Category: Writing

When it comes to saving trees or wildlife I am a dedicated conservationist. I believe every living creature has a right to live and we have no justification to impinge upon that right. However, when it comes to stuff like hybrid cars or solar power I prefer to dissociate from it all.

Call me a cynic, but over the last few years I have come to the conclusion that 'going green' is as much of a propaganda as the supposed swine flu epidemic was. Swine flu killed what? 100 people may be? More die of Malaria each day in this country. Some drug company developed a vaccine for the H1N1 virus and thought of a way to recover its R&D costs. It is what anti-virus companies do when they clandestinely release viruses on the internet.

Nobel Prize winner IPCC said Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035. We all know what happened to that finding. Make no mistake, alternative energy is going to be a big industry. There are the interests of many players involved in creating a panic among the population to create pressure groups.

That said, I am not saying there is no need to conserve for the future. But there is a line of rationality that must not be crossed. We have to decide for ourselves which choice is sensible and which is simply hogwash. For example, popular conception dictates that solar energy is non-polluting. Large-scale solar power production requires vast areas of land to set up solar panels. I would say that contributes to pollution. Even if that land is a desert, any human interference with nature will have a future cost associated with it.

We have to decide whether the non-conventional energy we adopt is in any substantial way better than our fossil fuels. Iceland did it brilliantly. They have geothermal resources and they use it well. Chicago is setting up windmills on building tops. Fabulous. But I am not sure hybrid cars are anything more than a gimmick. The hidden costs inherent in any hybrid car far outweigh any potential benefits.

Similarly, Earth Hour was nothing more than a gimmick. I am surprised that barring a few none could even contemplate the damaging impact it could have on the national grid. Imagine the repercussions of it if everyone had indeed switched off lights and the grid had collapsed. It would have given such bad press to conservation efforts that all future endeavours would be scoffed at. Is that really what we want in the name of conservation?

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Bombay Talkies - Hum Jab Honge Saath Saath

Hyderabad – Adilabad – Nagpur – Itarsi (780km; 6:00 am)

The journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step. But a journey of 4500 miles begins with a paradigm shift. Not a shift in ideology for that is an exercise in self-righteousness (hence a subject non-conducive to most deliberations) but a shift in location.

There I was half-way across half the world somewhere in the jungles of Africa working a pretty fulfilling job. Of course jobs tend to be fulfilling in direct proportion to the paychecks they bring in. Even so, not everything can be monetized and Marylin Monroe was right in crooning that the best things in life were free. Three years on it was time to move on to the proverbial greener pastures.

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Every once in a while man comes to a decision. No offence meant to women for they also come to a decision as and when it is the right time in their lives to come to those sorts of decisions, whatever they may be. The use of the word 'man' is generic here. It is all encompassing, the same way the phrase 'Early Man' also includes (as an adolescent yours truly gleefully discovered in his history books) all the early women.


Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Eminem - Lose Yourself
I was once that guy. No, not the 'that guy' Bruce Willis makes a reference to in Die Hard 4.0. I was a general 'that guy' which is not to mean I was one of those who belonged to the general populace. Of course, in the larger scheme of things you could say I was part of the general populace. But I was special. No, not the Aamir Khan's 'Every child is special' kind of special. Let's just say that I had special skills. Not the kind you could use to seduce women, though I do have those sorts of skills now. Some may say that those skills have not been used very successfully. The more enlightened ones may say that they have not been used at all. Either way as George Clooney in Ocean's Eleven in response to Julia Roberts quip about there being a conflict of interest when he advises her on her love life says, "Yes, but that does not mean that I am wrong."

Critics may argue that the development of skill sets is a natural evolutionary process but that would be missing the point. Had critics chosen to evolve would they have remained primitive enough to criticise everything? There is not a single subject matter in the world on which opinion is not divided. Even something as trivial as 'You want fries with that?' can have two critics tear each other to bits, which is not a bad thing. Entertainment apart, one critic dead is one critic less. Or so we wish! They seem to be crawling out of the woodworks, even in these days when wood is scarce.

But why am I gibbering? It is not often that I actually have something to write about, though I usually find loads of stuff to talk about. Sometimes, I have my moments. Mostly I end up with foot in the mouth disease. That is not such a bad thing if you are Govinda in Partner trying to impress the super hot Katrina Kaif who has a weakness for goof balls. But in the imperfect world we live in, it normally means your girlfriend of 20 years will never become your wife.

At any rate, they have decriminalised homosexuality in India. Note the choice of the word 'decriminalised'. It is almost as spineless a choice as the use of the word 'ninda' in the Indian Parliament to condemn the unilateral US strikes in Iraq. No wonder they could make a movie in which Sunny Deol could scream his guts out in the courtroom spewing out the now legendary 'tareeq pe tareeq' dialogue. Why the lawmakers could not give a positive spin to the issue by 'legalising' it is slightly beyond me, and I have spent a good part of the last one week pondering over it.

