Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Learn it ... waaannn ... I don't want to :(

I was at a book sale today, and bought some stuff for my nieces and nephews. What can I say - I'm just an all around nice guy. There was a book about the movie "Cars" with a small projector that came with it, a "Learn Your First Words" book with a little stuffed lion (which I am quite tempted to keep - even though I dislike stuffed toys ... except if they're monkeys - as you may recall, I seem to have a fascination for all things monkey ... I wonder why!!?!!), and a couple of others. In any case, while going through those books, I was thinking of my own childhood (which, contrary to what people might say, has ended), and I was reminded of a horror that I suffered when I was young, and which, I am certain, is shared by hordes of other children too! Hence, I think it is my civic duty to make you all both aware of a danger that has been, and continues to be, prevalent in our society for a very very long time now. It is something so subtle, and yet so scary, that we have all fallen under it's influence without even realizing it. It preys on our sub-conscious all the time, and we just go and delve deeper into it !! The sad thing is that when this horror envelopes our mind, we are both too young and far too helpless to do anything about it. It is our parents who force this hidden terror into us ... maybe because they have it within them ... and do not even know it. We try to resist, but to no avail. We think of purging it when we grow up ... but by then .... it is too late !!!

As you may have guessed, the thing I am talking about ... the thing that is most definitely the cause of children screaming in the night .... the thing that is so sinister that it makes us repeat itself time and time again, without us even wanting to ... the thing that all parents should be made aware of ... this devil, this evil, this this this ... errrr ... crime ... has a name, and it's called - a nursery rhyme !!!

Haan ... toh now before I begin to describe in detail as to how nursery rhymes have been scaring children for centuries, let me ask you to go ahead and tell your kids, nephews, nieces, colony ke bachhey etc. to go and tear out anything in their school books that is even remotely related to these innocent looking poems. I think it is high time for me to expose nursery rhymes for what they really are .. Satan's weapon to control the minds of young innocent children ... minds that would most certainly become warped after being subjected to this seemingly innocuous torture ... here it is then - the truth behind nursery rhymes - one rhyme at a time ... (Hey !! That rhymed !!)

Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down
And broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

What the hell is this ??!! Not only is this rhyme scary as hell to a little child, it also teaches them incorrect scientific facts !! Water is almost never found at the top of a hill ... wells are dug at the foot of a mountain, mainly because a river flows down ... you know, gravity and all that. And can you imagine a small boy, wanting more than anything to become a mountain climber, perhaps to impress his lady love (that would be Jill) ... who then hears how one's head can be shattered due to the fall, and his dreams are lost forever ... and ... and ... oh ... I cannot go on !!

But, I must.

If you do want your young ones to learn about the exploits of Jack and Jill, then tell them this instead ...

Jack and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
They had some whiskey
Felt quite frisky
And came back with a daughter.

Can you imagine the number of lessons in this rhyme now ? Firstly, there isn't any violence ... peace to all mankind !! Secondly, you've already instilled in them the confidence that you are always open to the idea of having the "talk about the birds and the bees" with them, thereby serving another purpose ... you being considered a "cool" parent !! Thirdly, you are promoting the importance of a girl child ... something very important in India today. And finally, you've already warned them about the dangers of drinking too much !!

Let's move on ...

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?

Need I go further ?? Aren't these two lines more than enough to want you to cover your child's ears ?!? Think about it - a 'black' sheep ??!! What sort of scary dreams are your kids going to have ?!? The next time they come to your room, their cheeks dirty with tears, and tell you they cannot sleep ... do not ask them to count sheep ... at least not if you've taught them this rhyme !!! Put yourself in the kid's place for a moment - you're alone in your bed at night ... it's pitch black all around you ... and suddenly ... huge black sheep (with shiny red eyes, no doubt !!) start jumping over a fence !!! ... and then they are all sheared off of their wool ... and their cries grow louder and louder ... and louder ... and then ... there is silence. You might as well make them watch 'Silence of the Lambs' before they go to bed !!

This little pig went to the market.
This little pig stayed home.
This little pig had roast beef.
This little pig had none.
This little pig cried "Wee, wee, wee, wee!"
All the way home.

