Wednesday, May 31, 2006


This post and the next post will be courtesy Madame QS and the aging Rimi. I've decided to write stuff that is stolen, suggested or inspired by these talented ladies. The first post is courtesy this brilliant post by QS where she lists out top ten ways in which men can spoil a date. I must confess that she does a great job in capturing the male behavior. But alas you get to see just one side of the story. Think abt what's going on in the male mind. Agreed that as long as the woman in front is a woman, the man will be pretty happy. But the woman sure CAN make things difficult for the male specie. So here it goes. Top five ways in which women can spoil a date for a man. (why five and not ten you ask? Well simple, coz I write excruciatingly loooong posts and want to spare you the trouble).

1. She makes you wait and wait and wait and wait ... And it's not just the wait. It's the way they build up the whole wait that bugs men the most. The feeling that the wait it almost over and ... and ... and ... more wait. So you drive all the way to the other end of the city to pick her up and she told you that she'll be ready at 630pm SHARP. You ring the bell and she opens it hastily and says "Give me JUST ONE MORE MINUTE!" And then she disappears. The seconds hand of your watch makes a twenty second round of the circumference and still she doesn't come back. Ten minutes later she comes and says, "I'm soooo sorry. My friend called me up just before you came and her ..." You cut her short with the contrived smile and say "No problem. Take your time." And she does. She disappears again and returns fifteen minutes later looking exactly the way she did when she opened the door first. Please freakin explain it to me what feat was accomplished in this time period. Anyway, that was techniqo UNO in which women can spoil a date even before it starts.

2. Spend an hour deciding what she wants to eat. Men always know what they want to eat. We don't think twice and we DON'T mix food varieties. Our answer is always "Chinese" or "Indian" or "Pizza" or whatever - but it is always one word. For all you know we even have a restaurant in our mind and if the guy is like me - he even has the menu chalked out. But then we are gentlemen and we ask the fairer sex what they want and there begins round two of the wait. "You know what I feel like eating? I'm in a very Pizza-ish mood ... but I also want to have this amaaaaaaaaaazingggggg chocolate ice cream they sell in this shop on the other side of the city ... Actually you know what'll be great? My friend went to SOME Japanese restaurant where the sushi was great ..." Yup! Date spoiling technique Deux.

3. Have another appointment for the same evening. Ladies - this is a simple dating rule - when you go out on a date you JUST go out on a date. Don't start with, "I have to be back home in two hours. Coz my friend's sister is getting married and her fiancee ..." That aint fair o fairer sex. When a man goes out with a woman he hopes at the bottom of his heart that something exciting will happen at th eend of the night. And for that he is willing to wait for years if need be. Ask your male date if he is willing to accompany you to the other end of the country and say that with a wink and he WILL accompany you there - with nothing but a faint hope in his heart. That's how desperate my specie is. So please return the favor by keeping the date "other engagement free"!

4. Eating the other person's food. This is another female classic. As I mentioned earlier - men have their menu all chalked out in their mind and they stick to it. Women on the other hand, always experiment with their food and then fall back on the man's plate for the safe meal. Who the fudge asked you to order "Apple with chicken broth in the first place?" And now that you have ordered it - suffer with it. Don't eye my Sweet and Sour Chicken dish please. And it always begins with, "Can I take a small bite from your dish?" You smile and say "Yes" and she obliges and the bite is instantly followed by "Wwwwwoooow! This is sooooo good. Do you mind if I take another bite?" And if that was not enough, they then add salt to the wound by gracefully offering you their discarded dish. Aaaaaarghhh!

5. Keep the cell phones off - will ya? I don't know abt other guys but if I'm out with a woman, the only calls I receive are from other cuter women :) What's this with the annoying best friend calling every fifteen minutes into a date. Here you are talking about how you love Apple with chicken broth when her phone rings. She says the customary "One sec!" and then continues for ten minutes and at the end you get a 2 second summary. "It was my best friend. They are going for a movie." What?????? That's what you guys discussed for ten minutes. What was she doing? Telling you the story of that freakin movie or what?

