Monday, March 31, 2008

Limping Business

By this time, all of you with your neighbors and their dogs know about the famous surgery that I had a month back. Post surgery period has been a pain. Some serious pain!

Because when you walk around with the braces the story goes beyond traditional audience. Everyone who recognizes you as a human form asks you what happened. I dutifully narrate the story and the second part of the story gets more reception and audience. Because that involves titanium screws! I have by now narrated the story to a million people and the auto drivers in the stand near my office are now equipped enough to conduct their own surgery in case the auto meets with an accident. I remember seeing a slogan in one such rickshaw that ‘free surgery, if they crash the auto’.

Just think of this sequence of narration.

  • In 1990, I fell down from a bike in the thick of the night because I believed that I was an owl or a bat and in reality I happened to be a human being.
  • There is no fracture but just a swelling because fracture makes the knee looks like a Halloween pumpkin in the next nanosecond.
  • I was not aware that it is a ligament tear because I was also one of those ignorant folks who thought muscle & bone are one and the same.
  • I proceeded to start playing when the swelling came down because I always wanted to be on the field and cricket happens to be my passion for which I will sell my estate with all the loans.
  • And I managed to fracture the leg because, I simply was bored having two proper legs.
  • And I repeated the feat 2 years later because boredom can hit anytime.
  • I believed that the ligament tear repairs itself because any damn thing in the body is supposed to do that.
  • And people warned me about not opening the knee, because the people I talk about are medical representatives who go through 3 week training and believe that they are better than doctors.
  • I lived with this problem surfacing every now and then , but I thought I was still a hero because no one seemed to think of me so.
  • Then one day I had this mega fall that resulted in tearing all the ligaments in the knee along with the neighbors’.
  • I decided to go for the surgery because now arthroscopy is not half as bad as open knee surgery and the orthopaedician needed a living.
  • They graft and reconstruct, but leave a couple of screws because the doctor is in a hurry for a date with this paramour.
  • And I have to take rest for 6 weeks in all because I hate going to office.
  • But I am also one restless character who tried to escape my mother’s womb in 6 months, so I am back in office earlier than scheduled.
  • Yes it pains like hell because my knee forgot how to bend and I am supposed to keep altering the posture frequently because otherwise you will start thinking why can’t I be regular to office.
  • No, there is no issue going closer to large magnets because of those screws.
  • Yes I would make a spectacle of myself in the airport security with the metal detector but then they are smart these days and despite the beep they know I can’t bomb as well as I fart.
  • Should all be well in another 3 weeks and I hope so, because it is so damn tough acting like a cripple for more than 6 weeks.

Ok this is what I tell to a million people everyday. And that’s what has prompted me to do something. I am sick and tired of this narration and I have decided to make a documentary movie about this whole episode depicting real life incidents. This movie is going to be played continuously wherever I am, or maybe I will decide to have more prints than a Rajni movie so that I can distribute effectively and quell all the doubts in a single day and continue my attempt to walk like a normal human being.

The only saving grace is that the guys in the team seem to work harder and smarter when I am not around to advice. But my boss threatens to break the other knee as business is limping when I stopped.

Just Chill

Yes, it is a forward, can't help but posting it

  • Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed.Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver." -- Jack Handy
  • An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. -- Ernest Hemingway
  • I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning,that's as good as they're going to feel all day.--Frank Sinatra
  • The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk, they're sober.--William Butler Yeats
  • Reality is an illusion that occurs due to lack of alcohol. --Anonymous
  • When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading. --Henny Youngman
  • Life is a waste of time, time is a waste of life, so get wasted all of the time and have the time of your life. -- Michelle Mastrolacasa
  • 24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence?--Stephen Wright
  • When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit nosin, we go toheaven.Sooooo,let's all get drunk and go to heaven!-- Brian O'Rourke
  • Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza. -- Dave Barry
  • The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.--Humphrey Bogart
  • Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer. --Dave Barry

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hundredth Monkey

I have always been amazed whenever I think about 1977 when Indira Gandhi was ousted from power. From 75 to 77, the Gandhis ruled the country like royal power and what they wrote was rule and what they said was dictum. But my surprise is not about the power that they wielded at that time. It was about the way they were made to lose it.

There are accounts that the emergency period in India had its own share of good things. The Babus were at office sharp in time and they feared going to tea leaving their umbrellas back. The government machinery moved in an unknown speed and prompted a few to say that India is still not matured enough to be a democracy yet and a benevolent dictatorship will what suit India. Did they open their mouth too soon? Appeared to be so! A bunch of geriatrics who had experienced British imprisonment, created a movement and how? To the extent of a rookie defeating Mrs. Gandhi in her own fort! It is a different story that old men were plainly old and not wise. Within 3 years their personal agenda overtook the cause of common enemy and they lost power.

