Tuesday, May 31, 2005
The year was 1996 (yes, in my defense it was a looooong time ago). My then girl friend (let's call her R) and I had just had the first of our long chain of break ups. Now, even though the two of us had "broken up" we used to hang out together and do everything that couples in those days did. Something I used to jokingly term as "a relationship sans a relation". Yanyway, so we were sitting in Kolkata's then solitary night club, Someplace Else (present day Kolkattans know this as a pub but in "our times" there used to be a lot more feet tapping out there), and talking abt not-so-sweet nothings. The atmosphere was echoing heavily over remixed English pop beats, strange sounds by love lost couples and vagrant conversations between me and R. Suddenly one of the waiters approached us with a tray full of cigarettes and said, "Some company is launching some new cigarette and we are offering all our patrons a free puff!"
Now R used to smoke and I used to quite like it. Vicarious pleasure probably. Plus you could crack the occasional "smoking hot" joke and crack her up (yeah, flirting used to be a lot simpler those days). So she gave into the waiter's offer instantly. And suddenly the man in me woke up. I picked up a stick too.
"I thought you don't wanna smoke?" R said with a puff of white aiding her words.
"Well ... let's say, like most of your thoughts, this one was wrong too," I replied with a puff of feigned attitude aiding my words.
So I put the cigarette stick in between my lips. I hadn't done this before but I'd seen enuff movies to know how to look cool in these moments. I narrowed my eyes since I always wanted to do this while smoking and then ... then I took my first puff. This was the tricky part. Movies had taught me that when non smokers took their first puff they instantly started coughing up embarrassment. I dint wanna fall prey to this cliched. So I took extra care in my mind. "No coughing ... no coughing," I said to myself. And surprisingly the body listened. No "ahh ahhh" followed. So I took my puff number deux and that went well too. Puff three followed and just when that was abt to complete in a cool fashion, R started laughing hysterically.
I looked around. What was it? Nope, the couple making out behind us couldn't have amused her. It had to be something abt me then. Was I holding the cigarette right? Yes, the stick was indeed carefully sandwiched between two fingers, just the way good ol' Clint used to do it. Why was R laughing out smoke then?
"Quite impressed with my smoking abilities I see," I said, trying to sound as nonchalant as I could.
"Yes. I'm indeed quite impressed," R replied, still laughing hysterically. "You know what'll be even more impressive? If you actually light that cigarette."
Aaaaaaaaaaargggggggggggh! Nope, as it turns out, I dint actually smoke that day and have tried to keep it that way till now. And to all the readers of this post, imagine a school girlish me whispering, "Don't tell anyone abt this incident, huh!"
Monday, May 30, 2005
Over the years singing and taking a shower have become synonymous with each other. So much so, that "bathroom singing" is now a recognized art form. But just think for a moment - there's nothing seemingly obvious abt singing and taking a shower. Just imagine - there you are, standing stark naked, slithery soap all over you, touching yourself and what do you feel like doing - breaking into an impromptu musical performance??
I've never seen great singers request music directors to pour water on them to enhance their talents - so I refuse to believe that standing under water brings out the singer in us. So I reasoned that it might be the quiet of the toilet and seeming solitude that helps us shed our inhibitions ... but from what I know (personal experience and querying apartment mates) there are other things we do in the bathroom (let's be discreet here) and we don't sing during any of those activities. So what is it abt taking a shower then that brings out the maestros in us?
There has to be something for sure. Coz almost everybody does it and EVERYBODY DOES IT NATURALLY. No father takes their son or daughter to the side one day and says with a frown, "Mampan, the time has come now to share the family secret with you. We Nandys have a unique talent and I want you to carry on the baton my son. So go in there and start singing ... and make your mom and me proud!" Nope! That didn't happen. So what was it then that made a simple city boy like me become one of the greatest bathroom musicians of our time?????
"I don't mind doing anything new as long as you don't ask me to do something I haven't done before."
It's ironic since I was reading Shub's blog and she mentioned tagging and I had no idea what it meant. Minutes after that I got a message from Ideasmithy saying that I have been tagged. So I did my research on blog tagging and figured it is something like blog forwards (some people even termed it blogwards). So people normally tag you with a "question answer like" post ad you are supposed to pass on the baton. So here it goes - my first tagged post. I'm not tagging anyone in particular but if any of you do answer these questions lemme know.
Total number of films I own on dvd/video
Zilch. I'm a major "go to theater" movie buff. I rarely watch movies on video or dvd and when I do I just rent it. However, my sis used to own Mask, Masoom, Maine Pyar Kiya and Andaz Apna Apna when she was young and I would call them my own. That reminds me that I think dad gifted me a Laurel Hardy movie called Swiss Miss when I was young. SO that would be it.
The last film I bought
The previous question should answer this one.
The last film I watched
I saw three this weekend. The Longest Yard (which was good enuff for a Friday night watch), Robin Williams Live in Broadway (this was on DVD since it's not a movie but a recording) and the desi Bonnie n' Clyde caper Bunty Aur Babli (great in parts but good otherwise).
Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me
* Snatch - to me this is what pulp genre is. I just love the movie. It's one of those movies which "read" brilliant too.
* Agantuk (a Bengali film) - Whenever friends of mine show interest in watching One Bengali movie, I recommend this one. A true masterpiece and extremely humbling. The movie is very entertaining and not effusively sentimental as one often thinks abt Bengali cinema. Also the script and dialogue can stand alone by themselves without the visuals i.e. make this a book, play or anything else and you still have a masterpiece.
