Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Contract (Part 4)

Update: For those of you who are wondering about the previous parts to this series, please check the September archives. Will post links to those parts in this post at a later time.
Krish sat in front of the camcorder. The camera prepared to capture a slice of reality. The digital screen filled with a blanket of smoke. The smoke cleared to reveal Krish’s face with a vacant expression. He peered into the camera blowing another puff of smoke.

He began talking into the camera.

“If you are watching this I am probably dead. I have been thinking about death a lot lately. It is strange how you end up thinking about life really when you think about death. The things that happened and more so the things that didn’t happen. Like that trip you meant to take or the words that never escaped your mouth or the goodbye you never got to say. I thought about all the people that were close to me and I lost…forever. I realized there was so much I did not know about them and they did not know about me. It was like they lived another life that I never knew about and desperately wished to be a part of. But now they were lost forever. How can they not exist?

So I got thinking about this. I thought how about I make a video diary and leave a piece of me behind. If ever anyone wondered what I was like they could pop this in and there I am. Videos are really like time machines if you think about it. Although you can only go back in time it is a pretty darn good invention. It is definitely one of the top 10 best inventions ever made in my mind. Lately I have been in awe of everything around me…sort of like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty. But you can’t live in awe of life. It is exhausting. The adrenaline rush overdrive will either make you crazy or dead. Some part of life is meant to be wasted. What a catch 22 it is…you can’t have much fun when you intend to have fun.”

Two puffs of smoke later.

“What would I want to say before I die? I don’t think anyone can really know until the moment they die and then it is too late. You can never really fake your own death in your mind. I mean look at me…I know people die. I have seen the limp bodies. I know they never come back. It is still very unreal to me. The second hand experiences of others dying does not convince my mind that my death is impending. I know I will die but I secretly don’t believe it. It is actually pretty amusing.

It is a very surreal mind exercise. You should try this sometime…fake your own death in your head…try to face your mortality. I mean really try and you will realize how delusional the brain is. My brain is taking the thought of me dying as seriously as it takes the occasional fire drill at work. The thought puts my brain in a loop. I have always lived with a feeling of invincibility. My death is one piece of reality that my brain does not process. If I think about it long enough to overcome the inconceivable probability of my death in my mind it gets more exhaustive than imagining an infinite space. It is bizarre.

But I have pushed myself hard enough to think about what I would say if it was the last contact I could make with everyone and everything I had ever known. All I have come up with is that it feels incredibly depressing. The thought strips me off my rationality and intelligence….it leaves me in an emotional wasteland. All there is left is feelings because the meaninglessness of it all disarms the thought process. It is a point of no return. The questions about why death happens are erased because the futility of knowledge at the threshold of life and death is overwhelming. The questions about how it happens or what happens after one dies are frivolous at that point because they are about to be answered. Whoever said change was a good thing was not talking from their death bed. Come to think of it, those who get to be on the death bed maybe the lucky ones because they get to say a final goodbye to their loved ones. I am reminded of the 9/11 phone calls the victims made to their family. Call after call the words that were uttered were the same…I love you”.

Krish’s face softened. The screen went blank. Krish appears in frame again.

“I took experiencing life a tad too far with the hot dog this morning. Some things are best not experienced…like the ordeal I went through in the last 10 minutes. But I don’t even feel like complaining about it. When I think about my options as a dead person suddenly everything that I have now seems fantastic. I can get up from this couch right now and go do…(lost in thought)…I can think of a hundred things. That is just incredible”.

The screen catches Krish’s half smile before it goes blank.
( be continued)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ankhen nikalke gotiyaa kheloongi



Friday, October 13, 2006

Better safe than sorry

My advisor told me a scary personal story today. Her father was in an accident a while ago and was admitted in the ICU. There was no conceivable improvement in his health for weeks. Then her father acquired infection in the hospital due to his weak immune system. More than a month passed and there were no signs of improvement. So the doctor decided to pull the plug. My advisor asked the doc if her dad had any organ failures and the doc said that wasn’t the case. My advisor was appalled and took it up with the director of the hospital. Eventually the doctors decided against euthanasia. After 3 months her dad recovered and was released from the hospital.

This brought up several issues in my mind. Her dad would not have survived had it not been for my advisor’s resourcefulness. She was knowledgeable enough to make a call on the diagnosis given by the doctor. She did not treat doctors as the authoritative figure to make the decision. Had she put blind faith in the doctor and given up on her dad because the doctor said so, her dad would have died that day.

From personal observations I can say that everybody does not take the initiative to understand and investigate the treatment options available. Some are afraid that they may not have the aptitude for understanding all the issues with medical treatment as they did not receive any medical training. Others have faith in the medical staff and don’t intervene. There may be other reasons to it that I am not aware of. But time and again I have heard about medical mishaps, some of which could have been prevented had the patient’s family taken an active role in the process.

It is a very difficult time and a stressful situation when you have a loved one seriously ill in the hospital. Many people shy away from the patient because they are afraid they might break down in front of the patient after seeing all the machines and tubes hooked up to the body. It is very hard, but I hope that if ever you are in that situation you find the courage to be there by the bedside for the patient. As I suggested earlier, I hope you take the initiative to read up on the disease and treatment. There are many websites that explain the disease and treatment procedures in layman’s terms. Although prepare yourself to be emotionally strong because many of the scientific articles that you may come across may be blunt about the risks of the treatments and disease prognosis.

It is important that you are aware of what is going on. The doctors no doubt are trying their best to treat the patient but there are many diseases where there aren’t definitive treatments. Medical mistakes happen often and some of them can be prevented by your awareness. There was a case where a diabetic person was admitted to the hospital for some other medical reason. There was gross negligence on the part of the nurses/doctors and the patient was administered a glucose drip. The person died. I hold the hospital liable for this death. No doubt they failed to investigate the patient’s medical history and the patient had to pay with his life. But I wonder if things would have turned out differently had the family been more vigilant and proactive in the treatment process.

My mother has received no medical training but she has enough medical know how to help out in a medical crisis. She has acquired the knowledge out of her own interest. If anyone in my family ever gets sick, she is always by the patient’s bedside making sure things are running smoothly. If the saline drip runs out because the nurse forgot to switch the empty saline bag with a new one she fetches the nurse. She may not be able to match the medical expertise of a doctor but she contributes in whatever capacity she can.

The medical staff is there to help you but at the end of the day it’s just a job for them.

P.S. Store your emergency contact's phone number under the name ICE (In case of emergency) in your cell phone.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Failure is not an option

For all those who want to pass exams without studying I might have something for you. I took the W.O.M.B.A.T. grade 2 on Jo’s website and I marked option B for every question start to finish. Jo has already said in the Rumor section on her website that everybody does NOT pass the W.O.M.B.A.T. I can proudly say that I got ‘acceptable’ on the exam.

So for those of you who maybe in a crunch on multiple choice exams take my advice. Take a pick and stick to it for all the questions. You might increase your chances of passing.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mo money mo problems

With great money comes great responsibility? Are the rich obligated to donate money to charities? Anousheh Ansari is being condemned for spending obscene amounts of money for a selfish cause such as space exploration.

For those of you who missed the articles and blogs on Anousheh Ansari, she is the first woman space tourist to go to ISS (International Space Station). She does not like being called a space tourist because she thinks a tourist is somebody who does not need any special training or preparation before s/he goes gallivanting. Anousheh had to go through months of intensive training before she could go to space.

She has invested more than time and effort in training for this adventure. She shelled out in excess of 20 million USD to get to ISS. This has inflamed some people who consider this huge amount of money wasted for personal thrills instead of donating to a charity.

I quote a comment on her blog :

I can’t imagine having $20 million dollars and doing something as selfish as putting myself on a spacecraft and going to space. The money you spent will not benefit anyone but you; you could’ve done so much more that is meaningful to so many more people. How can you look at yourself in the mirror every night when you have lived such a frivolous life? How could you have been so fortunate to have the money that you do and use it so that you are one up on your society friends at your latest cocktail party? Very sad that money does not equal conscience or responsibility.

First of all…it’s HER money.

She earned every penny by being a smart business entrepreneur and she has every right to spend it to appease herself. I cannot consider Anousheh to be a frivolous spender because she spent it on a space program. It is not like she spent her money building a house made of chocolate (granted that would’ve been awesome too). How can space exploration be frivolous? Going to space was something she had always dreamed of and worked very hard to fulfill her dream.