Then again, most things are slightly beyond me. And it is frustrating. I mean, how would you feel if you were a foot from the summit of the Everest only to return because the thorny bushes would scrape your perfectly manicured fingers?

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Jagjit Singh - Woh Kaagaz Ki Kashti

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
I remember it like yesterday, which in a weird and twisted way it was. And which in  a weird and twisted way does not imply that I remember yesterday very well since most of it was spent recovering from a dozen shots of vodka from the night before. I was 11. My father, like all fathers of that era, made it a point to attend every PTA meeting. There are times when I wonder why they don't make fathers that way anymore. Guilt money has substituted parental obligations. But that is beyond the purview of this blog. We don't take up unpleasant issues, even if they are potential pandora's boxes.

Mr. Ravi Kumar. He was my science teacher. Some say Scripto has brilliant memory if he can remember something that far down the lane. Others say he has nothing better to remember. Either way there are serious concerns over his life, or the lack of it. But I digress. Digression is something I have successfully managed to avoid in my last few posts. Depressing. Especially since I had made it into something of an art form.

Inspite of myself, I am not above making 'tribute' posts. That trait is in line with the bundle of contradictions that I am. But if this is a tribute post, then what is Mr. Ravi Kumar doing on it? Two reasons. One, I like showing off my memory. Two, the tribute is not to him. The story, however, must be told.

See, it was during that infamous PTA meeting when my father introduced himself to Mr. Kumar for the very first time. And how did Mr. Kumar respond? Simply, "Oh oh, you are Scripto's (of course, he did not call me that - I am just using a pseudonym here) father. I am his fan!" Now the point to be noted here is that Mr. Kumar's English was very non-gult like, which means he did not mean to say, "He is my fan" and ended up saying it the other way round. To the lot of us who have heard sentences like, "He has not come to work today. I hope he is not well." when in fact it should have been "He has not come to work today. I think he is not well", coming across a gult who knows his English is more than a welcome relief.

I have not known Scripto-fan long enough to say anything about her English. But I am willing to look on the brighter side of things for a change, despite my gloomy outlook. This post is a tribute to her. Long live Scripto-fan and her ilk!

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Some band playing behind my office...
It is funny, and disconcerting at the same time, that my best posts get no attention at all while the so-so ones have people clamouring for spaces in the comments section. Does this mean I have finally become what they always said I would become? Someone who writes mediocre stuff simply because more readers understand it, which eventually translates into a larger reader-base? Am I no different than corporate mercenaries who stoop to any level for money? I can mostly live with that.

Come to think of it, I can live with most things. I have said this before, and I can say it many times over. There is not much that I consider unethical or immoral, except perhaps a closed mind. But therein, as the bard would say, lies the rub. How open do you keep your mind? There is the inherent danger your brains might fall out. Given a choice I would keep my mind as tightly shut as possible. Some may say that it gets in the way of learning about the world. Whatever! It surely does not get in the way of having loads of fun.

As I write this post, I am fighting off a very strong urge to use the loo. This is a sort of daredevil game I have been occasionally playing with myself ever since I was 13. I have been unable to better my time of 8 hours that I set the very first time though. Of course, some of the more enlightened among us may conclude that anyone who plays such a game is not much older than 13. Well, thank you. The child in me is still alive.

This brings us to the subject of self-righteousness. Well, it doesn't but since this is my blog I can decide to bring anything up any which time I bloody please. I am a staunch believer in anything that has the prefix 'self' in it. This blog, after all, is nothing but an exercise in self-actualization. That it is also more of an exercise in self-deprecation is something that gets glossed over by most. A lot of my posts, hence, get read in a context that they were not intended to be read in.

That is swell, by the way. I have always been one for doing things out of context. But the awareness should not be missing. For instance, I may sometimes interject my facts on oceanic sharks in a conversation of business sharks. But each time I do that I definitely am aware that I am making a cock of myself. It is the awareness of doing things out of context that makes it pardonable to do them in the first place. If you are not aware of the context entirely, then you are better off keeping your mouth shut.

Does this mean that we can never do anything fully out of context since even when we are being out of context we are certainly aware of the context we are being out of? Possibly. That is life. Contradictions abound. We don't stop breathing just because the air we breathe is not clean enough.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Iron Maiden - Wasted Years
It is generally believed that bloggers either have no jobs or that they have overpaid jobs which demand nothing more of their time than the cursory emailing. The belief is not misplaced.

Look at me. What do I do each day at work? Nothing really. It isn't even that my job pays me a lot of money. It is just that I have figured out the essence of the truth - the work put in should be directly commensurate with the remuneration. So I choose to make my own time at my workplace and post in these hallowed corridors.

