Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Your country needs you - and how

I got this very important 'msg' today evening. You'll thank me for not forwarding this to you. It ran like this:

hi guys.
Ths msg s vry vry imp Pls frwd2al. (OMG!! Last time I got an important 'msg' was in the heydays of Swine flu - what is it now? Equestrian measles ??)
V hav 2stp d chinese products whch v r buyin. (who told you I brought Chinese products? The mallu shpokeeper who sold me that secret chinese stuff swore discreteness... Dang, he must have snitched under pressure)
So tat v can mak china economic down. (Ah! So this is how we make economic down. I bet not even Amartya Sen knew this)
U al knw tat china goi2start war wit india (WTF?!? I didn't know that I knew this - *scratches head*)
within 2or3 mnths (Whoa.. 2 or 3 months? Do our intelligence agenicies know this??)
Pls guys stp buyin chines prdcts. (Swear I will... really - we'll burn em like swadeshi movement)
Stdnts hav 2shw our powr by sending ths sms 2whole india. (Yeah! Go students.. But when you say whole India do you mean to include the remote village of Tarlekuntanhalli too??)
Atleaz do this for our india. (You break my heart sir. 'Atleaz' ?? Meaning I have not done anything for my country yet ?!? Waaah :`-( )

I suspect a Chinese hand in this forward.. Their plan is to cause panic in minds of Indian students (who make up a sizable chunk of our sizable population) Who do they think they're fooling? For one, it's definitely not me ;)

Tweet from Java

Here's how you can use Twitter API to Tweet from java:


public class Tweet {
static String twitterUrl="";

public static void main(String[] args) throws Exception {
//Hate args checking.. Won't do it; Not even usage shall be displayed - figure it out
OutputStreamWriter ostreamwriter;
String statusmsg="";
int i=2;

URL url = new URL(twitterUrl);
URLConnection conn = url.openConnection();
conn.setRequestProperty("Authorization", "Basic " + Base64.encode((args[0]+":"+args[1]).getBytes()));
while(i < args.length-1){
statusmsg = statusmsg+ args[i++]+" ";
statusmsg = statusmsg+ args[i];
String encStatus = "status="+URLEncoder.encode(statusmsg, "UTF-8");
ostreamwriter = new OutputStreamWriter(conn.getOutputStream());
ostreamwriter.write(encStatus); //--> Magic Magic :)
ostreamwriter.flush();                              //I forgot this at first..

//If interested you can check the response after this, though
//Won't bother with exceptions either. 
//A programmer should be intelligent enough to discover errors without any display mechanisms...

And voilà:

(or you could also use this )

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Short story #6

[...They say it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way...]

It was getting late for work and he had missed his cab. Weather did not help in any way, gloomy as it was. He decided to take the shortcut to the nearest bus stop, instead of standing at his doorstep, cursing his luck. Thunder rumbled in distant sky. He prayed he did not get wet so early in the morning. Sitting with wet clothes, in that awfully cold place called office was not something he looked forward to. Neither was the presentation he was supposed to be giving today.

Brows furrowed, hands deep in his pockets and his head low, he hurried past the butchers shop of that gully, that would for today, serve as his shortcut. He did not even shudder, as he did always, when he went past that particular landmark. So lost was he in his thoughts that he nearly jumped onto the road when he heard that sound.


A cat as black as the deepest darkness, with bright jewel like green eyes looked up at him, midway through tackling a mouse. He scowled at it (although for what reason he did not know) He was not superstitious, but
[...They say it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way...]
still he did not like the way it stared at him.

Curse you, curse you; Dirty human, who walks upon the plate we eat
Damn you, damn you; Wicked man, for no reason which us you beat

Shit. He did not care if the cat actually was cursing him now. He had no time for such stupidity. He mimed kicking, aiming his feet at the cat, which deftly picked up the mouse between its teeth and ran away, it's net displacement resulting in
[...They say it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way...]
it crossing his path.

His momentum carried him forward a few steps before he thought about his action (all the while not really sure, whether some consideration would have resulted in a different outcome) and just as he went past the crossing point of their paths, a cold drop of water hit his forehead hard, dripping down to his eyes. Before he crossed the next 20 yards, that landed him at his bus stop, heavens opened up and drenched him completely.

He reached his office full 16 and a half minutes late, wet. Nancy, his colleague whispered as soon as he reached his cubicle, "Boss man is in a bad mood today. He's looking for you, I think"..
"Thanks", he said. "I'll drop by his chamber right away" and he started towards his boss' chamber.

He knocked on the door and entered the chamber. Boss was peering over a long piece of what appeared to be fax paper. He looked up.

"Ah, here you are. I was looking for you. You're late you know", the boss said and then continued without missing a beat, "This just in. There are some changes in the figures you'll be presenting today. You'll have to start working on this immediately and if you are lucky enough
[...They say it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way...]
you may just finish this, and then we can have our presentation as planned. You know how much this means to the team, right?"

He could hardly protest as boss man dumped the sheets of the latest reports into his (still wet) hands. Taking it as a sign that he was dismissed for now and also for the fact that he wanted to show that he was going to start working on it immediately, he started looking at the numbers on that report even as he started from the chamber towards his cubicle. Shit, he thought, as he felt the numbers made no sense. He sat heavily in his chair, took out a pencil and started marking those parts that made some sense to him, dimly aware that some parts of the fax were slightly smudged by his wet hands.