Having said that, it is true that people (like Bill Gates) who have ridiculous amounts of money can make tremendous difference in the lives of millions of unfortunate people. This brings me back to the questions I started with. Should rich people be held accountable to how they choose to spend their money? How do you determine which causes should be invested in and which shouldn’t? Should we not invest in space exploration until there is no poverty, hunger or disease on earth?

Clip of the week

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tell me it isn't so...

Take deep breaths...breath in...okay...I am not going to panic but I went to the grocery store and they did not have Haagen Daas Baileys Irish Cream. I told myself this isn't happening. Then a proud carboholic friend of mine said he was hunting for it last week and did not find it.
May day May day...this is not a test.
It's like the Krispy Kreme episode all over again. I cannot take it much longer.
For the love of sugar...where is it?!!! Somebody run to the grocery store and tell me they haven't discontinued this flavor before my blood-sugar system has too much blood in it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

First 6-string

Are there any guitar players in the house? If so, can you give me some suggestions on what kind of guitar I should buy as a novice? Never played a guitar in my life and I am not going to let that fly. I am going to buy a guitar for meself as a graduation gift.

Can't wait!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

T-rex's ride

Today I saw T-rex driving his car with she-rex by his side. I was deeply content to discover that his car plate number was 420-_ _ _ (alphabets not revealed to protect his identity). I swear I am not making this up.

I could not wipe off the smirk on my face.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Game kar daaloonga

Andaz apna apna is my all time favorite movie that I never get tired of watching. I found this game on orkut that jogs your memory through the movie. I felt that non-orkut members should also have fun, so here is the game.

The game is very simple. You answer who said to whom posed by the first person and then add another line from the movie. The next person will guess who said to whom posed by you and add another line from the movie.

This is my Q:

"Sir, shakkar daalney ka time ho gaya?"

Tokyo plastic

I was blown away by the creativity on this website. Unlike anything I have ever seen. The animation is fantastic. The photo gallery reminded me how violence is integrated in Japanese art and culture.

I was eager to share this website with you. The interactive interface adds to the fun. So explore nyaw

Click on the dog on the entry page before you enter the site. Once you enter site the be sure not to miss 'drum machine'.

For those of you who don't have the enthu to explore, go nyaw

P.S.: Don't forget to turn up the volume.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Jhoot boley kauwa kaate

Duty of the son: Shraddh must be performed with faith, devotion and reverence. According to Hindu scriptures, a son who does not perform Shraddh for his ancestors is an ungrateful son. The scriptures condemn such a person to a life of misery and poverty.
(Quoted from nyaw).

According to the scriptures you have to perform rituals on the 10th day after a person dies. One of the rituals is to make offerings of rice cakes to the crows.

R: Why crows?
F: Crows serve as an instant messaging system between the dead and the living.

R: Whoa, whoa, whoa. How would you know that?
F: Everybody knows that. Here, I even made a neat little diagram to show how it works.

F: In the first drawing you have a dead guy and his soul flying up in the air. Then the soul communicates its last wishes to the crow (indicated as blah).

R: And why would the soul communicate with a crow instead of a human?
F: Humans can be very conniving and distort the message from the dead to their own advantage.
R: Good point.

F: Okay so the soul communicates its wishes to Mr. Crow.
R: Wait are those red undies that the crow is wearing?
F: Yes. Since he has psychic superpowers it is only fitting that he be deemed a superhero, hence the undies.
R: Nice touch.

F: Thank you. So once the message is relayed, the crow goes to the dead person’s house and waits for the humans to make the rice offerings. The crow does not immediately touch the rice cakes once the offerings are made. It waits for the human to utter the magic words (a.k.a. promises to fulfill dead man’s wish). The crow then pecks on the rice cake designated to the dead person.
R: Ri-ight.
F: You don’t seem convinced.
R: Well I was just wondering if there were any controls to validate this hypothesis.
F: The crow pecked on the rice cake assigned to the dead guy. How do you explain that?
R: Coincidence?
F: You skeptics are never satisfied.
R: I would be if you show me some controls and statistical significance.
F: What?
R: We should do some experiment. Enroll some volunteers. When they die, we put 100 rice cakes with one assigned to a dead guy. The crow has inside information so it should be able to pick the right rice cake. Then to validate the result, we run this test some 10-20 times. What do you think?
F: Science is limited by its tools. You can’t understand the supernatural by conducting scientific experiments. Besides, there must have been some good reasons for our ancestors to follow such practices. Our ancestors have come up with rituals after a lot of contemplation and deep thinking.
R: Science was never meant for answering all the questions. But it certainly can answer some of the questions. It shouldn’t be difficult to test the crow’s superpowers. As far as our ancestors go, they also believed the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. They were limited by their technology or the lack of it. I would not discredit all the rituals. For example, the Egyptians had been using copper vessels to store water decades before they understood how copper helped in keeping the water pure. Now we know that copper has antimicrobial properties. However, I want to reason with the traditions and not follow them blindly.
F: Suit yourself.

Test your Hinglish gyaan

So you think you can speak Hinglish? Try answering the following Qs.
1) Location, Churchgate station.
Asked by: Phool wali
Q: Silo hai kya?
2) Location, Andheri rickshaw traffic signal
Asked by: Eunuch
Q: Ang ang ka hai, chahiye kya? (Points at coin)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wide open spaces

If you had a billion dollars would you spend 20 million to take a ride in the space shuttle to International Space Station (ISS)? Keep in mind that it could be the last thing you do if things go wrong.

I know there are no guarantees in life. But some risks are riskier than others, no?
As you might have read in the news Anousheh Ansari did just that. I was biting my nails as I watched the lift off on NASA TV. Boy, what a scary place to be. The bottom of the shuttle is exploding in flames as you lay in the spacecraft thinking about all the people and the life you are leaving behind…maybe forever.
But no guts, no glory.

I speculate that most people would go for it. I wouldn’t be one of those people. I look at life as a series of experiences. Orbiting around earth would be one of the experiences that one can have and no doubt a very rare and unique experience. But I wouldn’t weigh this experience over scuba diving or climbing Mt. Everest. I realize that scuba diving is something everybody can do, so it may not be a unique thing to do in a world perspective. But it is a unique experience for me. In my mind sacrificing scuba diving, traveling around the world, growing old with family and friends and what not is not worth the one experience of floating around earth feeling nauseated, bloated and sick all the while.

Having said that, I have tremendous respect for those who dare to go on these incredible adventures. The kind of advances we have made with space travel and whatever little we know about our universe blows my mind. None of this would have been possible without these courageous cosmonauts backed up by the endless hours of work the scientists have put in. The photos of objects in space some hundred million light years away from us and conceivable ideas about births of galaxies and planets never cease to amaze me. We have come a long way from the days of lore when earth was flat and sun revolved around the earth. If I weren’t numerophobic I would have considered becoming a cosmologist. Since my little brain does not allow me to conceive trajectories and equations very well I play around with tiny cells and bacteria to see what’s going on inside these little buggers. That’s as much fun too.

But I digress. Coming back to space travels, I have been following Anousheh’s blog since she took off and she has been updating it from outer space. Things like, what space smelled like and how her insides went for a spin even after she stopped spinning around.

Anousheh says:

I was finally able to take a look outside and saw the earth for the very first time. Tears started rolling down my face. So peaceful, so beautiful, no signs of borders, no signs of war…just pure beauty.

You can read her blog at

Such curious little creatures we are.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Comments, commentary and commentators

I recently whined about readers not commenting on my blog.

