Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008


...and then there are the ones that you just know you shouldn't answer but do anyway.

Things I Don't Like

Wishing you a Merry Whatever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This Blog Is Still Alive

Like any other self-respecting, jaded artist, this blogger is now faced with a decision about the future – what should he do! There’s the easy option of just letting this blog die but I can’t let that happen. There’s the frightening option of releasing a compilation album type “Best Of…” series of posts for your re-perusal, but that’s even worse a notion than the first. And then, finally, there’s the thought of just dragging myself to somehow squeeze out a few paragraphs that seem post-worthy – which, if you’re sharp enough, you might notice is what I’m trying to do now.

I have, however, decided to go with Secret Option no. 4 – cheap-ass, low-budget, easy-to-draw comics which will be based on styles and themes that already exist around the internet. To begin with, I shall attempt some graph comics – influenced by Indexed. (FYI – xkcd is still slightly beyond my graphical abilities – who would have thought stick figures would be so hard to draw)

Here’s today’s. More in the days coming up. The plan is to keep the comics going until I summon up the inclination to start writing again. Thanks for the patience.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wanted: Sperm Donors

This is one such story that makes me sit back and thoughtfully scratch the stubble on my chin. Apparently there are far too few sperm donors in Britain. What is going wrong here? I really cannot believe that this is possible. I base my conclusion on a sophisticated and water-tight argument that goes as follows:

1 There are men in England.
2. Men are always willing to jerk off.
3. Jerking off produces sperm.

Are they trying to suggest that it’s almost impossible to find an English bloke who’s willing to lubricate the old axle for free? How about this? Rent a room and put up a sign that says “Free Porn”. I’m sure that will be enough!

I think one of the problems might be the way the whole donation process is currently being carried out. I’m sure they’d be a lot more willing donors if the sperm was to be deposited directly into the, ummm, vaginal orifice of the intended beneficiary. I know I’d sign up for sure! If the woman is clever enough, perhaps she could even get the guy to pay her at the end of the session!

For the record though, I hereby officially proclaim that I am willing to donate sperm if need be, preferably without the quite unnecessary intermediate inconvenience of the cup. If there are any ladies out there desperately seeking sperm—and you know you’re going to be getting the best genes with me—please feel free to get in touch. If you wish, you may also give me a hand with the job (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun)!

I’m not sick—I’m just doing my bit to help improve the world!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Economic Terms Put Simply

The best line I’ve heard this week:

A recession is when you have to tighten your belt; a depression is when you have no belt to tighten; but if you have no pants to hold up in the first place, then it’s all out panic!

There you go – you need no longer be confused.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Overpopulation: Boon or Bane?

This article that I stumbled upon some weeks ago is now over 10 years old. It doesn't contain any brand new information, but it is pretty insightful and informative in it's own way.

Those who fear overpopulation share a simple insight: People use resources. They eat food, drive cars, and take up space. Because resources are scarce, the only way to improve living standards, Malthusians argue, is to limit the number of people with whom we have to share these resources.

The rebuttal to this argument is equally simple: People create resources. They bring into the world their time, effort, and ingenuity. Before deciding whether world population growth is a curse or a blessing, we have to ask ourselves whether an extra person added to the planet uses more or less resources than he or she creates.

Do read the entire thing. It's rather pertinent to us living in India, at least, with all the "let's blame all our country's woes on the population".

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Drinking Problems

I think the biggest problem I have with people getting drunk is their infernal need to announce it to everyone around! It seems like whenever someone has had a little bit too much to drink, their most important priority in life is suddenly to grab someone by the ass and go, “Look at me. I’m drunk!” But they won’t stop there. Nah huh. They need to spread that information on to everyone in the world who is within communicable range.

Now, some years ago, “communicable range” used to be confined to people within hollering distance of the subject. That was good. Today, thanks to cell phones and the internet, this has now been broadened to include just about everyone on the planet. I have actually received text messages on my phone (or messages via Instant Messaging), from people I haven’t spoken to in months, telling me that they’re plastered. Really, it’s happened.

I think that is one reason we have so many words for it to begin with – drunk, intoxicated, inebriated, hammered, wasted, smashed, sozzled, tipsy, buzzed, plastered, tanked, loaded, blitzed, trashed, wrecked, bombed or even, if you wish, shit-faced. The list could go on and on. The only reason people keep inventing new words for this is so that they can tell someone they’re drunk. In about three hundred different ways.

Drunk dialing, though, does have its plus points. I can’t count the number of relationships that have been born out of one of the people getting drunk, calling up the other and saying, “You know what? I lurrrve you.” I like it for that.

Stuff like that was so much harder in the old days. If you’ve ever tried calling the love-of-your-life’s house at one in the morning after having gotten smashed only to have her Mom answer the phone, you’d know what I mean. (On the other hand, all these cell phones have completely wiped out the entire “Blank Calling” industry. That used to be big when I was a kid, I remember. Fun times.)

The irony of the whole situation, though, is this – they keep yelling out that they’re drunk, but if you actually ask them, they’ll deny it.