Two hours went by, he was not even half way through. His stomach grumbled, but he stayed at his place. No lunch today, he thought. Dumb luck. And his mind wandered to the black cat who
[...They say it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way...]
had crossed his path that morning. Hmmmph. He had to push such thoughts away. That would get him nowhere. And he was pretty confident, he'd be done in a couple of more hours, if he concentrated hard. Imagining his colleagues nodding appreciatively at his presentation, he started working away furiously.

Shit. He had smudged more that he had thought he had. He extrapolated whatever figures he had, cursing his stupid luck, his mind going back to his lab exams (where he had performed similar feats of adjustment), going back to the black cat (more than once) and returning with the faithfulness of a well trained dog, to the task at hand.

Hours passed...

He was almost done now and he looked up at the clock. Shit again, it was 4:30. He had only an hour before the presentation. His thoughts turned to despair, (and also to the cat which crossed his path that morn) and by the time he finished, it was exactly 3 minutes to 5:30. He snatched his laptop up and ran 12 flight of steps to the meeting room. As his luck would have it
[...They say it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way...]
lifts were not working today, of all days.

Entering the meeting room, he tried to throw a casual smile at those present and was treated to a couple of grimacing (ghastly even) looking smiles. Or perhaps it was just his imagination (which again wandered briefly over to the black cat who, you know, crossed his path that morning) Turning on the projector, he started his presentation, although without his usual confidence.

For the next one and half hours he battled his way through the presentation, fielding all sorts of questions thrown at him. Were a couple of questions asked just to rile him? Anything was possible today he thought and as the presentation concluded, he did not quite think he had pulled it off. Infact he had no hopes of it at all. As boss man took the guests away for the evening entertainment, he just slunk away from the office, too tired and too dazed, now for sure believing that - it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way.. There was no other reason that could explain such a bad day.

Now once you believe in the problem, you have to believe in the solution as well..
So, determined to set this all right, he decided he should retrace his steps of the morning, uncrossing the darned path where this all began. An undo, a ctrl+z of sorts.

As he neared the spot where the (darned) creature crossed his way, he saw that there, at the exact spot, was a boy of about 8. The boy stood there all alone, crying. "Ah, another victim of badluck", he thought pitying the boy and decided that perhaps he should enquire and offer him his solution (ctrl+z and all that)

"What's wrong kid?", he asked, "Why're you crying?"

Sobbing the kid replied "Cat" (his heart leaped)

"What happened, kid? What of the cat?", he asked, now feeling suddenly very light headed.

"My cat", the kid sobbed again, "Someone ran over her today morning. I have her no more" and he started wailing..

They say it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your way, but they did not say it is for whom...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Language biff-bash

Lighter side of language bashing. Nothing Thackerayesque here ;)

English vs Kannada (ah, the controversial topic) came up recently, when we were at a wedding over the weekend (me and 2 other friends-I'll call them Quiz master a.k.a Pyaaz Kaatke and the C dude - no points for guessing who they are) and the conversation drifted to the aforementioned topic.

Quiz master: Accha, C dude, fiancé ka spelling batha..
C dude: f i a n c e
Quiz master: Woh 'e' nahin, 'é' hain. 'e' ke upar ek tilak
C dude: Kya baat kar raha hain? (He fished out his iPhone with a flourish, opened the dictionary and searched for the word) Arrey you are right man (pause) But there are two words here: fiancé and fiancéé
Me: Haan. For different genders. One is pronounced fiancey and the other fiancei
C dude: Nahin. Pronounciation is same for both. See..
Me: (trying to recover) Ah.. It's a word derived from French. In French, if you add le before a word it's masculine; if you add la it's feminine. But English has no such distinction, hence they have extra é (a.k.a e with tilak)
C dude: What a stupid language. Indian languages are much better..
Quiz master: English is like that because it's not rule based, it's practise based. Let's take another word - spell Django
C dude: I give up
Quiz master: It's d j a n g o
C dude at this point made a statement that was almost a copy of Dharmendra's go = ಗು  dialog of Chupke Chupke. I remembered that he had once told me his name should actually be pronounced as rhyming with cream. I shuddered..
Quiz master: ?!?
C dude: That is why I call it a stupid language. We have no such problems in Kannada
Quiz master: Ok.. Let's go and wish the couples
Me: phew

Basher bashed:
Long long ago, I had a friend who's favourite topic was(guess, guess) English vs Kannada. He is rumoured to have asked an English teacher a question that stumped the lady completely, and  made sure she reserved the lowest marks in her subject for this guy. He also asked that question to a lot of other people mercilessly. My turn came one day.. He asked me: ನೆಹರು ಭಾರತದ ಎಷ್ಟನೆಯ ಪ್ರಧಾನ ಮಂತ್ರಿ? Translate this to English.. Heh he!!

Gears turned in my brain and out this came: If one were to prepare a list of Prime Ministers of India, sorted on the order in which they swore in, what position would Nehru occupy on that list?

Bash that!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Koda and the Zen of stomach ache and other maladies

You are a bigwig in the society (perhaps political), who has hundreds of people working under you. You have wielded power for a long time. You are thinking all this is going to last for ever, and you'll live to a ripe old age to enjoy the fruits of your (poor taxpayers ??) labour, when one day, all of a sudden, like a bolt out of the blue, you find that Income tax department has raided your palatial home, found that you have been involved in illegal transactions ammounting to several crores, and you are now facing detainment and possible arrest. So what do you do?