But the story is about the movement they created. India is a not a place where we can claim that we have a literate franchise. There are still some pockets in the country that believes that Mrs. Gandhi and MGR are alive. If that is for the uneducated, I saw a question in a magazine yesterday that asked ‘where is osho?’ and these guys can supposedly read. To rally around such a bunch is not an easy task. But they did that.

It brings the point about the ‘Hundredth Monkey’ phenomenon. It refers to a sudden spontaneous and mysterious leap of consciousness achieved when an allegedly "critical mass" point is reached. This was initially proposed by a scientist called Dr Lyall Watson in his book Lifetide. This is in the same lines as the ‘Tipping Point’. A very interesting observation made by him watching the Japanese monkey ‘Mucaca Fuscata’ that washed the sweet potatoes before eating and how it spread across islands at a particular point.

I tend to subscribe this theory. Based on our own internal tipping point moments! Well, internally it is argument that happens continuously about the merits and demerits, but I believe when a particular decision is taken it is more about that moment than the rationale that drives it. Because the rationale was always present. We needed that time to arrive to accept the rationale. Still it is a marvel that this can be communicated outside when it comes to movements like what JP Narayan started.

Sometimes it appears that you just stay still thinking and doing what you want to and what is supposed to happen will eventually happen. The tipping point is not something you define. Looks like Fatalism is true after all. But then, my previous sentence can never be wrong if fatalism is true. After all, fatalism rejects bivalence of sentences. : )

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Globalisation & it's ill effects

Let me warn you upfront. Just don’t get fooled by the title.

Dichotomy exists! There is no doubt about that. As a dad of two daughters ( of course one is too little to cause worries but I might be a tad early in saying this ) , you always start wondering who calls home and what transpires in that conversation which happens at a sound even grasshoppers famed for their ears can’t listen. But then deep in your mind you know that you were doing the same thing when you were young. Since phones weren’t there when you were young, it was standing in street corners for a fleeting glance which moves away faster than Mach 3 speed. But now you are bugged.

The elder one will be 14 in a couple of months. And already looking like an adult girl. And starting from a boy who is shorter than my car door who waves good bye religiously every day after school to a guy who has the voice of a girl, there are plenty. One day when I went to pick my daughter up from school, I saw her waving back to vacuum. I was mighty worried thinking that she has started seeing ghosts and not only that; she is also friendly with them. When I was thinking about the caspers of the world, I accidentally peeped out and saw this ‘world’s smallest boy’. He was shorter than the car window and it was he who my daughter was waving to. And mind you she is 5’ 3”!! While I was relieved that it wasn’t a supernatural issue, this smallest boy still remains to be a mystery to me. He can’t even be seen and at that age when we were quite tall we were dying to be seen.

Anyway, there are other characters too in the plot. For almost about a month, I was passing on calls to my daughter from a particular caller thinking it was one of my daughter’s girl friends. And later I realized that this boy talks like a girl. My criminal mind says that he fakes it to get past me and then speak with my daughter like Amitabh Bacchan. And then there is a Sardar! He apparently is an excited electron and gets kicked around by everyone and gives it back too. Adds a comedy value to the class, and fortunately he doesn’t have my home number yet. Though small in size, since my general knowledge suggests that sardars will grow to the size of earth movers, there is a bit of concern. As a dad & ex felon, you convince yourself that this is all part of the game and you are anyway there and sardars might not grow overnight.

But do you think your problem stops there? This is the age of globalization. The world has shrunk into what they fondly call as a global village and the sub prime loans of USA hits your sensex. Do you think the globalization effects stop with economy? Wrong mate, you are terribly wrong.

My younger daughter goes to an International School and her boy friend is called Jong Ming Park. He is a Korean boy. The guy who religiously gives Dora stickers to my daughter! And there is Sonji Wan who luckily is pronounced a girl. I anyway could not find out, but I am not prepared to think guys at Senior KG can go to that level to masquerade themselves as girls. I am not that much of a skeptic. It is plainly a Korean problem. I am thinking seriously about putting her in an Indian school before we start a world war. And my general knowledge could be good about Sardars, but I am not that good in Korea. Plus, the possible influx of many other nationalities with the government going out of the way to woo foreign investments!!

Anyway, I haven’t got into a guilt trip that if only I had been a nice guy ( even though I was taller than a car ) I can breathe easy now. No, it’s never that way. Atleast I had my share of fun young.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Grave Gravity

I am a waging a battle these days! All alone and none of existing strengths and skills would stand me in good stead. And the army of well wishers and friends that I have can do nothing about it either.

This guitar thing was a dream. The image of faded jeans with a guitar in hand and playing it like Jimi Hendrix is what perfect fantasy is made of. And if you didn’t have one like that, they are already searching for you in mental health institutes. Well, I am not one of the fugitives. I had this fantasy even before I had I grew hair in my chin. But then, fantasy is one thing, making it happen is another thing. Sometimes it was a distant dream to even think that it might happen.