* Fish Called Wanda - I dig comedies. Subtle, farcical, black, dark - give me anything and I will watch it. This is one of the rare movies that treads on multiple comic domains and with equal brilliance. Plus the movie has the most amazing melange of characters and Jon Cleese and Kevin Kline (who won a rare Oscar for a comedic performance for his role) are brilliant.
* Kill Bill 2 - the only English movie that I have watched thrice in theatres. I love Tarantino (how many other directors have become cult phenomenon with 4 and a half movies to their claim)??
* Andaz Apna Apna (Hindi) - just a bag full of fun.
That's it - I have responded to my tag. As the great Austin Powers would say, "Yeah baby!"
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Boy: Please please, just one more time.
Girl: No! Stop it. Not here. Not now.
Boy: You said you'll let me do it.
Girl: Not in my house. You can do it in your house ... aaah! stop touching them. They are very sensitive. No. I told you No. Not now. Right now I just want to finish off by myself and get back to work.
Boy: But you started it. We could've just sat downstairs. It was your idea to come up to your room. It was you who did all the turning on and playing around. I just need two minutes to finish off now. So just let me do it. Please!
Girl: No. A no means no - en o. I'm different from the other girls you've played around with ... again you're touching ... and two minutes is way too much time mistah. I can finish off in a minute by myself. If you're so desperate, go home and play with your own stuff.
Guy: That's it - I'm never going to play Pac Man with you again.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
In spring they pounced in joy
In summer she looked so hot
Come autumn and all inhibitions were shed
But in winter he gave her a cold shoulder
And when the monsoons poured, so did their eyes.
Drop by drop.
Friday, May 27, 2005
* Nymphomaniac (noun) - a person who takes the "dic" part of her "addiction" too seriously.
* Why did the lousy and dumb actress join a rehab?
- Coz the director told her that she has "a diction" problem.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
"I heard some people missed me," he said wryly.
"They were being sweet," I replied.
"And you are being bitter!"
I'm pretty sure that many of you've faced the "Don't you hate it" attack - examples would be "Don't you hate it when the Blah-Blah Team loses?", "Don't you hate the way he dresses?", "Don't you hate the way he treats his girl friend?" etc. etc. etcetera. The interesting thing is that "Don't you hate it ..." is actually NOT even a question. It is more like saying "This is what I hate and you better agree with me." Moreover, you are left with no option but to say "Yes. I too my friend, loathe, detest and completely abhor whatever peeves you."
Point in question - this friend of mine who recently asked me, "Don't you hate it when people itch their cheeks while talking to you?" What??? Why will I hate people if they are itching their cheeks? If it's a girl, I might even offer her my cheek. Do whatever you want with your cheek - I don't care. So for starters, I became extremely conscious abt not getting cheeky myself for the rest of the evening and secondly I had to strain my thinking to come up with a possible answer to her question so that I would sound like I knew exactly what she was talking abt. "Seriously," I replied, "itchy is bitchy". "Haaa haaa haaa haa," she said. "Calling control, calling control. Situation under control," I said to myself.
Similarly in the past I have managed to convince others that I do indeed hate it when "guys wear orange", "girls carry a lipstick in their bag", "people who have children with matching names like Jack and Jill" etc. though the fact remains that none of these things remotely annoy me.
So to sum it up - Don't you hate it when people use the phrase "don't you hate it" ?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
The bad ass drinks incessantly, has long hair and an attitude or tattoo to match, curses re-cursively, drinks a little more, flaunts his ego, indulges in material damage (an honest pun intended), rocks to the tune of rock n' roll and definitely has an interesting story leading to why he turned into a bad buttock (normally this begins with "I wasn't always like this. Then when I was fourteen ..."). When out on a date, the bad boy normally chooses a loud bar coz "the underground band out there rocks" or just coz "it's f*#king awesome out there"; likes things to be European - specially Dutch (often if the guy is completely broke, it adds to his charms) and always appears ready for sex.
The good boy is sober. He tries to woo women with his "you can take me home to momma" qualities; pulls the restaurant door for his date and also waits for her to sit down first; always has a "funny story from work" to narrate; periodically showers the girl with meaningless phrases like "Wow! That's so funny", "That's soo cool" and always pays the bill. He believes in the "institution of marriage" and when he spots a bad ass during a good date, he instantly remarks, "That's so juvenile ... I dunno what kicks they get out of it ... I would never do such a ..."
It seems there comes a stage in both these relationships where each type amuses their lady loves by showing traits of the other kind. Like the time the bad ass takes a shower, shaves and wears formals for their anniversary (albeit on the wrong day) or the time the "momma's boy" whispers a little "nasty comment" into his lady love's ears. But this should be done in moderation - the bad ass can turn into a "wimp" if he continues to be good and the "good boy" can easily tread the path that leads from "Naughty Road" to "Perv Avenue". So beware.
Interestingly enuff, men too have two categories for women - "Taken, so no hope for me" and "Single, so I have a chance". Any further classification only worsens the case for us :)
* Going to a restaurant and ordering juice and then asking the waiter to get me a fork and a knife.
* Walking up to a random stranger at the bus stop, smiling at him and then telling him, "That was a good one dude! I couldn't have come up with that!"
* Starting a sentence and then
* Putting liquid soap inside the toilet flushing system of S's (my apt mate) room. So when he flushes he suddenly sees bubbles.
* Buying a pair of jeans and paying with change (Pummy almost did this one time). Yes, I want to do this for a change.
