Monday, January 31, 2005

For many of us sex-appeal literally means a plea for sex :)

Look No Further
Sunday afternoon. Indian grocery store in San Diego. Beautiful girl searching for something. Geeky guy searching for ginger paste. She looks up. He looks up. Their eyes meet. Her look turns angry and I look away, visibly flustered.

That's when it struck me how differently men and women react to a simple situation like this. If two sets of eyes meet, then both parties are equally at fault (?) for whatever eye-candy theft has taken place. Yet, the immediate reaction of the female form is to assume "he was leching at me" while the male specie gets taken aback with the thought of "Oh no! She must be thinking I was leching at her". The irony is that the crime committed by both parties is the same and so is the evidence the jury has against them. Yet, one instantly assumes the role of the guilty and the other, of the victim. This is also the same reason you can see women stopping men on the streets and shouting out "What were you staring at? Huh! What were you looking at?". Has one ever seen the opposite happen? Where a mustached guy is found shouting at a shorts-sighted girl, screaming "Yes Miss. Why were you looking at me? Why?" Not me.

Seriously, sit in a coffee shop and keep staring at a girl and she'll soon whisper into her friend's ear abt the "pervert in the adjacent table." But find a woman staring at a man, and he's the one who'll get all jittery. We instantly conclude that something must be wrong. What is it, we wonder. OK! The zip is locked and I do remember shaving both sides of my moustache. I'm quite sure I dint pick my nose. Why is she staring at me then? What's wrong? WE NEVER ASSUME SHE IS LECHING.

So, to the lady in the grocery store, "I agree you were pretty. But you were pretty wrong too."

No for sure
Quick question. When did the meaning of the term "Yeah, sure" change? Whatever happened to the times when an old lady would ask you if you could help her cross the street and you'd say "Yeah, sure" or your friend asked you if you could watch his house while he's away and you'd reply with a casual "Yeah, sure. Why not?". Someone asked me if I'm sarcastic towards her and I replied with utmost honesty, saying "not at all." So she said, "Yeah! Sure" and sulked and twisted her lips and raised her eyebrows and moved her eye balls alarmingly! A rapid fire round of questions followed and all my sincere answers were greeted with "Yeah! Sure"s, all of which effectively mean "No way! You liar". When did this change come into effect?

Some new ones come
While old ones go
Some increase posting
While some turn slow
But just for now
I'll let you know
I've updated my "Blog List"
As it continues to grow

Stages of evolution
(Thank you P for initiating this conversation.) Three types of complaints a man faces:

When he is trying to woo the lady: "You are trying too hard!"

When in bed with the lady: "Try to remain hard!"

When he is married to the lady: "You hardly try!"


Sunday, January 30, 2005

What clothing item is my writing?
I saw my last few posts and figured that I have lost my love for brevity. Spoke too much :( I always wanted my writing to be a mini-skirt, courtesy the childhood description that "it covers all the important points but still leaves the imagination open. Short yet sweet". So I'm no longer eligible for that :( So what is my writing?

Dress? No, Seldom does the whole piece flow well together. That's not me either :(

Saree? My writing is not transparent and linear and definitely lacks the quality of being "traditional yet contemporary". So no again :(

Denim? Maybe. I guess it fades away fast. But then it doesn't run in the jeans :)

Spaghetti top? Maybe. I often get the feeling that the main body of my posts are supported by two flimsy points.

Post getting long again.

My first girl friend (apparently) - thanks for reminding Anonymous :)
This post is courtesy an Anonymous reader of my blog with whom I had a very interesting via-blog discourse this morning. Sadly, even though the incident concerned was quite funny when it happened, part of the humor lies in the use of Bengali and will probably get lost in translation. Moi shall however try (try try try till you succeed - King Bruce and the spider). For starters, some cultural info:

Unlike English, many Indian languages have different forms of the word "you". I speak Bengali and Hindi and both these languages have "tu" (tui), "tum" (tumi) and "aap" (apni) - all meaning "you" but signifying increasing degrees of respect. Now my parents did two things involving these nuances as a kid - (a) taught me to call everyone at least "tumi" to denote a certain amount of respect and (b) kept me away from half the World's population aka women. So I had no idea abt the apparent norm that if a guy calls a girl of the same age "tumi" in Bengali, he is supposed to foster "special feelings" (excessive use of "" being made) for her. Otherwise, the guy should have addressed the girl with a harmless "tui". Now the main story (which is actually smaller than the prelude):

Finally, I could not be kept away from women any more. I joined a Chemistry tuition in Std XI that had a healthy dose of skirt clad, tight topped, bag carrying ladies. One of them turned out to be my dad's colleague's daughter. Obviously we started talking and ignorant of social norms I started addressing her as "tumi". Now the girl instantly concluded that it wasn't just me who was talking, but my raging hormones were conversing too. Why else will I call her "tumi"? However, she did not stop me (or educate me). Soon, it seems, we started having an almost-affair without me realizing or being a part of it. Then finally she confided in her dad. who apparently was quite impressed by her taste in men and broke the news to my dad.

A little word abt my dad at this point - he is not exactly Mr. Open-minded. He came home and blasted me for being more interested in Physi(que)s in Chemistry class. "Why do you call her tumi and why do you just talk to her in the class?" he asked. "I call everyone tumi and she is the only person I know in the class," I retorted.

To cut a long story short - the confusion soon ended. My dad, who didn't have to teach me abt the birds and the bees had to teach me the nuances of Bengali chirping. The girl stopped talking to me and apparently eloped with some guy in the days to come. As far as I am concerned, I figured out that it wasn't just me who adopted the "tumi" standard. So till date I address most people as "tumi" and if possible avoid all confusion by sticking to English.

Long story. No message. Yabadabadoo!

Old Whine in a New Bottle
The previous post was abt the things kids can get away with and now it's time to bring the old into the picture. Person in question - my dad (though he won't take too kindly to me calling him old:) ) The "old man" does things and gets away with them simply because Mummum jumps to his defense and says "Baba, with age na ...".

You can try bugging Bubin during the cricket match to get a taste of what I'm alluding to. This relative asked Bubin, "Who do you think is better, Sachin or Lara?". Neither did Bubin look away from the TV nor did he even acknowledge the question. The question was bowled again. Bubin then looked at the relative distractedly and nodded saying, "Yes! True." and went back to watching TV. Instantly, Mummum jumped to Bubin's defense saying, "Baba he is seriously getting old. These days he just doesn't pay attention to so many things." The relative bought the argument instantly and even sneaked in a little criticism of her own better half, "Seriously. Even my husband does the same thing. The other day ..." A long story would follow, finally ending with the line "These men, seriously. Had it not been for us ..." No damage done.

It's not that Mummum has to defend Bubin. He uses the "I'm aging" alibi to perfection on his own as well. Bubin loves pulling pranks on my grandmother (mom's mom) and often gets the darling lady quite upset. But just when Mummum is planning to enter the battlefield, Bubin would smile and say "Seriously. These days I have no idea of what is inappropriate. I'm getting old na?" Mummum can't fight that and once again no damage is done.

I seriously feel youngsters (yeah! baby, that's us) need some alibi too. The best one I can think of is "Pressure of work is too much." but that's another post. Stay happy!

No Kid-ding
Everybody says they want to be a kid again. The reasons are manifold - some like the sheer joy of being pampered while others long to relive those moments when every decision was taken for us by others, making things so much simpler. I would love to be a kid for all these reasons but there is an added incentive as well - a kid can get away with the most obnoxious statements without a single tarnish on his/her reputation. Your three year old cousin can call your fifty three year old aunt "fat" and everybody in the family will laugh it away. "He is so innocent na?" the fat neighbor would exclaim. Your cousin's mom would exhibit a fake round of reprimanding, "Cheeh! Jojo, don't call anyone fat." "It's ok baba!" the fat aunt herself would defend, "As if he knows what fat is." What???

Just imagine your girl friend asking you how she looks in her new dress and you replying "slutty". She doesn't bring the house done but starts laughing and her friends tell her "Isn't he soooooo sweeet. Poor chap, he doesn't even know what a slut is." NO!!! That NEVER happens. For that matter, I even get blamed for stuff I genuinely don't mean. Every now and then G used to ask me abt her selection of clothes. Ignorant with the nuances of fashion I would sincerely say, "It looks nice." "No seriously," she would shout back, "Tell me what is actually going on in your mind." See now that never happens with a kid.

Enuff. Time to go and get some diapers.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Isn't it ironic
S is a friend of mine who has spent quite some time in the US and even completed his undergrads here. He was complaining that he is thoroughly bugged by the fact that he is still a virgin.

Isn't is ironic that he is screwed because he is still a virgin?

Profundity for the day
I was explaining to G what I thought was the bane of most relationships. I believe a relationship is like an onion. To start with, it's all nice and rosy hue. Then with time we start exposing our true selves. With every passing day we peel a remaining layer of this onion, revealing just a little bit more of the pale inside. Finally, like all onion peeling we shed a few tears. Ah! So sentimental.

