Thursday, June 30, 2005
The husband left for work and the wife left him!
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
But my favorite sobby barber story goes back to the land of good ol' Kolkata. Ever since I came to the US my mother is particularly fussy abt the inexperienced meddling with my hair. As a result I'm sent to what is considered Kolkata's premier hair salon. To me it is just as good as my neighborhood shop except for MTV playing in the TV and the few creams they put on my face after the hair cut is done. Yanyway, that's not the point. The guy who was cutting my hair asked me, "Aaap US se ho kya (are you from US)?" I nodded an affirmative yes. "Aaap ki kapde se pataa chala (Guessed it from your clothes)". In my defense I wasn't wearing anything that screamed of my foreign status - except for the fact that I wore shorts to the shop. He then went on to tell me how he has several job offers from Bangkok but none from US. He asked me how much money barbers in US made and I told him some strange amount too. Finally he aimed for the touchdown. "This shop is very big but the owner keeps all the profits. We get paid peanuts. Our main income comes from tips that saabs like you give." Ok! Go ahead and judge me. But it is not everyday that I'm thrown the "saab" bait. I jumped for it and caught the hook by the curve and ten minutes later I came out of the shop after having tipped the guy 1.5 times the tip I normally give.
"Barber dekho. Hazaar bar pheko. Yeh Phekney ke cheez hai humarey dilrooba ..."
P.S. I don't know if things are similar in the highly protected ladies beauty salons. Men are are a strict no no in those places. Though I have to confess that I managed to enter one of those places when I was young. I remember my mother telling the lady "He doesn't understand anything." Ahaa! Ignorance was sooo much fun :)
The girl next to me in the counter looked pretty agitated. "I don't care what you meant. All I know is that I was sitting alone and studying for my finals and my boy friend was out with some other girl partying," she spurted into the cell phone in a semi-weepy tone. I couldn't hear what the boy friend said but there was a brief period of silence and then the girl spoke again. "I simply don't care. DO WHAT YOU FEEL LIKE!" ... and a post was born.
The classic "DO WHAT YOU FEEL LIKE!". Almost legendary. One of the biggest weapons in an angry dame's armory. What the line actually means is "YOU BETTER DO WHAT 'I FEEL LIKE' BUT I WONT TELL THAT COZ THEN YOU'LL SAY THAT I'M BOSSY. INSTEAD I'LL EMOTIONALLY BLACKMAIL YOU AND MAKE YOU FEEL TERRIBLY GUILTY FOR WHATEVER IT IS THAT YOU WANT TO DO SO THAT ULTIMATELY YOU DO WHAT I WANT U TO DO."
Yes! rarely has the true meaning of a sentence been so different from its original form. Just ask yourself, have you ever heard this conversation take place:
Boy: Hey do you mind if I go out with the guys for a drink?
Girl: Not at all (with a huge glee). You should do what you feel like. After all that's what a true relationship is, right? Actually you know what, you should go out with the guys every week.
Naaay! That doesn't happen. It's more like:
Boy: Hey do you mind if I go out with the guys for a drink?
Girl: Do what you feel like (and a classic sulk). But remember that when Reena wanted me to go shopping with her last week, I didn't. Just because I didn't want to leave you alone. So do whatever you feel like doing. After all it's your (said with a huge stress on the word) choice.
As I was thinking all this I heard the weepy tone turn to feigned coyness. "Ok then. Just don't tell me later that you did this for me. See you at nine then." She hung up the phone and smiled a contented smile. I knew that the guy did exactly what (s)he felt like.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Yup! I'll be taking a three day break from blogging. I'll resume writing again on Thursday. Nope! Thankfully, I haven't run out of things to say. It's just that I want to take a few days off and get my mind focused on a few things. So, come back on Thursday for more spice, drama and item numbers from this side of the World :) Till then - enjoy!
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Cousin: Mampandada (yeah that's what he calls me), India has changed a lot these days. A lot of Indian men no longer want their wives to be virgins.
Moi (aka Mampandada): India as changed a lot these days. A lot of Indian men no longer want their wives to be women.
Me off to Sea World!
Thursday, June 23, 2005
So I was mentioning to M how Ex hated watching movies. Now people who know me know that I'm one of the biggest film addicts on the West side of East side. I have to watch a staple dose of 2-3 movies a week, without which I go bonkers. So Ex and I had tonsa problems abt my movie watching habits. But that's not the purpose of this post. What made Ex and my movie watching escapades blog worthy is her innate ability to sleep through EVERY movie.
Ex could and would sleep through every possible movie she went for. Action, emotion, commotion, slow motion, war, peace, India, Greece - it dint matter what the movie was abt. As long as the movie wasn't a chick flick starring a lawyer in pink, Ex would sleep through it like a just-fed new born kiddo.
One of the first movies we saw together was the Brad Pitt+Morgan Freeman starrer Seven. For people who haven't seen this really nice movie, it deals with seven murders corresponding to the seven sins. I gave Ex a basic plot summary before we went for the movie and fifteen minutes and one murder into the movie I hear sweet snores (we were courting then, so everything abt her was sweet) gargling next to me. How can someone sleep through a blood and gore fest, I asked myself! Twenty minutes later she woke up. "What have I missed? How many murders are over?" she asked agitatedly. "Two," I indulged in brevity. "You said there were seven murders right? Cool! Can you please wake me up after murder number five?" she whispered in a drowsy tone. What??? Have you ever heard of someone using killings in a movie as an alarm clock??? I was completely startled. But then we all know that during courtship you do as you're told - you don't ask anything, you don't say anything, except for "You look amazingly beautiful tonight" :)
One hour and three more brutalities later I nudged her again. "Missy, wake up! Five murders over," I whispered. I could hear smirks of adjacent movie watchers who were now relishing this free accompanying comedy as well. This time Ex woke up, yawned a partial yawn, rubbed her eyes and said, "If five murders are over then I can't follow the movie. Can I? So I might as well wake up after it's over."
Ten minutes later I heard sweet snores next to me. Lying next to me was a girl with her eyes half shut and mouth half open. What a sight. I tried to capture the moment in my mind, but just then Kevin Spacey appeared on screen :)
P.S. There are several other similar incidents. One of my personal favs was when she woke up ten minutes before Pirate of the Caribbean ended and asked me, "Quick! Which ones are the pirates?"
