I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hidden jewels

Actually not quite. However, jewels which hide are here. A model has been covered with a million stones, which are being auctioned one by one. Hence, everyday, you can see more of her than before. Auction organiser say, "I hope the beautiful photos motivate buyers to make Chantal visible in all her beauty by purchasing some of the stones." I say the photos are grotesque. You tell me.

Incidentally, there are a few gems in the FAQs as well:
May I pick out the stone that I would like to buy?
No! Unfortunately, by organisational reasons, this is not possible.

Did the model have to sleep with the stones adhered to her body?
Yes. - Chantal has been covered with the stones for 7 days and nights. How she perceived it, you will learn under "Making-of" later.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tourism is child's play

Renuka Ambika (thanks AD), look here, no. If Namibia can do it, why can't we?

Should we closely follow this list? Can we vertically integrate and offer a marriage, honeymoon and delivery process? Or will that look outdated in this age of love-childs?

Theo Walcott and football that appeals to women

In case you were one of the fourteen people outside of the English wondering about who Theo Walcott is (and happen to chance upon my blog), please go to Wikipedia or 'the original, most popular and largest Theo Walcott website on the net'. Or you can download Theo Walcott - New English Talent from Footballclips.net.

In case you don't meet the criteria, do not bother with the links above, but do check out Football clips. Many minutes of football fun resides there, including the classic football that appeals to women.

Would you want to come up for coffee??

We have always known that this line is an euphemism for something else, but it's only recently that the Mumbai Moral Brigade has realised this.

''I told senior police inspector D N Jadhav of Oshivara police station to keep tabs and we found that such places had indeed become pick-up joints visited by pimps and prostitutes. That is why we have asked them to allow people only to sit inside and remove tables from the verandahs,'' the police said.

The only question in my mind is why can't prostitution happen inside the cafes? Rakshanda agrees, "...Strange things are happening elsewhere in Mumbai, but I have never come across anything seedy at the coffee shops in Oshiwara...". Strange indeed.

Moral Science Monitor

Two things come to immediate notice.

Firstly, Gujaratis are not the smartest businessmen after all. Granted that Kunal and Yash want an extra cut for their efforts, but forgoing turnover like this?? Chi-chi.

Instead to really teach Yash and that Logic Khan chap a lesson, they should have done what the Catholics did. Watch the movie for free.

Yes, what can be better than this, right? First you protest the release and delay the launch by a week (thus causing working capital problems). If Yash is to be believed (he shouldn't be), then he loses about one crore a day in the suburbs of Ahmedabad, Surat and Baroda alone. Then, to make sure that capital doesn't flow out of the state, you make sure that everyone attends the free screenings. No more protests of this kind then.

So, you get to watch the movie as well as make Yash and Khan suffer losses. Kemche? Maja mache?

Secondly, I must compliment the Catholics for having mastered the art of watching free movies. Now if only they had better taste.

Still, we are inspired and are going to join the Victims of Superheroes Forum and the Aliens Deflowered Anonymous to protest against Krrrrrish.

Monday, May 29, 2006

House full and a poster

The reason there's no review about Fanaa or Da Vinci Code on this blog is that I couldn't find tickets this weekend.

However, I have reason to believe that both movies will be disappointing. But I shall not comment till I see any of them, by which time it will be too late to comment. Hence, I must mention now that I believe Jabberwock when he says that Kajol and Aamir do not have chemistry. I saw them on "Fanaa for you" on MTV, where there conversation was like morphine on a Friday night after you had a long party at a disc after going through a hundred-hour week.

Sorry for the long-winded metaphor, but that's what the conversation was like. Aamir would knit up his eyebrows in that quizzical manner which he learnt in Dil Chahta Hai, say something like, "Okay, what is your philosophy of acting?". Kajol would wait for two seconds, giggle (like she's meant to) and say something like, "What's yours?". Aamir would look thoughtful, and in his own pensive manner, which he learnt in Sarfarosh, say "I will tell you. But first you tell me." This will be repeated two times, before Kajol would forget her cue, look around and say, "I am instinctive. I just react. I heard you spend far more time on the role..." Just when it looks like there's going to be a long sentence spoken by her, Aamir would interrupt and say, "There are three things important for me in the movie - the script, the director and the producer." And so on.

I left in the middle, so don't know whether things brightened up in the second half, like in Fanaa.

Coming back to the point, I did try to get tickets for the movie. However, some halls were not showing the movie. Others had sold out. This hall in Dadar where I landed up also had a 'house full' sign. Plus, there were four-five policemen patrolling the yard, looking for touts or for tickets, not sure which. Hence, I didn't make eye-gestures at the people who looked like they would be able to help me out.

So, I walked out. And met this poster outside. It talked about this guy AVG (aka joroo ka ghulam i.e. henpecked husband) and his misdeeds. His crimes included lechery, treachery, having a mistress, absconding with people's money, embezzlement and eating non-veg food. Actually, not only does he eat non-veg himself, but also he had made his entire family eat it. His family was thus called names as well in the poster.

What captured my attention though was not the messages itself, but the photo which accompanied the text.
Wonder whether she's charging an endorsement amount for this.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bush falling

Bush's ratings have been low for some time, but I didn't know that the situation was this bad.

CBSE Results

"Close to 21 per students have failed in Mathematics followed by 19 per cent failing in English. It shows students are scared of both the subjects," says the Chairman of CBSE. The statement is in bad taste, coming from an institution which, at least in name, means to promote, "...Innovations in teaching learning methodologies by devising student friendly and student centered paradigms".

I always thought that the CBSE exams were a lottery. It probably is, and what makes it worse are the ill-founded marking schemes, which I have covered here.
...Q) On the basis of your reading of the above passage make notes on it using headings and sub-headings. Use recognizable abbreviations wherever
necessary. 5 Marks
...The question also opens a few existential dilemmas. Especially the 'recognizable (by whom?) abbreviations wherever necessary (who will decide?)' part...

A) "Title - Developing Resistance to Suggestion
1. Resistance to suggestion can be built upon in two ways
(a) Childr. rely on themselves
(b) Not on external stimulatn.
(c) Ext. stimulatn.
(i) bad for character
(ii) propagandists use it
(iii) dictators use it
(iv) gets addictive
(v) dep. on spiritual help
2. How sh. childr. be taught to rely on themselves.
(a) self entertainment
(b) musical instruments
(c) scientific observation
3. Ed. not to take the line of least defence
(a) critically analyses
(b) react to suggestions right way - right time"

...If you go past the lack of any structure, thought or linkages between sentences or indeed between points and sub-points, you will notice recognisable abbreviations -
'Sh.' instead of should, while other verbs do not get mangled. Stimulation shortened to 'Stimulatn.' to aid in quick note-taking, while suggestions and observation stay the same to aid in understanding...
Come to think of it, students are probably right in being scared.

What do I need to hide?

What would you do if you actually had a foolproof invisible cloak?

