Thursday, November 30, 2006

You Won’t Get Me!

With the number of Hidden Camera shows around -- and four-five new ones cropping up every week -- I figure my chances of inadvertently appearing on one of them to be significant enough to be worth pondering upon. I’d hate to end up looking like one of those confused folks I’m always seeing on such shows. My current plan is to be a constant lookout for hidden cameras everywhere. However, this slows my day down considerably. You know, get up, look around bedroom for camera, brush teeth, look behind bathroom mirror for camera, take a dump, look around behind flush for camera... . Get the picture?

Also -- despite the fact that I wouldn’t hold the intelligence of the people making these shows in too high regard -- I’d have to believe that they aren’t COMPLETE idiots either. I’m guessing they’ll be able to hide the camera well enough to avoid detection -- even though I’m looking for it. That’s their job, after all.

Fortunately, I have a supplemental plan to go along with my Constant Hidden Camera Detect Mode. I try to pretend, at all times, as if I’m on camera. This way when they finally do catch me, I figure I’ll have already acted as necessary. If things get even slightly out-of-tune, my senses switch to high alert.

For example, if my burger at McDonald’s looks even the slightest bit rubbery, I immediately glance all around for a suspicious looking guy standing near me with an attaché case that may or may not be concealing a camera within. I then push him to the ground, yelling, “Get away from me, you perverted reality-TV freak!” I also stomp on the case he’s carrying and throw the burger in the face of the guy serving it to me. By this time, I can normally make out from the way things are going, whether my suspicions were right or not. (Surprisingly, I’ve never been correct as yet, but you can’t take chances, you know.)

If I see someone standing beside a lake yelling that their friend/sister/father/child has fallen in and can’t swim, I sweetly smile back and say, “Hah! Nice try. Almost got me there!” I then stick my tongue out at the person thrashing about wildly in the water and continue on my way. I figure one life is worth the cost of avoiding coming out of the water looking like a drowned rat, only to be told, “Haha! Gotcha!” (So far three people have drowned because of this policy of mine. However, I haven’t heard any of those three complain.)

Of course, none of this is going to make me very popular. But given a choice between being slightly disliked by half of humanity or looking like a chump on national television, I know which of the two evils I’d rather choose.

(I wrote this post fully clothed for once. You never know where the cameras might be.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Why I Can’t Stand to Be Around Some Funny People

Someone once said, “In every group there’s always one guy who’s the the idiot that everyone hates. Look around and if you don’t see that person, you know it’s you.”

Okay, this post has nothing to do with either idiots, group-related properties or even pithy sayings for that matter. I just thought I’d say the above sentence in the beginning itself and get that out of the way. Now to get down to the meat of the matter at hand.

Have you ever noticed how there are some people who are consistently trying to say something humorous? It’s like a disease or something. No matter what the situation is, they’re trying to come up with a wisecrack. I’m talking about the guy who whispers to you at a funeral, “I’m not surprised they aren’t cremating him. Considering where he’s going, why bother?” Or the kind of sky-diving partner, who when he realizes -- midway through the jump -- that you can’t get either your parachute or safety chute open, says, “Hey! That’s what I call jumping to conclusions!” Well, you get the picture.

The other thing about these people is that whenever you say something funny, they’re always trying to top it. You crack a joke, and they’ll contrive to come up with a witty extension to it. Or an even funnier joke. Like it’s a competition of some sort. Because that’s the way they are -- they just HAVE to be funny! All the frickin’ time!

I hate these kind of people. I can really stand to be around them too much. And I’ll tell you why -- it’s because I AM one of them! And when two people from this God-forsaken race meet or are in the same room, it’s usually one crazy never-ending ping-pong game of wisecracks and repartee. Now that may be all fine and merry with the people standing around and watching, but I don’t enjoy it at all. When I say something funny, I’m looking for a little appreciation and a few laughs, not someone trying to jump on it and squish it with an even funnier line, sometimes even before I’m done speaking. Hell! That’s MY job!

For some strange reason, every group usually has one of these people, too. So these days, I’m always looking around. (If you see me suspiciously casting surreptitious glances at you, you now know why that is.) And as long I don’t see anyone fitting the description, I’m one happy camper.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why You REALLY Want to Eat That Thing That Your Doctor Warned You Not To

I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how “everything that is bad for your health always tastes good”. Or conversely, most of the foods that are healthy taste like dog turds sprinkled with dried shrubs. It’s true, of course. But aren’t the reasons quite obvious?

Let’s look at the why a human being might eat something on fairly regular basis:

1. It’s healthy
2. It’s tasty, or
3. It’s both healthy and tasty.

In other words, if something’s both unhealthy and doesn’t taste good, we WOULD NEVER EAT IT! Or to put it in yet another way, unhealthy food that isn’t tasty, is -- well -- not food. So we don’t even stop to consider it in any such argument. For example, arsenic. Terrible for your well-being and tastes worse than spoonful from hell. But that’s exactly why it isn’t food. I’m sure if arsenic tasted good enough, there’d be at least a bunch of people who’d be dying to have a swig at it. (Pun intended.) You’d hear stuff like, “Oh sure, it might kill us -- but what a swell way to go!”

So basically, the more unhealthy an item is, the better it has to taste for humans to have incentive enough to call it food.

Similarly, the more healthy an item is, the less necessary it is for it to taste good. Hence, a lot of health foods taste terrible. It’s all so obvious, I wonder why people still complain!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thinking Win-Win

I’m a big fan of Win-Win situations. Or rather Win-Win outcomes to situations, since the same situation may have multiple outcomes, not all of which are Win-Win.

Now, I’m not referring specifically to monetary Win-Win situations. I’m not really sure if these even exist in the first place, or whether -- quite like energy -- a monetary gain somewhere necessarily implies a monetary loss somewhere else. For example, two people could stumble across a bag of cash on the street, which they then decide to split among themselves. Win-Win. For those two guys, at least. But I suppose it’s a Lose outcome to the person who dropped the bag there in the first place. Of course, the guy who lost the bag may have had some incentive for doing so, and hence ends up winning too. But we shall not bother ourselves with such situations.

What I’m trying to focus on over here are emotional Win-Win situations. Interactions where all parties concerned walk away “feeling happy”. These, of course, are not only quite possible but actually pretty commonplace. I’ve used the vague term “feeling happy”, and since different people have different causes of -- and even definitions for -- “happiness”, it’s not too difficult for many people to all feel happy with their role in the interaction.

I’ll describe one such kind of Win-Win situation, which I’ve sometimes come across. Imagine person A who speaks only English and French and person B who speaks only English and Hindi. Now for normal conversation, the two will use English. Let’s say at one point, A’s a little bit cheesed off about something B’s done. So he swears at him in French. B, obviously, doesn’t get a word A is trying to say. But from A’s tone he realizes that he’s being cursed. So he curses back at A in Hindi. And back and forth for a little while. Finally, they both decide to stop each feeling that he’s got the better of the situation. Win-Win.

Moral:- Next time you’re angry at someone, hurl invectives at the person in a language he or she doesn’t understand.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Pet Snake

I’m not big on the idea of keeping a pet. I believe that if you really want to get a dog or a cat or a monkey or something like that, then you might as well have a kid. Kids only a little more difficult to take care of and you know your dog isn’t going to be able to drive you to the hospital when you’re 63 and feel that heart attack coming. Besides, I think the clincher is that having sex is a lot more fun than a trip down to the pet store.

However, if I HAD to keep a pet, I think I’d keep a snake. I know it isn’t a very conventional choice, but I believe there are certain plus points to it.

To start off with, I’m an attention seeker. I’ll admit it -- I thrive on attention. I’d rather be walking down the street and have thirty people go, “Hey! Who’s that weirdo with the big huge snake around his neck?” than have two people smile and say, “Hey! Nice dog. What’s her name?” That’s just the way I am.

There’s also the fact that snakes don’t really require to be fed that often. An odd rodent every few weeks should do the trick. You won’t have to ruin your two-week holiday to the beach because you’re worried sick about whether your neighbor is feeding that hamster of yours or not. With a snake, you just leave him in a big box and wake him up when you get back.

Of course, there are advantages like the numerous opportunities for dirty puns that become available once you get a snake into the picture. For example, the next time I ask a girl whether she’d like to “play with my snake”, I actually wouldn’t be talking in metaphor. I guess a pet monkey would be cool for the same reason.

You can’t teach a snake to fetch the newspaper every morning, I’ll admit. But you can’t teach your dog how to fetch that pesky pen that’s fallen between your desk and the wall. With a snake, retrieving that pen is a cinch.

All this reminds me of the time when I’d caught a snake outside a friend’s house one evening some months ago. I brought it home in a cloth bag he gave me and left it next to my bed. That night, before going to sleep, I moved the bag and found it to be a little too light for my liking. So I felt it from the outside, and sure enough, it was empty! Now, 3.00 a.m. in the morning isn’t the best time to go looking for a missing snake in your apartment, and I was too tired to do the same anyway.

So I went to sleep, leaving the snake to cozy up wherever it had escaped to. The next morning I woke up and opened the bag. I found only the snake’s skin inside. (It had been shedding when I caught it.) I also found a small hole in the corner of the bag, where the stitching had opened out slightly. The snake had used the few open stitches to force its way out of the bag, increasing the hole in the process and leaving it’s skin behind. There I was with bag, skin and no snake -- looking quite foolish.

To end the story though, I finally found the snake in my parent’s bedroom, curled up behind one of the cupboards. Quite a fun time, all in all.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Why I Really Like My Job

I often try to imagine what the Best Job in the World (BJITW) must be like. Okay, you can’t choose something like lying on a sunny beach all day, with scantily clad, bronze-colored ladies flitting around you, getting you drinks and pleasuring you in ways you didn’t imagine were possible. That’s NOT a job! What I’m looking for is something that is both:

1. Sufficiently feasible to actually exist, and
2. Pays you money for it.

The above described scenario misses out on both points, and so fails to qualify.