Then I made it happen. The fantasy almost came true. To be precise it came 66.66% true. I bought a guitar and faded jeans. After all this is not an appraisal. There is no weightage associated with this. So 2 out of 3 is 66.66% anyway. The only thing that didn’t happen was the Jimi Hendrix part. The first guitar I bought served me right in the first two, so I carried it around with me to parties and somebody else would play that. And it broke one day. I have already written about my suspicion of that being a suicide by the guitar.

After 2 long years, I managed to find a master who would teach me at home and was I delirious? It is a different thing altogether that the string broke on the first day. I don’t believe in bad omens. For that matter I didn’t even think of that as a warning the Goddess of Music. I restrung it and bought another one and also got gifted another ‘out of the world’ guitar. The problem started when I had to learn.

The master insisted on carnatic music. I was very thrilled. And I thought Prasanna is an easier thing to emulate than Hendrix. And in carnatic they start with a simple lesson of Sa Pa Sa. Can’t really explain the nuances! You sing these 3 swara’s up & down if you really want to do something meaningful in carnatic. And after all this drama, I can sing that while going up, but I miss the Pa when I come down.

That is some serious gravity problem. It kind of becomes a free fall. I am simply unable to reproduce even such an elementary stuff. And that dashes my hope about me being anything in music. You may ask why I am bugged, after all I play the guitar and I am not going to sing. But then who knows. I haven’t shown how I play that to anyone who knows music. What if they find out I do similar mistakes in that too?

I have some serious thoughts. I am convinced that this has got something to do with gravity. So, I am going to stand in a pendulum type device when I play and some one else will turn me upside down when it is the turn of coming back. I am approaching MGM and other theme parks to get that kind of device built for me. Alternatively, I can consider settling down in Moon, where they don’t have such silly gravity issues.

After all, in the Moon there are no living things and what I create is what would be music. But if guys in NASA pick something up with their snoop satellites and you still suffer from my music, please remember one thing. Gravity is earth’s problem and just don’t blame me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Long Live Shobha

She is an amazing woman. Who I rate as the one of the sexiest in the country! And this could be an affront for her, for she is more known for her candid writing, outspoken nature, being an iconoclast and everything what is a traditional Indian woman is not. Haven’t thought of her writing greatly, but what she stands for and how she can bravely say that, in a most backward nation when it comes to women, is a lesson for many. Despite our glorification of women as Shakthi, we keep them where the Goddesses of the country are kept. A dark and a dirty enclosure expecting divinity but by staying as a stone! We managed to chase Taslima out of the country because the country is run by pseudo secularists and the government just doesn’t have balls. Given this context and state of affairs, being Shobha De is an achievement unto itself.

And she turned 60 this year! I am sure she would not mind it when I say that the beauty of her self exudes in her looks too. As if, she dares nature against aging, as she had always dared many an opponent in thoughts and her views. And as the old joke goes, she lives with her husband and 6 children, 2 each from previous marriages of her and her husband and 2 of their own.

Long Live Shobha and the tribe you built.


Oxford dictionary defines anger as ‘a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility’ and the synonyms for the word are acrimony, animosity, annoyance, antagonism, blood of a bitch, blow up, cat fit, chagrin, choler, conniption, dander, disapprobation, displeasure, distemper, enmity, exasperation, fury, gall, hatred, huff, ill humor, ill temper, impatience, indignation, infuriation, irascibility, ire, irritability, irritation, mad, miff, outrage, passion, peevishness, pet, petulance, pique, rage, rankling, resentment, slow burn, sore, stew, storm, tantrum, temper, tiff, umbrage, vexation, violence.

My guess is that currently I have all the synonyms put together. I am in such a rage. If the one word ‘rage’ can explain my state of feeling! And worse is that I don’t know why am I angry and what I am angry at! At this precise moment, I think there is nothing good that happens on earth. Or atleast I am not around in the place where good happens! And I am sick and tired of cheating myself looking at all the positives and give myself lollipops to restrain myself from screaming my guts out.

Maybe there is one trigger that makes me angry at everything I come across, but I am yet to find that trigger. Whatever I come across, there is imperfection that hits me straight in my face. At workplace, sometimes I feel I am in kindergarten class, looking at guys with thick moustaches complaining about the pinching of the guy next, or they go around pinching everyone. Some of them religiously leave behind their brains and get very uncomfortable if I carry mine around with me. My driver instead of waiting on my daughter in her class takes my car that gives lesser mileage than a space shuttle to see his mother. Whatever money I seemed to earn seems to vanish in thin air. All friends who call have a sob story to tell. There are assholes who seem to happily live in earth with no attempt whatsoever to be fair and get their way with absolute meanness and selfishness. The first word anyone seems to speak is a lie. The house seems to be a direct descendant of Augean stables and I am in search of a Hercules. Small good things that happen are often succeeded by awful stuff. All the books that I read seem to have the same message and however hard I try to play the guitar it sounds unpalatably the same. People seem to be dying like it is World War II. This list can keep going on. But I feel depressed if I read it myself.

