Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fan-o-phobia

Has there been some thing that you are worried about lately, something that might not seem too important that has been troubling you? ... Or that the very thought of it makes you shiver, tremble with fear or puts in the fear of god within you?

Well ... I am facing one such thing of late. Somehow I have developed a fear of the fans, especially in cases where fans are a relatively lesser height, usually which I can touch easily with my palms or even elbows ... and even the ones that I can barely even touch by my fingers. This has not been without a reaon though.

Recently I went to a relatives place where there was this combination of a fan being at lesser height and me being quite tall. After taking a bath (yeah ... I do take a bath ... in summers at least!) I switched on the fan, and raised my hands to wear a T-shirt. And suddenly I found something hitting my left thumb, hitting it really hard. Before the signal was sent to my brain so that I could realize what was happening, I put my hand away from danger zone. (Courtesy - Spinal Cord, which initiated the rescue operation and ordering my hand to move away from the line of attack immediately upon receiving a SOS signal from my thumb). I escaped the fan attack with a minor cut, which may last maybe around 10 days within confines of a band-aid. Since then I have been telling this sad story of fan-attack to whomsoever concerned (and there have been many after seeing that awkward looking band-aid)!

Now that fingers keep me worried, and fans make me fear. What if height of fans are really low and I go on to yawn just under a running fan? Or worse still, if I am walking and suddenly decide to jump ... without realizing that I am under a running fan? Every time I am sitting, or standing or walking anywhere, no matter how important the work is or how busy I am, I always manage to have a look at the ceiling and work out my safety related strategies, and hoping that the famous adage - "Lightening never strikes a same tree twice" is true!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Standardized human beings

Often, I have seen and observed human beings who think in similar way, who act in similar way given a similar situation situation. They have similar values and beliefs, and deviations adherence to these norms or questioning them seems unthinkable. It is as if giving 10 such people same set of stimulus and getting exactly the same output from all 10 of them.

Not only it does exist ... it is often actually encouraged, and at times forced upon. For instance I have seen kids who are forced to become right handed just because it seems odd to be a left handed in a world full of right handed people. Even if this means labored eating and writing using by using right hand. Or almost every other unsuspecting 2-year old kid expected to recite millions of things millions of times before the guests.

Often you are expected, and at times forced to have same set of interests so that you fit into the society. For instance you must like similar hindi film music, you must like and appreciate dance and be able to do so, you must be able to sing in a sizable gathering, you must be good in sports and studies, you should have a sense of humor that can be classified as 'friendly' (as per orkut definition), you should worship daily, you must talk such that elders or any other people are not offended and people of same age group don't get bored ... yet you must be able to live freely and express your opinions freely blah blah blah. A male who lacks interest in stock market or cricket and a female who doesn't help in kitchen is a blot on face of humanity.

You need not be an expert in a particular field or show deep interest or be passionate about an issue if it hampers you being an all rounder by not adhering to the above mentioned standards! And if you don't follow above standards then all efforts to make you adhere to above specifications are likely to be made.

Seeing these norms often make me feel that humans should be like a machine or a automaton following certain technical specifications and fine tuned as per requirements or as the situation may be. The outer layer may be different, but the core remains similar.

I don't mean that we should be unpredictable ... but at least we can be something different, something different from the crowd ... someone who is not just another brick in the wall, as the great Pink Floyd would say!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Art of question paper leaks

(Following is based upon a real discussion which I had today morning)

As I was making efforts to keep myself afloat in the swimming pool, I overheard some conversations -

"Puraa paper pataa hota hai, wo to humein mil hi jaata hai ... tab bhi hum nahi padhte hain" ... and so on

The guy who did bulk of talking looked around 15 years old and seemed like quite a spoilt brat.

I chipped in with some expert comments and questions -

"Which board?"

"Kisi bhi board ka"

After a minute of chat I gathered that he had just given Class 10 exams in ICSE board and was planning to take science stream(PCM), and he studied in a school (say SKP). He had earlier managed to do the same at his previous school (say CRK).

Inquisitively, I tried to gather more information on how he manages to get the paper

"Bus kuch nahi, security guard ko paise do. 8th, 10th, 12th ke papers. Wo ek extra copy karaa leta hai. ICSE ke paper out karna sabse easy hai. Koi seal nahi hoti"

"Waise to CBSE and ..."

"Haan CBSE aur Chattisgarh board ke bhi paper milte hai na. But uska doosra tarika hai."

"Kaise?"

"Printing press mein mil jaate hain. Wo kya hai na ... usme seal lagi rehti hai so paper nikaal nahi sakte ... ICSE mein seal nahi hoti. Ye sirf Bhilai aur Durg mein hota hai. Waise milne ko to IIT ka bhi paper mil jaata hai. Lekin uske liye 25 - 50 hazaar maangta hai. "

(Half a minute of silence)

Waise aap kya kar rahe ho"


(I tell 2 lines about myself)

"Haan ek baar MBA kar lo to life mast ho jaati hai ... Meri mummy kehti hai ki tu dukaan mein baithta hai, tu to aadha MBA ho hi gaya hai. Bus ek degree ki kami hai. Kaafi to aata hi hai humein dukaan mein baith kar "

"Kaun si dukaan hai aapki ?"

"Saree ki dukaan hai hamaari. yahin pass mein hai. XYZ Sarees."

Again the boasting continues ...

"Main 10th board ke pehle roj Bhilai jaakar paper laaya hoon ... Har ek paper. Meri sister ke bhi saare papers jugaade the maine"

....

....

For a moment, I felt like an idiot having slogged so many years ... and the next moment I was inside the water, continuing to make efforts to prevent myself from drowning, after such a heavy dose!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A lesson

The Honda City brushed the vegetable laden cart, which was standing on side of a somewhat busy road.