Girl (on two sniffs of Vodka): Oh boy, I’m so drunk. You have no idea how drunk I am. Drunk. Drunk. Drunk!
Me (two minutes hence): Are you drunk?
Girl: Of course not! Don’t be stupid!

True conversation.

And forgive the ramblingness of this post. Apologies to all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Filed under “Yet To Understand”

Everywhere I go in this country, there are more men than women. And yet in these same places, the men’s washroom is practically deserted while the ladies’ washroom has a longer waiting period than the local country club.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Awesomely Cool Transaction for the Week

A friend parks his car near M. G. Road and is asked for Rs. 5 by the parking attendant on duty. The smallest note he has is a twenty and the attendant doesn’t have change. Meanwhile, there’s a beggar pestering him for alms on the side.

My friend, turns to the beggar and tells him he’ll trade him the twenty for a ten and a five, completes the deal with the more-than-bemused beggar, hands the attendant the five bucks, pockets the ten and walks away leaving everyone happy.

Change from a beggar—who would have thought of it!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Universal Theorem of Download Speed…

“Any download speed will invariably enter a monotonically decreasing function the moment the ‘Downloads’ window falls under the gaze of a human eye or any other similar observational means. This monotonic decrease will continue for as long as the observation exists. The behavior of the speed once the means of observation have been removed is undefined. (However, should the window be observed once again at some point in the future it is often noted that the speed is considerably higher than what it was when the observation was ceased. This would obviously lead one to conclude that this characteristic decrease is only present when the window is under observation and not otherwise.)”

I might also like to add that despite the overwhelming empirical evidence that lends support to this theory, no rigid proof has been devised as yet. Thus, it is prudent to note that this is not a ‘theorem’ in the rigorous mathematical sense of the term but rather, merely a conjecture. A handsome—though unspecified—prize is on offer for the first person to either offer solid proof of the argument mentioned in the theorem above or provide a clear demonstration of the inverse. (At the risk of repeating myself, the latter is considered, by the scientific community worldwide, to be, for all intents and purposes, impossible.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cooking and Me

I am a relatively decent cook. Most of the feedback that I’ve received on my cooking tends to be fairly upbeat. This would, in large part, be due to the fact that the audience I cater to is quite lenient a judge, has no fancy tastes and is rather partial toward me. In other words, I’m the only one who eats what I cook.

I don’t really like cooking for others. I feel there’s too much pressure to get it right. This is why I like to put up a disclaimer before I start to cook anything, saying “This will not taste anything like what you expect it to. If you are still okay with eating it, let me know now, otherwise I am counting you out.” Most people wisely choose to abstain. Besides no one can ever be really sure exactly what someone like me might slip into the dish, and since most people I know avoid—almost religiously—some item of food or the other, they wouldn’t want to risk eating anything coming from my hands. All this, of course, suits me just fine. I cook, I eat.

I find cooking to be somewhat boring. I cook almost exclusively because I have to eat and am too broke or too lazy to order in or go out. So if I have to cook, here’s what I do—I pretend like I’m hosting my own little cook show. I imagine there’s a studio audience in front of me, three or four cameras around the place, a nice little hat on my head (still imagining, I don’t wear one for real!) and maybe even a surprise guest every so often. Sometimes I’ll pretend like I’m the guest on someone else’s show.

So as I’m throwing in the ingredients, I’ll look up and speak to the audience. I’ll try to do different accents on different days, just to make things a little more interesting. I like to toss the stuff in the pan up in the air every now and then. These days, it often falls right back in too! (Who says I can’t learn!)

Then, when it’s all ready and over I’ll sample it. It normally tastes worse than dog turds in mud, but I’ll somehow manage to put a brave, almost satisfied, expression on my face and go, “Wow! That is just simply dee-li-cious!”

I figure I’m a good showman but a bad cook. Heck, isn’t that exactly what they need for these shows? Maybe, I should apply for one. Hmmm.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Girls and Ordering Food

There are, to be precise, three kinds of girls in this world when it comes to classification based on their food ordering styles.

There are those girls who will order a dish, take two bites and a nibble and then push it away. The reason given is either “I’m too full! How was I supposed to know they served this much?” or “Eww, this doesn’t taste like what I thought it did at all!” Apparently, in the bizarre world that women come from, servings are two forkfuls—three if you order the jumbo-size—and you’re allowed to call for a sample taste of the dish before ordering it. Of course, it’s not surprising then that they consider the enter restaurant industry on this planet an injustice to the customer!

The second type of girls are those who will not order anything at all—and then proceed to polish off half of your food! And the casual shamelessness that they will do it with! Like it was ordered and brought there especially for them, sent with love from the cook with flowers all around and their name on a nice little card on the top! Her eyes fixed right into yours as if you’re stupid enough to get mesmerized by that and not notice that thieving little hand slide across the table and right into your fries!

Now, I harbor a slight dislike for the first kind and can just about tolerate the second kind, but the third kind I could just shoot dead there at the table itself. Those are the girls that both leave their food almost untouched and attack yours! This must surely rank as at least as grave a sin as any mentioned in the Bible. I don’t care what you do the remainder of your life, if you’re the kind of girl who fits into the third category, you’re going to hell. Period.

