Thursday, December 6, 2007


One serious malady I suffer from excessively, is uncontrollable laughter. There is no force in nature that can keep me from laughing when something strikes me as extremely amusing. I have tried everything, from diverting my line of thought onto something grave and tragic, trying to physically uncurl the corners of my lips and holding them in the right position, to adjusting my facial muscles to put on an expression suggestive of sobriety. Sadly, this is one of the things that fall in the realms of the involuntary. I have learned the hard way, that any attempt to control it, only lets laughter find its way out in more thunderous manifestations.
Since the scope of this matter is too large, I shall limit my narrative to how I managed to get my friend Neena and myself in trouble during our Math class. There is never a dull moment when Neena and I sit together during Math class. Once, we were being taught about “Probability”, and as always, our lecturer had come equipped with his rather unique and exotic set of vocabulary tools. Neena and I were seated on the first bench as usual (we often get away with all the tomfoolery when we sit on the first bench!)
Our first problem was related to the probability of a tossed coin resulting in a head or a tail. Somewhere in the middle of the explanation, our lecturer exclaimed “If a caain(coin) be the heads, can it be the taeels(tails)?” I looked at Neena from the corner of my eyes and my eyes met hers. This is the usual procedure – our eyes meet, laughter bubbles all the way up and temporarily gets stuck somewhere between the palate and the nostrils, then our defeated self-control slowly gives way to the stuffed up laughter. The above sequence of events followed resulting in a half-audible snigger coupled with mild convulsions of the body. The lecturer looked at us, a little bewildered (he wouldn’t get the joke, would he?) but chose not to say anything.
Minutes later, he started relating an incident that had occurred the previous day at the bus stop. How he found the incident relevant to the topic under discussion, I could not tell. “Yesterday I be standing in the bus staap(stop) waiting for a bus, when I see and smell a man smoking. I got angry due to suffocation so I stand beside him and says, “Hey! Switch off your cigarette!!”” He never got to complete that story. In a thoughtless moment, Neena and I let the laughter sneak out of our parted lips and the otherwise silent classroom, reverberated with the sudden outbreak of laughter. The lecturer had his eyes fixed on us, with an expression of loathing, and said “What makes you peoples laaf(laugh), I say?” “No no..”, we replied with a knowing chuckle, “..nothing sir!” Although our lecturer had a gentle heart, he belonged more to the ‘kick-them-out-of-class’ school of thought. We got away with mild rebuke and a warning hinting at the same. This only got us into a tighter tangle than ever – we had to exercise more efficient control over the uncontrollable.
Ten more minutes and we’d be done with the class with the much-desired attendance obtained. The last problem dealt with the probability of the occurrence of an earthquake. “Take down praablem(problem) number six”, he boomed, “AN EARTHQUAKE WAS CONDUCTED IN 1996…” We never heard him complete that question. I looked at Neena. She looked back at me with an expression I have never witnessed on any human countenance before or since. Laughter had been invoked in its most virulent form. After ten seconds of superhuman effort, it made frantic struggles for freedom and sent us into violent fits of unparalleled convulsions. I laughed harder as if I had seen a bit of humour that had escaped Neena. We had made the lecturer’s blood pressure hit a new high. There was no earthly necessity for our getting up. When the laughter had subsided, we found ourselves in the corridor and heard the loud thud of a well-slammed door.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I was in an unnecessarily aggressive mood – quite inappropriate for the task at hand, since it was one that required an immense amount of patience. The process of applying nailpolish disgusted me with as much intensity as the end results of well-applied nailpolish appealed to me. I have a history of failing miserably in all my attempts to accomplish a smudge-free, evenly-applied, smooth coat on even a single fingernail!
In denial, I had resorted to surveying the mess that I had made, with evident pride but the demon of my conscience pulled me by the ear everytime, to the unpalatable truth that it was one ghastly, soul-revolting mess!!
The immediate tendency of my logic-driven brain was to figure out the mysteriously evasive reason behind my innate inability to deliver a smooth finish. Definitely, my masterstrokes weren’t at fault! Maybe the nailpolish decided to play spoil-sport and got a little dried up, to foil my earnest efforts to succeed. Maybe the bottle that I decided to pick up at the store was sealed a little too late – late enough to allow its contents to wither. Maybe the brush that came with it failed to match up to my swift, delicate strokes. All hopes of one of these fantastic theories being true were dashed when mom walked in and in a minute or two, walked out of the room with nails well–adorned by the same ‘sticky muck’ which was accused of being the sole cause of the unfortunate mishap that my nails were a victim of.
With a fresh outpour of vengeance, I soon engaged myself in the monotonous sequence of coat and uncoat with my nailpolish remover playing the protagonist who bashes up the villainous and stubborn nailpolish. The nailpolish remover was a perfect antidote to all my troubles, a balm to my lacerated feelings, the harbinger of a fresh start and new beginnings, a retriever of normalcy – much like the undo button in an edit menu.
That reminds me of an incident in which the nailpolish remover unleashed the negative aspects of its nature. I wasn’t on the receiving end, not me! It reciprocates my love with equal intensity. A friend won’t play the fiend! I clearly recall what had friend once wished to wipe out even the memory of a greasy oil stain from the face of her latest cellular mobile. Resorting to the nailpolish remover wasn’t the wisest thing to do. She went ahead with this crazy idea anyway. Noone could tell that the mangled remains belonged to a fine-looking mobile phone once upon a time. I personally don’t blame the nailpolish remover. The entire act was preposterous! It was an insult to its supreme capabilities! Its analogous to using a fire extinguisher to put out the flame on a matchstick!
After hours of toiling, I finally managed to coat almost every fingernail with lustrous nail enamel. It was the smoothest finish ever and there wasn’t a trace of a fingermark on it!! Just one more nail to coat, I smirked with anticipation as I dipped the brush into the bottle one last time, almost not looking at it, since I had complete mastery over the subject by then. With the swiftest and the most delicate swish, like that of an angel gliding over heavenly waters, I delivered my mater of masterstrokes and slowly parted my eyelids to behold the marvelous sight. The indelible memory of the empty bottle and the brush sans the nail enamel still gives me extraordinary fits of giddiness each time I look at a bottle of nailpolish…