You fake it ofcourse.

Hmm.. This may not make much sense to all the readers out there, the humble voters/taxpayers. So let me elaborate. What you fake is some sort of illness. And what choices have you got? Well you could go for faking chest pain (do not go all the way one "patient" in Munnabhai MBBS does when Munna's dad visits his "hospital" - that won't work I suppose.. But then again, I'm not really sure of that) Or you could try the good old uneasiness and blood pressure thingy (you wont have to go to great lengths to fake uneasiness - just picture your imminent arrest - that should do the trick) There are several such illness you can always fake, but just make sure no other bigwig has used that reason in recent times. Not that it'll be easy for the sleuths to spot the fake. You see, my sir, people deserve something original..

If you have observed, I've never mentioned the humble stomach ache here. Yes, the world famous refuge of school-going children worldwide has now been used by Mr. Madhu Koda. So Sonu, if you want your mother to be convinced that you are indeed sick enough to skip school today, you'll have to use a different excuse. Sorry kid.. You see, it's all politics :( What really bugs me is, how is it that the IT department and ED (you pervert, it's Enforcement Directorate) bought this story, when, not once in all my school going years did my mother fall for this trick.. Koda ke performance mein kya hain jo mere mein nahin?!?

Madhu Koda, whose surname was carefully chosen by his grandfather, a Star Wars fanatic, now joins the great list of Movers and Fakers. Some of the more notable names on this list include Abdul-stamppaperismymiddlename-Telgi, Ramalinga Raju amongst others. A visibly heartbroken Koda granddad, told the press today that he had never expected his grandson would land in such trouble one day. "I had christened him Koda, along the lines of Yoda, hoping one day he would reach to great levels as the Jedi master. Actually I would have named him Madhu Yoda, if it weren't for the insistence of the village astrologer, who said it was numerologically advisable to have a surname starting with 'K'. This same piece of advice from the same astrologer worked wonders for Ekta Kapoor. I don't understand what went wrong", he said revealing the K connection

So finally what happened was that Koda was discharged from the Apollo hospital today. The doctor who treated him, told on the condition of anonymity that Koda's stomach ache was due to high levels of acidity, caused by indulging in all the spicy festival food his mother-in-law had made for him. "We have intravenously administered Gelusil to Mr.Koda. Joh karna tha humne kiye hain.. Ab toh bus unko dua ki zaroorat hain", he added in a quite filmi fashion. Now the nation awaits with a bated breath (reserved for such cases), as to what happens next...

One word of advise to dear readers. The above techniques though tried and tested over the years by several bigwigs, may not really work for you. So if you are in a similar situation, please do not try this, for the above stunts are performed by trained professionals. For the harder you try, the harder you fail. Do not 'try' to fake it, for it fakes all by itself.  Better yet, do not get into a similar situation at all. How do you do this? Pay all your taxes on time, do not bribe or get bribed and please for God's sake do go out and vote.. To make sure such people do not get elected ever again. I know, the next guy may be not be better than this one( he could be a lot worse), but let us by a process of elimination get rid of all these babus one by one.

Jaago re!! (and drink your tea too)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Caution: Chicken crossing

I'd broken a plastic comb this morning,
Followed by a plastic jar of glue;
Thank heavens her heart wasn’t made of plastic,
Or I'd have ended up breaking that too...
(A song not written by the Beatles)

Swaminathan, the village idiot of a remote village in South India caused quite a furore in the philosophical world yesterday when he claimed that he had solved the question that had puzzled philosophers, theologists, theosonists, arsonists(??) and Marxists for several centuries (and in that order). The question in question here is the famed "Why did the chicken cross the road?" or "Kukkutaha maargam tarati kim?" as was known to ancient Indian philosophers.

To the uninitiated, let me begin with the historic importance of this famous question. Any philosopher worth his salt will agree that this question is to philosophy what Einstein's Theory of Relativity is to Physics. The exact origin of this question is still in dispute amongst the historians. Some experts say that this happened during the late Selandian era when the chickens evolved enough to distinguish between the road and the pavement, and the Darwinian force called the "survival instinct", made it cross the road to the other side, where it perceived an abundance of bird seed. However this group of experts is small indeed, for there are several other groups who have put forth arguments that have cast some aspersions on the validity of this theory. Rival groups have long argued that there were no chickens in the late Selandian era and the rest of the theory is hogwash. However a recently unearthed signboard of KFC has been found to be of the late Selandian era (in fact in the last 3 years of that era - carbon dating has accurately established) and this seems to lend a little credibility to the former group (Let's call them Selandian experts) Another group of radicals however argue that there may have been chickens, but certainly no roads in that particular era. Selandian experts have dismissed this saying that the KFC signboard was that of a KFC “Drive in”, and “Drive in” must imply the existence of roads. QED..

The opponents look silenced for now, but there is a general air of calm before the storm, and rumours have it that these opponents have an ace up their sleeve that will demolish the Selandian experts once and for all (All this became "like lighting divine fire underwater" or "neeralli madida homa" as Swaminathan, effectively put an end to this topic yesterday. More on this later..)