What's the deal with the emoticons? I for one am making excessive use of it without even realizing whether it's appropriate :) See! I just did it again. Conversations are being punctuated with :) or :( or :)), @->-, :O etc. etc. etc. The other day I was chatting with someone and the person called me a "stupid bastard" followed by a ":)". Was that supposed to be funny? So I called him a "f*ckin moron" and added a ":))" at the end of the message and he replied back with a ";)". Can you imagine that conversation taking place in real life where some one calls me a bastard and starts smiling and I abuse the sense out of him and laugh back and he gives me a wink??? Well, well. What can I say? Keep smiling :)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Looking back
Every blogger at some point feels the need to justify the purpose of his/her blog. A friend of mine mentioned that his blog helped him look back at the way he and his thoughts evolved with time. Having not possessed and therefore not put too much of thought on this blog, I decided to go back and do the same myself.

I started blogging in May last year and just finished going through the May and June archives. They alone are suggestive of the fact that I have changed quite a lot. The change, however, is like the "hair style effect" Mr. Thambudorai had told us abt in high school, where you don't notice your hair growing on a daily basis and the only way to notice the change is to look at yourself after big gaps. Blogging allowed me to take this big leap in the mental process. Most of my initial blog entries were abt film reviews, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, the film-class I was taking, links to news articles and bitterness abt G. A quick scan of my recent entries will not find any of these topics, sans the occasional mention of G (I think I spoke too soon coz I'm finally going for Aviator tonight and might post the review tomorrow). These days, however, telemarketers, family info and smart-Alec-ish yet not-so-smart quips are the major topics of discourse.

Yes, Mr. Thambudorai was right. The hair does look different.

A new friend
I just got off the phone after talking with Raj. Raj who? Well, well!

Rrrrrring, rrrrrrrinng!

Me: Hello!
X: Hey, can I talk to Sagnik?
Me: Yup, that's me.
X: Hey, Sagnik, this is Raj.
Me: Hey is this Raj from Kolkata or from Delhi?
X: No, this is Raj from cheapcalltoindia.com ...

Bang! Wow he almost had me.

The Coupon System
My sis has a boy friend (or what she calls "we're just good friends") and I think I'd mentioned the guy in some post earlier. Yanyway, I was on the phone with Mummum and she was telling me that my sis has to come up with really innovative excuses to either go out or spend more time with this guy. The other day she called up Mummum from college and said that "the library is too crowded and she needs more time to find a book". Then there is the standard "couldn't have lunch because of classes and so am going for a late lunch". However, Mummum was most impressed by this evening's "Mummum, it's raining so heavily that it's unsafe to drive and we are just waiting on the side of the road". Apparently, the rain continued it's downpours for quite some time, even though a little distance away it was dry in front of our house :)) So, Mummum was telling me that she has started feeling bad for her daughter, given that these excuses need a fair amount of innovation, acting and hard work. So I suggested that Mummum comes up with a coupon system. Mummum should give Pummy "ten hours of coupon time" per week. Pummy can use this time in whatever way she wants. In case she exhausts her weekly coupons she can buy extra coupons at premium rate by studying more. Similarly coupons can also be saved and used later. The inspiration for my idea??? The zillions of "cell phone plan" ads running on TV. However, both Mummum and the doting brother insists that this "coupon plan" have only daytime minutes :)

Knock knock.
Get lost. I won't open the door.

- the response moi got when trying to crack a 'knock knock' joke :)

A Joke Gone Wild
This post is going to be a tricky one but moi shall try (ah! the rocks I try to push, ah!). However, before I get to the incident, I have to crack a very lame joke my dad cracked. Consider it to be the flashback in black and white before the movie proceeds:

Dad said that the secret to his and mom's happy marriage is that he is the boss of the house. Mom only decides the petty things like "what food to cook", "which schools to send the kids to", "who to keep in touch with", "which relatives to love and which ones to dislike", "what to buy and what not to" etc. etc. etc. All the major decisions of the household are, however, taken by dad, like "Whether India should go for the SAARC summit", "who should be the next president of India", "whether Bekham should come back to Manchester United" etc. According to dad, this simple delegation of power, has kept Mummum and him happy.

Though silly, moi quite liked Bubin's joke and tried telling it to a girl I met in someone's house. I had just started with, "Bubin feels that the man should take the important decisions" and this girl jumped to defend all woman-kind. "How can your dad say that?" she started. "That's so chauvinistic ..."

"Na na," I tried defending my dad. "Lemme complete."

"How could you not say anything when your dad said this?" she started again.

"Arre baba it's a joke. Let me just complete. IT'S A JOKE."

"I don't find anything funny in it," she fought back.

"No no. The punch line is yet to some. The humor lies in the fact that my mom actually 'is the boss' but my dad still ... you know what never mind," I remembered that someone once told me that the only thing worse than a bad joke is someone explaining it.

Moral of the story: It's just not funny any more :)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Modified Wisdom
Warning: These things were "prepared" when I was thoroughly bored and it was one of those moments when all TV channels seemed to have conspired against me.

The Slow and Steady wins the race.
Sadly, the fast and unscrupulous might have already scooted off with the prize :(

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.
Try telling that to a voyeur.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.
But MTV told me that Rolling Stone did try out grass.

Barking dogs seldom bite.
But please don't try this at home.

Great minds think alike.
Ever heard of the word "plagiarism"?

Two wrongs do not make a right.
Obviously you need more convincing.

Trump Card
If Donald Trump saw me right now he would have said, "You're tired!".

Perils of being a grad student # 109
Point: Office gossip is sooo much more exciting than lab gossip.

Proof: All office gossip starts with lines like "The other day I saw my boss and his secretary ..." or "... this really hot girl has joined my group and ..." or "We have this really cute guy who is after this girl whose husband is our project ..."

Lab gossip on the other hand is of the nature - "The XYZ deadline is coming up. I don't think A's paper will get accepted ..." or "Did you see the laptop his advisor bought him. It doesn't even have a ..." or "I think her gpa is more than her boy friend's"

The lawyer looked at the judge with a whiff of arrogance. "I rest my case Sir, I rest my case," he said.

I am on a 'Roll'
While peeing this morning (did I have to mention that?) I looked at the roll of tissue paper and it struck me that I was just like it when it came to a lot of people I knew - I stay out of their system for most of the time. The only time they remember me is when shit happens ... and when shit happens I'm summoned to clean it up. Soon my job is done and I am flushed away to oblivion. Yup! That sums it up.

The graduate student stared at his recently made post and thought, "It's a whole load of crap!"

P.S. For those who want some breakfast for thought check out this post made by Shareen (who has one of the most entertaining blogs I've come across).

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Critiquing a literary piece
It's time this blog deals with something serious. A spam mail I received and its analysis follows:

The mail.

Your night has been confirmed with Janice.

Time: Evening
Location: Her Home within 1 mile of you
Attire: Dress casual, bring swimwear
Expectation(s): Pizza/movie, then the "real" fun...or whatever comes first. Quote from Janice: "My husband is out of town for the whole week. If the first affair goes over well, let's just say it will be a wild week. Bring your trunks for the hot-tub too. I have all my lingerie ready for this. Can't wait to meet you."

The male.

Dear Janice,

I must say I'm touched. However, I do have some questions. I am a graduate student and hence low on budget. So do I pay for the pizza or do you treat me?? Moving on to the "real" fun, I'd like to know whatever you meant by "whatever". The last time someone told me "we will do whatever" we landed up watching Legally Blonde II and I want to learn from my mistakes. At this point I should also let you know that I have an assignment due mid-week. So if we are having a "wild week" will you give me two days off and if possible plot some graphs for me too. I'm also a mild lover of personal hygiene and would love to know how often you wash your hot tub coz it appears things get pretty hot in there. I shall eagerly wait for your answers to these questions. BTW in case you decide not to meet me please read my blog!

I mentioned the difficulties of direction providing in a post yesterday. This one is a follow up, this time marking my personal stupidity. A small word of starters though before the main entree follows - I'm completely directionally challenged. It took me three months of staying in New York before I figured out how to locate a freeway exit. So it is no surprise that I hate driving alone; unless I am aware of the destination, which in turn implies that I must have been driven to it by kind friends (thank you Vipul, Sid and the likes) at least ten times before. Now the not so delicious entree arrives.

A friend visiting San Diego for the first time asked me to pick him up from the Airport. Now it is very easy to reach the Airport from my place but the way back is a lot more complicated. So I made this (in)famous statement - "Man, I don't mind dropping you to the Airport when you return but I can't pick you up from there. I don't know the way back." !!!!

If you have missed the stupidity its OK. I told a fellow graduate student this story and it took her a while before she figured out that irrespective of whether I'm picking up or dropping the person - I have to travel both ways.

Where did I go???
I have taken great pride in calling myself an "educated illiterate" since I can't read books. My attention span or rather the lack of it ensured that 400+ pages of literature be always given a chance to impress a film maker, who would then make a movie out of it and put it down in a two hour visual format for me. Yet, I went and purchased my first fiction book from the book store yesterday. The past ten days has seen me gobble down a voluminous chunk of literature. I also tried to dance, an activity, which as mentioned in a previous post, wasn't my cup of cappuccino either. To add to these disparities, an otherwise voracious film watcher, who awaited the works of Scorcese and Farrelly brothers with equal anticipation, I have seen just one movie in the past fortnight. So it's time to play knock knock with myself:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Me who?
Exactly. I wonder "Who am I?"

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Obedient Son
Long time ago a little boy (ahem ahem) was sitting with his mom, playing with his He-Man toy set.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" the mom asked.

"I wanna be a rickshaw (a hand pulled vehicle found in Kolkata, India) puller."

"What? Why?" the surprised mom asked.

