A common crib in engineering colleges in India goes something like this - 90% of the girls in the country are good looking. The rest are in _________ (fill in the blanks with the name of any college of engineering).

Statistically it may be disproven but the fact is that engineering students are really good at this sort of thing - to quantify the seemingly non-quantifiable. For instance, three of us had calculated to the third decimal place the annual electricity bill for air-conditioning should the entire college campus be covered with a glass dome. Or a couple of us had, while waiting in the first floor corridor overlooking one of the lawns, computed to the accuracy of a thousandth the area of lawn mowed by a buffalo-pulled-mower per unit buffalo dropping.

These may appear simple off-the-cuff calculations. Perceptions, as they say, are misleading. To compute the electricity bill one has to take into account the average temperature, the average length of a day, shift in seasons, reflective and refractive indexes of glass, trend of fluctuating electricity prices, availability of electricity, average metabolic rate of people on campus, average number of people on campus, number of holidays in a year, etc. Let me not get started on the lawn business for even though it appears a simpler exercise the variables in it are much greater. Among many they include the time of day the buffalo is fed, the minimum size of a dropping to be taken into calculation, the location of the lawn, the landscaping features (tapered lawns, for example, tend to make the buffalo produce more dung), the mowing pattern, the season and the number of people in proximity of the buffalo (buffalos are more efficient when they work alone).

You may believe that engineering students have a lot of time on their hands, and whether it is not justified to shorten the duration of the course to three years. Valid arguments, but they miss the point. Some of the best theories have been propounded on hostel walls during a night of frolicking. As an example, did you know that while equations may show that a 2atm air pressure at the 2mm inlet of a cyclone separator will cause sonic velocities that may rip it apart, in actual fact it only works when you apply the said pressure. Of course, since health and safety regulations forbid such experiments in the institute's laboratory, they are carried out in the dead of the night by the back alleys of hostels using a smuggled in air-compressor.

And that brings us to the issue at hand.

Since most of my friends who have been nowhere close to a technical school disagree with the first paragraph, it is safe to assume that engineering students have different parameters of beauty from the rest of the world. Either that or they are just that much better in the fine art of statistics. But we do keep it terribly simple - any woman who gets your rocks off even once is part of the good-looking brigade. Yes, this is a highly flawed mechanism of defining beauty for four years spent in the company of men can seriously lower expectations.

Except for one, all engineering institutes have a 9:1::male:female sex ratio. That means opportunities are extremely low if you are a man and extremely high if you are a woman. Perhaps that makes the men take whatever comes their way and widen the net of acceptable beauty. Who wouldn't be happy with someone who may have a face only a mother could love when the only alternative is to be with your hostel buddy?

But it is not that simple. It just so happens that I was a student in the one engineering college that has a pretty favourable gender ratio. It was 2:1::male:female during my time. Taking the average teenage relationship to last less than two years it meant that at some point or another every guy had an equal opportunity to be with a girl. Yet, we still believed we had the 10% that you do not see in arts colleges. May be we felt the pain of our brethren spread all over the country. May be it was statistically correct. Or may be we were just plain lazy to re-calculate the odds. After all, we did compute that the average time it took to drive down to Delhi was directly proportional to hotness of the girl you were with.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Eddy Grant - Gimme Hope Joanna

Disclaimer: This post is extremely sexist. I exercise my right to be sexist the same way some people exercise their rights to vote - with no thought whatsoever.

This batch mate of mine in college always maintained that the world was better off without the female of the species. I am not sure that is a good thing unless you are gay but he did hit a very sore nerve. Contrary to any notion ever held, men are the sensitive sex. Kindly note that I did not mean to say that men were sensitive to sex. That is a given and I see no point in elucidating the obvious.

In line with the female stereotype, all it takes is a few words of criticism for the feminine form to shed tears in a myriad (Outside of Wordsworth poetry, I had never found an appropriate place this word could be used in until now.) of ways. Continuing with this girly behavioural trend, a fresh fruit drink or an ice-cream usually stops those tears so magically that it seems they never even existed. Why someone on the same evolutionary scale as a man should do something as fulminating as this has been left unanswered ever since Eve took a slice of that forbidden fruit.