Down he got from the car, removed his goggles, headed towards the seemingly malnourished vendor and grabbed him by his collar.

"Saale, tu khud ko samajhta kya hai. Sadak kya tere baap ki hai"

"Saab, meri koi galti nahi ... Wo to aapki gaddi ..."

"Saale, zabaan ladaata hai ... Teri to ..."

Raaapppppppppppatttttt >--Slap No. # 1--<

"Saab, lekin ..."

Satttttttttttttttakkkkkkkk >--Slap No. # 2--<


"Saab ..."

"Aur aukaad mein reh ..."

He grabbed the vendor by his collar, blurted out some words of which only the abuses were clearly audible and went back to his car to join his group of relatives, who were waiting for him to go for a shopping spree, all in awe of the command and control he had over the people.

Monday, April 07, 2008

K-eediyot box

(Disclaimer - Please do not think that I don't know spellings ... my numerologist told to use the above spelling for eediyot and add a k before it, this will help generate more TRP and comments for the blog)

Time 7 : 30 - 8 PM, 8 - 8 : 30 PM .... 10 : 30 - 11 PM

Venue - Zee TV, Star Plus, Sony entertainment etc. etc.

Figure this -

A family drawing room belonging to an extremely rich business house occupied with a mixture of emotional and scheming characters - 1 saas, 2 bahus, 1 son (+1 who makes an entry unaware of what is happening), 2 random distant relatives, 3 random cousins, all mouthing dialogues that have earlier been said by actors ranging from Nirupa Roy to Rajesh Khanna, followed by a long silence, 13 camera angles for same scene (top view, side view, cross sectional view, lateral view, 45 degree elevation view), flashbacks and memories that last few episodes, good people becoming evil, evil people actually being un-evil, rebirths, amnesia, a background score that often is a popular track belonging to a recent Bollywood blockbuster and many other over exaggerated aspects.
Few days later they will all be celebrating some festival ( 4 days for preparation + 2 days of celebrations - Holi/ Diwali/ Janmashtami/ Durga Puja/ Dussehra / Ram Navmi/ Navratri/ Kali Puja etc. etc. ... year after year!).

... This continues year after year, show after show ... and continues to generate a high enough TRP to make producers make similar shows.

Welcome to the world of Indian soap operas, popularly known by their names (usually starting with K) or as 'Tulsi', 'Saloni' etc. (name of characters in them ... am not sure of spellings though) by the loyalists, and as K-serials, Ekta kapoor type shows by the rest. These often become lifeline of Indian families in late evening. Every alternate household with a TV set can be seen playing any one of these many possible cacophony! These are the things that somehow end up influencing knowingly or unknowingly different aspects of lives - be it fashion, thoughts and ideas, parties, pujas, culture, promoting superstitions, devising schemes to win brownie points etc etc. But these also become instruments that prevent people to look beyond the bounded rationality that these shows promote and be cynical about anything apart from the 'values' propagated in these shows.

Recent news about Afghanistan government banning Indian TV channels because they think it is un-Islamic may seem to be improper and unjustified, and an extreme form of thought control. Like most of us around here, I am also against any such ban. But aren't Ekta Kapoor shows and their million clones which invariably occupy the prime time slot on Zee, Sony Star Plus and other TV channels a form of thought control? They may or may not be intended to 'control thoughts' but more often than not they end up being so!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Art of watching a movie

Everyone has some idiosyncrasies when it comes to watching a movie. I tried to list some of mine in this post --

Some random movie watching habits, that belong exclusively to me
(Idea for this write up has been blatantly stolen from other blogs!) -->

  • There are few movies I get extremely excited about (e.g. TZP, Jodha Akbar, RDB), and there have been few I have always been excited about ever since I saw them ... and people have been bored of hearing me recommend that movie to others (e.g. TZP, RDB, The Truman show, Forrest Gump, ... even Aaap ka surror!)
  • While watching movies (esp. angrezi ones!) on my lappy, I often use Wikipedia and IMDB as reference (esp. to know where the story is headed for) ... Even with such references, I could understand only half the movie Memento!
  • I love reading movie reviews. Few of the ones I follow are Taran Adarsh ke crappy reviews, Rajeev Masand (who is somewhat reliable) ... and few reviews occasionally in TOI, HT, Rediff, and other random websites. After all it is my review that matters!
  • I like to pass expert comments during most of the movies. I prefer not listening to other people's comment. I like telling trivia here and there. There have been cases when people have moved from my neighboring seat to some other location where they can see the movie sans comments!
  • I usually hate noises in the cinema hall ... unless I am the source! But shouting with the junta in movies like Chak De or Lagaan ... or even LOC Kargil have been awesome experiences!
  • There have been cases when I may have said "kya bakwaas", "pakaau", "jhilaaaaau", "yaaaaaaaaah", "nahiiiiiiiiiiiii" and similar words >143 times (> 1 per minute!) during a movie (e.g. Welcome, 10000 BC)
  • Some movies are watched only due to 'fun' of watching it, and not because of desire to watch good cinema (e.g. Aaap ka surroor - the moviee - the real luv story, when we went to cinema with a cap!)
  • I am a pop-corn guzzler ... I share it with others purely out of courtesy, usually with a heavy heart!
  • I laugh at 640 dB if there is something I find something really funny in a movie.
  • I often spend time in discussing a lot of stuff about the movie (apart from movie ke contents) ... which can be classified under 'trivia' section .. and I love to bore people with it!
  • I hate missing trailers and advertisements before the movie ... I usually speculate which trailer can we expect today before a movie ... and have often been right!