The origins of this question is not the only thing disputed with regard to the question. As one can see here, there are arguments that chicken did not have the rationality that road was indeed a road. For that matter, it wouldn't discomfort the road-crossing-chicken the slightest bit, if one called road a toad. This seems to suggest that the chicken was well versed in the Shakespearean philosophy of "What's in a name?" which suggest the it was indeed a rational thinker (assuming that anyone who reads Shakespeare is a rational being) Thus a mere suggestion that the chicken is not a rational being leads to 'it' being proved to be a rational being! However such suggestions not withstanding, the author of the above essay has brilliantly dismissed the idea that the "question of chicken crossing the road is meaningless and invalid".Thus there is no need for the rationality or intentionality on the poor chickens part here. It has also been bought to light in the recent LHC experiment that this question is indeed a valid one. Scientists recently claimed that the same force that causes a bunch of scientists to study atoms by colliding them against each other and breaking them apart is responsible for such actions of the chicken. Philosophers smirked at this news, saying this is what they had claimed all along. They even named that unknown force as "Curiosity"

It is to be noted here that this mysterious force has long been associated with felines. This same force has caused several members of the feline fraternity to pay dearly with their lives. This discovery of "curiosity" as the force behind the chicken-road-crossing, some philosophers go on to claim, has heightened the importance of the great question. They say that since there has been no historical evidence of any chicken having to pay with its life, even under the effect of this force, chickens are allegedly immune to the force of curiosity. Their claim is that solving this question will make even humans immune to the curiosity force, thereby prolonging their lives.

In related news, Chicken rights activists recently held protest near the author’s office stating that it was dangerous for the chickens to cross the Indian roads. They wanted the traffic police to help any chicken crossing the road. Later they distributed pamphlets, which enumerated the safety precautions that chickens had to follow while crossing roads. Unfortunately the 30 chickens who were bribed into attending this protest were nowhere to be seen after about 30 minutes after the start of the protest..

Coming back to how this question came to be solved, let us first see the previous solutions. Over the years there have been several attempts to solve this conundrum. However none of them seem to have satisfactorily answered the question. Given below are some of the more important theories:
  • "To get to the other side" (A very popular and old solution) Reason of dismissal: But why? Answered again by: "Perhaps there was grain on the other side" Reason of dismissal: "Perhaps... Indeed *smirk*"
  • "The chicken discovered that the side of the road on which it was standing on had a KFC outlet" Reason for dismissal - Chickens cannot distinguish between KFC and "McShmucks Home for homeless chicken"
  • "The sidewalk on which chicken stood was dug up to lay the Optic fiber cables. It had no space to stand, hence it crossed" (A popular Indian theory by the second-cousin forty-seven-times removed of the Nobel prize winning Chandrasekhar) Reason for dismissal - When there is a dispute over the existence of the road itself, there can be no question of admitting the existence of optic fiber (Indians have protested that it was racism that caused the dismissal of this theory)
Thus for years there were not satisfactory explanations for this philosophical question. That is until yesterday. And then,

World sat stunned in silence as Swaminathan announced: "The chicken never did cross the road... Road just happened to move under chickens feet (a la Relativity)"

Thus it came to be that a philosophical question that was compared in likeness to Relativity came to be solved by the same. Nobel committee has decided to open a new category in philosophy this year. And guess who the prize goes to?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yet another weekend post

Bored sitting at home, I decided to go shopping for books. Landed at Blossoms after a little walk.

So here I am, looking for some books that would help me pass some time this weekend (and many more weekends to come) All of a sudden I bump into a lady, of a different country (more commonly known as a foreigner - or the one who foreigns)

"Excuse me", says she, "You work?"

Eh? Now what's this? Why is a person who is revered in our country (as in Athiti Devo Bhava et al) concerned with my employment? What would be the consequences say, if I am to reply truthfully, or should I rather escape with a lie? I had been caught unawares by this question several times until today (all the while this coming from fellow Indians - those who tried to heap upon me some sort of great pyramid scheme - that would help me earn more money than my current job) And now, this ? (Et, tu ?)

I made a gesture that indicated neither this nor that ie a shrug and tilt of head from side to side, in a careful hybrid of a yes and a no and tried to get away. Not really xenophobic, but some stranger asking about your employment usually gives one cold creeps.

Slowly backing to escape this strange predicament, I knocked over a small pile of books. Drat.. I started rearranging them, helped by the lady. Whilst reconstructing the pile of books, she spoke again smiling a little "Where can I find Vikram Seth's Suitable Boy", she said before I could disappear around the corner. I replied this time with words, that I had no idea. "Oh so I'm supposed to find it on my own?", she said a little more serious this time..

Somewhere in that dingy, cobwebbed, dilapidated old structure some people call my mind, a tube light flickered to life. "You work?" meant "You work here?" (or perhaps I had lost the last word of that sentence) "Oh", I managed to grin sheepishly, "I'm sorry, I don't work here"


Ten minutes later I left the store with my purchases, really wondering if I looked like a bookstore assistant.

(PS: Hope the lady found her "Suitable Boy")

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How the Grinch Stole Diwali

Even as a kid, he hated crackers. Apparently his dad couldn't fathom the idea that any kid could hate crackers. All of the boy's pleas disguised as, "Let's buy less crackers this year" or the classic "Let's do something else other than crackers" were dismissed with a shrug, and then, "That's alright, we'll get them from Hosur this time. Pretty cheap they've got over there"
Blast!! (pun intended) He thought. Another nightmarish Diwali :(

I mean, it's not like he hated the explosive variety. He hated even the sparklers. Suresh Heblikar would have been proud of him if not for the fact that he could do nothing to prevent his share of contribution to global warming. And thus he spent a few Diwalis that way...

