Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thangamani Enjoy!

The synapses are sparking away with newly discovered mojo. The Mrs. (and I acknowledge the high probability of her reading this) is going to be away for a couple of days next week.

Already, the troops are alive to the fact that the CO is getting some shore leave. Plans of a collegial nature are afoot, with blue prints being circulated across various media. A bottle of Single Malt (thank you, Bharat!) awaits its uncorking. My good friend Mary Joe might drop in. I've keyed in all the home delivery greasy spoons on my speed dial. That eclectic genre of film - the stoner movies - have been downloaded and primed for DVD release (forgive me, piracy police). ITC has been forewarned of a sudden spike in demand. Music of a loud and often tuneless nature has been "pre-loaded" onto my iPod - I love attaching "pre-" to every activity word (verb, if you will). It's a meaningless prefix that George Carlin hates - something I pre-ordered on a pre-vious trip State-side

And yet...and yet...I am pretty sure I'm going to miss the Mrs. (pardone moi for the tasteless pun) terribly. Honey, if you're reading this - it's not a get-out-of-jail card. I really mean it! There are many things that we married men as a class take for granted (I will not delve into the most private of these, you pervs). By the way, what's the difference between being kinky and pervy? Being kinky is using a feather; you're a perv if you use the entire chicken!

Party's at my place next week, gentlemen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Labor Pains

A Vice President (HR) was recently clubbed to death in Coimbatore. Reason? He laid off a bunch of striking workers who were obstructing others who actually wanted to get some work done.

I now wait for the Labor Minister to make a statement similar to the one last year (when the MD of Graziano got nailed). Something on the lines of "Modern business should recognize the power of labour, and should consider all other options before retrenching employees." Duh!
For a socio-capitalist nation, we do have some strange practices. What next? A gangland-type execution reserved for the Facilities Manager because he removed the current canteen wallah?

I'm going to stick my neck out here and point an accusing finger at two parties:

1. Armchair communists: You know the type. The ones who wear Fab India kurtaas and drive around in mildly luxurious cars while spouting Marx and writing copious pages in a leading national fortnightly about the bleak outlook for India's poor. If you're reading this, I hate you for your hypocrisy. I hate you for your rabble rousing. And I hate you for supporting causes to gain publicity.

2. Bolly, Kolly, Tolly, Molly, and other types of 70 mm wood: The greedy industrialist (GI) and his cruel side kick with a hair lip and steroid-infused musculature. And the common man hero who's lost his father, mother, unwed sister, and kindly grandmother to a fit of rage courtesy Hair Lip. And the police, by way of being in the pocket of GI, justice is denied.
Namma Hero executes a devilishly clever plan. He joins GI's company and reforms people from the inside. Hair Lip turns out to be a kind-hearted chap whose father used to shoe-beat him when he was a kid. And voila! Everyone turns on GI. Oh, and GI's daughter falls for Namma Hero.
I hate the constant rich vs. poor theme that stereotypes the successful as greedy and cruel, and the poor as being hopelessly subjugated. I hate the way the hero (whose billing for that particular film is slightly more than Cuba's GDP) mindlessly seeks that elusive reward - justice! And I especially hate the way violence is projected as the only way of making one's point.

You want to strike? Strike peacefully. You want to be heard? Make an intelligent argument. Fasting, demonstrating, stoning cars, burning effigies, blocking roads, and voicing lewd suggestions are not the best ways to win sympathy and make your point.

That said, my father-in-law is an HR professional. For his birthday later this year, I'm gifting him a little something that my friends Smith & Wesson made for me.

What Maketh a Bangalorean?

I met a charming man (CM) the other day. He was about 5' 10", of slight build, and his stained teeth betrayed a fondness for the paan. He was weaving through the light afternoon traffic on a gear-less step-through scooter, confident in the belief that his vehicle's derrière ended where he sat. It was this belief that encouraged him to brake-test me while cutting from Lane 1 to Lane 3 at an acute angle.

I braked heavily, startling my parents and wife. I also punched the horn button, tooting angrily at the said CM. CM obviously didn't enjoy being tooted at (who does?) and he pulled up in front of me to have a mano a mano type argument. Being stout-hearted and nursing a fondness for the m-a-m myself, I decided to exit the car and introduce myself to CM.

CM proceeded to employ some fruity Hindi cuss words. It was a sheer waste of breath and time, as I frankly don't get Hindi c.w. Give me the poetic Tamizh c.w. any day of the week. A well-directed Kaep Maari, Porambokku, or l.k.b (this last one is of Hindi origin, but has been fondly and permanently adopted by my state mates).