* Sitting in a bus and asking the person next to me very seriously, "Do you smell that?" and when she says "No", reply back saying, "Strange, neither can I."
* Driving past a lovey dovey couple and yelling out to the girl "You can do better!" The guy cant hit you coz that means he's saying that the girl can't do better :)
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
So, I was talking to my dad abt this and he mentioned that apparently in his time, such lines were the sole representation of a guy's wit/charm/smoothness and hence worked quite well. Men too, those days, used such lines to express their fondness as opposed to fondle-ness for the fairer sex. I dint even want to get into the issue of how dad proposed to my mom again (it is hilarious, btw). So Dad gave me another anecdote that Mummum re-confirmed was true:
Apparently, one of my dad's best friends had a loooooong crush on a common friend. Sadly, he could never gather enuff courage to tell her abt his feeling (Oh! how movie-like). So finally he came to my dad for help (which is a sad thing coz Bubin was no Mr. Smooth himself). So Bubin asked him to go to the girl's house and say that he was really tired and ask for a glass of water. Then, when the girl would bring him the glass of water, he should sip it and say, "Hey, I asked for water. Why did you bring juice for me ... Oh! No the sweetness must have been for you ..." Yes yes yes - I shrieked too when I heard this idea. However, it seems, love followed different rules in those times. The friend in question followed the instruction to the T (or is it juice) and in three months a marriage followed - indeed a sweet culmination to a juicy affair.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend and she mentioned that her parents tried to secretly make her meet a prospective match. Apparently, during the course of the almost-date, the guy wanted to find out if she could cook, sing, dance, had ex-boyfriends etc. etc. etc. That's when I realized that this is a very common Indian trait - where the guy interviews the girl and does a match against his checklist!!! A preposterous, but real, Indian custom :(
Seriously, a typical Bengali arranged marriage involves fifteen people from the guy's side visiting the girl. Several rounds of interviews take place. The biggest recruiting responsibilities lie on the guy's mom. She smiles less, talks more and raves aplenty. The typical questions the girl is likely to face include:
1. Can you cook?
2. Do you plan to study after marriage?
3. Can you stitch/weave/paint etc. ?
4. My son is very this and very that (this and that can mean anything from quiet to boisterous to smart to supersmart). Can you keep up with him?
Throughout this interview the girl is supposed to keep quiet. Nothing more than a yes or a no is warranted. She should pretend to count the tiles on the floor and answer is gentle nods. That earns her flying colors.
After the mother is done gloating and interviewing, the guy's father gets a chance. He is supposed to do the family check.
1. Mr. Bose, you said you are a civil engineer? How long will it be before you retire?
2. So the house you said you have in NeverEverLand - is it one storeyed or two storeyed? Are the toilets Indian style?
Finally, if time permits (often in the marriage season, parents cramp up multiple interviews on the same day), the older members get a chance. There's always the deaf grandfather accompanying the guy and he is woken up to ask his quota of one question.
"So can you cook Ma?" the old man would ask, hoping that the new entrant would spicen up his receding taste sense.
"Baba, we have already asked her that," the mother would jut in. "She said she can cook both chicken and fish. However, she can cook only one vegetarian dish. Hmmm!"
At this point the girl's mother would jump in at her daughter's defense. "No, no! You can be rest assured Mrs. Roy that before the wedding I'll teach Rupa at least three more vegetarian dishes ... specially the korma!" ...
I personally find this whole thing very amusing. I have seen my uncles and aunts and some cousins go through this grill and have often pondered upon what I'd do if put in such a situation.
I don't wanna have an arranged marriage but if I ever have to go to "interview a girl" I have secretly fancied asking her, "Tell me three of your favorite knock knock jokes!" That's all I care for (a hot sister-in-law would be a plus). Wonder which ones she'll crack. Hmmm!
Monday, May 23, 2005
* Is it true that in their heydays the members of Rolling Stones frequently got to roll and stone?
Sunday, May 22, 2005
(Please enlarge the image to actually read it properly!)
Saturday, May 21, 2005
My dad is now the 'resident tech expert' of our colony. The reasons for this honor are two-fold. Firstly, his son is doing a PhD in Computer Science and he's supposed to be the man who passed on the genes and secondly coz he knows how to send an email. Now this might sound like a far shot to many, but in my dad's peer group - not too many people know how to switch on and off a machine, let alone using it. So using the much talked abt "Internet" to send "letters" is worthy of social awe. Moreover, I've taught my dad the golden rule of computers - "If something strange happens and you can't figure out what - reboot the machine". Apparently this suggestion works like whoa whoa whoa. Bottomline of an unnecessarily long paragraph - neighbors feel that they can fall back on Bubin for tech advice. Now the story.
