His head hurt.
He felt tired.
He sat down.
He picked up the bottle.
He passed out.
He threw up.
She found him.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
His head hurt.
Friday, April 28, 2006
I was at a quiz last Sunday, where Kunal’s BA exams, ‘The Curse of Dani’ and a bit of good fortune on my part all conspire to result in my partner for the finals being Shamanth Rao. Of course, in actuality, this meant that our team was just Shamanth, with me providing the emotional support that one might expect Victoria Beckham to provide at an England World Cup match.
After the quiz, (let’s not dwell on how it went), some kids in the audience run up to Shamanth and start asking him something. He duly entertains their queries and they then leave. Now, Shamanth’s from Madras, works here, and it seemed strange to us that he would know these children from the crowd.
So we ask him about it.
“How do you know those children,” we say. (What else?)
“Well, da,” he begins his reply. “I keep a log of such people. Know what I call it?”
(Before any of you rush to beat him up, or blacken his face, let me assure you he was “kidding”!)
posted by Arnold at 11:48 AM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I came across this article titled ‘No Girls Allowed’ by David Segal on why the world of rock guitarists is surprisingly devoid of any female inhabitants.
He first points out that this phenomenon isn’t due to a lack of musical talent among girls.
And let's quickly ditch one possibility: Women aren't great electric guitarists because they lack innate talent or discipline or musical intuition. That's silly. Any list of the greatest living violinists of the world would include at least 50 women and probably many more. And we're not talking about the middle or bottom of the pack. We're talking near or at the top of the list, where you'd see names like Anne-Sophie Mutter, Victoria Mullova, Hilary Hahn, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg -- names provided to me by people who actually know classical music. The violin is far more difficult than the guitar. Violins terrify guitar players the way trigonometry scares high school freshmen. It looks impossible.
So all you chuckleheads out there who were thinking, This is simple: Chicks can't rock because, you know, they can't rock, take out your blue books and try again.
One of the reasons he states is that women were slower to get into the rock guitar scene, and hence weren’t present in the first wave of great guitarists. This in turn led to there being fewer female role models for the next generation. (Girls are apparently more influenced by other girls. Surprise? ‘Course not!)
Of course, sociological factors do play a great role. For some reason, playing the guitar (electric, at least) isn’t very feminine. He writes:
"Rock is a male form," she [Camille Paglia, Professor of Humanities and Media Studies, University of the Arts, Philadelphia] says, speaking at just under 150 miles per hour. "For an adolescent boy, your guitar speaks for you, it says what you can't say in real life, it's the pain you can't express, it's rage, hormones pumping. Women can be strangers and all of a sudden have an intimate conversation. Boys can't do that. The guitar for a boy speaks to an aggressive sexual impulse and suppressed emotionality, the things that boys can't share, even with other members of the band. It's a combination of rage and reserve and ego."
The sociologists will tell you that sex, as opposed to gender, is key, too. Boys learn guitar to meet girls. For a girl, outplaying the boys onstage isn't necessarily a shortcut to the male heart.
"Boys are raised to attract women through their accomplishments," said John Ryan, head of the sociology department at Virginia Tech. "When women do get into display, it's more along the lines of Britney Spears. You don't hear a lot of critics raving about her music, or even her great voice. It's about her physical appearance and her fashion.
"The 9-year-old girl isn't badgering her daddy to buy her a guitar. She's in her room fantasizing about the clothes her band will wear while she's leading it."
Meanwhile, the boys are working out all that youthful rage and scheming to meet girls by practicing Led Zeppelin riffs in their bedrooms, for five hours at a stretch.
It’s an excellently written article. Do read all of it.
posted by Arnold at 2:52 AM
Monday, April 24, 2006
Now, I’m no great Formula-1 fan, but it seems to me as if Michael Schumacher and Sachin Tendulkar have had quite a few interesting parallels in their careers.
Tendulkar, though 4 years younger, started his international career about 3 years before Schumacher debuted in Formula-1. Hence, his career has been a few years ahead as far as the parallelism is concerned.
Both Tendulkar and Schumacher didn’t really meet with much success immediately in their careers. Tendulkar’s first couple of years in the world of international cricket weren’t anything to write home about. Schumacher didn’t make too many headlines in his first two seasons either, with guys like Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna doing most of that instead.
