Monday, October 30, 2006

Kannum Kannum Nokia

The germ for this post was sown by the 1st standard studying cousin of my roommate. When my roomie asked him what he wanted from US, he replied without any hesitation - CELL PHONE. I was wondering why a 6 year old kid needs a cell phone. When I was in college, there was only one guy in our hostel who had his own cell phone and we looked upon him as if he was Lakshmi Mittal and we were iron scrap merchants.

Back after college, my parents insisted that I get a cell phone before I leave for job. But an adamant idiot that I am, I had always wanted my cell phone to be bought out of my own money and so I waited for my first month salary and bought a Samsung C100. In my training period, one of my fellow batch mate asked for my number and when I told him that I had no cell phone, he looked at me as if I had just told him that Bush was gay.

"No Cell phone? What’s your problem dude?"

"Anything wrong with it? What are you, some Mr. I-was-born-with-a-cell phone-in-my-hand? "

Indeed it seemed to be. Back in 1997, I remember cell phone was a status symbol when the incoming and outgoing were charged at exorbitant prices and you were looked upon as if you had booked Rajini for a movie. But enter Mr Ambani and his "Mera sapna Sabka Apna" and every body on the street was out with a cell phone. The ad of “Viru ki Maa” became the butt of all jokes, but who cares. You see a reliance cell phone with someone and look upon them as if they said that Vijayakanth was the most handsome man in the world.

Some of the stupid instances are the Customer Care calls. Once my friend received a call as such
She: "Sir, I am calling from XXXXX. Would be interested in taking a personal loan?"
He: "No Madam. I am leaving for a meeting now. And I don’t want a loan"
She: "Sir we offer premium rates and there is no limit as well"
He: “Does it come with a steal-the-bank option?"
She: "Sir...."
He: "Because I am already buried neck deep with hell lot of loans and if you force me to take this, I don’t think I have any other option of paying you back"

By the time he replaced his phone, she must have mumbled "What a jerk" and must have wished him luck to not even find a burial place in Kannamapettai in his last days. Every day there is a new model with a new feature. By the time you buy some model wondering what more can be done, there is another one in the market with something extra. It has an FM, MP3 player, TV, Mailbox, Chat, Bluetooth, GPS...I wonder if the only things that are left to be added to it are Washing Machine and refrigerator. Some common traits of cell phone using people are numbers marked as HOME, OFFICE, INDIA, and RELIANCE and so on.

The consummate users of cell phone are the love-and-flirt pairs. They begin their day with a good morning for their beloved and go to bed with their good night. They won’t let their cell phone go from their hands for their lives. A typical conversation is as such between the kadalai ppl

He: "Hey, so what’s the Tiffin?"(Thanks to CUG (Closed User Group) I dont need to pay for this)
She: "Its idli" (Jerk, he doesn’t know any other opening line)
He: "Was it chutney or podi?" (Why doesn’t she eat anything other than idli)
She: "It was chutney" (Oh moron, ask something else)
He: "Why, you don’t like sambhar?" (What should I ask next? This is going nowhere)
She: "Oh C’mon Bharath. You know I don’t like Sambhar for idli" (He cant even remember this about me?)
He: "Meena, this is Arvind" (Who the hell is Bharath?)
She: "This is Asha"

Thattam Gatam. End of conversation (perhaps relationship). Agreed, it is one awesome tool for communication. It’s a hell of a safety tool for working women and college going girls to communicate to their parents. You think of someone special sometime, just open it and boom....there you go. Life was never so easy. But we have also heard about blank calls, obscene sms and so on. One stupid case I heard recently was where a woman complained receiving obscene SMS and when traced, it was from an unlisted number....owned by her husband.

Let’s admit it, haven’t we all lost our privacy? As every technological innovation, this too has a dark side when all it was invented was for one major purpose - Connecting people.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Departed

"Pachchas rupya do saab" (give me fifty rupees) demanded the autowallah as he dropped me outside the Delhi High Court. I didn’t haggle with him and handed over a 50 rupee note and walked to the Courtroom. Even though I have a car, I can’t come in it as the press knows my car and they will hound me like vultures surrounding a dead body. I walked as fast as I can so that I don’t want to get mobbed by anyone and settled in one end of the court clutching my bag closely.