Subir uncle is my dad's weekend buddy. They meet over the weekend and my dad claims that Subir uncle comes and takes away an hour of his sports watching time by giving him an update on the local gossip. Apparently my mother loves these stories and Subir uncle loves the pakoras that Mummum makes. So Bubin plays the mediator in this exchange of spice for spice. Yanyway! So Subir uncle recently bought his daughter a computer. However, he has no idea on how to use the machine himself. He sat behind his daughter and sneakily saw her start the machine and press 5 stars before things started. So when the daughter was away, the father decided to play. He started the computer and the words "Enter Password:" cropped up. He did just as he had seen - he entered 5 stars but still nothing happened. He observed his daughter later and yes - indeed she did enter just 5 stars. The whole incident has left Subir uncle completely confounded and thus he sought advice from Nandy the Computer Guy! Need I say more :)
All this made me think (or is reverie the word). How cool will it be if computer engineers had rock star status too? If a full sleeved, shirt tucked-in, dapper desi techie could sit on a stage and debug some funky piece of code with twenty girls shouting in tune "Go Kumar go! Get that baby running. You can do it!" And then Kumar would emerge victorious and these girls would shout "Once more! Once more. This time without the debugger's help. You can do it!" And Kumar would oblige. Debug the ten thousand line baby in record time and then walk up to the front of the stage and pull out his shirt from inside the cotton pants. The crumpled ends of the shirt would sigh in relief, smelling fresh air for the first time in ages. Kumar would smile, look at the throng and say, "The next piece of code is very personal and special to me. I wrote it with my first girl friend. We spent the whole night writing it but finally when we saw the output ... we knew it was worth it. It was highly optimized ..." and one of the girls in the audience would give her neighbor "the conceited know-all-fan look" and say, "You know what he's talking abt, right? Kumar's highly popular module to parse large files ..."
Thursday, May 19, 2005
What do you call a stupid problem? (You know the types when your friend comes and tells you that his girl friend has a pimple and she cried all night for that ...)
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
1. Stand at the back of the queue and shout - Star Trek rocks! Start Trek rocks. Kirk rocks!
2. Walk up to the front of the queue and ask the hottest girl standing, "Is this the queue for J. Lo's Monster-In-Law?"
3. The third one which we actually tried was to leave the theatre premise saying, "The movie rocked man. It was awesome. But kinda short. Skywalker came, wore that suit and then they showed the titles. I wish they had a little more action man. Chah!"
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
headLINES gets more colorful.
... but other than that headLINES remains just as bad.
Think, you stupid man. You "normally sly bastard" - put your mind to good work. Sixty words up and you still play blind? Or is it simply coz you can't think now? I'm hurt by your dumb display. You should just pass now.
"Ok! I do! Pass!" I said :(
P.S. If you still don't know - that was my first post without using "E" (100+ words :D ).
It seems the whole concept of flipping the newspaper pages while carelessly patting the tiger cub on the head has some strange element of power and pride associated with it. To add to this already strange imagery, the tiger cub will also have a bowl of milk that it'll slurp on while dad reads abt East Bengal kicking Mohun Bagan's buttock. Hmmmm! Sorry dad! I shall disappoint you once again :)
Monday, May 16, 2005
Similarly, earlier we could just call up people, get into a heated conversation and then bang the phone down - yes, bang down the telephone. That was so freakin liberating. The rules were simple. Call up the unsuspecting person, shout at him/her saying how much you hate them and then say "That's it. I never want to talk to you again" and bang. Let the other person listen to the bitter beep of rejection. Sadly, these days with Caller Ids and all the other gizmos you rarely manage to capitalize on the surprise angle. Even if you do and you are busy shouting your mind out, you suddenly hear the other person get another call (ah, the delight of call waiting). So (s)he takes your leave for a minute. You build up your anger in that time, only to have him/her return and say, "Hey. I have to take this call. I'll give you a call later." You can't bang down the phone then. How sad is that? Some people don't even use the phone. They're always on instant messenger. So you send them a nasty message filled with all the nasty emoticons you could master and the next thing you see is them logging off. You start wondering whether the person even got those messages. You don't want to re-send them coz they'll think you have nothing new to add and at the same time you don't want those well planned nasti-cisms to just go to waste. Once again - naaaaa! Not the same effect.
Well, technology does have its perks too. To end with - a small anecdote from a not-so-dear friend of mine - after his short relationship ended last year he started using a leading imaging software to add moustache and beard on his pretty ex's photos and forwarding them to people. That was something we couldn't do earlier BUT I don't even know if that's funny or sad!!
Sunday, May 15, 2005
"That's something you should be ashamed of."
"I know. I am!"
Well, the weekend has been pretty exciting till now. The initial plan of work, 3 movies, good Indian food, lots of driving and rock climbing has been changed slightly. Work has been done in moderate proportions and will need an impetus tomorrow. Thanks to Vipul's mom, the "good Indian food" option has been replaced with "great home cooked Indian food". Thank you aunty for the lovely dinner. I followed it up today with a good Indian lunch as well. Lots of driving did take place - though part of it was unintentional, courtesy getting lost (i'm definitely one of the most directionally challenged people). Rock climbing will have to be postponed till mid-next week (I have a thesis proposal on Tuesday). On the movie front I think 3 movies will have to be brought down to 2; of which I saw one tonight - movie in question being the thriller Mindhunters. The movie has been critically butchered and I guess the studio gave up on it too (courtesy the fairly constrained release). However, I liked it. It was a good popcorn flick. What made the movie really neat was that the twist at the end really caught me unaware. There is this interesting pattern in detective movies - we all know that the guy who hogs all the suspicion and dramatic music is not the killer, we also know that the guy with the least possibility is actually the best bet but since everybody knows that, that makes him the least likely candidate in a way BUT then since you expect that ... I can just keep going on. The important point is that it is very difficult for a thriller to make its culprit appear forgettable till the end - while not making him obscure (in which case you feel cheated). That is where this movie succeeded. So much for a popcorn flick.
Shall go and sleep now before the farmer boy intrudes again :)
Saturday, May 14, 2005
1. How do you check the time on your watch during a conversation without making the other person realize and/or feel bad?
- I used to pretend to adjust my watch and sneak in a glance but I've got caught doing it more than enough times to invalidate that option :(
2. What do you do if you are looking (or is the term oggling) at someone and suddenly have the person look back at you?
- I've tried the "not oggling" option but some of you women are sooo darn pretty that I failed and then I tried pretending that I'm actually looking at something else but then some of you women are so darn pretty that I failed.