It seems Bubin was watching some game show on TV and was shocked by the stupidity of one of the participants. The target of Bubin's anger was a "very attractive" housewife. She was asked by the host "where she went for her studies" and apparently the girl answered by saying, "First to school and then to college" :)) I've been laughing ever since I read this. Too funny to be true!!
But Bubin dint stop there. He went on to narrate one of his other favorite "stupidity stories". This one dated back to his college days. Apparently Bubin had a friend (we shall refer to him as X) who wasn't the brightest of kids. So, for one of the examinations, X was blindly copying answers from the guy sitting next to him. Half way down the exam this other guy's pen ran out of ink and he had no option but to use a pencil for the rest of the paper. X (and I still can't believe this) thought that this must have been some stringent compulsory requirement and took out a pencil and followed the trend too :))
The last line of Bubin's email - "Beta. Don't laugh too much after reading this. X is a big shot businessman now and has two foreign cars standing outside his house." !!!!
So what's the stupidest thing you witnessed??
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
The Front Side
The Rear (Rare) Side
P.S. Thanks to Hello and Blogger for their photo blogging facilities.
Well, M told me that in South India people actually often order biriyani by weight e.g. "We'll take one kg biriyani please." I found this very amusing coz the whole sight of a happy four member family landing up in a biriyani joint and having this conversation cracked me up:
Server: And what would you like Sir?
Father: We'll take 1.5 kgs of biriyani please.
Mother: Actually I'm feeling more hungry.
Father: Excellent. Then make that 1.75 killos.
Son1: I want 25 gms of ice cream too.
Son2: Me too, me too.
How cool will that be?
While on the topic of weighing food, I've got to mention this. I was telling my apt mate, Subs, that I once interned in a company where they had multiple varieties of food for lunch and the employees paid based on the weight of the food they took (so it dint matter whether you ate 12 lbs of salad or 12 lbs of delicious chicken gravy as long as they were both 12 lbs). Coming from India this was a completely alien concept to me. Subs however, completely missed my point. He imagined that "paying by weight" meant paying based on how heavy the person eating the food is :)) When I started cracking up he defended his imagination saying that he just thought that was the company's way of keeping it's employees fit and trim. Just imagine the visual. An employee walks up to the cash counter and has a scale waiting out there for him:
Cashier: I'm sorry Alec. You've gained an extra 2 pounds since yesterday. So I'll have to charge you a dollar more for that burger.
Alec: I saved two dollars on the pasta today.
Alec: I went to the toilet and emptied myself just before the meal. Also I went to the cafeteria without my sweater on. I almost froze down there, but guess what? I saved $2. I think I'll have some ice cream with that :)
The Mirror Pose. Now come on. Don't lie. We all have it. All you people who say "I don't care how I look. It's all abt the person inside", you know that even you have a mirror pose. You look around and see if anybody is looking. No? Bang. You strike a quick mirror pose before you leave. Women take this to an all new level of perfection. I've never understood till date why women always have something to adjust abt their lipstick everytime they look into the mirror. Either they add some more or they chap their lips to make it uniform or if everything else looks perfect then they just take their thumb and index finger and give a quick finishing touch to the two ends. And bang she's ready to go.
Men aren't Mr. Casual in front of the mirror either. Have you ever seen a man with hair problems stand in front of a mirror. Now that's a sight. In his mind he has a perfect style and angle in which his hair looks the most voluminous and he loves to catch a glimpse of himself in that state before he greets the everybodies. There can be a storm outside making a bird's nest out of his hair but as long a the man is satisfied with his mirror pose look - he simply doesn't care. Coz in his mind he thinks that everybody is still seeing "that look".
And don't even get me started on the flab hiding techniques. Come on! Not all of us are Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie figured. A little tummy, a small extra chin or maybe some extra ounce that others think is a bicep but we know is not - we all have them. So when we stand in front of the mirror, we try to strike a pose that reduces the visibility of all these extra pounds. Just like the hair style - as long as we can tuck our stomachs in, suffocate ourselves for a moment and for a second feel that the belly is gone, we can leave the house thinking "that's us - nothing more nothing less!"
Finally, to end this post, a small Mirror Pose quirk of my own. It's pretty weird and funny but I defend it saying that it's scientific. Most of us have hair partings and we've seen how changing the parting changes the way we look. However, most people don't realize that what we see in the mirror is an inverted image. So if you comb your hair in the other direction and look into the mirror - that's what people actually see us as. Now, my bathroom has two mirrors placed at 90 degrees to each other. So I always see my image in the reflection of one mirror in the other, since that inverts the mirror image and I get to see what I'm actually looking like :) Strange, right? But then that's me :)
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Now Geeks have been adored by people over the years. The simpleton who starts mumbling, never gets the girl and always gets snubbed by the cooler protagonist has been one of the stock "Oh cho chueeet" characters all over the World. Young women come out of movie theatres asking, "Wasn't he soooooooooo sweet. Specially the scene where the girl refuses to go out on a date with him. I felt so bad for him," they rave. "Isn't he adorable?", "Aaaaah! I just love his eyes" and "He was so funny" does the rounds. BUT the ironic thing is that no girl in real life wants to date these characters. It's all good on celluloid. It's all good to discuss with your boy friend over dinner in a playful attempt to make him jealous. But in reality??? Naaa! Naaa! Come on ladies, be honest. Who would you rather be with - handsome jerk who displays muscle shuscle or the simpleton with 1960s hair style who still fastens his shirt's top button?
So stop raising the hope for the Geeks. Stop making them feel that they have a chance. Every time you see A Ron on screen boo him so that the closet Rons sitting in the theatre next to you and pondering on which route to take makes no mistakes. Your noble acts can then make many a "Ron the geeks" of today into "Ronny the sleeks" of tomorrow. You have the power women. Use it!
I shall end with a related conversation that I had with a woman last week.
She: I think you and I'll get along really well.
Me: What makes you think so?
She: Oh you study and all. I get along well with Geeks!
Monday, June 20, 2005
Parineeta (the book) - Based in early twentieth century, Sarat Chandra Chottopadhyaya's (who also wrote Devdas) classic triangular love story.