Me (M): 'Bhy you not commenting? Bhy my bilog being ignored?'
Reader (R): 'Arre bhee like you Kiris. Bhee hab been reading, bhere is neckest chapter?'
M: 'Phir bola kayko nahi? Apun itna magajmaari karke chyapter likhta hai aur saala kutta bhi nahi poochta hai. Apun bahut depression hai.'
Reader 2 : ‘Aey ! Apun hamesha comment marta hai aur apoon ko kutta bolti hai ? You are phemale kutta and I not putting any more comments.’
M: ‘Shits. I didn’t mean that. Bhaisaab…hello? Mardi kulhadi apne pair par Crys ? Do-chaar comments miltey they, abhi woh bhi nahi...abhi apoon royega.'
R : ‘Aaisa boora maanke kaisa chalenga ? Woh thode garam dimaag ka hai, woh aayega vaapas. Accha abhi tum neckest chyapter likho aur hum commentary marega.'
M : ‘Boora kaise nahi manega apun ? Oodhar biradri ke log buckwaas chaapte hai. Aur log taaliya peet rahay hai. What they write? They write about trip to machli market and they get phipty comments. Idhar mein dimaag ka dahi banati hai aur zheero comments. Saala apun ka value hi nahi.’
R : ‘Arre kaahe kay comments, sab log ek doosre ko gaali dete hai waha. Aur waise mein sirif idhar comment nahi marta hai aaisa nahi hai. Mein kidhar bhi nahi marta hai comments. Mother promise.’
M : ‘Lekin tu bol mereko, ooska bilog mere bilog se popular kaise ? Howu, howu I aks?’
R: ‘Mein bahot bilog padhta hai. Tere ko bolu kya? It izh all nonsense. Tu ek bata mere ko. Tu likhti kayko hai bol.’
M: ‘Apne vaaste. Apun ko accha lagta hai likhne ko.'
R: ‘To likhneka. Kaun kya comment maar raha hai ya nahi sochne ka nahi. Sirif likhne ka. Tum phikar kyon karti hai?’
M: ‘Tu bol raha hai woh to sahi hai. Tere ko ek baat bataoo?’
R: ‘Ha bol.’
M : ‘Ghoosa nahi hone ka.'
R : ‘Arre tu bol na’,
M: ‘Mein bhi comment nahi maarti hai kabhi.’
R : ‘Matlab ?’
M : ‘Matlab, tumhari maafik, mein bhi bohot bilog padhti hai but I don’t leave comments only.’
R: ‘Saala, idhar mere ko boora lag raha tha. Abhi apun chalta hai…zyada emotional nahi hone ka.’
M: ‘Apun kidhar ho raha emotional?’

P.S. : Thanks to all the readers for your continued support. You rock!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Experiments with sex and drugs

Now that I have your undivided attention let me get into the meat of the issue. Experiments with sex and drugs also known as 'the effect of penicillin on the cell cycle of S. aureus'. It’s unfortunate but science does not use sneaky tactics (like I just employed) to get attention. Now some of you may say that the scientific method is based on a rigorous process dedicated to report facts and people should be able to appreciate it on that merit.
One word for you, *snore*.

Scientologists: “Hamare paas Tom Cruise hai, John Travolta hai, tumhare paas kya hai?”
Kabbalah: “Hamare paas Madonna, Britney, Paris and Ashton hai”.
Science (puts on nerd glasses): “Does Al Gore count as a celebrity?”

The few celebrity supporters science has are the likes of Christopher Reeves and Michael J. Fox who have been afflicted by some disability themselves. Surely we can rally up some support in Hollywood. After all they have been reaping the benefits of liposuction and nose jobs and making millions.
Scientist 1: Ouch! That is such a shallow image for science. Let’s not make boob jobs our poster child please.
Crys: It’s time we shed our snob factor and embrace everything that science has given us. Boob jobs, birth control, nukes and pacemakers and everything in between. Let’s all proudly gloat over the shallow and deep benefits of supporting science.

Hollywood has been busy warning us about the perils of science for years on end (those ungrateful bastards…they use the very technology that science developed against it). From Frankenstein to Jurassic Park, Hollywood is dedicated to perpetuating the mad scientist cliché and unleashing monsters on society. Science urgently needs some spin doctors to put a positive spin on the negative image that has been generated for decades.

The unpopularity of science was apparent when communal indifference (as a result of ignorance) to science reached a new high with the Dover trial. Historically, the scientific community has not put any extra effort to relay their complicated finding in a manner that was consumable for the masses unless the scientific process/funding was in jeopardy. This complacency in communication was greatly exploited by the intelligent design quacks who cleverly disguised their god of gaps in a coat of seemingly factual armor. The scientific community was left scrambling to come up with a suitable defense because they were simply not taking this seriously. They thought that the idea of people rallying in support of this sham of a theory was preposterous. Needless to say the researchers underestimated their opponents.

While the researchers were oblivious to the quack science propaganda, the ID proponents gained a lot of ground victimizing one ignorant mind after another. The ID quacks got enough support and convinced hoards of people to demand that intelligent design be not only accepted as a scientific theory but also be taught in science classrooms. Soon the researchers realized what was blaringly obvious to them was not necessarily as evident to the layman.

The ID proponents were ready to make their presence felt in the science classrooms. The researchers had to promptly pick up their jaws that were left hanging in total disbelief at the sucker coefficient of the masses and wage a full-fledged war. It was a hard battle because by the very act of engaging with the quacks, the researchers were left with a bitter taste of giving the ID proponents unwarranted credibility. Finally rationality prevailed as the court ruled in favor of the researchers. If anything, this epic battle opened the eyes of the scientific community to the responsibility of leading the masses to the wisdom that they painstakingly research.

There are renewed efforts by scientists to better communicate their findings. Yet the journey has only begun. It’s not a menial task to simplify the mind boggling findings to consumer friendly tid-bits of fun facts. A couple of weeks ago my university had an open forum where the scientists could present their findings and address questions to the volunteers, donors and other lay-people. One of the questions that were asked was, “Well if we have been researching so hard on cancer why don’t we have a cure yet?” Some of the graduate students were ready to pull out their hair, some wanted to laugh, others wanted to cry, mostly the sentiment of what a thankless job it is to communicate were reverberating in their heads but even so they tried to explain the challenges in biology.

If it were easy it would have been done already.

Foraging into the field of biology armed (and often limited) by our rationality and imagination is quite an adventure. Often times the carefully laid plans don’t lead to fruition. The journey is plagued with failures. Success is rare. The questions lead to more questions. But even so the curiosity never fades. We tickle our brain cells with intrigue. We keep at it, battling low wages and streaks of failures with nobody waiting in the alleys to applaud our uncommon success.

I have a little treat for all you fellow biologists and biology enthusiasts. This is an animation made by XVIVO in an effort to cultivate interest in the molecular biology program at Harvard. The animation illustrates unseen molecular mechanisms and the ones they trigger, specifically how white blood cells sense and respond to their surroundings and external stimuli. I immensely enjoyed it. I had all these images in my head about the enzymes nicking and the DNA strand unwinding. Finally here it was…a form to my vision. Hope you enjoy it too.

Inner life of a cell

The Contract (Part 3)

Krish sat in the lawyer’s office with a pounding headache, partly because of sleep deprivation and partly because his head was imploding with thoughts at a million ideas per second. He dug into the skin of his forehead to relieve the pain and closed his eyes to focus his thoughts on the contract renewal.

Lawyer: Here you are. Take your pick.

He had a red pill in one palm and a blue pill in another.
Krish’s eyes opened wide.

L: You take the red pill and the story ends. You forget about the contract, live your life for another year and get terminated. You wake in your bed and forget this ever happened. You take the blue pill and you stay here until we figure out a proposal for the contract. My advice is to go with the red pill.

K: Holy shit! The Matrix is real?

Lawyer bursts out in hysterical laughter.

K: What is so funny?
L: You are so gullible. This never gets old.
K: I am glad at least one of us is having fun.
L: When the Wachowski brothers were up for their contract renewal, they came up with the whole Matrix spiel as a bid to explain the universe. The committee thought that the brothers could make tremendous contribution to the field of literature. They were granted the scholarship of Most Promising Humorous Writers.
K: I knew you were kidding with those pills you know?
L: Sure. Here is the red one. It’s ibuprofen for you headache.
K: Thanks.

Krish gulps down the pill and waits patiently for the throbbing in his head to stop.

K: So does the committee favor string theory over the matrix?
L: All I know is that the physics books go straight to the Humor section and the religious philosophy goes under Fiction.
K: So we aren’t even close in unraveling the workings of the universe?
L: Humanity has a lot of growing up to do. We are still fighting religious wars.
K: Don’t be such a pessimist. I don’t know how long it would take us but I have no doubts that we will get there someday…unless we nuke each other out…and the roaches will inherit the earth. Goddamn roaches.
L: Earth calling Krish.
K: Or maybe our purpose on earth is to figure out our purpose. That’s it!
L: God dammit, did I give you the wrong pill?

Lawyer inspects the pills.