I’m sure there’s an exception out there somewhere—a girl who is actually capable of ordering what she wants and nothing more or less than that. And if I find her, I’ll marry her.

Monday, August 25, 2008

“Ask the Sexpert”

The questions in the “Sex Advice” columns of the daily newspapers (especially The Mirror) always scare me. I’m just worried that people this stupid are even having sex at all. Darwin would NOT be happy.

One the one hand, the couples always seem just so perfect for each other—each one as dumb as the other. Just don’t procreate, that’s all I’m asking of them. Let your stupidity die out with you. Thank you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

WTF Moment of the Week

One of my colleagues at work, A, threw a small party for the team in the cafeteria today. She’d ordered lunch from outside and it was delivered by a guy on his bicycle. After he’d unloaded the food from the bicycle, she paid him. He asked for extra money stating “rickshaw fare” as the reason. All of us could see that he had come on a bicycle, so this request seemed out of place to say the least.

However, A felt that it would be simpler to pay him than to argue about it. Besides, he could have come by an auto-rickshaw if he wanted, but had chosen to make the effort of cycling so as to save a little money. It seemed okay.

She wasn’t sure how much to pay him though. So she asked him, “How much is the fare from the caterers to here?”

His reply?

“I don’t know! I came by cycle now, didn’t I?”

These are times when you really aren’t sure just how loudly you are supposed to laugh.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


So the Olympics are on—everyone’s the sports expert for these two weeks. People, who didn’t know that an event called “Dressage” existed a month ago, are now providing play-by-play commentary as they watch it on television. I would know—my Mom happens to be one of those types.

Dressage amazes me. Just the very fact that it exists. I mean it just has to be the most boring sports event in the world? Are we five-year-old children to sit and look at a bunch of horses dancing around? At least with ballet, you can sit and watch the girls. But horses? This is an Olympic event? I suggest we add nail-clipping, nose-picking and ear-scratching too. They’re about the same level of interesting as dressage—at the very least!

And since it’s called the ‘dress’age – have you seen the way the participants dress? Eighteenth century European style clothing! What’s with that? I’m no fashion expert but if there’s anything I would describe as G-A-Y, this would be it. (Looking at it that way, it goes nicely with the rest of the “sport” though!) The ancient Greeks would have cringed in disgust if they knew that, two-and-a-half millennia later, their hallowed Olympic Games were going to contain an event like the dressage.1

The commentators try to make the sport a little more interesting. They seem to get excited at the smallest things. I can’t blame them. If you had a job once every four years—you’d be pretty excited about it too! Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone else on the planet shares that enthusiasm except the riders. Oh, and my Mom. I’m sure the horses don’t. Back at the stable later in the evening they probably get ridiculed by the show jumping horses.

Super Stud: So, hey Queenie, what did you do today?
Queenie: Ummm. Nothing much really. Don’t want to talk about it.
Super Stud: Oh! Come on! You can tell me. What’s the big deal?
Queenie: Okay. But listen you mustn’t judge me. Remember, I had no choice. I was forced to do it!
Super Stud: Okay. Okay.
Queenie (quietly): Dressage.
Super Stud (to fellow show jumper): Gaaayyyyyyy.

Queenie bursts into tears.

More on the Olympics later.

1 Addendum: The ancient Olympics in Greece were very gay. Completely nude men participating and no women allowed to even watch? Can’t get worse that that! They might actually have been proud of the dressage.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Lot of—What’s That Again?

I refuse to believe that the use of the term “bull” to denote a Papal decree could be mere coincidence.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I’m Puzzled

Chinese guys are weird—can’t grow a decent beard and yet I’ve never seen a bald one! It’s almost like the inability to get hair on one part of the face is compensated by the immunity to losing it on another.

Does anyone have an explanation?

Gay Dates

I’ve been asked out, on occasion, by guys and I have to say that it’s not the most flattering thing in the world. The first thing that you do is start to wonder to yourself what it could be about you that made him think you might be gay (or at least bi enough). You look down to see what you’re wearing. “Could it be these shoes? Is this shirt a little too ‘out there’? Never mind! I’m just going to burn the whole lot!”

You begin think back to everything you’ve said before that. Could you have said something that gave out the wrong impression? Or what about something that you might have written on your blog? Maybe it’s your laugh. Could it be that? You spend of the entire rest of the day thinking about this incident. You’re constantly asking all your friends, “Do I come off as gay to you? Is my laugh too girlish? Come on! Tell me. Tell me, please!”

I, of course, turn down such proposals because I just don’t want it to get awkward later on. Let me assure you that I have nothing against homosexuals; it’s just that I’m not one. I don’t have a problem with a gay person—but I sure as heck have one with his hand sliding up my leg during dinner. That’s one place I just do not want to go.

I sometimes feel, “Hey, why not? I get a free dinner and nothing has to really happen. Might be a good deal.” The problem is that I just can’t. Girls seem to find it real easy to go out with a guy whom they’re not remotely interested in, enjoy a free meal, order the most expensive wine, and at the end of the night, say, “Thank you and good night.” As a guy, I’d find it impossible to do that—even given the opportunity. And plus, going a gay date is bad enough; but going as the girl on a gay date—that’s a little too much.

