Tuesday, June 27, 2006

No large pachyderms in here!

Sign seen outside a government building on Bhikaji Cama road in Delhi:

Nope, no photoshop tricks. Yup, actual signboard.

Catching 'em young!

Wonder why Disney gives you that familiar feeling when you watch their animated movies? Maybe this site has the answer. Check these pics out for a preview:

While I'd like to believe this wasn't true, the pics are too similar... Not a big fan of Disney myself - Pixar is way, way better. Maybe now I'll start watching Disney movies as well - just to find the comparisons!!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What's in the stars today?

I get three newspapers at home. No, no, titter away, I won't take it amiss. I can see you thinking, sage reader, the news is pretty much the same, the photos are not very different, even the ads are the same. So why, in the lord's name, would somebody get 3 papers at home??

Ah, but there are the astro columns, you see. I like to read the previews of my day, pure entertainment happens. Even better on Saturdays and Sundays, because same paper has multiple astro-entertainment columns. You'd think the same stars spoke the same language, but you'd be thinking wrong things. Reading aforesaid entertainment columns will lead you to the conclusion that if you watch stars from Bandra, they will definitely look different from the star view in Andheri or Colaba. Or there are parallel universes in which I exist. Or they quote from different lists of cliches (oops, let the cat out of the bag, didn't I?). I have worked hard, therefore, in collating what looks like the forecast for my day:

Take care as you are accident prone. (Thank you. If i don't have an accident today, i know whom to thank, and if i do have an accident, you warned me, didn't you?) (mumbai mirror)
If you can be grounded, you could ultimately make your dreams come true. (Very, very insightful. If I was at home and ten years ago, I would have done something really naughty so I could be grounded. Now that I have fiscal freedom, I'll just ground myself... into the dust. Sorry, pj) (dna)
Partners' help will now prove invaluable. This goes for both intensely personal issues and long-term professional arrangements (I hope my partners are reading the same papers. Should I just send them an sms?) (i.e.)
Life can seduce you in various ways today. Softer and more pliable, you are capable of being anything to anyone. (Sounds very soft-porno... though if I'm softer and more pliable, can't see how I can be as capable of being anything to anyone!) (ToI)

Add to this collection, my "numero-logic" for the day. My lucky number is apparently 3. It's a fairly complicated and rigorous computation. Take your date of birth. Write it down in dd/mm/yyyy format. Remove the two slashes. Then remove the digits you have written in place of mmyyyy. Total the two digits you are left with (hopefully you have only two left, otherwise, repeat procedure) to get the magical lucky number. Since that might have tired you out, take a deep breath and count till 3 (the lucky number again! you lucky dog, you) and then read your forecast - sorry, my forecast, yours will have to be calculated through computation shown above:
The platonic bond that you share with loved ones needs to be extended a bit... Your warmth can break the ice, and this could make matters so much simpler for you (Can I share my non-platonic bonds as well? will my lucky number let me do that, please, please? And what's with the warmth breaking the ice thing, isn't that supposed to be in the "How to date girl in party, shy boy" column?) (mirror buzz)

What would I do without my daily share of platitudes, cliches and tautologies?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How I learned to stop worrying and love airport security

I'm heading towards the Mumbai airport at 6 AM on a Monday morning. It's way too early for civilized man - Bertie Wooster would be getting into bed right about now, give or take an hour. I'm not Bertie Wooster, and I'm barely a civilized man, so I guess it's ok for me to be awake at this hour. My thoughts are quite morbid and I'm looking for an outlet to funnel my creative rage.

I don't have to look far as I reach the airport. I get to the security guy at the entrance, who inspects both the ticket and me quite suspiciously, and thinks about the pleasure he'd get denying me entry into the airport. Sadly for him, the ticket is legit, so he lets me in. I go through and get my boarding pass done. And then wait in line for the security check.

The queue is so long, it's as if half the city has decided to get on a flight out of town - maybe I missed the plague warnings on the way in. I get to the front of the line in 20 minutes, put my laptop through screening, and get frisked by the lone security guy. No, frisked is quite tame, felt up is more like it. After inspecting the contents of my wallet and ensuring that my cell phone is not a time bomb in disguise, security guard 2 lets me go through to pick up the screened luggage.

If it was only that simple. Security guard 3 is intensely curious about the contents of my bag. I open it to show her my harmless laptop. She asks me if it's a laptop. I say yes, resisting a strong urge to tell her, no it's a grand piano, and that I intend to play it on the flight. It's a good idea in the end, it would have been difficult to explain the grand piano concept. I go through, only to be stopped by security guard 4, who checks if my baggage has received the appropriate stamp of approval. No matter that S4 is standing about 10 metres from the security check area and no matter that it's pretty much impossible to have gotten something under the eager hands of Mr. Feeler Up and the eagle eyes of Ms. Laptop Checker.

I get through S4, wearied already, and wait for the boarding announcement. The announcement duly comes and I go to the gate, only to be stopped by security guard 5, who checks the luggage tags... again! I'm sorely tempted to tell him there's a bomb in my bag and I've gotten it through 4 security guys, but I need to get out of the airport, and the flight is the quickest way out, so I wait for him to finish his inspection.