I have a desk-job myself. I’m pretty sure the BJITW can’t be a desk job. A desk job is rarely very interesting, and I’d have to think “interesting” plays a crucial role in picking any possible contender for the BJITW crown. But let’s take a little timeout to imagine what the best desk-job in the world would be like. (Or in other words, I’ll just describe an average day at the office for me!)

Here’s what it looks like:

11.00 am - Get to the office.
11.15 am - Check mail.
11.45 am - Get coffee with cute chick from neighboring cubicle. (Flirt shamelessly while doing so.)
12.15 pm - Tidy up desk a little.
12.45 pm - Call an early, extended lunch. (If possible, find another chick and flirt some more.)
2.00 pm - Sit through a couple of meetings while pretending to be awake. (Sleep will come easy thanks to the excess carbohydrates consumed during lunch.)
4.00 pm - Break for tea. (Yes, you get it by now -- more flirting.)
4.30 pm - Start deciding what work is to be done today.
5.30 pm - Decide it’s too late to start now.
5.45 pm - Check mail.
6.00 pm - Leave.

I have to think this is a pretty good deal. I know for sure that the above job exists and you get paid for it. You’ll notice, I could have suggested carrying a pillow and blanket in for the meetings or shortening the working hours a little bit. But I know that’s crossing over the line, and the job will no longer satisfy the two necessary conditions to qualify as a “job”.

What’s your job like? And what do you think the BJITW is?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bad Fashion in the Name of Religion

When you normally see some with a bad haircut, your first thought normally is, “What joke can I make here?” At least that’s always MY first thought. Especially if I see someone with a clean-shaven head. Needless to say, the number of wisecracks possible in such a scenario are almost limitless. Off late, though, I’ve decided to rope myself in a little bit in such situations.

The reason for this is that more often than not -- in this country, at least -- the reasons for the “no hair” look are seldom funny. For example, it’s common among Hindus for male members to shave their heads clean when someone in the family passes away. You can easily see how making a smart ass comment like “I’m sorry, the Hare Krishna Convention is at the other end of town” is not likely to draw too many laughs in such a case. The last time I tried it the guy began to cry. I tried to console by telling him that this isn’t Bombay and over here the trip across town only takes about 20 minutes, but that only brought out more tears.

The other occasion that calls for one to go Full Monty on one’s scalp is a visit to several Hindu temples, especially the important ones in South India. Again, not exactly a situation that’s very conducive to leg-pulling. Poor guy’s gone through a long, sweaty, day-and-a-half journey across the dusty plains of the country, to some temple in the South, in a rumbling, noisy train. He’s stood in a long, serpentine line for what must have been a few hours but seemed like a few weeks, eaten the terrible vegetarian food available over there [1], performed his excretal routines in the open, or even worse in a shit-filled public washroom, and all for a mere two-and-a-half second glimpse of the “idol” or whatever he’s gone to worship. And he’s gotten rid of all his hair. The last thing he wants is to be laughed at. It’s a sure-fire way to get a fat lip if you try it. Trust me, I have. Hence no more jokes about such people.

And then there are Muslims and their funny beards. Okay, I know it’s politically incorrect and all that in today’s world to say such a thing, but let’s face it -- a beard without the mustache looks quite RIDICULOUS! You’re not Amish or something for Chrissakes! What the fug’s the deal behind the “I’ll grow a beard but I’ll shave my mustache” ideology? Too much trouble to do the entire thing? Skip the mustache as well then, I say. Or wait, maybe this a will of Allah. Who am I to argue with that? My only rant is that I can’t make jokes about such things. Sheesh!

[1] - I know there exists such a concept as GOOD vegetarian food and that food need not be terrible just because it’s vegetarian, but I also know that such food doesn’t exist at such temples.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beauty Tax

I believe beautiful people should pay more tax. In this world, “being beautiful” equals “potential money making opportunities” and I don’t think this is fair to the -- ummm -- “physically” challenged souls of this Earth.

I’m not saying that ugly people don’t, or can’t, make it big in this world. I’m just saying they have to try much harder. A girl who’s exceedingly beautiful is likely to be guaranteed a good life even with very little effort put in on her part. If she tries a little, she could probably end up really rich and famous. If she works really hard, she might even become queen of her own kingdom with her own personal poop-picker. It’s a lot harder for someone with a misshapen nose to achieve all this.

How many beautiful people do you see asking for alms on the streets? Okay, it’s hard to look really “hot” when you don’t have money to spend on cosmetics or afternoons in the salon, but I’m sure you can’t hide natural beauty. Take an actress and make her live on the street for a while and something tells me she’ll still be significantly more beautiful that the people around her.

Of course, in order to tax people, one would have to come up with a metric for measuring one’s beauty. Here’s what I propose. Have each person go up to 100 random people of the opposite sex and ask for charity. It’s a known fact that people are more likely to donate money if the person asking for it is good-looking. According to the amount of money collected, one’s taxes can be measured.

That’s my Stupid Law For The Day (SLFTD).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Not Just a Name, I Want Vital Stats

The major difference in the way guys and girls listen to any piece of news or story that they hear is that it’s crucial for the guys to know how “hot” any females mentioned in the story are. Guys view stories concerning females in very different ways depending on their hotness. For example, if Tom hears about a beautiful 18-year-old girl, who was killed when she drove her car off a cliff while under the influence, he’s thinking, “Oh, what an unfortunate tragedy that is!” However, if Tom hears about a fat, not-good-looking 18-year-old girl, who was killed when she drove her car off a cliff while under the influence, he’s thinking, “Yay! We’re safer on the streets with one less drunken maniac around!”

The other day my friend Samantha says to me, “Okay, there’s this girl Jennifer in my class whose brother...”

“Wait a minute,” I interrupt. “How hot is she?”

Now you’re probably wondering what in the world that had to do with the story. That is, if you’re a girl. If you’re a guy, you’re probably wondering how hot Samantha is, in addition to how Jennifer is. Go on. Admit it.

Actually, the problem mainly arises when it’s a girl telling the story. If a guy is narrating, then he’s already aware of what his male audience wants, so he carefully describes each female character involved. “So Julie, who’s okay looking but with a great ass, told Alexis, who’s H-O-T, that...” You get the picture, literally.

When a girl is narrating -- to pun a little -- it’s a different story altogether. Guys get really irritated when there isn’t enough information about the physical qualities of all the females whose names are mentioned. Most guys would be far more satisfied individuals if telling a story involving girls had to mandatorily be accompanied with a picture of each girl involved to display alongside. This way the guy can easily decide whether the protagonists involved are hot enough to merit his attention or whether he ought to pretend to pay attention while thinking about the girl he saw on the subway that morning.

To make matters even more complicated for men, some names just sound “hot”. And some don’t. For example, when I hear a story about a Rachel, I’m thinking, “Nice body, good face, overall quite good.” But when I hear Olga, I imagine an obese middle-aged woman with a dirty apron and a round face. Not very attention-grabbing. Of course, it’s quite possible that Olga’s actually good looking. Which is why, I repeat, it’s so important for everyone telling a story to mention how hot (or not) the characters are! Always!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Call Names

We have at the place I work the concept of a “call name”. Simply put, it’s the name you use to call someone you’re meeting for the first time. It’s visible on your ID badge and so it saves a lot of awkward situations involving having to address someone new whom you meet. For most people, their call name is the same as their first name. (For example, mine’s “Arnold”.) However, it could be just about anything you want it to be. I really like the thought of this.

I’d like to change mine to something like Dumee. So that’s the first thing any girl coming up to me will say.

Girl: Hi, Dumee!
Me: Sure, my place or yours?

Or I could make it Youlookcutetonight-Ithinkiminlovewithyourtushy. But I think that’s a little too obvious. And I’m not really sure hypens are allowed.

Elevator People I Hate

Laziness is omnipresent, and in ubiquitous quantities. I think one the most evident proofs of the inherent nature of human laziness is the number of people who use an elevator to travel a single floor. Personally, I think this is nothing short of criminal. I’d like to propose a law that makes this a punishable offence. And double the sentence if the person is traveling down instead of up!

Okay, I can understand if you’re like 80 years old or missing a foot or something like that. But I CANNOT understand why an able-bodied young person would insist on taking the elevator to travel a single floor. Or even two floors. Learn to climb, people. Learn to climb!

You might wonder why I would rant about someone else’s laziness. It’s simple really. Their laziness is costing other people time. For example, assuming that the elevator wasn’t supposed to stop at either of the floors that our lazy friend gets in and out at, then we’ve made two extra stops for him. That’s a good few seconds wasted there. Multiply that into the number of people in the elevator and you’ve basically just managed to waste a few collective minutes. More than the actual amount of time wasted though, it’s the sheer annoyance of making unnecessary stops that gets my goat. There’s little that I cherish more than an uninterrupted elevator ride.

What makes the issue even more absurd is that most of the time taking the stairs is actually faster when it comes to traveling only a couple of floors! So you’re not only wasting my time, you’re wasting your own! (Not that I really care about you, you lazy obese imbecile!)

I swear, the next time at work someone rides the elevator I’m in for just a single floor, I’m sawing his head off! And then hanging it on the elevator wall as a reminder to others! Pah!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why I Am a Kloon

I think inventing new words should be an Olympic sport. It's a really fun thing to do if you're bored. I do it all the time. I believe words are the one thing that you can never have too much of. (Credit and Alicia Silverstone are the other two.) In fact, I've even coined a new word for this very activity -- "choogling". (No connection with "googling".)

Choogle, v : To invent a new word or term or give a new meaning to a word or term that already exists.