Evidently there are other things that can go wrong. But men are easy to please. Even if you have messed up the whole evening you can make up for it by leaning towards him at the end of the evening and just when he thinks it's a dream come true - your best friend will call you coz her movie just got over :) Peace!


Monday, May 29, 2006

Wake up, the youth of India! 

I can see my writing maturing. Look at my previous post. I discussed the burning issue of reservation. And with this post I'm going to pass on invaluable advice to the youth of India again. Such a priceless source of information this blog has become. Wah wah! The blog is indeed doing its bit for the society and the matured me is so happy for that. Wah wah to that again!

This post was conceived while spending (or is the term wasting?) hard earned money on this monstrosity called Fanaa. Dashing hero (albeit evidently old and overweight) jumps from the top of a bus and serenades blind girl. I could sense young somethings in the audience renewing their faith in dream love stories that begin like magic. But the fact is that this only happens in blissful celluloid love stories. The same ones where the heroine can run in ice capped hills wearing nothing more than a chiffon saree and still not catch a cold. Chances are high (tending to certainty) that you'll never find love in a bus. Or in a train (where some girl's undergarment mysteriously make its way below your suitcase). Or in any form of transportation for that matter. The Hindi movies are feeding you crap and this post is dedicated to break certain myths of Hindi movies for the youth of India.

* You will meet your love in a moving vehicle (repeating point already made earlier to increase size of this post): NO YOU WILL NOT!! No one knows this more than I do. Every time I board a plane I fancy a Pooja Bhatt next to me ala DHKMN. But no - it is always the old lady who is hard of hearing and likes to make conversation in alien language that finds me. Now I know that some of you freaks are hoping that this too can be the start of a love story but alas, I don't swing that way. So remember, public transport is for travelling only. You can search for discarded magazines and half eaten oranges in them but if you're indeed searching for love in it - then you my friend are more blind than Kajol of Fanaa.

* A sleek car will stop in front of you in the first day of college. The door will open and a long pair of mini-skirt wrapped legs will peek out of it. Yeah sure! I've always wondered which Indian college this scene happens in. I guess it is the same one where everybody wears color matched fluorescent clothes. Let's be realistic here. If a car does stop in front of you and the doors do open on the first day of college, you are likely to see a girl in a salwar kameez with her mom giving her precious "first day in college advice". If you go to an engineering college (like moi did) then most attractive women there are in need of help because they are probably travellers who got lost. In which case you should promptly go and find out where they actually want to go and send them there. And ladies, you be careful too. Don't think that you'll be greeted by a hunky man in sleeveless Ts who will dance for you at the drop of a hat. Your dream prince, in all likelihood, will be wearing a loose T shirt to hide his growing belly; will obnoxiously stare at any form of cleavage while talking to you; and will keep gauging how tight your pants are and if he can ever get into them!! So there, myth number two - that of finding love in first day of college - is a myth too.

* There is a happy family where everyone sings and dances and wears a lot of make up and jewelry. Yes, that family actually does exist. And they are called the Barjatiyas. But the chances are that you are not one of them. You are probably a Kumar or an Iyenger or a Singh or maybe even a Nandy. You always blame your dad for shouting at you when you didn't study. Sometimes your dad shouts at you even when you do study. You secretly harbour the desire to have parents who maintain the steady ambiance of a wedding party in their house. A house, where everyone except for that one evil distant aunt played by Bindu, is nice and singy-songy. Too bad dude, that aint gonna happen. So when your old man threatens to stop paying your college bills, don't wish that Alok Nath was your dad, coz I'm pretty darn sure that he does the same thing to his kid too.

* The hero(ine) magically returns in the second half of the story. Nopey dopey. If they are gone, the chances are high that they are INDEED gone. Don't think that things will be any different two emotional songs later. Coz while you'll be busy rendering ballads s(he) will be putting up his/her profile on MarryMe dot com and the only time they'll probably return is to invite your for their marriage (where Alok Nath and his family will sing and dance). So stop waiting and use that time wisely to watch more Hindi movies.

