Saturday, February 25, 2006

the change it had to come,i knew it all along

It had to happen. It waiting to happen. I got so deathly bored with the normal blogger template that I just gave around three hours to ensure that I am not bored anymore. Just another link in the blogosphere evolution if you wish. Exams are over, it's showing already.

So what's new?
What? Are you insane? Everything's new. Except me, except you. Pinched a Wordpress template form somewhere and tweaked it away to glory. The banner image by the way is 'Expulsion from Paradise'. For now that this; I have plans. And an image of mine, chosen specifically so that it gives the feeling of me looking down at my posts. I do that. With a smirk of course. Had to remove the tagbox as it looked hopelessly out of place.

What to expect?
A lot more surely. First of all a changing image header. In vogue these days. Will do it some other time.

What goes wrong?
The comments won't have your name,apparently. Once you wish to post one, voila! It's there again. I have to correct that of course. Later.

If you think anything other than 'Yeah, whatever', I'll like to know.

Friday, February 24, 2006

the end has no end the end has no end

I was waiting for this day to post. Everyone's exams are over. Ours aren't. We've got 2 tomorrow. It all ends tomorrow, then starts again.

This week I've been busy. Very. The NBA all star weekend, the 2 UEFA champions league matches. Bad timing for exams. Exams do tend to bring out the best in people though. I got this as an IM forward:

Q. What is the vector inverse of Sridevi? (hint: if a is a vector then a-bar is the inverse)
A. Tabu. Sridevi was Chandani, Tabu was in Chandani Bar.

This led to some more innovations. I got this soon after:

Q. If Imran Hashmi is a serial kisser then who is a parallel kisser?
A. Ravana.

Then I bumped across this IITB indigenous Orkut group, which has this legendary senior as an active member. Legendary because I was on the recieving end of his gyaan a long time ago:

Q. What is the answer for Life,Universe and Everything?
Me and everyone else (read freshies) : 42
RT: 69.

So that group obviously had some more major gyaans. Highlights follow:

Einstien theory of relativity disco maarta hai and apna motorcycle lekar time machine banata hai and goes for a ride at the speed of light. Wahin, doosri lane mein usee Gulshan Grover milta hai. Einstinen poochta hai:

E: What is your name?
D: Gulshan Grocer..


kyun ki at that speed, v=c!

Another one. Specially if you dig KBC jokes and are sick of the give-options-for-baap-ka-naam waala joke. Follows:

Amitabh: Welcome to Kaun Banega Crorepati Dritiya!
Atal: Ji Shukriya... kya mein pooch sakta hoon ki is program ki agli nasal ka kya naam hoga?
Amitabh: Of course.. Kaun Banega Crorepati Tritiya...
Atal: Ok! Aur uske baad.. Kaun Banega Crorepati Ch.... ?
Amitabh: Computerji, inhe lock kar diya jaaye!

Some classic Non-sequiturism is can be found there. By the way I learnt that phrase today. Here:

Professor: 'A' for?
Little Boka: Apple !!!
Teacher: Jor se bolo
Little Boka: JAI MATA DI

Anti-humor is addictive. I got into the act too.

Q. What is the favourite energy drink of hookers?
A. Whore-Licks.

Q. What do call the fuel refill of a coal powered racing car?
A. A peat stop.

Puns are pretty addictive. Bird Flu gave the passport to millions of people to come up with bad or worse puns. Stupid TOI journalists tell us 'Not to flirt with chicks' and HT says 'Fowl Play'.
No wonder he had this status message- 'Bird flu puns...sigh :(' . I messaged him and asked 'How about One Flu east, One Flu west, One flu over the Cuckoo's nest? ' He took a bow.

Status messages are the best place to place your puns or jokes. See? My potpourri partners, him and Kela usually have the best ones. Two that I still remember:

Sujay: I am very poor. I can't even pay attention.
Kela: Why is Santa always happy? Because he knows where all the bad girls are.