And yes, folks, for the record—I’m straight.

News Flash

Yes, I'm lazy.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Interesting Shop-Boy

Today’s post isn’t funny or anything—it’s just something amusing that happened to me a couple of nights ago. I stopped, after work, at a store to pick up a half-liter bottle of Coke. I paid for the bottle and was in the process of putting it into my bag. The plastic bottle—being refrigerated—was obviously slightly wet on the outside and I was mentally debating whether I should just put it in like that or ask for a plastic bag. I decided that there weren’t any papers in the bag and so it could just go in.

The guy behind the counter was a young boy of about fifteen. He had pulled out a plastic bag from under the counter and was offering it to me—aware that I might not want to place the wet bottle inside my bag uncovered. I shook my head at him and waved a polite, “No, thanks.” I then began to put the bottle in, moving some stuff around.

At that point I heard him say, in English, “Thank you for your co-operation.”

I looked up at the guy—my surprise clearly evident on my face. There were two reasons for the surprise—the fact that he spoke in English (not that he could speak English, but that he did speak English—slight difference there) and the fact that he practiced some form of environmental awareness. Neither of these would feature among the attributes of the average Indian shopkeeper.

I didn’t say anything for a second, while these two thoughts were going through my mind. He saw my silence as a reason to explain. He continued in Hindi, “Well, there was a guy who had come here earlier who bought a small packet of Parle-G biscuits and demanded a bag to carry it in. I tried to tell him that we were running out of bags but he didn’t listen. He was one those goonda types anyway. So I had to give him. It’s nice that you didn’t need one”

I smiled. “No problem.”

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stand Up - 2

The girl I ate lunch with today was complaining that I was too busy looking around all the time. Well, let me tell you something – guys are always looking. I’ve yet to meet the guy who wasn’t “looking”. In fact, guys are born looking. They come out into the world, see a cute looking mid-wife, they go – “Hey there, sugar. Leave me your name and number. I’ll get back to you. In about twenty years.”

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Difference Between Guys and Girls

I think the following anecdote goes a long way to describe the difference between the way guys and girls behave. I have these two friends – a guy and a girl – who live in another country. One of their common friends, A (a girl), was supposed to come down to India for a while.

This is how the two friends convey the information to me.

The girl spends half an hour on the phone describing just how amazing A is and how much fun I would have with her around.

The guy catches me on Google Talk and says, “A is coming. Check your mail. Sent you two pics.”

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


There’s a medical camp at work this week — blood pressure, blood sugar, heart problems, general check up etc. I, of course, haven’t gone. That’s because I’m scared of doctors. For one thing, I don’t want to hear the bad news — “You’re not going to live to be forty.” I already know that, I don’t need someone else to tell that me. Even if it’s for free.

More importantly though, I’m scared of doctors. The biggest problem is that their word is so final. It’s almost like living in a dictatorship. Once you enter that room, anything that doctor says is the law. He tells you to “take off all your clothes and make yourself comfortable” and you have to do it. You can’t say no — he’s a doctor! If she tells you to “hold steady while I insert this long, pointy thing up your rectum”, the best you can hope for is that it’s well lubricated. That’s about it.

I think that’s how hypnotism came about. That’s nothing but a bunch of doctors who realized that their patients will do anything they tell them. And they thought to themselves, “Hey! This is a good way to have some fun, make some money and also appear like magicians at the same time.” Let’s call an audience, charge them to watch and for subjects we can just pick people from there itself.

To me that’s a hypnotist — an opportunistic doctor who graduated bottom of his class in medical school and decided that he can’t really cure anything but that it’s a lot of fun to get people to act like a monkey.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blind Dates

I don’t really understand the concept of the “blind date”. I mean you obviously know that the other person has got to be some sort of loser. Just the very fact that they’ve got to resort to the blind date means that they’re not very ‘dateable’. Whom are you expecting? Alicia Silverstone? How desperate do you have to be to say, “Okay, that’s it. I don’t care what you’ve got, I’ll take it.”

Girls, for some reason, love setting people up. Guys don’t. Guys classify all (single) girls they know into four broad categories. There’s the “not dateable”, the “I’ve already dated”, the “I’m currently dating”, and the “I would like to date sometime in the future”. It’s easy to see why a guy wouldn’t want to set any of their friends up with someone from one of the above categories. Girls, on the other hand, just love the concept of fixing someone up. I think girls have only two real motives in life – first to get themselves fixed up and then to fix up everyone else they know. Because it’s never the single girls who are fixing you up, it’s always the girls who are already going out with someone. When they were single, they would never have considered dating you. But now that they’re not, they suddenly seem to think you’re the most eligible bachelor in town – for their friends!

I’ve lost track of the number of times a girl has said to me, “Oh, you’re single right? You should meet my friend X.” It’s like they’re getting money out of it. And X has always got “a great personality”, that’s the other thing. Just once, I’d like to be set up with someone who’s got no personality but looks like a supermodel. Yeah, set me up with a Playmate who’s got the personality of Attila the Hun. That would do just fine, thank you very much.

That’s why I don’t understand arranged marriages either. Because that’s like the biggest blind date of your life. You haven’t met her, you haven’t seen her, you know nothing about her other than the fact that she’s got a great personality.