Parineeta (the film) - Based in 1960s Kolkata. This is a semi-modern adaptation of the book in celluloid form that seems to be the latest buzz generator in Indian cinema with a stellar star cast and some good music decorating the piece. (Also worth mentioning is that I find Vidya Balan very cute!)
Bengali - Language spoken in the Indian state of Bengal and also the language of the Parineeta the book.
Ok! Please ask me abt Parineeta. I've spent some good amount of time educating myself abt it. So come - shoot me with the questions. Especially because now I'm ready.
In the past two weeks at least 10 people have asked me various things abt the book. Just because I'm a Bengali. Even though I've repeatedly mentioned that "I DON'T READ" people somehow get the impression that I'm well read (and I don't mind that). So every friend of mine who had plans of watching the movie asked me a zillion questions abt the book.
Sweet Raghav was the first one. He asked me the most obvious question. "What does Parineeta mean?" I thought for a while and said "Prostitute". I thought a lil longer and said, "Sh!t. That's patita and not parineeta." Then I thought for a lil more and lamented at the degeneration of my Bengali skills. Then I changed the topic.
Rishi asked me how true to the original novel the movie is. I asked him to let me know if he finds out.
My sis knows abt my ignorance and is equally ignorant herself. She just asked me, "Hey did you know that it's based on a Bengali book?"
Hemo asked me, "You know the story, right???" She sounded so confident that I dint want to let her down. So I said yes. Fifteen minutes later I asked her to tell me the story.
Finally, I took up the matter with my dad. He was appalled to know that I dint now what Parineeta meant. I was promptly given a 5 minute lecture on the actual meaning (espoused) and the different contexts in which the term was used. This was followed by a short summary of the story and why it was unique then. Finally mom took over and she told me how the movie is different from the book and also that she was super impressed by Sanjay Dutt's dancing abilities.
So come on baby. Show me the questions! Let's see what you've got. Now that I'm ready to live up to my Bengali origins where have you people fled. I'll be waiting - waiting for you!
1. Two guys mentioned that they want girls who are "adaptive". Is it just the geek in me or does that really sound like a software specification?
2. Almost on the same lines - quite a few girls wanted men who are "reliable" (just for them, coming soon Manware 1.0b)
2. One Girl Started Every Word Of Her Sentences With A Capital Letter Like I Have Done For This Sentence :)
3. One guy described himself as "Myself is cool" (how cool do you think is that).
4. Quite a few women and men wanted their partners to be "open minded". Now the term can mean a range of things and if not specified leads to really fancy (or is the word vivid) images in my mind.
5. One girl mentioned her hobby as "talking on the telephone". Now why would someone want that information when choosing a partner? Unless of course you are a phoney!!
6. Pummy mentioned this one to me (so don't question me abt the authenticity). Apparently a leading daily in Kolkata has an ad that mentions that the guy's father owns a flat on the tenth storey (Now that's some unneeded "storey") Now who needs such specific information?
7. Another one courtesy darling sister. The same daily boasted of an ad where the guy dint divulge his salary but mentioned that his father has a seven figure annual income.
8. This one goes out to all those people who had ids that tried to reveal more abt them than their profiles. Whatever happened to subtlety? Since I've respected the privacy of all these people I shall not reproduce exact ids but there were people whose ids resembled cool_engineer_nyc. Do we even need a profile after that? I suggested to my friend that he should choose an id on the lines of handsome_rich_guy_hunky_japan_visited :)
9. Finally for all the lovers of irony - some guy wanted a "homely working girl". Go for it dude!
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Guys: Hi. I am Blah Blah and I do Blah Blah. I believe in the simple joys around us (and what might they be). Honesty and sincerity are two virtues that I strongly believe in (you can never go wrong with these). I'm modern and yet I have strong traditional roots (half a dozen people said this and though it makes no sense whatsoever, it seems to be the in-thing). My hobbies are music, movies, reading (aha! the aesthetic side is revealed) and I also like outdoor activities (lest you offend the more adventurous ones). I like to laugh and make others laugh (the sense of humor card is played). I'm looking for a girl who will be an equal partner in every joy that awaits me (clap clap).
Girls: It is very difficult to describe myself in one paragraph (some five hundred women started their profiles with this line without realizing that they are already wasting some of their limited space by putting this line in). I am a simple girl who loves to love and be loved (aaaah! cho fu@@ing chueeet). I have completed my blah blah (educational qualifications). I like to cook (come on you have to say that), sing (yeah! I can entertain you too) and love art work (I will save you valuable money on decoration). I have strong Indian roots and yet I consider myself Westernized (once again this means nothing). (And now comes the part that I don't understand but almost all the women mention) My father works as a so and so. My mother is a very nice lady who does blah blah. My elder sister is married and based in so and so. My brother-in-law works for a reputed MNC in blah blah. My youngest uncle graduated from ... yada yada yada (can someone please explain it to me why we need to know the entire family tree).
P.S. Coming up next - 10 funniest things that I spotted in these sites!!!!
Saturday, June 18, 2005
One of my closest friends, M, asked me this afternoon, "Why do you even care abt what people think abt you?". "I don't know," I said. "I've always judged myself through the eyes of others."
I'm just the opposite of my dad (or so I'll say till I prove myself wrong). Dad never cared for what others thought abt him. He took a number of steps in his life which would be considered professional and personal suicide in the eyes of many. But Bubin never cared. He always did what he wanted to and even though my sis and I criticized him constantly, and ranted abt his moves, he never cared much abt what people thought of him and his actions. And I'm saying this as a compliment. Dad's not selfish. He's quite the opposite. Most of these so called "blunders" I'm referring to involved radical decisions that Bubin took to stay close to the family. "Did you never feel bad for all the opportunities you left?" I asked Bubin around five years back. I still remember his answer. "I followed a simple philosophy," my old man told me. "Just do what makes you smile before you go to bed at night." Woah! That was deep.
