilpa was sitting several feet away from Tanya and Janani, for some weird reason, licking on her ridiculous looking yellow candy! Janani said, “Oh, I should have said… there is no gang- only the five of us.”

We started off (started off with me in the picture… they had already finished several rides several times before I showed up) with the immensely popular “tora-tora”! Everybody who has experienced childhood in the 90’s knows “tora-tora”. The crazy thing which turned every which way! I had an awesome time on it. It had been nearly ten years since I had sat on a ride like that. I kept shouting profanities and held on to the protective rod till my knuckles turned white. Here’s a secret: I am severely acrophobic and suffer acute vertigo… and I was not the only one.
After the “tora tora”, which I waved off dismissively saying, “I’ve seen better”, they told me about the “octopus” (dramatic music in the back, please.)

With a sweet name like that a ride could hardly be scary I thought… oh was I wrong. I got the first impression of how scary the ride was when they asked me to take off my glasses. “It’ll fly away” Tanya said. Those are not the friendliest words an acrophobic man wants to hear. Anyway, I did as I was asked to and I allowed the man to strap me in. I could see Tanya’s (the other acrophobic person) anxious face, Janani’s happy, almost gleeful face, Shilpa’s smiling face and Nandan’s bored face. Janani’s happiness made me think it wouldn’t be that scary but little did I know our very own Janani is an adrenaline junkie! JUNKIE! The ride was obviously designed like an octopus and we were placed in pods on the tentacles. The rusty motors whirred and the ride began. We were the only five people on the ride. The first minute was the easy part. I kept shouting at Nandan, “this is the maximum speed right? THIS is the maximum right? THIS?” and predictably, Nandan kept replying, “it’s just starting.” I felt death stroke my balls, folks. Holy shit! That ride was by far the scariest experience of my life! The break-neck speed was topped off by the erratic rotation of the pods themselves. Three minutes and the ride ended. Tanya and I both conferred- that ride was not designed for humans. Shilpa, Nandan and Janani were mysteriously very excited about THE NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE!

After the following experience, I vowed never to trust Janani again: Right when I was still reeling under the effect of the octopus, she suggests this “flying through the trees”. Honestly, I should have backed out just listening to the title of the ride. I mean… “FLYING THROUGH THE TREES!!” for crying out loud! To top it all off, Janani has the audacity to say, “Hey, it’s really pleasant. Your feet touch the trees.”

I thought to myself, ‘hey, feet touch the trees- that’s so sweet’. This was until I realized how FAR away the trees were from where your feet initially would be. They strap you into these dangling chairs (I suddenly became conscious of my weight) and since Janani and I were the only two people wanting to die, they separated us to balance the weight and I couldn’t even see her. The ride started. It picked up so much speed that the chairs fan out to the extremes of the circumference, due to the force, and your feet touch the tree tops. HOW CAN ANY SANE PERSON CALL THIS FUN!! I closed my eyes for the entire duration of the ride and hoped I was not flying across R.T.NAGAR.

After this I had a “father” moment! This cute kid called Vedant called me “papa”! I taught the kid how to fist-bump. The girls took turns carrying him and pampering him. Shilpa prophesized he’ll become a Casanova. I’d have to agree.
We roamed around for a while, drinking Pepsi, commenting on chinkis, eating popcorn, playing the world-famous “dashing cars” (which we did twice because it was just too much fun)

Then the giant wheel happened. This is what happens when you hole two acrophobic people in one pod in the giant wheel- PANDEMONIUM. Both Tanya and I experienced serious vertigo and amidst shouting “fuck” and “Jesus” and “holy shit” we managed to shout “stop!” every time we crossed the manning station. Knees wobbling, both of us agreed never to do that again… (Nandan was mysteriously bored here too! I don’t know how the man did it!)

After a weird Columbus-type ride which scared the shit out of us, we decided to call it quits after one last group “break-dance” ride. We clicked some photos and just giggled and laughed and bitched about people.
One half day spent in the company of awesome people, made for an awesome day. Took me back to my childhood and also made me realize FUN WORLD NEEDS NEW EQUIPMENT!!
Thank you Nandan, Tanya, Shilpa and Janani.

p.s. the naked mermaids on all the rides! (laughs out loud)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I went for a walk, on the way I burped out real loud since I thought the dark street was deserted, figures it was not, it was embarrassing.

What a title, huh??

So anyway, there was a man on the other side of the street walking along with me, whom I had missed!! The moment I let out that monstrous little sonofagun, I heard a rustle. I turned and voi-fuckin-lala!! A silhouette of a man! We both stopped and I was too embarrassed to do anything. That man was too embarrassed to do anything too and probably thought I would kill him. so I said, "ahem" and started walking, hoping like a small boy in a church priest's closet, that he would walk away in the opposite direction. Life, since it's a bitch, decided to act like one and thus set the man walking in the same freakin' direction! So, we shared an awkward walk till the end of the street where the man took a left and me, a right.