* Someone very rich will marry you just for love. Ha ha! This one is a personal favorite of many of my friends who see marriage as a career option. Please read carefully. If some girl/guy who is much richer than you are, is agreeing to marry you inspite of you being a pathetic loser, then there is Definitely something wrong. For all your know she might be a he. Or he might be a she. Or he or she might be a schizophrenic psychopath. So if you are planning to make a career out of marriage, GET OVER IT!!!

There. $22.38 worth of free advice given away in single post. Wah Sagnik. Wah! Keep up the good work in educating the country's youth!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I have my reservations! 

OK, so I had to write this. The few kind regular readers that I have, expect, what they kindly refer to as, funny material from this blog. But I am a human being too and I too have emotions, opinions and in rare cases like this one, rather emotional opinions. Hmmmm! Yes, after much deliberation, I've decided to touch upon the issue that's making every Indian squirm these days - RESERVATIONS! And if you care to read through this entire post, I think I might just have the solution to the problem.

Many years ago I innocently walked up to my dad and asked him what my caste was. My dad explained it to me brilliantly. "You are an ALMOST SC my son," he said with what I believe was an almost drop of tear in his eyes. "You are effectively screwed!", he had then added, though maybe not in those exact words. This was followed by a very long and probably boring explanation, the summary of which was the following - my dad's side of the family just missed being SCs. If you look around enough you'll even find a few Scs sharing my last name. Sadly, we were not SCs. Thus, as dad explained, we were the true downtrodden of the Indian caste system. Consider this. My mom's side of the family snickers that we are not from a high caste like them (my Mom is a very high class Brahmin). Actual SCs and STs laugh at us because we do not qualify for any reservations. The common man who is unaware of my predicament is unsure if I'm an actual SC/ST or not. He thus attributes all my successs to undeserving quotas that I apparently benefit from. So, as dad had suggested, we get screwed from every angle and by every one. How very entertaining.

And it is this lack of concern for the middle tier that worries me. People who are neither here nor there. The proud members of the middle zone of societal apathy. The ones that nobody care for. These people were born with an average bag of talents and somehow we assumed that they are happy being where they are. Everyday TV channels have a "brilliant kid" deriding the quota system and advocating a meritocracy. His interview is immediately followed by a heart wrenching tale of "Dinu from the village" who has never seen electricty but dreams to be an engineer. The camera then zooms into the anchors face who then says "Aap kis ke saath hai?" And then he adds that you can "call in and leave your opinion or SMS it at Re 2.5 and that the lucky vijeta ko milega humarey aur se ..." And who do you think is being fed all this media hyped baloney? Yes!!!! Our very own middle tier. Somehow our policy makers have assumed that the middle tier is happy being in the middle and hence all our policies are aimed at either keeping the rich rich or at making the poor rich.

So this is what I propose. A seemingly ludicrous idea, that I feel, if implemented, will make everyone happy. I say we continue with our entrance-exam-based-system for 50% of the students (as the current plan suggests) and for the remaining 50% seats - let's have a freakin LOTTERY!!! Seriously, that'll make EVERYBODY happy. Top tier, middle tier, bottom tier - every freakin one. Coz everybody will then have an equal chance of making it to these colleges. And let's not just make it any lottery - let's make it the flavour of the season - A freakin REALITY SHOW. Let India vote who it wants as an engineer. Let Indians SMS their opinions for "Agla Lawyer Kaun?" After all we are a democracy, right? What can be more democratic than choosing our very own doctors and engineers and lawyers and chartered accountants?

Seriously, you might think that I'm joking, but a lottery won't be much worse than the present system. Given that India has more poor people than rich ones, by simple probability more poor people will make it to the colleges using a lottery - so the govt will be happy as they'll serve their claimed purpose of improving things for the poor. And the remaining population will be happy too coz they'll know that they too stand an outside chance of making it. Thus, they can no longer raise a voice against anyone or accuse the system of being partial.