Tendulkar first showed that he might actually have something in him in England in 1990, and followed that up with two centuries in Australia in 1991-92. Schumacher, for his part, won two consecutive titles for Benetton in 1993 and 1994. Both had now set their mark in their respective sports.
Tendulkar had unbelievable time of it in the period stretching from ‘94 to 2000, saving for the drop in form around ‘97. He was arguably the best batsman in the world during this time. Schumacher had his heyday in period 2001-04, winning 5 consecutive titles for Ferrari, and quite easily dominating the Formula-1 scene for the most part.
In the past four years or so, Tendulkar’s career has been in a noticeable decline. He can still muster the odd innings of brilliance, but is nowhere near consistent. He’s not been able to stand up to the next generation of cricketers as the sport, like so many others keeps on becoming a younger man’s game. Schumacher’s story for the past year and a bit has been quite similar. A few impressive performances here and there, but failure to sustain any sort of consistency. The younger brigade has taken over Formula-1 too.
I think Tendulkar should seriously start thinking about retirement right about now, and Schumacher should follow suit in a couple of years.
You’re probably muttering to yourself by now that this sort of a career graph belongs to almost all great sportsmen. Well, I won’t argue with you on that, because it’s true.
Tendulkar and Schumacher both lost a close parent during their careers and showed similar tenacity in recuperating from that loss. In Tendulkar’s case, his father passed away during the 1999 World Cup in England and he flew home for the funeral which he then followed up with a century when he got back to England. Schumacher’s mother died just before the San Marino Grand Prix in 2003, which he then promptly went on to win. Clearly, both of them know how to put personal sorrow aside when it comes to delivery time.
Of course, there have been quite a few dissimilarities between the two sportsmen as well. Most notably, Schumacher gifted Tendulkar a Ferrari and got a cricket bat back in return! Thank God Sachin wasn’t an athlete, or Michael might have ended up with a pair of running shoes instead!
But to conclude with one final similarity - I don’t like either! I’ve never been too fond of Tendulkar, and in the little Formula-1 that I’ve watched, I’ve always cheered against Schumi! Here’s hoping they both retire soon.
posted by Arnold at 8:06 PM
Whenever I come across something like this, my first thoughts are ‘why am I not in on it’ and ‘what can I do to change that’! (Oh no, I don’t want to change what’s happening. I want to change ‘not being in on it’, of course.)
I’m Goan enough to pass off for a local, you know! Well, next time I’m in Goa you can guess what I’m going to be busying myself with.
posted by Arnold at 5:52 PM
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Ever notice the way a female reacts about another female who’s thinner than she is? Normally with a bit of scorn and derision.
“Ooh, look at her. She’s as skinny as a rake!”
“Geez, if she swallowed a pea her tummy would swell up!”
Well, they try to hide it, but that’s actually jealousy. Deep down every woman is inherently jealous of any other woman who’s slimmer than herself. She may pretend like she doesn’t care, and that she’s much happier with her “well rounded” figure and stuff like that - but she does care! A woman thinks about her weight as much as a man thinks about sex. (And that’s a lot!) There’s nothing a woman is more self-conscious about than her weight! Nothing!
So she obsesses herself with trying to reduce her weight, which through some quirk of nature is always “five pounds too much”! It’s like the jar of never-ending oil in the Bible. After those five pounds are shed, she finds that she’s still five pounds to heavy. So she slims down even further. Eventually attaining the physique of a severely malnourished stick insect.
The weirdest part of this entire drama is that guys aren’t particularly attracted to skinny females. Speaking for myself, and most of the male community, we like girls who are full and curvy. So here we have all these females starving themselves just so that they can incite the jealousy of of the rest of the (plumper) female community (who are getting all the guys)! Makes no sense? Nothing does.
posted by Arnold at 12:50 AM
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
I don’t know exactly why, but for some reason it appears to me that girls derive immense pleasure from getting in between two guys. No, I’m not talking about a ménage à trois, though I’m sure they derive immense pleasure from that too. What I am referring to is a girl getting between two guys who are friends, and then cleaving their friendship apart little by little, until they aren’t even on talking terms any more.
