Tuesday, August 23, 2005

dont rub it in, scrub it out!

is it so difficult for us to look at pakistanis as just neighbouring countrymen!? is it a dictum somewhere that if we speak of or to a pakistani the issue of border dispute and war has to be brought up? there might be scores of examples pointing the other way (and am glad there are!!) but my eyes fell on some idotic posts and has had me peeved to the level of disgust.

just sample this discussion forum (link will open in new window). it is supposed to be a harmless thread talking about indian cars and how much a pakistani chap likes the designs... this chap 'kavs' as he goes by, has to underscore the rift between the two countries! i admire the pakistani chap for not playing along and changing the course of the thread :) thankfully, one of them is sane :p

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


watching this documentary on NatGeo about hidden amazon tribes. (for once i am watching something informational!) there's this tribe zoha or something that rhymes that way who are kind of close to nature. i mean in every sense of it. naturists, every one of them. male, female included.

woman making a nice headgear from a local bird's soft white feathers. now here's the commentator's interpretation: that is the way the women distinguish themselves from the men. eh? bunch of skinny dippers need to distinguish between the genders through apparel accessories!?

but there was one little thing that caught my attention (no pun intended here!) if the tribe, in its hunt, manages to find an animal/bird that managed to survive their hunting expedition, then catches the creature and makes it their pet! yes, they dont eat it. its brethern are ingested but not the survivor! pet monkey wearing a tiny necklace made of another monkey's teeth. how comforting for this pet!

ok. now i get back to the show. really interesting this channel :) pity its on paid access in chennai.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

freedom of (from!?) intelligence

having observed how much of attention is given to the details in the things here, it got me thinking about the people behind these ideas. must be quite smart and intelligent! yeah... sure!

just a handful of incidents that were enough to shatter my illusion :-) never have i found the goofiness of the people here manifest itself in a more convincing manner!! what do you know, they actually take pride in it :-)

was flying a domestic sector here on united. for most americans, flying is quite matter-of-fact. if its too far to drive, one would rather fly. so there, stage set. a bit of turbulence in the air and we were all asked to buckle up. happily belted to the seat and dozing, i hear the steward, pushing his cart up the aisle, reminding people to remain seated. stopping right behind my row, this chap squats on the plane floor (apparently, thats what the crew does if they are away from their seats during turbulence) and makes this interesting quote to the passenger behind me. "you know how difficult it is to convince people to remain seated during turbulence!? its dangerous to stand at such times! but i am told people in india fly that way!" boy! did that wake me up or what :-) had me sitting wide awake... part bewildered, part guffawing :-) should i have corrected him? naaah! he's lesser a menace with his ignorance! :-p

in america, theres a lot of importance given to 'personal space'. (must've sprung from that deep rooted zeal for freedom in every sense.) while in queue, the person behind you could very well be two paces away. they'll patiently wait their turn till you are done (must really appreciate this one.) not to forget the gazzillion "oh! am sorry!!", "oh! pardon me!!" etc thrown in for good measure were they to be in your way. yeah, its all about personal space. fiercely protected and respected. thats why you have shows like the jerry springer show (fail to recollect the channel that airs it). yawn! another show... well, no :-) its not another show :-) if there's anything thats the cause for emotional angst, get it all out at this place. you can tell him your problems (son hating his mom, girl wanting to marry her drug addict boyfriend who hates and abuses her, etc.) you name it, he's got the stage set for you. literally! he comes with his bunch of bouncers (you need those hulks when you dont want an uncle to fight with his nephew before national tv!) and a HUGE audience. yes, there's a waiting line for people who want to witness this madness!! they even throw in a "coming right after the break... xyz settles score with his estranged mother.... all this and more after these messages" .....!!....?? but do not forget... personal space is very much respected here :-)

oh yes, quite a convincing display of intellect here :-) but this one was an overkill. saw an ad for an optical reader card. a credit card sized magnifying glass with a tiny little light on one side. cool thingamajig, but what caught me was the way it was advertised. well, where do you use stuff like this!? how about reading the restaurant menu card? or something better.... your cell phone keypad!! :-)

Saturday, August 06, 2005


got my first dose of what an emergency meant here in the US. jolted out of bed at 7:30AM on a saturday morning thanks to a fire alarm. not a very pleasing wake up call let me tell you!

