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.