K: I am serious. Figuring out our purpose is the next step in our intellectual evolution.
L: Evolution sadly lacks direction. The fact that humans are on the top of the food chain should be proof enough that evolution has no direction and natural selection has failed miserably.
K: Aw come on, you don’t believe that our evolution is all merely a series of highly improbable coincidences?
L: You disagree?
K: All I am saying is that life couldn’t have come together beating all the odds. Do you know what the probability of that is?
L: You have started the line of questioning that intelligent design proponents pose. Without going into the science of it I would just say just because something is not highly probable does not mean it can’t happen. But assuming that we have evolved with a purpose, what do you speculate that is?
K: I find humans to have a blend of characteristics that enable us to outperform any other species on earth. There is the intellect, logic and rational thinking on one hand but we don’t function like robots. We have emotions which functions on an alternative plane to rationality and in my opinion is the essential ingredient that fuels our imagination.
L: Okay, first of all we are not exactly outperforming all the other species. The viruses and bacteria are giving us a run for the money wouldn’t you say? They have shared this planet with us for all our existence and they are doing just fine…nowhere near extinction. They do all this without any fancy nuclear missiles, just old fashioned toxins and shit. But that aside, are you convinced that an entity functioning solely on rationality will not be capable of understanding the meaning of life?
K: Yes. Just like a computer can’t appreciate the serenity of a sunset on the beach. The feeling is lost on it.
L: And it is important to appreciate the serenity of the sunset to understand the universe?
K: I’d like to believe that.

Lawyer smiles.

L: Sometimes it’s just too ambitious and maybe futile to ask these questions. What will the ant do if it finally figured out how our subway systems work?
K: It does not matter what the ant does. The nirvana is in the figuring out.
L: The journey is more important to you then?
K: Yes…and preferably a long journey might I add.

Both smile.

L: What if the ant does not have the capacity to understand the subway system? It’s like trying to store a GB of information in a 1KB memory stick.
K: The ants can always come together.
L: That’s the catch isn’t it?
K: Yeah, we have some centuries of bickering ahead of us. But you don’t seem to buy this?
L: A little cliché but I like to think that key to life is in its desire to perpetuate. It is one force that every individual has to fight really hard against if one ever decides to resist. It is wired in our system and therein lays the crux. But my small brain does not allow me to delve into this any further. Besides, I prefer the universe shrouded in mystery. Some things are better unknown.
K: You must be kidding me. How could you just sit there and let this incredible gift of intelligence just rot?
L: I prefer simplicity. Ignorance works for me.
K: That’s preposterous.
L: Oh look at the time. I need to attend to other matters now. I am sure you have places to be and things to do.
K: Alright. I guess I will see you tomorrow then?
L: Of course. Have a good day now.
K: Yes…you too.

Krish made his way through the eerily quiet office building to the vibrant streets of Manhattan. The distress of his impending demise had vanished completely. The usually annoying sounds of traffic resounded like a jazz symphony in his ears. He didn’t ever like jazz but today he enjoyed it immensely.

Then a whiff of aroma from a neighboring hot dog stall caught Krish’s fancy. His tummy growled sensing the feast. Krish was a very picky eater who would rather starve than eat anything he disliked. A delightful piece of mystery meat slapped carelessly with mustard seemed to be a fitting meal for no good reason. His spirits were lifted like a helium filled balloon and he walked the streets in hysterical stupor. Nothing at the moment seemed to follow reason in his mind. The realization of mortality had given him certain liberties that he would’ve never taken otherwise. There was so little to lose other than time.

( be continued)

Clip of the week

Sunday, September 17, 2006

W.O.M.B.A.T. code please

Hear ye Potter fans,
Can some generous soul please give me their W.O.M.B.A.T. code, pretty please with cherry on top?
(Fluttering puppy eyes)
All you have to do is put it as a comment which I will not publish if you don't want to share it with the whole world.

Or at least tell me what's on the other site of the WOMBAT card on Rowling's website. The mystery is killing me. Waiting for the seventh book is hard enough. Are the WOMBAT code owners privy to some things that will happen in the next book? I sure hope that Dumbledore does not pull a Gandalf in the seventh book. I would be really disappointed if that happened. Although I am not entirely sure why Dumbledore can't hang out like Moaning Myrtle and Nearly Headless Nick and continue to be the head of Hogwarts?

I am fairly convinced that the two characters that die in the last Potter book are Voldy and Harry. Can't believe that there are actual sites for betting money on who dies in the seventh book ( My favorite theory (from the hundreds of insane ones online) is that Harry is a Horcrux and therefore the prophecy, "and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives". So Harry Potter has to sacrifice his life to kill Voldy. What's more, Rowling does not have to write any sequels.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A silly rhyme

I lay awake in my bed
Loud pounding in my head
Thirsty for a peaceful night
Bloodshot eyes shut awfully tight

T-rex happily jumping still
Thoughts of choking, slap and kill (it's the sleep deprivation)
My head hatches an evil plan
Could I bake him into a flan

Or a tranquilizer in his butt perhaps
Or a little brake failure mishap
Voices echoing in my head
T-rex for heaven's sakes go to bed!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mera Bharat Mahaan

At the outset I want to say that this is not a diatribe on patriotism and that self-criticism does not always have to be self-deprecating. In the same vein it brings out the devil in me when I see some of my desi friends educate Americans on India by propagating their bastardized views of India.

I am not bothered by the pseudo-american accent that some of my friends put on. There are some who try to adapt to the American accent for the ease of communication and that could be a genuine reason. After all I trained myself to refer to capsicum as green pepper after receiving some blank stares from the cafeteria staff. Then there are others whose scathing desperation for acceptance by the gori chamdi is apparent as they put the eye in I-raq (yikes!). The fake accent is evident when they order wodka instead of vodka impervious of the holes in their enunciations. But hey, everyone has a right to make a fool of themselves. What gets to me is when these pseudo-accented pseudo-intellectuals start India bashing.

Blanket statements about the ignorance of the masses in India are made, with a special emphasis on backward thinking. Never mind the geographically challenged audience whose views on the world map have lately been expanded to the Middle East. The education on Indian culture continues through movies like Salaam Bombay and Water where the poverty in India and exploitation of women is showcased. My gripe is not about the portrayal of the poverty-stricken disease afflicted life in India, but with leaving it just at that and nothing more.

I am not asking them to live in denial, oblivious to the challenges in India nor do they have to run down the street thumping their chests in jingoistic fervor. But every time I hear the self-deprecating tirade I want to bitch slap them out of their stupor.

Don’t be too impressed by the organized queues and polite mannerisms in America. In my opinion, logistics is one of the biggest challenges for India and is the main ingredient for the chaos and disorganization. Put Americans in the same boat and you will get the same disorder. A couple of years ago I was in Washington D.C. and my generous advisor (love her) took me to the Kennedy Center to see the Philadelphia orchestra. Here I was smack in the middle of affluent splendor. The average age of the audience was 60. It was a full-house that evening and opulence was parading in penguin suits and cocktail gowns. The red carpet below my feet flowed like wine and the gigantic chandelier in the heavens screamed extravagance. A couple of ‘lovely’ hours later we made our way out of the auditorium to catch a shuttle.

I don’t know why the arrangements were made such but everybody had to take the shuttle to the parking lot which was some 15 minutes away from the auditorium. The shuttle would take at least 4 trips before everybody would be on their way home. So we did the quick math and figured that the wait would be up to an hour for those who get into the last shuttle ride. It was nothing short of spectacular to see these 60-somethings dressed in gowns and suits trample over each to get to the shuttle. The queues quickly went from endangered to extinct. My advisor was appalled to say the least. I was just amused to see politeness tossed out of the window as chaos took charge to unleash blatant disregard to fellow passengers.

At the end of the day, we are all the same. They have their blonde jokes while we mock the sardarjis. We have our Bajrang Dal and they have their Bible thumpers. The morning-after pills are denied by pharmacists in the name of religion in the land of the free. We can learn from the successes of western culture and they can learn a few things from us too. I hope that someday these self-hating wannabe yuppies will stop this self-flagellation.

Realize pride is not just a gay thing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Clip of the week: Facing the Grim Reaper

Have you ever wondered how you would react if you saw the Grim Reaper standing right behind you at the grocery store? Well the people in this clip found out just that. A candid camera crew played a prank on some unsuspecting customers who ended up fidgeting and sweating nervously. Watch :

Monday, September 11, 2006

Welcome to hell

Little Miss Sunshine.
Rated M for Must watch movie of the year.