1) I would sneak around to the gym and do the treadmill, without any fear of my belly showing through the exertions.
2) I would sneak around to the ice-cream tub in the fridge and take occasional bites, thus negating the gym, but not being noticed while doing it.

Pity, when the choices in front of me are amassing huge fortunes, finding deep and dark secrets, voyeurism and/ or playing substantial roles in various public forums (like being the 12th man in a world cup final), all I could think of was losing and gaining weight.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Back in the USSR

...Not quite actually, but definitely back in the time when USSR was still going through pangs of Glasnost.

The first thing you notice about Air India, if you have taken more than four flights on it, is the inconsistent service. Today was brilliant. The men who were taking care of us really wanted to, and when Air India's at its best, very few airlines can match it. However, there are certain things Glenfiddich and great service can't make up for. Terrible advertisements made in 1980s, for one.

First there was this video by Colonel Kapoor which was made during the era of experiments with colour television. The movie started with a montage of bored faces in an Air India aircraft that looked suspiciously similar to the one I was travelling in but thirty years younger. The faces and the bodies then went through a flurry of activity, collecting baggage from the overhead lockers, rushing out through the door, smiling at immigration officials and looking dejectedly at the conveyer belt carrying luggage. All this action was shot in hot fluorescent colours scrambled on a grey background, one related shot after another, pasted together in a fusion of bright colours (think sweaters being knitted by Delhi women in Karol Bagh in winters). I was quite flummoxed. Then I decided to put on my earphones, and got to experience a stream of consciousness commentary describing the above mentioned process. It's only at the end that I realised that the film was made for welcoming us and saying goodbye to Air India from Delhi, at the same time.

Second, there was this Jaypee Hotel ad, which had this bored woman with Bananarama hair and a power powder suit attending a business meeting. Her boss was an yawn and hence, she craved for some action, some dessert. She started drumming her fingers on the table and mysteriously, the scene changed to an evening business party, where the waiter brought a creamy dessert with a chocolate covered cherry on top. That made her smile widely, like Madhuri Dixit when she had Bananarama hair. However, that made one of her colleagues (who was either hungry or jealous) take away the chocolate covered cherry with a swipe of the spoon. The protagonist grew upset again. The chef took notice and produced another dessert. Strong attention to detail and customer satisfaction from Jaypee.

The third ad was from Sheraton Towers, from ITC. All of us growing up in the last part of the last century would not have heard of this hotel, as now we call it Maurya Sheraton. The ad wasn't made in the last part of the last century, however and thus had more power powder suits, dour valets, Ambassadors and the works. I won't say more but can tell you that the above three ads deserved an Abbey if not a Lion when compared to the next Delhi tourism ad, which promised amongst other things, networking meetings in the city.

It would have made perfect sense in an ancient history museum. Surreal to say the least.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

When a picture says a thousand words

Thanks to D.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Great Khali, another two months

People believe that Great Khali will not last even two months in WWE for lack of talent. Quickly, bring the Jat accent on!

More on Khali here and here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My love for Mavericks

It was the autumn of 2000, bang in the middle of my first love affair, in the second year of college, in the midst of hardcore quizzing and various other adrenaline-pumping events. I started playing Fantasy NBA.

NBA was being dominated by Lakers and Spurs. At times, a few other teams like Portland, Sacramento, Philadelphia and Indiana made some moves. However, all the excitement really happened in the Western Playoffs.

This is where Dallas Mavericks came in and brightened up my life with an uptempo, almost European style of playing. Don Nelson, the coach who believed in combining a flair for attack (similar to Brazilian football) with the smooth European game. There was no one-on-one prima-donna-is-playing-please-step-aside-plays in Dallas's playbook. Nor was there any defense. You score 110, I will score 113 was the motto. It made for fascinating viewing, none more so than in the first round playoffs when the Mavs beat Jazz after trailing 0-2 after two rounds. Then, they promptly lost the next round to Spurs.

For the next three years, Nash, Finley and Nowitzki were my favourite tag-team in the world. They would take on all comers, have fantastic regular seasons and then go on to lose to either Sacramento or San Antonio in the playoffs. Even with the dream team in 2004, they lost in stunning manner in the first round. The heartbreak's added the tinge of tragedy great dramas need.

Then, in 2004, they lost Steve Nash. In 2005, they lost Michael Finley. Nowitzki was left to carry the flame.

Yes, he has Jason Terry, Stackhouse and and Josh Howard, but ultimately, Dallas is Nowitzki's team. Nowitzki in the meantime has added tons of steel around his game and become Toni Kukoc meets Karl Malone meets Hakeem Olajuwon. Nothing shows this more than the match today morning. Steve Kerr writes..

...Considering Dallas had played the perfect game to that point and had by all rights outplayed the Spurs for most of the game, it appeared the Mavericks were in for one of the all-time crushing defeats. In the huddle, Gregg Popovich told his team not to give up a three and not to foul. Nowitzki then took the ball and made the play of the game. Not settling for a jumper, he attacked Bruce Bowen off the dribble and went right to the rim. Nowitzki made the tough layup, drew the foul and made the free throw to tie the game....

Now, I will celebrate. I will also look forward to a Heat-Mavericks final. Unfortunately, then I won't be able to pick sides. That's okay.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mavericks win

After being up 14 at the half and down 3 in the final seconds, Mavericks win in OT. A celebratory post is coming up tonight. This is to all the cows of Mark Cuban and the German.

Dalip Singh - Part deux

So, Dalip Singh over the last few days had fought and won against Rey Mysterio, amongst other wrestlers. He had also challenged Undertaker and vowed to make him rest in pieces (or peace) at Judgement Day.

Many had done this before. Many then have jobbed to the Undertaker and lost. Think Mark Henry, think Randy Orton, actually for that matter think any of the current wrestlers at some time or the other.

Hence, the greatest fear that a few of us had was that history would repeat itself. After all, Mark Callaway (Undertaker) was close to Vince McMahon and thus, there was no way that he could have lost to an Indian who calls himself the real phenom. However, hopefully, Great Khali would be be able to put up a good fight, show some moves and launch his big-time career from then on. That's all that we wanted.

Hence, it is a pleasant surprise for me to announce that Greak Khali won at Judgement Day. Defeated Undertaker. Became the first man to pin the Undertaker with one foot (Shrik, thanks!). From wwe.com,
"Undertaker endured a wide array of monstrous punches, chops and kicks from The Great Khali and kept coming back. The Deadman even hit Old School, but after failing to hit a chokeslam, The Great Khali took his humoungous hand and chopped Undertaker right on the head. Then to finish him off, the monster of a man nearly took the Phenom’s head off with a brutal boot. Then, to add insult to injury, The Great Khali pinned Undertaker by simply placing his foot on the Deadman’s chest for the victory."
I still haven't seen the match, but what is clear is that WWE is giving Great Khali a run. I hope he gets to work with some technical wrestlers, like Ric Flair (get that stupid Umaga out) or Chris Benoit (what's he upto?), to learn more. Obviously, at the moment Ric's in Raw, but Benoit should be a good match for him.