At any rate, I have not come across anyone of the opposite gender comforting a man. And that is as easy as taking candy from a baby. Come to think of it, that allegory is wrong on many levels. A baby whose candy has been taken away is a very annoyed baby. And babies have this predisposition to break out into loud decibels of crying when that happens. But let's not digress here, shall we? Let's just agree that comforting a man is easier than taking candy from a baby. All a man's opposite number ever has to do is show a bit of cleavage or put on some tight pants. Sometimes she might have to go the extra mile, say, a blowjob here or a handjob there. Geez, I never thought I could use 'baby' and 'blowjob' in the same paragraph but the more important point is that it is ridiculously easy to comfort a man if you are not a man.

For those better endowed in the chest region than men, it may now be progressive feminism to be called by their gender identifier though I seriously doubt even the more liberal among them would refer to their mothers as females who brought them up. Perhaps it is that absence of the appendage between the legs that causes all that muddled up thought process. After all, without a direction pointer Vasco De Gama could not have reached India. It is supremely simple - when it is up men are excited and when it is down men are aloof. No amount of crying hoarse about PMS induced mood swings can ever hope to match the sheer understated-ness of penile induced mood swings. At the very least, you know that up and down have connotations that remain constant with time.

Current Music: Bryan Adams - Have you ever loved a woman
Breaking from tradition, I am actually doing something that I said I would - making another list post - though not in its entirety. 'Entirety'. I have always liked that word. It is almost in that no man's land between a word and a non-word. Say 'entirety' often times in your head and you are convinced that such a word does not exist.

For the grammar novices, the first statement of this post does not mean I am not making a list post in its entirety (notice the strategic use of hyphenation). It means I am not breaking from tradition completely in that this is not a list of the top 9 lumps or humps. In fact, it may not even be a list of 9 items. Let's make the list up as we go along, shall we?

A natural sequel list to books is movies. And despite approving of all things au naturale, if you get my drift which is unlikely since you would need to have a life for that, I loathe movie lists. Every sucker has an opinion on what a movie should be. They are all wrong. A movie is not supposed to entertain you. It must gyrate so heavily on your nerves that you remember it for the rest of your lives. Only Mithun da movies can do that. He Rules!!!

Here goes a list off the top of my head of cars. I am not a petrol head by any stretch of the imagination though that has not stopped me from thinking that I am one.

1. Fiat Premier Padmini 1100 - Any Indian born in the 80s knows what exactly it is that I am talking about. A gem of a car this one is. Yes, it breaks down more often than Pamela Anderson's implants but unlike Ms. Anderson all it usually takes is a few well-placed hits of the hammer to get the car up and running again. Then there are the girls! Nothing gets them as misty-eyed and weak-kneed as a romantic drive in this baby. I know this. I drove the car for over two years - never had a social life crisis during the time.

2. Hindustan Ambassador - It doesn't matter which make or model you drive, an Amby is an Amby. Unless your arms are built of titanium alloy the steering wheel just won't turn. Having never driven the car myself, I can at least say this much. The backseat comfort in an Amby is unparalleled. I have been in less comfortable beds. Then there is the stateliness. I can't think of any car that beats the bureaucratic snobbery of the Amby.

3. Maruti 800 - Purely on this list because it made it possible for the middle class to realise the car dream. When first launched, the sales were below par. Apparently, the pseudo-sophisticated middle class thought the car was rubbish because it was priced this low. When the price was jacked up that same middle class lapped it up. Only goes to show that the middle class is all appearance and no substance. By the way, it is entirely possible that I have my stories mixed up - Kinetic Honda had to increase its price to sell, and perhaps Maruti did not - but the bit about the middle class is definitely true.

4. Mitsubishi Lancer - The best looking car for its price. I inherited a black one with over a 100,000 km on the odometer. It still drove like a charm. It swayed sideways at any speed greater than 100 kmph but surprisingly it could attain that speed even after years of abuse. It could even do 140 if you were brave enough. The thing, though, is this. The faster you drove this car, the quieter the engine got. How did the Japs pull that off? More importantly, why?

5. Hyundai Accent - Has to be the worst car ever. Seriously. It just chooses the most inopportune moment to throw its fits - the engine doesn't turn over when you have an appointment to keep, the drive shaft goes bust merely a week after you change the clutch, wheel bearings burn out on a highway passing through the middle of a jungle... you get the drift. More than anything, it is also a car that I currently drive. From a Fiat to a Hyundai, it has all been downhill.