My friends joined me at the theater with much skepticism as most of them hadn’t even heard about Little Miss Sunshine. In the first 5 minutes they started adjusting themselves in their seats, preparing to doze off. On screen the movie seemed to set a slow docu-drama pace and I was beginning to wonder why I thought it was a comedy?

Then it happened, the dysfunctional movie family got together at the dinner table. The bouts of laughter started rolling in from the audience and continued into a pandemonium of laugh-a-thon until most of the audience members were just about ready to roll on the floor laughing.

This satire maintains its feel of grim undercurrent from beginning to the end. Throughout the movie the characters get knocked off their feet every time they seem to start recovering from the last tragedy that struck them. Just like “Jaane bhi do yaaron” you tend to go into splits of laughter and all the time you are aware of the cold (brutal) undercurrent in the movie.

Brilliant performances by all the actors. I laughed so hard that I actually had tears in my eyes…as did my friends.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Roddiculous victory for Roger Federer

The Contract (Part 2)

The world seemed to pass by slowly as Krish made his way home, yet the time hastened by.
Krish pulled out the phone and called his mother. She had been his pillar of strength in trying times. When he heard her voice on the phone, he could barely form words because he was afraid he would break down and cry. He decided he would try his best to resolve the renewal matters as soon as he could. He couldn’t bear the thought of his heartbroken mother. He wanted to be there for her when she needed him. He felt like he was being forced to abandon his mother in the dusk of her life.

Krish held back his emotions through the short phone call. He felt the noise in his head build up to a crescendo by the time he reached home. He entered the house covered in darkness. Krish let the darkness prevail. He let his body fall into the couch and all the noises in his head fell quiet. The emotional dam he had built let go and tears gushed down his cheeks as he sat in the couch paralyzed with helplessness.

Krish did not know how much time had passed by. He was lost in a haze where the past, present and the future reeled in together in a kaleidoscope of thoughts. Krish fell back in the couch keeping his memories company.Krish made his way to the lawyer’s office. He found the lawyer full of vitality that he had come to envy and despise.

L: Wow! You look like shit.
K: Thanks and you look like the devil might I add.
L: Enough with the flattery. Now let’s get to work.
K: Okay…what are my chances?
L: I would say 1 in 435,684.
K: Okay Mr. Obvious, can you at least tell me what is the committee looking for?
L: Nobody knows…not even the committee sometimes.
K: This is ridiculous. This process doesn’t make any sense. No instructions or directions.
L: Death is no different than life. You did not get any instructions or directions when you were born but you found your way didn’t you?
K: Found my way? Ha. I would say I feel more lost than ever.
L: Getting lost is a part of the process.
K (sarcastically): Good! So I am right on track. So do you have a sense for how long the renewal of the contract will be for?
L: That entirely depends on your proposal.
K: You are really good at avoiding the answers.
L: Would you like some coffee?
K (cracks a smile): Thanks.

Krish sipped in the coffee and heard the lull of a guitar.

K: Is that Stevie Ray Vaughan you are listening to?
L: Yes. He was a genius.
K: His music has a lot of heart. They say he always played like his life depended on it.
L: May be it did.
K: What are you saying?
L: He was originally going to be a member of the 27 club and join the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain who as you know, died at the age of 27. Unfortunately SRV’s renewal bought him not more than a decade.
K: They were bored of Jimi Hendrix and SRV? What kind of morons run this place?
L: I am with you on that one. But we are not here to judge, but be judged. So what can I do for you today?
K: Do you know what will happen to me after I die?
L: Nope. That’s beyond my clearance level.
K: I feel like I am wasting my time here. So far I have learned nothing useful.
L: I am sorry you feel that way. May be you should ask better questions.
K (grunts): Okay so how do I prove myself an asset for the planet? Wow! That sounds like a line form Captain Planet. “Hello I am Captain Planet! How can I save the world today? Better still, how can I save my ass?” Hey may be that’s what I should do!
L: You want to tell them that you are going to be a superhero?
K: No! How about I volunteer myself for a social cause? Dedicate myself to betterment of humanity.
L: That’s one of the most common proposals that candidates give. The success rate on that one hasn’t been that great. That could be our back up plan.
K: Aw come on! If good deeds earn me a place in heaven, it should be good enough to earn a place on earth.
L: There is no heaven or hell.
K: How would you know that?
L: Been in this business for awhile. Learned a few things here and there.
K: So you are saying there will be no consequences to what you do?
L: There are consequences. For example, if you jump from a 50 storey building, you die.
K: But no eternal consequences? Sinners and saints are not discriminated after death?
L: They seem to be for equal treatment.
K: Bah! That’s just so unfair.
L: I agree. Like they say, “All humans are created equal; some are more equal than others”.
K: So what’s your advice? What can I do to better my chances?
L: Work on your likeability factor. Make your application irrefutable. Think outside the box. Or get somebody to switch places with you.
K: I can get somebody to switch places with me?
L: You can certainly try. The rules there are that the volunteer needs to be healthy and sane of mind.
K: Why the exceptions?
L: The non-healthy ones are most probably at the end of the contract. As far as the sane of mind clause goes, I’d say it’s an ethical issue.
K: Ethical? This whole process is unethical!
( be continued)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Contract (Part One)

Krish (Krishna Moorthy) felt like he was in some sort of an elaborate hoax. Although he was no celebrity, he kept waiting for the Punked crew to come out and end this far from funny practical joke. Krish vehemently despised sadistic sense of humor where the punch lines hit him below the belt. What was with all the blatantly rude remarks followed by a token ‘just kidding’? Krish always retorted with, “No offense, but you are an asshole”. He hoped that someday those jokers would see the irony.

Here he was, standing in front of a committee of 10 individuals. The committee’s casual clothes and demeanor made the matter at hand seem more trivial than it was made out to be. In contrast the man sitting besides Krish was an impeccably dressed lawyer, waiting solemnly as if a million dollar deal was about to transpire.

The proceedings began. The committee spoke in short crisp sentences which were always precise and to the point. Krish thought that it was peculiar that there wasn’t a piece of paper or a computer or any sort of documenting device on the committee’s table. The lawyer had meanwhile started setting up his laptop beside Krish. The committee began looking at their table tops intently. After a couple of minutes of silence Krish nudged the lawyer.

K (Krish): Are they having a staring contest with the table?
L (Lawyer): They have touch screens embedded in the table. They are reviewing your file.
K: Ooh fancy.
C (Committee): Tell us why we should renew the contract?

Everybody stares intently at K.

K: I am sorry…what?

Committee members now turn their attention to the lawyer.

L (turns to K): Were you not briefed about the contract?
K: What contract?

Lawyer looks exasperated and turns to the committee.

L: May I approach the committee with a request.

The committee nods. Lawyer approaches the committee and talks in a lowered voice with the committee.

L: The defendant was not briefed about the process.

Meanwhile, K glances over to L’s laptop and sees files sprawled open on the screen. Then it dawns on him that the screen was displaying a profile, his profile. Everything from his bank account information to his shoe size is listed.

K: Hey! That’s my personal information, why do you have it on your laptop?
C: You have 2 minutes starting now.

Lawyer grabs Krish and pulls him out of the room.

L: What I am about to tell you is very serious. I don’t have time to go into details so I am going to give it to you straight. Ready?
K: I am certainly pissed.
L: Krish, your life is in danger. You are about to die. You are here to defend your right to live.
K: What did you say? Are you threatening me?
L: No. I am here to defend you. I am your defense lawyer.
K: Why is my life in danger? Are these people the mafia of some kind?
L: Well sort of…we will have plenty of time to talk about this later. Right now you need to focus on saving your life.
K: Wait but why are they trying to kill me?
L: I understand you are angry. You should have been briefed. Okay, the best way for me to explain this to you is, consider that you are confronted by the Grim Reaper and he is asking you to justify why is it that he should let you live.
K: You are telling me that they are Grim Reapers?

Lawyer looks at the watch.

L: Okay we have to go in now. I haven’t had a chance to go through your file yet. What do you do for a living?
K: I am an engineer.
L: Oh boy.
K: What is that supposed to mean?
L: Okay we have to go back in there…NOW.