Hopefully, Daivari will learn to say more than Khali's the real phenom and make up for Khali's lack of mic skills. I would also urge Dalip to use chaste Hindi abuses on screen. Would be great fun to hear Haryanvi (or Himachali) language on WWE!! Also, probably he'll get a title shot sometime. How about putting him against Kane before that? One crazed big maniac vs. another. Or Batista when he's back? That should get the fans excited.

What I don't want though, is a match against Rey Mysterio. Jim Varsallone's calling Khali the no. 1 contender (link might change). Khali's just too big and Rey would either lose too soon (thus, not enabling Khali to show any of his skills) or it would look all staged (again, bad news, like Brock Lesnar against Goldberg). Hope, the creative work hard on this guy.

Here's looking at you, kid!

Shawn Michaels...

...got his name because of me. Read on.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rough Summer Is On the Way for Air Travel

"Planes are expected to be packed fuller... Fares are rising. Service frills are disappearing... Logjams at airport security checkpoints loom... The usual violent summer storms are expected to send the air traffic control system into chaos at times, with flight delays and cancellations cascading across the country."
Seems like India? No, actually United States, according to NYT in Rough Summer Is On the Way for Air Travel.

India is not much better, of course. Earlier at least you could count on a morning flight taking off and landing on time. Not anymore. Today I took the first flight back to Bombay from Delhi. It was a 6:30 IC flight, expected to land at 8:30. Instead, it took off at 7:00 and landed at 9:00. Well, at least, it didn't hover around over Bombay for too long.

This is what happened yesterday. I was taking a 8 am flight which got postponed to 8:50. Indian Airlines has become very customer-friendly and thus at 6:00 informed me through sms that the flight is postponed. I promptly set my alarm for 7:00 and went to sleep. At 6:30, I got a call. It was Indian Airlines again. I thanked them and went to sleep (tried to). Then, at 6:45, I got another call. It was too much customer friendliness for me.

Anyway, sleep was broken and I got ready, switched on TV, dwaddled around for sometime and then went to the airport. I reached at 8:20. The flight was scheduled to be on time, that is 8:50. Good news happened. We got your tickets, sailed through security check (actually the girl meandered through the security as there were only two women to check about half the crowd - "Why do women fly so much?") and went to the boarding area.

Then we waited. Many announcements told us that due to late arrival of incoming aircraft, we have to standby for boarding. Finally, we enter the bus at 9:50, one hour after scheduled take-off. Then, we travel far. In the bus. We go past two aircraft graveyards (never knew they existed), many planes (none of them ours) and all the cargo in Bombay. Then we travel some more. Crowd in the bus start calling up relatives in Delhi saying that they would arrive the next day as the bus isn't very speedy. After half a day though the bus stopped. At the international terminal.

I get off and ask the man tearing off the boarding passes, "Why did this happen?"
"Abhi se aise hi hoga." (From now, this will only happen).

To finish establishing facts, the plane took off at 11:10 and landed at 1:30.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bus karo!

The Invizible Man writes in, "...I felt a part of a world more secure, where I know what to expect from the governments I elect into power. Not good roads, not clean water, not uninterrupted power, what I expect are consistent bus numbers - consistent with party policy, that is. And the government unerringly delivers on that, in less than a week after getting power. Such sense of purpose and ability to execute in a constantly fluctuating world has to be a good sign."

Now I can go to sleep happy.

Quizzer, Blogger, Cynic, Lover (Part 2)

With due apologies to John Le Carre, this is about the small world phenomenon around me and not some spy novel or even about schizophrenics inhabiting multiple universes (sorry!). This is about the only four kind of people who I find myself surrounded by. Yes, the rest of you, sorry. Do remember that I've been nice to you on occasions.

If you have quoted from Simon and Garfunkel if someone asks you why you are this way, then you will probably empathise with what follows. If you couldn't comprehend the previous statement, do not have too much pity on yourself, you are free to read on anyway.

You are always on the lookout. This gives an appearance of a predator - lean, mean, hungry, agile, ferocious, like a leopard. Except that this appearance is all in your mind and in your eyes. The body is mostly softer (putting it politely) and although you are hungry (food and quizzing go together like hot water and Horlicks), all you have to show for the leopard is the glint in your eyes.

A non-quizzer would think of this as manic obsession or a crazed streak. They are quite right.

Thus, you will not have many friends outside your circle of leopards. You will be known as a 'not a nice man to know'. You will read Dan Brown (half of it, and the rest on Wikipedia) and listen to Take That (once) to get all the facts right and establish the synapses which will result in a quiz question one day. You will even go down to the depths of Page 3 and find connections between Tejaswini Kolhapure, Shamita Shetty and Arzoo Govitrikar. Then, in conversation, you will rip Page 3 apart. You will have Take That for lunch, but comment on how Gary Barlow got a raw deal and should have held on to the band. In a non-leopard zoo, you will be the only one who will have any opinion about Gary Barlow. When someone else comments that he was cute, you will steer the conversation to manufactured bands and art and comment upon either Kavya Vishvanathan (current affairs) and Milli Vanilli (who?). Occasionally, when someone will recognise things like Milli Vanilli, you will comment sagely that after all Andrew Loog Oldham made the Rolling Stones and thus they were a Boy Band too. Soon, you would be engrossed in conversation with the two people who couldn't move away, in a party of four hundred. You would be find yourself talking in between a sixty-two-year old, who has actually heard of Andrew Loog Oldham and a six-year old, who understands Pokemon better than you do and thus is the object of fascination.

At work, you will have insightful (to you) things to say about everything, from CBSE exams to Flags of Convenience. Then, someone will bring up the latest Sensex crash. The other five people at your lunch table would look expectantly at the change in conversation and lament upon the losses they made yesterday. Suddenly, you will sweep in and start on how Calvin Coolidge could have stopped the Great Depression through preventive measures....By the way, Calvin is a great name. You anyway swear by Calvin and Hobbes. However, you frown upon (literally, visibly and not as in the dubious metaphor) anyone who will call Calvin cute. That's because, you actually find Susie Derkins cuter, plus, anyone who's clearly in so much pain as Calvin can't be reduced to cute. You will start on how Che has been appropriated on cute T-shirts. Although that day, Preity Zinta did look kind of cute in the Che T-shirt.

You do understand that it's difficult to switch from one car to another on a highway, especially if they are travelling in opposite directions, though Sunny Deol has done such things at occasions. You also realise that doing this feat four times in three minutes is impossible (especially if the highways are in different states). However, you can't see why people refuse to have conversations with you.