Truth be told, this post has not been interesting thus far. And there are indications that it is not going to get any better. You might even be tempted to click on the close button in your browser's tab bar or close the browser window if you choose to live in the dark ages of tabless browsing. But that would leave you feeling hopelessly small and insignificant. It would make you into one of those people who don't have it in them to go through a lousy blog post.

That is swell, by the way, if you are me. I have always prided myself on my innate ability to shirk work of any kind, to simply give up when the mountain is too tall or the river is too deep, the latter being of special importance since I take to the water like a fish takes to air. Human beings were never meant to swim. We built ships to help us do that. Why do some of us still continue with the redundant activity and even win gold medals in the process? Of course, they do get busted for marijuana which tells us that these dope heads are as sane as amateur 'aviators' with strap-on wings.

Today not being All Fools' Day, I was almost tempted to make a non-existent post. For some reason it appears that technology does not allow us to create something that does not exist. Well, if only that applied to all the rhetoric around us. It should at least apply to the blog summary page of this site that lists post-less blogs in the 'Latest Posts' column. Apparently technology is not consistent everywhere, which is a reflection of the times we live in. Only women who do not like 'predictability' in their men can appreciate this. However, the same women would not appreciate inconsistency in the choice of their man's lovers.

Current Music: The Eagles - Tequila Sunrise
I don't know who said this, perhaps Marylyn Monroe in one of her movies, but it was said well - The best things in life are free. By implying that this was said well I am in no way agreeing with the statement. However, I am not above appreciating the beauty of the construct.

At this point, I should like to point out that if you are not a language aficionado then try as hard as you may you are not going to understand the above paragraph, the same way you are not going to grasp the subtle difference between the appreciation of language and the appreciation of grammar even though the two are not mutually exclusive. You might as well give up on the rest of this post and click on any of the other mundane articles on the internet. If you are not good enough to read my posts then I am not bad enough to write for your level of comprehension.

The nail being driven on the head, now seems like a good time to dwell on the finer nuances of the statement in question. Since I am not into dwelling on stuff that has not emanated from me I am contradicting myself here. Self-contradiction is one step beyond self-actualisation. Only those who truly do not bother with social conventions can rise above the banality of being conformists. As I say, "Anyone can swim with the stream. Only salmon swim upstream. They die. But they die having sex. Isn't that the way to go?"

Apparently, two wheeler riders have taken to my saying in the letter and not in the spirit. Overtaking from the passenger side has become a fashion of sorts. If they believe that those driving a car have a clear view of who is overtaking them from the wrong side then they should also believe that in case of a collision the car driver will die while they will escape scratch-free. In my not so humble opinion (opinions rarely are ever humble), all two wheelers should be taken off the road. That would not only free up 70% of the road space but also bring chaos theory to its death. On the plus side, two wheeler riders have great potential to be the solutions to the population problem.

Morbidity aside (I can't believe I am saying that), my one month holiday is nearly over. This is most certainly a boo hoo moment. Then again, my blog always has been gloomy.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Ghajini - That song in which Aamir Khan looks gay...

It had been quite a while since I last made a train journey. I love trains. What puts me off, though, are the people who take them. They have no sense of hygiene-induced righteousness, even when travelling in air-conditioned coaches. And to someone like me who prefers to dispose off the pair of socks he wears on a train to reusing them after having them washed, this lack of civil virtue in his fellow beings is as painful as a piece of skin hanging from the roof of his mouth.

The journeys are something else. Enough has been written and said about the romance of train rides. It is all useless for no one who has never been on a train will ever appreciate it. Those who have been on a train have no desire to read someone else’s account of it. Hence this post is not about a train journey. It would not have been about a train journey even if no one else had ever written about it for although my posts have been exercises in pointlessness, they have never been an exercise in futility.

The first leg of the journey culminated in Kolkata. I do not know why people crib so much about the city, unless the Kolkata I went to is different from the Kolkata they visit. To set the record straight, I went to the capital of West Bengal, a city that has been a communist stronghold for a good thirty years. The city is gorgeous. Only a horse’s arse would not fall in love with it. It is a city that has not given up its tradition or culture in the name of development.

It was Patna next, the only city that could bear the burden of my birth. De-training at Patna at 2:15 in the morning in winter is not a pleasant experience. Finding out that the foot over bridges have ramps (in addition to stairs) that enable you to make use of the wheels in your luggage definitely is. Only Biharis can fully appreciate the needlessness of more work than necessary for one’s emotional and physical well-being. That this appreciation stems from a Bihari’s desire to shun work of any kind is purely incidental.

