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)