And these quotas should not just be applicable for academics. I think this way the quota system itself discriminates against several arenas of social life. We should have quotas for everything. Cricket, movies, affected Ms. India participants - everything. Seriously, I think it's high time we have an OBC quota for our beauty paegents. Why do we assume that the backward castes can have aspirations to study engineering but not one to be Ms. Indias. And look at the good that'll come out of this. If someone from Pachandapur village actually gets up on the stage and says that she'll do something for the poor and downtrodden when she wins - no one will even doubt her.

To sum it up - quotas aint bad. We need more quotas. We need quotas for everything. We need quotas for everyone. And we need Mandira Bedi conducting a lottery show based on quotas. It's all peace then.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

He has the wings ... 

Everyday you learn something new and in the past week I was taught abt a topic that I, courtesy my Indian upbringing, was completely unaware of. Let me now, like a good blogger, pass on the immense volume of knowledge that I gained on the topic of the NIGHTCLUB WINGMAN!!

It all started as a harmless invitation to accompany a friend to a posh SF night club. Now I wont deny the mild shock that this offer gave me. After all this is me that I am talking abt. The same me who got rejected from a workshop in undergrad that TEACHES dance - yes, they found me unsuitable to even LEARN dancing. So the invitation to accompany someone to a night club did mildly amuse me. But then we stay in a society where Britney Spears nearly dropping her baby gets more news coverage than the share market actually dropping. So I wasn't surprised too much. Blah blah!

We arrived at the club. We were greeted by a lady whose bosom would have made Pam Anderson feel like a teenage girl desperately wanting breast implants. We squeezed our way into the night club through a throng of drunk men and women from the present generation who were trying hard to produce the next generation. I tried to make myself invisible. I failed. My friend spotted me and tried to pull me into the dance floor but I did the whole "coyly let go off me" act that Indian actresses do when the mustached hero tries to kiss them for the first time behind a tree. This went on for a few times. My kind friend would come and try to drag me into the dance floor and I would give him the "Aiiyyo! Kya karte ho ji?" look and run away. Mind you, all this while I was thinking that my friend was feeling bad for the fact that I wasn't dancing and was trying to ensure that I have fun too. It was all going well (as well as things can be for a non dancer in a night club) till my friend got all angry and agitated and informed me that I was a terrible WINGMAN! What? What? And in case I haven't stressed on my lack of awareness - WHAT? What is a freakin Wingman?

A wingman, it seems, is the quintessential hero's friend. The guy who shields away the heroine's nasal pouty friend by romancing her. Hmmmm! Very interesting indeed. It seems that girls mainly visit night clubs in groups (I have indeed noticed this in the past). So if a guy goes up to a group of girls and asks one of them for a dance then not only does he look like the "lone loser", he also stands close to no chance of getting her, given that the girl would almost never leave her other friends for him. So he is expected to bring more men along with him so that the friend(s) can keep the other women busy while the hero tries to woo the lead heroine. I was also told that the Wingman has to be a man of caliber himself. Simply because these second tier friends of the heroine can be quite fussy themselves. They wouldn't want to hang out with a man of debatable credentials while their friend dances away to glory and probably finds the future father of her child. Nope! That cannot happen. So even if they don't get the best man, they want a good enough replacement. It seems that if the Wingman aint good enough for the remaining women they will simply drag their dancing friend out of the dance floor and say "Let's go"! Thus, while the Wingman is definitely a supporting actor in the cast, he is an essential one; one who has quite the control over the central story.