Don't even get me started on these pigs !! This rhyme only teaches young children three horrible lessons ... "To separate from each other" - why couldn't both the pigs have gone together, why do they not like company ... "To not share your food" - and even more so, imagine being told that one animal ate another animal, and that too after roasting it - do you want young children to try something similar and play with fire !!??!! .... and horrible lesson three is ... "To be a cry baby" - why does the last pig have to cry all the way to home, why can't he be brave and fend for himself ?? I'm sure some stupid pig must have written this rhyme.

Goosey, goosey, gander,
Whither shall I wander?
Upstairs, and downstairs,
And in my lady's chamber.

There I met an old man
Who wouldn't say his prayers!
I took him by the left leg
And threw him down the stairs.

Hullo ?!?!? Everyone needs to be taught about privacy, and this rhyme does the exact opposite. You cannot simply wander about anywhere you so please ... and specially not into a lady's chamber !!! But that isn't the real reason for this rhyme being evil. Look at the second stanza ... pure unadulterated violence !! That stupid goose threw an old man off the stairs simply because he wouldn't say his prayers !! Not only is this rhyme forcing you to worship God through prayer, but it is telling you that you are going to suffer the worst consequences if you don't !! Which religious fundamentalist group wrote this, I would like to know.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!

If I recall correctly, Humpty bhai-sahab is one huge EGG !! Now firstly, how did an egg manage to climb up a wall, I'll never understand. But even if it did, how high was the goddamn wall that Humpty had a 'great' fall ?? Where was he ... in China ? And if he did fall from a great height, so much so that all the king's horses and men ... errr ... how vela is this king anyway, that he is sending all his people to fix a stupid egg - I'm sure his kingdom was soon lost ... anyways, as I was saying ... if Humpty fell hard on the floor, and cracked ... can you imagine the amount of yolk all around ?? Yuck. How confused would a child get when he tries to re-create the poem on the kitchen floor by smashing an egg on it, and gets slapped for it ... or even worse, gets sent to his room - and is asked to count sheep and sleep off !!! .... and finally - which pervert came up with the name 'Hump'ty 'Dump'ty ??! Chheee.

Hush-a-bye, baby,
in the tree top.
When the wind blows,
the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby,
cradle and all.

Which twisted psychopath wrote this one ??!! You're actually telling a toddler to hush and go to sleep ... but the catch is that the poor thing is on top of a frikkin tree !!! And what's more - his cradle isn't even stable !! A mighty wind is blowing ... all set to fling the child towards the earth ... and not only is the child going to fall, but in all probability, the cradle is going to come crashing onto him !! How'd the child get on top of the tree in the first place ?? Was this rhyme written exclusively for Tarzan's child or what ? And then parents wonder as to why their child cries before he is put to sleep. Wake up, folks !!

It's raining, it's pouring;
The old man is snoring.
Bumped his head
And he went to bed
And he couldn't get up in the morning.

Errr ... excuse me ... but did we just tell a child that someone died !!!??!!! What happened to the old man - did he get pneumonia after he slept out in the rain ? And was there no one to help him get up later on, that he managed to bang his head ? Why didn't someone ask him if he needed any medicine before he went to bed ? Has the old soul been abandoned by his 'near and dear' ones in his time of need ? Is this what we want the future of our nation to learn ??!

Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

Can you really blame children if they develop a fear of arachnids after reading this rhyme ? All the spider did was come and sit down besides Muffet .... why in the world did she have to get frightened ? The spider didn't even say "Boo" ... for all we know, the poor spider might have come down to have a bit of a chat, or maybe even to ask Muffet is she'd like to spice up her curds and whey with some fly remains from yesterday !! But Muffet decided to run away ... thereby instilling in children the false belief that spiders are evil !! Has anyone complained about this sissy Muffet girl to the "Society for Protection of Spiders" ... or at least to Spiderman, at any rate ?? At the very least, this rhyme should come with the disclaimer that Muffet was a stupid cowardly little girl, who probably deserved to fall off the mountain instead of hamaari pyaari Jill behen !!

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, Falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.

Once again, need I say more ? The rhyme just managed to kill off thousands of people !! London bridge, apart from being a site of historical importance, is one of the busiest places in London ... (Errr ... totally made up fact, but it just might be true !!). Should a child be subjected to this atrocity of a rhyme ??!! Think of the horrible scenarios a child's mind might create ... Was the bridge architecturally unsound ? Has a terrorist attack happened ?? Have aliens actually decided to take over our planet ? Is the government doing anything to protect the people there ? And why in God's name is some idiot singing it out to some fair lady ??