You wake up and reach for the laptop to either check your sitemeter or read bloglines. If you see a jump in hits, you would quickly do a blogsearch to find which new incoming link has been created. Your life revolves around getting readers for the trite and the tripe. You will read "...If we get 20,000 eyeballs, we want 30,000. The Internet, then, is tailormade for us, just because we can lure poor unsuspecting souls into free blogs such as this one..." and find it well-put and think why you couldn't have thought of something clever like that.

If being a quizzer makes you the opposite of the life of the party, being a blogger makes you the non-invitee. You will rather stay at home and read RSS feeds. You stop reading newspapers (which you call MSM) unless you need material for the blogpost. You will occasionally dip into your own life to manufacture long posts about nothing. You will feel the need to tell everyone about your latest trip to Maine, the trip to Pathankot where you got showered and the nearest restaurant. You would think that all three are equally deserving of an entry and a mention on Desi-Pundit (couldn't resist!). However, you will never be able to string a story together when in actual conversations. The long winded statements that you have started thinking in, are difficult to speak out in the real world. Especially, if you have to quickly write it down for 'tonight's post'.

The alternative side is that you develop a social circle spanning continents. All your friends are people you haven't met and wouldn't have seen unless Google talk had not put the option of sharing your photograph. You can't see how that is abnormal. Very soon, you start chatting and start pointing people towards your blog instead.

You tell people about the 1000 hits that you have got on the one day you blogged about censorship in China (when what attracted people was the mention of Gong Li and naked in the same post - Oops, I did it again). Firstly, you fail to see that people are uninterested. Second, you can't see that the three people who actually give a patient ear to you, are actually frowning upon (as in the dubious metaphor) your ostensible sadness at not getting visitors for the serious posts.

At times you do wonder why people are refusing to have conversations with you. However, you do not mind as it gives you material and time for another post.

You were an idealist once. However, you don't remember any of it. If a quizzer and a blogger are' 'non-happening' in parties, due to their reliance on stream-of-consciousness conversation, then you are completely opposite. You, being a follower of Hemingway or Hemingway himself, believe in economy of words. Thus, you build up a collection of short phrases and sounds which you can spring upon innocent bystanders. You call it witty repartee. You are reading this post, thinking of your witty repartee as a comment. You will probably never post it.

If someone talks about Page 3 (even a quizzer talking about the misfortune of B-grade star sisters), you will smirk. Heh.

If someone was to talk about Milli Vanilli, you will sigh. Sigh.

If Andrew Loog Oldham will be brought in sideways, you will utter a pithy comment on everything being an illusion. Pity.

In case you end up in an argument, you can quote Chomsky or Derrida or something. Something.

You would roam about stating things will not be this way, and the moment somebody wants to change, you will laugh out loud. Whatever.

Since society won't accept you, you will be forced to hang with books, music and the pack of leopards mentioned early on. You will not blog (sigh again) and might claim not to read any. Whatever.

Obviously, the forces of natural selection have not been strong enough to prevent the blossoming of the above three species. This is because of lovers. That's all.

We prefer them to drink beer, understand what we do on Sunday mornings (quiz) and on weekday nights (blog). We like if they curl up in a corner with a book, while we attend to our passions (quiz, blog and the book of wit, what did you think?). We like if they make use go through edgy experiences, as we don't have the balls to do so on our own. This often takes the form of going to the gym, going shopping and going around. We also like if because of them, we get invited to parties. Sincere thanks.

In case you are having a baby soon...

..or had one a little while back, there's some useful advice for you. Thank God, India hasn't had this kind of a baby for long.

Though, it doesn't stop us from doing meaningless interviews.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Censorship against anti-porn

What happens when a college uses tution money to pay for seminal movies and invites the best known, and perhaps the most prolific, gay porn director for a visit?

A campus newspaper protests, what else? Nuts, I guess.

What happens then?

The newspaper gets banned. First ever censorship of anti-porn protests?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Data on reservations?

I had said that I had moved on, but I must link you to two excellent posts by Confused on the issue. (1) and (2)

Also, in mail yesterday, I got an IIT faculty member's views on reservations. I and another fellow-blogger had talked about doing fact-finding on the issue, and if only I didn't become swamped over the last fortnight, we would have made some progress. What we planned to do was find data on performance of reservation quotas in IITs and IIMs. However, after reading this, I do shudder a little...
"It is the hypocrisy of the highest order that on one hand the reservation for SC/STs is considered a success and quoted for extension to OBCs, and on the other hand, no hard data on the performance of these students is available in the public domain. Some administrators I talked to consider this data as sensitive! Analysis of where the reserved category students go after graduation would be enlightening. I do not have the sensitive data but my experience shows that most of them either go to services like IAS/IES or to the public sector companies. Normally this choice of careers by IIT graduates should be a matter of satisfaction except that both these entries are again using the reservation quota..."

If a Professor himself can't find the data while being inside the system, what is the hope of getting it from outside?

Thus, Professor has to write from his experience, "IITs have had reservations for SC/STs for decades. Why would this be different? Aren’t these students likely to be better prepared than the students admitted under the existing reserved category? Here I would like to share some of the facts with the readers. IITs have been admitting SC/ST students for years under two modes. From the general category, a significantly lower JEE cutoff is decided and reserved category students scoring above this cutoff are admitted directly to the UG programmes. Another still lower cutoff is decided and reserved category students from this set are admitted to a one year preparatory course conducted by IITs themselves. After passing this course, they can join the programmes without having to appear in JEE again. Even this exercise collectively yields less than 15% in IIT Delhi though the quota amounts to nearly 22.5%. Half of the reserved category students manage to clear courses comfortably while the other half struggle on the margins. What would be called a good performance (cumulative grade point average or CGPA of 8 and above) and is achieved by nearly forty percent of general category students, is rare and occurs once in many years among the reserved category students. It is not that all general category students do well. There is nearly a 5% “dropout” rate even among them which is a cause of concern but mainly attributed to the burnout due to JEE preparation phase..."

I couldn't find a copy of this note online. So, can't link to it.

The Great Sacrifice

Just because I am not getting enough time to post to my heart's content (and make enough bad jokes) doesn't mean that I won't tell you about the great sacrifice:

"The police told me they had never seen anything like this. The reason I've not taken a stand is that these people (his accusers) have families. Harish Dulari (the driver who provided the clinching testimony) makes about Rs 750 a month."

So he'd actually chance going to jail to save the lives of those who put him in?

"That's the way I've been brought up, dude," he responds.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Fun with Britney Spears...

...is here. Not what you think though.

Banning Da Vinci Code

As you would have figured out from the title, I am commenting upon Da latest controversy. Needless, for all of us do know that Mick Foley is God.

A few days back, I had covered Water, which I thought would not get released in India. I had also looked at the posters of that nun movie, found them distasteful and wondered whether the movie would attract attention. It did. However, I frankly didn't expect that a movie on the book which has been available in every street corner for the last few months would generate heat. Are Goa elections close by?

By the way, a lot of what I wanted to say has been said by many. That's the peril of coming to the party late. So, I won't go ahead and tell you why it's silly to watch every movie along with the clergy or the military before passing it. Instead, I will take you into Mahadev Auditorium for a ball-by-ball coverage of what happened.