Maybe it was these complaints that I kept making that made me be just the opposite of what dad is. Just to prove a point, I always listed for the rat race. Get me a rat race and I'll be the first (b)rat to join in. I never questioned the "whys". I always said that the "Whys make you unwise". For me it was always abt hopping from one race to another. I always cared abt exam scores, I always cared abt "ambition", I always cared abt hollow "achievements"; and ironic as it might be, to ensure that some day I get my happy sleep, I treaded a route where every night's sleep is affected by some question. "Will I beat Abhik this term?", "Will I get Computer Science?" "How did I do in the mid-term?" "Shit! I'm sure I forgot to put the units after the answer." "Darn they have a debate tomorrow. Should I be funny or serious?" "I'm sure I'll forget the lines on stage" ... Yes, that's me. I kept sleeping disturbed sleeps every night convincing myself that this was needed for "being happy later" but sometimes I wonder if I even know what makes me happy.
I told Modi (the darling is following Ronny Dam's route of going back to India, leaving me short of one more friend in US) that the beauty of the rat race is that it never ends. If you do well enuff, you just get to run with better rats. When I was in school I thought that getting into a big engineering school would ensure a bright future. Once I did that I met the engineering rats. We all started running again. Every semester was a rat race. Every exam was a rat race. All we rodents gathered up together for one more plunge - that "one more plunge" that will take us to next level and the next "one more plunge". To all we people running in the rat race (I think I've used this term a billion times already) - do you realize that success just takes you to a level where you can't boast abt that achievement anymore? If getting into university X was your dream, then once you enter X you realize that everybody out there also managed to enter X. The fact that you're in X might have meant a lot to you earlier but it looses it's unique charm once you are in X. This holds true for schools, colleges, universities, internships, jobs, everything. The joy of achievement is ephemeral. It only lasts till you look around and see that you've just changed the race but you still have to run. Success gets you new peers. New peers who are peers because they were "just as" successful. So you keep running. After all it's not a bad thing. It helps you lose the extra fat around your belly :)
To end with another line from my conversation with M. "At times I wonder what if I'm just like my dad? Maybe all I ever wanted to do was sleep happily. Maybe."
Ok! X had barely known me for twenty minutes and after running out of things to talk abt (Yes! We had exhausted movies (which he dint watch), books (which I dint read), music (we had one common song that we both knew)). So I asked him something that I normally reserve for later - "Are you married?"
I didn't care that he was single. I don't quite care that I'm single either. I have no qualms abt he calling himself worthless and if it made him feel any better I could join him in doing so too. But but but buttock - I have very strong reservations against X making me a part of his despair by using the endearing term of "people like u n me" (for the lovers of Hindi what he actually said was tere mere jaise log).
The two of us had enough evidence to show that we were anything but similar and yet he had to drag me into this trap of "You and me". So what could I do in return. Smile like and idiot and nod my head and agree? Yeah! I pretty much did that.
And X is not the first person who has graciously included me in the exclusive pathetic list. I've heard people say "This is the problem with people like us" earlier too - for reasons ranging from cooking to sex-appeal ... "Yaaar, people like us keep getting screwed", "We'll always be relying on HBO for entertainment" etc. How come no one ever says, "I have just become super rich ad people like us will share it" or "People like us are moving sex appeal on legs"???
So that's it - I am officially announcing seclusion from any non elite and unflattering group that wants to take me in as a voluntary member.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Lil kid: The toons touch half a century. Mastah! We should celebrate!
Kung Fu Master: I'm sleeping you prick! Don't make me wake up and kick your butt @#!!
Thursday, June 16, 2005
I want to make my Bond a bit of a wimp. A very talented guy who hates being the supercool agent he is. Seriously. It has always irked me that Bond is uber cool and composed. He appears too unreal.
"Mr. Bond, the bomb is ticking. Your hands are tied. The rocket is about to leave and your girl friend is in a cage with a tiger," says the eye patched Mokatuku.
Just put yourself in that position. What would you do? There's no shame in accepting that you'll wet your pants. You'll start crying like a lil wimp. But what does Bond do? He smiles and tells Mokatuku, "The battle is not over till it's over" or some crap like that. And fifteen minutes later Mokatuku is in the cage with the tiger, the bomb has been diffused, the rocket is back in the hands of the mad scientist who it was stolen from and Bond is shaking and stirring things up in a bed with the exotic European hottie. Isn't that annoying?
In comparison my Bond will be more human. The moment Mokatuku threatens him, he'll will start sweating. Maybe he will even have BO. He'll shout "Mama, mama! I hate this job. This is the last time I'm doing anything like this." The European girl will shout, "Save me. The tiger will eat me up!" and Bond will shout back saying, "Shut up you a@%e hole. Here I am, tied up with a bomb, who cares if you are with a tiger." Don't get me wrong. Bond will still save the day but I just wanna make him more real.
"That'll be fun," J remarked. "But do you think people will come to see such a movie?"
"They sure would," I replied. "Did I forget to tell you that there'll be lots of hotties prancing around in bikinis and the entire climax will be shot in a swimming pool?"
"Ahaaaa," J said. "Ahaaa!"
Me: So what does your boy friend want to do?
Girl: He wants to be a billionaire.
Me: Yeah! That's a good profession. I hear there's a lot of money in it.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Men and women behave amazingly differently when it comes to giving "break up advice". What is "break up advice" you ask? Well it's that post break up phase when you call up your friends and pour out your sob story. "She left me", "He used me", "She never loved me", "He'll realize his mistake one day but by then it'll be too late" etc. You empty out your heart and expect the listener to fill it with false words of hope, compliments to nurture the ego and possible criticism of the alleged wrong doer.
Now I don't know how many of you've been through this phase but if you have you would've realized that men and women react very differently to these moments. Women live for these moments. They are the sword wielding warriors who are trained for these wars. There experience is paramount in matters pertaining to the broken heart.
"Relax! Tell me what happened? Do you want me to come over? Listen, I told you that that girl was not good for you. There was something abt her eyes." They say just the things the ear wants to open up to. And if it's a girl seeking advice from a girl, then this art reaches an all new level of perfection. A little "only girls" gathering is promptly arranged. Two chick flicks and a tub of ice cream is ordered. Some will even use this as an excuse to throw a potluck party where a new chapter of the women's lib movement will be written down. When Ex and I broke up her friends even arranged for picnics; just to tell her how liberating it is to be single and to make her realize uncanny similarities between me and a range of other species (dogs, pigs, ruthless cheetahs and what not)!!