"Today we will have the verdict for the case between Priyadarshini Vs Santosh" declared the judge. Priyadarshini. My dear daughter could have been a successful lawyer, a more-than-average-singer or an obedient wife and a nice mom. But what did she become? An objection of obsession of a psychopath who had stalked her for long, who one day ended her life after a gruesome rape and left her dead in a pool of blood. Every time the press and the court when ask me to repeat the details of the crime, it was like being hanged to death without any sentence.

The case has been in hearing for the past 10 years and it has been like 10 centuries. The worse day of my life was when in 1999, a court judge declared openly that he was acquitting the murderer even though he knew he was the culprit, because of lack of evidence. My whole world turned upside down. It was a blow on the face of justice. Worse was that the murderer Santosh cleared the Bar exam and is now a practicing Lawyer.

What makes these people commit such crimes? Is it the fact that our justice system has so many loopholes that even a dinosaur can walk out of it? Is it the support of their strong connections with powerful men in positions where anything and everything can be compromised? Don’t these senseless bastards think that the women to whom they do such gruesome acts are women as their own mothers or sisters?

The judge cleared his throat and brought me back to the shore from the sea of questions and doubts. "The trial judge acquitted the accused amazingly taking a perverse approach. It murdered justice and shocked judicial conscience. Santosh is found guilty of murder of Priyadarshini under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape)."

As he delivers his sentence, there is uproar in the room, but I would not hear it form sometime. Tears of joy flow down my eyes and it’s a sign of perseverance of the 10 years I spent to hear this verdict. I know that by hanging him dead I cannot bring my dear daughter back from dead. But why I need this verdict badly is to prevent more men from turning into maniacs as Santosh and stop women being victimized as my daughter.

As I leave the court I take my hands out of the bag that I was clutching. The press swarms up to hear my opinion on the verdict. "Finally justice has been delivered" I say plainly and leave the premises. I am happy that they didn’t make me use the gun I had in hidden in my bag as the very last resort.

P.S: Dedicated to Priyadarshini Mattoo. Finally Justice has been served.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Choose the Best Answer

By the time Ashok reached home it was 8.30 at night. It had taken him more than one hour to reach Adayar from the busy streets of Anna salai. He was so hungry that he could have gobbled up a piano with tomato sauce and chutney. He was not surprised to see his two month old wife Anitha sympathizing with a mega serial heroine who seemed to have a summation of all the problems of an entire country in her single family.

After freshening up, he opened the hot box with lot of anxiety and tons of hunger. The supper was Idli, dosa, Sambhar and chutney. Awwww. The idli looked hard enough to cause blood flow if hit on head. The worse part was that the Sambhar was so much liquefied to make it look like rasam and chutney didnt have any coconut in it. The dosa looked like some piece of rug. When Ashok had first met Anitha, her mother claimed that she had cooked all those delicious delicacies. But her brother told him that Anitha was so bad at cooking that she would read the instructions to cook Maggie noodles at least 5 minutes in those 2 minutes.

"Do you know that Mrinalini's father-in-law passed away today?" asked Anitha.

"Mrinalini? Is she from your family side or mine?" asked Ashok mechanically eating one of the idlis.

"Budhdhu. I am talking about the heroine in Kabhi Bahu bhi Saas baneggiii" said Anitha.

Ashok never understood 2 things. One, why did all Ekta Kapoor's stupid serials need to start with the letter K and have unspellable spellings. Two, why did women refer to mega serial characters as if they were close enough as neighbors next door. Ignoring these ridiculous doubts aside Ashok chomped the idli with sambhar with the expression of Narasimha Rao meeting his ministers. She was still in the learning phase and Ashok was prepared to wait. And then as he feared, the inevitable question popped up.

"So how is the dinner? Is the sambhar as nice as your mother makes?" asked Anitha.

Most of the men in the world would be ready to fight a lion barehanded or attempt IITJEE question papers rather than answering this question. Ashok’s mom had been cooking since the age of 16 and was famous in the colony for the tasty south Indian dishes she made in festival times. If he were to tell her that it was nice, then she would get the wrong impression and would continue to cook this horribly and drive him mad. If he were to say that it tasted like garbage, she may start sobbing without any glycerin and may even fight and make him mad. If he were to say that both were alike, then maybe she may get angry that her cooking was not good than his mother’s.

