Friday, May 28, 2010

Wanna Rent Me?


Do you need to rent or lease a bachelor or a family? Then, call the above number. This pamphlet was posted in Velachery railway station, Chennai. Now, in what circumstances do you need to rent (for short duration) or lease (for long duration) a bachelor or a family?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cut-Paste Society


Aimlessness in life sometimes makes me feel down especially when all around are chasing their goals in life, the goals to be big, aiming higher and higher. Sometimes I feel the emptiness. I feel the uneasiness of being left out. Was the choice to avoid run of the mill wrong after all? And then, the ever mysterious question "what is the meaning of life" creeps in at its ease, wherever, whenever it wills. All this and much flutter inside.

The calmness restores soon when I examine the lives of all who say they set goals, who say they achieve. All I see is the circle they are running on with expensive horse blinds to boasts for. I have no goals to achieve because what I see beyond those goals is the place where I stand now.

All the achievers remind me of a beautiful piece of music penned by Malvina Reynolds and much popularized by Pete Seeger.

Little Boxes

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
And there's doctors and there's lawyers
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf-course,
And drink their Martini dry,
And they all have pretty children,
And the children go to school.
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
And they all get put in boxes
And they all come out the same.

And the boys go into business,
And marry, and raise a family,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

Malvina Reynolds

Pete Seeger

Rockified by Rise Against

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's In The Questions?


In the process of searching for a new focus (goals in life), it is almost inevitable that the "big" questions will creep in. There is pressure from pseudo-philosophers everywhere to cast aside the impertinent and answer the eternal. Two popular examples are "What is the meaning of life?" and "What is the point of it all?" There are many more, ranging from the introspective to the ontological, but I have one answer for almost all of them—I don't answer them at all.

I am 100% convinced that most big questions we feel compelled to face—handed down through centuries of overthinking and mis-translation—use terms so undefined as to make attempting to answer them a complete waste of time. This isn't depressing. It's liberating.

Consider the question of questions: What is the meaning of life? If pressed, I have but one response: It is the characteristic state or condition of a living organism. "But that's just a definition," the questioner will retort, "that's not what I mean at all." What do you mean, then? Until the question is clear—each term in it defined—there is no point in answering it. The "meaning" of "life" question is unanswerable without further elaboration.

Before spending time on a stress-inducing question, big or otherwise, ensure that the answer is "yes" to the following two questions:
1. Have I decided on a single meaning for each term in this question?
2. Can an answer to this question be acted upon to improve things?

"What is the meaning of life?" fails the first and thus the second.

Questions about things beyond your sphere of influence like "What if the train is late tomorrow?" fail the second and should thus be ignored. These are not worthwhile questions. If you can't define it or act upon it, forget it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sex on the Grass


Until recently glamor in cricket meant the model/actress wives of the star cricketers present during the game. And the occasional bikini-clad fans attracting the camera. I remember the incidents when after-match discussions were centered around appearance of such beauties on the screen. Incarnation of Indian Premier League has totally changed the scene. There is glamor everywhere, from the corporate offices of the teams to the grassy grounds. One can see heartthrobs from entertainment fraternity entertaining the crowd by their mere presence.

And then there are cheerleaders, giggling, hip shaking, pretty girls. Its nice relief to see some semi-nude female bodies after your eyes have gone sore tracking the tiny ball. Seems like the IPL organizers understood the human psyche pretty well. Even if you don't understand and enjoy cricket much, you can keep yourself busy looking at the pretty faces and gulping down alcohol.

The organizers of the game have made great efforts to handpick the prettiest of them around. All of them slim with flexible bodies. All of them professionals in the business of hip shaking. And all of them with shinny and fair skin. Err, I'm bit wrong here. To call them fair would be unfair. After all, they are all white-skinned Caucasian. This turns a little mysterious here. In an event which is highly Indianized and world class when it comes to the players, none of the cheerleaders are of Indian origin. What made the organizers select only white-skinned cheerleaders? They have not offered any explanations, but here are few hypotheses:

Explanation 1: There are no professional cheerleaders in India.
Justification: Is it a high-skill job that needs specific technological know how? Ain't it possible for the professional dancers and wannabe item girls to morph into cheerleaders? India has a long tradition of item girls (in cinema) and dancers. It would be difficult to believe that the IPL organizers could not find a single such dancer who could shake her hip on tunes of the ball.

Explanation 2: Indian girls would not like the skimpy outfits which are essential for cheerleaders.
Justification: Well, you gotta take a look at some Bollywood movies and music videos to verify the validity of this claim. Given the kind of skin show we encounter on television and silver screen, it is hard to accept that modesty of Indian lads would come in way of them getting into revealing clothes.

Explanation 3: TV-viewing middle class of Indian diaspora will get a punch on their morality after seeing the seduction of the brown skins.
Justification: Had that been the case, we would have been seeing exodus of middle class from multiplexes and of television radio waves from the sky. However, media viewership has increased over the years with increased nudity in contents. Nobody complains about it. In fact, the masses are saying "yeh dil mange more."