Men on the other hand have no idea how to react to these moments. That's why when a male friend breaks up we try not to cross his path for a few months. For us its a lot more fun when we hear a new relationship has started coz then we can ask our favorite "what all have you guys done?" question. I remember when Ronny Dam heard abt my break up, he put on the most sincere effort to cheer me up and the whole process made me so sad coz I was putting him through such torture that I stopped feeling bad abt the break up itself. That's why you'll see that whenever a guy tells another guy abt his break up, the listener promptly says, "We should get you drunk dude." Seriously, that's all we can think of - get the guy drunk and make him pass out. That should help! Sometimes we even suggest taking him to a strip club. And women, if you are reading this, NEVER ask a guy for break up advice. The only thing in his mind then will be "she is single, she is single". He'll tell you everything you wanna listen to but only if you want to tread that dangerous route again. Just try calling up a guy and telling him, "X and I just broke up and I have decided not to date anymore" and he'll be completely lost again.
He'll think for a while and say, "We should get you drunk, girl."
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Some new stuff, some trite
But it's been a very long night
And the cozy bed lies in sight
So why even put up a fight
And undergo more plight
So for now it's just good night
Shall blog more when it's bright
A lot of my family members don't know anything abt most things. Interestingly (or is the term ironic), they don't even know that they don't know. All the void in their ego, created by the lack of knowledge, is promptly filled up by an opinion. The little crevices that are left untouched after the opinions have snugged in, are filled up promptly by the eagerness to provide unsolicited advice (which is more like a by product of opinions). All this works well. Perfectly. Until a family gathering pops up. That's when the old, the bold and the kids with a cold meet and all the opinions and advice are just let loose to fly.
For example, an aunt of mine recently met Mummum and asked her what I do. Mummum informed her abt the PhD grind.
"Tell him to do a Masters after he finishes his PhD," the aunt advised.
Mummum tried to explain that a PhD is a superset of a Masters and also the fact that I anyway got a Masters degree two years back.
"No no," the aunt interrupted her. "A Masters after a PhD is a very good thing in USA. My husband's niece's nephew's cousin's neighbor got a Masters and now he's a millionaire."
I don't know what Mummum said. That's not the point. The point of this post is to rant abt all those Indian relatives who've formed an entire opinion of the Western culture based on one stray anecdote that they've overheard while getting their hair dyed with mehendi in a city beauty parlor.
Hemo was telling me abt some aunt of her's who told her that apparently in New York, when a person gets mugged in a park bench, the other guy on the bench continues to read his newspaper. Mind you - this wasn't narrated to lil Mrs. Weld as a story but rather as a rule. The relative then promptly instructed her to stay away from park benches, especially if it had some guy reading a newspaper sitting on it :)
My uncle, who spent a fleeting 2 hrs in some airport in US as part of his transit, told me all knowingly before I came here, "Nobody drinks water in USA. Eeeu know Ratan? My colleague's son who eeesh alsho in USA. He shed to me that ebhry body jusht hash beer." Excellent! Now I have a section of my family ostracizing me coz they think I gulp down my meals with beer :)
There are so many other stories abt the misconceptions based on hearsay but I shall end this post with a personal fav. Some distant aunt (or grandmom) of mine met me at my uncle's place and said:
"You know Tota's elder son? He came 'fast' in his class in USA among all the Indians."
"Fast" of all I dint know either Tota or his son. Secondly, I don't think any US school gives a special rank amongst its Indian students alone. While I was pondering on these non-issues the lady spoke again.
"What is your rank among the Indians in your college?" she asked.
I smiled and said, "Not first!"
"Yes," she said, "Tota's son is a genius!"
Monday, June 13, 2005
"That's not fair. The civilized human society banned that flirting style in 1979," I told her. "It was lines like these that were preventing us from distinguishing between humans and morons!!"
Seriously, are men still trying to flirt using these techniques?? I thought people had stopped using 1980s teen musicals as their source of romantic inspiration. Come on! My twelve year old cousin knows that no girl these days falls for the "You have the most wonderful smile I've ever seen" crap. So, in case you don't know, here are some other styles that acquired the term 'passe' ten years ago:
1. "I can't live without you." Don't say that to a girl. The woman of today will actually put you to test on that one and I doubt if you can both prove your point AND cherish your victory.
2. "Have we met before?" Has anybody ever realized that this widely used line is actually an insult? If you're asking a girl "IF" you've ever met her, what you're effectively saying is that "you are not memorable enough for me to remember for sure." To quote my ex again - grow up or just throw up!
3. "You are simply out of this World." Have you seen ET? Have you seen Independence Day? Or even India's very own Koi Mil Gaya? People, do you realize that our notion of "Out Of the World creatures" isn't exactly flattering? So keep yourself and your compliments Down to Earth.
I can think of many other examples. Sadly, I have Support Vector Machines to read up on. So people reading this please feel free to add the most ludicrous pick up techniques you've heard of. Would love to hear some of the ones that people have actually faced!
Sunday, June 12, 2005
For starters, I suck at bargaining. I just CAN'T bargain. To make matters worse, I grew up shopping with a mom and sister who somehow thought that bargaining was the national pastime of India. So I've spent many a days hearing newly opened shop owners explaining it to my mom that she couldn't have been a "regular patron for years". My sister has taken the practice to an all new level where she applies psychological techniques to choose her victims. "This guy is young. So I'll try the whole sweet 'hey, I'm buying this with my pocket money' angle" vs. "This guy is older and looks like a lesser scumbag and so I'll call him 'bhaiya' angle" - Pummy has tried to teach me.
Obviously, being a male and fairly expressionless nullifies the appropriateness of either of these approaches for me. So occasionally I just try to sound authoritative and say, "No way. That's way too much!" and wait for some kind of magical discount to be offered. Sometimes this makes the situation even more tricky coz the dealer backfires with "How much are you willing to pay?" Now, if you're like me, you'll have no freaking idea to what a good price for the item is. I was in Bangalore in December and wanted to buy a Santa Claus hat for a friend. The night before I left Bangalore, I spotted this guy selling these hats on the road. So I stopped and asked him, "How much for a hat?"