As mentioned in the definition above, there are two forms of choogling. You can either create a completely new word of your own, as "choogle" itself is a good example of, or you can use a word that already exists in the language, but giving it a new meaning. For example, I could tell you to sod off by saying, "Iron the dog!"

My new ambition in life is for someone studying the etymology of a term three centuries from now, to trace it back to a certain Arnold D'Souza who first used it sometime in the early 21st century. (Let's call people with stupid ambitions "kloons".)

One of the reasons why I like making up new words is because I suffer from a rather insufficiently stocked vocabulary. I'm often thinking about a situation or a concept and I just won't be able to think of a word to describe it. Now I can just choogle my way out of such situations. (I call people with insufficiently stocked vocabularies "bums".)

Of course this doesn't always help me practically. I often find myself in conversations that go something like the following:

Me: Say, you know that thing? The -- ummm -- wishet? Did you, ummm, flumengate the wishet?
Kim: Ummm... Come again?
Me: The wishet! I keegled Tom and told him to woozle you about it. Ummm.. at least I think I did.
Kim: Ummm... What the dickens are you talking about?
Me: (In frustration) Iron the dog!

I'll call conversations with an inordinately large count of "ummm"s in them "boopers". As you can see the above booper got us nowhere, except that Kim's dog probably had a wrinkleless fur coat the next day. Boopers are not good.

You may also have noticed that a lot of my terms contain a double "o" in them. I've grown partial to the double "o" construct. I leave it to you to create a term to describe such words.

What new words of your own have you come up with?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wanted: Ugly Actors

I wonder how the audition process for really shitty roles on TV or in the movies are. Let’s say I’m making a movie and I want a really fat, ugly girl with a misshaped nose and two facial warts for a particular role in it. What do I do? Do I put out a “Wanted” ad for it? Would someone actually stand up and say, “Hey! I’m a fat, ugly girl with a misshaped nose and two facial warts!” I’m thinking the LAST thing anyone who fits the above description needs to be reminded of is their physical hideousness.

Other such roles would include the “before” model in advertisements for cosmetic and hair products. Why would any self-respecting person apply for a role that says “we’re looking for someone with hair that looks like that of a rag doll that’s been giving an electric shock”? Seriously, where do they get their actors from?

Maybe all actors actually look like Greek Gods -- and they just use the magic of makeup to look bad if they have to. So your overweight buddy, who claims to eat only Subway sandwiches and lose 120 pounds, actually has washboard abs all the time, but wears a “fat suit” and facial makeup for the chubby scenes. This worries me even more. Not only do the good guys get the good roles, but they also get the bad ones! How is a poor 386-pound loser ever going to make a living?

Even though you can’t really put a price on an untattered dignity, I’d tend to believe getting paid a few thousand dollars to have the self-respect kicked the shit out of you has got to suck less than not getting any money at all.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

If You Had To Whom Would You Choose?

Everyone's always fantasizing about people belonging to the sex they actually prefer to get jiggy with it with. For me, that would mean females. However, it would be interesting to know who's on the top of your list of people from the "other" sex. Here are five guys I wouldn't mind crossing the fence for:

1. Jim Morrison [if he were alive and still young]
2. Colin Farrell
3. Prince Harry [yes, the younger brother and not the older one]
4. Paul McCartney [from a couple of decades ago]
5. Roger Federer [had to throw a nice guy in there somewhere, just to be fair]
5. Criss Angel

Who are your five?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Business That Doesn’t Sell

Yesterday, I came across an advertisement painted on a wall that read (and I kid you not about this):

Tender Touch Children’s Hospital
Phone no.: _________

Now, I’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason I think there’s something funny about the name. Okay, fine I’ll admit it. I do know why -- it reeks of pedophilia! I can’t imagine how the brain behind this “hospital” came up with such a terrible name for his little “child molesting center”. He might as well have just said, “Hey! We’d like to fiddle about with your precious children and then send you a bill for it!”

I’d also be interested in meeting some of the clientele of this place. I believe I could sell the non-functional piece of cardboard, that I bought off the Internet for $500, to them at a handsome profit. My motto is -- “If you meet stupid people, make some money off it.” (The person who sold me that piece of cardboard on E-Bay had a similar motto, I presume.)

What other inappropriate names can you think of for businesses? Off the top of my head, here are some that I came up with:

1. Laugh It Off -- Funeral Home
2. Ave Satanus -- Catholic Goods Store
3. Big Paunch -- Beer
4. Ugly Figures -- Clothes for Women
5. Coke Rocks -- Rehab Center for Drug Addicts

What can you think of?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Checking for Idiots

According to me, the “half-check” is the most efficient way of wasting time and manpower. I’m referring to the security check at offices at other such places where the guard asks you to open your bag, then throws a cursory glance at the contents and waves you on. It happens to me all the time. I’m yet to understand what this achieves.

Okay, I agree it stops me from trying to sneak in the following items in my bag:

1. A sub-machine gun.
2. An elephant.
3. The Indian Cricket Team.
4. The Empire State Building.

Cursory as those glances may be, I feel certain that they would be able to detect any of the above, or other things of similar size. But I also feel equally certain that no one who intends to cause trouble or steal information is likely to do it using the above items. For example, I can easily sneak in a memory stick or a small pistol. If a “check” isn’t going to check for the more likely causes of trouble, then what’s the point of the check at all?

I remember an incident, which occurred at Mood Indigo at IIT, Powai, last year. At the rock show on the last night, there was a long line at the entrance, since people were being stopped and frisked at the gate. Among other things, they were looking for people carrying weed into the arena. (Yes, doesn’t make sense, but that’s how it was.) Just as we reach the point of the checking, the guy with me says, “Dude, they’re going to stop and frisk you for sure! You look totally stoned!”

As luck would have it, the guys at the desk probably heard this. Sure enough, they stopped me for a thorough frisking, molestation, cupping, call it what you may. Then after that, two guys stepped up to test my breath. Now, I’m fine with a breath test when proper methods are employed. And I don’t file “put your mouth to mine and sniff” under “proper methods”. Ultimately, I think I got more kissing and fondling action from those two guys that night, than I’d gotten from girls in the entire year before that. I wasn’t happy.

My point? In all the mishmash, the waist pouch around my waist wasn’t even noticed, let alone opened. And if I was carrying weed into the damned place, that’s WHERE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN! I find it hard to believe that there was an agenda to the exercise other than providing a little fun for a couple of happy and gay gate volunteers.

All this nonsense is like a American Visa application form that has a question saying:

23. Are you a terrorist? Yes No
(Don’t lie. We hate terrorists, but we REALLY hate lying terrorists!)

We are not amused.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Did We Just Lose Ourselves A Planet?

Yesterday I heard that the “Planet” has been pulled out of Pluto. I’m wondering if this is the first time that’s ever happened? Has there ever been a time in history when a group of scientists, astronomers, monkeys, whatever, got together and one of them said, “Hey, I’m not sure I like the idea of Mars being a planet. My 6-year-old son keeps asking me why there’s a big candy bar floating about in space and more importantly, where can he get himself a ticket to go there? Let’s just declare Mars to be an asteroid instead. No one knows the names of the asteroids.”

Maybe at some other time, religious clerics [and these guys were big in the Middle Ages] decided to demote Venus because it sounded uncomfortably similar to a certain male body part. I’m sure such Planet Disposal Meetings must have been a lot of fun:

Monkey 1 (M1): I think we should get rid of something today.
Monkey 2 (M2): What?
M1: Uranus.
M2: No way! My ass remains just where it is.
M1: Venus then?
M2: Huh? I need that too, for removal of bodily waste fluids and procreative activities.

I’m interested in things that affect me in some way or the other. I think this is a natural tendency. For example, if I heard that the government has decided to grant $1000 a month to everyone whose name and surname have the same number of letters in them, then I’d be mighty interested. But I’m not sure how Pluto’s being a planet or not is going to affect 99% of the Earth’s population. Let’s look at those who might possibly be affected:

1. Someone who’s booked a ticket to Planet Pluto for 2030. He’d obviously be disappointed about Pluto’s demotion, since what initially promised to be a cool trip to the farthermost planet is now just a REALLY expensive ride to some rock in space.

2. Astrologers. I’m sure this episode must have affected astrology in some way. If you stop to think about it, then it really shouldn’t -- a solid body floating about in space has the same effect [which might well be zero] on people on Earth, whether one refers to it as a “planet” or not. However, the term “thinking astrologer” is an oxymoron.

How do these people decide when they want to bump off a planet? I’m sure there must be a reason more sophisticated than “after three-quarters of a century we’ve realized this thing’s a little too small for the term”. I’m sure the lower size limit for planetary status can’t have suddenly changed overnight. And if it did, I’m worried that the trend might continue. Mercury will go next, and the Earth’s fourth in line. After that we’ll all be living on a mere rock in the middle of space. NOW I’m truly concerned.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Say Cheese!

As a kid I hated appearing in photographs. My dislike for photographs extended to all occasions, from family functions and gatherings to vacations. The reason for this dislike was one part shyness, one part “who-the-hell-is-going-to-care-about-that-picture-anyway?” and eight parts of NOT BEING PHOTOGENIC! I have to admit, I’d probably rank as one of the most unphotogenic people on Earth. The Yeti lurking in the mysterious heights of the Himalayas is more photogenic than I am. In fact, I have a picture of mine taken in the snow in Sikkim where that’s exactly what I’m mistaken for -- the abominable snowman!

Of course, this aversion for being in front of the lens meant that I invariably ended up behind it. If you have a group of people, all of whom save for one want to come in the picture, then it makes sense to have the odd one out click it. Initially, I thought this was the best possible deal -- at least I didn’t have to be in the snap. (If, nay when, I become famous and the press starts looking for photos from my childhood, they’re going to have their job cut out for them!) However, I soon ran into new troubles.

