Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Traffic Rants

I hate traffic. We all do. It’s one of those universally hated things -- like a smelly fart, terrorism or Sanjaya Malakar. The thought of going to work everyday scares me more for the commute and for the job, and when you realize what my job really is like, you’ll know just how bad the traffic must be.

What makes the traffic worse, carrying it from the regions of “quite terrible” into the realms of “unbearably horrendous” is the heat and dust that one must do battle with when on the street. Okay, so a few of you reading this probably drive around (or get driven around by a driver) in air-conditioned luxury cars and are snickering at my woes. But let me tell you, even a 15-minute ride on a motorcycle in this heat and dust will leave you, well for the want of better adjectives, quite heated and dusty. The problem with combating these two evils is that their solutions are mutually exclusive. To fight the heat I want to wear as little as possible; to save myself from the dust, I need to do the opposite. Attack one, and the other rears up from behind you and smites you hard in the back.

Then there are traffic signals. Every Indian driver makes it his personal goal to remind you about 15 seconds before the light turns green. The means of communication, of course, is his or her vehicle’s horn. These people are quite skilled you know. The other day, the guy in the car behind me, started playing the national anthem on his car horn. I was impressed.

And I haven’t even gotten to the pollution factor yet. Try getting stuck next to a PMT bus at a traffic light. There’s the smoke and the heat from the bus’ exhaust, and before you know it someone’s spit on you from the bus window! You’d be lucky if it’s only saliva, too. Phlegm or paan are not uncommon either. I don’t blame the person spitting out for being so callous. It’s often hard to notice the person below in the cloud of exhaust.

Sometimes, I’m just pleasantly surprised to reach work at all.

(Note to self: Do not hug everyone in sight when you are pleasantly surprised to get to work. More importantly, do NOT tell them you were spit on after you’ve hugged them.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Me on the Dance Floor

I’m not a great dancer. Some people can Belly Dance; I can BARELY dance. I can’t move my ass to Punjabi Hip Hop or jive without stamping on the feet of not just my partner but everyone else within a three-foot radius. (I call that my Deadly Dance Circle of Death.) The less said about my other fancy-schmancy dances, the better.

This fact might have troubled me since I’m normally not too pleased by things I can’t do well. But my only cause for consolation is that I’ve noticed MOST people aren’t great dancers. About 5% of the crowd on the dance floor at any party or disco will be good dancers. Another 10% will be so terrible, that they’ll look like they’re trying to swat a pesky mosquito sitting on their back while rotating an imaginary hula hoop around their waists. The remaining 85% are just about average, run-of-the-mill, you-wouldn’t-notice-them-unless-you-looked-twice types. And I’m one of them.

When I’m dancing I like to follow an algorithm of sorts. Move B comes after Move A, and is then followed by Move C. Something like that. Improvising is dangerous, for the simple reason that I’m bad at it! When I try to get too creative on the dance floor I’m likely to spill someone’s drink or gouge someone’s eye out. After you do that a few times, people kind of stop letting you into parties anymore.

In the beginning of the party, I like to sit near one corner of the dance floor and observe for a while. I then pick someone who’s pulling what looks -- to my amateur eyes, at least -- like a few “groovy moves” and mentally rehearse them until I feel I’m confident. (I normally select the guy getting the most attention from the prettiest ladies.) Sometimes I’ll also lock myself in the washroom for a while so I can practice them for real. I then saunter over to the other end of the dance floor, where I “introduce” my “new” cool moves. Pretty soon everyone around me is copying them and I’m the hero.

That’s when I grab myself a drink and go console the person who’s nursing that eye I poked.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Working Out

I’ve never “worked out” in my life. I mean I haven’t spent more than a few seconds in a gym, I’ve never owned a set of weights and the most exercise I’ve indulged in at a stretch (forgive the pun) would be reaching for the TV-remote from under the couch. Somehow, this would always surprise people who knew me -- or at least thought they did.

“You?” they’d say, incredulity writ large upon their disbelieving countenances, while quietly sucking in their over-flowing bellies. “You’ve NEVER worked out?”

The cause for wonderment lies mainly in the fact that I’m as thin as a rake. I have a body-fat figure that’s well below the national average and I’m about 8 kilos under the weight range for my height. Besides, I have -- and I say this will all the modesty in the world -- a fairly decent upper body. Okay, so there aren’t muscles overflowing in all directions, but I think that just looks plain ugly. But for a skinny guy, it’s pretty damned neat.

Cut to last week. I decided to join the gym at work. These were the some of the side-advantages I saw:

1. It’s free.
2. It would force me to stop work at a fixed time everyday.
3. There are some cute chicks there.

I’m a big fan of side-advantages and so it seemed like a good deal to me.

This morning I had my “check up”. I enter the gym and there’s only a single instructor on duty. She hands me a sheaf of forms to fill in. The first page seems okay -- name, employee number, phone number, etc. The second page asks me about my medical history. Apparently, they want to know whether I’m liable to drop dead on the treadmill or collapse under a set of dumbbells. I answer “no” to everything. Wouldn’t be wise to let this chica think I’m a weakling of some sort.

After the forms, she takes my pulse and blood pressure.

“Hmmm,” she notices. “They’re a little higher than they should be. Not too much, but slightly on the higher side.”

“Yup,” I mutter to myself. “They’d probably be okay if you weren’t holding my hand while measuring them.”

She asks me to remove my shoes. I’m a bit surprised but I figure, “Yea. Okay.” She does a little height and weight check with this fancy machine of hers and informs me that my fat percentage is too low as is my BMI. Yea! Like I didn’t know. Thanks for rubbing it in.

She then asks me to lift up my shirt. “Uh, uh. I can see where this is heading. First my shoes, now my shirt.” I raise it a little, tentatively. “Higher,” she says. “I need to be able to see your navel.”

“Huh?” It’s just a normal navel, I want to tell her. I raise my shirt. She does a little more measuring with a tape. My hips, waist, etc. Scribbles down some figures and tells me she’s done.

She carefully studies all the stuff she’s written down and lets me know that I need three days of weights and one day of cardio per week.

I start tomorrow.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Season Three

I’m back.

Many people have asked me why I haven’t posted for so long. Two reasons, really.

1. It’s good to give up something during Lent, and
2. I’m terribly lazy.

Let’s face it. Writing’s hard. Writing stuff that people are interested in reading is even harder. Writing stuff that people are interested in reading and doing so regularly, when you have nothing to say and you know that all that your laboring has brought you is the occasional smidgen of appreciation from a chimney sweep in Minsk (Hey, Gustav!) is about as downright difficult as, well -- I’ve forgotten how to analogize cleverly.

But nevertheless, at the cost of repeating myself, I’m back.

How has my life been over the past few weeks? Nothing exciting really. Just the odd late-night, rave party bust up, followed by a harried police interrogation, some third degree, a quick appearance in court and then back home for chai and biscuits in the evening. In other words, boring. (That’s just one word, actually.)

I don’t see this post going any place in a hurry, so I’ll just wind it up. For the final time, in case you didn’t catch it before, I’m back.

PS: Genuine appreciation can be manifested in the following ways:

1. Cash, if you can meet me.
2. Checks, if you can’t, but know my postal address.
3. Proposals via e-mail for a hot, steamy one night stand, if you know nothing about me but are a relatively good-looking female.
4. If none of the above are possible, just a leaving a comment will be fine.

Thank You.