Explanation 4: Saffron politics might tag the IPL as an attack on the pavitrata of Bharatiya nari.
Justification: Now, this logic holds some value. One can never predict what can be considered as anti-national and anti-cultural (that too antient culture). Influence of a one such saffron party on the IPL head is well known. Strangely they don't have any issue with skin show on television and movies. And neither they have a problem with skin show on IPL as long as the skin is not brown.

In the end, the logic seems to circle back to the Indian preference for white skin. We are obsessed with the Caucasian race. Its the same old infatuation that started with Vasco da Gama hitting the Indian shores, long before even Indian existed.

Clarification: People with white skin might think that I've written about them or that I have some reservations about foreigners being employed in IPL. Absolutely wrong! What I'm trying to hit here is that part of Indian psyche which is boastful of their culture and at the same time, can't hide the jaw-dropping desire for everything phoren. I'm trying to hit that part of my psyche that forces me to write this in a phoren language.

Related Post: Indian Fascination About Foreign

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flying To God - It takes 96 flights!


Libya Plane crash, May 12, 2010: One hundred and three were killed as the Afriqiyah Airlines' plane crashed in Libya. However, one survived, a 10-year-old child escaped the hands of death. God's grace saved the child, a pure miracle.
Question: Why God's grace did not fall on the rest on board, 103 of them, a significant number of whom might have been God fearing and religious.
Answer: All adults are sinners as we have all sinned in some or other time in our life. Children are innocent and free from evil thoughts and deeds.

Chinese School Attack, May 12, 2010: Seven children and two adults were slaughtered in a kindergarten in Hanzhong, China, by a knife-wielding man.
Question: Why God did not intervene to save even a single of these seven Chinese kids?
Answer: China is an atheist country and hence God is not allowed in its territory.

Some Facts: From 1970 to now, there were 14 such air accidents in which only one survived. Out of them, 6 were minors and 8 adults. Among the 8 adults, 4 were crew members. So, the data shows that God does not intervene to save just the innocent children, but the sinful adults too. They did not collect the data properly otherwise we could have checked the percentage of virgin girls among the survivors and consequently, God's preference for them.

As per United States' data, 53,487 passengers were involved in air accidents between 1983 and 2000. Out of them, 51,207 or 95.7% survived. In other words, you need to be in 95.7 plane crashes before you could die in one such accident. Now, what are the odds in serious crashes? Its a huge 76.6%, i.e., you gotta have 76.6 serious crashes before starting the journey to heaven.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Four Fingers and A Fortune


The train had halted in the midst of nowhere. All I know is that it is Andhra. All I can see is a parallel track and dry deciduous jungle after that. Trees stand tall but devoid of any leaves. It is summer after all. And it gets really hot in late afternoons in this part of the world. The constant mild breeze offers a sigh of relief especially as taps in the toilet almost always run dry.

The air is filled with the chatter of hawkers. Samosa, garam samosa... Chay...Chay... Biscuits, cake, son papri... Water bottle... Interestingly, since the introduction of bottled water in trains, the availability of water in the taps has become rare. Now a days, people need to buy Bisleri to even wash their asses. Occasionally, you get to hear "gutka, cigarette.." even though, they say, these are prohibited in Indian Railway!

I find my place near the heavy iron door. This is one place in the train from where the view is vastly different compared to other places, be it the upper berth or the lower. The breeze blowing through the bamboo shoots is composing a music unheard of ever before. As I lend my ears to this strange flute, all the hawker cries seem to be fading, as if coming from a distant star. It is more like the silence of the deserts disrupted only by the blowing wind.

The train had been halted to give way to another train approaching from the opposite direction. The silence of the desert is disrupted by a distant whistle. The intensity of this whistle increases as the train approaches closer and closer. It reminds me of Doppler effect that we studied in school. Never ever the school teacher had taken time to demonstrate it. Then suddenly a flood of heightened air pressure hits my face, accompanied by deafening noise of whistle and iron wheels beating against the track. My visual field is filled by the fast passing boogies for a minute. Then the same silence again. And the same song of bamboo.

Suddenly I find a dirty palm next to my face. I look at the owner of the palm. A young man with one arm decapitated from shoulder. Grief stricken face. A layer of sweat and dirt has covered his face giving it a shine against the dying sun. A stout body in black baniyan and darkened shorts. The red talisman on his intact arm had almost become brown. He did not say anything, just spread his palm and a look hoping for a dime. I did not shell out anything. He looked again in my eyes with immense hope. And I gazed his palm. Four fingers of his sole palm sported 6 rings studded with stones. They seemed like silver but I ain't no jeweler to tell by precision. While the coins in his hand fluttered to attract some more companions, I was wondering whether he had put on the stone-studded rings after losing his hand and ability to earn or before. Possibly, he bought the rings after his misfortune believing the stones will bring in more alms. Or possibly the rings adorned his fingers well before his fortune tumbled. In latter case, was there any reason for him to continue wearing them, waiting for goddess of fortune to lift him from misery? I ain't no mind reader and couldn't figure out miseries in his life. But his belief that these dead stones will change his life was unmovable.

I wasn't of much use for him. Hence, it was in his interest to take leave from me and look for a soft soul. Or was it the stones that made him do so.