Peeve Ranjan Das, Valson Pompeii of the National Minorities Commission, Assistant Archbishop of Delhi Bishop Mickey D'Soja and his father Donald D'Soja are met by Ramleela Tagore at the gate. The movie had already started and hence, Tagore was visibly shaken. She didn't want the five people in India who would get the chance to watch the movie to miss even a minute.

They rushed in. The hall was pitch-dark and the movie had started. There was this chase scene where the two people who looked like the protagonists were running away from something while trying to save some old man or something. It was all confusing.

Pompeii spoke up, "The LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.... Clearly, over here, many people are driving out the two inspite of chariots of iron... This is immensely hurtful as it misrepresents the Bible..."
Pompeii was stopped in his tracks by Tagore. For the two had turned the tide and were quite succesful in achieving whatever their objective was. Plus, she couldn't bear the thought of listening to Gospel every two minutes. If watching the movie with these three strangers wasn't bad enough in the first place.

Suddenly, somehow the threat of police loomed. Then there were some super chases, some people died. Most lived. Protagonists seemed to be getting tired. However, they were constantly solving some puzzle or the other. It was engrossing for Das, who was drawing parallels with his Daily Sudoku challenge. Actually, this might be a movie worth watching for other Sudoku lovers, he thought.

Somewhere, the two also broke into a safe or something. However, the key was always there for the asking. That taught all the watchers the meaning of life. Except for

For according to Pompeii, one of the protagonists seemed to covet more than he should. There was this occasional glance of this mysterious melancholy smile. Which hid more than it showed. This smile was coveted the most.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. This is too much. How much can a man covet? Why do we want to find the secret of the virgin widow? Let it be. One more hurtful slap at my brethren"

When they recovered from such meanings of life and smiles (and mostly from Pompeii's speech), the scene had moved to this rather idyllic country house. After various fights, escapes and narrow misses, this seemed like peace.
... the earth abideth for ever." said Pompeii and didn't make sense to anyone.
... the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." countered D'Soja senior. He also didn't make sense but was ironically right. The idyll was just a small break in action. For, out of nowhere, a tall guy made some moves and all hell broke loose again.

Then, suddenly a tall guy died. He had been helping the other for a while now. But somehow the other managed to make sure that no shadow of doubt was looming over him. Nuts!
...he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more... May the Lord.." prayed senior D'Soja.
...the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth...." countered junior D'Soja.
Tagore and Das continued to watch enraptured.

Das again asked for silence. He was quite enjoying the spectacle and didn't want
Pompeii or the D'Soja to spoil the fun. Anyway, tomorrow the film will be banned.

Action has shifted to the climatic scene where this old handicapped man and this other young chap, desperately in need of a shave, were trying to fight.
Pompeii was undeterred in his commentary.
..thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe... and clearly, the man is fighting here against this handicap inspite of obvious advantages.. That is the Lord's word. This isn't blasphemy. However, we shall still ban the movie."
Elder D'Soja countered, "..ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.. Nay, this is blasphemy. And yes, we shall still ban the movie."
Das was getting fed up. "Why don't you keep quiet? Looks like police is here."

The final scene had the opposite sex meeting properly instead of rushing through all the drama.

Both looked tired, melancholy but ultimately satisfied in having found each other. This looked just like a Hindi film. Suddenly, they hugged. On screen. Pompeii went again, "And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham... so, it's okay that this hunk (hank?) got tempted.." While saying this Pompeii made a note to watch that Shiney Ahuja movie he had been postponing for long.
D'Soja woke up the senior, for whom it was nap-time. D'Soja senior started, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. Blasphemy. Blasphemy. Please read your scriptures rightly" and disappeared into a puff of Biblical contradiction.

Then there were four of them. They were taken aback and quickly decided to ban the movie in the old man's memory.

'The End' came on screen. Followed by the credits. "Directed by Ramesh Sippy, Writing credits, Salim-Javed...." The four who were five earlier had just banned Sholay.


By the way, please join hands with me to start a Mick Foley committee. I am trying to drum up enough support to help clarify Congress’ position regarding minority issues in a “sensitive and timely” manner.

Update: What they want is "sustained and lingering disclaimer saying that this movie is fiction". Question I have is how will they define lingering? Does the Bible have anything to say about this?
By the way, there's another show today at Mahadev Road auditorium. So, I guess Peeve Ranjan wants others to solve the puzzles too.

Freakonomics applied ironically

So, we were discussing the analysis done by Steven Levitt on how the fallout of Roe vs. Wade in 1970s reduced crime in 1990s in US.

The best thing I like about Levitt is that he uses data to prove or disprove things. He has hypothesis that he derives creatively or through anecdotes, but then let's data take over. Good boy!

So, we were telling the tale. We get to hear, "Yes, just like in India actually. In 1971, all these illegal immigrants came into India. Now, we face growing crime because of that!" Ironic, I found it.

We would like to look at some data and research behind crime in India to conclusively prove that illegal immigrants would not be a significant factor.

However, if the above assertion was true, then crime in a state like West Bengal should have been highest for it's proximity to Bangladesh (Don't jump on me for not considering various factors blah-blah). This would be instructive, then.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Firefox plug

I always wanted to drop in a line about why Firefox? But since RD did it, I will let him speak.

He does forget to mention my favourite extension, StumbleUpon, the results of which keep featuring on this blog.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Roll over Munchausen

List of strange afflictions has,
"Foreign accent syndrome....Without warning, they'll start speaking their native tongue with a different accent, which could sound anything from Swedish to South African. Victims need never have heard the accent in question...". I have met many people who suffer from this, especially if they are talking to foreigners. White-collar workers in service industries call it mirroring the accent while commentators like Srinath and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan don't even realise that they have it.

"Capgras syndrome...
This syndrome involves the delusion that a significant other, such as a parent, spouse or other relative, is being impersonated by an imposter. Sufferers sometimes attack the supposed double...". Countless Hindi film heroes, heroines and their sisters have suffered from this. Amongst most notable victims is Ganguly when he attacked Chappel's doppelganger in Zimbabwe.

and "Emotional blindness...occurs when people exposed to confronting images - violent or erotic - fail to register other stimuli for a short (about one-fifth of a second) but critical period thereafter - a hiatus that doesn't occur after looking at more innocuous images..." A bigger post is required to detail out instances of this. Happens to the best of us every day.

How many you had?

Zimbabwe over Nadal vs. Federer

So Nadal beat Federer once again. Indian television didn't cover one of the matches of the season and instead showed cricket between Zimbabwe and West Indies amongst other things. None of the channels have their priorities right. Good thing.

I followed the game on the ATP website. Here, I chanced upon a really good set of journals in their blog sections. Do read. Well worth your time.