"They have good muscles. I will buy a rickshaw and take you around town."

"No. You be an engineer. They have good muscles too."

The little boy thought for a while and said "OK". That's how it all started.

Getting some direction
Don't you hate it when it's an empty road and you are the only person walking on it and suddenly a car stops next to you. The window rolls down and you instantly know it's a lost cause. "Do you know the way to Wayman Street?" You suddenly feel important; these people depend on you; you are the walking lighthouse to these talking folks. BUT then it hits you that you have no freakin clue where Wayman Street is. However, you have already spent five seconds of valuable time gloating in self glory, giving these folks the impression that you are their man. You can't just say NO then. You have to impart some knowledge. So you put on a confused expression on your face, pretending to make the final decision between two final options. The fact, however, is that you are searching for a place to hide. Thinking that you should have told them "No Englees speak" straight away. Given your brown skin, they would have believed you; everybody would have been happy. Ooops! Ten seconds gone. Your audience shows the first signs of restlessness. Now they are doubting you. You are no longer the man. BUT you can still be. "Accept defeat you ignorant arse" your inner voice shouts, "Mom always told you there is no shame in honest defeat." What, why am I thinking abt my mom now? I should focus on Wayman Street. Fifteen seconds up. You frantically start speaking. "I THINK it's to the left. You go there and then turn right OR ... hmmm ... no maybe it's another left ... you know what ... uuuuh ... I think it's the right". The glass rolls up. They even say a "thank you". You know they dint mean it and you know you dint mean a word of what you spurted out either. "Maybe it wasn't that bad," you tell yourself. "Yeah, sure. You wish," the inner voice meddles again.

Supposedly Original (or so I shall claim) Musings # 203
After the emotion dripping last post :) (yeah, last night there was no smiley happenin) some lighter thoughts:

  • I have participated in discussions so dumb that I wished I was deaf.

  • During lunch yesterday I saw this Indian girl who looked a lot like me (not flattering for either one of us) except for the beard and moustache. I am clean shaven you see.

  • I don't judge people. It's much easier being bitchy.

  • For potters and stoners "grass is not green on the other side"; for them "grass is the door to the other side"

  • The only "refreshing" thing that happened to me today was thanks to Internet Explorer.

  • Ari informed me that he is the zillionth person to proclaim his love for Sania Mirza. I asked him not to create a racket.

  • Echoes of Madness
    it's difficult to let go.
    holding on to a solitary branch
    knowing the gorge awaits beneath.
    hoping against hope
    for a hand to come out and reach!

    but then, it was you who took the plunge.
    when all men left for land
    you got smitten by the depth.
    seeking poetry in a sight so stark;
    seeking light in a place so dark;
    you chose the path untread.

    it's still ain't late, the wise men say
    just start all over again
    the hand you seek is else's now
    and shall bring no more but pain
    "wake up," the voices echo on
    dream a whole new dream
    seek a land you have not touched
    wade an all new stream

    Monday, January 24, 2005

    It's sad when ...
    1. You spend half of Monday thinking it's Tuesday and still don't mess up a single appointment/commitment (talk abt variety being spice)

    2. You meet a stranger and she asks you "What do you do?". You tell her, "PhD" and her first question is "Why?" :(

    3. One of your peers has an "imaginary would-be girl friend" whom he discusses with you everyday.

    A post not made
    Wanted to post on how a fellow desi was poking fun at another desi on grounds that he himself could be accused of, but then figured that by posting it I'll fall prey to the exact same concept. So this post is abt the post that never got made :)

    What's there for dinner?
    I have mentioned movies aplenty on this blog; ranted incessantly abt men, women and animals; revealed some not-so-closely protected family secrets; gushed sad tales of a broken heart and re-quoted quotes of the greats. So I was wondering abt stuff that I haven't touched here and realized that one such topic is FOOD!

    Now, coming from a family where my dad once made tea with turmeric, this should be no mean surprise. I come from a family that, sans Mummum, is "cullinarily challenged". My sis recently started making cakes. The hard dough-based substance that results from her attempts is already in high demand amongst neighborhood masons. They say it's nothing but another brick on the wall. I don't recall having seen most of my aunts cook (that might also mean that they don't like cooking for me which in turn would mean that they are mean). So when I moved out of Mummum's kitchen's reach, everyone, including me, was scared.

    However, with time I've learnt some basic secrets abt cooking, which I shall now share:

    1. No matter what I do, potato can never taste bad.

    2. No matter what I do, salad can never taste good (unless of course I add potato to it).

    3. People (this includes Mummum) who begin teaching you a recipe by saying, "It's very simple, you first ... and then you ... and then ... and then ... and then ... " will never be of any help to you.

    4. If everything else fails choose an apartment mate who is a worse cook - and thank Einstein for the theory of Relativity.

    5. Never replace sour cream in a dish with fruit flavored yogurt. It's no longer a sweet situation.

    6. Always have cereal and milk in the house - there's a high chance of all other options failing.

    Shall end with a proof of point 4. My apartment mate Subs is a deemed bad cook. He once called up his mom in India and said, "I just have potato and egg in the house. Is there anyway I can cook chicken?" Bravo.

    Sunday, January 23, 2005

    No heat without a match
    Well, well, well! You get back what you give. Back in high school I was fairly notorious for the conception and execution of some really wild practical jokes. We used to be a mad group of 5-6 guys and did things that formed some of my most exciting high school memories. But that was when I was young, young and young :( Now, seven years after leaving high school I'm being paid back with interest. A friend just informed me that she is going to put up a profile for me on MyDesiMatch.com :( (BTW the site itself is hilarious.) Now this friend knows enough abt me to make the profile sound genuine and is also gifted with a rare twisted sense of humor to make me appear completely obnoxious. I spent an hour pleading her to forgo the idea but it seems "naughty_boy_1978" can't be held back ... and if you think the nick name is going to be the most damaging aspect, think again. Here are some other things that I've been told abt my profile (I still haven't seen it myself):

    Catchy Phrase for me (why does a site even have such a section): Scratchy face for he (this is supposed to sound like "catchy phrase for me").
    What I want in the girl: She should dance and sing for me (No, no, no)! I also want her to have mercy ...
    My Hobbies: Singing and dancing.
    Searching for: Women, but will consider serious men as well.

    So if you ever come across this profile of mine, (coupled with the fact that I have made my photos accessible to all and sundry courtesy stupid photo blogging) please ignore. Moral of the story - getting screwed doesn't necessary mean that you are getting sex ...

    The ever so sweet G and me had one of our "standard" talks over the phone where she was continuously addressing me by a word that was questioning my mom and dad's marital status at the time of my birth :(

    Me: Wow! The way you are talking to me can only mean two things - either you reeeally hate me or you reaaally love me.
    G: Huh! I can assure you that it's definitely not love.
    Me: Hmmm! I still love that.

    She is brilliant.

    Dance Mania
    It's three in the morning and I have reached that phase where one stops being sleepy even though sleep is long overdue. I'm slightly pissed right now so this post might sound bitter. We went for a Bhangra Party and I just came back home. Now I normally have reservations for Indian Dance parties in SD. The few that I've attended haven't been the most exciting ones. They normally have 4 girls dancing in the middle of the dance floor with a zillion guys doing something around them which looks amusing and scary at the same time. I normally play the silent observer because I can't dance for nuts, noodles or fried chicken. Some people have even termed my reluctance to be an attention grabbing technique. Interestingly, they are the same people who then go and try to imitate Jackie Chan on the dance floor; an act that is surely meant to "blend them" with the crowd. Blah!

    Yanyway, tonight's party had good music, no food and a decent crowd. My friends took extra care to ensure that I at least tried to dance and as a result of their efforts I have officially elevated from a "terrible non-dancer" to a "mediocre bad dancer". I was exceptionally proud of my 4-step "shake butt while moving front, shake butt while moving back, shake butt, shake butt" move. For a person with my track record in dance, this is a laudable improvement. To convince the already bored reader of my ineptitude, I shall end this post with a dance related incident from my undergrad days. Once upon a time ...

    ... Moi was a young(er) man who had come home for some vacation. An attractive female (the likes who could do serious harm to their reputation by being seen with me) had very kindly asked me to be her date for a dance night in a city club. Kind that I am and pretty that she was, I agreed. On reaching the venue I started shaking all parts of my body save the legs in fear of dancing. After playing a silent observer to my trepidation, the mute became brute. I was dragged to the dance floor. That's when I decided to unravel my dance steps for all to see. For the next ten minutes I tried my level best to do what I thought was "dance" in order to match the groovy steps of this girl. Just when I was convinced that I was totally rocking, this girl told me, "When you are anyway on the dance floor, why are you just standing still? You might as well start dancing." That's it! Enuff! That's it.

    Saturday, January 22, 2005

    Whim, Trim and sights in the Gym
    Indian man running. Indian woman running. Indian man eyeing Indian woman. I eye Indian man eyeing Indian woman. Suddenly Indian man eyes me eyeing him eyeing the woman. His glance becomes a stare that changes to a glare. Old lady standing between us gets disgusted by flying glances and eyes us both with an expression of disgust. I wipe off the curiosity on my face and apply a coat of nonchalance. I change my attention to the thin lady getting thinner. I relish the last few moments of her presence before she runs off to invisibility. 30 seconds, 60 seconds, 2 minutes ... "Is the Indian man still eyeing the woman?" I ask myself. I glance and our eyes meet. We stare for a while and make truce through silent blinks and both turn towards "thin running girl". She was gone. Did she disappear?