I got inspired, had this thermodynamic pun:

If I got any cooler, I would be absolute zero.

Maybe already am. Exams remind of the setting of M*A*S*H and the way they deal with the gloom. Hawkeye Pierce I so want to be you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Life and times of an old friend in black and white

Not so long ago we still had a working,although sparingly so,black and white TV set at home.It was a working antique piece and like all antique pieces it was plain hideous.Many times I had tried to find out the exact era when it's association with us started,but I had to be disappointed with an answer like 'Must have been one of the after-marriage-home-accessory gifts ' from my mom.The brand was Weston,which probably had monopolised the b/w TV market,sadly it monopolises the garbage dumps these days.How times change!

Those were the best of times though.It was a part of our family,and the most active part.The earliest I can think of is having watched a Republic Day parade and feeling good about it.I must have been 4 then.Better still,there was only one channel those days to focus attention on,dear old DD,and back then the programs were such that only a 4 year mind could appreciate them.It also acted as a social tool.Many people around us were not blessed with the luxury at that time and the popular programs and movies and occasional cricket matches were too good to be watched alone.So it ensured a public gathering,a TV party if you are page3 sort.

Sadly things started to change after 1991.The Gulf War happened and cable TV led by CNN started changing equations.The final blow was probably the 1992 cricket world cup when people started to realise that they need to be able to differentiate between a test and an ODI match.And they need to differentiate between blood and tar.Colour TV's were the new after-marriage-home-accessories now and people were saving money to buy one.Our friend faced no such problems,for we believed that we couldn't discard a family member,not until it had lived it's whole life.

Life was difficult without cable TV those days.I spent more time hopping onto the roof and twisting the antenna in every angle possible than actually watching that thing.All in the hope that due to some constructive interference of these waves a channel other than DD might show up.The scantily few times that happened we watched a bored looking newscaster reading something we could not hear or criss cross lines accompanied by UFO like sounds which left a lot to imagination.When World Cup '96 came,we decided we could not ruin our cricket watching experience by trusting DD and so in came cable TV.

It was the first time the old machine was truly tested.I wanted to watch highlights of the day's play while my mom wanted some song of her era.So the very fragile channel rotation gadget was twisted to and fro so hard and fast that given a chance the TV would have broken down into tears.That never happened because the channel thingie broke down.I assumed great notoriety in this regard as having broken down many a 'tuners';as they called it.But,like all great minds,I had an alternative.I used pliers to rotate the protruding part once the tuner broke down,something only I could risk doing.It had downsides too,like getting electrocuted a zillion times,but the upsides of watching so many channels more than compensated for that.

The TV was getting old and couldn't take all this manhandling.It started breaking down.The exterior gave way first.The body made of ply was delicious abode for the termites who virtually ate that thing away.Everything-the front sliding door,the plywood back cover and the designer wood carvings.So we were left with a TV with a broken door and a rather airy hindside with a visible picture tube.The interior machinery soon followed suit.The first few times we had the regular mechanic come in,mend and take the fees.Later,he decided to have a monthly account and collect all the fees for his regular visits at the end of the month.Basically a permanent employee.

Standing beside him as he worked away,I learnt a few tricks myself.Like when the entire screen showed just a single luminous white line,I knew which component to tweak.And when the TV suddenly stopped with a puff of smoke from the hindside,I immediately changed the fuse.When the picture shrinked and people looked like pigs I knew what was wrong.It was like a non paid internship for me.After having his patience tested time and again,the mechanic pleaded with us to change the set.As long as we were happy paying him,we din't see what the problem was.He threatened to stop coming although of course he never did.Our beloved TV had more time being worked upon than working itself.By then though ,it was too much of a sentimental attachment to let go.