I think it would be appropriate at this point to let out a little secret of mine -- for a guy, I’m terribly bad when it comes to working gadgets. Learning how to master the TV remote took me two weeks, and it was over a month before I stopped putting wet clothes in the microwave to dry them. Now, even though cameras ten years ago were much simpler than they are today -- there was basically just one button that you pressed to click a picture -- it took me a while to get the art right. Plenty of mucked up photos later -- blurred, fuzzy, missing heads, thumbs in the way, etc -- I was finally able to produce pictures that didn’t cause my parents to want to strangle me when they were developed.

At about the same time that I was getting real nifty with my photography skills, I also realized something else. Taking a photograph is slightly more work than sitting for one. If there’s one quality that reigns supreme throughout my being, it’s my laziness! So what if I wasn’t photogenic? Was all that work clicking photos worth the trouble of avoiding looking like a doofus in the family albums? Nah uh.

So I switched roles again. I started coming in all the photos once more. My strategy now was to sandwich myself between the best-looking girl in the picture and the best-looking guy. This way, I figure, no one will actually end up observing me. I’ll also often, as a backup plan, stick my tongue out and close my eyes. So if anyone sees the picture and laughs, “Hey, look at this idiot here!”, I can always blame it on the incompetence of the photographer for clicking it at a time when I wasn’t quite ready.

I’ll conclude with a little anecdote from my recent trip to the South. We were at the beach at Mangalore -- with me flaunting that six-pack I’ve worked so hard for -- when a man comes up to us with a camera and says to me, “Excuse me, could you do me a favor, please?” He also simultaneously points to his camera.

“Sure,” I reply. “Where would you like me to pose for you?” I’m thinking this guy’s got the early sniff on my future fame and celebrity.

“Ummm... No. I meant could you please click a picture of me with the sea in the background?”

I incoherently mutter a phrase that rhymes with ‘clucking bell’. “Sure, of course.”

By the time you read this, he’s probably looking at a VERY up close picture of my thumb with the sun somewhere in the background.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Inane Conversations -- I

“Good evening, Pizza Express.”
“Hello, I’d like to order a pizza, please.”
“That’s funny, sir, because I was really hoping you were calling to ask me out.”
“Ah, a funny one. You’ve just cut your delivery boy’s tip in half.”
“What kind of pizza would you like, sir?”
“The twelve-inch pepperoni.”
“Would you like me to cut that into eight pieces or twelve?”
“Eight would be good. I don’t think I can eat twelve pieces.”
Why is HE allowed to be a wise guy? Or is he just that stupid? Too bad I’M not doing any tipping here. “Very good, sir. Would you like anything else with that?”
“No, thank you.”
“Could you please tell me your address?”
“D-23, Babboo Billimora Apartments.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but I’ve never heard of that place before. Could you please give me the directions?”
“Do you know the Bijou movie hall?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Good. Now if you go straight down the road opposite Bijou for about 500 meters, you come to Gandhi corner.”
“Yes, sir. I know the corner.”
“Take a left turn at the corner and keep going for about five minutes.”
“Okay, sir.”
“You’ll see a sign saying Panacea Terraces.”
“Right, sir.”
“There’s a lane exactly opposite the sign. Keep going down that lane. It meets Sagoo Street.”
“Yes, sir, I know that.”
“Take a right at Sagoo Street.”
“After about a 100 meters, you’ll come to a big sign saying Sunshine Enclave.”
“Yes, sir. I know where Sunshine Enclave is.”
“The apartment complex immediately after Sunshine Enclave on the same side of the street is Babboo Billimora Apartments.”
“Oh, you mean BB Society? I knew where that is from the beginning.”
“Yes, it is sometimes called that.”

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My Band

If I’ve ever had anything that could be described as an “ambition”, it would be to start my own rock band. I plan to do this in a few years. I’m currently in Step One of my endeavor -- the “Long Hair”.

The problem with me is that every few months, in a moment of insanity, that I am unable to account for later, I have a haircut. The bigger problem is that on these occasions when razor meets hair, I tend to go all out. This means coming out of the hairdressers with little more than stubble on my head. This is then followed by months of regrowth, and then another moment of insanity to be regretted later. This time I’m determined -- no cutting of hair.

After a few months, when my hair is suitably on its way to rock stardom, I’ll move quietly on to Step Two -- the “Tattoo”. This is where I get myself tattooed, in case you’re wondering. It’s hard to settle on exactly what all I want tattooed, but I believe it will be my back and both my arms. I’m guessing this phase will take another few months.

Step Three -- the “Addiction”. After I’m all tattooed up, I’m going to have to pick a real addiction -- cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, sex, cocaine etc. The choices are plenty. I’ve always maintained that a rock star without an addiction is like a soda without the fizz. I’m currently addicted to my computer. That has got to change if I want to avoid getting my rock star ass laughed at. I look forward to this stage very much.

Step Four -- the “Band Name”. What good is a band if it doesn’t have a cool name? I’m really going to have to rack my brains to come up with something that’s both good and hasn’t already been taken. Knowing how lackadaisical I am when it comes to mental effort, this might take longer than expected. However, I shall not rest until I have the perfect band name.

After all this is done, all that will remain are the small matters of learning how to play some instrument and then finding the remaining members of the band. I reckon I should be done in about forty-three years.

Some people might think that a suckily-named, functional band whose members are vice-free, have short hair and clean skin, is better than a weed-smoking idiot with long hair and tattoos, sitting alone and racking his brain for the perfect name. I am not some people.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why I Avoid Girls Carrying Rakhis

Today is “Raksha Bandhan”, an Indian holiday on which girls tie a “Rakhi” -- which is basically a colorful, ornamental ribbon -- around the wrists of their brothers, in return for some token gifts and sweets. This is the extent of my knowledge regarding the significance of the holiday, something I am not entirely ashamed of.

Over the years, the meaning of “brother” with respect to the holiday has loosened to the point where now girls basically tie a Rakhi not just on male siblings but also on casual male friends, male cousins, male colleagues etc. I suppose, the female thinking is “the more [gifts], the merrier”. Of course, “fraternalizing” your relationship with a guy via the expedient of tying a Rakhi, implies that you view him as you would a brother. In other words, it is a clear signal that you do NOT want to get into bed with him.

This last point is significant because I have a dirty feeling girls make [too] good use of it. Imagine you’re a girl and there’s a guy in your class who has been subtly suggesting that you two get jiggy with it. Let us also assume that you are not interested in getting involved with him. Now, avoidance and ignoring from the female party are almost considered by men, in India, to be signs of consent. Hence, under normal circumstances you would have to tell the young Romeo pointedly that you “ARE NOT INTERESTED IN HIM”. This might have to be backed up by a strapping six-and-a-half foot bloke behind you, who looks decent enough to be your boyfriend and at the same time menacing enough to break the infatuated lover’s neck in the event he pushed this thing further.

However, if Raksha Bandhan happens to be around the corner, you can save the day by simply tying a Rakhi around his wrist. This is telling him that you really like him, but only as you would a brother. Bam! In one fell swoop, you’ve negated the threat of a possible romance AND got yourself a free gift. Some people call this “killing two birds with one Rakhi”.

For the same reason, I stay well clear of girls who are carrying Rakhis in their hands.

Sometimes on this day you’ll come across guys sporting a good 8-10 Rakhis on their wrists. Here are the possible reasons:

1. His uncle owns a Rakhi store.
2. His parents skipped “Family Control” class.
3. He has really ugly wrists, and relishes this once-a-year golden opportunity to hide them.
4. He’s been hitting on many girls who do not like him.

Whenever I see such guys, I wonder which class they fit into. While keeping one eye out for Rakhi-wielding girls, of course.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Some New "Days"

Today, as I found out rather late, was supposed to be Friendship Day -- a concept that's about as lame as a very lame man. Normally, I would laugh when I came to know of this -- lameness, like stupidity, amuses me. But this time I chose to think. It seems like almost anything can be turned into a "Day".

Here are five Days that I wait eagerly for:

27th November
"Screw Your Neighbor" Day -- Everyone gets to choose one neighbor they like and then gets to sleep with the person they pick. Of course, if more than one of your neighbors pick you as their choice, you have to sleep with all of them. This Day provides a much-needed boost to the contraceptive industry. I also believe that this Day will allow more people to celebrate World AIDS Day later on in the week (1st December).

3rd December
"Kill One Person" Day -- Everyone on the planet votes for one person they most wish to have quietly put to sleep. The person with the most votes at the end of the Day is given the lethal injection treatment. Somehow I feel the U.S. will have to look for a new bloke to fill the White House bathtub after this day every year. It may also be called "Improve Your Planet" Day for euphemistic reasons.

14th July
"Topless" Day -- Everyone, men and women, must go about doing all their daily activities without any form of apparel covering them from waist-up. (Sorry, I know most of you already get the complicated concept of "toplessness" but I felt it was my job to clarify it once again.) This day has carefully been chosen to fall in the middle of summer. People living below the equator -- iron the dog.

12th January
"Virgins" Day -- All virgins go about wearing bright pink on this Day. The objective is that virgins can spot fellow virgins and help each other out so that they don't have to celebrate this Day again the next year. It gets really interesting when you take into consideration that non-virgins can use this Day to get free sex at the price (or rather, shame) of pretending to be virgins and having to dress in pink. Yes, this truly is a Day for everyone.

5th May
"Text Message" Day -- If there's one thing I know about the kind of people who celebrate such Days, it's that they send a lot of text messages. I believe this Day would really be fun.

What particular Day would you like to see come into existence?


In my previous post, when I spoke about how there seems to be more girls in relationships than guys, I forgot to mention one possible cause -- lesbianism.