And there is copious amount of advice on how I should be looking at the world and replace such thoughts with positive ones. There is someone who tells me that I breathe in a particular fashion, I am going to feel on the top of the world. And since then, breathing has become one more task that I do. If I dig deep or think silently, I may draw up my reserves and create a list of good things also. But then it is an effort. I don’t know why it should be one.

More than anything else, if all of us are going to sit and think the positive ones, ignoring the ugly ones, who will teach the bad guys a lesson? Isn’t it time that you simply stand up and go give a few whacks to everyone who pollutes the earth with their behavior?

I really want to. But whenever I think so, two beautiful faces flash across my mind and I stop myself from doing something crazy. As long as these daughters of mine move around the house like a pantomime, guess I am going to be in control.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cheers to Beer

At last some reason to cheer!! My belief that the world is not devoid of good guys completely has been vindicated. While there are more doomsayers in number, once in a while you see a bunch of guys who are like the three wise men of Bible, carrying good news. And when there are universities that do research about the certain destruction of earth some 6.5 billion years later, there is one research that has happened in the last decade silently and has come up with astonishing findings. I am tempted to doff my hat to them, but I don’t have a hat on my head. These guys would be in my dinner invitee list anytime and I would probably spend a major part of my earnings in constructing a shrine to the guys who were involved in this research.
OK, enough of the preamble! The title of the article I read today is ‘Eight Healthy Reasons to drink Beer’. Now you know why ranted and raved this much. The article goes on and on about how beer is so good for health and apparently it minimizes all kinds of illnesses starting from a stroke to diabetes. I guess we need to give more grant to these guys and am sure they will find out that beer is the cure for AIDS. I am cursing myself now for drinking water all the time. And that too knowingly that I can catch a bacterial infection, the moment I sip water that is not from Coke or Pepsi. What a fool I must have been? On the contrary, beer does everything good. It apparently gives brain a boost also! No wonder I am so very intelligent! The beers I drink works all the time on boosting my brain. I now know that for sure! They say that beer minimizes the risk of cardiac arrest, men who drink for 120 to 365 days a year have 20% lower cardiovascular death rate than others. I will sound very biased if I reproduce the article faithfully, so I am practicing restraint here.

And all this is apart from the regular reasons of feeling good, loose tongue, shamelessly making an ass of oneself, delusions of being a singer, thirst quenching, and excuse for having fun at the drop of the hat and so on.

Now I cannot help but laugh. I don’t know why I am doing all this substantiation. One should just indulge in beer. Period.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Death be Damned

It has been a season of deaths. Sometimes it happens that way. 4 years back, I had to contend with deaths of close ones back to back. As if it happened by clockwork precision. It was my closest friend & colleague in January and my ex boss the next month and my dog ( which I hate to call so, but calling it first daughter in this context is so very painful ) in March.

Now it kind of repeats! It started off with Sujatha. And now on a single day Raghuvaran and Arthur C Clarke! The first one was apparently 60. Who knew that? For me when I was 22, he appeared as if he was my contemporary. Much like Shah Rukh ( with whom he even shared a resemblance & of course with Benecio Del Toro ) he started in an amazing TV serial and all of us went around shaving our moustache trying to look like him and ended looking like monkeys. Later he understood Tamizh cinema so very well that he gave necessary doses of overacting in popular movies and went along silently with awesome performances in real good movies. He was in constant search of something starting from liquor, drugs, great love, guitar, divorce and at last spirituality. Just as I was thinking he made it somehow, he just walked off into death.

Arthur C Clarke was another guy! He created that interest in me for sci-fi unlike the others in the world who swore by Asimov. And later moved over to explore the sea, when he candidly realized that there is 3/4th of earth that is still unexplored and he had no business imagining about space. But his story about the notice to destroy Earth by superior aliens to build an inter-galactic highway smartly juxtaposed with our officials doing the same thing for constructing a flyover lives in my heart.

Certain guys really don’t die. They just cease to exist for you to believe that they did.

My homage to these two great entertainers is an ode that follows.

It has this uncanny knack
Of hitting you with shock

Long hands that can reach anywhere
Pauper or king you go nowhere

Makes you think how much you miss
Just when you are sunk in bliss

You dismiss it as no big deal
But bites you with astonishing zeal

You never sit and think about it
But it’s never far, this exit

You think you are racing ahead
Isn’t it always to meet it head to head?

It’s all pervading and powerful
But haven’t it always been sleightful?

Death let it be damned to hell
You just want to yell

When it takes away loved ones
Letting you grieve in tons