Then suddenly one day it stopped working.No warnings nothing,it just went kapoot.I tried all my expertise.When I failed the mechanic tried his best.With a rather relieved look to his face he said ,'It's dead,time to get a new one'.We didn't believe him,we called someone else,hoping against hope that he was better qualified to bring it back.He saw our friend and wondered how it had managed to function so long.We were too shocked to buy a new set so soon.It was a part of our memories,a hero of our tales,a friend in times of distress.We discussed all the good times it had given us and all the bad times we had given it.We were overwhelmed by this sudden demise.

Then a new cricket series started and we couldn't do without buying a new TV.It's still there and we can only hope it serves as long as it's predecessor.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

X-Treme Talk

The second website I ever visited after the ICSE one,which was mandatory to see the results,was EXPN.Those who don't love extreme sports haven't seen it,let alone experience it.Today when I saw the results for the half-pipe event in the Winter Olympics at Turin and saw my favourite snowboarder Shaun White,all of 19, take yet another gold,it took me back to an episode of Winter-X where Shaun said after winning in Aspen-'This one chokes me man,chokes me'.

My association with xtreme sport is limited,but it's not that I haven't tried.The first thing I did after coming here was search for a BMX,when my friends were looking for the regular BSA-SLR for classes,bikes being banned here.I scouted every place I could with my limited freshie knowledge.Finally when I found one BMX model,turned out that the handle didn't turn 360 and the shopkeeper warned that it could breakdown on Indian roads.I was a freshie,but I wasn't stupid,so that plan was stalled.

Then I brought a borrowed skateboard from my cousins in the 3rd sem.Anyone who has even a little GK will have heard of Tony Hawk,if you haven't...well you shouldn't be reading this.I was electrified by the gravity defying tricks he pulled off-the record 900,the super high ollies,the cool vert tricks..I can fill this page here.Back home TV was never enough to feed me the tricks I dreamt of doing someday.After I came here I flooded my comp. with scorching skateboarding videos,both freestyle (Mullen et al) and the half-pipe/tour ones by Andy McD and Tony Hawk and the likes.Inspired and charged up I tried everything I could,but so far I haven't been able to pull off even an ollie,let alone the higher tricks.On the bright side I learnt how to ride a skateboard and that's consolation enough.Inline skating is the next in line,hopefully I'll learn that soon enough.

The hills in our campus are perfect for mountain-x,but since I couldn't get a BMX I can't show it to people.I even thought of wakeboarding in Vihar lake,but I realised that this sounded like a fantasy tale.Someday though,I'll do it all.Even B.A.S.E jumping.And hopefully stay alive to write about it.

Getting back to the Winter olympics,I hope Kelly Clark makes it 2 in a row in the half-pipe.She is right up there with my favourite sportswomen alonside Mia Hamm,Danica Patrick and Yelena Isinbayeva.Pretty list,eh?

After coming here the passion is hugely supressed,but it still kindles on.Sadly little can be done with people who watch endless movies on LAN,Wiki/IMDB for them and be pretentious jerks,play 'strategic' games on LAN,watch every silly soapcom mother of all being FRIENDS or just think that cricket is the only sport.But then,they might think the same,so I quit trying.The least I can do is to wait to get out.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

We finally WON!

I made this sound melodramatic but then I have the liberty.After 3 years of trying and getting every position but first in GC events (potpourri and quizzing basically) I finally managed to win something.The Inter Hostel Main GC trivia event to be precise.

Partnered by Audi,who was my partner for that memorable freshie year main GC where we surprised everyone by qualifying,we manged to come joint first along with H-4.It was a bit unfair on Yohan and Iyengar and of course other teams that we got to choose our topics in the specialities as well as bidding round earlier on basis of having lower points,and I of course (mu ha ha ha) answered all of them.But then no mistake of ours.

All in all a nice quiz set by Ramanand,nicer still that we won it.An interesting co-incidence here-he won the quiz I set,I won the quiz he set.

I remember the caption of the tee I chose for my bro last year-'No Sport No life'.I'm nowhere as Wiki/IMDb savvy as most other quizzers,saving grace is the infinite amount of sport I watch and follow and play/wish to play.Worse still,I won't change.

