Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Best “Not Real” Sony Ad Ever

This evening, after work, I’m in the Sony showroom--looking around in a perfect blend of awe, excitement and lust at all the “cool” gadgets they have on offer.

Behind me a salesman is giving a family--just a mother and two kids, actually--a demo of one of those Surround Sound Home Theater systems. He’s playing the video of ‘Punjab’ by Karunesh on the huge Flatscreen and the audio is blaring from a multitude of speakers spread all around the place. It’s actually quite realistic--and deafening.

Just then, I receive a call on my phone from R. I’m in conversation with a salesman, so I receive the call and tell her, “I’m busy. I’ll speak with you later.”

For a second, I believed she might think I’m at a party or something. But then she sends me a text message, a few minutes later to the tune of this: “Are you watching a movie? I swear I’ll whack you if you’re in a theater watching a movie!”

(By way of an explanation, I’d should probably tell you that I’m not a big movie fan, and I almost never watch a movie at the theater. Numerous attempts by R to get me to go see a film have met with mostly [but not quite absolutely] no success.)

And then I’m thinking, “Is this just the BEST ad for Sony or what?” I’m in the showroom, there’s a Home Theater system playing in the background, someone calls up and actually thinks I’M (of all people) in an actual theater!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I will be traveling to Germany next Saturday—21st July, where I shall be for the next two months, approximately. Blogging from Germany ought to be good—but I cannot guarantee anything.

Cheers and hoping for the best.

Addendum: It is precisely stories like this that tickle me in just the right spots and ensure that I can barely wait for Saturday! (HT: Lara)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

BarCampPune3 - A Snippet

I attended BarCampPune3 [blog link] today - well, technically yesterday since it’s 3 in the morning now. It was interesting, due in larger part to the people I met than to the knowledge I gained from the sessions/discussions. Meeting people is always fun - and I didn’t really network as much as I should have.

Here’s the highlight of the day though.

It’s about 4.30 in the afternoon, and we go to the cafeteria to have tea. We grab our cheese sandwiches from the guy handing them out and pour ourselves a cup of tea each. Then Salil notices this huge vessel of thick red liquid lying next to the tea.

“What’s this?” he asks me.

“Tomato soup,” I reply. Saying “I don’t know” doesn’t come easily to me and that’s exactly what it looked like - tomato soup. Why anyone would serve tomato soup at tea was beyond me, but BarCamps are strange places and funny things do happen there.

“I like tomato soup,” Salil says and proceeds to pour himself a cup.

We carry our stuff to a table and sit down to talk. Midway through the discussion, Salil looks takes a couple of sips of his soup and tells me, “This soup is terrible! It tastes like ketchup!”

We don’t pay any attention at that point. When we’re done talking and eating and drinking, we go to place our cups and plates in the dirty dishes tray. That’s when I noticed at all the plates kept there had a thick red liquid in them. I glance around. Yup, everyone’s got the red stuff in their plates and they’re eating it along with their cheese sandwiches!

“Dude,” I look at Salil. “That WAS ketchup!”


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

One of the Great Mysteries Possibly Solved

I have written before about my not being able to understand or appreciate poetry. I’ve often wondered exactly how poets could make a living—no one I know (certainly not myself, for sure) would consider paying money for “poetry”. Or maybe that wasn’t true—because didn’t some really famous poets exist at various points in the past? Maybe the problem was within me. Maybe only I couldn’t understand poetry, while everyone else could. That could be a possible solution.

I have a new theory—one that actually came about because of something a certain female friend told me recently. Here’s the theory:

Your ability to understand, and more importantly appreciate, poetry is inversely proportional to the speed at which you normally read.

Here when I talk about “speed”, I refer to it on an extremely low level—words and sentences. I don’t care about how many novels you read a year or how long it took you to finish The Lord of the Rings. I’m talking about how fast you read your words and sentences. How many seconds (or milliseconds) did it take you to read this paragraph?

When it comes to reading speed, I’m on the faster side. I speak fast and I read fast. Poetry demands a slow reader. One who can let the words sink in—one, two, three, four at a time. One who gives each line the time it demands, to convey the deeper meaning it holds, instead of rushing hurriedly on to the next one, as a prose reader might do. And that’s where I fail.

Today, I tried reading some poetry slowly—painfully slowly, it seemed to me—and it worked. I understood more than I ever had. It actually seemed beautiful—almost as much so as a Michelangelo fresco or a Michael Jordan fade-away. Or Alicia Silverstone.

So here’s the thing—if you think you can’t appreciate poetry, just try carefully observing how fast you read it. I’ll bet you my cat, it’s probably because you’re reading it way too fast!

As a corollary, I’m guessing guys are naturally faster readers than girls. Proving it is left as an exercise to the reader.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Washroom Measure

There’s a lot to be learned inside a washroom. For example, I have a theory that goes as follows:

The smaller the separating partitions between the urinals in the washroom, the posher the place is.

That’s my theory.

For example, a public washroom on the street will have partitions the size of Shivaji’s fort walls. You couldn’t get through them with an army tank if you wanted to. They measure about seven feet by three feet by six inches. Superman would struggle to see through them and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar couldn’t peer over one.

A decent restaurant will have urinal separators about half that size. If you’re an extremely tall guy with flexible neck muscles you might catch an unwanted sight of your neighbor’s sausage and meatballs. But for most of us average folks, not suffering from pituitary abnormalities, they suffice. At least here—unlike public washrooms—you don’t end up feeling claustrophobic.

An upscale restaurant, or a really posh office, will have separators that are “separators” in name only. Two feet by one foot. I think the primary aim here is to avoid getting sprayed unnecessarily by the guy peeing next to you. Really, that’s about all the separator can hope to achieve. No consideration at all is given to visual barricading or interception.

And finally, at the extreme other end of the spectrum we have the best hotels and the really big offices. Here there’s no separation at all. ‘What’s mine is yours and suchlike’ seems to be the motto. Or ‘let our dongles dangle together’. There’s literally just a line of urinals fixed along one wall or sometimes not even that. I love the sheer “naturalness” that such an arrangement offers.

So my point it this—whenever you want to judge how upscale a restaurant or hotel might be, just check out the men’s washroom.