How utterly desperate have you to be to settle for that?

Stand Up - 1

I saw two guys, the other day, walking down the street in the hot sun carrying a big, wooden door on their heads. I don’t get it. Wouldn’t it just be simpler just to carry an umbrella?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Free Hugs

I did the “Free Hugs” thing this past Saturday evening on M.G. Road here in Pune. For those of you who aren’t quite aware of what this involves check out the videos on Youtube or this Wikipedia article. This is the Free Hugs Campaign website.

I will be soon posting more stuff on my experiences in the coming days. I also plan to keep doing this. For now though, here’s an article that I wrote for the Pune Mirror regarding the my adventure.

Stay tuned.

The following piece appeared in the Pune Mirror on Monday, 7th July 2008.

How would you react to someone standing at a street corner with a sign saying “Free Hugs”? Would you be willing to give someone you hadn’t met before a hug if they asked you for one? Why is it so hard to get a hug from someone you don’t know? These are some of the questions I wanted to find answers to when I decided to conduct my “Free Hugs” social experiment.

The idea, of course, wasn’t an original. The concept was started by a person called Juan Mann (One Man) in Sydney in 2004. Since then it’s been carried out in many cities across around the world—and popularized thanks to the online video sharing site youtube.com. When I mentioned trying it out in India to some friends, the responses I got leaned heavily toward “It won’t work in India.” I disagreed but thought it was worth finding out.

I picked M.G. Road because I had expected it to be a Walking Plaza and also because I thought it would have a fairly distributed demographic set. (At the last minute, I found out that the Walking Plaza had been put off for two months because of the rains, so that was a bit of a disappointment.) I could have tried a mall or a multiplex—but in that case I would only come in contact with a certain type of people. I wanted a slightly more varied sample set.

After just one run of the experiment, I would have to say that it was a success. I received a fair share of hugs yesterday and only a couple of really negative responses. Most people who declined, either did so with a smile or just refused to look in my direction at all. That’s okay—everyone has the right to make their own choices. No one told me to get out and go home. So experiment part – success.

There is another side to the whole story though. I actually do believe in the power of the hug. I’m sure every one of us has at some point in their lives felt like that they needed a hug real bad but there was no one around who would offer them one! It shouldn’t be so hard to get one from someone you don’t know. When I stand on the street with a board saying “Free Hugs”, the statement I’m making is that irrespective of who you are—young, old, rich, poor, clean, dirty, anything—if you want a hug, I’m willing to give you one. I think that’s a powerful statement to make.

I plan to continue doing this in the future. Not for the experiment bit—okay, not just for the experiment—but for the sheer fun of it. At the end of the day, each single hug I got, more than made up for all the hugs that were turned down. Hug someone around you now and see if you don’t feel better!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Unsuccessful Ways to Impress Girls at Parties - I

She: What’s your name?
He: Can’t tell you.
She: What do you do?
He: Can’t tell you.
She: Where are you from?
He: Can’t tell you.
She: Ummm. Is there anything you can tell me?
He: Your breasts are too big, you wear too much make-up, and yea – word of advice – try wearing a bra.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PC Gone Wrong

Political Correctness can be hard at achieve at times. For example, last week in Goa I saw a sign in the government bus that I was traveling in saying something like the following – “Differently Abled Passengers will travel free of cost...” So far so good. But then it continues on to say – “… on display of their Government Issued Disability Card.” (Emphasis at both places is mine.)

Ummm. Are they “differently”-abled or “dis”-abled? Make up your minds. And if they’re differently abled then why do they have disability cards?

Monday, May 05, 2008

“Couples Only”

I was at Apache last evening, a local pub, and I ran into what seemed to me (at least initially) to be some pretty strange behavior. Let me explain.

Firstly, I’d gone there with a girl. (No, that isn’t the strange thing!)

Now, the upper floor at Apache has two sections, which I shall refer to as the Outside and the Inside. For some unfathomable reason, the management running the place has decided to reserve the Inside strictly for couples. There’s a board saying “Couples Only” at the entrance to this section. (Okay, that’s strange all right, but it still isn’t what I’m talking about.)

So the two of us have just climbed up the stairs, onto the upper floor, and are looking for a place to sit – in the Outside section – when the waiter tries to usher us into the Inside. “Sir, couples ka andar hai. (Couple seating is inside)”. But Inside looked a little too gaudy and the music was too loud, so we decided to ignore the waiter’s “recommendation” and found ourselves a table on the Outside. A table for four; it was the smallest one available.

Soon the waiter attending to our table arrives and repeats what the earlier one had said, “Andar baito, couples bahar allowed nahin. (Sit inside, couples are not allowed outside.)” Not allowed? This seemed like a little too much. As far as I understood, the board “Couples Only” implied “Only couples can sit here” and not “Couples can sit only here”.

I tried to explain this to the waiter, but he didn’t really seem to get the difference. I was half-tempted to tell him, “We’re NOT a couple. We’re just friends!” But I have a feeling that would have been a waste too. However, I have a penchant for stubbornness, so I finally managed to convince him that the music inside was too loud and thus we would be sitting outside, thank you very much and if he had a problem with it he could go complain to his grandfather.