OK enough of melodrama,but I'm actually happy that we won.

Dear Diary,I'm going off to sleep now.

Oh my God

Sometimes I just can't understand this world.After the cariacture that has been so controversial and ignited the highly inflammable passions of Muslims all around the world,an American firm has come up with a T-shirt which has the cartoon printed on the front side.Make money with everything,what's a few lives here and there.

The product description goes:
Yet another example of that so-called 'religion of peace'. As much as these people burn and desecrate the symbols Americans hold dear, what are these folks cryin' about. Celebrate your right to free speech and wear this shirt.
At 20$ this freedom of speech does not come cheap(Ok I converted into Indian currency,old habits die hard).Add to that the risk of being noticed in the wrong sort of way,a huge additional cost.But,120 products sold in a single day do suggest otherwise.Emotion,sentiment,common sense-no one's even considering those.It's not hard to understand why:

Nate Thomas, product manager of MetroSpy, says, “We can’t let the terrorists win. We cannot encourage this uncivilised behaviour by caving in to their wishes.”
Bravo Nate! You should be handing over a complimentary copy of Satanic Verses with this one.With extra charges of course.That would be more in-your-face don't you think? And earn you some extra cash as well.

The Pakistani papers,the only one I found quoting this issue,are not happy,understandably so.The article I came across has this to say as conclusion:
Critics of the T-shirts say this is a perfect example of why Americans are hated around the world. Finding humour in the desecration of another’s religious symbol is wrong. Despite the critics, MetroSpy intends to keep selling the T-shirt.
This incident takes me back to the 2002 Miss World riots in Nigeria,where 200 people lost their lives over an article saying something about the Prophet and the beauties.The organisers coolly shifted the venue to London and had the show anyway.I was never a fan of beauty contests,but this gave me a huge reason to despise them.I don't know what was the justification given but I guess it wouldn't have been different from what the T-shirt people came up with.

An original joke to end things with,couldn't restrain myself from putting it here

Q:Why did the Pakistani cricket team throw out Kaneria?
A:Because his first name was Danish.

I'm still learning.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Under Cover

Jamshedpur isn't a city that comes into news frequently.Today when I was browsing through HT,I saw an amusing (some would say alarming,but the situation is alarming not the article) piece about V-Day celebration woes.The VHP people have come up with a plan to curb the 'open' enthusiasm of the lovers by forcibly marrying those couples found wandering about in parks and other places,so the paper reports.So I rushed back to my room to check out this report in e-form and send it to my Jsr. friends who I knew would be equally bemused.I serched for Jamshedpur on the HT page and the disappointment of not having found that report was more than made up by another one:Want to meet lover? Go for a Burqa!

Sounds revolting doesn't it.Who wouldn't want to read such an article,that too about my very own hometown.It went on:

The girls, afraid of being spotted and rebuked for bunking classes to go on dates, usually rent the burqas - a cloak traditionally worn by Muslim women - from shopkeepers.

Hidden behind a veil from head to toe, they freely meet their boyfriends in parks, cinema halls and other places.

So romantic isn't it? Last time I was back home,I went to the main park named Jubilee Park,spread over some 40 odd acres,almost daily.Between playing some serious sport like getting maximum rebounds by skimming stone over the lake or jumping the maximum roadblocks without hitting the road,me and my friends noticed something alarming.There was a remarkably high number of burqa clad women (?) who took advantage of cornered spaces and tree shades to interact with their male friends.We dismissed this as the new face of liberalisation and freedom and continued with our games,not that we could have done anything else.Only today did I find the reason behind this:

"There are reports that girls bunk classes and go on dates wearing burqas. This is disturbing," said Shukla Mohanty, principal of the college.

"We have decided to rusticate girls found meeting their boyfriends wearing burqas and bunking classes. We have also appealed to parents to cooperate in the drive."