Anyway, CM realized that Hindi wasn't doing it for him, whereupon he decided to share his hypothesis on Tamizhian drivers with me. My car sports a TN registration (bit of the DQ charging the windmills there), and it wasn't difficult for him to deduce my native. CM claimed that TN drivers honked more than Bangaloreans, drove worse than Bangaloreans, and didn't belong in Bangalore. He was apparently some sort of an Ambassador for Bangalore, as he interspersed his tirade with sweet entreaties such as, "Chill, machan. Why are you getting tense? You are in Bangalore now. So chill machan....". Such e. failed to convince me of his friendly intentions, as the body of his monologue questioned the legality of my parentage, with mild threats of how easy it would be to set fire to my car.

Seeing that this friendly chat was going nowhere, I turned away from him. As I walked back to the car, he screamed out in frustration, asking me to return to where I belong. This last statement stung me. For Madras is closer to Bangalore than Patna is.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

For us car ..and pun affocianados

One day in the jungle a chimpanzee invented some tools to eat his dinner. One tool was a flat stick sharpened along one edge, which he used to cut his food. The other was a stick with four smaller sticks attached to the end, each sharpened to a point, which he used to spear his food and place it in his mouth. The chimp was very proud of his inventions which he called his ‘one point tool’ and his ‘four point tool.’

One day he awoke to find that the four point tool was missing. The chimp was distraught. He ran around the jungle trying to find his precious tool. First he came upon the lion.
"Lion, Lion!" he cried, "Have you seen my four point tool?"
"No. Replied the lion, I have not seen your four point tool."

Then the chimp came upon the gorilla.
"Gorilla, Gorilla! he cried, Have you seen my four point tool?"
"No, Replied the gorilla, I have not seen your four point tool."

Then the chimp came upon the jaguar.
"Jaguar, Jaguar! he cried, Have you seen my four point tool?"
"Yup!" replied the jaguar, "I have seen your four point tool."
"Well where is it?" inquired the chimp.
"I ate it." Said the jaguar, smugly.
"Why would you do that?" Cried the chimp.

"Because," replied the big cat, "I am a four point tool eater Jaguar..."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Preserving Indian culture

"Your freedom ends where my nose begins" - Anon.

I don't think any of you are strangers to the goings-on in Mangalore. Basically, a bunch of un/under-educated testoteron-charged males went on a rampage, attacking women who appeared to be "under the Western influence".

The blokes were card carrying members of the Sri Rama Sene (SRS), an organization loosely modeled on the manifesto of that august Mumbai institution, the Shiv Sena. Between these two, they have both branches of Hinduism serviced. The proud Vaishnavites felt left out when the Shivaites lauded the minions of their Kailasam-based Supremo. Now, Muthalik has engineered a Vaishnavite comeback, with the Sri Ram Sene (behold: even 'Sena' is spelt differently to create some much-needed product differentiation).

Muthalik seems an interesting personality. He is middle-aged, and un-married. In his younger years, he used to hang out with a bunch of older men wearing above-knee shorts (my gaydar just went off the charts). Then, he distanced himself from the indulgences of his youth by starting his own brigade of virile males, each wearing a yellowish-orange bandana and carrying a metal instrument engineered to cause pain. I pity the blighter; he probably took the whole "All Indians are my brothers and sisters" thing too literally (except probably for the "brothers" part).

His beef (oops, wrong word for a staunch Hindu) with the women his gang assaulted? They were insulting Indian tradition by offering custom to a pub on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Horrors! Why a pub, when they could have worked off their boredom at one of the many religious institutions surrounding Mangalore? Why Amnesia when they could so easily have gone to Dharmasthala? They could have taken the 11.AM super duper delux KSRTC bus and been in Dharmasthala, or Kukke, or Kollur, or Sringeri, or Udipi, well in time for the afternoon darshan. Of course, they wouldn't have been able to talk to any men on the bus, for the conductor would have cried foul and alerted Muthalik's men.

Anyway, the lovely ladies missed the bus and landed up at Amnesia (which seems to be the only watering-hole worth its salt in the one-horse town that is Mangalore). They proceeded to pay a gazillion rupees for a watered down cocktail, and were then set upon by SRS. Now, the boys at SRS haven't been to a co-ed school you see; they havent partaken in the immensely satisfying exercise of pulling at their feminine classmates' ponytails. They decided to check this very important on any young man's to-do list (albeit a few years too late) in style, with full media coverage at the pub.