Wow! That was some new knowledge for me. I grew up in India and I did frequent some night clubs in my time. We had no notion of Wingmen then (correct me if things have changed). Unlike US, where the larger fraction of the nightclub population is single people willing to mingle and jingle, in India the most common clubbers are groups of people who are already hooked up. "Hey, me and my boyfriend are going to Tantra tonight. Why don't you and Jay come along too and we can also pick up Sheela and Sanjay." That's the majority of Indian clubbers that I knew of. Moreover, in India, men hate competition. They never go for the hunt with another hunter. Coz we all know that single women are difficult to find and when you do spot one you don't want to compete with your friends for their attention. The only group of guys who go without women to Indian night clubs are the ones who have no chance whatsover to impress any woman. In that case it does make sense to have your friends come along so that you can distribute the blame of failure. You can easily spot this group in the corners of night clubs where they will have their all boys dance party. Yeah! That's how things were and I'll be surprised if they have changed much now. Please Educate me!

P.S. A line from the weekend that I'm particularly proud of - My car is so old that it was bought second hand by a dinosaur. Ha Ha!

Monday, May 15, 2006

So what if you look mighty in a tighty? 

Hemo and I were talking the other day and we figured that the Indian would-be mother-in-law is one of the most difficult person to impress.

The whole conversation started when I asked Hemo (who is happily married) how her mom would have reacted if Superman had come over to ask her hand for marriage. Now let's be honest here. If Superman came to marry any of you ladies, you wouldn't give it a second thought. Yes, would be your answer. And I don't blame you. If Superman had come over to my house to ask for my daughter's hand, I would be thrilled. Imagine all the money I'd save. I'll no longer have to pay for my daughter's honeymoon travel costs. Plus Superman as a son-in-law will come extremely handy for household chores. You wake up early in the morning and you see water dripping from a pipe. Earlier you would have had to inform the plumber, wait for him to arrive, negotiate a deal and then get rid of the dripping. Now all you have to do is call up your daughter and ask for Supy (come on, you will give your son-in-law a nick name - wont you?). And before you know Supy will fly over to your place. "Ok now do that whole laser beam from your eyes thing and fix that crack," you'll demand. Supy will follow orders obediently. "Ok! Now you can go. One sec, since you are anyway here, can you fetch me some groceries?" you'd ask. And before you know Supy will get you the best coffee you've had in a while, handpicked from the plantations in Brazil. Not to forget Roma tomatoes from ala Europe. Impressive, right? Nope! That will not be enough for the Indian mother-in-law.

Let's take my own mom as a sample case study. My mom has this thing for educated people. The first thing she would have secretly whispered to my dad is, "Flying and all is fine but why didn't he complete his graduation. What will we tell all our relatives?" My mom is also a closet conservative. "Did you see his clothes," she will whisper in a loud tone. "Too tight. Specially that underwear. Very obscene."

When I mentioned this to Hemo, she agreed too. Hemo's mom it seems has a special affinity towards the underdog. She didn't want a son in law who was poor. She did not want a son in law who had rich parents either. She wanted a son-in-law whose parents were poor but the son turned out to be rich. Now that's a good story. So when Superman would've tried to impress Hemo's mom by flying to the kitchen and helping her bring the dishes over, she would have casually asked him "What did your father do? Was he poor? Did you study under street lights and still come first in class? Did you, did you?"

And this is just with Superman. Don't even get me started with good ol' Spidey. "He is wearing a mask," my mom would have said. "I am very sure he has a scar or something. Ask him to open it and show us." she would have asked my dad. And boy she would have gone wild when she would hear about Spidey's various romantic escapades. "You had a girl friend? Not one but two? And you kissed one of them while hanging upside down? Pummy let us go. You are not marrying this mask flaunting, tight wearing, loose character fellow." And that would have been the end of the story.

Things will get far worse if you consider the female superheroes. All you guys reading this post, imagine Wonder Woman in front of your mom. "What is this," she will shriek. "She is almost naked. No no no! We cannot let our son marry her. Plus she doesn't know how to cook either ..."

Seriously. Think about all the virtues that your parents care for and try to search for them in our superheroes. You'll be shocked to see that they could stop moving trains with a finger and fly you away to dizzying heights but when it would come to impressing your mommy dear, they would be a miserable flop. Ahem! Ahem!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A friend when not in need ... 