How are the parents supposed to co-operate?

Girl:Mom,today I'm gonna wear a burqa to college.
Mom:Burqa?? That's rebellious! You stick to that mini you wear everyday.

And this is not all,matters are complicated futher:

A shopkeeper in the Bishtupur area said on condition of anonymity: "If we rent out each burqa for Rs. 100, we earn anything between Rs. 300 and Rs. 1,000 a day. It's good business. But we have to be on the alert about the police!"

And people say that there aren't enough enterpreneurship ideas these days.Boy,if they start a Taliban special in restaurants where the dress code would be you- know-what to compliment this boom,we could have seats reserved in advance for the whole month.

I really feel bad that the guys don't have to do anything that shows their resolve to meet up.Agreed they have to pay for petrol and maybe food,but something is missing.I think it's time the feminist groups start demanding that guys come in turban clad fully traditional uniforms.Would be an unmissable sight at the park then.

With Jamshedpur,you always find something interesting.I missed the local newspapers with their insanely,ridiculously funny reports.All they have here is page 3 crap.Who wants that if you get to know how a mad drunken elephant named Gudru romped the Manjhi village and how a new shop was inagurated by the building incharge's wife in the locality.I bet no one.

Pieces like this one will bridge the gap though.Full version available here.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Pressed for words

There is no such thing as an amateur geek.I proved that today.I tried fiddling with Wordpress and all the import export business and ended up screwing my blog.

The result is in front of you.

Feeling too silly to go on.

It's Alive!!

In case you ever wondered what happened to our group (he he that's a tough word to use) on Jamshedpur our lovely hometown,wonder no more.

In a sudden act of altruism,I decided to spring it back into action from it's extended spell of dormancy and you can find a new post there:
You could always have checked it out with the 'All the way home' waala link on the LHS but then it wouldn't have added to the dramtic effect.

I hope I update it more frequently.Or hope that the word 'group' is justified in the phrase group blog.I'll keep hoping.You keep reading.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Manchurian Candidate,LSD and other things

The Manchurian Candidate,the original version, is the best,best movie I have seen in a very long time and probably will remain so in a very long time to come.The movie watching experience was made even better and spookingly co-incidental thanks to the circumstances in which I saw this one.Only some stroke of cosmic luck,probably like this time round,can recreate such an experience and that's not going to happen pretty soon.Enough exaggeration you might think,so let me explain.

I just came back from Acoustic Dusk,our amateur intra college band performance organised by the western music club Staccato.Nothing on the performance here,but I was with some friends there and as the bands played we discussed some music and other things.Now with Rock 'n Roll these 'other things' pretty easily lead to drugs and their influence on the music.So LSD came into the picture when Sheel quoted someone "It's not dope,it's just bad acid".This led to a 10 minute lecture from me about LSD and it's effects and the famous people behind it like Dr. Leary,Aldous Huxley and Steve Jobs comment that taking LSD was one of the two-three most important things he has done in his life.They were amazed by my dope,rather acid saviness-even more so as I don't smoke or drink or intend to pretty soon.But I'm one of those persons who reads a lot about things that interest me and the history and effects of LSD are pretty interesting.Just on paper though,I don't see myself being brave enough to try that thing out,certainly not in the foreseeable future.Anyway one of things that LSD was used for was the Project MKULTRA which was the secret CIA programme for mind control during the cold war era.This is just one part of the story.

The X-Files is one of the earliest TV serials I have watched,since '96 if I recall correctly and I like that show.Science fiction and conspiracy theories:very few people don't like them.And even those who don't Gillian Anderson would surely give them a reason to watch the show-too bad the show developed into major crap in the last 3-4 seasons and lost fans like me.Anyway I was watching old episodes of the show and decided to watch a movie after watching a particular one,it's pretty evident what it was about.[On a personal note I may add that though I'm not that ring tone savvy,never tried to download those things,I made it a point that my cell rings with the opening sequence of the X-Files on both my stolen and new cells.] The movie I chose happened to be The Manchurian Candidate,thanks to my recent fetish for black and white movies.If you happen to figure out the phrase it was the 'perfect setting' which resulted in a 'good trip'.Too much LSD literature I know.