Hell, if he could think of so many possibilities, he could put Vishwanathan Anand out of business or topple Topalov and become Chess Master. The bottom line was that he didn’t want to hurt her as he loved her a lot.

Hesitant he played on neutral grounds “Ani..its nice. It’s not like what my mom makes...but it’s nice. Tell me one thing. Why did you have to make these when you could have simply made something like noodles that’s very easy to cook?"

"Because I want to make you happy" replied Anitha.

Ashok turned silent and kissed her on her forehead and ate silently. The sambhar did not taste that bad after all.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Match the Following

"Again less marks in Maths. 180 out of 200. How do you think you are going to make the top grade Kaushik?" yelled Dad. I hate this whole exam system. Worse I hate is this enquiry after each and every exam. It’s as if I am a militant on an execution row.

"Look at me Kaushik. Your brother Kishore scored centum in 3 subjects and was the second in district. Dont you want to match him?" Match him my ass. My elder brother Kishore was bloody bookworm who knew nothing about life. All his life was spent reading subject books. He once asked me if VijayKanth and Rajnikanth were siblings. At times when my dad is out there comparing me with my brother, I feel like killing Kishore by the scruff of his neck. But then, that poor fella also got unfavorably compared to my elder cousin Ravi.

Why do we need to be compared with someone? Life is a whole lot comparison cycle. As a kid you get compared to your siblings or cousins. At work place you get compared to your peers (I heard about Appraisal from my cousin). And if you are unlucky enough at old age, your kids may bitch you comparing about the standards you provided them with the rest. I wonder now how unfavorably the wards of famous politicians, artists, sportpersons are compared with them. Aren’t we all individual entities? If we are all the same, then what’s the point?

"Don’t you want to become an engineer like your brother Kaushik?" asked Dad. There we go. The number of engineering colleges was already more than the Punjabi Dhabas and Muniyandi Vilas all over. I had heard that the tea master near our house was also an engineering student who had arrears more than the political parties in India. Why couldn’t I become a painter by enrolling in an art school? I have always been good at drawing. Hell, papa would say that if you had to tell that your son is a painter to the relatives, then the next thing they would do would be to ask to paint their house for Diwali. Here you can be either an engineer or doctor or a cricketer to be regarded respectful.

"Are you going to study or Graze cows?". Man, papa really looks angry. But hey, even this is a good idea. I can have 2 cows and milk them and sell it to the tea boy next street. Maybe I will ask Kishore to lend me some money and buy more cows. With little time I will open a Dairy of my own and import cows from New Zealand. I can even ask Asin to model for my dairy products. Who knows, she may ask me to marry her. Mom can easily be cajoled. Dad? Ahhh...who cares.

"Are you still day dreaming Kaushik?" dad had reached the boiling point.

Grandma came running "Oh Ashok. Is this the way you treat your kids? Have you ever seen you brother Ajay treat his kids as such?"

For the first time in an hour I laughed aloud.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Hairy" Potter

"And what’s that Porcupine doing sitting on your head?" asked my roommate looking at my new haircut as others join him.
"Very funny. You are jealous because I look smart" as I say this even I can’t stop smiling and they break into a hysterical laughter.

Oh come on. What can I do if my hair looks like the lightening arrestors on the top of the buildings? Its been the same throughout my life and perhaps will be the same till I go ba(l)d. Infact it has been a part of my identity wherever I have been. Ask for Harish in the class and they will answer like "The one with the spikes on his head" or "Porcupine head" or "Dish Antenna" or "Brush mudi" and what all.

Ever realized that how young and vibrant we feel after a haircut? The immediate urge is to roam around and show everyone as "Look Dr. Jekyll is out and this is Mr.Hyde". I guess girls must be having a tough time in country like ours....atleast the ones I knew did. My cousin had a huge fight as she wanted to crop it short and my aunt was against it and it looked to me like WW3. Good heavens she didnt propose her original agenda to color it.