Finally on one Christmas eve ,he found a solution to this problem. Watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!", he was thrilled with the idea of a creature of this sort(who could steal holidays, not trinkets, but holidays ladies and gentlemen!!) who would come to his rescue and steal Diwali. But how was he, a mere boy, supposed to contact him? Grinch was spotted in Whoville once in a while, but where did he reside for most of his time? Heck, even if he'd write a letter addressed to "Mr.Grinch, Whoville" would it reach him? (If "Dear Santa, North Pole" can reach the jolly old guy, why not our friend here?) He decided he wouldn't allow such petty obstacles prevent him from executing his plans. So be it...

So he went and contacted the television channel who aired the show, asking them the contact address of a certain, Mr.Grinch. The guy who answered the call was pretty revulsed to be asked such information. Our hero made up a story that he was the reporter of a leading bi-weekly that caters to large group of business entrepreneurs and how with the stock market booming, they would love to know more about the creature, who in course of time would become a brand ambassador of major products world wide (I know this doesn't make sense, but that was the height of his desperation to rid Diwali) "Just think, a lot of kids would buy everything that some green creature endorsed. Why man, Grinch is the next "in" thing. You wouldn't understand all this. So why don't you.."
Dial tone. Drat. The channel guy had seen through our hero's cover..

It was time to take the risk and write a letter to the green guy. I have reproduced below the contents of that letter, to the best of my memory (as the hero of this story recounted to me one day):

Mr Grinch Sir,

 I'm a big fan of yours :) I'm not sure whether this will reach you or not, but I am writing this with utmost desperation. So I request you to please listen to what I have to say.

Your attempts over the years to steal Christmas, I must say have been very fascinating. I'm sure Christmas is really big in your part of the world. But you see, to cater to a wide range of people, you must reinvent yourself (Don't take this wrong, sir, I respect you a lot) I have a proposal for you.

This year why don't you come down to India, during the month of October, and we could have great fun stealing a festival called Diwali, that's celebrated here. I'm pretty sure this will be very much to your liking. We will have lots of crackers and fireworks to steal, and we'll destroy them all. Please let me know if you need any further assistance in reaching here, assuming that you agree to my proposal (I'm hopeful you will)   
 Warm Regards,
 (our hero's sign)

He addressed this letter to "Mr Grinch, Whoville" and hoped to see a reply in positive soon. Days turned into months as he waited for the reply. He hoped against hope that Grinch still resided in Whoville, and had not moved out elsewhere. That'd be bad for him...

5 months later,on a sunny afternoon, when he had almost given up hope, he got a surprise! A letter lay on his desk. It was open. Had his father seen the contents ? He hoped not. Hands shaking he took the letter and stared at the reply:

Stupid boy,
                    Buzz off... I'm retired now. Besides, I'll have nothing to do with a festival celebrated to commemorate the slaying of monsters and demons (Like I was in the past)

 (PS: Festivals are not always what they seem. Just as Christmas is not about presents, I'm sure Diwali is not all about crackers)


He looked up to see his father standing in the doorway. He came to the boy and hugged him.
"Son, I've realised that Diwali is really not about crackers. You are right, we'll not have any crackers this year. But would you agree that we decorate our abode with diyas, lamps and lights this year? I mean this is a festival of lights and we should pledge to drive away darkness from our home as well as our minds. What say?"

The boy was moved to tears. Needless to say he agreed.

- The End -

[ Here's wishing you all a Happy Diwali. Before you light that cracker think about what Grinch had to say. I'm sure you'll agree too :) ]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Daal mein kuch kaala hain

I will NOT blog about Obama getting Nobel. This statement should in itself should make things clear about my view on the subject. Besides, there are worthier things to blog about.

For instance, take grocery shopping. It is simple right?

Breaking it into simple steps, firstly you have to locate your friendly neighbourhood grocer, enter the threshold of his humble store, ignore the overwhelming urge to buy some chocolates - located strategically at the entrance (this urge basically stems from all those years of being denied those goodies inspite of your best pestering - well, I never pestered my parents, ask them if you want - but I still have the urge to grab chocolates), find precisely the item(s) you want to acquire, proceed to the storekeeper, where depending on the time of the day, season and a lot of other factors, you may have to wait in a queue (but perhaps not), get the items billed (those you do not intend to shoplift of course), pay with cash/card or any other means of monetary transaction (barter included) that is valid in your part of the world, and proceed outwards, homebound seemingly delighted with your accomplishment.

Well I got this mission briefing from my mother, to procure precisely one kilogram of culinary ingredient they call Tur Dal, also recently in news for being very pricey .Entering the store, I proceeded directly to the location my brain indicated through various visual and olfactory cues that the assortment of pulses lay. Having previously being briefed on the exact technical specifications of the above mentioned item (yellow coloured, round, a little flat), I selected the first packaged 1 kilogram block that fit that description, paid for the item and returned home, pleased with my successful transaction.

My mother had one look at the package and asked how much I paid for it. I declared that it was 32 rupees. "Hmmm.. only 32 rupees for a k.g of tur dal", remarked my mother "Nice deal" Uh oh!! That was when I felt that something was amiss. Or "Daal mein kuch kaala hain", so to speak. I remembered reading about the prices of tur dal sky-rocketting so this could in no way be tur dal, unless whatever I read about was a bad media joke.