The movie was absolutely perfect for me.Science fiction,satire,Red Scare,Cold War,witty dialogues,Frank Sinatra,conspiracy theories-basically everything I dig.The ending was again brilliant and it left me in awe that someone could have made a movie on such unfathomable things that far back.To add to that this movie has one of the funniest,funny if you have seen the movie,thread titles in the IMDb dicsussion boards:What girl picks up a psycho on a train?

After a heavy dose of spooky Mulder's logic,the experimental use of LSD in Project MKULTRA and now this movie,I am beginning to form theories of my own in my head.But I'm not on dope,or acid, so it's pretty likely these will evaporate when I wake up tomorrow.

Till then,I want to believe or The truth is out there.Whatever.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Reliving the Sensation

I got a huge shock when I visited The Sportstar website today.The Sportstar is no more,it's just Sportstar now.Not only this,they are changing the magazine format to a more 'youthful' tabloid format to appease the newer generation.I felt there was nothing wrong with the old form,but then I might be getting older and more 'retro'.This news is even worse.

I'm overwhelmingly nostalgic right now.I still remember the day when my brother told the newspaper wala to bring The Sportstar-way back in 1992 when I was 8 and he was 9.In 2nd standard I was supposed to read about Hiawatha and The Man who ate too much,but that was replaced by a Jim Courier interview or a special on Senna after that.So when my classmates had a tough time figuring out why SA lost the '92 semifinal to England,I had all the explanation with extensive rules at my disposal.While people were quoting cliched sayings out of essay books in their essays,I was writing things like 'Football is not a matter of life and death,it's much more important than that' when asked to write about my favourite sport.The Sportstar started and fuelled my fanaticism for sport.

The poster was a huge thing to look forward to every week,and ensured a minor fight between two brothers when it finally came.I wanted Mark Waugh and Nigel Mansell on my side of room while my brother insisted on keeping them with Brian Mcmillan and Sabatini on his side.A very worthy thing to fight for.After my dad got transferred and we moved to another house we decided to make things special with the huge collection of posters we had accumulated till then.The front room wall was plastered with all kinds of posters,many of whose taglines I can still recall.I think it took around 40 to cover the wall and we made it an annual affair.Anyone who entered our house had a word or two to say about our efforts and the awesome display.Looked nice and felt real good.We of course kept the special ones to stay beside our bedsides.Even now I have a Mark and Steve Waugh poster from '93,Cronje,Mika Hakinnen,Richard Krajicek,Hingis,Jordan,Mark Taylor and Roberto Baggio adorning my room wall.My brother being a fanatic Azhar supporter has 3 Azhars and a Pistol Pete staring at his now unoccupied bed.Those days can never come back again,and with The Sportstar being revamped,they really can't.

From '92 to '01 we had,until recently,almost each copy kept in the store room.One of my favourite pastimes when I went home was to sift through those innnumerous copies and relive those moments while turning the pages.Denmark's amazing victory in Euro '92,Senna's tragic death,Pete's unbeatble streak,Sachin's long awaited ODI hundred-moments just came flooding back.It was almost like a diary I never kept.

Brijnath and Lokpally had become a part of my life.Glanville made sure I knew things about the football world before ESPN et al made them so popular here.Ted Corbett's diary was staple diet without which the week could not go on.Sunny and Simpson provided views that mattered.And of course all the stats I ever knew was courtsey Menon.Thankfully they should still be there.

TARGET was the only other magazine I read this regularly and loved till it gave way to the rather pathetic Teens Today,which made sure I stopped subscribing.I just pray to God that something similar does not happen in this case.

And I hope they stick with the tagline 'Relive the Sensation'-such an appropriate one.