Prima facie this would be a very logical conclusion. If you have a set with roughly equal number men and women and you work on the assumption that relationships are one-one relations, then when you find there are more girls involved in relationships than guys, the conclusion seems obvious. Girls are getting jiggy with it with each other more than guys are among themselves.

Lesbians, if you ask me, are God's gift to men. Think about where the pornography industry would be without them. I shudder at the thought. Most guys aren't too enthusiastic about the prospect of seeing another man disrobe and flaunt his six-pack and other goods. Enter lesbianism. What you end up with is an industry that caters almost exclusively to the male species and its biggest attraction involves two [or more] women.

A friend of mine once disagreed with my line of thinking about lesbians and divine gifts. He claims he sees every lesbian as a lost opportunity for him. According to me, this means that he's either already slept with almost every good-looking heterosexual or bisexual female around or has plans to do so in the near future. Only then, I would think, would one really need to worry about "losing opportunities" and such like.

I, obviously, face no such problems. Sometimes, just sometimes, I believe this is a good thing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Single Guys, Committed Girls

Careful observation of my surroundings, and online social networking portals like Orkut, has lead me to believe that there is a much larger percentage of girls in relationships than guys. Or at least that's what they'll have you believe. There seem to be way more girls on Orkut whose profiles display a "committed" status than guys, whose profiles typically show "single". One important reason for this, I suppose, is that girls [normally] wish to decrease the amount of unwanted attention they receive from unknown guys on such sites, while guys tend wish for the opposite. So I assume a fair number of these "committed" girls are actually single.

However, this doesn't explain everything. Looking around at my friends and the people I know, I still see disparity in the numbers. A larger percentage of committed girls than guys. How does this come about?

I studied for four years in an engineering college; a milieu where guys abound in plenty and the good-looking chick is rarer than a celibate rock star. Even a half-decent girl would have a bevy of village idiots drooling behind her, ever ready to get into a "pseudo" relationship with her.[1] Guys had to either own a Porsche or have a big snake with them to command a similar level of attention. In such an environment, it was only natural that most of my male colleagues were single and most of my female ones weren't.

However, even when I look beyond my college, and at guys and girls in general, there just seem to be more single guys than girls. What could the possible reasons be?

1. Unequal Sex Ratio:
Let's start with the obvious -- there are more guys than girls. This is, undoubtedly, true. The sex ratio in this country is skewed, and in this case, the majority -- the boys -- lose. But this cannot explain everything. The national sex ratio is about 950:1000 (girls:guys). I suppose in a city like Poona, it must be slightly more than that. In any case, that means there are only 5% more guys than girls. In other words for every 20 guy-girl relationship couples, we should have roughly 1 single guy left out. The situation is more acute than this.

2. Male Polygamy:
All men, let's face it, believe that monogamy is a very cruel rule. It wouldn't surprise me to know that the same guy is "committed" to 2-3 different females. Of course, it is exactly such sexual avarice on their part leaves other less gifted guys wallowing in the pitiful depth of singledom, where their only solace comes from that digited appendage at the end of their arm. But I doubt this troubles these "studs" too much.

3. Girls Lie:
Just as they fib about their relationship status online to avoid undesired proposals for "friendship" from the opposite sex, I feel sure some girls "claim" to be in a relationship in real life too, for similar reasons. Such girls state they are in a relationship with some vague guy whom no one has heard of -- often he's allegedly in another country at the time -- and no one ever gets to lay their eyes on. They then quickly steer the conversation away from their social lives.

What do you think the reasons for this gender disparity are?

[1] - "Pseudo" relationships are relationships where both the guy and the girl publicly claim to be "going around" with each other in order to improve their standing in the society which looks upon single people with scorn. The relationship, other than this, is non-existent.

[PS: In a bold step that draws much criticism from people against it, I shall be replying to comments once again from this post onward. Of course, the fact that readers have almost stopped commenting on (or is it reading?) this blog means that this change is slightly redundant. Nevertheless, I am proud to announce it.]

Saturday, July 29, 2006

My Wedding

I have been thinking a bit about my wedding lately. Until a couple of weeks ago, I would have been content if the biggest decision I had to make regarding my wedding night is whether I wear boxers or briefs for the big night. But recently, I've decided that since it's pretty much going to be the last day in my life where I get to make any [significant] decisions, I might as well make it count for all I can. So here goes.

My wedding is definitely taking place on a beach. No, I don't just mean "at a seaside resort". I mean on the beach. The reception dinner shall be on the sand. Apart from the fact that I like beaches and I think a beach is the best place to have a party, here are some of the other side benefits of having my wedding on a beach:

a. Guests will be expected to come in beachwear. This is extremely important since I hate formal clothing. I believe an invitation that reads, "The reception shall be held on the sands of ____ Beach. Please dress accordingly." is slightly less uncouth than one reading, "Formal attire shall not be tolerated at this wedding. No exceptions shall be considered under any circumstances!"

b. The chances of my having to indulge in any dance other than maybe the limbo are quite slim indeed. The rough sands hardly make for good jiving or ballroom dancing. Even slow dancing is more of a bother than it is worth. Hence it is unlikely that I will have to prove to the world on my wedding day that I can't dance to save my life. You can't put a price on this saving grace.

There aren't going to be any religious formalities for my wedding. I don't want any of those vows -- "Do you, Arnold, take ____ to be your lawfully wedded wife in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, until death do you apart?" I've seen enough marriages to know that, after a few years, when the shit hits the fan and the divorce papers are out, these vows don't count for diddly squat. So why waste one's time with them then? I, sure as hell, am not going to.

My wedding date shall be set to clash with a major sporting final of a popular sport that I am not too interested in. This way I'll ensure that only the people who actually care about my wedding are present. I'll also avoid spending half the night staring blankly at strangers as they congratulate me on my good fortune.

I know all these things might not go down very well with my wife-to-be. However, I have thought about that too. I shall, at the time of proposing to her itself, let her know of all the details I have in mind. I'd hate to have to ruin her wedding day with a rude shock. The tears might not look good in the wedding photographs. This is how my proposal might turn out to be:

Me: (Down on one knee, ring in one hand and long list of points in the other) You know, honey, that you're the most important person in the world for me and that I can't imagine spending the rest of my life without you by my side.

She: (Blushing) Oh, you're so sweet!

Me: Yeah, so will you marry me?

She: Of course. I'd love nothing better than that.

Me: (Shoving long list under her face) Sign this first!

In case we aren't able to reach a compromise amicably by ourselves, our lawyers will step in. Yes, I have thought it all the way through.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Birthday Troubles

It seems to be rather in vogue these days to wish people for their birthdays at midnight. Some friends like to take things even further and arrive at the home of the "unsuspecting" birthday boy or girl with a cake at precisely 12 o'clock. Needless to say, I don't understand the reasons behind any of the above.

Personally, I'm not much for birthdays. Okay, so you're "turning a year older" -- what's so special about that again? I don't get it. Still, since most people would like to appropriate one day in the year to call their own, and maybe do something special on that day, I suppose tradition has seen to it that we use the day we were born on for that purpose. This much I can understand.

Now what's with the fascination of wishing at midnight? I have to say, I'd be extremely annoyed if someone woke me up at midnight just to convey their birthday wishes. Why midnight? I wasn't born at midnight. If anything I "turn the year" at the time that I was born -- which for me is sometime around 9.45pm. If you want to call me, wait for about 21 more hours and then call me at 9.45 the following night. It makes slightly -- but only slightly -- more sense.

If the exact day or date on which you were born mattered at all, then I'd expect everyone born on a February 29th in a leap year to lead extremely unsuccessful and unhappy lives and grow up four times as slowly as the rest of the population. But that doesn't happen, does it?

So if your birthday doesn't matter, why make a big fuss about it all? My birthday is exactly like any other day of the year. In fact, if it weren't for having to write it while filling in forms, I'd have long forgotten which day of the year I was born on.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Story of My Life

Laziness has ruled the 21 years that I've walked on this planet. I've just returned from a rock concert and I think I can sum up the story of my life by the following two lines:

Most people go to a live concert and are inspired to pick up some instrument. I go to a concert and the most I'm inspired to do is grow my hair.

Seriously, I need to wipe the dust off the guitar that is lying in my room.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Back in Town

This self-satistfied blogger has returned back home after an excellent two-week-long vacation in South India. Regular programming shall now resume. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Do You Know What Your Shirt Says?

A lot of people I know wear T-shirts with Chinese symbols on them. I don't. I'm too scared to wear T-shirts that contain stuff printed in a language that I don't understand. I'm afraid someone somewhere in China might be manufacturing T-shirts with the following slogans written in Chinese:

1. I have an embarrassingly small willy.
2. Your mother-in-law's ass is hairy.
3. I am a terrorist.
4. If you can read this, you are a stupid Chink!

You can easily see how wearing a T-shirt with any of these things printed on it might get me into trouble with anyone who is a member of NAMBLA or works for the CIA or just about anyone else who happens to understand Chinese. If a Chinese member of NAMBLA, who is an undercover agent for the CIA, reads it, I'll be buggered to death! I know there are more than a billion Chinese folk around, plus the number of people who took it as a second language in school. I don't think the risk is worth taking. [Let's not forget that Kung-Fu was invented in China.]

The reason I'm fairly confident that someone might print something along the above lines on a T-shirt is because that's precisely what I would do if I were given the task of printing the designs on T-shirts in a language that the people wearing them couldn't read. [Note to all: Do not wear T-shirts designed by me.]

I also avoid T-shirts with written material in Finnish, Gaelic, Swahili and Singhalese. However, I fear the Chinese the most. The reason for this is primarily two-fold:

1. I don't trust the Chinese.
2. I haven't come across any T-shirts with the above languages on them.

The next time you wear a Chinese T-shirt, make sure you don't walk around any Chinese people.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Best Shit. Ever!