a fire alarm with the sorest of throats! first i cursed myself for having forgotten to not keep an alarm only to realise it never rang that way. i had even yanked the power cord out, totally futile. it hadnt even blurted as much as a hiccup. i had clearly chosen the wrong opponent.

checked for all probable sources of smoke/fire in my room and having acquitted myself of the deed went onto the next course of action - evacuating myself. these caution signs that they flood the place with sure come handy! the messages get thrown at you in such regular intervals, within a day you would have it by rote! and when the real emergency presents itself, you can steer yourself to safety with your eyes closed. i can bet no one reads those signs at such times!

step 3 in life-saving activity was to get out of the room and out of the hotel itself. what if it was a really bad fire!? what if the whole place came crashing down. the american disease called 'extreme paranoia' hit me too. wanted to grab by baggage and scoot but ended up picking just the room key and my passport. i have been making up to my iPod for a while now. it is rather disappointed at me.

when you have an alarm blaring this loud, there is only one thing you can do - just get the hell out of that place. thats what i've been trying to tell my iPod. oh, my colleague did show me the other way - blissfully sleep through it as if nothing ever happened!

must've taken about a couple of minutes for the fire department to turn up, but was surprised no cops/ambulance tagged along. i must stop watching these action movies!

anyway, in the end it seemed like much ado about nothing. no smoke no fire no emergency. was it a hoax? or a prank? if it were a prank... felt really bad for the old man literaly limping his way around (but that babe in night dress looked so enticing! he he hee... sigh! thank god for small mercies!) ;-)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

sqaure sir!?

of late, this thing has had me baffled to no end. i mean, whats the big deal about it!? go to the barber, get that hair cut, walk out as a creature with a semblance farther away from a primate. that was all i thought there was to getting a haircut. now with such an approach, i surely seem to identify with a primate!

this time around, i did succumb to the calls of making myself look 'presentable' (just stopped short of gift wrapping myself). its important, etiquette training tells us, how clients perceive business executives from their appearances. i was also told that i was a business executive (thats important too). so i shun my friendly neighbourhood barbershop and go to some place that oozed with a good measure of finesse. these guys know how to make a primate look like human (or, as i would like to believe, the other way!)

savvy place this Green Trends. kavin care runs it, and its infested most of chennai. i thought it was a levers' misdoing. the salon cashier corrects me with "thats ayush, sir!" at least he knows his competitor! am glad :) as i step into the operation theatre, surgeon steps in, apron on, covers me in a black robe (was that to prevent the agony of seeing so much hair being lost or to act as a dandruff mirror!?) everything about that place seemed stylish - the rates included! i had ventured here on my roomie's suggestion (this better be good!)

to do justice to the charge, i tell the surgeon "make it reeeaalleee short" and he replies with a surprised, "full short sir!?" me thinks, is there more than one way of interpreting what short meant!? or was there something called 'half short'!? "yes, full short." "but it wont sit sir." i tell him i'm used to having my hair stand on end, but he doesnt get it. he asks, albeit reluctantly, "square sir!?". excuse me!? square!? did not know geometry had a role to play in this. nor was my mental status deserving such an interrogation! but the chappie was kind enough to explain, it was the finish on the back of the head that he meant. aah! did anyone ever bother about such things!?

for 17 years, not once did my friendly neighbourhood mumbai barber put me through so much of cross questioning. such permutations and combinations in hairstyles were intuitive to him. or maybe he was used to following my mom's instructions for 3 years prior to that :-) he would dare not question her idea about how her son's head should look. he was used to working his sickle in silence.

where was i? aah yes, the short square cut. for one who hates cricket, i must confess, this jargon does come handy at times! the surgeon was concerned about how i looked. i was concerned about saving precious dollars, $15 (plus tips, sorry gratuity) isnt a very pleasing price to pay when you part with something thats yours! its one of the preparations we guys have to do before a trip to Sam's land. i could see those cents jingling in my pocket with every mm of hair that fell on the floor! go baby go! cut more! its harvest season!! until... stop! this human now does look like a primate!

surgeon looks at me with a helpless.... sir, i told you, it will not sit! baah! am used to it! does it even matter!?