Krish now distinctly annoyed, enters the room and reluctantly sits in his chair.

C: Do you know why you are here?
K: You want to kill me?
C: Good we are on the same page now. Now tell us why we shouldn’t kill you.
K (shocked): You can’t just threaten people like this. I have had enough. I don’t want any part of this. I am leaving.
C: You cannot leave until we ask you to. But we know you will try. Go ahead.
L: Krish, please calm down.
K: Goodbye!

Krish struggles to get up as his legs suddenly feel heavy as if they weighed a thousand pounds each. The committee and the lawyer calmly watch Krish turn red with frustration.

C: We don’t have all day either Mr. Moorthy. I ask again, why should we renew your contract to live?

Krish still struggles to get up trying hard to unglue his feet from the floor.

L: Krish, stop fooling around and talk to the committee.
K (continues to yank his feet): They are stuck.
L: Its not your feet, it’s the gravity.
K: Alright David Blaine, did you use super glue?

Krish continues to pull on his feet.

L: Don’t you think you have pulled his leg long enough?
C: Oh alright!

The committee nods in agreement and suddenly the tightened hold of gravity on Krish’s feet lets go and his leg jolts up in the air hitting his knee on the table. Krish howls in pain. The committee looks bored.

L: Are you alright?
K (stroking his knee): What do you want from me?
C: What can you offer?
K (asks L): Can they not answer in the form a question?
L: Can we please reconvene. The defendant is not prepared for this trial.
C: We can see that. Krish, do you understand this process?
K: Yes. You are threatening to kill me and want me to beg for my life.
C: You don’t have to beg. You can convince us that you deserve to live.
K: I will not beg or convince. I will certainly report you to the cops.
C (chuckles): Your faith in the judicial system is quite adorable. Alright enough chit chat.
L: Oh god here we go again. I hate this part.
K: What?

Krish feels like the temperature in the room was turned up a 100C in a couple of seconds. Then sharp pains start shooting from his chest followed by a fit of tremors. His body goes limp with pain as he falls flat on his face.

K: I…can’t breathe. Doctor…help.
C: Say please.
L: For heaven’s sake stop it.

Krish now starts turning blue in the face.

K: Please…make this… stop.
C: There you go. Now was that so hard?

The pain subsides as suddenly as it had started. Lawyer helps Krish sit on the chair. Krish looks bewildered and mostly grateful that the pain had stopped.

L (asks C): Why do you always do that?
C: Pain is one of the most effective means to communicate. Look at how much time we saved. Krish just had his crash course on the process. We shall reconvene in 14 days.

Horrified and disoriented, Krish walks out of the room along with lawyer.

An hour later Krish is sitting across the table from lawyer in lawyer’s office. Krish sips on some brandy to calm his nerves.

L: So you said you were not briefed about the process. Those buffoons in the Summons department never get it right.
K: Why did they choose me?
L: It is a fairly random process.
K: So what is the next step?
L: Simply put, there are two outcomes. They renew the contract and you live. Failure to renew will result in your death.
K (cringes): So I die just like that?
L: Yes.
K: I just can’t believe it.
L: What is it with you people? Why do you guys always look so appalled when you find out that you are about to die? It’s like crowning the winner of a beauty pageant every time.

L animatedly puts hands on both cheeks.

L: “Oh my God, I can’t believe it’s me!” Cut out the drama already.
K: You are such an asshole.
L: The pleasure is all mine. Anyway, back to the process, there are 435,684 candidates applying for renewal. That is your competition. You have to convince the committee that your contract must be renewed over the other applicants. So let’s start by shooting off some reasons why you should live and then we will build our case from there.
K: Okay. Well, I am only 30. I am too young to die. I haven’t had a chance to do so many things in life.
L: All I have heard so far is me me me. I haven’t done this or that. Newsflash, they don’t give a rat’s ass about you. It’s not all about you Krish.
K: It’s not? Funny you should say that because I am about to die.
L: If you are going to tell them that you didn’t get a chance to do whatever it is you want to do they are going to say ‘too bad’. The other candidates have all the hopes and dreams you have. You need to think outside the box. You have to tell them why is it that you are an asset for this planet? Now go home, think about this and we will meet tomorrow at 5am.
K: Did you say A. M.?
L: Yes. That shouldn’t be a problem because you won’t get any sleep tonight.

Lawyer gets engrossed with his computer while Krish saunters out of the office with a heavy heart.

( be continued)

Those were the days (whine mode)

They say as kids you wish you were like your mom/dad, as teenagers don't want to be anything like them, and as adults end up exactly like them.
I always used to say I would never say some of things that I heard a hundred times growing up. For example I thought I would never say, "When I saw you the last time you were a little baby. You have grown so tall. Time just flew by eh?". I used to get that all the time as a kid and had grown sick of hearing that. Now ofcourse when I go back to India and see my friend's kids after a year, those very words come out of my mouth.
The other classic expression that I swore I would never use was 'those were the days' because that was something my dad would say all the time. "We could buy such and such for just X amount. Todays generation has no value for money". But when I see little kids today with their Playstations and X-boxes...I just have three words for todays little bastards.
As far as video games go, my brother and I used to play Mario, mortal combat and street fighters with our four little red, blue, green and yellow buttons. One look at today's game controllers and I am scared to even try them. How many fingers do kids have nowadays? The controllers look like some mission control board to Mars.

Then there is TV. I didn't have one until I was about 8 years old. Growing up there were two channels on TV to choose from. DD1 and DD2. I still remember the anticipation for cartoons on TV every week. I would literally watch the clock when it was about time to watch He-man, Giant Robot, Fraggle Rock and ofcourse Disney hours on Sunday. I used to be so mad when they would cancel Disney hour for some cricket match. The kids today can watch cartoons day and night if they wish...again...those little bastards.
The other day I was thinking about the red bottle of Joker paste I used to glue stuff and when I ran out, I would use over-cooked rice to glue stuff. I bet todays kids wouldn't know what to do when they ran out of glue :p Okay they would just go buy another bottle, or use sticky tape or staple it, but my point is...okay there is no point here.
Anyhoo, I was rummaging around on You Tube and lo and behold I found an old DD animation. It felt like finding a lost memory from childhood. So I had to share it with you because I know you would be as excited to see it as I was. So here it is.

Ramble on,

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Noisy neighbors

Remember the scene in Jurassic park when the electric power shuts down followed by the disappearance of the scapegoat. Then it starts, the water in the puddle has ripples building in it as the earth shattering thuds of footsteps get louder and louder. Now imagine that the T-rex lived in the upstairs apartment and he likes to stroll in his apartment from mid-night until 2am. Can it get worse? You bet your brown ass it can. It so happens that this T-rex lives with a She-rex and they also happen to be nymphomaniacs. Let me put it this way…for once I am glad that guys come fast. Who has sex 7 days a week anyway?

How is it that people who don’t sleep until 4am always wind up renting out the apartment above you? And god-forbid they ever decide to go out of town for a weekend. Why that would mean I might get a full 8 hours of sleep. They can’t let that happen.

Brilliant ideas that have backfired:

I have stuffed my window panes with some padding so that they don’t have space to vibrate every time T-rex decides to take his mid-night stroll. That hasn’t toned the noise down as much as I had hoped for.

I have tried politely requesting T to tone down his midnight activities to no avail. When that didn’t work I knocked on the ceiling once with a broom. As if that was supposed to be some knock-knock joke the prick bangs back on the floor! I am not trying to have a rendezvous you dumbass.

I considered calling the cops on him but the guy is walking around in his apartment. They can’t charge him for walking in his apartment at insane hours…could they? So unless he starts playing loud music the cops aren’t going to show up.

Wrote a letter to the landlord. I don’t know if the management cares enough to intervene.

I was seriously contemplating to move my bed into the living room. The sleep deprivation is getting to me.

I thought about leaving bunny slippers at T’s door. Knowing him, he would buy me ear plugs. Earplugs would keep me awake because they are uncomfortable and I am always afraid somebody might break into my house. So I can’t wear them and sleep as I will be lying awake in bed, wondering if somebody is trying to break in and I can’t hear them. So ear plugs were out of question.

I researched sound sealing options. Sound proofing the ceiling would mean overhauling my ceiling or T’s floor i.e. not happening.