Bas ... ab I must stop ... all this is too much for me !! My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I remember reading that Ring-a Ring-a roses is actually about plague and death !! Why in the world are children being taught this when they are so young ? I am certain that every nursery rhyme has some deep rooted evil within it, and urge you all to protect your children from this irreversible harm.

Namaskar and Jai hind !!

Samaj-sewak GG

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yeh fashion ke naye rang hain ...

I have SO much to say about each and every second of this video ... seriously, every shot is such a gold mine of comments!! But I'm not going to. I'm sure everyone has their own favorite bit. I will, however, admit that I have in fact seen this movie, and even remember that towards the end they have this whole "making of" video. How very Rush hour of them.

Youtube doesn't seem to have the other song from this movie, which in my opinion is a total classic. I think I shall write down some lines right here -

Yeh faaaeesshuuunnn ke naye rang hainnnn
Nayaa hai yeh zamaanaaaa
Oooo OOO oooo OO ooooo ...

Lipstick powder aur cream
Mere liye laana
Oooo OOO oooo OO ooooo ...

Main bhi faaaeesshuuunnn karoongaa
Michael Jackson banooongaa!!

Mere liye laanaaaaaaa
pyaar ka khazaaanaaaa!!

Yeh faaaeesshuuunnn ke naye rang hainnnn
Nayaa hai yeh zamaanaaaa
Oooo OOO oooo OO ooooo ...

How can that not make everyone want to break out into an interpretive dance!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And we meet again

I imagine the feelings of two people meeting again after many years. In the past they spent some time together, and therefore they think they are linked by the same experience, the same recollections. The same recollections? That's where the misunderstanding starts: they don't have the same recollections; each of them retains two or three small scenes from the past, but each has his own; their recollections are not similar; they don't intersect; and even in terms of quantity they are not comparable: one person remembers the other more than he is remembered; first because memory capacity varies among individuals (an explanation that each of them would at least find acceptable), but also (and this is more painful to admit) because they don't hold the same importance for each other.

Ignorance, by Milan Kundera

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

1000s of words on moving day

The flatmate and I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn last month - or the equivalents for San Diego - from La Jolla to Mira Mesa. The rent - it was the rent. Yeah, both of us - cheap bastards.

It began with us dismantling his flowery bed. I don't know ... guess he feels like a little princess when he is on it. Wait, that explains the queen size bed !!

Mine was simpler - I just had to pull the sheet off my bed. King size. Just like Jackie Shroff asked me to live life.

Step 3 - scrounging for boxes and trash bags. No problemo.

"Yo ... flatty", said I, "don't forget to pack up your guitar. I'm sure you will suddenly get enthu-ed up to play it in the new apartment, which will cause me endless suffering till you learn to play the damn thing properly".

I'm quite clairvoyant-ish.

"Yo ... fatty", said he, "ditto on the keyboard you'll never play".

Hmm ... he isn't bad at predictions either!

The flatmate was being his usual productive self.

So was I.

Oh the T ? It says "Sex ... I'm two people short of a threesome". I've got a lots of such Ts, but that specific one is for night time wearing. Yes, the sting of irony is not lost on me either.

Inspired by his dhobi, the flatmate says voila!

Well, at least I have my most important box all done.

Hokay, let's tackle the living room and the kitchen.

How the hell did we ever collect all this junk ?

One of those papasan chairs is actually broken, but since they were bought together, one cannot be thrown without the other. Janam janam ka saath kinds.

After what seemed like ages, even I managed to get done.

And here we are ... the view from my new room ... where I see myself spending many voyueristic hours in the near future :)

Call me a judgmental bitch, but ...

I met one of my foundry contacts today - this guy who is my counterpart in one of the foundries that I work with - which means that he essentially does similar work in his company as I do in mine. We had been interacting via email and phone for over a year now, and I had formed a mental image of him. I pictured him to be a Hispanic guy (because of his name), slightly under-confident and slow on the uptake (just from his responses over the last year), hard working, and about my age - well, perhaps a bit older since he is a senior engineer, which is one level above me, but no more than 30.

It turns out that I was right about it all, except his age. I didn't get the figure wrong - 30 was correct - if you were talking about the number of years he has been with the same company. As impressed as I was that someone would stick to the same job for thirty whole years, I couldn't help but wonder what it might have been that made him totally lose ambition to rise up in his career, and if I too would become like that one day - a senior engineer after working in the same position for thirty years!!!