Visit any of the popular social networking sites - Orkut, hi5, MySpace blah blah! There's a huuuuuge number of jobless men who are scavenging around these sites with the noble intentions of "making friends". I often look at these people and feel proud of my generation. We must have done something right to produce such a "friendly" lot of people. Yess! Now that I think about it, it does make complete sense. Why wouldn't a hot woman sitting in Boston not want a friend in Balampur India, who can't even spell the word friend right. I'm pretty darn sure that it has indeed been a long standing fantasy of hers to "make frendsip" with random strangers in Indian townships. I salute all ye friendly ones, without which we would not feel so comfortable in this planet.

But then don't categorize all these friends into one big group. These friends, though having a common philanthropic underlying goal, all have different styles. The other day I was categorizing the various "friends" to a friend and it might be worthwhile to mention some of them here:

* The dude: This breed makes extensive use of the modern day SMS lingo. They are super busy. They can't complete their words. "Hi thr, wuz doing rnd browsing. u r cute. wanna b frnds?" That's them. And then there'll be the customary winks and fellow smileys. I don't blame these people for their terse sentences though. They are understandably super busy. After all they are the ones who want to be friends with hundreds of thousands of people. Maintaining so many friends sure takes effort - so pardon their haste kind ones.

* The resume dude: This variety has a lot more time in their hands. Given a chance, they'll leave an entire resume as an initial note. "Hi, I was your neighbor during your three day stay in Ranchi. I am currently doing a computer course in NPTTCS. I saw you like Tom Hanks. I am a fan of him too. I liked him a lot in Titanic. Titanic is my favorite movie. Will you be my friend?" You can fall asleep while reading their messages. You can grow old while reading them. For all you know, you can even finish watching Tom Hanks's Titanic before you can read through the entire message. But there's something that is very earnest abt this variety of friends - they seem to make a sincere effort and I honor them for that.

* The lame complimenting guy (aka the Reproducer): This guy doesn't believing in knocking the door of your heart. He breaks it open. That too with a bang. "Hey cute pic. Nice smile. You are really beautiful. You have nice hair. Wanna make friendship?" If you are feeling low and need a morale booster, just put your best snap in one of these sites and before you hit the upload button you'll get these meaningful praisers responding to your photograph. Click on their profiles and visit some of their "other friends" and you'll get shocked to see the exact same lines with the exact same spelling mistakes reproduced. Clearly these sincere men do not want to differentiate between any of their friends and thinks of them all with an equal amount of love and honesty. Aaaaah!

Three simple points before I end this post. (i) You cannot MAKE friendship. If you pour the right amount of chocolate sauce and flour, you might bake it; for the right kind of gifts you can fake it; but puhleeeeeeeeeze - you cannot freakin make IT. (ii) Why don't we have friendship making women? How come I see absolutely no female counterpart of any of the aforementioned species? Why? (iii) And finally, please read this post, which is very similar in content and much better written. Sadly, I wrote this post a while back and couldn't resist the temptation of posting it - despite the similarities in content.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Living up to this blog's name ... 

This post will be a collection of random lil snippets, none big enough to fit the bill of my otherwise excruciatingly long posts, but together they shall be quite the lengthy challenge provider.

* My dad (who seems to be better liked than I am by many (or is it most) of my readers) narrated this conversation he had with a customer service agent the other day:

Girl: Hello, is this Mrs. Sandhya Nandy's house?
Dad: Yes.
Girl: Who am I talking to?
Dad: I am her husband.
Girl: Ahaa! So you must be Mr. Mukut Nanda?
Dad: Madam. How can Sandhya Nandy's husband be Mukut Nanda? You obviously got the name wrong.
Girl: Sorry. So which part should I correct - Mukut or Nanda?

