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,