3. Have you ever had a talk with someone where halfway down the talk you realize that you have no clue what the person has been saying all this while AND suddenly before you know the person asks you "So what do you think?" So what do you think then?
- I normally say "Hmmm!" in a pensive way but I'm sure we can do better than that.
Friday, May 13, 2005
Boy: Hey. It's me.
Girl: Hey, you won't believe. I was just about to call you.
Girl: Aaah! I was hoping you'd call.
Boy: Hi there! Sorry wasn't getting through.
Girl: Hey! I was sitting next to the phone for soooo long expecting your call.
Boy: Hello! I'm so sorry ...
Girl: Do you have any idea how worried I was. You dint call for two days.
Boy: Hello! hey, it's me.
Girl: Hey, I'm actually in the middle of something. Can I call you back later?
Boy: Hello there!
Girl: Hey, I told you I'm very busy this week. Can we talk next week?
Girl: Oh! It's you. Ya, what now?
Boy: Hello! Hello! Ok, don't hang up ... just listen ...
Girl: I told you I don't have time for all this ... *beeeeeeeeeep*
Boy: Hello! Hello! Ok, don't hang up ... just listen ...
(Trrrring trrring)(Trrrring trrring)(Trrrring trrring)(Trrrring trrring)
You've reached the voice mail box of ...
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Oh - the toons get bloody!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
It all struck me when I entered the elevator today. There was a couple in there and they were smiling - at least until I came in. Then suddenly their faces turned all serious. For a second I thought that I might have disturbed a sweet romance but then I realized that I've had this problem too. Subs and I were in the elevator later in the evening when a lady entered and suddenly we reacted as if we dint know each other. I guess people just feel terribly vulnerable inside a small trapped room. You feel anything you say or do will be judged - that's a theory and so was relativity (cheap rip off from a FRIENDS line).
I tried to remember what I do inside elevators or what anybody does inside them. The first thing you do on entering an elevator is to "space out". Never will you find two people alone in an elevator, who don't know each other, standing side-by-side. People always space out as much as they can. Then they all nod their heads and tap their toes, try to look busy, give a carefully planned careless glance at the watch and eagerly look at the monitor to see if their floor has arrived. Occasionally you have someone in their who you know. So you just acknowledge them with a nod and turn away. Social conversations inside the elevator are a big No No - those are normally reserved for more elevating moments.
Similarly, the men's toilet is another place where people strictly mind their own business - no pleasantries, no smiles, no camaraderie - you don't wanna piss off people in there :) The men reading this can back me up and the women can read no further, but how many times has it happened that two people are next to each other inside the toilet and one of them says to himself, "When will this guy leave? ... aaah ... why can't I get a little time to myself ..." It's not that you know him, it's not that you even care - it's just that you wanna be left alone - just like inside the elevator.
"That's crap," the farmer boys says.
"Cool, we can discuss it further inside the elevator."
"You carry on. I'll just come from the restroom!"
Ok! For the Bengali uninitiated, that long sentence means "Penny wise pound foolish". However, the visual in Bengali is a lot more vivid. It literally means "A mosquito cant squeeze in from your front but an elephant can slide through the back." :))
Bubin is supposed to be the personification of the saying. Ask him to spend on anything small and he'll think three times and say, "If I don't buy this, I can have some chana in the evening." For the chana uninitiated, we have a junk food seller selling chana (garbanzo beans) for a very small amount next to our house. It's one of the evening joys of my retired father to spend a large amount of time contemplating if he should buy it. While he sits and wonders on this issue he'll spend a large amount of money on buying music cds which he often doesn't even listen to. The whole process keeps Bubin busy and irks off Mummum. So when I told Mummum that I was wondering whether to subscribe to an Indian TV channel, Mummum blew up.
"Just like Bubin. You are just like your dad," she started. "You spend a fortune on watching crappy movies but you wont spend a little money on this. What will you do that extra money?"
Before I could answer, Bubin snatched the phone from Mummum and said, "Topai. Tell your Mom that you'll send me that extra money. I will have some chana!"
Bubin's a darling.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
The whole situation of asking someone how your partner looks is very funny/weird/awkward. Like a lot of stuff I write abt, I've been at fault myself with this one too :) I remember asking Hemo once what she felt abt someone I was then interested in. Hemo being the honest Hemo, said, "Eh! Nothing great!" :)) Sadly (or happily) not all of us are like Hemo. I can't criticize anyone's partner to the person itself and often, when faced with such a bouncer, simply choose to wait for the bowler to get tired by dodging the deliveries.
Seriously, coz a partner's not like a technical paper or the draft of a story. If you give me a paper that you've written and ask me to review it for you, I'll do it gladly (yeah! sure) ... and honestly. Coz, I know that you can still change it. But if you show me your boy friend and ask me "if he is good looking", then not only do you make me feel queer, you also leave me with no answer but a positive one. What if I feel he is "too short". Well! There's no way in which you can make him any taller - is there? So, why give any opinion? That's my policy.