The absence of fresh material on this blog has led certain people to spring rumors of my untimely demise. These, I assure you with full confidence, have not a modicum of veracity in them. At about 5.50 this morning though, I certainly wished I were indeed dead. Why? I shall explain.

I'm currently on holiday -- which may be noted as the reason for my not writing anything -- in Mangalore. I spent the past week in Bangalore and, along with my cousins, traveled to Mangalore from there last night by the overnight bus.

Now, I'm not a very good bus traveler at the best of times. Yesterday, there was pork for lunch [and dinner] -- which is one of my weaknesses -- and I think I over-indulged myself. Suffice it to say, that it didn't go down very well with my stomach and by about 5.00 this morning, I was awake in the bus with my tummy threatening to walk out on me. I can think of various bad situations to be in, but this has to be one of the worst. I'm on a bus with no washrooms, in the middle of nowhere, and I have to go! Badly!

For about an hour I tried everything I could. I tried to sleep. I tried various positions and postures. I tried staring out the window at the darkness. I even tried making love to Brittany Murphy in my mind to distract myself. Nothing worked. I still had to go. In fact, things got even worse. My bladder decided that all the tossing and turning wasn't in its best interests and joined in the mutiny against me. Now I not only needed to shit, I also had to pee just as bad. Mangalore was at least another good hour away. Possibly even more than that. I knew I couldn't hold fort that long. Something had to give.

With no other option in sight, I stood up and shook awake my cousin sitting next to me.

"Where's the toilet paper?" I fairly yelled into her ear, almost waking up the other passengers.

She rummaged through her bag. "Here."

I grabbed it and ran for the driver's cabin. I opened the door and was met by the blank face of the guy who sits with the driver -- the conductor, if you may.

"Stop the bus. I need to go to the washroom." I spoke in Hindi.

He mumbled something back at me in Kannada and stared back expressionless. I thrust the toilet paper under his face. I would have told him, "Dude, I need to shit real badly, and unless you stop this fucking bus I'm going to do it right here in the middle of your bloody cabin!", but I doubt he would have gotten even a word of it. Moreover, I was in no position to let out a sentence of that length without risking dirtying my pants.

Fortunately for me, the man got the picture. Unfortunately for me, he reached into his pocket and said, "Tablets?"

"No. I don't want any tablets. I need to go!" I screamed. I was beyond the stage where medication could help and the ball had long since passed my stomach and intestines and was now well in the end zone.

He asked the driver to stop the bus at the next bend in the road. I jumped out and ran behind some rocks. Dawn had just broken and the jungle was quite beautiful at that time. I cared nothing for it.

"Man can know no greater joy," someone once said, "than the sudden cessation of severe pain." I'm sure he was right. But I'll tell you what -- the sudden cessation of severe pressure on the insides of your rectal passage due to the expulsion of waste matter must definitely rank right up there too.

I did my job and strolled back to the bus. The conductor threw me a rather annoyed look, which was well matched by those given to me by my fellow passengers. The bus was already late and they could do without stoppages for waste disposal of this sort. Only my cousin gave me a bottle of hand sanitizer instead of the killer look.

You may laugh when you read this story -- I haven't heard the last of it from my cousins all day! But I assure you it's all true. And when in the middle of it, it didn't seem the slightest bit funny. When you have to go, you just HAVE TO GO!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Opposites Attract?

I've never agreed with the whole "Opposites attract" aphorism. It doesn't make much sense to me. Why should people who are completely different from each other fall in love for that reason? If opposites did attract, the rich would have the hots for the poor, the handsome would be dying to date the ugly and I don't seeing of these things happening. If the statement were true, Angelina Jolie would be with the fat, hairy, bald man living opposite my house. When I last checked, she was with Brad Pitt.

Speaking for myself, the person I fall in love with would have to be very similar to someone I already like a lot. So whom do I really like and admire?

The answer? Me! I very much love, admire, and adore myself.

Thus, logical reasoning would lead me to believe that my perfect girl would be very similar to myself! Of course, there would necessarily have to exist some small differences though. For example, she would have to be a "she". She would have to be richer and hotter than me. She would also have to be stupider than me, in order to fall in love with me in spite of the facts stated in the previous sentence. But other than these trivialities, she would have to be quite similar to me.

I cannot imagine myself ever falling for a nice, quiet, simple girl.

Do you believe your perfect mate will be more like or unlike you? Tell me.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why I Laugh When I Dine Out

Stupidity often amuses me. When I see a girl who spends all her time trying to pull her shirt down because her pant is too low, I laugh silently in my head.

Last night, I was out for dinner. At the adjacent table were a guy and a girl. For the entire course of the meal, the girl had little on her mind other than the level that her T-shirt was being raised behind her back when she leaned forward. Of course, with a shirt as short -- and jeans as loose -- as what she was wearing, anyone sitting behind her could be forgiven for thinking she'd forgotten to dress at all. Every three seconds she would reach behind her to yank her shirt down. And every three seconds I would laugh.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not against "dressing indecently" in public. I'm not against public exposure of skin. I am not against "aping Western fashions". I would be most pleased if more people wore less clothing. I think people attire themselves too heavily in this country as it is and I would support any effort to remedy that. I don't even have anything against people who spend their dates fretting about the level of their T-shirts -- to each his or her own. I just find the last case very funny.

I mean, if you are going to be so conscious about how much (or what) you might be revealing, then doesn't it make more sense to pass on those loose jeans and wear something slightly more concealing? Is it really that important to try to effect a "cool" look at the cost of enjoying your date? Or do such people believe that their purpose on Earth is to humor diners at neighboring tables? I am puzzled.

It's the way they do it too that tickles me. They'll look furtively all around to see if anyone is watching, and then quietly reach behind their backs for the "adjustment move". Unfortunately for them, someone normally is looking. But now it's a matter of letting them see you make the adjustment or letting them stare at your butt crack for a while, so the girl mostly chooses the lesser evil and makes the adjustment anyway.

Indian girls seem to like imitating the West so far as wearing loose jeans is concerned, but I think they need to realize that the reason that loose jeans became so popular in the West is because it's actually fashionable to exhibit one's underwear! Until then there's going to be a lot of awkward dates and more laughs for me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Umbrella Dilemma

With the onset of the monsoons, I'm faced with that old problem that I like to call The Umbrella Dilemma:

When you are walking down the street, and it is just beginning to drizzle a little, when exactly is it the right time to open your umbrella?

I hate a slight drizzle, because it confuses me. Should I open my umbrella or not? In heavy rain, I know I have to take shelter under some awning until it subsides. In normal rain, I know that I have to open my umbrella and continue walking. What do I do when it's just barely drizzling?

I have two choices.

1. I open my umbrella. This choice involves the extra effort required to open the umbrella and then hold it above me as I walk. It also risks me ending up looking quite stupid for holding an open umbrella over my head when it isn't really raining.

2. I do not open my umbrella. This choice involves my getting wet.

Like most other dilemmas in life, I would solve this one by the simple expedient of copying what others do. I don't open my umbrella until see other people opening theirs. I realized the folly in this plan when I arrived home one night soaking wet, umbrella unopened in hand, because I hadn't crossed anyone else on the street. Since there was no one else about, I hadn't seen anyone open his or her umbrella and hence hadn't opened mine.

That's when I decided that my strategy needed a little backing up with what I would call "using one's commonsense". Now I just open my brolly the minute the smallest globule of hydration lands on me. I often end up looking like a fool walking down the street, umbrella open, when it's not raining, but it is a small price to pay.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

No Answer, Best Answer!

I cannot imagine how much trouble in this world could be avoided if only girls understood the meaning of the sentence "I do not want to answer that."

Loosely translated, it means this -- "I know the answer to your question. But I also know that you are not going to be pleased with that answer. And above all that, I don't want to lie."

For example:

Girl: Do I look fat?
Boy: I do not want to answer that.

Girl: Would you rather sleep with her than me?
Boy: I do not want to answer that.

However, in the world we live in, girls will not take this for an answer. They'll press you for a real answer. Now there's no way out of it. If you lie and tell her the answer she wants to hear, she'll immediately accuse you of lying. She knows you're being mendacious because you initially used the "I do not want to answer that" escape trick. If you tell her the truth, she'll go off in a huff and you're in the doghouse after that. If I had a penny for every time this happened to me, I'd have a lot of pennies.

The biggest problem with this situation -- where we have a girl pressing for an answer from a guy that doesn't really want to give one -- is that the guy often replies with the answer she didn't want to hear more out of spite than anything else. Girls will often lie to protect someone else's feelings; guys mostly lie to save their asses. A cross guy is unlikely to lie to save you from getting a little hurt. And that is the beginning of all the woes.

I'm adding this to my ever-growing list of attributes that the perfect girl must possess.

2119. Must be able to understand the true meaning of "I do not want to answer that" and leave it at that. Must also be grateful to boy for having settled the matter so diplomatically and with such political correctness.

The Analogy

Imagine a baseball batter who believes for some reason or the other that every time he cracks his knuckles before stepping up to bat, he will get a hit. Perhaps this started because once when he was in a lean patch, he cracked his knuckles before batting and hit a double. Perhaps the reason for this strange belief is because as a kid, his coach, in whom he had tremendous faith, told him so. Whatever the reason for the belief may be, it is there.

So whenever our batter goes out to bat, he cracks his knuckles. Sometimes he gets a hit, sometimes he doesn't. Whenever he gets a hit, he is happy that his little trick has worked. When he doesn't get a hit, he tries to rationalize by thinking that he may perhaps have not cracked his knuckles properly or that maybe it is in some way better for his team for some reason that he get out instead of hitting. The next time he steps up to bat, however, he will once again crack his knuckles, firm in his belief that it will bring him a hit.