    I've made my desires to make movies extremely public. If I ever get a chance to actually make movies one thing that I wanna do is mess around with existing cliches; hack the hackneyed. I was discussing this with Ari last night. There are way too many stereotype settings and it'll be fun making mincemeat out of them. Here are three stock themes that I'd love to thwart. I have other ideas as well but these three should ensure that people put me back in my place :)

    1. The Alien Attack
    The Old: How many movies have we seen where the powerful aliens come to earth, kick our arses, plunder our lands and violate our men/women (yeah! the last one allegedly happened in I-Day)? Then some earth beings find a way to kick back their alien hineys and all peace is restored.

    The Bold: How cool will it be to have a movie where the aliens are completely useless. They have no powers and they are like a zillion years behind us (except for the fact that they found a way to reach our place). The movie will have these useless aliens begging us earthlings for mercy and we making fun of them. Finally, we decide to let them go but just as they are abt to leave, we figure out that these aliens taste bloody well and make excellent Friday evening snacks. So we give up our benevolence and eat them all up.

    2. The Unwanting Superhero
    The Old: Why do all superheroes who have cool powers never want to be superheroes. Hours of on screen time has gone into the dilemmas of Spiderman, X-men, Hulk and the lot who have extraordinary powers and are confused and don't know what to do with it. Why?

    The Bold: How abt a superhero who has an absolutely useless power. Yet, he really wants to be a superhero and of some use to mankind. But his power is crappy - well, lessay he can eat a thousand bananas in a minute. So "Banana Boy" spends days putting posters of other superheroes on his wall and waits for one chance to use his powers for the greater good of mankind. Then finally one day he hears about a "banana eating competition" with a handsome reward (incidentally, I have never figured out why a reward is "handsome" and not beautiful or pretty). So B-Boy decides to go and win the competition and donate the money for common good. He sets out early in the morning, dressed in his peel-shaped suit, but then his car breaks down and he can't reach the venue. So he sits by the side of the road and cries. That's it.

    3. The martial arts revenge
    The Old: Bad martial art guy kills good martial art guy (albeit with a touch of foul play). Good guy's good friend decides to avenge the injustice but is untrained. So he finds the famed yet arrogant "master" (pronounced "mastah mastah, teach me Kung Fu mastah") who teaches him the nuances of the some ass kicking form and good guy gets his dish of revenge.

    The Bold: I wanna make the exact same movie but make the hero gay (the friend was his "pahtner"). So the hero has a big flaw - whenever he sees a well toned guy with his shirt off he looses control and we have all seen that in these action flicks the duels take place between oil dripping well toned men. So the otherwise well taught hero kicks the villains tushi until his shirt tears off and he falls in love with the bad guy. As it turns out the bad guy loves him too and they forget vendetta and stay happily together along with the "mastah" (with 'mastah' telling them "u boys have been very naughty, so mastah will spank you").

    I have hereby lost any remote possibility of anyone ever allowing me to make a movie :(

    Well well
    My 1/2 a penny of profundity for the day.

    I asked someone, "How did you like that movie?" and the person started his answer with a pause followed by, "Well ...". That's when I figured out that if you begin a classification with "well" it just means all's not well.

    Friday, January 21, 2005

    The Single most important reason
    I was talking to Mummum on the phone and she informed me that two of my neighbors who are of my age are getting married. Some third neighbor sympathized with my mom on this regard. "Your son is still unmarried, right?" she enquired with a tone of pity. Now my mom, like most other moms, believes in a golden rule - DO NOT BRING HER CHILDREN INTO THE EQUATION if the equation aint pleasant. "He can get married if he wants," Mummum, I believe, plunged in. "However, he is doing a PhD and doesn't want to get married till he is 28."

    That's all I was told abt the conversation but I believe there was more to it than what greets the ear. This was Mummum's way (albeit subtle) of informing me that some of the people who were waiting for the bus with me have already boarded it. We all know that the bus doesn't make too many trips. Many of my family members feel that I should board the bus fast or I might have to hitch-hike with existing passengers. (Sorry, moi is never at ease with the metaphors.)

    Over this vacation Mummum and Bubin brought up the topic of marriage quite a few times. Sometimes subtly over lunch table and at times blatantly before finishing dinner. They wanted me to "get settled", a thought whose mention itself is enuff to unsettle me. So here are a set of excuses that I have either used or will be using or have asked my family members to use if the topic of marriage and me are brought up in the same sentence:

    1. I am too young (As if; this is the one Mummum uses for all my eager/curious/inquisitive family members.)

    2. PhD is very stressful (As if; this is the one I use for Mummum.)

    3. I have an American girlfriend and we presently live-in (I jokingly mentioned this to an aunt and she started laughing hysterically. I don't know if it was the thought of a zebra looking niece/nephew or the thought of a girl staying with me under one roof that made her crack up. Whatever be the case her laugh made me sulk.)

    4. I might be gay (As if; but this one really scares my mom; "and what abt your ex girl friends?" she would poke in agitatedly. "We broke up because I'm gay," I told her with a straight face. Mummum dint know how to react. Even the most modern member of my family is not at ease with homosexual jokes.)

    5. Pummy (my sis) is still not married. How can I marry before her? (This works the best and even elevates my image of a doting brother. This is also the reason I periodically bug Pummy's male friends to ensure that she remains single.)

    However, these reasons are fast running out of steam and as more neighbors head for the bandwagon I have to come up with better excuses. "Help," yelped the farmer boy!

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Kumari has inspired me to comment on an episode (actually a collection of episodes) that I have tried hard to forget. Even now I wake up in the middle of the night and shout out - "... I'm not alone ... she is here with me ...", "No, the pink is not for me, neither is the lavender, I don't even know what shade lavender is ...", "I'm not a girl, no I'm not ..." The story begins.

    This story is abt a boy called Jack (ahem ahem). Jack and Jill were dating still. Legend had it that letters addressed to Jill could either be sent to her house or in any of the dress shops in the locality mall coz they were all a second home to her. GAP filled her gaps and there was little left to GUESS with all the Colors of BENETTON uniting to EXPRESS their view. Jack did not understand any of this. He knew that clothes existed and that he had some of them too, which he wore. Beyond that the joys of fashion evaded him. Sadly, Jill thought he was a Jack of all trades and dragged him to her numerous conquests. Jack would sit quietly in front of the trial room. He would sit and sit and sit and sit. Occasionally the sales lady would come and inform him that it was a women's clothing shop. Jack would turn red, matching the skirt Jill had taken in to try out. He would explain that he is but waiting and the wait would continue. The lady would then join her fellow attendants and start laughing. Jill would come out after two hours and say "Which one is better? The red one or the brown one? I can wear the red one to parties but the brown one is better for winter?" Jack had no idea what to say. He waited and gesticulated impartially, waiting for the answer to appear automatically. "I think the red one is better," Jill would soon point out. An elated Jack would nod vociferously and say, "I was just abt to say that" and think "Aha, now we can finally leave". BUT NO. Apparently the red skirt will only go well with a black top. So a new round of shopping would begin. Another hour later a single black top would emerge victorious from a pile of identical black tops and Jack would smile again. However, Jack wasn't aware till that point that a black top and red skirt only goes well if you have thick boots ... and thick boots require a good belt and that warranted a ... Jack would get jacked.

    Then one day jack learnt the secret. He would signal at some obnoxious top and suggest that Jill buys it and for everything else say, "i think you look a little bit fat in it". Now Jill will definitely not buy the obnoxious top and neither would she buy anything in which any member of the opposite sex found her fat. So poor Jill would have to come back home empty handed. Soon she started missing sleep. The shops, their screaming discount rates and fresh stock of old clothes would scream invitations at her. So she decided that it's best to not drag Jack along ... and so she did.

    That's how Jack was back on the track.

    How to Deal with a Telemarketer # n=1
    This one is courtesy my apartment mate Dipu:

    Telemarketer (lady): Hi. May I speak to Sudipta?
    Dipu: Yes, that's me.
    Telemarketer: Sir, would you like to apply for our special promotional ...
    Dipu: Will you marry me?

    Destination Education
    I need to come up with some entertaining stories about San Diego. Just to amuse my relatives. Now a little background check - I come from a fairly conservative Indian family where the grandmothers and aunts and uncles and their kids and their mothers and their neighbors still believe that one shouldn't leave the city (Kolkata) unless you have proven yourself completely worthless to not manage and do anything worthwhile out there. So the fact that I did both my undergraduate and graduate studies outside Kolkata doesn't play too well with my family. Initially my mom (who I believe is the only modernist in the family) tried to usher some reason.

    "It's a better ranked college. The job prospects ..." she would try to defend me.

    Instantly smirks would be exchanged. "... but he goes to school in Rajasthan. That's a desert. Does he get water out there? ..." Seeing Mummum helpless in the face of combined attack I would jump in with details of how I was as away from wilderness as they were ... but NO. "Do you have camels?" That's it. If they were expecting entertainment from me I decided to give them that. "Yes, we have camels. As a matter of fact one of the biggest issues on campus is when they enter the rooms of students ... as a matter of fact they even drink water from our water bottles. You should see it. It looks really cute." With time the raconteur silenced his critics with crazy amusing anecdotes that shifted the focus from "Why do you think he left Kolkata?"