* While on the topic of my darling Mom's name (Sandhya), this has to be mentioned. Both me and my sister have fairly uncommon names (sis is called Sangsthita) and the reason behind that is Mom's name. I know this might come to many of you from non-Bengal parts of India as a shock, but Sandhya is a very non-classy Bengali name (specially when pronounced with the trademark Bengali accent, making it sound like Shondha). To make matters worse, every second Bengali household, it seems, has a helping hand called Sandhya. My Mom had shuddering experiences of visiting houses where the owner ordered "Sandhya, get us some tea" and my Mom would inadvertently get up to follow orders. Hence the resolution was made to give her children fairly uncommon names. Thanks Mummum :))

* Met up with fellow blogger Urmi over the weekend. She is quite the delightful character. During the course of varied inane conversations, the revelation was made that a good Hindi movie is one that actually has a character that could be played by Jimmy Shergil? Obviously Urmi, like many of you, didn't believe me at first.

Me: So what was the last movie that was a hit?
She: Rang De Basanti?
Me: See. Jimmy Shergil could have easily done Madhavan's role. I think he would have been a good fit.
She: What abt Sholay?
Me: Very simple. Who do you think would have been the best fit for the blind man's son now. The role that Sachin essayed. Can you think of anyone better than Jimmy Shergil?
She: DDLJ?
Me: Oh, it's just that Karan Johar knew the Chopras and played the cap wearing friend of Shahrukh Khan? Who do you think was the original choice for that role? Imagine Deewar - who do you think will be today's Shashi Kapur?
She: But then how come all movies actually featuring Jimmy Shergil are flops?
Me: That's coz there is no role for Jimmy Shergil in an actual Jimmy Shergil movie?
She: *The puzzled whatevaaaah! look*

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


So how many times have you had people stare at you and tell you that you have your father's eyes, mother's eyebrows and uncle's smile? Yup! I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one on this planet who cannot detect glaring similarities between people. Is this a gift that everybody else has? Just imagine the last time you saw a new born crying out aloud. I can bet that there was a family member, standing right next to you, who commented on how the infant "exactly" looked like his/her mother!!! What???? Am I the only one who thinks that all babies look alike? They all have small eyes, chubby cheeks, make spit bubbles and cry every now and then. Obviously, the baby's mother was no different and I'm also quite sure that the next door neighbor's mother was no different either. So when an army of elderly uncles and aunts and strangers that I've never met, stand around and regale over the fact that "he has his grandmother's smile" I get shocked. To make matters worse, I'm a Bengali. Every Bengali family gathering has that over zealous relative who discovers a new physical trait that reminds them of someone else. Over the years, I've heard things ranging from "I have the exact same nose as my mother when she was getting married" to "I have my father's legs". Wow! These people are good when it comes to finding similarities between different body parts. Interestingly, however, these are the same people who don't recognize me when they bump into me on the streets. That's it. I have decided. The next time someone meets me in a family gathering and my mother forces me to go and touch their feet and they look at me all confused and wonder who I am, I'll just lift my trousers and say "Guess who? I have my father's legs you said. So now guess."!!

And it's not just limited to family members. As Indians we love to compare our children with movie stars. While some parents are modernists and settle for "He looks just like Amir Khan", others go old school and talk abt "his hair is like Jeetendra's in Himmatwala!" Whatever!

Sometimes these similarities freak me out completely. For example, everyone tells me that I look like my mother. Great! However, I also have relatives who tell me that I look exactly like what my father did when he was my age. Ok! Rewind back Let's get this straight. If my dad looked like what I do now when he was my age, how come we have zero resemblance now? But that's not it. If I look exactly like my mom now and my dad looked exactly like me when he was my age - that means my dad looked exactly like my mom when he was my age. Eeeeeeeeew! Eeeew! Eew!

Finally, for all those people who have siblings and have secretly wondered which of you look better, you'll never get an honest answer if you just ask people. "You both look nice!" That's the baloney that you'll get. The trick is to go to a family member and ask them which of you resemble their side of the family more. That'll do it. Every family member will stake claim of the better looking sibling. It'll always be "Oh! X is just like your mother and people say that he looks like me too. You on the other hand have taken after your dad ..." Get it?

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