"Hundred rupees," the guy said.
"That's way too much," I feigned an authoritative tone.
"Aap kitna dengey (How much will you pay)?" he fired back.
Ahaaa! Exactly what I hate. Suddenly the seller and all the other customers were looking at me. From an unsure customer I had become the star of the show and I had to perform. I knew I had to say something and I knew I had to say it fast.
"Seventy five rupees," I finally said, putting on a "been there done that" expression on my face.
"Ok! Take it," the guy said without blinking.
What? Obviously I got duped. Nobody would have sold off a hat without putting up a fight if my quote had been remotely competitive. But I had no idea what an intelligent guess would've been. I'd never bought a Santa Hat for myself. So how was I supposed to know? I couldn't have just fired back with, "Nope! Won't pay you seventy five. How abt fifty then?" Everybody around us who were already convinced that I was idiot would then think that I wore a matching mask of stupidity as well.
As you can see, I haven't forgotten the incident till date. What is more scary is that I haven't learned anything from it either. Does any kind soul reading this have any "quick tips" on the "art of bargaining"?
Saturday, June 11, 2005
A very good friend of mine (even her initials shall not be revealed) told me a few days back that she likes to watch the occasional porn. 3 seconds after revealing that, she blushed and realized the gaffe she had committed. NOBODY ever accepts that they watch(ed) porn. So she made the most amazing cover up statement. After the initial "Ummms" and "Aaa"s she said, "I don't like watching the normal porn though. I like the nice and romantic types." What????? Romantic porn? I've never heard of that. Reminds me of a friend of mine who was asked by his girl friend if he ever watched porn (BTW, all the men who've ever dated must have faced the 'do you watch porn' question from their lady loves). The friend of mine would've lied but in a fit of honesty he said, "Occasionally" and before he could say anything else the girl threatened him with the idea of singlehood. So he quickly said, "No. I don't watch the standard porn. I like the funny and comic ones." Double what (what)??
Seriously. What will he hear next - "I like porn but only when they have a good car chase and action scenes"? Or will we hear - "I like porn but only when it's a musical with nice costumes"? Seriously :)
The movie infused a certain sense of deja vu as well. Come on - a bickering couple; a six year long relationship; a very bossy woman; and a very cocky guy. The resemblance was uncanny. It was almost like being with G ... and to top it all - the resemblance between G and Brad Pitt was uncanny too :)) (I already accepted that I'm cocky :) )
Go watch the Smiths in "action"!
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Now I come from Kolkata - a city which boasts (?) of one of India's biggest zoos. Every year my parents took me for the quintessential zoo trip where I would put on my straw hat (Kolkattans will know exactly what I'm talking abt) and buy a small packet of nuts and share it with the cute squirting elephants. So having seen both these zoos ample number times - what's the biggest difference that I notice between them? Well, I think it's a simple answer - the animals in SD Zoo have a lot more attitude. Yeah! I said it!
You should just look at the chimpanzees in the Kolkata zoo. The moment they spot a visitor they'll try every trick in the book to impress him. They'll itch their buttocks in ways you've never imagined; pretend to eat bananas that don't exist and even join you in sharing a smoke. All this just for some meaningless adulation and yes, occasionally the half eaten banana too. In contrast the chimpanzees in SD are way too snooty. They barely give you a second glance. In case you've caught them on a special day, they "might" just wake up for you ... and then sleep again. All the comforts and luxuries of SD zoo have made these animals lazy and arrogant. The same holds true for the tigers. Arijit waited a good fifteen minutes just to catch a glance of the Bengal Baby and what did it do for him? Played peekaboo. That aint fair. A Kolkata based tiger would never do that. It'll come and roar for you incessantly. Yawn stinky jungle breath on your face and make funny shapes with its tail till you get bored. Could you ask for a better deal for your money??
To solve this crisis, I've come up with a perfect solution. Just like software, we should outsource zoo animals too. That'll teach them a lesson. Just as an experiment, they should release a Kolkata chimpanzee in the SD zoo. Mark my words - in just ten days the Bengal Bandar will win over the affection of every female chimpanzee out here and get the other chimps back on their feet. Every ape in SD zoo will then be forced to ape him. The rules will be simple - "if you don't play with your arse, you get none yourself". Survival of the fittest. The jungle rule. The same will hold true for the tigers. Once we have Rowdy Ragini doing her tricks for just one piece of stale meat a day, the other meat hogging carnivores would have no option but to join in. What say?
Let's be honest. When you're single and ready to commingle, you often get blinded. Three months of singlehood and you think everyone is a possible candi-date. You start your search by visiting bars and before you know - bam - you're treading paths that can put you behind bars. However, the search still goes on and soon you look into the bathroom mirror and scream, "Where are the single men/women? Why can't I find them?"
Well! If good, eligible, single folks are what you're looking for then look no more - just call up your nouveau married friends and they'll get you hooked in a jiffy. The reason is simple. Married people, "it seems", like to only hang out with other married people. They have all these "married topics" that single folks cannot comprehend. Thus, ironically, the radar for detecting singles is almost double in them.
It's almost like the "princess and the pea story" - let out two single folks in a group of 20 married couples and they'll spot them in no time. Raised eyebrows and slanted glances will flow. "What's she doing here?" "I can't discuss children with her around." "Is she eyeing my husband?" "Is she eyeing me?" The questions would pour out and soon she's found asking her hubbykin, "Why does she hang out with us? Doesn't she have her own set of single friends." The husband defends his friend, "Come on! She and I've known each other for five years now. I can't just ask her to stop hanging out with us."
That leaves the wife with only one option - if you can't remove the single from the group at least remove her single status. Impaired judgment calls for "paired solutions". So she desperately tries to search for other single friends of hers and hola, soon she becomes the darling matchmaker.
So to all my single friends trying to hook up - don't spend hours on nagging portals advertising "homely and understanding partners". Just start hanging out with your married friends and make things miserable for them ... and to all my married friends who are searching prospective dates for me - "keep up the good work!" I'm proud of you :)
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
The Golden Rules to Appearing Cool
1. Popular Opinion is always BAD (only exceptions are LOTR, Star Wars and Hitchhikers' Guide). So denounce them (easiest target is Bollywood).