Somewhere down the line, our batter might strike rotten form. In spite of all the knuckle cracking, he won't be able to buy a hit. One of two things might happen -- he might give up on his belief or he may raise the level of his rationalizing and ride out the bad times until he strikes form again.

Now suppose we performed a little experiment with our batter. Before some at-bat's we allow him to crack his knuckles and before others we ask him to avoid doing so. After a fair number of games we look at his average for the times he cracked his knuckles and the times he didn't. What do you think we'll find? I believe his average for the times he cracked his knuckles will be higher than his average for the times he didn't crack them.

Now take another batter and subject him to the same experiment. If the number of games played is sufficiently large, you can expect this second batter to have roughly the same average for both the at-bat's where he cracked his knuckles and the ones where he didn't.

What do we conclude from this hypothetical experiment? That the reason the first batter did better when he cracked his knuckles was because he believed more in himself after cracking his knuckles. He knew "luck" was on his side and looking over his shoulder. He knew he was going to get a hit. And that self-belief helped him play better. When he didn't crack his knuckles, he knew something bad was going to happen. So the whole thing was in his mind. But, and I think this is an important point here, it did help him do better.

The knuckle cracking didn't affect the second batter in any way since he didn't believe in it and didn't really care either way. He just went up to the plate and batted.

This is one of the ways I view religion. Religion is useful in many ways to people who do believe in it. It gives them a sense of self-assurance because they feel Someone is looking out for them and this helps them perform better themselves. But at the end of the day, the improvement in their lives is because of their belief rather than what they believe in! It's all in the mind of the believer. Therefore, for those who don't believe in religion -- quite like the second batter -- it makes little difference to the way they perform.

I am, of course, like the second batter. Religion is of little use to me personally. My grandfather, an extremely devout man, was once telling me a story about a man who was drowning but had a big metal cross around his neck. Apparently, according to Pappy, his belief in that cross saved him. Call me Mr. Practical if you want, but if I'm drowning I'd prefer to have a life preserver around my neck to keep my afloat rather than a metal cross weighing me down. But then again, that's just me.

Mea Culpa

Yes, I do get bored of my template once in a while. And yes, I am too lazy to design a new one myself instead of just picking one off the shelf.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Art of Poetry. (Or the Lack Thereof)

I’ve always struggled to understand poetry. From Shelley and Keats to Biblical psalms to Japanese Haiku -- poetry has always managed to puzzle and amuse me. I haven’t taken any professional courses in poetry or made a concerted effort to try an understand any particular poem, but I figure that if something must be read more than 3-4 times to make its point, then maybe that point isn’t worth getting in the first place. In other words, I give up easily.

The advent of blogging now means that people with the poetic talents of a dyslexic ant are spewing forth their creations upon the world! Most personal blogs you come across will have at least one poem on them, hidden somewhere. Then of course, there are the “poem blogs”, specifically created for such stuff. Let’s face it -- not everyone can have the skills required to write poems. And yet, everyone is writing poems!

There’s something wrong with this scenario. Very wrong. Then it hit me -- poetry writing is one of those rare tasks -- like peeing and laughing -- that requires no skill! Here’s how you can write a poem:

1. Write down some words. Preferably about love or deep pain.
2. Arrange them in lines of either equal or unequal length.
3. Muck around with the grammar a little bit so that it doesn’t seem like prose.
4. Make sure that the composition makes almost no sense. At least at first.
5. Add a title that seems inspired but is actually copied straight out of the Archies comic sitting next to you. Poems need not be connected to their titles in any way.

You don’t believe that poems are little more than a random permutation of words strung together with the odd rhyming pair thrown in? Go around looking at all the personal blogs you know. Look at the poems on them. If you’re still not satisfied, do the following. Take any one particular sample. Twist it a little bit as you wish. Maybe interchange a couple of words here and there. Now see if the poem is any worse than it was when you started. My guess is “no”. And that’s your answer.

The most impressive thing about the professional poets is that they managed to connive a large enough number of people into believing their greatness in order for them to survive. Of course, people are inherently stupid. If you can show them something they don’t understand, they’d prefer to think it is something great rather than to believe that they are stupid. Poets seem to have used this extremely successfully.

So the next time you feel like writing a poem, think very, very carefully about it. Think of exactly what you’re trying to convey and how you wish to do it. Think of whether you wish to have a rhyme scheme or not, and if so, then what scheme. Think carefully about the title.

Then forget about the poem and go watch some TV instead.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Why I Didn't Sleep With Alicia Silverstone

I’ve always wondered which of the following would sound cooler at a party:
1. I’ve slept with Angelina Jolie.
2. Angelina Jolie came onto me, but I turned her down.

This is a very important question to answer, since I want to be prepared in advance about what I should do in case the situation--of sleeping with her--should arise.

I, personally, think that the second statement sounds cooler. It puts you on a slightly higher level -- one where you can choose to turn down someone like AJ. But there’s a price to pay. You miss out on the pleasure of actually getting to sleep with her. I think the best strategy would therefore be to sleep with her and then lie about it, saying that you turned down the chance. (It also avoids a confrontation with a certain Mr. Pitt.)

Remember that the next time you get a chance to sleep with your favorite celebrity.

Putting Suicide to Use

I’m always surprised to read in the news that someone committed suicide by hanging themselves or consuming an overdose of medicines or something like that. I often wonder why people wanting to commit suicide don’t make better use of themselves?

A person who wishes to die has, to use that old phrase, nothing to lose. I’m sure there must be a huge market for such people. If only someone wanting to commit suicide could tap into this market, there’d be plenty of money to be made for the family.

The obvious job for such a person would be to become a terrorist. If al-Qaeda or any of the other terrorist groups run out of people to use as suicide bombers or suicide pilots, they could always use some poor farmer from Andhra Pradesh who wants to kill himself because his crop has failed and he can’t repay the loan he has taken. If he doesn’t wish to side with the terrorists with beards, then he can join the beardless ones by enlisting in the U.S. armed forces.

CNN Reporter: [On TV] A contingent of American troops was attacked in the middle of Baghdad this morning. One of them, Private Venkata Siva Rama Krishnan, was killed in a grenade explosion. He apparently ran forward to catch it like a cricket ball, thereby giving up his life to save the rest of the soldiers.

Mrs. Krishnan: [Watching in Andhra Pradesh] Yippee! No body, no money to be spent for the funeral! And he always was a reliable guy in the outfield.

Then there are job opportunities in the field of medicine. I’m sure med students would prefer to operate on real patients instead of dummies or rats. And if they use someone wanting to commit suicide, even if they make a mistake, everyone’s happy. A student could accidentally cut an artery leading to the patient’s brain, and the most he would have to worry about is ensuring he doesn’t get too much blood on his coat.

People wanting to commit suicide could be used to test the effectiveness of new drugs in the market. If they suddenly grow an extra hand or their eyes fall out, then you quickly kill them, since that’s what they wanted in the first place. You then color tablets of that drug with bright hues and sell them as M&M’s in Iraq.

I recently read in the news about a student who committed suicide because she thought she had failed her class 10 exam. Apparently, she had cleared the exam but was told by someone that she had failed. So she killed herself. Now most people might tend to feel sorry for such a person. But I don’t. I believe anyone stupid enough to kill herself only because someone told her that she had failed, doesn’t deserve to live in the first place. There’s no need to procreate and spawn a new generation of idiots like that. It’s all about Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” theory.

I only wish she could have been used to save the life of one intelligent, young American soldier instead. What a waste!

Mug Shot

I'm a bit busy these days. In case you aren't, go here and vote for the design you like best.

I know one of the contestants, but won't tell you which one since I haven't been promised any share in the loot by the person concerned.

Happy voting. Regular programming will continue.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My Comment Which Was Not Mine

Some days ago, I posted this. Some people were not happy and asked me to review the decision. Some other people were even more enterprising in their disagreement with my decision. One particularly bright soul chose to do the following in the comments section:

1. Write my name -- "arnold d'souza" -- in the name box.

2. Put a link to my BloggerTM profile in the web site box.

3. Write the following comment:

well, i have revised commenting policy.
And will henceforth reply to even anonymous comments.

This comment was on the previous post, but I have now deleted it.

Of course, hilarious (and ingenious) as this is, I cannot have people going around commenting on my very own blog in my name. However, I am a lenient soul. If this happens again though, comment moderation shall become the norm on this blog.

I also wish the person who did it a happy syphilis-inflicted life.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Train Specials

I traveled to Bombay last evening by train. As usual I left the issue of booking the ticket too late and so was not able to reserve a seat for myself. Hence, I went standing. The train journey from Poona to Bombay is slightly over three hours and so there were a lot of other standing passengers too.

Standing next to me were a Moslem gentleman and his missus, both slightly past middle age. Seated nearby were a young man, his wife and on her lap, their very young child. About midway through the journey, the man rose and offered the Moslem lady his seat. She waddled over, knocking into a couple of other standing passengers on the way, and plopped herself down next to the young, slim wife, her girth overflowing in all directions.

Now, standing for three hours is itself not much of a big deal. But when you consider the shaking and clanging of the train and the fact that you're often contorted into some weird position because of the other people around you, then it becomes slightly more challenging than a mere stroll in the park. I'm sure the Moslem lady must have been plenty relieved to be able to sit for a while.

But my point is this -- shouldn't she get up again after resting her legs for a while, and give the seat back to the gentleman? Is it fair for him to have to stand for the remaining half of the journey, considering that it was after all his seat to begin with? He was kind enough to offer this lady some respite -- surely he deserves the seat back again. If not for the fact that sitting is less trouble than standing, then at least for the fact that it is more comfortable too. (He was probably being given a whiff of a few underarms where he was standing!)

So what's your take on the offering of a seat? If it's a long journey, should the "offeree" return the seat back to "offerer" after some time? Incidentally, this lady didn't.