    Now the same issue has resurfaced. I stay in San Diego. The place is NOT New Jersey. It is not Boston or Washington either. It is not my fault that most of the Indians my relatives know are in these places. With none of their acquaintances to defend the image of SD, the onus is once again on my shoulder. "I have heard that New Jersey has a lot of Indians. Why didn't you go there?" ... "My friend's niece, she is in Washington. Lovely place it is she has told me. You should visit her..." To make matters worse San Diego is Sunny (thank GOD for that) and next to the beach. So i always return home with a tan. My relatives have this notion that if you stay in the land of Caucasians, then with time you should get fairer. The fact that I'm neither in their dream list of places nor have I got any brighter (in any way) is now raising multiple eyebrows within the family. Some have actually expressed subtle doubts abt whether I even stay in the US. As usual it's Mummum darling who's the one getting most affected. So I have decided to take matters in my own hands again. Stories shall flow again - big ones, bold ones, crazy ones, old ones. It's my prerogative to bring San Diego into the forefront of family discussions. Wish me luck sweet people.

    Survival in USA #104
    There is no greeting called "What is up?". It's either "wassup" or "watsup".

    Food for thought
    Overheard this in the bus (my single most extensive source of profundity):

    Given an option of choice people like to choose.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    A battle launched
    An adage adding age - A fly can fly but a mosquito can't mosquito.

    The household of the Geeks has been infested with flying menaces. These beasts are different from the ones found in India. I guess the foreign training adds to their skills. The bastards multiply in bulk and bite aplenty, thereby aggravating the otherwise composed members of our household. Initially the residents Googled to identify the exact nature of these creatures. Research revealed that they weren't menacing mosquitoes, nor flying flies, nor flight-less fleas. Yet they duplicated the harassment of all these creatures and added their own personal touch to worsen matters further. We tried chemicals, cleanliness (this one drained us) and occasional fanning but learnt an important lesson the hard way - any group that manages to procreate faster than you blink is a difficult enemy. However, we launched a battle as well. After innumerable moral debates we decided to use the one advantage we had over these flying fu*ks - our ability to think. The kitchen was emptied and lined with remnants of tasty leftovers. We waited. They did not. The voracious creeps plunged to get a stomach's fill; all together; and Dipu and I, armed with paper towel rolls, squashed them mercilessly in bulk quantities. The hundreds were soon reduced to meager tens, but those tens managed to escape. As I write this account they are planning a next round of attack and screwing at an alarming rate to screw our happiness again. The war has just begun.

    The Ex-Files
    Dedicated to my Ex, G, a sweety 3.14159

    I sit back at times to Ex-amine our past. We were Ex-cellent together. Hours of Ex-patiating; Ex-chaging thoughts and opinions on every possible subject. We understood each other Ex-actly; no pretence, no covers. Just a glimpse of you would Ex-ude a smile so wide on my face. Every time one of us needed the other, a helping hand was Ex-tended; a hand we didn't want to let go of. Your presence Ex-alted my desires to aspire and achieve and I believe I wasn't the worst of influences on you either. SO what happened then? Can the tumultuous downward journey be Ex-plained? I guess we started Ex-pecting too much from each other; Ex-cessive wants created unnecessary issues. We started Ex-huming past incidents that were meant to be long forgotten. Soon our wants reached Ex-treme heights; heights so high that we could not overcome them. What was once a wonderful present became an Ex-tinct past. I hoped we would Ex-tend our times together for the years to come but ... hmmm! What more can you Ex-pect from a person like me? Seriously.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Me and my knowledge of Hindi
    Rakesh should be back this week and that would mean a little more use of Hindi for me. A lot has been said abt my knowledge of Hindi. Growing up with a mom who speaks very little of the language and a sis who speaks a bit too much of it ensured that my knowledge of Hindi was praised and ridiculed in equal proportions within the Nandy house. The same trend followed me to college. Staying with a bunch of people from North India and dating a wonderful South Indian ensured flak and praise in comparable amounts. However, if I had the liberty, I would prefer English over Hindi any day for the simple reason that Hindi has the most complicated gender usage I have come across. Friends have tried instilling the logic behind the Hindi gender system in me, only to befuddle me further. I still have no clue why 'beard' is feminine. Seriously, the notion of terming something growing on the cheek of men as a feminine object appears a tad bit cheeky, right? It would have been fine if, to compensate, the saree was made masculine. But no! That's a lady too. I just pray that I never see anyone supporting both a saree and a beard together.

    I cant help but mention one of my favorite gaffes with Hindi. Eons ago I spent some time in Chennai courtesy dad's transfer there and remember the most amazing conversation I had with a lady in Hindi. Somewhere during the course of the conversation I forgot the Hindi word for rain i.e. 'barish'. Now Hindi was the only common medium of discourse between this lady and me and I tried my level best to explain to her what I was talking abt but she just couldn't imagine that I had forgotten the word 'barish'. So while I tried describing to her that I was talking abt water falling from the sky, she went on to guess everything from a leaked roof to hail storms. That's what lack of practice does to a person like me :(

    Shall end this post with another hilarious anecdote, this time involving the darling G, who spoke less Hindi than a North Indian goat. The girl could count only till 5 in Hindi and on facing the onus of asking a shopkeeper for 12 pieces of some item said - "Panch Panch Do Do" (give five five two). Aaaah! Woman you take the cake - the entire dozen.

    Information unsuitable for the little ones
    I was visiting a fellow techie's web-site and noticed a link saying "Finger Me" (for those who have been untouched by the finger protocol you can read abt it here). Yanyways, curious that I am, I tried to "finger him" and the response said - "Sorry, you do not have the adequate rights to finger me."

    I was discussing this with Sid and he asked me to try out the command 'man woman' on Unix. Curious that I am, I did that too and the result was 'No manual entry for woman' :O (this coming from the otherwise "epitome of decency" Sid is a shocker)

    Wow! Just when I thought that the social guardians would never bug the techies I'm being forced to think otherwise. The day is nigh when programs will have to get scrutinized by a moral interpreter to remove un-needed comments (sorry, that's the worst techie pun I could come up with). Parents will soon keep their children away from programming languages and the World will be a happier place :)

    P.S. we also make use of commands like cp (sounds like 'see pee'), cd ('seedy'), mush, man, head, more. I don't even want to think of the endless possibilities of irking the moral police.

    Monday, January 17, 2005

    Answers needed
    Two questions that have perplexed mankind since the last millennium:

    1. Who the f*ck was Alice?
    2. Who let the dogs out?

    Lemme know if you know ...

    Survival in USA #103
    The Telemarketers never offer you a free lunch - so don't expect it.

    These saccharine coated voices on the other side of the phone (and often on the other side of the World) will never have anything for you that you need. So beware. "... You have been chosen for a special offer. You have been pre-approved for our credit card that gives you 0% APR, 100% money back, no-interest ever and will be given a brand new car and annual subscriptions for PlayMan ... and as a promotional offer we will give you the cheapest calling card to India." STOP! YOU ARE NOT THE CHOSEN ONE. You can still hang up and save yourself a lot of precious time. However, if you are still not convinced, hold on to that receiver with glittering eyes till you hear the addendum, "... we will just need your bank account ... but you can also give us your credit card details ... or ..."

    Survival in USA #102
    Never take road directions using national chains as landmarks.

    We were trying to locate this place the other day and the person concerned had directions that read - "look around for a McDonald and then go on a little bit to the right and you'll see a Subway; next to that there'll be a Blockbuster and then just ahead of that you'll find Wendys ...". We figured (albeit the hard way) that any road in San Diego fits that description with a very high probability. So as a mark of caution, use the obscure small time joints, e.g. Jose's Red Sauce $3.50 Pizza. Poor Jose can barely make a profit with his spicy hot pizzas but the guy can be of all the help you need when taking you where you wanna go.

    Survival in USA #101
    Never introduce yourself with a sentence beginning with "Myself is ..."!

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    Never tried doing this but I'll try to present a snapshot of what I am seeing and hearing in the house right now; coupled with the thought process it's producing ...

    Dipu is on the phone. He is sounding happy and loud. It must be a girl I conclude. My bed and the crumpled comforter on it. I haven't folded it in ages. Sub walks past me. His shorts are amusing ... or maybe I am just easily amused. There are a zillion things on the table - envelopes, magazines, pizza coupons with all the prices ending in XX.99 - reminds me of Bata shoes. Some acne ad coupon with Vanessa Williams on it. Am I the only one who used to get confused between acne and acme???? A book on Computer Architecture. Suddenly someone's alarm clock rings - no it's a cell phone. Sid's girl friend. Dipu is in the balcony ... so Sid is scouting around for privacy. He chooses to go hush hush instead. Sid and I have similar socks. Is that a matter of concern? The wireless router blinks on incessantly. It's like it's winking. Now I'm not catching anything else but am generally looking around to prolong this post. That's a signal to stop. BTW, I figured that Dipu is talking to a guy. He is still sounding happy and loud. Whatever.