I did not expect anything of Lucknow. I got more than I could bargain for. The Lucknow CM was pasted all over the city. If it were in her power, she could outlaw billboards that do not feature her. Strike that. She has the power to do this, and this post might just give her that idea. Other than that, the city is just what it has always been – stuck in a time warp of its own making.

Shahjahanpur is a small town along the Lucknow-Delhi highway. My mother hails from it. Were it not for the joys of air-conditioning in cars, I would never have undertaken that road journey. It is not the heat that gets to me on Uttar Pradesh highways. It is the dust, dust so fine that it could be used to lubricate engines. They probably lubricate their tractors this way anyway.

The fact of the matter is India has not changed. We might rant and rave about the economy (at least we could rant and rave about the economy), we might sing paens of its liberalisation policies, we might even espouse the qualities of a PM who managed to keep his heart surgery less high-profile than SRK’s shoulder operation though I am not sure that is a good thing. But the fact remains. India lives on.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Laakhon Taare...
More often than is generally considered sane, I saunter to the depths of the archives of this blog to read posts that are absolute gems (pre circa 2006). I am compelled to do it because of this inherent need to read material worthy of being read. That I do not find such stuff outside the confines of this blog probably means that I can write better than most people can read.

This is not one of those posts bashing bloggers everywhere, though I believe blogging has fallen so deep into an abyss of its own making that a further fall would actually translate into a rise. Bon Jovi once wrote in one of their songs, "I am so far away, each step that I take's on my way home..." A bunch of guys who possibly never ventured anywhere near a house of learning could understand that for such a thing to be possible the earth will have to be round. The song went on to become a huge hit, even among students of those schools in the US that do not teach the earth is round. Only tells us that sometimes it is more than welcome if students doze off during their classes as long as they are allowed to attend concerts.

I write this post with a roll of tissue literally attached to my nasal passageway, courtesy a very nasty cold brewing in my innards. Although no one really cares to know, I should like to state that leaving the nasal canal free of absorbents is causing unchecked localised precipitation of nasal mucus. This is indeed worrying. Partly because I am sharing highly personal information on the web. Mostly because the mucus is almost as clear as water.

Since I have already sung paeans of the wonders of nasal mucus, I shall desist from walking down this road. You know, the sheer number of roads that I have refused to walk down is simply bizarre. You could even say that the sum total of the distance I have refused to walk down is more than the average distance between the earth and the moon, which raises a very pertinent question. Why did the Apollo astronauts go to the moon? Wouldn't not walking down certain roads have been a better option? Cheaper, definitely.

PS: It is good to be back!

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Guns N (Fucking) Roses - Civil War
Most of us born in the 80s tend to have grandeurs of eloquence. We believe the rest of humanity is a lump of turd, that it is somehow beneath us to even have some attributes in common with them. It is always us vs. them. Heaven forbid if we should ever share a taste in music or clothes. That would be sacrilege. As Motley Crue once famously put it, "The biggest career gaffe that we could ever make was getting caught having a glass of milk." Perhaps they did not put it quite this articulately with all the booze and drugs getting in the way of their coherence but you get the drift.

The 80s was all about excess. Rock n Roll excess, Metal excess, and even bad hair excess. For all that us 80s progenies make a fuss over, the one thing we completely disown is the decade's sense of style. We lean more towards 90s grunge styling. It is a reflection of the times that we live in - contradictions are everywhere.

The latter half of the 20th Century can be described musically. Elvis Presley ruled the 50s. It was all about The Beatles in the 60s. Def Leppard rocked the 70s. Michael Jackson was the king of the 80s. That MJ managed to carve out a throne for himself atop the metal mania is a feat in itself. Of course, for us 80s borns MJ's music is beneath us. Hypocrisy? No. That is what our trait is. As I often keep saying, you do not begrudge a Scorpion for its sting.

As the 80s gave way to the 90s and then to the 00s, 80s borns entered their teens and their adulthood. Ironic isn't it that not a single artist / band stands out in the last two decades? Oh there has been an explosion of 'artists'. Either none has been good enough to rule the roost or we are a screwed up generation that does not know what it wants.

Of course, if you ask most of us metal heads we will tell you that music died with Kurt Cobain's suicide. The bands we listen to even today belong to 80s and before - Quiet Riot, Metallica, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, to name a few. We wear our taste in music almost as proudly as a mother displays her child's trophies on the mantle piece. Unlike a mother though, looking down on someone who listens to a Britney or a Mariah is a given. Today's pop culture makes us cringe.

Being as I am, a result of the 80s, I believe we had our Concorde moment in music in the 80s. For the uninitiated, a Concorde moment is one where mankind reaches the pinnacle of its achievement - ever since the Concorde no passenger aircraft has been built that can fly supersonic, and perhaps none ever will be. It is all downhill from there.

Current Mood: Gloomy
Current Music: Posion - Every Rose has its Thorn
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