Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sugar Lady

I'm not a very fussy person but I like to do good things once in a while. I've been a part of the UNICEF club at our Uni for a while now. Last week was the first club meeting for this semester and there was a new girl. Now we all know that males are programmed to notice and approach new girls. I'm even going to breach the guy code 273 (which states that guys shall not give away, in part or in its entirety, any section of the guy program) and give you a part of it.

ACTION :Girl walks in
IF girl too hot and/or snooty: [[stare]]
IF girl approachable: [[whaddya waitin' for? talk to her, jerk]]

See? It's all inbuilt.
The only problem is that I'm also inherently shy and don't accost girls even when they look approachable.

The president of the club welcomed her and asked for her name.
"Elizabeth" She says

Okay, flashback time.
Just before embarking on this relationship, I invented this girl who'd signed into our club, and kept talking about her. Just testing waters, you know. I'd named her Elizabeth, apparently after Liz Bennet (whom I'll marry, you just wait and see). So anyway, it was a tremendous co-incidence that an Elizabeth who doesn't call herself Beth or Eliza or Liz for that matter, walks into our club.
I take a second-helping of the salad (yeah, yeah we talk about world hunger over lunch... don't we all love ironies?). I carry my book along with me. And then I do something I've never done before. I suavely walk and sit right next to her. I act as the "host" and ask her how she finds our Uni and whether she'd like something to eat. She replies graciously. We chat for a while. She asks about the book I'm holding. It was David Plotz's "The Genius Factory". The basic premise of the book is the history of a sperm-bank that allowed only Nobel Prize winners to submit. I'm not sure whether sleazy masturbating scientists make an excellent topic for an ice breaker, but it sailed our boat quite well. Then the meeting starts.
After we're done with our lunch, we broke off in groups to spread word about our club. Basically, writing chalk messages all around the campus. Vandalism and propoganda, does it get better? Elizabeth and I walk around looking for places to chalk. She writes first with her yellow chalk and I form an outline around it with my blue one. At some point, she messed up and she swears- "Oh, sugar"
Good Lord, do people like that actually exist?
I snooped around for this girl, and found that she's not even on Facebook (wiki). It is sort of the Myspace for college students. I cannot think of any other person who's not into Facebook. Will wonders never cease?
From now on, she'll be called the "Sugar Lady".

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Oh my! those exclamations.

Punctuations are nice things. You don't have to say them in your mind, like words, yet they perform a very important function in language. We take a mental breather when we see a "." don't we? We tend to furrow our brows and heighten the tone of our inner voice as soon we see "?". And apostrophes and colons and semi-colons all have their very excellent functions. But the exclamation mark... the exclamation mark somehow always gives me the jittery goobles.

Firstly, exclamation marks are so frivolous. Ever received those spam mails with a string of !!!!!!!'s? I mean, whose life can be that good?
There is absolutely no wonder that they use the
exclamation marks as warnings.
Look at that thing. Despicable.

I cannot think of any symbol that is as vain as the exclamation mark. Existing solely to draw attention to itself. How is the patient inner voice supposed to react? With vanity? With passionate emotion (but what emotion?) With sycophantic attention? Or just grovelling indifference?

As you can imagine, I like the question marks. They look cool and curvy. Don't we like curvy things?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What if we changed the question itself?

I have been thinking since this reading meme about the question- "One book you’d want on a desert island?".
That question is so, um, irrealizable. I mean, yes we've read Robinson Crusoe and we, well at least I, imagine that it would be the perfect situation for reading. You curl up on a self-made jute hammock just within the shadow-circle of the palm trees above you.You stroke your untamed mane and beard from time to time (or in case of women; bring the unshampooed hair in front of your eyes, glance at it and sigh). You flip the pages, serenely take a sip from your coconut and feel good about the whole world. But is it even feasible that they'd not have found you before you've spent enough time fretting, in this age of satellites and GPSs and RADARs and other cryptic acronyms? I doubt.

So this question must be changed to "One book you'd want when you're stuck in the elevator?"
or "One book you'd want when you're in the bathroom and the latch refuses to budge ?"
Well, as long as someone is working on the problem and your escape is imminent (in quite near future however) then the question is something we can relate to...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sigh, Americans.

Which countries are in the Axis of Evil?
I think all of them...
God Bless America

Direct Link

Monday, September 18, 2006

Guten Tag

Just when I'm tidying up this place for somebody's arrival I get tagged to put in a silly picture of myself, by TPF. Well, so be it.

This was a picture taken without my consent (obviously) and it is such a pity that a scandalous thing like it should be circulating the Internet. But well.

So there it is- my table in all its clutterous glory. And my bald head... I'm not like this all the time.

And I know what you're thinking. You're staring at that book in that left hand corner and wondering what it is. Okay, confession time; it is the Da Vinci Code. If you look carefully, however, you'll notice that I'm on Gmail and actually chatting with this person- who said he loved this book. I remember I was chatting with him, discussing the book and actually quoting all the utterly stupid lines. Sadly he still thinks it's good... well some people.