A BURP. A freakin' burp. I admit that was the loudest burp I have ever taken. So what if I got a little humiliated, huh? Don't give me that look, you girls!! In a small island off Philippines, the men compete against themselves for the fairest maiden in a game of burps! The loudest burper wins her hand.

I could have been married now!!

Of all the places my forefathers could have settled in... *grumble*

Well, that taught me a lesson. You know what the Japanese say about burping in public, right? It goes something like, "The dolphin always drinks from the blue cup"

Wow...the Japs, I tell you. Wise people. The above is a literal translation of course. The actual meaning goes something like this, " The dolphin does not like any other colored cup. Its always blue."


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"We'll send him to a yoga camp"

"Your vacation starts next week, no?" My dad asked me. I knew that tone. . .oh I knew that tone.

[FLASHBACK-seventh grade]

"Your vacations start next week, alwa?" My dad asked me.
"Hu.." I said.
"Oh good..two more papers, do well. you want ice-cream?"
next week I was learning how to make paper ducks at a summer camp for kids.

[FLASHBACK-eighth grade]

"Last paper, huh?"
Cricket camp. St. Joseph's ground, Richmond circle.

[FLASHBACK-ninth grade]

"You want to join the military?"
"Do I look like I want to?"
"Oh good...then you'll love this camp."
The Mahar Regiment's Pegasus camp![Thanks sonu and chandru uncle!!!] Full of obstacle courses ( rope bridges, brick walls, crawling through tunnels, sleeping in tents, dodging scorpions to go to the loo, socializing with rich spoilt kids hailing from "rich" schools, as I called them...bunch of jerks)
Leadership, personality building activities; more socializing with jerk-kids, ten km long treks through barren lands, raft building, rock climbing stuff...

[Tenth grade]


[Scene: my parents' bedroom]

One fine day, my parents woke up.
"We'll send him to a yoga camp" They said in unison.

Sunshine points about the camp.

1)The female volunteers there were just out of this world.
2)I made a lot of friends, I still am in touch with.
3)I learnt how to serve food to people, also to wash my own plate after eating.
4)I got to know the "candle in the dark" technique to dissipate negative energy. i still, very much, do it. [straight face]
5)I learnt yoga is a pussy way to lose weight.
6)I got to lead a crew of retards for a play. People who can't do three different types of laughs are not actors. the crowd loved my performance.
7)I read the "thank you" speech at the end.
8)I actually felt bad leaving the place ten days later.
9)On the last day, we filled out each-others slam books. It was emotional. sniff.
[still have the book. I read it by the]

Not-so-sunshine points about the camp.

1)We had to call the hot female volunteers "Didi's" (sister!)
2)The yoga itself was excruciatingly painful.
3)We had to gulp down liters of salt water and puke it out to cleanse out tummies.
4)We had to play team building games every evening. I hate chasing thin people during lock and key!!
5)We had to fill out "emotional quotient" forms. on an average they had 300 questions per questionnaire.
6)They segregated chubby kids on the first yoga session and they were told to follow a different diet...stupid fat kids...he WAS NOT IN THE GROUP!!
7)We had to sleep on the floor, on a carpet.
8)Wash our own clothes.
9)No junk food
10)No TV.
11)Common bathrooms. Long lines for them. Sheesh.
12)A 12 km trek to a near by fort. WTF was that!!

No, my parents did not hate me. I actually willingly went to these summer camps. I am what I am today because of them. I learnt a lot about socializing, friendship, give and take, how to slap a guy when he is asleep and make it sound like he dreamt it, in the morning.
Thank you dad. Thank you mom.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The School Ajji!!

I was feeling awesome yesterday [23-02-2010]. I had woken up early and had taken my time with my cup of tea by staring out the window at my table and observing the dawn grow paler and paler. I was just happy that day. Everything was happening on time. I was fifteen minutes ahead of the schedule! i actually had time to keep my bag on the sofa and leisurely sip my coffee and watch TV, waiting for the 'missed-call' which my good friend Janani gives me every morning just when the bus leaves her stop so that i can leave my place and be at the stop on time.

7:45, as usual, she gave me the 'missed-call' and I switched off the TV and picked up my bag and shouted "hog-bittu barthini" to my parents and with a spring in my step went down and out my home to my stop.

Halfway i saw her. My old school ajji! She is this frail old thing who shepherds little kids to different schools around my area. she has, I think, been doing this for the past forty years!! She is an angel to working parents.

At around her twenty sixth year of service, she met me, a chubby little boy, not so eager to go to school.

Now, fourteen years later, I saw her again. Still as active, still as loving and still as smiling as she has always been. I went up to her and told her I was one of the kids she taxied to school some fourteen years ago. I will never forget the way her face lit up the moment I told her that! I felt warm inside, seeing her so visibly taken aback in a nice way.