Thomas Johansson writes, "...I had a little panic attack before I went out to play tonight. I was watching Marat Safin's match in the locker room with Roger Federer and Tim Henman and the television started to play up. The lines were going up and down and then they weren't even straight. I asked Roger and Tim if it was the TV or my eyesight and they said "The TV is perfectly okay." Of course, they were just having a little fun at my expense..."

And Ivan Ljubicic writes about India, "...India is a huge country with a lot of people and media, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised with all the questions..." and "...I was scheduled to play third match from five o'clock tonight so I warmed up between 4 pm and 4.30 pm with a local guy, Bopanna, who will be a very good player." He's being nice to us.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Clothes in the swimming pool and on the lawn

"It wasn't just Muslim women who wanted this," she said. "An increasing number of women felt more comfortable being covered up and even larger men who felt uncomfortable in a bathing suit and preferred to be in a T-shirt."

Azizah's Taylor agrees. "It's not only Muslim women who are making attempts to be modest when they go out," she said.

"There's also a contingency of Christian women and Jewish women and others who just don't feel that they need to show their bodies. Other women are striving to be modest as well."

NatGeo's coverage of 'Muslim Athletic Wear' took me back to a vacation I took not long ago in a sea-side resort town in Maharashtra. The town had two beaches, one main one which was very crowded, full of families decked in Sunday best taking dips in the sea and the other secluded one, where there was one resort. This is where we stayed.

Our resort had the most idyllic location, with a mile-long beach exclusively for the 30-odd rooms. Coconut palms fringed the beach, separating the hotel from the beach. The rooms were nice and comfy and all that. However, what attracted us the most to this place was the swimming pool, which promised many moments spent lazing around through the day.

So, the moment we reached, we unpacked and got into swimming wear. We were ready for a dip in the pool and/ or the sea, inspite of it being a really hot noon. However, what we saw at the pool took our appetite away.

Two large families (in number and mass) were splashing about in the shallow end, wearing normal clothes. The women were in saris and salwar-kameez, while the men didn't even bother taking off their shirts. Besides being revolting to the eye, this was singularly unhygienic. We went away to the sea.

Indian families do like to keep it modest. It's fairly well known that Indian women and women in India dress modestly, irrespective of occasion, however, what is less well known is that Indian men too are shy! They would not think twice about entering the sea wearing woolen or polyester trousers. I concede that mostly they would take off their shirts. However, it's not uncommon to see them keep their vests on. The prevalent attitude, at least in North India, where I grew up is that topless equates nanga (naked) even in men. This also seemed an attitude prevalent amongst the Maharashtrians and Gujaratis who frequented this resort.

For the next two days, we used to sneak into the pool early morning when the other inhabitants were yet to wake up and the pool was clean. While there we used to keep a close watch on the hotel, nervous that some other large family would be advancing upon us. The moment we spotted them, we would rush to the sea. I have to admit that swimming in a pool was never as exciting.

Furthermore, clothes in the pool was not the only hardship that we had to face. We were also confronted by clothes strewn across the manicured hedges and lawns.

What is it with people, who would hang clothes outside their hotel rooms when a clothesline is provided inside? That too the choicest of dirty linen. I had read somewhere that neighbourhoods in US were forcing people to hang their washed clothes inside or at the back of their houses as the clotheslines were driving real estate prices down. I could empathise.

Just compare the before and after pictures below.



Needless to say, the value we could have got out of the pool reduced significantly. However, nobody else seemed to mind. Also, I don't think that the resort is getting out of business soon, considering the number of families which were splashing about in the pool, fully clothed, when we left.

Clnuck, clnuck, clnuck...

...with a finger tightly pressed on the nose. Part of some Reliance offer, offering a chance to meet Him.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Today I learnt that...

... An item girl is a sexy girl brought in to dance a particular sequence or song to save the lead actress' reputation.

Westerners will do a lot of things on camera that Indian's just won't do. It's easier just to outsource the role to someone who doesn't have anything at stake.

Filmmakers in India have always been wary of India's powerful censor boards, and until recently it was taboo to show kissing or drinking alcohol in general-release films. Even when filmmakers thought they could make it past the censors, they often had trouble casting local actors for potentially career-destroying scenes. The answer to the problem: Cast a foreigner.

There is a demand for foreign blood, but just being white isn't enough, you have to be prepared to work hard.

and the most insightful of them all - You always get asked to be on films if you are a ghora (horses)

A loud neigh to American reporters making stupid allegations about horses in Bollywood and other things.

Hitler's balls

The two most value-adding things that I learnt on my rafting trip were songs. One was "A soldier went to fight" (I found a version here, scroll down).

A soul, A soul, A soldier went to fight.
To fight for the count, to fight for the count,
to fight for the country...
Fork you, Fork you, For curiosity.
To fight for the count, to fight for the count,
to fight for the country...
Fork off, Fork off, For coffee and for tea..
To fight for the count, to fight for the count,
to fight for the country...
Forking, Forking, For King and for the Queen.

Growing up in the wrong side of town and country, I wasn't exposed to such lyrics. After hearing such, I wished I grew up in Ireland drinking songs over beer or at least in South Bombay.

The other of which we only knew two paragraphs was sung once an hour on an average. This song in my mind, is dedicated to TenG, who asked me sweetly.
"Hitler, he only had one ball.
The other was in the Albert Hall.
His mother, the dirty bugger,
chopped it off when he was small."

The song originally written for Göring, was sung by British soldiers on their way to war to the tune of Colonel Bogey's March. However, it changed with the emergence of theories on Hitler's incomplete anatomy. Read about it here and see some pics here.

I have to obviously add my own two-bits here. So here are my attempts:
"This guy, he used to live on dole.
The dreamer, to devil, sold his soul.
Still the chicken, his brain did thicken -
for his first film, he got Sunny Deol."

"Arjun, he was part of riff-raff.
Trying to salvage his political graph.
to stay relevant, gave the present
of forty-nine and a half."

"Salman, he tried his luck,
running over men with his truck.
Now he's copped it, being convicted.
Should been careful with black buck."

Incidentally here's a recipe to go with all this:
"The combination of the milky-white Liebfraumilch with the champagne will produce a very white drink, where the German very quickly overwhelms the French. The wide-mouthed rocks glass provides breathing room for the drink, which has only one ball, "and a flaming one at that

To make, take:
* 1 part good champagne
* 5 parts cheap liebfraumilch

Shake the concoction very violently but for a short duration, then pour into a "rocks" type glass. Before drinking, add one cinnamon ball, the type found in bags of bulk candy. You now have a One-Balled Dictator."

I want to publish...

...a photo-post. But I am unable too. Blogger's acting up* since morning. So, I wait.

By the way, a few founder members of the Bombay Quiz Club met at Crossword today to give an interview to the Press (one newspaper actually). It will appear next week.

After reading this, please don't make fun of us, since we already did that, posing for photographs on the Kemps Corner flyover. All five of us were made to stand in a line, put one hand on the other's shoulder and smile. Some of us were told that we weren't smiling enough and made to bare our canines.