Cue a couple of useless arrests, some fruity remarks by Muthalik and his posse, and some histrionics from Renuka Choudhary, that doyen of women politicians. Its been more than a week now, and Muthalik still roams free. Still making incendiary comments, which our quote-starved media gobbles up and gives front-page coverage to. (Come on, TOI! Don't you realize that you're giving the SRS free publicity?) And Renuka continues to let loose some salvoes from afar.

I have one question for the SRS: Didn't their momma teach them not to hit girls? Why don't they pick on someone else, like the NSG? If they weren't vehemently vegetarian, I'd call them chicken (that's two bad animal puns for this blog). Get your facts straight, Uncle Muthalik: Indian culture is build on the bedrock of promsicuosness. Ramayana is quite risque, what with four wives for the senior protagonist and some well-aimed Ashwamedha Yagnas. The Mahabaratha is positively littered with sexual innuendos too and rampant wine binging, and let's not forget that epic of the giggity-giggity, the Kama Sutra. All 100% Made in India. When our culture has lived with such a colorful (and blue being the primary color, I might add) past, a couple of tipples for the womenfolk at a pub postively pales in comparison on the threat meter.

If I may opine, the real issue these crusaders (wrong religion, but who cares!?) are dealing with is their perceived emasculation. I say 'perceived' as the Meat and 2 Veg are accounted for when these gentlemen indulge in a predominantly male prerogative -rape. The emasculation itself is felt by the SRS and their ilk because women (gasp! the weaker sex) are earning more than they are, speaking better than they ever did, and even holding their liqour better. This last item is probably what irkes them the most, considering the attack is on the pub culture specifically. Don't take it too hard guys - the chick-cocktails have a substantially lesser alcohol content than the nasty arrack you name as your poison every afternoon at the neighborhood liquor store. Grow up, SRS!

Sidenote: The reasons for the SRS's actions closely mirror the Shiv Sena's attitude towards non-Maharashtrians. Mumbai will be significantly weakened without the Gujju money-men, the Bihari BPO drivers, and the Gurkha security guards. Shame on the both of you!

There are two ways to evade the SRS if they show up at the doorstep of your favorite pub:
1. Run out of the service exit located in the rear, and file a complaint.
2. Carry a baseball bat - ALERT! Western cultural influence!

There's also a middle-ground 3:
Protest this Government, and any Government that imposes (or allows others to impose) restriction on your way of life. Peaceful the ones that cause 6 hour traffic jams on Bangalore's new Airport Road. And practice what you preach. Don't vent your feelings on the "Talibanization of Karnataka" (thank you, Outlook!), and then proceed to lambast the ethnic practices of your neighbor a day or two later.

As for me, I'm going shopping - to the sports store around the corner :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Need for Space

As young men of the modern day, we are spoiled. Spoiled by the freedom we enjoy from the time we've been dandled on grandpa's knee; spoiled by our parents, who respect the skull and crossbones on the door of our teenage years; spoiled by our teachers, who refrain from delving into our personal lives; spoiled by our girlfriends, who head back home for the day just moments before you can't possibly bear their presence any longer; spoiled by our universities, who give us dorms with a door; pretty much spoiled till....right about now.

Things change rather drastically when you get married. I didn't believe an acquaintance who told me this before the wedding: "The toughest thing to get used to is the total lack of 'your' space. Everything's in the public domain, including your bathroom slippers." I pooh-poohed his wise words then, promising myself to never lose my individuality. Codswallop.

As a sex, womankind posseses a tendency to nurture their man, and believe they know best. Be it your mother who comments on your hairstyle and your apparant lack of personal hygiene, to your teacher who insists that you are "basically a good child who needs to be shown the way", despite your best efforts to annihilate her.

The wife is not much different. Toothbrushes get changed every month, socks with holes are deposited in the garbage dumpster with a Machiavellian finnesse, your beloved 1987 Bryan Adams t-shirt is doing duty as a dishcloth, your car is officially a grocery cart, your faux Oakleys (spelt Oaklea or something like that) are suddenly too ugly to wear in public, and the music you listen to is 'immature'. This last item cuts me to the quick. Its my music, sweetheart. I grew up listening to it....behind closed doors in my room. (Aha!)

The long and short of it - Believe me, bandhu. Once the honeymoon ends and normal day-to-day life begins, your space is your spouse's b***h. Get used to it. Don't complain about it or you might lose your"closed bathroom door while shaving" privilege. Your life isn't just about you anymore.