    For the inquisitive ones
    The moderately bored me is always on the look out for interesting new sites. The latest one which kept me occupied for a fair fraction of yesterday was this one. The site allows one to play the age old and popular game of 20 Questions. I was really impressed by the performance of the AI engine. I thought of 'porcupine", which it got in 20 tries; challenged it next with a 'deer' (actually I was being mean and initially thought of an 'impala' but accepted the deer for an answer as well) and that took 24 questions; tried 'headphones' and that was conquered by question number 14. Sub and Dipu tested it too and the program emerged victorious with 'potato', 'lettuce' etc. It failed for 'wireless card' but then I thought we were being unfair when we gave that. So try it out if you have some time to spare and lemme know if you confused it with anything common.

    P.S. If any Bengali speaking person is reading this post try out this link (click on the song Bengali Lullaby once you reach the site). It is hilarious with a capital H.

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    This really funnny thing happened yesterday. I thought of adopting brevity and just making this a two line post but figured that it appeared as if I was making it up. So moi shall make use of the spare time I have right now and give the premise to the two line incident as well. Incidentally, the person concerned has given me full approval to put it on my blog as long as I don't take names :) Here it goes:

    We were sitting in this restaurant and this girl was facing a mirror. The word RESTROOM when seen through the mirror started with MOO and made sense. So she forgot that it was a mirror and was trying to read the whole word. Soon she figured out and told me what she was trying to do. We smiled. I tried telling her that Leonardo Da Vinci used to write his diary in mirror writing. Then the conversation:

    Me: ... You know abt Leonardo Da Vinci, right?
    Girl: Obviously. What do you think? Just the other day I went and saw The Aviator in the theater.

    :O for the people in India - The Aviator is the latest movie of a certain Leonardo DiCaprio :))

    Friday, January 14, 2005

    That Guy
    I have officially been relegated to the status of "That Guy". You know that guy - and if you don't you will by the end of this post ...

    Yesterday P and I went out for dinner where P was discussing her love life and its various perks and problems with me. That's when I realized that this is the fourth girl in recent times that I went out with who has a boy friend (or husband) and I was becoming "that guy". "That guy" who women know is a man but thinks of him as a woman :( That guy who doesn't remotely appear as a threat to the respective partners of these women. That guy who women can say the line, "Do you think I will look fat in this dress?" to but who never gets to go out with the girl when she is actually wearing that dress. That guy who will walk the aisle a zillion times as the best man but will ever be "the man" himself. I once read that every girl wants a "gay male best friend" and "that guy" is the best heterosexual replacement :(( Noooooooooo! I don't wanna be that guy ...

    To end with one of P's statements from last evening. "Sagnik, you are different. YOU ARE NOT LIKE THE OTHER MEN I KNOW". What? Why? I wanna be just like the other men :(( Get the beer, chicken and stack of dvds - it's time to be a normal man again.

    Taste-less love
    Lines from a poem (?) Pummy (my sis) read out to me this morning:

    "Baby, I'm spicy, I'm ur fish fry
    If you don't eat me I'll cry cry cry."

    This is what I call food for thought.

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    The common difference
    I was telling my mom that I always prefer three people hanging out together as opposed to two for the simple reason that the onus to maintain a conversation doesn't lie on me; I can just play the silent listener for a while and catch a breather.

    Every now and then I bump into people whom I meet occasionally and 2-3 mins into the conversation the uncomfortable silence seeps in. This normally happens to be a cue to end the conversation and move on but often you are in a situation where the show must go on e.g. two people sitting next to each other in a bus, waiting for an elevator, standing in the lunch queue etc. The standard new-conversation-starter that I use then is - "You look different. Hmmm! I don't know what it is, but you look different."

    The advantage of this line is that the other person instantly bursts into endless options which leads to newer topics for discourse - "Oh, I have lost weight", "It must be the tan. We went for a trip to ...", "Yes, even my sister told me that ..." BUT but but - every now and then this backfires too and the person skillfully dodges the googly and tosses it back to you with the "Really? What is it?" line. That forces you to pretend that you are actually trying to think of a difference." My favorite escape from this situation is "It's your hair. Have you cut it?" This normally works brilliantly too - because nobody's ever sure of their hair being the same. Also - hair grows; so it is safe to assume that the hair is probably of a diff size than when you last met the person.

    Sadly, today even this dint work. I asked this person I met after almost 6 months "is it your hair?" and he replied back saying "no, my hair always looks the same. always. always." I was stumped. Thankfully, the elevator arrived just then - yahooo!

    Just noticed
    I was staring at my telephone handset and was looking at the grouping of the alphabets (abc, def, ...) on the dial pad. The only words that I could spot (except for the single lettered "a" and "i") were "hi" and "no". The other word that didn't make sense spelling wise (even though its a valid abbv.) but sounded fine was "def", which is ironic given it was a telephone set I was looking at.

    Hmmm! I need to do something more constructive.

    Check List
    Suitcase - arrived
    Shower - taken
    Work - oops
    Money - oops
    Sleep - long over due
    Yawns - abundant
    Food - treat me
    Movies - craving
    Love - ha ha ha
    Laughter - well the entry on love just gave me some.

    Later ...

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Top reason why I want to finish my PhD quickly
    They are opening a new Computer Science building in UCSD which is on the other end of the campus. The current building is just next to the shuttle stop. So I can hop out of the shuttle - attend meetings - hop into shuttle again. Come two more quarters and I'll have (or so they claim) an office in the new building. This will require a considerable amount of extra walking. The only way to avoid this will be to either get done with my PhD real quick or request for a new bus route. So as far as the PhD is concerned all I can say is (with apologies to Diana Hayden) - Ab Bus (Ani, see that easily beats my previous bad pun) :)

    I wanted to make her laugh today
    Instead I made her cry
    I wanted to make her smile today
    But my words just came out wry
    I wanted the tears to stop today
    But I failed to make them dry
    I wanted to do so much today
    I guess I just didn't try

    Profound or profane?
    Part of a chat I was having with a girl. She was telling me abt how someone was taking her for granted and being terribly mean to her. My reply was:

    "You should really learn to be an arse hole too. Coz once you are an arse hole people know that they are going to get shit from you."

    Yes, it's official - I'm the worst person when it comes to giving advice.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    A small incident from Bangkok Airport. I bumped into Sanjay (it's funny coz the two of us met each other in three different countries in two months). Yanyway, Sanjay had two female colleagues with him and we got talking abt sweet nothings over some really bland Thai food. One of the girls saw another girl (unknown one) and said "Aaaaah! I wish I had skin like her's. It's just soooo ... and have you seen her complexion? It is soooo ..." Both Sanjay and I started laughing coz a girl can say such stuff and get away but imagine a guy saying "I just wish I had a beard line like that guy ... and have you seen his chest hair ... I wish I had the same." Nope - everybody will pounce upon us. We men can barely be happy - forget being gay ...

    It happened and happened and happened one evening
    Old Saying: Lightning doesn't strike the same spot twice.

    Layman's Explanation: The chances of an unlikely event repeating itself is even more unlikely.

    For the geeks: If p be the probability of an event such that p<<1 then the chances of p repeating itself is p*p and p*p << p.


    From San Diego
    Moi is back in San Diego. After almost a month of vacationing I'm back in my second home and I'm pretty tired right now! So shall blog later in the evening. However, a quick mention of the cab driver who dropped me home must be made - he asked me where I was from - I said India. He asked me if I would like some music and I nodded in an affirmative fashion. To my surprise he then put on a Hindi film cassette (if you care for details it was Mohabattein). Given that the guy was not an Indian, I was pleasantly taken aback by his customized approach (for which I tipped him generously). Interesting!

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    No U Know
    I'm not sure who's been quoted more number of times on this blog - Mark Twain or Ellen Degeneres? Whatever be the case, they are both phenomenally funny. Yanyway! Ellen Degeneres has this brilliant piece on the use of the phrase "just kiddin". She felt that it is one of the most loosely used phrases. e.g. you tell someone "My dog broke his leg" and they say "what, you must be kidding?". Ellen's point was that what kind of a kidding anecdote would involve breaking your poor dog's leg. Obviously the person wasn't kidding - and that makes the question a stupid little one. I feel another phrase that is hugely confusing and a tad bit unnecessary is the now hugely used "You Know?"

    My sis uses this phrase as a sentence starter for every second sentence and her friends seem to return the favor as well. I was watching this interview of Amisha Patel and she was doing it too. "You know what happened that day?" Obviously I don't know - coz you aren't even telling me which day. "You know how he is, right?" Do I? Maybe I don't. Why assume things? "You know na, how he behaves in front of my friends?" ... "You know who I saw?" ... "You know the Indian audience wont accept it". Who is this all knowing "You" that's supposed to know everyone and everything? It's definitely not me. You know that, right?

    Sunday, January 09, 2005

    The freedom to choose
    I really enjoyed this trip to India. Met up with lots of friends - partied a fair amount and spent some awesome time at home. Things are very different in San Diego. I spend a lot more time on my own, reminiscing about things. I have said it before and shall repeat it again - I work best when I am in the company of friends. What then is the difference in making friends in India and US?

    The answer I believe is "the freedom to choose". All of us choose our friends. In school we have a set of 50 classmates and we choose our group of 5-10 from them, in college we have a hundred batch mates that we get introduced to and we make our own group of 5-10 again; at work we have 50 odd colleagues and once again we form our own little group. This ability to choose is very important - because this automatically leads to mutual respect. Not just you, your friends choose too. So we respect the fact that we were chosen. No obligations, no coercion - it's our own choice.