2. All the people who despise you, do so coz you chose to alien them out of your system.
3. Rock rocks.
So if you have a girl to impress or win over in three days and you can't do any more sh!t abt it, just follow the above rules. That's all you have time for. However, if you have more time, read on and master the (f)art.
Basic Social Dos and Don'ts
1. You need some rebellious physical trait. A tattoo is permanent and artificial tattoos are uncool. Piercings are painful. So you should go for a funky hair do or some obnoxious dressing (tattered is the new whole)!
2. You never tuck in your clothes coz that shows you care!
3. You need some issue that you feel "very strongly" abt. Most socially relevant issues already have strong supporters and opposers and you can run into trouble if you open your mouth in the wrong place. So choose something like PETA, Global Warming or Oil Crisis where you can find a wilder acceptance. Going "local" can be helpful too. e.g. "I support the local traffic eviction drive and even went on a protest with them."
4. You hate chick flicks and you HAVEN'T seen Titanic.
1. Remember Golden Rule #1. You can never like what is popular. So no Hindi movies or Hollywood blockbusters should be in your watch list.
2. Going European always helps coz nobody understands those movies. You can safely say, "I don't like mainstream cinema. Somebody should support the European Indie movement!" But there'll always be a few who actually watch French and Italian movies. So choose another country. Catch a few Portuguese films and say, "You should check them out. They are really cool!" Coz remember - anything which the other person hasn't heard of IS cool.
1. Remember Golden rules #1 and #3. So you can't have anything to do with pop. Any reference to pop singers should be greeted with a sarcastic, "F@#k, you call that music? My dog lets out better sh!t than that!"
2. This is also the most difficult thing to fool people abt since you'll find enuff true rock fanatics around you and you can't compete with them. So you can do one of two things:
2.1. Choose one fairly popular group with relatively lesser number of songs and listen to everything they have and say, "It's very personal. They helped me at a stage when their music spoke to me. So I stick to them!"
2.2. Use the musical variant of the Movie Rule 2. Say you like "underground music".
1. If you haven't read till date, then chances are high that you won't read now either. Plus reading takes time. So you have to take the easy route. I always say that if a book is good enuff they'll make a movie (or trilogy) based on it. Go DVD. BUT REMEMBER - "I loved the book a lot more. The movie somehow didn't capture the true spirit of the novel." and "The movie seemed too hurried."
Note: Watching Stephen King movies don't exactly increase your "well read image". So stay away from them (Shining is a great movie though).
Kind and cool readers reading this please add on to the list.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
"Lose your pounds without losing your dollars!"
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Monday, June 06, 2005
P.S. Trousers have two sides too and I once tried the other side too and trust me - it's not a good idea.
Girl: I'm in a very Bridget Jones-ish mood right now.
Me: And what might that be?
Girl: This is when I think I'm ugly and fat and will never get married.
Me: Bull sh!t. You're just fishing for compliments. Let's analyze your situation. You're depressed coz you have Hugh Grant and Colin Firth vying for your attention?
Girl: No, I'm just very very depressed.
Me: So, lemme guess. The next thing you'll do is have ice cream.
Girl: Exactly! I was just abt to do that.
Now I'm no expert on women, but I've seen this happen quite often. Women use depression as an excuse to have ice cream. Every time my ex hovered around the fat-free yogurt shop, I knew that relationship turmoil was nigh. Feeding a girl fat-free yogurt is like feeding a tiger vegetable patties. It's only a matter of time before they want the real deal. BUT women refuse to have ice cream naturally. They always need an excuse for it. If they are the slim-trim-lean-machine types, they say, "No thanks. I'm off carbs!" and if they've taken the "plumpy path" instead, then somehow ice cream is the first item they denounce. Take a girl out for dinner and she'll finish an entire steak by herself. Then ask the same girl if she'd like some ice cream for dessert and she'll smile and say, "No! You see, I've just started dieting. So I can't eat ice cream." Bottom line, when the craving for ice cream reaches it's height, women need an excuse to give in to it. And depression seems to be the perfect alibi.
All this made me wonder (after all I'm basically a thinker) if men are indeed as bad as they are made out to be. Maybe we are all very nice people. Maybe it's always been abt the ice cream :) Maybe this is the secret we don't know. Maybe for years women have used us and our foibles as an excuse to satisfy their ice cream cravings. Seriously, what if we are all just lil spoons that they've just used to cool themselves down?? What if?
Sunday, June 05, 2005
1. For some reason desi guys decide to put their arms around each other ("lemme hold your shoulder" is a favorite variant of this) while posing for group snaps. Someone please explain to me why we get hit by this innate sense of camaraderie while taking a photograph??? Am I the only one who finds this queer?
2. Another common desi snap thing is some guy making a "V" with his fingers over somebody else's head just before the snap is clicked. This is our favorite "Gotchha" trick it seems. I've even had friends who've proudly asked me, "You dint expect that, did you?" No! I did not. After all it was only the 50th time that somebody did that to me. Duh!
The next topic came up in Vipul's house. How many times have you bumped into a desi friend in a movie theatre and the guy asked you, "Came to see a movie??" And it's not just movie theatres. I've had people ask me inside restaurants "Khaney ayaa hai? (Have you come to eat?)" No kidding! I thought I was waiting for the bus out here. Thanks for telling me that they also served food.
P.S. As a footnote - I mentioned this to S today and lemme just reiterate that the English usage of the phrase "Duh!" and the Indian phrase "Da" (of "macchha da" fame) are different and NOT always interchangeable.
Saturday, June 04, 2005
P.S. I found a photograph from my high school days and I looked so different then (duh! that was eight years back!). Shall try to scan the image and post it here. It was very nostalgic.
Two emotional things happened during the course of the movie and since I'm in a slightly less cocky mood right now, it might be a good time to jot them down for future reference.
1. At one point in the movie a very heart warming scene took place and I smiled for the character in question. That's when I realized that the director managed to do something very rare. Coz nothing funny happened in the scene - no witticism, no gesture, nothing. Just the culmination of a character in a very touching way and for a second I forgot that it was all celluloid. I might be strange but movies rarely evoke that feeling in me.