She asked me what I was doing and touched my head and blessed me to study well and become "something big" in life. I told her I had better leave as my bus would be at my stop any minute. She smiled and carried on, helping her litter of kids cross the road.

It is so awesome to touch people's lives like that so unexpectedly. It is often the smallest things which surprise us the most. One smile of recognition, one hand shake, one nod of the head, one wink, one touch of love, one hug, one stomach-cramping laughter session with your best friend... is all that is required to convey the message, "Life is a shade better because you are here."

Monday, February 22, 2010

The cow alien...

Recently an alien was caught on the outskirts of Bangalore. The news was obviously hushed up. One of my dad's friend who works for the super secret alien department extracted a belly dance from me in return for the information.

" I'll tell you something alien-y and super cool if you belly dance" he can any man resist...

Apparently the alien had dressed up as a cow. My dad's friend obviously knew it was an alien the moment he saw it. " moo moo mooo ...( translated: how the hell did you come to know, human?" the alien asked him, i believe. For which he replied, " the moo-ment i saw i knew, cow alien!" ( hahaha...get it?? moo-ment??!*sheesh*)

Anyway, they recovered a tape from the alien. An ancient tape. Obviously the alien had been around for a long long time. Cave-man time and all...

The tape has a recorded bit of a day's proceedings of a certain cave-man thousands of years ago...

It goes something like this...

[top secret: ET 12xx34df%XX transcript no. 47 ]

Cave man: who am I?

Echo: who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who...?

Cave man: that’s what I’m asking you!

Echo: oh, hell I can’t repeat that thrice and fade away!

Cave man: who asked you to do that?

Echo: (mocking) oh! Who asked you to do that? As though you don’t know!

Cave man: no I don’t...

Echo: you see...we are the echo species, ok? We tend to repeat what others say.

Cave man: but for what fun? You already know what the person has said. Why repeat it?

Echo: I just thought you looked dumb, you dino dung! Which line of evolution did you skip? When you discovered fire, the next thing you discovered was our species.

Cave man: really? Ah! Then you have to repeat everything I say...

Echo: technically...yes...but why do you ask?

Cave man: oh. Nothing! I’m a fool!

Echo: I’m a fool!

Cave man: aha! Hahahahhaah!!!

Echo: you! Wait till I get my hands on you!

Cave man: I’m a jackass!

Echo: I’m a jackass! No! No!

Cave man: you admit it! Hahahaa

[Not far away, a group of gorillas were watching the cave man]

Sally: Adam! Are you witnessing what I’m witnessing?

Adam: Affirmative, Sally dear. The neurotic boy seems to imagine his echo is a real person.

Sally: tch! Tch! What a shame!

Adam: indeed! When did we discover echoes, dear?

Sally: oh! Long, long time ago! It was right about the time when we had that barbecue lunch and we left the fire burning...

Adam: ah! Yes! Poor creatures. I fear to imagine what will happen of them in the coming years...

[End transcript no. 47 ]

[destroy after use ]

awesome, huh?

" Did it really happen? is it true, uncle?" i asked him...

he smiled...

guess i'll never know... *sigh*

Monday, February 8, 2010

"RACH 3"

I respect pianists [ I know only two people who can actually play on a grand piano]. They are all mysterious and brooding. You'll never know what they're thinking. I was having a chat with a pianist recently on my way to college. I did not really know the guy, so at first it was just "hey, man...good day, huh?" and I would put on my ear-phones and listen to music. Three times he waited till i had put my ear-phones on to make a comment. I got pissed and realized it was pointless to listen to music with him around. I knew he played the piano really well... so i thought "why not" and started socializing. I'm really glad i did that because i got to know a lot about him and the piano. After the basic talk about his past and my past and how he got into music and how i got into music, we got down to business. I told them how i personally thought pianists are mysterious and brooding to which he replied, " yes they are."

After asking him stupid questions like," who came first? Bach or Beethoven?", we drifted on to the "most beautiful symphonies" topic.

It was then that I heard about the "Rach 3" concerto!it is supposed to be the most beautiful and technically the most difficult concerto ever written! So, i went home and did a little research of my own.

Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff, the piece basically has two melodies. During the course of the piece, the listener can make out the melodies are fighting each other for an upper hand. It has three parts to it Allegro ma non troppo, Intermezzo: Adagio and Finale: Alla breve

The fight of the melodies end with one of the melodies winning and it is said that the ending is the most beautiful!

The sad part is, rachmaninoff, himself, could not practice his piece due to time constraints and he practiced it on a silent keyboard on the way to the united states aboard a ship! how ironic...

Do listen!!

p.s. There was a movie released in the mid nineties called The Shine. It is a biography of a man named David Helfgott, one of the only few to have played the Rach 3 after Sergei. It describes how he enters a competition and decides to play the Rach 3 and how he suffers a mental breakdown. It took him 20 years to recover.

Catch that also!!