I remember my mom describing a similar problem that all Indian ladies face. A lot of relatives show their kids and ask, "Who does he resemble?" This seemingly innocent question apparently has deep rooted implications. For starters, you can't just choose one parent coz you'll offend the other. So you then have to carefully choose all the attractive features from both parents and equally distribute it amongst the five week old. So, according to Mummum, this is more like the parents asking - "What do you like abt us?" So a standard answer Mummum gives is something on the lines of, "Wow! He has all the best features of both of you. He has his father's curly hair, the mother's lips and the smile, hmm! I can't differentiate coz you both have great smiles and ..." :)
To end this post, here are some answers that I've given in the past when asked to comment abt people's girl/boy friends. It's tricky coz you can't go overboard praising the person as it might appear fake (or if it is a girl the guy might even give you the looks). Also at times the guy/girl knows that they haven't exactly come up with a catch but you still want to nurture their sentiments. In such awkward situations, this is the kind of vagueness I resort too:
1. "You're the man dude! I'm really happy for you!" - very safe, classy and has the whole warm camaraderie thing going on!
2. "She looks very honest." - once again a compliment for which you can't be penalized - specially if the person is smiling and you say, "specially her smile. she has such an innocent smile!"
3. "I think you two look made for each other. It's like a perfect match!"
4. "Dude! I wish I had met her before you did." - this is slightly tricky. You want to make your friend gloat over the fact that he has upped you, without posing as a threat. So it's always advisable to say this with a nudge on the arm and a very big smile.
5. This is my personal favorite - "She looks like ... someone. Shit! I can't place who. Someone I know ... hmmm ..." So you completely avoid the question and yet not upset anyone coz people generally assume that it's someone nice :)
Any other suggestions?
I had this other idea too - to have a message that claims you're someone else. I suggested to K that she change her message to something like, "Hey, you've reached the voice mail box of Pam Ander... I'm busy making out right now. So call me back later ..." That should freak out your caller. The initial reaction will obviously be "Did I actually reach her phone?" Will let you know if K tried this at home :)
K added her own gem to the conversation. Apparently some friend of her's actually starts her message by saying "Hello, hello, yes, hello, I can hear you ..." That totally convinces the caller that they've reached the person ... till they get beeped out. I also enjoy the fact that a lot of Indians really "accentize" their messages. They are hilarious. I used to repeatedly call up one of my friends in San Diego when I knew he'd be away - just to hear his answering message :)
Sunday, May 08, 2005
"That doesn't make any sense," the farmer boy cried.
"It seriously doesn't. What is a farmer boy doing on my blog? Nonsense."
(i) Updated my blog lists (was planning to do this for a loooong time) - the new links are there in a separate section below the present ones. As usual I'm sure that I've forgotten some of the folks I visit - so the list will keep changing (and hopefully faster than last time :)
Saturday, May 07, 2005
So my knowledge of rock music borders close to my knowledge on women - i.e. zero (at least rock music can be downloaded and studied). I listen to hip-hop, which most lovers of rock think is jarring, juvenile and uncool. For that matter I have been told that I have terrible taste in music. So I did a reality check and recalled the last 5 concerts I've been to:
2003: Some British Blues band was performing in Kolkata and Ronny Dam got us free tickets. I hadn't heard of any song that they sang and thankfully neither did Amitabh. So while Ronny tried to pick up some middle aged lady, Thard and I went around disturbing coochie cooing couples.
2002: Bon Jovi concert in LA. One of the udergrads here told me that "I had to go for this". So I did. Knew three songs and figured out that the only people out there were undergrads who dint know that they ever needed a job and 'Harley Davidson riding tattoo sporting' folks who dint know that there's something called a job. Incidentally, my high point of the evening was when I found a stall that actually sold non-alcoholic beverages and the guy laughed at me and gave it to me for free.
1996: Grammy Award winning legend Pete Seeger performed in Kolkata and we went there from school. I remember being terribly excited because some girls school also came for the event. Also, I remember knowing (or having heard of) quite a few of the songs. So that wasn't that bad.
1995: SAARC classical music concert. Dad got tickets and dragged us there. I was happy with my performance since I was the last of my four member family to doze off. Not bad at all, eh!
1994: My moment of glory - Akshay Kumar + Raveena Tandon Night in Kolkata. Got guest tickets with lovely seats; knew every song that was performed; and figured out that Akshay Kumar was more popular than me when he ripped of his sweat-soaked vest and threw it at the audience and two girls sitting in front of me, who I was contemplating marriage with, ran to get hold of it.
Friday, May 06, 2005
One looks great. I see trees overlooking the path. I smell flowers. The bricks are well laid; smooth without obstructions. Sadly, I don't see people treading that route. Desolate. Makes you wonder if the beauty has blinded you.
The other road looks mundane. Concrete trees play hosts to uneven pavements. Several species and feces decorate the sidewalks. But it's home to jostle and I see people walk in multitudes. Makes me wonder if there's something that meets the eye but fails to greet it.
Like many I wonder which route to take. The treaded known or the beautiful unseen. I think a little more. Then I feel hungry and sleepy and I walk back home.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
"Thanks man. Which one did you like?"
"I dint read them. I have much better things to do."
You work on the fourth floor and need to go to the fifth floor for some reason. So instead of taking the stairs you go and press the elevator button. If the elevator opens and it's empty then you're safe coz you can then just go to the fifth floor. Sadly for you, the door opens and a cute Asian girl is found waiting inside. You go in and figure out that she's planning to go to the sixth floor. It's evident that she's annoyed at the stopping of the elevator. All you need to do to p#ss her off even further is stop again on the fifth floor. So you press the button for the seventh floor instead. That's a good enough reason to take the elevator - she says to herself and forgives you. She even gives you a little smile. So you go to the seventh floor (after dropping her off on the sixth); no one enters on the seventh floor; and you just take the elevator down to the fifth floor again, scaling so many new heights on the way. Phew!