"Why didn't you ask for tur dal at the store?" Would perhaps be your first question, right? Well the answer is: Nay, any self-respecting male will not ask for directions even when lost - and I extend my self respect to such levels as not asking for the store-assistant's assistance in locating items (If you are a male, you'll understand this, else don't bother)

I returned to the store again, returned the item that mimicked tur dal(it was 'avare' something - I'm told), back to the place where the other pulses of its kind lay and I find that miracle-of-miracles, Holy Father in heaven and all that, the items are actually labeled by their proper nomenclatures!! Below each item, on the rack was attached a handwritten label indicating it's name. Ah.. There's "tuvar dal" Hooray!!!!

That fuzzy feeling of blissful giddiness, caused by your success at locating a certain item without anyones help overcame me. I literally bounced across the store, landed in front of the puzzled looking storekeeper (Boy! Aren't some people just happy to purchase something as small as tur dal? Why then am I, the owner of the store, keeper of such exotic substances as tur dal, not happy to be doing what I am doing - his look seemed to say) It cost 90 rupees (actually I parted with only 58 bucks - as I had done a substantial share of parting with money during my first transaction) I returned home, handed the packet to my mother, who was satisfied with the quality and contents of it.

I walked away with my head held high. The Indian national anthem played in my ears.
Mission accomplished.. Bravo Alpha-One, the country is proud of you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crash Chrome - a new way

Search Google for "crash Chrome". Everything that's listed there looks fixed with the latest update (

Well, it's noon. I'm at my office with my workstation doing strenuous amounts of work. Chrome has about 15 tabs open. And I find a new way to crash it. Couldn't find it on the net yet, so I'm duty bound to post it, sorry Google :(

Here's how you can repeat it too:

Open a web page in chrome and open History. This will be opened in a new tab.
Pick a day on which you have visited large number of pages. Click "Delete history for this day". Say OK at the popup and immediately close the History tab..

Kaboom kapow!!!

(enlarged below)

Thats right. Yeah go on, give it a try..

EDIT: This seems to be a one off incidence. Me and Chrome having a bad day. It never misbehaved with me in this fashion ever again..

C.Ds of a different kind

Looking out of the window you make a casual remark- "It's going to rain heavily today evening" Chances are 2 times out of 10 someone who hears this replies "Oh no it will not", with such a tone that almost implies that it was originally your idea that it rain heavily. And that by disagreeing, they will prevent your supreme show of superhuman powers of nature control by their sheer will power. They are the "Chronic Disagreers".. The strange sub-species of homo sapiens, whose only purpose of existence is to disagree. I shall refer to them as c.d henceforth. You will have greater pleasure reading this if you substitute c.d for something else throughout (Yeah.. the word that has "dress" in it)

My association with c.ds goes long back... My doctor disagreed with me when I attempted my first bawl just after birth. My teachers disagreed with me when I started attending school (Both very unnecessary I opine) And then few years ago I was discussing something with a friend, and well... We disagreed on a particular point. Very recently that same topic was repeated with the same friend (yeah.. I recycle conversations once in 2 years) We disagreed at the same point as earlier.. Funnily though, this time around I subscribed to the other guys views (remembering and repeating it to avoid a showdown) and he still disagreed!! I would have rationalised his behaviour perhaps, thinking that he has come around to my earlier view in the grand scheme of things we are all a part of, only if he hadn't exhibited the symptoms of being a c.d over all those years I've known him..

This illness perhaps stems from the innate need to be one up on the other person. Especially when you can have the thrill of disagreeing and being successful at that with a fellow of such great intellectual capabilities as myself. Really.. People cannot resist disagreeing with me. Case in point, I am not spared even by auto-drivers... A few weeks ago I happened to find myself on an auto (I found myself there as in - I have no recollection of how or where I hailed and occupied that 3 wheeled wagon) It was raining.. Or perhaps it had stopped raining. Doesn't matter for my narration, anyway, so feel free to assume either.

The auto passed/ ferried across a small pond (which I had never noticed all my life) at the base of the Richmond circle flyover. A few other vehicles struggled to get past that pond (my own vehicle had comedown with flu at the sight of an even smaller water body previous day- which led my present situation). Auto driver seeing me looking at other poor vehicles with concern said,
"Nodi saar, bere autogella coil-ge neer seerkondre ashte. Naan coil-ge protection haaksiddini" (Or something similar - I don't exactly remember)

I said, "Hmm.. So nimdu LPG naa??", simply because I thought he wanted to converse a little with me.. Bad mistake. I saw a flash of evil c.d grin before he replied ,"Ayyo.. LPG-ge addakke sambhanda ne illa" (in the same tone Vishnuvardhan said "Nange ninge innumele yava sambhanda noo illa" in a senti-film) Strike one!!

A few minutes later he again started talking about how due to heavy rains, a branch of a tree almost fell on the head of someone he knew.. I though it was my duty to make appropriate sounds again. So I said that one has to be careful during such rains. Uh oh... Another grin (disguised as a wry smile - but I tell you, it was a grin) "En hushaaru saar.. Grahachaara nettig illandre husharaagidru en prayojana"

Strike two!!
He nonchalantly dismissed my mild suggestion that one should be especially carefully in such rains and just resign to our fate as decided by the nine planets..