It was not what we expected. I had gone in for the interview and photo-shoot, thinking that we will pose with books in our hands, looking like bohemians in a Paris Cafe. Instead we looked like contestants for the Gladrags Manhunt (without the face or the bodies). We have been talking about quizzers being geeky hunks and all that for some time now, however, I don't think we cut it.

* I also notice the New York Times instead of Blogger in the sidebar. I find it funny.
Update: I have managed to post the photo-post after all.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sterling is dead, Long live Sterling

I heard it first on the radio on the way to work yesterday. The radio jockey was asking people to call in and talk about their favourite memories of Sterling. For yesterday was the last day of Sterling cinema. It will be converted into a three-screen multiplex.

What memory do I share? My first movie in Mumbai, when during summer internship, we spent all our money on rent and thus, at the end of the first month, felt like Kings going for the movie? Do I talk about that night two years back, when we were singing the soundtrack at the top of our voices at the staircase, surrounded by frowning Parsi gentry? Do I share the memory of those taxi-cabs, with white, purple and green flourouscent lights, flooding into the narrow valley right after the last show? During the same internship, we waited on the stairs outside, observing the lights and the illuminated occupants until the last one went out. Then, walked home. Do I share the memory of those inclusive stairs themselves? We used to spend a good half hour on those stairs before they let us in.

The last movie that I saw in Sterling was Munich a couple of weeks back. So, I thought of paying homage by watching whatever film was playing. However, I was apprehensive that other film-lovers would have thought the same and that I won't get any tickets. Such fears were unfounded.

There was no movie playing. Thursday was the last day any movie played. Instead, there were trucks waiting outside. And a large packing box looking ominously at us.
A couple of workers were carrying out large rectangles of cardboard from upstairs. The cardboard looked like pieces of the wall inside. There was a large dump of rods and beams just outside the balcony tickets stall.I decided to go in to take the last few photographs. I was wearing a business suit, so clearly was conspicuous. That didn't deter me. Alas, my first photograph inside was terrible, with the flash on, filling in the shadows (I forgot to turn it down), and terrible focus. My emotions came in the way of the photograph, I guess!
I tried to take another one, when the mustachioed guard (who can be seen in the corner of the first photo) spotted me. Told me to go out. He shouted at me when I asked for a few more moments. I complied. So, I went out and decided to shoot the last vestiges of the hall - the manual tickets availability information board itself. It said that Tuesday was full, while every other slot was available. Somebody's idea of a cruel joke?
As I was leaving, I thought I would take one last photo. Ironic how somebody had taken away the SOON from the COMING SOON!
Read about how sudden it was here. Have covered this in Mumbai Metblogs as well.
(Click on photos to enlarge)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Water Happy (Part 2): Cliff

I have vertigo. I realised it while standing at the cross on top of Park Guell in Barcelona (by the way, this also tells you that I have been to Barcelona). While I was standing there in perfectly clear sunshine, looking out towards Sagrada Familia, when I wanted to jump. Make my way past the picnics and the conducted tours milling around the base of the cross and jump.

Since then, I have experienced this on top of the library in B-school, Orchha, bridges across Germany, India and Spain, in my office (22nd floor as I call it), office buildings in Delhi, friend's flat on Carmichael Road, Jaigarh fort and most recently, the 25-feet cliff at Rishikesh.

The situation was that we had rafted for about four-five hours since morning. I was looking for a new adventure, which came in the form of this cliff. It was all very simple. Go to the top of the cliff (there was a ration-shop line already in place when I reached), take baby steps forward, get half your feet out in the air and jump.

The complication was that I saw this bloody face in the raft on my way up the cliff. This poor boy had busted his nose after hitting the water. By the time, I had reached the moment of truth, two other men had dropped out. My usual calm self was anyway fighting a historic battle against vertigo. I started taking baby steps.
"Don't push me, okay."
I murmured to the encourager-pusher sitting on the side.
"No, no, don't worry."
"Also, I am not looking down... So, tell me when my feet are okay.'
"Also, should I keep my feet straight or should there be a small bend?"
I was calculating the angle at which there is no chance of doing a Louganis.
"Okay, are my feet over the ground?"

Now, you may think that I was the only one talking. When I think back, I do remember others giving me answers and encouragement. However, I couldn't hear anything. I was in torment. Far away, many people were shouting. It came as a soft moan. I closed my eyes.

Then suddenly realisation dawned. I should jump.

Seconds later, I hit water. My helmet flew out at impact. I felt fine.

Links to Bongs and Bombay

Bhy da bhay, there ees some staaph on Bongs bhich I am proud oph (Hat tip: Maverick).

Plus, Bombay Addict is collecting links on Bombay, what else?

Water Happy (Part 1): Domestic river

So, I went rafting this weekend and as is usual in my relationships with physical pursuits, discovered pain in places where muscles didn't exist.

However, the was much higher three years back. The Ganga seemed to have settled down since the last time I was there. Three years back it was a seething mass of water pulsating like a collegian with an extra shot of hormones. Now it seemed content with domestic bliss. Boring rapids, one after the other, even the famed Golf course seemed in a rapid need of redesigning.

Thus, I spent a lot of time body-surfing. The water was cool and the sun hot. Once in water, we didn't want to get out. We didn't have to, for large stretches.

I heard that this is responsible for reduction in volume of water. If it is, then it is a mighty shame.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In a telling indictment...

...on West Indies cricket's popularity, Supreme Court has said that many people will not be interested in watching the series.

I'm back

..from the Himalayas. The trip can be called, "How Dhoomketu got lost, got water-happy and sang Hitler's Balls" Phew! I finally got an opportunity to crack the obligatory Opal Mehta joke. More coming up soon.

I also see a mind-numbing hits on one of my posts. And comments. Will respond as soon as I go through the pile of work which has deposited itself around my knees.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Unconscious Plagiarism

This is not about Kavya and others. This is about me and a friend.

In college, I used to be with this group of friends. I would call them my first set of adult relations. Where ambiguity was celebrated and we were just getting over the simple confusions of adolescence. Some of us were leaving Michael Bolton behind for Miles Davis. Some of us were getting to actually read Proust, rather than drop the name in casual conversation (and, it wasn't me). I was getting over Ayn Rand and getting my life changed by Yossarian and Sidney Carton. We came from all over the spectrum - gender studies in psychology, economics, journalism, English literature. We didn't think twice about sharing classroom wisdom. We also kept ourselves awake all night, talking on the phone. Twice, my mother discovered me indulging in such illicit conversations.

Then, I went to B-school and I was forced to put order to my life (for reasons which will remain hidden at the moment - okay, let's just say, I was a poet amongst engineers). I panicked, but I recovered fast. I adjusted.

Friends who co-existed in the realms of ambiguity were neatly categorised now. Yahoo emoticons didn't prove to be half-as-decent as illicit whispers at 4 am. Emails grew shorter. Mobile phone revolution was still an year away. Shit happened. We grew apart. We met once every three months, when I came back.