After he left, I thought about how strange this all was. But within seconds I realized that there was a simple reason that the management had ordered the waiters to ensure that all couples sit inside. A very rational one at that.

The clientèle of the place were mainly male. Consequently, the Inside was almost empty – only one or two tables occupied – and the Outside almost full. The two of us had plopped ourselves down at a table for four. Thus, by sitting Outside, we had denied place to some other group of stags, who could not sit Inside anyway. Assuming that the situation remains like this – Outside full, Inside empty – we had effectively taken up six seats!

You don’t have to be an Economics Major to figure out that that isn’t the best outcome for the pub.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Weddings: Suddenly Less Fun

It’s like an epidemic and an extremely contagious one at that. Everyone I know - my age, a little older, a little younger - seems to be either getting engaged or married. Literally everyone.

When I was younger, I used to believe that I would NEVER want to get married. I’d picture myself as a single bachelor (pardon the tautology) - the person all my friends would complain to about their wives at parties and other such occasions. A single bachelor accompanied a different girl each time. Or maybe the same one might stick around for a few months, or even a year, but certainly no such bond or commitment as frightening as “marriage”.

In my fantasy little world, I’d imagine them casting lustful glances at the girl I’m with, followed by sleisha fearful ones in the direction of their wives to see if they’ve noticed. “Why does this fool get to enjoy his life as he pleases,” they’d think, “while I’m stuck here with this ol’ hen!” I have a vivid imagination and it’s biased toward me.

Yes, that was the stupid old me.

I think it all started to change about a year or so ago. I can’t put my finger on exactly what triggered it - in fact, it probably wasn’t anything in particular - but I do know that slowly weddings seemed to be going from just happy events to happy events tinged with a bit of sadness and jealousy. I had reached “that” age and I realized that I DID want to get married - and how!

These days, when I hear of an upcoming wedding, I’ll still be happy for the couple - especially if I know one or both of them well. But I’d be lying to myself if I said that deep down - real deep maybe - I didn’t wish it was me instead. Not with that bride, of course, but well, you know.

Basically, I think I’ve had enough of the chicks, I want the hen - and I want her for life.

If you’re getting married and I know you, invite me. But if I appear a wee bit sad at the wedding, you know why.

Friday, April 04, 2008

White Dancers

(Like I mentioned earlier, I’m currently in Germany and having the time of my life because the clubbing scene over here is wicked. Nothing like the Mediterranean or something, obviously, but a million times better than where I’m coming from. However, there is just one small, little thing… )

White people are just the worst club dancers ever. White guys, especially. If you’ve seen one white guy dance, you’ve seen them all. To be more precise, if you’ve seen one white guy dance for 30 seconds, you’ve probably seen every white dance move ever invented. Twice over.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m no great dancer. But even I am far better a dancer than 99% of the Europeans I see on the dance floor. That’s saying something! Put me in the midst of a group of white guys and you could easily mistake me for a professional.

White guys have exactly two moves. The more commonly used move is to hold one arm out in front of you, slightly above head level, palm open and facing down and then to pretend like you’re pressing down on some imaginary invisible object in front you in rhythm with (what you think is) the beat. You’ll see this move everywhere – sometimes two or more people doing it together as a group. When doing this move, it is apparently best to either look down with a very serious expression on your face or look straight ahead with a goofy grin. I guess it depends on how sozzled you are at that point. The only variation possible with this move is to, well, use your other hand. (Old masturbatory joke comes to mind here.)

The second move is used for music with a slightly lighter beat. It involves holding your arms to your sides, bent at the elbows so that your forehands are pointing forward, fists closed lightly, and pretending like you’re jogging in one place and not getting anywhere. Fortunately, no variations are possible here.

White girls tend to move their entire body randomly and vigorously in all directions. This is normally quite pleasing to the eye – since most of them are rather good-looking – but all it takes just ONE somewhat overweight, inappropriately dressed enthusiastic dancer to ruin your entire night. I don’t care how many hot chicas you see on the dance floor, the sight of an ungainly belly – almost unhindered by the clothing over it – heaving itself like a blob of Jello on steroids is going to stamp itself over all of them in your mind. There’s no way you can even try to enjoy the night after that.

This is one reason why I like to dance with my eyes closed.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Germany, Ich Komme Zurück!

I am scheduled to fly back to Germany on the 10th of March for about 6 weeks. I will be staying in Frankfurt, like the last time. Weekdays will be hectic at work, but I ought to have the weekends to myself. Any suggestions on which cities or towns within the European mainland (within the Schengen Agreement member countries, preferably) are worth a visit?

I visited Paris (hated it, except for Jim Morrison’s grave) and Rome (loved everything about it) the last time I was in Europe, so those two are out. I’m thinking Amsterdam and Prague this time. What do you’ll say?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Not to Order Food

Ordering food at a restaurant or café always gives me the heebie-jeebies. I have strict requirements, you see. No, they're not vegetarian or heath related requirements. I always like to leave the place feeling “exactly full”. That means a state where even a single morsel after that would provide a negative utility value. Also, I don’t like food being left behind on the plate when I’m done. So every time I visit a restaurant, I need to pick a set of dishes, comprising of the various courses, so that they all total up, in volume, to exactly the amount of space in my stomach. That is, apparently, something known as an NP-Complete problem. It’s not MY fault I can’t always solve it.