Some miles later, he asked me the time. I said 8:30.. "Ayyo illa saar, adu 6:40!!!" Strike three and Out!!

Ok, I made the last one up. But twice bitten, third-time shy, I decided to have no more such conversations with this knowledgeable auto-driver.. Apparently he was satisfied with having the last say twice..

So what do you when a c.d marks you as a target? For one, you can try steering conversation towards a topic c.d is uncomfortable with.. Or if you are physically strong you can try to knock c.d out before he has the pleasure of disagreeing with you. If all fails, make a run for it! Get as far away as possible.. In the meanwhile I'll look around if some NGO offers a helpline to such hapless victims as myself. I need counseling, for the last attack has traumatised me pretty badly :(
Be careful, for they’re out to get you…

Sunday, October 4, 2009

This post has no purpose

This post is dedicated to nothing in general. You may have a strong reason to believe the Infinite monkey theorem by the time you are done reading this..

First some random facts:

  • You cannot pull the same leg twice.

  • Two zenzizenzizenzic is 256..

  • World's first commercial ad appeared on July 1st, 1941 at 10:10 p.m - by a watchmaking company Bulova (Does the time ring a bell??)

There, that was like getting phleghm out of your throat.. Now for more important random things:

  • I spent the better half of my weekend looking for Sid. I figured some frustrated mom had plastered "Wake up Sid" posters all over town, asking the "not-what-the-country-can-do-for-you-but-what-you-can-do-for-your-country" countrymen, to wake up her son. Three frustrated souls named Siddharth, Siddhu and Sidhdharth (mind the double dh) are looking for me all over town, for jeopardizing their evil plans to slumber till lunch hour.. They however do not know where I reside.. Thank God for small mercies..

  • "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is an awfully depressing movie. And yes I'm one of those who judge people by the way they read this title out loud (Are you a ka-kk-oo, ku-kk-oo or a ku-ku person ?) 5 Oscars and being called one of the greatest American movies ever made does not endear the movie to me..

  • As I have quoted elsewhere - Hrithik starrer Kites is not related to nor is a remake of the epic Kannada movie Gaalipata. Rakesh Roshan does not copy. He is only inspired by Hollywood movies (Right, wiseguy, I'm being sarcastic here...)

  • 24 years to this day, Richard Stallman started the Free Software Foundation. May the code be with you. (Yes this is related to movies too.. How? That is left for the intelligent reader to find out)

So you figured out I had yet another boring weekend. Few more hours left, lemme see if it can spice it up a notch. I'll round this post with something I heard the other day - very inspiring - see if you can get the serious side of it:

My drim is old piss

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We are the champions??

Rameez Raja gloated that the whole of India will be praying for a Pakistan win (for a change - sic) today. Agreed. But I really didn't get what the rest of his statement meant.. How the hell is this supposed to bring the nations closer ?

Forget his naive idiotic theory. I'm sure a lot of our politicians would have been proud of that statement if he were Indian. I too prayed really hard that Aussies would lose today..But the difference is that I also hoped that India would go on and lose to the West Indies..

Now, please put those torches and rakes and forks and sharp-things away.. Isn't it time we stopped praying for other teams to lose so that we can qualify to the next round? If Pakistan won, but India still managed to lose, perhaps that would jolt them into improving themselves (yeah, just perhaps)

Alas, today was a bad day for me. None of my prayers were answered. By the time I posted this, Australia had won, knocking India out of the tournament, without them suffering the major humiliation I had hoped for them; playing as if this innings of theirs would earn them a place in the Test squad, and guiding (yawn) India to their only victory of the tournament were Kohli and Karthik..

So welcome back Indian cricket team, public memory is short and we'll forget all this in a few days and repeat it all over again.. We'll stoutly defend you even when you ridiculously refuse to agree to the WADA clause.. We'll buy all the products you endorse, religiously name our kids after you and even build temples in your name.. Welcome back..

Champions trophy is indeed for the champions..

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pre-Sabbath(s), Sabbath and post-Sabbath

Ok.. I admit..
I'm going to have a very loooooong weekend. Longer than most of you are going to have [wicked-maniacal-Joker-laugh] Because I've extended it beyond whatever legal holiday-policies my company permits..
If you think you are going report to my manager about my so called conniving scheme of weekend extension , then I will have to regretfully inform you that I have neither purposefully plotted this nor have enjoyed the extra day off..
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I discovered that getting drenched in the rain, whilst having mild cold can aggrevate it leading to your nasal siphons working overtime. I always thought I was immune to that particular effect of rain. Not to mention the headache that accompanies it. As a result I spent a boring day at home yesterday..

I'm not writing this to generate some pity for myself from the readers. I'm feeling much better now (though in case you were thinking of sending a "get-well-soon" card, thanks for your concern - I'm touched - seriously - but do send the card all the same)
Within a week of it's existence, it gives me great pleasure to inform that my blog turns up as on the very first result page on a very famous search engine (type my name there!!) Advantages of having such a unique surname...
However the title does not appear to be so unique after all.. I have to share it with a creepy Hong-Kong TV series, some relatively unknown book amongst others..
I placed myself completely under house-(ar)rest yesterday. My self incarceration continues today- with TV previleges - but am not sure if I can watch todays cricket match to the end(I feel drowsy after [surprise,surprise] taking a dose of cold/cough medicine) Have no idea what I'll do tomorrow and end the very long weekend by being present at my cousins wedding on Monday..
Oh well, weekends are for people who have something interesting to do.