Who would do something like this I wonder :)
Girl: ... the first ten years after marriage the Indian husband dominates the wife.
Me: And then the wife stops shaving her underarm, grows a moustache and officially becomes the Man of the House.
Disclaimer: This was part of a funny conversation and was in no way a sexist chat or one debating over the superiority of the sexes.
C: I'm upset with you.
C: You know why.
Me: No! I don't.
C: You know it very well.
Me: I sincerely don't.
A quick question for all the men who read this blog. How many of you haven't ever tasted some flavor of this conversation? I believe the answer is almost zero - nil - zilch. The above mentioned technique is something women have used masterfully over the years to attack the male mind. And it works like magic. Coz never in the history of the sexes has this conversation taken place:
He: What happened?
She: You know.
He: Yeah! I do. Surprise. Gotcha!
Nopey dopey. The fairer sex don't play that fair. They give you the trailer to a terrifying movie that's likely to follow but never tell you anything abt when the movie is actually gonna release. So we men do the worst possible thing - we start guessing.
He: What is it? Are you upset coz I left the toilet seat up?
She: No. You know what it is.
He: Is it because I looked at that girl on the road?
She: No. You know what it is.
In quick succession the man accepts everything - from being an illegitimate prick to being the reason why India lost the cricket match. And still the woman sits and nods her head. The pendulum signals the infinite rage and boy does the rage follow ...
Men on the other hand can never control themselves. The above situation if reversed is likely to be like this.
She: You look quiet. What's wrong?
She: Cool. I had a hectic day at work.
That's it. The man will then jump to his own defense and pour his heart out. "You did this. You forgot abt our date. You did that ... blah blah blah." To all this the woman will silently say "I just told you I had a terrible day at work and still ... you ... just forget it."
Saying this she'll chew her lips and keep quiet. The man will stop shouting. He'll look at her, wonder what to say and innocently ask, "What happened now?"
"You know what happened," the lady answers. "You know it!"
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Initially the folks who read my blog were people I knew personally. These included the kind and bored Rakesh, Arijit, Girija and my sis. I once read that one good purpose a blog serves is to chronicle how your thoughts and preferences change with time. So I looked back at some of my initial posts and realized that there was a lot of news based references (I guess I was strongly influenced by Dam's earlier blog). This was pretty much the same time when I had a pretty nasty break up. As a result the blog went through a temporal phase of depression and bitchiness. Soon Girija became G and the blog lost a regular visitor. However, one thing that came about courtesy this period was that the blog became more personal in content and since then the blog has pretty much been my views (albeit often in a distorted fashion).
It's been a year now (duh Sagnik! why else will u say Happy Birthday?). I'm more busy now, have a far better social life and yet I blog a lot more these days. Coz now I just do it for fun. There are things I feel like doing or saying and the blog turns out to be an easy medium for such ideas. I'm really grateful to all the kind souls who visit No URL Left - some daily, some even multiple times a day, some sporadically and some randomly (yes :) they leave messages saying that they reached it by random browsing :) ). I'm now aware of what a lot of people I had lost touch with (or barely knew) are upto (Ani, Antara, Srini, Samit, Kumari, Bridal Beer, Arka, Anyesha, Rathish, Vikram, Sagnik aka namesake, DJ, Sridhar, Sanketh, Happy and others). However, what's more amusing is that I interact with a lot of people via my blog who I dint even know existed (and vice versa) (GVenum(;), Megha, Debalina, Manchus, Biplab, Primal_Soup, Rajesh, Ideasmithy, Vignesh, Ratna, Sivani, Sayantani, Urmea, 'Star and Pankhi' *who I still feel are the same people :)*, Shubhs, Regular_Lurker and others) I have mental images of these people and maybe they have one of me too. I've been told by some people who haven't even seen me what they think I'm like based on my blog. Funny! Technology never ceases to amuse me :)
I have no idea how long I'll keep blogging. As of now I really enjoy it and still have a fair amount of crap to inflict on you folks :) So once again - thanks a ton for visiting this otherwise obscure web zone. It's been great fun for a year and yes - All Birthday gifts can be sent to me and I shall pass it on to the blog :)
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
"That's OK! Once a week you can read it. Wait let me check if it is suitable for kids ..."
"Lots. Why? You want some?" Pummy says wryly, smiling through her eyes.
The entire Nandy family, that was otherwise busy celebrating G's birthday, paused. The old aunts who were ranting abt aunts that were still absent locked their glares on Pummy. The other cousins who were fighting over something they didn't even remember announced truce. My grandmom had just started telling my mom why she was her favorite daughter-in-law (a battle my mom narrowly won after my uncle's wife said something seemingly rude to grandmom earlier in the day) but she paused too. Pummy had just broken the Golden Rule of Nandy family gatherings. The only men women discussed were relatives and some neighbor's highly adulterous husband. In such a setup Pummy's dry humor acted as a sponge that soaked in the entire gathering's attention.
Some of them looked at my Mom, expecting a harsh reprimanding to follow. "How can the girl talk so loosely about men?" a dozen and a half raised eyebrows seemed to ask. Mummum knows how to handle such situations. "Is the toilet free?" she asks, while making her way towards it.
Pummy knows how to handle these situations too. She smiles just a little bit more at G (who now looks visibly shaken for having started this conversation) and says, "So now that you are sixteen G, do you plan to get a boy friend?"
G's mother, who was cooking in the kitchen, comes running out to protect her daughter's sanctity. "Lunch is ready! Lunch is ready," she shouts. "G quickly go and call everyone else. Go!" she screams.