You know the old joke about what the height of mixed feelings is -- watching your mother-in-law fall out the window of your high-rise apartment, straight onto your BMW! Well, I have a new answer to the height of mixed feelings. I shall explain.

Yesterday being Sunday, there were plenty of picnickers -- both young and not so young -- returning to Bombay from Lonavala in our train. Among them was a small bunch of females in their early twenties, who were standing between two rows of seats. Although, they were returning from a day out in the country (as the fact that they boarded at Lonavala and the mud on their clothes evidenced), they were dressed like they had been to the mall or the movies. Indians have little dressing sense when it comes to swimming and picnics, but I'll reserve my opinions on this for a later post.

So there they were, dressed in tight jeans, standing and talking. One of the girls had her ass right in front of the face of one of the male passengers who was sitting down. It was quite some derrière too! And it was so in his face, that he would really, really have to make a great concerted effort consisting of severe twisting and craning of the neck in order to not stare at it!

The problem? The guy was sitting right next to his rather truculent looking girlfriend!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Watch What You Say

I've always thought that saying, "I'll eat my hat if you're right!" is much wiser than saying "I'll give you five bucks if you're right!" Because if you do turn out to be wrong, they can't make you eat your hat! They can, on the other hand, make you pay up those five dollars. But a hat just cannot be eaten. It's impossible.

When you say "I'll eat my hat", you really don't have much to lose. If you turn out to be right, you can look all smug and haughty; if you turn out to be wrong, all you have to do is make some silly joke about "hats", "eating" and "comedians" (because they always make good jokes). No one's going to snatch that hat off your head, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, add some mustard and then serve it up to you on a plate asking, "Would you like fries with that?" Most of time, you don't even wear a hat, so that makes it even safer.

Other phrases you might want to avoid are:

1. I'll eat my arm.
2. I'll jump off a cliff.
3. I'll sleep with a monkey.
4. I'll kill myself.

I don't worry much about such things, since I'm almost always right anyway. But just to be on the safe side, I'll stick with "I'll eat my hat!"

My Soccer Mom!

My Mom isn't exactly your average sports enthusiast. She knows the names of a few sports, the odd rule or two here and there and sometimes she's even aware of who the better player or team is. But to say that she's an expert would be far from the truth.

Every few months though, when a tournament of some importance comes around -- Wimbledon, the Olympics, one of the World Cups -- she gets in the groove and makes a decent attempt to follow the action. However, a "decent attempt", while quite laudable, does not always translate into success. This Football World Cup is turning out into of those stories.

My Mom was a Maradona fan. In a slightly different universe, I would have been named "Maradona". Thankfully, I wasn't. One of the problems with my Mom, and my sister too, is their proclivity to focus their attention more on the sartorial elegance displayed by the footballers than their footballing skills. My Mom is old school and believes that the golden days of the game were when the players wore extremely small shorts. Today's longer and looser variety just don't cut it with her. Bah! It would be like comparing a street player with Diego! My sister, having never experienced this "golden era", quietly wonders what Del Piero or Beckham would look like in those tighter shorts.

My Mom tends to reserve her sympathy for the goalkeepers. For some reason, she'll always side with them. She believes they have the toughest job in the game and that it isn't really fair to them. (I find that very hard to believe considering they're the only two people on the field who can actually hold the ball!) If she were to officiate a football game, a goalkeeper would probably be able to kick down one of the opponents down to the ground and she'd call a foul on the player knocked down for dirtying the keeper's boots.

My Mom thinks the penalty rule is extremely unfair to the goalkeeper since he has almost no chance of stopping the ball. "Poor chap, poor chap!" she'll say repeatedly. I have tried arguing with her that the keeper is in many ways in a better position than the guy taking the penalty. If he saves it, he's a hero; it he doesn't, no one expected him to save it in the first place. It's a "no lose" situation.

I'm thinking of sending my Mom to do color commentary for ESPN for the rest of the World Cup. (I don't know if you've noticed, but they don't have a color commentator currently.) I'll send my sister too, while I'm at it.

Mom(M): And tonight we have Argentina versus Germany, a rematch of that great final 20 years ago. Argentina look dazzling in their classic blue and white, certainly better than the plain, dull white of the Germans. I've always felt these Germans weren't much when it came to color co-ordination and that's the most important thing to dressing.
Sister(S): Indeed so. A remarkably under-par dressing sense from the Germans. They're certainly up against it tonight! In any case, I really fancy Lionel Messi. They say he's almost as good as Maradona, but I think they're very wrong -- he's way better [looking]!


M: Oh dear! One of the Argentineans has brought down a German in that rectangular area around the goal. It's a penalty. Poor chap, that Argentinean goalkeeper! I feel really sorry for him. How can he ever save this now? No chance.
S: Maybe they ought to have Messi be the keeper for the penalty! Can they do that?
M: I'm not sure, dear. But do you think those goalkeeper's colors will suit him?

Well, to her credit, she's finally managed to understand what the offside rule is all about -- and that's about all one can ask of a woman when it comes to football.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why I am Not Nice

Some days ago I wrote about why a guy shouldn't ever be nice to a girl. Of course, there's a theory about all of this -- The Ladder Theory. Simply put, the theory says exactly the same thing I did. But do read it anyway. It's really funny.

Many people I know seem to think I "try" [read: make an conscious effort] not to be nice with girls because I'm a firm believer in the Ladder Theory. This is not quite true. While I do agree with a lot of things mentioned in the theory -- like what guys and girls look for in a partner, nice guys get nowhere, etc -- the reason I'm not nice is not because of the theory. I'm just not a nice person.

Two points to back my claim:

1. I was never nice -- even long before I had ever heard about this theory. And certainly way before I'd had the chance to see where being nice to girls can get a guy.
2. It's not restricted to my attitude toward girls. I'm not very nice to guys either.

At this point, if you're still reading, you might wonder about what the true reason behind my not being nice is. A good question, indeed. To which the simple answer would be -- it's so much easier to be rude to a person than to be nice.

For example, it's quite easy for me to tell someone to "Sod off!" However, it calls for a lot more effort to try and be all nice and chummy with someone instead. Is it worth this effort? Mostly, it isn't. If you were to have a sign over your head saying -- "$1000 To All Those Who Are Nice To Me!", then I'd seriously consider being nice to you. Suddenly, it becomes worth the effort.

Till then, you can go choke yourself to death for all I care. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New Commenting Policy

My policy on this blog so far has been to reply to all non-anonymous comments as far as possible. I have also, for the most part, refrained from replying to anonymous comments. The problem with such a stance is that a comment from someone named Bob (assuming I don't know a Bob), who doesn't leave any email address or website tracking back to him, is to me for all intents and purposes as good (or bad) as an anonymous comment. A smaller problem might be that "Anonymous" may turn out to be a popular first name in some country like Burkina Faso and if those people started commenting on the blog it would lead to a lot of confusion. For now, we shall ignore this.

So disabling anonymous comments would not make much sense. All of you who wanted to go anonymous would just comment using the name Bob. Also, allowing only those registered with BloggerTM to comment doesn't seem fair to others who have registered with blogging services like WordpressTM. Their only fault is making the wiser choice of registering with a better service and don't deserve to be left out for this.

The other possibility was disabling comments altogether. I rarely write about important stuff that merits a discussion anyway. However, this didn't seem like a good idea. Why stop you people from having your little bit of fun.

So instead my policy from now on shall be as follows -- I shall not be replying to any comments. I shall read all of them since I get a notification in the mail. I shall even stop to think about the ones that warrant a bit of thinking or hint at dirty ideas. But I will not be replying to them in the comments section.

If you feel you have something really important to say -- which I seriously doubt -- you can mail me at the address provided in the sidebar. I shall reply to these mails with the following exceptions:

Mails that -

1. Are extremely crass.
2. Are in a language that I do not understand.
3. Make fun of my mother.
4. Contain pro Communist statements.
5. Are from someone named Bob with an address like


Monday, June 19, 2006

How Did You Get Here?

Men tend to love statistics. You'll never hear a woman describe to her friend a guy who passes by as "42-32-34". Women don't care about statistics so much. But men can't get enough.

I'm a man and I like statistics too. And when there aren't enough beautiful women around, I have to look for them in other places. An excellent example being the statistics related to this blog. I use Sitemeter to track visitors to this blog. So there I was looking at some of the numbers and feeling very happy with so many statistics in front of me.

I focused my attention on the page that told me where people were getting to this blog from and what they were searching for. You may think of this as good customer care -- if I know what you people want to read then I can write about that. Of course, this isn't really true; but please assume it is.

There were a lot of referrals from blogs other than mine. These didn't interest me too much since they were either blogs where I was in the blogroll or one of the posts linked to something I had written. The one exception was a "referral" from "". (Sitemeter is really good and it told me this visitor was from Norway and even gave me his IP address. Why I would want this I will never know.)

For a few minutes, this was a bit of a puzzle indeed -- I was sure there was no link to my blog from Scott Adams' site. Then I was able to put that puzzle to rest when I realized that the same visitor had visited my blog a little while before that as well. (Here's where that IP address bit came in handy.) I concluded that he must have clicked the link on my blog to Scott's page and then hit the back button. If you are from Norway and are reading this and did indeed do that, please mail me to settle this matter once and for all. Do not try to fool me by pretending to be from Norway if you are not, because I will ask you what the capital of Norway is.

The other interesting entries were the Google searches that led here. Almost all of them surprised me -- some because I couldn't believe people searched for such things, others because I couldn't believe Google actually thought this blog was the appropriate site the particular search!

For example -- someone searched for "who are the kids that accompany world cup players onto the field" and this page of mine turns up as one of the results. Of course, it doesn't come remotely close to answering the question. If the guy who searched for that is reading this, I hope you've found the answer by now. And if you have, do tell me what it is. I'm just curious.