I could keep adding to this list. But that would make it like that big British car show on television, the tone of which seems to have been greatly inspired by this blog considering that both came into existence almost simultaneously.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Rang De Basanti - Lalkaar
I have been blogging in this space for a good five years now. Yet aside from the MAD tribute post and the porn movies post I have desisted from making 'list' posts - you know posts in which I list things I love, hate, lust after, masturbate to, decapitate, skin, embalm, burn, emasculate, etc. There is a good reason for that, and it goes beyond my caring for the general public by not shoving in their face something subliminally gut-wrenching and nauseating.

As I have an opinion on anything and everything, my list posts would probably rival Robert Ludlum or Irving Wallace books in their length. I would have slipped in one of my favourite authors in the previous sentence if it was not for the fact that his work often gets mislabelled. He has the capacity to make you cry vociferously on one page and then give you a raging hard-on in the next. Of course, the latter is much better remembered especially if you are a man who wears boxers. Women should feel free to remark in the comments section if his books have, well... wet them down there. I don't need to name the author. Only one author had the ability to do that.

Let's see if I can make a list now. 9 items or less. Since we have touched upon authors, books is a good place to start. Well, not exactly but I am really not willing to think up something else to list. So here goes a list of 9 books. They may not necessarily be top 9 good or top 9 bad. They are just the 9 off the top of my head, in no particular order.
  • Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead - A gem of a book, not because it is fantastic in the accepted sense of the word. It is fantastic in the sense that the book proved for itself what it set out to preach - that humanity accords an exalted status to the mediocre. I have not come across a more mediocre book. Its only saving grace is the physical scene between the lead characters that treads a very fine line between rape and animalistic sex.
  • Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity - If ever a case had to be made against cinematic adaptations then this would convince even the most liberal of juries. The book has a lot to thank the movie for though. Just because the movie was this bad the book has instantly turned into a classic.
  • Mikhail Sholokov's Quiet Flows the Don - Quite possibly Sholokov was the last of the great Russian authors. This book won him the Nobel for literature, illustrating to all of us that sometimes the Nobel judges get things right after all. An account of Czarist Russia on either side of the great war from the view point of Gregory Milekhov, a simple farmer turned warrior, this book has that rare ability to leave that lump in your throat right through all of its two thousand or so pages.
  • Leon Uris' The Exodus - I admit. I am a sucker for all stories involving Israel's struggle for nationhood. Most of them I have read in the form of 'fact'ions. There is something romantically gory about them. It is like sleeping under heavy blankets with the air-con on full blast - you enjoy it while it lasts but don't quite look forward to a power outage.
  • Irving Wallace's The Almighty - Before bond made it famous in 'Tomorrow Never Dies', Irving Wallace wrote this book about a news corporation that makes its own news. Eventually they ended up biting more than they could chew when they tried to blast Air Force One mid-air.
  • Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers - This book is in a league of its own - it wove fact so brilliantly with fiction that the reader is hard-pressed to find out which is which. That and the author's flair for characterisation (you could tell what Jonas Cord would have for breakfast or what Rina Marlow would carry in her handbag) make it one of the most spellbinding books I have ever read. Every character is still etched in my memory.
  • Dan Brown's Angels and Demons - The prequel to 'The Da Vinci Code', this book has more blood and gore. The finesse with which Brown interweaves urban legend with history can only be appreciated. However, like all Dan Brown books the ending leaves you feeling cheated - it promised to deliver so much more but got weighed down by its own expectations.
  • Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels - Sidney Sheldon just had to make the list, didn't he? He is to books what Britney Spears is to music - extremely popular but lacking all class. Rage of Angels is from those times when he wrote freely, without the pressure of matching the sales of his previous bestsellers. And it had a woman lead in Jennifer Parker which pleased all the feminists greatly.
  • Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things - Just how brilliant this book is can be gauged by Roy's permanent writer's block. She has not written since, probably giving away all she had in that one book. No wonder she won The Booker. She had to for this one.
That's about it. Perhaps I shall list out the top 9 racks or the top 9 rumps in my next post. But going by the history of this blog, I would probably do something else.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Gloria Gaynor - I will Surivive
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