The only other thing left to do is buy one of those white noise machines. I really doubt that ocean sounds are going to be any competition for T’s midnight tubthumping.

As I lay away in bed I curse the construction people, management and T-rex: Haraaam zaaadeeeeyyy!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sugar rush (part deux)

Previously on Sugar Rush…

Flashback here

I wallowed in the darkness of a doughnut deprived food dungeon. Oh the sorrow! Drowning in my grief I roamed the grocery isles. How much longer will my cholesterol-starved arteries have to go on like this? I guess it was that day that the food gods decided to have mercy on me.

There it stood glowing in the gold rimmed bucket. It was the pot at the end of the rainbow. Haagen-Dazs Bailey’s Irish Cream ice cream. My taste buds had a mini orgasm right there in the grocery store. Oh the tease!

$5.99 for 1 pint? That’s a steal! I was too afraid to touch it, what if I was hallucinating this? I quickly pounced on the box and checked out of the grocery store. Drove home furiously and popped open the lid.

I felt like I had to do some ritualistic sacrifice before I could touch the pristine ice cream surface. It was time for the kill. The ice cream scoop caved into the depths of the sugar ecstasy and I piled on 3 huge dollops into the bowl. I finally let the first spoonful melt on my tongue and a dramatic play of spit fountains overtook my mouth. A small step in the dessert section was a big step for womankind.

As I sank into sugar coma I thanked the food gods from the bottom of my taste buds.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Nina Paley very aptly describes herself as "America's best-loved unknown cartoonist". I guess many of you are familiar with her work. I discovered her website just yesterday and I had to blog about her. She is a professional animator and all her projects are a one woman show. That means she is the writer, director, producer and everything that goes into the making of the animation.

She discovered Ramayana on her visit to India and was inspired to retell the mythological story in Sita's perspective with a Western twist.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did:

Chapter 1: Dandaka Dharma

For Chapter 2-5 you can go here

To learn more about Nina or view other animations by her visit website

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sugar rush

What’s with women and chocolate?

A question that has plagued mankind for centuries…okay fine it has plagued my mind ever since I have started writing my thesis. (Now you know how well my thesis writing is going).
To answer the question, I started with some literature searches and within no time this mystery was history. This is what I found. (Puts on nerd glasses). I would like to draw your attention to the nursery rhyme “what are girls made of?” page 9, paragraph 2.

I quote the poem below:
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs' tails;
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice;
That's what little girls are made of.

(On a side note, the first paragraph is pretty mean.)

So now that we know that girls are made of part sugar, it’s only natural that we need refills. Brilliant!
Intruder: “Er…sorry to interject but as an avid reader of t-shirts and bumper stickers I have to ask this. If girls are made of sugar and spice, why do they taste like tuna fish?”
Me (jaw dropped): “You sir are a very sick man! Here is my number. Call me.”

As I was saying, girls have to constantly look for a source of sugar. And God knows you don’t have to be made of sugar to indulge in a delightful fat and sugar ecstasy. For those of you who claim that you don’t have a sweet tooth, I have two words for you: Krispy Kreme. You can get all sorts of doughnuts there but my favorite is the no bells and whistles, original glazed.
They say you never forget your first. Before Krispy Kreme I believed a doughnut is a doughnut. They are all the same. Boy was I wrong. One bite and I was floored. It was a delectable sugar meltdown tuned to perfection. Packed with 200 calories and 2 grams of fat, the doughnut was a passport to food heaven. That’s right WAS. Those sick bastards!

It happened last month. Like an unsuspecting victim I was vegetating on the couch watching TV in a zombie like state when suddenly I heard Krispy Kreme.
Me: “I’m awake I’m awake.”
That’s when it came…the cruel inhuman devastating blow. I saw it on the local news last month.
“All the Krispy Kreme outlets in our city have been shut down”, the news reporter announced calmly.
Me (nervous laughter): “Ha ha. Very funny. This is a joke right?”
The reporter continued in a baritone voice, “…the reason for closing the business…”
Me: “It’s not funny anymore. You need to shut your dill hole now channel 13!”
Reporter: “…to cut their losses.”
Me (shuddering): “Krispy Kreme no more?”

I quickly went through the 5 stages of grief in the next 5 minutes:
Denial: “This is bullpoo. I don’t believe it”
Anger: “The abomination! Curse you channel 13. Beep beep beep beep”
Bargaining: “Why did they take away all of the outlets? One would’ve been fine… I would’ve worked with one.”
Depression: “I have lost my will to live.”
Acceptance: “Oh how I will miss you glazed ecstasy. I should’ve known better… it was too good to last.”

As I wallowed in sorrow, feeling as empty as a doughnut hole, it struck me.

In a moment of Zen I said, “Doh! This is nuts.”

Me: “Krispy Kreme ran out of business? That does not make any sense.”

That’s when I realized what this was all about. Folks I put my very life in danger as I lead you to truth. This, my friends is a full blown government conspiracy.

I mean think about it, how could Krispy Kreme run out of business? I mean how stupid do they think we are? First came the weapons of mass destruction (we let that pass), then came the war on terror (we let that pass) and now they tell us Krispy Kreme ran out of business. This has gone too far.”

Adding insult to injury here is a link to a recent article on CNN.

Going out of business my foot!

Must bring back our preciouses…must eat them…must go into sugar coma…must bring Krispy Kreme back to our cholesterol deprived arteries.

Its war people!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Once upon a time (a not so grim tale)

(Disclaimer: Any coincidences are purely coincidental)

Once upon a time in the mystical woods there lived a lonely duck. The poor duck had the curse of intellect and could not help but analyze everything to death. The duck realized that it was different from the other ducks at an early age. While the other ducklings went clubbing or read romantic novels, the lonely duckling thought about the mysteries of the universe or read about the art of Zen. The duck thought that all the intriguing black holes were in outer space.

But it wasn’t as grim as the lonely duck made it out to be. All the reading and pondering had paved a dazzling career path for it. The duck owned a cozy pad in the mystical forest and had a cool ride. To top it off the duck had great stock options and had some nifty dance moves. But alas all this was not enough as it longed for the company of another duck. The duck seeked a companion who could hold up a conversation and share a few laughs while cruising in the pond on a lazy moonlit night. Was it too much to ask for a duck with an IQ greater than a bucket of rocks?

It turned out yes it was too much to ask for. It was a long quest that the duck endured when it went looking for its soul mate. From bar pick ups to online dating yonder it went to find the love of its life. The duck met a few who wanted riches. The duck met others who were just lonely. But alas loneliness can’t kill loneliness. So the duck moved on looking for love and companionship.

Finally when the duck was all out of hope and ready to give up love came its way as unexpectedly as it always does. The duck fell in love with a brilliant arty duck named Roberto. (Shame on all of those who assumed the lonely duck was male). Roberto was a painter and painted the lonely ducks eyes day and night. The lonely duck had the most beautiful eyes Roberto had ever seen. The lonely duck could not believe that it was now a not so lonely duck at last. Roberto and the not so lonely duck were head over heels in love.

After a month of basking in love the not so lonely duck and Roberto realized that their career paths and lifestyles had nothing in common. The not so lonely duck missed the mystical forest and finally they decided to breakup and return to their homes for good. The two decided to remain friends and thanks to free long distance night and weekend minutes they chatted everyday. The lonely again duck finally came to terms with life and settled for a bigger house with a plasma screen TV with a private pool and lived as a wee bit lonely duck ever after.

-The end-
P.S. : This was an old post from a couple of years ago that I had not published on this blog.

Monday, August 21, 2006

G. Bappa drinks milk

Santa: Hey G! What's wrong? You don't look so good.
Ganpati: I've been binge drinking milk in India. If I have to drink one more glass of milk...
Santa: Ah!Been there done that every friggin year. 3 more months and I will not see the end of milk and cookies. I go on a 'milk and milk related products' free diet for the rest of the year man.

Both check out their tummies in the mirror.

Ganpati: Those bastards! Sometimes I wish I was lactose intolerant.
Santa: This time the joke is on them. I got everybody "Fuck milk got beer?" t-shirts.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Chapter 5.5: Kill Bully

It has been months since Ganapati had heard from Vyasa. A little concerned, Ganapati decides to pay Vyasa a visit. He reaches Vyasa's cottage to find a note on the door: "Trespassers will be cursed. You are a trespasser if you have big ears, tusks and a trunk.”