To add to my woes, there are other people sitting at the table to be considered. They’re going to eat some of my food, and surely, I’ll dig into some of theirs. The variables just begin to pile up. And it's really hard to do all these calculations because, let's not forget, the odds are that I'm really hungry!

Then there are the unknowns -- unless it’s a place I eat at often, I can’t really be sure exactly how large the portions are going to be. So I don't even have all the information required to tackle the problem. The best I can so is take calculated guesses regarding the various amounts and hope that my errors turn out to be cancellatory rather than cumulative. Often, I'll get it all wrong.

Whenever we go out to eat, most of the group will be scanning the menu to see what sounds delicious. I'm desperately trying to do triple integration in my mind. My thoughts might go something like this. "Hmmm. I think I'll start with a bowl of tomato soup and then have some of the chicken tikka. But then, I'll need three rotis and if I call for the rice after that, well, let's see. The square root of this is so much, and so blah blah blah [...] blah and then after factoring in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and Hofstadter's Law, we get so and so. Damn! Overshot it! Okay, time to backtrack and try another alternative." Soon my circuits will overheat and there'll be sparks coming out of me. After that happens a couple of times, restaurants tend not to allow you to go back there any more.

The point I'm trying to make is that it's okay to have weird idiosyncrasies, but it's probably a good thing to ensure that they don't get the better of you. Also, please ask me out to dinner sometime. No one ever does any more!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Advantages of Being Gay

I was pondering on and wondering about homosexuality the other day, and I realized that there are quite a few advantages to being gay. Firstly, allow me to state that I believe most people are “bi-sexual”. By this I mean, if 0 is completely straight and 1 is completely homosexual, then most people would lie somewhere in between. A large majority of people are close to 0, but they’re not exactly 0. Most things in this fuzzy world are gray (as opposed to black or white) and so I would assume that it should be no different for one’s sexual orientation. I would define true “bi-sexuality” as somewhere between 0.4 and 0.6, but that’s open to interpretation.

Getting back to the advantages. To begin with, homosexuals operate in a perfectly balanced demand-supply market. There are as many gay men as there are, well, gay men. D = S. If you think demand and supply don’t really matter much you were obviously never an engineering student. As a straight guy in India, I’m swimming against the demand-supply tide. There are more single straight men around than single straight women. Of course, quality will always come out on top and if you’re either rich or have a lot of money (the only two things chicks look for), you’ll get plenty of constant poontang anyway. But it’s a lot harder because you’re in the majority and so you’re devalued that much. Strike one for gays!

Then, as Jerry Seinfeld once sagaciously pointed out, if you’re gay and you’re dating someone with roughly the same build, you automatically double your entire wardrobe. For a guy, this may only mean four pairs of shoes instead of two, but for a girl the numbers are staggering. A gazillion times two pairs of jeans and a squintillion (that’s where you have to squint just to see all the zeroes) times two pairs of shoes. I can’t even do the math. But it’s definitely another plus point in favor of homosexuality.

But the final, and most important, advantage I see to being gay is what I call the “what’s your point?” retort. Let me explain how it works. Normally, when you do something stupid someone else will be quick to poke fun at you saying, “That’s so GAY!” Now, if you are in reality gay, then you can come back with a “What’s your point?” Let me give you an example.

Big Stud: Hey, look at you, calling for the menu at the bar. That’s just so goddamned gay!
Cool Gay: And what was your point again?

Admittedly, this last advantage is only applicable to male homosexuals but I have a feeling it’s slightly made up for by the fact that lesbian have an entire porn industry for their pleasure while gays have practically nothing on the internet that would interest them.

Okay, so on the flip side, being gay means that you can’t visit Iran without losing your head or Israel without shaking the place up (link from here) and in the small eventuality of the Bible actually being true you’re likely to get rogered in hell for all eternity when you die. But to me it seems like it’s totally worth the deal.

What advantages can you think of?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So Cute! (Or Not.)

One of the biggest advantages, I think, girls have over guys is what I like to call the “So Cute” safety net. If a girl does something well, that’s great – she comes off a winner. If she does something badly, she always has the option, if skilled, to come off looking “So Cute”! Guys don’t have that. They can either pull something off or appear like a loser.

For example, karaoke. A girl who sings a karaoke song well is loved by everyone. So is a guy. But what if they fuck it up? How often have you seen a girl go on stage, rape a song, do a little hip dance and almost everyone in the audience thought that was just “Sooo Cute”! Quite often, I’ll bet, and probably more than that. Now when was the last time you saw a guy manage to do that? Never, right? Imagine a guy who messes his song up. There’s nothing he can do, except maybe find the back door and make as quiet and quick an exit as possible. Same thing with reality shows on T.V. Sanjaya Malakar was not “So Cute”, he was “So Gay”.