We’ve seen it happen - either to us or to someone we know. Two guys are good friends, or at least friends at any rate. Then along comes a girl, and suddenly things start to change. It could be because both guys have romantic interests in the common target, it could be because one of them is involved romantically and this bothers the other for some reason, or it could well be for reasons that have naught to do with the affairs of the heart. Something else altogether.
Now this is all fine. It happens, whether one likes it or not. But the part that really gets my goat is when the female actually seems to enjoy the entire episode! Why should that be? Does she feel some sort of perverse pleasure in the ‘apparent’ power that she holds in her hand? She did after all cause two friends to split apart, and surely that is no mean feat. Do girls just have a latent sadistic streak in them lying somewhere below the surface? Are they not the least bit concerned about the friendship that lies shattered in their wake?
An excuse that often pops up is that the female was unaware of the entire drama being played out of which she was a ‘supposed’ part. I’m not going to buy that. In almost all the cases I know, the females were only too aware of the friendships being ruined. And yet they didn’t care. They never do. And they never will.
posted by Arnold at 12:36 AM
Monday, April 17, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
When I was in my First Year in college, there was with me a guy named Rohit. He came from some small town somewhere, I forget which one exactly. The reason I knew him was because he was one of the guitarists in the college band, and I hung around with those people a lot. (Like any good groupie would!)
Now, Rohit didn’t speak much English. In fact, he couldn’t speak much English. He almost always spoke Hindi, with some Marathi and a smattering of English words thrown in. This, of course, meant that the two of us didn’t communicate much, and for a year we shared a ‘nod-in-acknowledgment-of-the-other’ relationship.
A year passed. I moved on the Second Year. He didn’t. I don’t know whether it was because he didn’t study enough or because he lacked the necessary English skills, but he didn’t clear his First Year exams. This meant he had to drop a year and give the exams again before he could proceed to the Second Year. With plenty of guitarists around, the band didn’t miss him much.
A year later, Rohit was back. Outwardly, he’d changed little. The tight, faded jeans and loose T-shirt were still the same. The stubbly look and the hollow cheeks hadn’t gone anywhere either. Nor had his skills with the guitar.
Then he opened his mouth to speak and my jaw dropped! He spoke in English! That wasn’t the biggest surprise! He spoke in English with a foreign accent! I asked him how that had come about. It was a simple story really.
When he found out that he was going to have a year free on his hands, he, like everyone else dropping a year does, sought employment in a call center. And they’d obviously put him through the necessary voice training and taught him how to speak with the accent. And since that was the way he had learned to speak English and that was practically the only English he had spoken in his life, it had stuck. Hence now he spoke English with the accent!
There were two other noteworthy points about the entire story. Firstly, the English he now spoke wasn’t anything close to perfect. There were still quite a few mistakes in it. But it was with a foreign accent!
And finally, the accent that he spoke in seemed rather queer to all of us. So we asked him which country the call center he was working in belonged to. And that’s when the final piece of the puzzle fell into place. It turned out that he’d worked in three call centers during the one year absence - one American, one British and one Australian! Poor guy!
posted by Arnold at 8:48 PM
Saturday, April 08, 2006
People think humor is a difficult art. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. It isn’t. Not if you know the tricks to it.
People also think I’m funny. I’ll let you in on another little secret. George Bush is a pedophile.
There are many kinds of humor. There’s standup, there’s slapstick, there’s punning, there’s cheesy and the list goes on endlessly. All of them fall into two categories - those that are actually funny and those that are easy to pull off. These two categories are mutually exclusive. Hence a style of humor that is funny requires a fair deal of skill and one that doesn’t require much skill would probably fetch you more boos than guffaws
For example, punning usually draws a great deal of appreciation if done well. However, coming up with puns of a good quality is an art of extreme difficulty. Cheesy humor on the other hand is both produced and appreciated solely by people with single figure IQ’s.
However, there is one exception to this rule. Sarcasm.
Sarcasm is my favorite style of humor and I’ll show you why. Firstly, coming with a sarcastic repartee is as easy as pie. How hard can it get? All you have to do is say the opposite of what you mean!
For example, I meet a male friend wearing a frilly, pink shirt. I say, “Whoa! Nice shirt, mate! You look like a real lumberjack in that!” You mean, “Aohw! (the opposite of “Whoa”) Horrid shirt, Ma’am! You look as gay as Elton John liplocking with his boyfriend after a session of figure skating!” (Yes, I think figure skaters are gay. Sue me.)