In my childhood days my mom insisted to get the summer haircut irrespective of the season around. It was more than getting your head shaved and less than grabbing the hair with your fingers. The best you look like is as if you are an inmate of some mental asylum. In recent years, once I was in a project where we worked continuously for 3 months and so I hardly noticed and before long I had horribly lengthy hair. My colleagues would start like "Hey Remo (from Anniyan)...which is the component you are using?". Poor Vikram would have died out of heart attack had he heard this. Worse was when I went home after 2 months my mom just looked as I rang the bell and said blindly "Oh these beggars. Now they have begun to enter the buildings as well. Po son will arrive soon". I had to show my birthmark to make her believe that I was her dear son.

But the worse thing happened in my college. It was one day evening when we 4 friends got bored and were walking around. Suddenly out of nowhere a fight erupted between 2 of them and one of them challenged the other to get his head shaved bcoz this fellow had just done the same in his hometown. The next thing we realized was we were before a barber shop where 2 guys got their head shaved. 3 out of 4. And they were like "Dei too join the party"

As if it was easy as joining the congress.It takes 3 bloody months to grow and you end up looking like a goon. But it fell on deaf ears. Finally we made a pact where the fate (?) would be decided with a spin of coin. Heads - Escape and Tails - gone. Needless to say that my luck with coin was worse than Harvey Dent. It was tails and off went the hair on my head.

Those from college would vouch for the fact that the Mechanical and EEE Dept staffs would always be branded Psycho dept because of their NICE staff. The next day we all 4 were in the same lab when our dear prof came and enquired "arisu (grrrrr)...ennapa...gang form pandreengala?". "No sir..Summer cut". He really got pissed off and went by. Aalavandaaan got released at that time and so all the 4 of us got some cooling glasses, and picked a knife which wouldn’t even cut butter and posed like KamalHaasan. Had Kamal seen those horrible pics he would have shelved Aalavandaan and quit filmdom forever.

As of now, I am happy with whatever is around. Because I have a bad feeling that in 3 to 4 years its gonna look as empty as the rocket launching grounds in Sriharikotta and I may have to resort to a Vin Diesel/Cho Ramaswamy cut to restore some dignity. Moral of the story: Be happy with whatever you have at the moment :-)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Blog Tagged

Krithika has been bugging me long for writing this tag...and at last...I am done. Marutham's tag is still pending...oh boy...I have been kept busy :-)

1) Are you happy/satisfied with your blog with it's content and look?
When have we been happy with anything that we have had? Its juts a sort of temporary adjustment and as of now I am fine. Maybe when bored….will change it :-)
2) Does your family know about your blog?
Nope. No idea whatsoever.
3) Do you feel embarrassed to let your friends know about your blog or you just consider it as a private thing?
Yeah. Some do know and comment as well.
4) Did blogs cause positive changes in your thoughts?
Absolutely. I feel like Nostradamus. When I see any event I try to judge the past, gauge the present and predict the my own way.
5) Do you only open the blogs of those who comment on your blog or you love to go and discover more by yourself?
Nope. I Comment wherever I find something interesting. It’s the other persons personal wish to comment on mine or think "this guy is nuts" :-)
6) Did you try to imagine your fellow bloggers and give them real pictures?
Real pics? Are you kidding? Am I supposed to scare them from reading my blog or what? Let this Man remain behind the Mask.
7) Admit. Do you think there is a real benefit for blogging?
A Lot. In a way I am satisfying my urge to become a writer…perhaps a New York Times Best Seller List may not be possible immediately...but you priceless comments do make up for it :-)
8) Do you think that bloggers society is isolated from real world or interacts with events?
No. I guess we have pulled from every trivial issue. Why the hell did you think that they banned blogging during the bomb blasts if it weren’t serious?
9) Does criticism annoy you or do you feel it's a normal thing?
Its better. That’s how one knows if he/she is right or not. (perhaps that why I stopped writing in tamil :-))
10) Do you fear of some political blogs and avoid them?
Never heard of any.
11) Did you get shocked by the arrest of some bloggers?
Arrest? Am I on moon or did it happen?
12) Did you think about what will happen to your blog after you die?
Simple. No stupid stories to tell any more.
13) What do you like to hear? What's the song you like to put its link in your blog? song every week. For this week it could be "Khoya Khoya sa" from Shabd.
14) Five bloggers to be the next "victims"?
Neah. Lives spared :-)