Even government offices promote you faster.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Akele ho?

I was in the middle of a meeting today, with almost my entire team present; and as I was explaining to them how the schedule was completely unreasonable to meet the tapeout deadline, and projecting my plan on the big ass screen, (while simultaneously glaring at my boss to chime in and back me up - which he did - I love him!!!), up popped this buxom blonde, wearing a very tight white t-shirt which gave one and all an ample view of her silicone implants, with her right index finger parting her lips just the right amount - which made her seem sexy but not bulimic, standing over a jazzy caption which informed me (and my entire team) that we all didn't have to be alone tonight, when we could easily "get with" the ladies at adultfriendfinder.com.

I have finally contacted IT to take care of the fukkin adware in my comp.

Shoo, you stupid cow!

Here I am, barely able to type right now, on account of feeling like a damn sardine on this AA flight from New York. I've flown a number of airlines in the past, but American Airlines is most certainly one of the most ghatiya of the lot ... the leg room is highly insufficient, the seats are smaller than other economy flights, even some of the seats have rips in them. Yuck. But since there is some random CBS report about a lady who used to write about the environment being shown on the TV screen, I'd rather kill my time doing this.

Speaking of American, Americans (yeah I know - nice segue), for the most part, are a very friendly lot. But every now and then, you either meet, or see, someone whom you can barely resist the urge to slap. In my experience, these are usually white Americans, in their late 50s to mid 60s, mostly women (sure, call me sexist if you want, but 4 times out of 5, it's a woman), probably someone who grew up with a fixed set of ideas, and has never been able to break that mould, and mostly with enough money, but just short of the amount they would have liked to have. Also, they almost always have an "Americanized" name like Beth or Ruth. I'm sure I was Freud in a past life.

The reason that I am being so analytical is because I saw one such lady, with her hen-pecked hubby, while I was getting on to the flight. And surprise surprise, her name turned out to be Judy - I snuck a look at her boarding card. So Judy, apparently, tried to get an upgrade; but since she had initially bought an economy ticket, she couldn't sit in business class since they were out of seats. Norah (a very rich - clearly old money, and very hippie - hair colors included jet black, a bit of blonde, a little bit of purple, and some brown - lady), also about the same age as Judy, did book a business class seat, and so she was allowed to board before everyone else, which she didn't ... perhaps she got late or something.

So here everyone is, waiting in line to board, when Judy loudly proclaims - "Ohhh ... "we" should have gotten on when they announced priority boarding." ... perhaps thinking herself to be Moses and expecting everyone to part like the Red Sea, allowing Norah, and apparently herself (since they were there together) to go on ahead. Norah said that that wasn't a problem, and that she didn't mind standing in line just like everyone else. Judy thought this was quite below her, and had she managed to upgrade, she would not have had to stand with the little people. Perhaps in a haze of superiority, she cut right in front of this other American woman, almost hitting her with her travel bags. Well, this woman was not having any of it, and asked Judy to "wait your turn and not be so rude". It was awesome to hear the chuckles all around !!

So back went poor Judy, looking chastised, while Norah walked on ahead of her, clearly not wanting to have anything to do with the old tart. I guess there is a moral to this story, but I can't be bothered to think about it right now. I'm just hoping Judy creates a scene when we get off as well ... more fodder for the blog.

Airports really are such fun places!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

My trip to NYC

It's 12:27 in the morning, and I'm semi-lying down on the futon in N's apartment, while he is taking out guttural sounds, much like the Loch Ness monster. While I have been kept awake by those same reverberations in the past (a part of the Euro-trip which I have tried hard to block out), they are not the reason I am awake. He dozed off a while back, and I was hoping to catch the episode of Brothers and Sisters that I missed this evening ... since the two of us were walking on Brooklyn bridge - which, by the way, I had never done before - and also not seen a number of places in all my previous trips here - I have no idea what the hell I've done each time that I've been back ... but stupid ABC hasn't put it up on their website yet. So here I am, awake, and writing.

This trip to NYC has been like many other in the past, where I have stayed at N's place - I always tell him that the reason I fly across the country is to visit him - though the real reason is that I absolutely love being in this city, and find a great place to stay in his apartment - which, of course, costs me nothing, except that I have to listen to his sarcastic remarks all day long (and yes, I totally enjoy those), but since I have no qualms about making like a bird and going (being) cheap cheap (ok, bad joke), I'd rather stay here than spring on a hotel. Needless to say, his invite to come visit me in SD is always open, but since I know he believes he will self destruct any time he steps even an inch west of Chicago, there is hardly any possibility of him showing up at my doorstep - baggage and caustic tongue in hand.