Notice I have taken what I actually thought about the situation, and flipped everything around. That’s not very hard to do. Even you could do it. (A slight caveat here - I know of a guy who took this advice of “flipping everything around before doing it” a little too seriously. He couldn’t impregnate his wife for the longest time, and I think I know why!)
The next important point is that sarcasm is funny. Okay, maybe not to the person at the receiving end of it, but definitely to all others present. Master the art of sarcasm and you can be sure to rise up the popularity charts.
The final reason why I like sarcasm is because it pisses people off. A well made sarcastic jibe at a person can cause as much damage as a truckload of choicy expletives. (Of course, combining the both of them is a potent mixture best left to the experts.)
However, nothing in this world is ever all good. (Except Alicia Silverstone, but we’ll leave that aside for now.) Sarcasm itself has one major drawback. After a point, people stop believing you at all. Even when you’re telling the truth. I ought to know. That’s what my life is like right now!
posted by Arnold at 11:24 AM
Friday, April 07, 2006
Is there anyone more lacking in creativity than the community of spam email creators? I mean, take a look at any spam mail you receive. It’ll fall in one of two categories. Each category targets on a particular basic human emotion.
This category relies on sympathy for its functioning. A typical Category A email begins by pouring forth to the reader the sorrowful plight of some fictitious character somewhere. This is often accompanied by graphic pictures, all to strengthen the cause of course.This is followed by details of how some philanthropic individual/organization has pledged to donate a certain amount each time this email is fowarded.
(For some reason, spam creators tend to think philanthropists are as stupid as they themselves are. Fortunately, this is not true.)
The final part of the email urges you to forward the mail to “as many people as you can”! Or else face eternal damnation for having so heartlessly chosen to ignore one’s suffering brethren!
This category preys on the other vulnerable human emotion - fear! An email belonging to this category commences with some bad news, typically something such as “MSN is becoming a paid service” or the like. It then gives you the ‘good’ news! You can avoid the ‘bad’ news mentioned above by forwarding this mail to a certain number of people in your contacts list!
There is another common type of Category B spam mail. Ones that strike at the readers’ hearts. These mails consist of asking you a set of ludicrous questions, which would typically indicate whom your “true love” really is (or in some cases whom you have a crush on). This is followed by a table relating the success you will meet in your endeavors toward capturing that “true love” versus the number of people you forward the mail to.
(For some reason, spam creators tend to think that most email users are as stupid as they themselves are. Unfortunately, this is true!)
It’s easy to see that few people over the age of 12 would fall victim to either of the above two spam mail categories. So either the job of creating all the spam in this world has been handed to a bunch of preteens or there’s a bevy of evil spam creators somewhere who are under the impression that most of the Internet utilizing populace is under the mental age of 12.
I don’t understand how these mails propagate! Okay, I understand that someone who has nothing better to do might, in a vain attempt to amuse himself, start the chain by sending such a mail to a few people. But why would any sane person, upon receiving such an obviously fake mail, then proceed to forward it to others? Surely, they can’t be stupid enough to buy the reason mentioned in the mail itself! They why? As I see things, such mails should die out within two or three links from the originator. And yet they defy every inkling of logic and spread like fire across the cyber world! Never fails to amuse me!
(Oh by the way, if you fail to heed the warning in the title, you will never be able to access this blog again!)
posted by Arnold at 1:19 AM
Monday, April 03, 2006
As he was, to the gallows led,
He turned around, and saw her head.
Why he'd done it, he knew not then,
He'd had a lot, more than most men.
Scared as he was, he looked in her eyes,
Compassionate, loving, kind and wise.
As the rope was placed, around his neck,
Transformed he was into a nervous wreck.
A life ruined by one stupid act,
He now realized, two lives in fact.
At least his troubles would end in a while,
The other would live, never being able to smile.
"Any final wish?" they asked him now.
If only he could... but how?
"No none", he said, and closed his eyes,
The time was over, for all good-byes.
A black mask was placed over his face,
He wished he'd asked for one last embrace.
The trap door sprung open, he screamed his last.
She turned around, and walked away fast.
She remembered what he'd done that day,
And dearly wished, in hell he'd pay.
posted by Arnold at 2:27 AM