2. A lot of couples came out of the theater holding hands and doing the "I'm so glad to be with you" stuff. Normally, at a time like this, when I see the positive side of love, a certain sentimentality and the question of "What if?" hits me. This was exactly one of those moments when I would normally start thinking of G and me. Surprisingly, today I felt very happy. Coz G hated watching movies. So I realized that G and I could've never come out of this movie theatre all cuddly and smiley. If I was with her I wouldn't have probably even seen this movie. And suddenly I felt very happy that I was single; that I was no loner answerable for the way I spend my time and suddenly, it was one of those rare moments when I was very happy that G and I broke up.
As with most of my sentimental thoughts, this too lasted for a very short while :) Fifteen minutes later I was on the phone with my sister planning out which of our kids (if we do reach that stage) would be a bigger bully :) (the plan as of now is that Pummy's son will be a geek and my daughter will snub him and call him names). Sweeeeeeet!
Friday, June 03, 2005
All this made me realize that a majority of us will eventually be like D. However, we spend years thinking that we are pounds away from fab abs. We buy clothes that make us look thinner, eat (if we do) unsavory items like "tofu" (don't even get me started on the topic of tofu) and follow sporadic gym routines where we look at our "gym idol" at work and ask ourselves how long it'll be before we look the same way. All this for the 15 seconds of joy at the end of the month when we stand in front of the mirror, tuck in our waists and think, "Yeah! I look thinner! Probably ..." :) The secret for us is to always be fat enuff to think that we can eventually be slim if we want to.
D, very soon I'll join you in finishing those cashews. Just weight and watch!
Thursday, June 02, 2005
The next morning the ten men woke up to find their women gone. Not a single one of them was left on the island. They had all left in the dark of the night and had taken every boat, ship and yatch along with them ... and suddenly things changed ... changed forever.
Soon the men realized the true value of the women they had once taken for granted. They cried for them, screamed for them, drank for them and then in their inebriated state they cried a little more. Three of them wrote apology notes, put it in one of their dry alcohol bottles and threw it into the ocean. But the women were gone ... gone for good. Celibacy, once an alien concept in the island, soon became the natural norm.
It was only a matter of time before the men would break down and soon then did. Mister B, once called the "Honey Lover" for his sweet serenading ways, was the first to snap. On a sunny Sunday afternoon he shed all his clothes and ran up the hill. He then climbed up the legendary palm tree and sat there for hours, singing strange songs in strange languages. Finally, the remaining nine found him below the tree with a palm by his side - both cracked wide open. Villagers said that was the last date Mr. B ever had.
Two months passed since that day and the remaining nine could take it no more. Celibacy was taking its toll. The abundant alcohol only added to the woes. "They" say that a desperate drunk is a dangerous combination and boy were "they" right. Finally, on another Sunday afternoon, the remaining nine decided to follow B's path. They too climbed up the hill, planning never to come down again. The dreaded Troto fruit's juice was added to all their drinks. Everybody in Chompchomp knew that nobody who'd ever tasted the dew of the Troto had lived to tell the tale. But to them it didn't matter. So they all sat below the palm tree and raised a final toast. And just as they were about to gulp down their last vice, they heard a voice. A sweet, exotic and slutty voice.
"Excooz me gentahmen. Me Missy from FarAwayLand. Missy lost. Missy's boat overturned. Missy alone. Missy wet. Missy hungry - hungry for food. Hungry for loooooove," the blue eyed damsel chirped. Never had the men seen beauty so beautiful. And those eyes; begging for love. Begging to be pleased. Pleased like no woman had been pleased before.
Nobody knows what happened that night. Except that the men didn't drink their Trotos and they all looked a lot happier next morning and yes, Missy was crowned the Village Queen. Soon the men repaired Queen Missy's boat and sailed to far away shores and brought back their women and they all lived happily ever after. Well, almost happily that is, because every now and then the Queen would summon one of the men to her palace, thereby causing the wives of Chompchomp immense displeasure.
So, dear readers tell me now, what was the basic summary of this story???
A bitch in time, saves nine :))
I've always imagined the scene where a US educated Indian guy marries a good sweet desi girl and on their wedding night the guy gives his lady love a naughty wry smile and says, "So who's your daddy?". The girl blinks and replies, "My father is Mr. S. P. T. M. Rao. He is a Senior Manager in the ..." :) Somehow this visual always cracks me up.
Similarly, out here, after a date if a girl/guy asks the partner "Do you wanna come over for some coffee", the chances are high that you'll land up getting a lot more steam than you expected from you coffee. Do we have something like that in India (sincere question)? Ask an Indian guy "Do you want to come over for some coffee?" and he'll probably end up asking you if you have instant coffee coz that's what he likes.
Duh! Since I'm totally ignorant on this front, can some kind soul please tell me if there are any tested "naughty lines" or setups in India OR do people still follow the old tradition of couples going for European movies with abundant nudity and then nudging each other shyly during the hot scenes???
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
With the advent of blogs, all of us now have a creative vent. Earlier the only way to release this dormant creative energy was to leave carvings on stinking bathroom doors. But now the times are different. "Progressive" as many would term it. Now all we have to do is go to one of the free blogging services and Hola - we have our own lil toilet door ready in minutes.
So I kept staring at the plastic door of a public restroom yesterday, hoping to find something worthwhile on it. Hoping that some genius had left a piece of his mind out there to amuse me. Alas, there was nothing. Like Paris Hilton's closet of non-party clothes - it was all empty! A few stray occurrences of the word "Sex" appeared on the dirty green, but even that bored writer had given up midway. There were no cartoons, no one liners, no philosophies. Nothing funny to entertain me. Nothing worthwhile to plagiarize.
"All those folks must have started their own blogs," I said to myself. "I Better find them!"
P.S. I've always wondered what people use to engrave these graffitti? I mean, what carving equipment did these maestros carry with them to movie theatres? Any answers? Also, is "toilet art" a men's toilet phenomenon Or do women fall prey to this as well?
The mom took a break from her cooking and replied, "But don't over do it. People don't like preachy stuff."
The dad stated laughing out loud. "Me and preachy?? Pagal ho kya? Only one joke ji! That's it. He he he!"