As Odgen Nash remarked:
Your hair may be brushed, but your mind's untidy
You've had about seven hours of sleep since Friday.
No wonder you feel that lost sensation;
You're sunk from a riot of relaxation.

I rest my case...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Please refrain from Smoking

My second post also starts off on a bus (I'm not a bustromaniac - and no that word does not exist) I happened to visit Mysore over the weekend and my appearance there during the inauguration of Dussera was only coincidental (trust me). It happens to be an inside joke of a friend/colleague of mine(he's the non-mallu guy referred there) that I visit Mysore every other weekend. That's not true either..

It was a long time since I'd traveled to Mysore on a bus and my first time from the not-so-new Satellite bus terminal, Mysore road..

Me and dad bought tickets and got onto to the bus. And that was when I noticed strange alien people camouflaged amidst rest of us.. Yep, hard to tell them apart, but if you are observant enough you can always tell a Mysorean from a non-Mysorean.. It's probably the sense of relief at leaving Bangalore evident on their faces (who doesn't feel relieved to leave this city ??)

The driver came in and announced that everyone had to get tickets before getting onto the bus. Strangely he never asked anyone to show their tickets (a trusting Mysorean perhaps??) Instead he proceeded to every passenger, palm stretched outward in a way a guru blesses his disciples, muttering perhaps a prayer (something like -Forgive them for they know not what they do when they beshrew me for my driving) It was a few seconds later that I realised he was actually counting passengers!!

The bus finally started and what a start it was!! I've never been on a bus that crawled like that. Whining, wheezing it struggled to keep up with even the slowest vehicle on the road.. (My cousin told me later that was due to speed limiters - apparently some drivers haven't got used to it yet)

Nothing interesting happened for another 3 and half hours(except sleep, tea at Maddur, sleep, sighting of a large congregation of foreign tourists - yeah - Sri Sri's disciples – I knew about them long long before newspapers announced their presence at Dussera, and some more sleep)

We reached Mysore at about ten a.m and checked into the Dasprakash's.. We dumped our luggage in our room and came down for breakfast.. That was where I saw the strangest of signs - "Please refrain from Smoking"

I've seen a lot of "No Smoking", "Smoking Prohibited", "Smoking here is punishable by law" signs over the years, but never something like that.. Refrain?? Why not prohibit? With that puzzling thought I left the hotel as we took an auto to my aunt's place..

I witnessed yet another unprecedented event on my way.. A traffic jam in Mysore!! Nope that's not the event I'm talking about, it's how Mysoreans react to such traffic jams.. There was literally no honking at all.. Damn intelligent Mysoreans, they seem to have realised that honking is no solution to traffic jams!! Wish we could learn a lesson here :(

Now, I have an explanation for such Mysorean behavior. I call it the "Aristocratic theory of Mysoreans" (for the lack of a better name) Here goes:

  • The Dasprakash's has been a host to many members of royal families and their ilk.. Now when a Dewan or a king's kin arrived at your hotel, you naturally could not ask them to "Stop Smoking", right? If they had right sense they would refrain from smoking.. This is what I believe is the cause for such a polite sign to be put up instead of the usual - No Smoking
  • Mysoreans are perhaps used to traffic jams caused by some king happening to be passing along the same route.. You do not honk at the king, do you? This seems to be the same sense of non-honking even the modern Mysoreans have inherited from their ancestors..
Perhaps some kindred soul would further my theory and earn a PhD in the same (from Mysore University ;) ).. Until then I shall spin some more of my theories..

(Note: To the wisecrack who remarked that the title of my first post sounded like a high school essay - my minions are well on their way to your place, hope you're prepared to meet their fury)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Private vehicle vs Public transport


My purpose is not to trigger the age old debate here..

I avoided taking my bike to office yet again(Yep. I call it a bike.. sounds respectable) Instead decided to take a bus. Stood for fifteen minutes at a bus stop where I've stood most of my mornings for the last 5 years of my life.

I surely had missed a direct to my office (7D, for curious readers - rest of you just imagine your favourite bus) One majestic bus came and went.. Followed by 2 market buses.. 2 more majestic buses followed(including a nearly empty one). An autowala standing nearby lifted his eyes thrice from a newspaper in which he was engrossed. That strange look as though I was from another planet, and I finally made up my mind to get into the next majestic bus that came by.. So I did and got down at corporation..

I crossed to the other side of corporation and repeated my exercise sans autowala, curious or not. And I reached my office by 9:35..

So what was going on in my mind when I avoided buses I could have easily boarded?? Well, in no particular order, I think I avoid:

  • Crowded buses (a no brainer - very popular reason)
  • Buses with no conductors (Driver: Here's you ticket sir - Whoa! where'd that road divider come from?!? )
  • Buses with air-cooling contraptions (I'm not averse to cool atmosphere - I am to lighter purses)

I repeated this ritual of mine on my way back home.. Only little change was I had to walk a little further as buses along that particular route decided a detour was in order for today..

Buses are killing a lot of my time. Maybe I should start taking my bike regularly (why I don’t is beyond the scope of this syll (ahem) post - perhaps another time..) That is of course, till such time my mind convinces me that the advantages of going by bus far outweighs its negatives...

Oh and yeah... Welcome to my blog :)