    Sadly in a foreign land things are often very different. I'm aware that US is too diverse a place to generalize. A lot depends on the size, location and demographics of the place you are in. I can only comment abt San Diego. I find the social circle in San Diego well established. There is not much room for a graduate student from India to come and fit in. He has to choose from fellow students. The seniors have already formed their friend groups - your batch is not large enough - so there is very little choice to start with. So it's often like the selection of football players for the National League - you choose people quickly often with the fear of them joining others. So there isn't much option of a choice and you try to ensure that you don’t screw up things with the few friends you have. The whole atmosphere becomes somewhat different from what you (maybe it' just me) have grown up with. Blah blah blah!

    I am no saying I don't have good friends in SD. I really enjoy my time with Vipul, Sid, Alok and Preeti. I miss the times when Rishi, Vineet and I reveled every night. It's just that I still miss my friends from India - I miss Ronny calling up in an hour's notice and setting out without any agenda and still having tons to do for the whole day; I miss Abhik and I making incessant rounds of our locality because we wouldn't run out of things to talk; I miss walking into Ari's room in college where he would be wondering whether to study for an A or B and then decide that it's more fun generally chatting than fighting trying for an A. Yes, bottom line - I miss my friends.

    Meet, greet and a treat
    During this trip I attended one and half weddings (the half being the reception of a friend who returned to India for the first time after her marriage). Yanyway, Bengali weddings are supposed to be a great place for matching prospective brides and grooms. What the shaadi.coms and zillion matrimony columns fail to do - these social gatherings do it in ten minutes over a piece of chicken and dripping rasgullas. So hat's off (ironic given that both the guy and girl finally wear a head gear during the wedding) to these people.

    It is easy to identify "these" people. The clothes and jewelry speaketh before the person doth. The girl has to dress up in the most ornate saree and wears all the jewelry the family possesses. That will hint at what the guy is likely to receive during his wedding. The girl's mother will be standing just next to the girl - performing the initial screening before the girl meets the suitor. The guy will be accompanied by his mother too. He, however, should also sport a whiff of nonchalance. A "whiff", mind you - a breeze any breezier might do added harm.

    The two parties will first identify each other. Given the described dress code they can easily spot each other or they might use a common moderator. The moderator will introduce the two parties, make it evident that the singles are more than ready to mingle, then say a line of greatness abt both - "This is ChomChom, she is a brilliant student and you should see her paintings", "This is Tota. His company is planning to send him to Nigeria next year. Very bright. Just last year he was in Bhutan." etc. The guy and girl start smiling by the end of this introduction and look at their mothers, waiting for the talks to proceed. What follows next is a whirlwind ego battle where both mothers plunge into the ring with achievements galore:

    "He is very well mannered. Even today he had a party in a five star hotel but I told him that he HAS to come here and he came."

    "Oh! My daughter too is just like that. She doesn't get any free time. She is planning to go to US next year, naa? So she is studying all the time. Plus, there are her dance classes. Just last month she performed in Orissa."

    "He knows karate.'

    "She cooks Chinese and Italian."

    "He was Mr. University."

    "She was Ms. Kolkata."

    "He does blah ... blah ... blah"

    "She did blah ... blah ... blah"

    Very amusing. Very effective. Very nice :)

    Saturday, January 08, 2005

    A few words on love
    Do we "fall" in love because "love is blind" ???? I'm not very sure if I came up with this line because I get this uncanny feel that I've read it somewhere. Whateva!

    Another interesting line on the topic (this one I know I have read) - If love is blind then why is lingerie so popular?

    More later!

    You can find my blogging for the day on this blog. I am missing my undergrad days a lot right now :( Hmmm!

    Friday, January 07, 2005

    More blogs
    Just updated the list of blogs that I try visiting regularly. The list is fast growing and will add some more in a few more days. I'm really thankful for the whole blog culture that allows me to find and choose really interesting and diverse reads. Thank you ppl for all the lovely blogs - thank you.

    The "BUT" issue
    OK - some clarifications before I make this post. (a) I am not an MCP (I wouldn't have accepted even if I was one - so the disclaimer is actually useless) (b) I have discussed the content of this post with a few women (Pummy, Chitra, Sristhi, Hemo etc.) and they somewhat agree to the claims. Enuff said (I have no idea why I try to give a background to my posts):

    I believe that women and men give compliments abt other women or men of the same age group in very different ways. Men are extremely parsimonious when it comes to praising other men. Ask a guy abt another guy and he'll probably say "I don't know" or "Maybe". However, when we do praise other men, we are terse and complete e.g. "He's a very bright chap", "He's one cool dude", "He is fun when he is drunk". That's it - our praise is either invisible or transparent, we seldom tread the middle route.

    Women on the other hand always have something nice to say abt another girl. Girls (from the little I've seen) rarely openly criticize another girl in front of a guy. However, they make amazing use of the term BUT. "She is very beautiful BUT she lacks sweetness" "She is very bright BUT she studies a lot.", "She is very sweet to me BUT sometimes she's over sweet." In my defense, all three examples used were actually told to me and I'm not making them up. This skillful use of BUT is brilliantly impressive. One can't blame you for being bitchy because there's praise in the statement too - But the BUT does the trick. The other thing that I've seen (though not as effective as the BUT) is adding an after statement that can mean anything (good/bad/ugly) - "She has a great figure. You should see the way she eats" - what? She might eat a lot or maybe she eats very little. You never know. As long as the girl smiles generously when she makes the statement you'll never pester for details. Another example of the above mentioned that I've been privy to, "She is very sweet to talk to. (Pause, smile) Have you ever spoken to her for more than 15 minutes."

    P.S. A friend who read this post pointed out that the "best friend" is an exception to this rule and I agree.

    Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Filmi - very filmi
    Rathish mentioned his plans to start writing and directing a film. I have been toying with this idea myself for a while and have mentioned it here a zillion times too. As part of my New Year resolutions I decided to be a little more serious abt this. Now, for starters, I have to be realistic. Nobody is going to let me make a big movie for them and for all practical purpose I'll have to produce my first (presumptuous assumptions are that seeing this movie people will let me direct more movies :)) movie on my own with my modest (meager) savings. i'll try to use my friends as actors and actresses (GOD has been kind to give me some really talented friends) except for the roles in which i can't use them. Blah blah blah!

    I adored Reservoir Dogs (by Tarantino) because if you know the background to the film you'll know that Tarantino worked with a shoestring budget and that's why a major chunk of the movie is based in a small deserted room. The whole movie is dialogue based and the tension builds because of the conversations and not the sets and gadgets. The end result was a brilliant masterpiece that is a must-see for all first time directors. Blah Blah.

    Based on all this, sometime last year, I came up with a story idea which I have just started developing as a script. There are two reasons for mentioning it here - (a) letting it out on the web - cheapest way to get some copyright :) and (b) find prospective actors/actresses/producers who will show interest for working on zero (to near zero) remuneration (except for the producer). Blah Blah.

    The story is based in a small hotel in India (yeah! my savings aren't enuff to make the movie in US) and has 9 principal characters. There are four couples from four different stages of relationships - (i) a college couple who are just out on a secret vacation (ii) a couple who have been married for more than twenty years and are happily settled (iii) a cheating couple where both the partners are married to other people and are there to lend promiscuity a li'll support and (iv) a couple who are on the verge of a divorce and are using this outing as a last resort to mend their rocky marriage.

    The hotel is located in a small town that is cut off from city life and is slightly isolated (you've seen this in several films - Identity, Dhund etc.). Yanyway, on the night of the story, after introducing the eight characters, a intruder with a gun (my ninth character) is caught in the hotel. The obvious conclusion is to hand him over to the police but just when the visitors plan to do that he tells them - that one of the eight had asked him to come there to kill his/her partner and if they hand him over to the police they'll never know who that individual is. The rest of the movie shows that irrespective of the stage and nature of the relationship, everyone has reasons to believe that their partner could be the one. The whole movie will be based in the hotel and involves conversations between the principal characters. IF I have enuff money, I'll shoot the four diff couples in four diff color hues and all interactions with the intruder in black and white where color is increasingly introduced to the frames as the mystery unravels. The characters will be such that they speak English and maybe a li'll Hindi. Blah blah.

    If you have money and want this piece of crap to be made or have ideas on how to prevent it from being a piece of crap - contact me and we will share the Oscar speech together :)

    The Big Man
    I normally don't post on serious stuff but this incident really touched me. We had gone to the temple and there was a little kid (6-7 years old) who was selling flutes there. The kid came and asked my mom and dad to buy a flute and they refused politely. The kid dint pester and simply told them "Please buy something the next time you come down." The kid was very well mannered and my mom called him and offered him five rupees. To all our dismay the kid politely declined the money, saying he wanted to earn the money and not receive charity. We then bought a flute but the post is not abt that.

    In all my twenty-something years of education I don't think I have learnt the lesson of honesty and character half as well as this boy has. It's a pity that such kids are not even getting the basic opportunities that all of us reading this blog got. I have absolutely no qualms accepting that this little boy is a far bigger man than I am or can think of being. Hat's off.