Or consider a party. A girl can go up to the guy she likes and botch her opening line up as much as she wants and chances are he’ll still think that was just “So Cute”. Or she could go up to him and ask him for a light, light her cigarette, take a puff and end up coughing – “So Cute”. If a guy did that, it’s plain gay.

Girls can cry while watching a movie or get scared of the dark, and get away with it because someone somewhere will think that’s just the cutest thing they ever saw. Girls who like driving fast are cool, girls who don’t are just being “cute”. Why aren’t guys allowed to get away with that?

You just can’t lose when you’re a girl, I tell you. Us guys have it tough all the way. We have no choice but to be the very best at what we do. There’s no “So Cute” net to catch us if we fall. Who wants voting rights! Bah!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Virgin Problems

I am often asked rather embarrassing questions by kids around me. They always bring back memories about embarrassing questions I used to ask when I was a kid.

For example, once when I must have been about 6, I realized that we refer to the mother of Jesus as the “Blessed Virgin Mary”. I could figure out what “blessed” meant and “Mary” was obviously her name – but what the heck was “virgin”? I used to attend Sunday School as a kid – yes, a very­ “Catholic” upbringing – and that’s where I was when I realized this.

So I picked the nearest adult around – one of my Sunday School teachers – and fired it at her. “Why do we refer to Mother Mary as ‘Virgin’. What does that mean?”

For those of you’ll who have never been to Sunday School, let me try to describe the average Sunday School teacher in one line – “Be-spectacled, old prude who never quite managed to get any in her time.” (Ironic that my question dealt with the meaning of the term “virgin”, when you think about it! Who better to answer!) And being the type that they are, Sunday School teachers embarrass easily. As soon as she heard my question she sucked in a sharp breath and turned as red as a monkey’s bum. I knew I had hit a winner.

Looking back at it now, I just appreciate the difficulty of the situation I had just put her in. How in the world does someone explain “virginity” to a kid without first explaining “sex” to them. (Actually how do you even explain “sex” to someone when you haven’t ever done it in your life? But let’s not get into that.)

“Well son, you see,” she started off gamely after recovering from her initial shock, “Joseph and Mary weren’t married. And yet, and yet Mary gave birth to a son.”

“You mean like Hollywood!” I was eager to show that even though I was just a 6-year-old, I was right up there when it came to following celebrity gossip. “Ma’am, is Hollywood full of virgins?”

“No. No. Not at all. You see, son, this birth was special. Mary and Joseph weren’t staying with each other as yet.”

“I see.” It was plainly clear that I didn’t quite see. But she wasn’t going to take any chances. “Class is up for today. Remember to do your homework for next week kids. Have a nice day!”

Can you blame me for believing then, until I was about 10, that children were born when two people – man and woman (whether married or not) – just happened to be living together?

Monday, January 14, 2008

“Need To Change Your Balls!”

Most of us hate going to the mechanic because we know we’re going to get screwed and there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s because most of us don’t know squat about our cars or motorcycles and when we take them to the mechanic we’re as much of a sitting duck as anything. He’ll throw fancy terms at you -- “fan belt”, “radiator hose”, “bevel gears”, “Gossamer sheets”, “monkey piss”, etc. To be very frank, these sound like nothing that could possibly be in my car -- but what the hell do I know? I’m not the mechanic now, am I?

So I reluctantly agree that “Yes, my wanker shaft does need to be replaced” and “Yes, it is indeed a wise option to be ‘on the safer side’ and put in a new set of lubricated balls”. All the while I’m trying to add up in my mind what this is going to cost me and I wind up with my mental calculator displaying the words “You’re fucked!” Then I ask the mechanic, “How much is this going to cost me?” and get a reply that’s about twice my mentally calculated estimate. (Double fucked!)

But I’m a poor (even poorer by the end of the day), ignorant idiot who has no clue what’s causing that irritating noise somewhere in the trunk and if the mechanic says he’s got to put in new headlights to get rid of it, then I really have no choice but to agree with him. And if fitting a new rear-view mirror can help avoid the grinding sound that comes whenever I shift from third to fourth, then yea - I want that done too!

The point I’m trying to get at is actually this -- how is a mechanic any different from a doctor? I personally hate going to a doctor because I don’t know much more about (the internal functionings of) my body than I know about my vehicle. And if my mechanic can screw me over with a smile on his face, then so can my doctor! When I go to him with a certain problem or just for a general physical (the equivalent of servicing your car), he throws weird medical student terminology at me. Prescribes enough medication to keep the entire population of Colombia high for a month and sends me on my way with a huge hole in my pocket. Just like my mechanic does.

In fact I suspect they probably even use the same words (what would poor, ignorant me know!).

“Your wanker shaft needs changing and you’ll have to lubricate your balls! That should get rid of that headache!”
“Right on, Doc!”

Most people never understand why I hate seeing a doctor. Now I’ve stopped going altogether. (Sometimes I’ll break an ankle or something and the pain will so bad that I have to attach a pair of crocodile clips to my nipples just to take the focus of it, but even then I’ll staunchly refuse to pay the doctor a visit!) Hopefully, after this post people will understand why I’m so scared of going to the doctor. (And also, why I sometimes have two weird protrusions sticking out from under my T-shirt.)