By the end of third term, we started showing up as strangers in each others backyards. Backyards were still open to us. Then, one day, those gates were closed and replaced by Barista instead. Amidst cacophony, I couldn't understand the feminist fervour of one of my friends. She couldn't understand free markets.

Then one day, after finishing Kundera, I wrote, "Love does not make itself felt in a desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman)".* I sent this sms to all four of my friends. She called back immediately.

"Who do you think you are, sending such bilge to strangers?"
That was the pleasant opening line. Rest of the conversation was really bad. We haven't spoken since then.

I wonder whether I should have added "- Milan Kundera" at the end. Come to think of it, I did tell her that it was Kundera, but it didn't make a difference. Still, I wonder.

Now, yesterday, I discovered the following lines in my notes on my phone. There were five other notes, all of them I recognised either as my writing or as somebody else's. This one I have no idea of.
"Love can exist in multiple universes, as much a virtue as a vice. Just like here. Hate can perhaps exist only in the human mind. Hence, fourth of a man is tissue. Rest water, equal parts love and hate. One message, if I have any - cover your behind."

If you can tell me which movie or book or comic, I would appreciate it. For I am thinking of sending an sms again.

*I don't find it as profound now as then. In fact, I don't find it profound at all. I was 22 then.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bengalis are normal

After the success of my post, people have started doing research to understand Bengalis better.

Nuggets from the research shows that "Bengali consumers want value for money as well as quality products", as opposed to wanting products which don't give value or quality. I can see a subtle shift towards free-markets!

However, they are still interested in news "though a viewer was (still) not expected to watch several (news) slots at a go". Some things never should change.

7 kilos of bowling agility

In the year 1999, Bruce Lee was getting fat in heaven. Having met Elvis in heaven had done lots for his appetite but relatively little for the shape of his body.

Elvis and Bruce had met over the great Ed Parker. However, while Lee was an epitome of lean muscle when he knew Parker, ramrod straight like a baseball bat, now he was more bowling pin than bat. Plus, he was losing hope of becoming really slim again.

That is when the idea came to him. If his strength now was bowling, why not try India? Only a matter of a few kilos. Bowling will take care of it.

He came to India, dressed up in red pair of sunglasses and gold chain. Hours spent in tanning salon had given him a graphite glow. He met this man who told him that bowling had nothing to do with weight. It was all about agility.

So when Elvis wrote to him in 2006 and enquired about his weight loss, Bruce replied, "I try and improve my agility. If I try to shed 7 kilos or so, I would lose my strength which is my bowling."

Now I know

For those who have wondered about the real reason why people don't look like their photographs (and the other way round) on Orkut, Myspace and Blogger Profile, look no further.

Have to add one more example to the list though:

example of style:

photo style: Painting
what they want you to think: Have taste in art
what it really means: can't even find a extreme-angled, blurry, close up of a body part in a mirror, which is worth putting on the profile!!

Apologies to all concerned, especially the example.

My family and other animals...

... are here.

In dark Roman repose.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Desperate Housies

Amit has written about our first quiz at the BQC blog. Please read. He has just briefly touched upon the various exchanges we won to win our right to quiz.

Okay, so we were at question 7 in the prelims. We had started at 11:00-ish at the InOrbit Mall Food Court, after fortifying ourselves with hot dogs, coffees, juices and such. 10 or 11 teams were taking part. I was asking them questions of my trusty laptop. While none of the quizzers looked remotely like political workers, inspite of stubbles and will rally-for-food look, I was wearing a kurta, and thus, probably looked like a politician addressing a rally.

At each visual question, excited stubbles and men behind them rushed to where I was standing, thus, making me look like a fakir in Venice or some such exotic gift(s)-laden person in an antique land. I had shaved though.

Suddenly this man in a blue suit and florid floral tie comes up to us, and in his most officious voice asked us what we were doing. He was accompanied by two rather puny security men, the kinds which you will meet standing next to elevators at Mumbai flats. They were wearing the regulation blue and white striped shirt, with a security-guy cap. If bouncers outside of pubs look like the hammer of gods, they looked the diametrically opposite. However, I digress.

We told him what we were doing.
"We are meeting for a quiz."
"You can't have a meet here."
"What do you mean? Why can't we have a meet?"
"No, a large gathering is not allowed here."
"What do you mean? Look at them"
We pointed out a family from the Western-most state of the country breaking fast on a distant table. Where they lost out in sheer numbers, they made up for in size.
"No, you can't have a large gathering like this."
"What do you mean? Like this?"
"Yes, we can't allow a quiz."
"Why? If I can sit with my girlfriend, or I can sit with my family.... for that matter, sit with my local chapter of laughter club, then why can't I sit here?"
The florid tie made a sweeping gesture with his hand indicating our chairs spread out in an arc around the table with the laptop. Apparently, the furniture arrangement wasn't to their taste, or initial design.
"Okay, we will change the furniture. Will that do?"
"No. You can't meet like this."
"Okay, bring us the manager."
"I am the manager" pointing out his photo-identity card.
"Okay, then show us the rule book which says that we can't meet like this."
"I make the rules."
If it was Robocop or Judge Dredd, we might have taken it seriously. This, however, was Floridman.
"Okay, then, put the rule on your letterhead and give to us. Also, mention that you are making paying, peace-loving customers leave. We will go."This reminded me of Sweet Bengal, in a way.

Our demand had Florid-man stunned. He left, ostensibly for the letterhead, leaving one of the striped-shirts behind. Striped Shirt decided to position himself just behind the teams, looking at me once in a while and mumbling into his walkie-talkie all the while. Not much of a threat. Soon, he got bored and left.

We announced the prelim results and started the finals. When we were at the 15th question, the Floridman returned. He had mysteriously turned into POG (paragon of goodness). POG was smiling the smile of meeting long lost friends.
"So, how long will you continue?"
"2 hours more."
"Okay. This is not a business meeting, right?"
"No, this isn't. We are the Bombay Quiz Club. We are an amateur group of superheroes who meet every 3 weeks or so and quiz."
"Okay. You know generally we don't allow such gatherings, as people come here and put up stalls. They try selling stuff. Sometimes, they also play housie."

Over the last thirteen years that I have been quizzing, I have heard of quizzes and quizzers being ignored, ridiculed, laughed at and misunderstood. In the latest of these incidents, the Striped Shirt's boss, wearing the regulation safari suit with pleated pockets, who made an appearance later in the day, called us a Tamasha Party. However, I have never heard of this Housie one before.

A team ended up calling itself, "Desperate Housies".

After yesterday's incident, some folks suggested that we change the name of our club to Bombay Tamasha Party, or Housie Quiz Club. We are seriously considering this. Any comments?

Btw, J.A.P. and others, some visual questions which made people crowd around the table are below. Please send me your answers at

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