So as I was saying, the trip, as always, has been quite a lot of fun. I've clearly gotten a lot of things "out of my system" - his words, not mine - which include Ethiopian food at Awash, the pastries at Veniero's, falafel at that place on 6th street (my God ... food food food ... little wonder that I'm turning into a frikkin whale), walking through both the East and West village ... and looking at Carrie Bradshaw's house on Perry street - which, needless to say, was in his system, not mine ... hanging out at Washington square - which we will be returning to tomorrow morning, to have the dosas from the dosa-cart uncle, having hot chocolate at the Bald Man shop, and walking through SoHo - which I've done a few time before, but is always fun to do. We also went and watched Superbad, and I have no clue why it's a must watch movie - it's funny in parts, but I wouldn't really recommend it to people. Oh well - not too much a waste of time, though. Plus I got some of my work, which I really needed to get done, done - so I can be at peace when I take the day off tomorrow - well, today, now.

And of course, we've talked. About everything under the sun. I know he needed to, and I'm glad he did. I've never been one to sugarcoat what I say - especially to my friends, and it has been the same over the last two days. I don't know whether any of what I said made sense, but I'm hoping there was at least something substantial in all the rubbish that comes out of my mouth. Even as I write this here, I realize that there is so much more I wanted to say ... have wanted to for some time now ... but I guess there will be a time and a place for that.

And one thing that he said stuck with me, and got me thinking enough to write this post. Man ... I sure know how to go on and on and on without getting to the damn point.

"Gaurav, I've come to realize that while you should have a bigger picture in mind, it is SO important to live in the present. If you've been meaning to do something, then do it. Don't wait to do it tomorrow - if there is nothing stopping you from doing it now, then why wait ? We need to spend less time thinking about how things could have been, or how things will be in the future, and start focusing on what we have today, what we are doing now."

It wasn't what he said, it was how he said it. It made me think of the list I made two years back - that list of 10 things I wanted to do before my 27th birthday.

Bungee jump
Sky diving
Tried substitute teaching
Learnt to play the piano properly
Would be ready to take the GMAT
Would have taken a cruise/trip
Would have a new hairstyle, and colored hair
Will get a thumb ring
Would have participated in a play
Would be involved in some volunteer work

Two months to go, and I’m at five out of ten. Well, not exactly. I did learn the piano, and did start to study for the GMAT, and even went and got my hair shaved - but honestly, all those half-assed attempts don't really count. And what is it that has stopped me from doing the rest ? Honestly, I don't know. Each of those things could have been quite easily done. They just haven't. I also thought about things I think about doing quite regularly, and then think how tomorrow would be a good day to start - going to the beach, going for a jog, dieting, being more proactive about not being single, planning (at least broadly) my future, practicing the piano, reading more that I do, investing, trying harder to stay in touch with people ... the list could go on and on.

I don't even have an iota of the problems some people face, and yet I find my life to be so full of complications. I find excuses to procrastinate, to convince myself that I simple do not have the time to be a better person, to think that I have many years ahead of me to do all the things I have always been meaning to do. I hope that the next time I'm busy watching some crap on TV, I'm going to hear N tell me ... Gaurav, If you've been meaning to do something, then do it ... do it now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thoughts in the shower II

Things to say to bugging relatives when they tell me that I should get married now that I'm settled:

- I hate you.
- Errr ... I already did. She got pregnant. There wasn't much choice left.
- I would, but the judge has ordered me not to till the murder charges are dropped.
- You've been quite miserable all these years, so I really don't see the point.
- Actually, I'm already committed to someone. His name is Peter.
- Uh oh, I guess you're one of the few who weren't invited.
- Isn't it tougher to have multiple sex partners once you're married?
- I tried to. Instead of Quabool, I kept saying Babool. You need some toothpaste?
- Why? You think mom would make a good chudail saas or what?
- Zaroor! (I'm sure they will faint at this)
- Lay off the damn K-serials!

70 days and counting

The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering". So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.

- Ignorance, by Milan Kundera

Two and a half years since I've been back ... I'm nostalgic as hell.