My grandmom smiles. Having saved G's innocence, my aunt had once again regained her "Number One daughter-in-law" spot.
The reason I narrated this incident was to give people an idea of how conservative my family is. We however stay separately and are considered foreigners who are unaware of the laws of the land. Pummy is the renegade tourist they protect their children from.
Mummum just informed me that recently Pummy and her "good friend" were spotted together by one of my zillion aunts. Amma (grandmom) has already made the customary phone call to Mummum, informing her that "Pummy was seen with some guy." I'm really excited abt what's going to follow. This is going to be comedy at its best. Shall keep you all posted!
My mom realized this problem at an early age. Given that my Dad's hair grayed fast, he became a "Da" at quite an early age. Not that Mummum minded it - the sight (or is it the sound) of young girls referring to your husband as their elder brother is indeed reassuring. However, you can't call a guy "Da" and his wife by her name at the same time. The protocol demands that the wife be called "Di" too - which means "elder sister". So, to protect her husband from lecherous damsels, Mummum became an "early di" - a phenomenon that ensured that she took early preventive measures for her children. The "Da" "Di" syndrome is infectious - it starts with one person giving you that "added respect" and before you know your whole social circle joins in. And if you're a girl and they call you "Di", the aunts will soon come down and say, "She's getting old - have you considered getting her married?" - a phenomenon I like to call as "Di Important Issue".
So as I was saying - Mummum acted early. Both Pummy and I were given funky names by which our cousins addressed us - names which had uncanny resemblances to those of dogs (I'm called Jinku by many) but avoided any classification in terms of age. Pummy never referred to me as "Da" either - something which led to the complete lack of reverence lil sis has for me :) Whenever a young family friend broke the protocol Mummum used her trump card - "Calling them Da or Di would distance them and harm their friendship. So call them just by their names," she'll say. And so they did. Prefixes - nay! Suffixes - nay!
All this was working just fine till Avinash Modi started calling me "Shaggy Da" for some strange reason. Soon other juniors from Pilani joined in. From "Shaggy" (yeah that's what all my friends call me) I became "Sagnik Da". I ran, I hid, I gelled my hair, wore grotesque clothes and started using "Wassup" to greet BUT the old was found by the bold. You people found me! You left a few unsuspecting comments that made me happy and then dropped in "Da bomb" :(( Why why why? Sigh sigh sigh! Bye bye bye :)
Monday, May 02, 2005
Friend (who's newly in love): I'm a virgin physically but mentally I'm no longer one.
Me: Yeah! Relationships often screw with your mind.
"Haven't I told you not to read that crap?" the angry mom replies.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
The moment the Indian woman touches 23 and the man borders 25 the mothers call up their mothers. "Ladka bada ho gaya hai (the guy has grown up)" or "Ladki ke shaadi ke umar ho gayee hai (the girl is ready for the plunge)" is exchanged, a few congratulatory remarks are made and the "Great Indian Search" begins (trumpets roar in the background). The price of the boy is determined - "He has an MBA so we can demand a working girl", "His height is thoda less. So we will have to overplay the salary angle", "He used to play tennis so we can indeed call him an all rounder" - the parties decide. Similarly the girl's value is also determined in her house. "She can cook both Indian and Chinese. So that'll take care of her growing waistline. Plus we'll mention that she has joined that fitness club", "Don't forget to mention that we sent her to a convent. Guys really like that these days" - the aunts will add in their invaluable advice. A few warnings are also exchanged - "Don't tell the girl's family that Vijay had a girl friend. We'll play it safe and say we don't know and don't discus such things at home," the grandmother warns. After the family managers decide on the pricing and marketing strategy the product preparation begins:
For the girls.
1. Morning 8-9: Jogging and gentle cardio. "She has to look good in pants. You know naa that these days men like skinny women?" the aunt in salwar and sneakers monitoring the regimen declares.
2. Morning 10-12: culinary Workout. "Ok! You are frying it way too much. What will they think? That we dint teach you anything? Finish this fast. I will then teach you my special carrot pie after that. Your grandfather just tasted it once when he came to check me out and fell in love with me," the blushing and gloating grandmother announces.
3. Afternoon 3-5: Music lessons. "We have already told them that you have been singing for three years. Sing that Piya tohse song. It is very suggestive - if you know what I mean," the mother declares, giving up the last element of discretion.
4. Evening 7-8 (just before the ideal daughter-in-law TV serials begin): Knitting. "The guy's grandmom is coming too. Show her this piece. Tell her you made it. Don't worry. I'll teach you before marriage how to do it. Even though the cross stitch might be a little difficult," the grandmother says while maintaining the value of her role.
The guys don't have it easy either. They have their training program too.
1. Morning 9-Evening 5: That thing they call work. "So when do they let you know if you got promoted. Asst. Manager doesn't sound as good as Manager. Can we say Deputy instead of Assistant? It sounds better. I believe they already have another similar offer. I will recommend that you tell them that you are a manager. We will manage it later," the general manager of the house says.
2. Evening 11-12 (Just after the ideal daughter-in-law serials end): Feed the Male Ego. "Don't smile too much. They will think you have never seen a girl before. And when they bring the sweets take just one and don't go overboard praising it. Get it?" The father finally adds in. "Very true," the mother mentions. "And speak with an accent. They have already mentioned some three times that their daughter went to an English medium school. Show them that you are no less."
Why why? Zed Zed or as they say here Zee.
"It takes one dumb person to ruin the work of several geniuses."