Ganapati: "Funny guy".

Ganapati decides to venture in anyway. Vyasa is buried in papyrus and wrappers of juicy root. Ganapati booms in "WASSSSUP!!!". Vyasa chokes on his juicy root.

Vyasa: “You gave me a heart attack! G...what are you doing here?”
Ganapati: “I was in the neighborhood.”

Vyasa raises an eyebrow

Ganapati: “Ok fine I missed pulling your leg.”

Suddenly Vyasa bursts into tears.

Ganapati (confused): “ missed me too? You are scaring me.”
Vyasa: “I can't take this G. Nothing works in the lab. The results are FUBAR. I don't have any job prospects. When will I be able to afford a decent house and a chariot?”
Ganapati: “V get a hold on yourself.”

Vyasa bawls.

: "Here you go."

Ganapati hands over a bottle of happy potion. Vyasa chugs it down.

Ganapati: “Slow down buddy.”
Vyasa: “There is no slowing down now.”

Vyasa continues binge drinking until he passes out. Next day he wakes up with a pounding headache.

Vyasa:“What happened?”
Ganapati: “You didn’t father any children.”
Vyasa: “Good enough for me.”

On that lazy Saturday, Vyasa and Ganapati sit down to continue writing the somewhat abandoned book.

Ganpati: “So finally, here it is...Chapter 7.”
Vyasa: “Actually this is going to be chapter 5.5.”
Ganpati: “Okay I guess.”
Vyasa: “Start writing. Life was good, nay, great for the Pandavas. And why wouldn’t it be? Their father was the King.”
Ganpati: “I thought Pandu died in the Forest Hump episode?”
Vyasa: “Chapter 5.5, remember?”
Ganpati: “Right!”
Vyasa: “As for the Kauravas, they were tired of the constant bullying by Bhima and the nepotism everywhere.”

The Kauravas have a meeting to deal with the increasing bad press they have been getting in the recent months.

Duryodhan: “I’ve had it with that big bully Bhima.”
Dushyasan: “If I am called Dushbag one more time, I am going to punch him. Even if I get an atomic wedgie for it, I will do it.”
K56: “If we don’t do something about this soon we are going to land in deep trouble. The Pandu ministry is always giving us bad press. Krips always makes sure that the first five spots in the class are taken by the Pandavas.”
K68: “I am sick of being beaten up black and blue by fat ass.”
K29: “At least you weren’t drowned. If it wasn’t for K44 I would’ve breathed my last breath. K44 had the presence of mind to ring the lunch bell.”
Duryodhan: “This has gone too far. We have to make this stop. I have given this some deep thought. Bhima’s fall is necessary for our survival. Without Bhima the Pandavas are weak. The ruin of the Pandavas will pave our way to the throne.”
K89: “But there is still one big flaw. We cannot inherit the throne unless dad becomes King. When was the last time you’ve heard of a blind King?”
Duryodhan: “Well there may never have been one before, but Shakuni mama is helping change that. Out of his own personal struggle as a cripple...excuse me...locomotively challenged, he has decided to appeal for a reform and pass the disabilities act. In a nutshell, dad is going to be a King.”

Kauravas: Cheers and applause.

Duryodhan: “It’s settled then. We have to get rid of Bhima to get the ball rolling.”
K66: “But how?”
Dushyasan: “No worries. I have a plan. It’s called Bhima ka kheema.”

Kauravas: Whistles, cheers and applause.

: “Pilan is bhery simple. Put poison in food. Put food in Bhima. Put Bhima in water.”
K89: “That should take care of Bhima, but what about the other four? Should we get rid of them as well?”
Dushyasan: “I want it to look like an accidental death. So we should keep the other four busy. K32, do you still have the stash of Play Apsaras.”
K32: “What stash?”

Dushyasan raises an eyebrow.

K32: “Oh alright!”

And so the Kauravas set out to destroy their nemesis.

(To be continued...)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A close encounter of the lizard kind

Day: Thursday night
Time: 10:30pm
Mood: Tired and urge to pee.

I make my way to the toilet and switch on the light in the bathroom to give myself a heart attack. There is a f*ing lizard in the f*ing toilet bowl. Yes IN the toilet bowl! I panic and my urge to pee doubles. I consider calling the landlord or friends for help but immediately feel like a total nitwit, as I know how late in the night it is (especially because tomorrow is a work day). I decide to take charge of the situation and shudder with disgust. Visions of the lizard crawling all over house after it jumps out of toilet bowl begin to take shape. After 5 minutes of shuddering and wincing I realize that I could simply flush the toilet. But then again there is a strong possibility (in my twisted imagination) of the lizard jumping out on me. I shudder some more as I speculate whether this lizard has special powers like flying. Finally I realize that I have no choice but to face my nemesis. Without damage control the enemy would run amuck in the house leaving me sleepless…or worse leave me no place to release the building pressure in my abdomen if it camps out in the toilet bowl. Stoopid lizard!
With cold sweaty hands somehow I flush the toilet. Triumph quickly turns into dismay as the damn lizard positions itself between water jets and suctions itself to toilet bowl. Score: Lizard 1, me white as a ghost. My heart beats louder with the first blow of defeat. I look for bleach in the closet and cannot find it. God damnit! I resort to my weapon of mass fumigation … RAID! In a previous encounter with a lizard I had discovered that Raid is not lethal to lizards. All I hoped for was that the smell suffocates the lizard and it passes out.
Armed with Raid, I position the spray as best as I could, keeping my body as further away from the bowl as possible. I did not want to be a landing strip for the lizard in the event it attempted an escape. Lizards are notorious for that. They always plan their escape route on the attacker. Shudder. 3-2-1…attack…I spray enough to kill an army of roaches and then some more and then run like hell out of the bathroom in fear of lizard jumping on me. I tip toe back into bathroom to find the lizard’s tail severed from its body and flailing in toilet bowl water. Peeking a little further I see the lizard trying to swim in the water. I quickly hit the flush and down it goes. I flush the toilet 3 times just in case it uses its suction strategy to hang on in my toilet and come out again. I can’t use toilet for the next 2 hours even with a strong urge to pee as the visions of lizard crawling up my butt dissuade me.
I go online to read about pest control and am willing to burn a hole in my pocket to get all the cracks and holes in house sealed and fumigated. To my dismay I discover lizards are not classified as pests. What kind of a sick world do we live in where creepy crawling lizards invade a person’s house and there is nothing that can be done? 2 hours later I finally reach a point where the urge to pee takes over psychoneurosis and I pee in record time with butt hanging in mid-air. Relieved I decide to call it a night. I inspect bedding for lizards. Lie awake in bed. Envision conversation with landlord.
Me: “Lizards bad. Must fumigate house.”
Landlord: “ They are harmless. Don’t worry it won’t bite.”
Me (animated): “Do you think I don’t know that already? It doesn’t have to bite! It crawls and wriggles and breaks tail off body.”
Landlord looks at me like I am a basket case.I lie awake in bed a long time before I sleep out of exhaustion.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The debutant

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon and I was fiddling with my PowerShotS2IS again. I had spent the last two months taking photos with this camera without as much as looking at the manual that came with it. My policy has always been to shoot first ask questions later. But then again there were way too many options on the menu that didn’t make any sense and the camera wasn’t doing everything I was asking it to do. Stoopid camera. I am ashamed to admit that I surrendered and decided to read the manual.
But first I needed a subject. There he was glowing like a superstar and I made him an offer he could not refuse. I offered a personalized photo shoot for no charge and he accepted … for the most part because he was a fish.
His name is Mr. Wiggles and he is a spectacular ruby red beta fish. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Wiggles was modeling. Yes, I had made an offer he could not refuse one other time. To describe our first photo shoot in one word ... miserable failure. Okay that’s two words but who is counting? He was grumpy, I refused to read the manual and as a result we ended up with a red blob floating in a bowl. But that’s ancient history.
We began with cautious optimism. I was eagerly poring through the literature while Mr. Wiggles decided to do whatever it is that he does in the fish bowl. I was soon trigger-happy shooting red blurs in water. Wiggles understandably did not share my enthusiasm. But then it happened, the light bounced pristinely over Mr. Wiggles and he swirled in the water like an agile acrobat and I captured it in all its glory. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present my nimble finned debutant, Mr. Wiggles.

Can't get enough of Mr. Wiggles? More photos at