Edit: Almost forgot to tag people. Sophia, Neha and Frankengirl (rise from the dead, FG, we miss you)

Monday, September 04, 2006


In middle school, we had our essays pre-prepared. Most of them were about describing a particular festival. They all invariably started with "India is a land of festivals (which is unarguably true) and the most important one is ___" The blank can then be filled according to the region and religion to which you belong. For apart from being a land of festivals, India also happens to be a land of diverse cultures, each having their own sense of identity and strangeness uniqueness and their own set of festivals.
Onam (wikipedia entry) is a harvest festival celebrated by the people of Kerala, the region of India where my parents are from. I'm proud of my culture and language and all, but the fact remains that I'm not even a trifle good at it. I speak my "mothertongue" with a heavy accent, that others find amusing. I tend to use it only when I really, really want something from my mother or when I'm in a scrape, diffuses the situation, you see.
Well, enough about me, on to Onam.
Like all Indian festivals, Onam also has an interesting epic behind it. To cut a long legend short...
Bali was a munificient, pious and ambitious king. So great was his fame that he was called Mahabali (or Bali the emperor). He was willing to give everything he had, to achieve everything he could. He set up a yagna (sacrifice) for which he announced that he would grant the wishes of any subject who came to him. He wanted to please the Gods so that he may achieve dominion over the entire world. (How naïve the people, who make these legends are, ... the entire world indeed; coming from a culture that forbade overseas travel during those times). Well anyway, the king was very near his goal. The gods were jealous and did not want to share something so important with a mortal. So one of them disguised as a beggar dwarf approached Mahabali.
The beggar asked the king for some land.
The king feeling totally benevolent told him that the beggar could have any amount of the choicest lands in any part of the kingdom.
The beggar then asked for three feet of land. (note: feet here is meant literally)
This was the most ridiculous wish ever. The king wondered not so softly what the beggar wanted to do with just three feet of land. And the king after some persuasion granted him the wish.
As soon as he'd done that, the dwarf began to grow. Within no time, one foot was enough to cover the whole land. The dwarf then raised his other leg and that covered the entire sky (the sheer physics of this antic escapes me too). Now the "dwarf" asked where he should go to claim his third and final foot of land.
The king was humbled and said that since he found no place else, the dwarf could place the foot on the king's head. The god was happy and agreed to grant the king one wish before he was going to crush him. The king asked that he be allowed to visit his kingdom every year just in time for spring. This the god granted. Then he crushed the king.
So now it is in time of Onam that this king re-visits the land.

Onam is quite like Thanksgiving, in that it involves a lot of eating. A-lot-of-eating.
Traditionally, it is said that the Onam lunch which is called sadya (it is a synonym of feast in our language- just to give you an idea of scale) is supposed to have as many as 16 different types of dishes, including fiery pickles, crispy pappadums and banana chips, earthy dals, yoghurt, lots of vegetable stews and most importantly a dessert called Payasam. All this is supposed to be eaten on banana leaves with ones fingers- asking for a fork and knife would be just considered impolite. And trust me, it tastes better with the fingers.
Now to go back to the topic of the utterly delectable payasam. It is generally made from sugar, jaggery, milk, rice, zillions of other things and butter... lots of butter. It is, in one word, heavenly.

We usually get new clothes and money to spend on Onam day. The whole family gets together and we all share the work and do our part in preparing the sadya. Onam is also an inter-faith festival- all religions in our region celebrate it. Most importantly, it is a time of joy, unity and abundance. Sigh, sheer abundance.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Reading Meme

Thus I've been finally tagged by Sophia, so here goes.

One book that changed your life: Man's Search for Meaning. An Introduction to Logotherapy, Victor Frankl (incidently, today happens to be his death anniversary; your thoughts and findings still influence us, dear doctor)

One book that you’ve read more than once: Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie. This book has nothing but magic I've read it twice (one of the only books to have that distinction) to see if the magic remained on the second reading and it did.

One book you’d want on a desert island: Survive on a Desert Island by Claire Llewellyn. (Which is kind of obvious, no?)

One book that made you laugh: The Great Indian Bores by Jug Suraiya, Times of India columnist and associate editor. Although, many authors ranging from Eric Frank Russell to Grant Naylor and from Janet Evanovich to PG Wodehouse fit the bill, this is the only book that I truly love for being honestly Indian and bitingly satiric. And this is also the first book that I bought with my own money.

One book that made you cry: The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy. In fact the only book that made me cry. Unrequited love, endless forests, hopeless romance, this one's got everything.

One book that you wish had been written: The one in my head.

One book that you wish had never been written: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I cannot think of any other book that is so ridiculous in its premise and so sinister in its implication at the same time.

One book you’re currently reading: Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters , by Steinbeck. Letters written to editor and friend, Pat Covici, while writing East of Eden, which offer a unique glimpse into the mind of a master and the art of writing.

One book you’ve been meaning to read: The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand.

And some of my own... for garnish.

One book you own that you don't intend to read. Ever: Ulysses, James Joyce. I don't think I'll ever feel qualified enough to read this book.

One book you never could finish: A book on Church history I was forced to read for Sunday School, for apparent reasons.

One book you love to gift everybody: Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom. This is one of those books whose worth increases as it is shared.

The most boring book you managed to finish: The Tommyknockers, Stephen King. I usually don't have anything against Mr. King. But this book was almost too pointless. Towards the end, I was just struggling to finish the book so that I don't have to add it to my burgeoning list of unfinished books.

Favorite textbook:
The War Against The Jews, Lucy Dawidovicz

Sadly, I don't think I know 5 people apart from the ones already tagged.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Pointless Time Waster

I copied and pasted my previous blog post onto Google Translate.
I translated it from English to French,
then from French to German,
and then back to English.
Technically, the result should be the same. Hilariously, it is not. Here goes.

"I tried to find a picture of the notice of this that encapsuates I. Attempts also hard as I, I could not could. I experimented with one of Marlon Brando „a streetcar with the designation demand “, but the sad fact is that I do not seep more fairly with the raw Sexualität than the fact it. And then I found this board completely amazing, i.e., OH of Nancy, rectifies in such a way from me. It does not show Sluggo swimming in the sky and that „not “at the world indicates. I…"