I get to the flight staircase, and there are two guys there - one who takes my boarding pass and lets me through, and guess what, another who checks my luggage tags!! I'm sure it's part of the overall entertainment package, but it's too damn wierd for me. As I enter the aircraft, I can only think, 5 security guards (and one random airline official) later, I am not sure that we would win a poll for the most secure airport. There's a greater chance (odds on actually) that we would win the poll for the most painful and pointless airport service in the world. Do other countries not have security issues, or do they just apply more thought on how to be ensure security? Too heavy for a Monday morning, I promptly go to sleep.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Here comes the Spanish Armada

To answer Amit's question, and to put a spanner in the works of all the Brazilian / Argentinian / English fans out there, I propose a name that I haven't heard many people put forth - the Spaniards. Why, you ask me? Well, here are the reasons, in no order of priority:
  • Look at the quality of the team: Casillas at goal, Puyol, Salgado and del Horno in defense, Xabi Alonso and Xavi in midfield, Torres, Raul and Luis Garcia along with the mercuric David Villa up front. While they haven't been as highly touted as Brazil's Fab Four or Argentina's warriors, this Spanish team has the talent. As captain Raul says, "In the nine years that I've been with the national team, I've never seen so many quality players." - know what, he's right about the quality - they showed it in their first game demolition of Ukraine.
  • Spain has been showing its class in world sport over the last couple of years - look at Rafa Nadal and Fernando Alonso, and closer to the sport at hand, both Barca and Villareal stamped their class at the European league cups. True, they had enough foreign players, but the heart was truly Español!
  • Lady Luck's never really been on their side for all these years. Their best ever performance has been a fourth place in 1950, no less! It's about time the jinx is broken and the Spandiards get what's rightfully theirs - a World Cup to their name.
It's more a heart thing than something truly thought about. I'd just love to see a new winner - watching the same countries win it over and over again ain't all that exciting, and who better to win it than the Spanish!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Don't open your mouth that wide, flies will get in

was my mom's mild admonishment when I used to gape at things wide-mouthed in my chaddi days. She could have as well told Sush Sen that when, somewhere in 1994, she won the Miss Universe title and challenged a few flies to enter her gorgeous mouth. What had, till then, been tut-tutted, became quite fashionable and the "open your mouth till your cheeks implore for mercy" thing became quite famous.

It seemed both cute and humble, in a wierd way, like she really didn't expect it. The look caught on like wildfire, with a string of beauty queens doing the post-win oh-my-god-did-i-really-win look. Apparently, beauty schools have, along with major and minor surgeries for different parts of the body and lessons on diction and world peace, started training their future Miss Timbucktoos's to give the appropriate wide-mouthed, wide-eyed look at the right time.

Could you, therefore, blame the world when it now looks at Rakhi Sawant all wide eyed after the infamous Mika kiss, and believe she may not have been as appalled as she claimed. Take a look:

I guess if Rakhi had turned round and tightly slapped the marauder in question, things might have been a little clearer. The Sush look clearly didn't help in the convincing-the-world department. All this became clear to me as I was sitting with a friend who watched the episode and wasn't quite sure if Rakhi was shocked or elated at the end of the kiss!

This will most probably be a forgotten episode in a couple of weeks' time... but it says a lot for our own perceptions that a look of shock and a look of delight have now intertwined themselves in our minds.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

An old photograph did this to me

I want to forget. Memories come back as I think they have been forgotten. I wince as the memory floods my brain. My muscles contract involuntarily and my skin erupts in goosebumps. I want the feeling to go away, but it doesn't... maybe I want it to stay a little longer, so I can enjoy the sweet torture. The masochism comes with the territory.

All of this doesn't last more than a few seconds, but the memory of the memory lingers. I feel more alive, like I've completed two or three lifetimes, in different cities, with different people, in different worlds... like that other person was me, but not me. Shades of me in that memory, but no, that couldn't have been me. I looked different, talked different, believed in different things.

Of course, it's all false, since I haven't lived a multiple lives, and I lead a fairly normal existence. But I like to fool myself, to believe that I have been created whole from those experiences, from those lifetimes of memories that I want to forget. Like a new improved version of software or soap powder or lipstick. Am I just a creation of my own confusion? Or am I a memory that'll make me wince a few years down the road? Or even better, both? I don't know... actually I don't want to know. It's easier not to know.

Tis good to write again...

Can’t describe my own joy at getting back to writing after 4 days of nothing. As the words flow through me on to the screen and as I see the whiteness of the screen stained by pixellated black, it feels good. I read this somewhere, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and open a vein”. Well, boy, am I happy to bleed!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kinki Sushi!

Just back from HK, where I happened to eat at a Sushi place, that just happened to have this on their menu:

Whoa! I've heard of snakes and frogs and all of the usual SE Asian diet, but raunchy seafood has just taken it to the next level!