    Wednesday, January 05, 2005

    A Sound Issue
    I just told my sis that she is looking like a horse and she replied back saying "Maeeee", which was her imitation of a horse's neigh. This reminded me of a topic I had once spent some time thinking abt. Two years back I was forced to participate in a talk, of people with ten times my reputation, on sound interfaces. I had tried to make the point that there are certain sounds which evoke similar feelings in the minds of people. For example, I think there is something "ma"therly with the sound "ma". Maa, Amma, Mother, Mummy, Mom - all of them have some use of the sound "m" and I think that has something to do with the emotion we associate with the sound. I've done some reading up on this topic and a theory claims that all these words have a common European origin ... but then why don't we have any similarity in the words used for dad - Pop, Appa, Baba, Father, Dad etc. The other example I had used was that of a dog's sound and at that point all the other people in that room pounced on me saying that my claim that all of us think a dog says something resembling "Bow" was untrue. Apparently there are cultures where the sound for a dog's bark has no resemblance to a "bow". At that point I felt bad at being hushed but in retrospect - I think they made sense. Maybe "mother" is an exception. In Bengali people claim that a cow says "Hamba" and the English language says that a cow says "Moo". The words are completely different. Similarly Bengali' claim that a pigeon says "Bokkom bokkom" while Hindi uses the term "Gutur gutur". The disparity in these onomatopoeic trends makes me wonder if animals in different countries and places actually speak different languages or dialects. (Though I find it difficult to believe that India has both Hindi and Bengali speaking pigeons). Nevertheless, if anyone reading this has more knowledge on this issue - please lemme know.

    Day's account
    A brief account of the day:

    1. Watched this movie called Where's the Party Yaar on Star Movies. Now I have made my aversion towards ABCD movies, which ridicule the whole Indian American scene in US, evident in quite a few posts but this movie had to be one of the WORST ones of the genre. It was obnoxious to the core, playing to every possible cliched in the house. The whole movie is based on an Indian called Hari Patel who speaks with an accent that is not from any part of India, doesn't know how to use an escalator and exclaims by saying "Ai Ai O". It's a very bad movie - people in India check it out for the sheer fun of it.

    2. Went out with Hemo and Matt - Hemo is a friend of mine from school and Matt is her American husband. We went shopping and it was thoroughly amusing to have an American accompany us coz everybody treats you so differently. While on the topic of Hemo and Matt; we went to a restaurant where some server started talking to us in a very funny English accent even though we were using Bengali. A most hilarious exchange happened and I'm not making this up:

    Hemo: Can we have the chicken wanton?
    Server: Oh, sure you can.
    Hemo: Will you then get it for us?
    Server (very emphatic): I definitely will.
    Hemo: Thank you.
    Server: Have a good day.

    3. I also tried teaching Matt Bengali. My best effort was to tell him that "ador" (which is Bengali for affection) is like "adore". I also taught him a Bengali song which he sang to Hemo. Very amusing.

    Tuesday, January 04, 2005

    The secret of the fake smile
    I need to learn the secret of the fake smile. I remember an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S where Chandler faced major problems coz he couldn't come up with fake smiles for his photograph. I have always said that I adored Seinfeld and F.R.I.E.N.D.S coz they had several moments we can relate to and this was one such gem. People who have been privy to my fake "photograph smile" have surely given a few natural smiles just looking at my uneasiness. I personally feel it is a mixture of extreme constipation and loose motion that summarizes my fake smile. First I hold it back thinking it'll look odd and then a second before the photo I let out all that I can - and yes it does look like shit on the photo as well.

    Why am I mentioning all this now? Well, my sis dragged me to this place called Someplace Else last night where a throng of Kol youngsters were present. That's where I saw Pummy masterfully use the fake smile to perfection. People would walk in and Pummy would exchange a fake enthusiastic hand wave with the person and then give a huge fake smile. I wouldn't guess that the smile was fake if it dint disappear in 1 sec. "Who was it?" I would ask. "Some guy, I met in college. I dunno," she would say. Then how, How, HOW can both parties produce such huge and genuine smiles ???? It wasn't just my sis - everybody knew how to give the "twist your lips, look happy, look very happy, wipe off smile" move and I was really impressed by the social skills of these people. Bravo!

    Say it isn't so
    Back in school good ol' Nileen would keep asking people to say the word "epitome", claiming that almost everybody mispronounces it. Over the years I have actually asked lots of people the same and verified Nileen's claim. Yanyway, my darling sis seems to have taken this issue to new heights. The girl is doing her MA in Sociology in Calcutta University and claims that most people in her class barely (rarely) pronounce words correctly. Saying this she took out her notebook and showed me a list of hilarious mispronunciations that she had jotted down. So all credit and blame for the remaining post goes to Pummy. Here are some of my favs from her list:

    indescribal (indescribable)
    selor (sailor)
    fevrary (February)
    sweetable (suitable) - Pummy claims that this is a class favorite
    pen (pain)
    estemed (esteemed)
    campash (campus) - I don't believe this
    emazine (imagine) - can't emazine this one either
    R.N. Tagore - this is not a mispronunciation but some girl apparently calls Rabindranath Tagore R.N. Tagore, which I think is really funny.

    What amused me even more is that Pummy actually notes these down in class which definitely makes her the most jobless member of our family.

    Monday, January 03, 2005

    City by Night
    It's late at night
    All people sleep
    But the city is wide awake
    Watchful, vigilant, observant.

    A speeding cab
    An echoing dog
    Play havoc with the silence
    Cutting the peace
    With their screech and bark
    Defying the serene
    And calm of the dark

    I sit alone
    And stare in awe
    At the City of Joy by night
    Where millions rest
    Forgetting their woes
    Their worries, their tears, their plight

    A caring mother, the city spreads
    Its blanket of tranquil on all
    And checks around
    Without a sound
    So our rest does get no stall!

    It's time to sleep, yawn!
    More later; after dawn :)

    Lost In Translation (cheeh! couldn't think of a more original title)

    One of my best buddies, Ronny, used to write a most entertaining blog at one point. Like most of his desires this one has gone kaput too but there exists a translated version of his blog in Spanish which Google offers to translate back to English. I did that (yes, yes, yes - moi is jobless) and the result is quite entertaining. I present the original version and the translation of the translation. Check out the sections that I have put in bold (specially the fan-tastic part) :)


    Thank you, gentle reader, for your loyal and unswerving support all these months. I am discontinuing the blog, because, frankly, after V. stopped reading it, it's just no more fun writing it any more. I have started writing a cricket blog, for the fans of that sport, so please check in at http://cricketperson.blogspot.com to see what you think.

    Translation of translation

    Thanks, amiable reader so that its loyal and unshakeable one maintains all these months. I am stopping blog, because after lazy V. frankly, to read it to writing of that, its only nothing else amused more. I have begun to write criquet which blog for the ventilators of that sport, thus please registers http://cricketperson.blogspot.com to see what you think.

    Sunday, January 02, 2005

    In this country ...
    ... Baby Doll claims to be a youth icon giving "voice to the rebel in every girl". We seriously need more (read real) youth icons. Also, one of these days I have to understand the difference between "sexy and sensuous" and "sensuous and vulgar" coz everyone from Baby Doll to Girl in Mall to Meghna Reddy to Ms. Sherawat is using this line.

    List again
    Why am I blogging so much? Coz (a) I'm talkative and (b) I'm on vacation and have a lot more spare time :) Yanyway! I came across a list and thought of having my own version of it. It's all abt things I hope to see in 2005, with a pinch of ahem ahem:

    1. An Indian wicketkeeper who lasts a year in the team.

    2. No movies of Jude Law for at least six months.

    3. Mallika Sherawat in the role of a conservative Indian woman.

    4. Colin Farrell giving an interview that doesn't require censoring.

    5. An Indian politician who accepts that he is corrupt.

    6. A product that Amitabh Bachchan hasn't endorsed.

    7. Any place which has more than fifteen Indian men with none of them called Arvind or Abhishek.

    8. No weddings of Jennifer Lopez.

    More later! Feel free to add on if you want.

    Saturday, January 01, 2005

    Truly Random
    I went and watched Dil Mange More (yes, I pretty much watch everything). The movie was mediocre. I don't like Shahid Kapur, which, according to Bubin (my dad), is due to the fact that he is dating Kareena. I don't buy that explanation. Yanyway, the highlight of the movie was Tulip Joshi, who I think is extremely gorgeous. Much before her debut in Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai Ronny and I used to love her in the Smirnoff ad and the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan video. I had supported her in Ms. India as well but her beauty dint find too many beholders there :( (A little more trivia and I can find a connection to the next funny thing that happened.) Apparently the name Tulip was not Indian enough for the Chopras and the damsel was launched under the screen name of Sanjana - and now the connection has been established:

    The other day Sanjay, moi and this very pretty girl called Sanjana went out for dinner. Now I have to mention that I am terrible with names - there are a zillion funny stories abt that but let me not digress. So we were having dinner and talking abt a range of trivialities. I mentioned that certain names automatically associate an image in my mind. I don't know abt others but I can't imagine a non-pretty Sunayna or a feeble and fumbling Ranjit. Similarly, I can't imagine an overweight Lisa, Sirisha and Tilottama or an underweight Gablu. A cocky Sulekha would be another example. While all of us were chipping in names and images we associate with them I thought abt Tulip and mentioned that I can't imagine a non-pretty Sanjana either. Hearing this both Sanjay and the girl started laughing and I looked completely fazed. Seeing the blank expression on my face they reminded me that the girl's name was Sanjana too - that's when I realized how cheesy that last statement would have sounded. So I jumped to my own defense and mentioned that I'd actually forgotten her name, which obviously dint help the cause much. Now that's what I call a faux pas with a Capital F. Hmmmm!

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