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gossip Grannies

The seat cracked as if a heavy body had lowered itself upon it. The protagonist whose posterior had been responsible for the embarrassingly audible event, belongs to the category of toothless grannies whose jaws go smack-smack while relating, what seems to them, juicy and delectable stories of people who are unfortunately acquainted to them. A true gossip granny is always inclined to make a good story out of everything and the truest of them all had just made herself comfortable on a couch near our front door.
What followed was a sheer torrent of ‘Do you remembers’ and ‘That reminds mes’ followed by the customary reference to my increased or decreased bulk. She’d go ‘hiss hiss!’ at the curious inability of her immediate circle to appreciate the value of being able to report succulent and eyebrow-raising developments in the lives of the unfortunate.
“Whose marriage is on the rocks? Whose kid failed in the exams for the fifth time in a row? Who poses a serious threat to the harmony of the locality?” It would be a rarity if such questions would go unanswered by the end of her visit. Gossip granny has always tended to wake the fiend that sleeps in me. All the endless jib-jabbing makes me feel loony to the spleen and increasingly taxes my powers of endurance. Loud vocal deliveries through part-falling dentures about her oh-so-perfect grandchildren leave me convulsing in a corner of the room.
Serving refreshments is a far more daunting task. At first, she’ll click her tongue irritably for having interrupted her when she was on the verge of making a profoundly vital revelation. This would be followed by stinging complaints about how hot the tea was (the saccharine content of which was a diabolic scheme against the diabetic) and how the chocolate chips in the cookies stubbornly stuck to her dentures and refused to budge despite heroic efforts of her overworked tongue.
Some people would rather have an epileptic seizure than entertain a gossip granny. Gossip after gossip, she’d take refreshing draughts at the fountain of pleasure after she had thrown a bomb of a story and seen it explode. Right when you think she has run out of news, she’ll surprise you with a piece of information more shocking and more alarming than the ones related so far. The stories are well-sequenced with the best saved for last! Gossip granny delivers all these equipped with a finely honed, well-sharpened set of demeaning vocabulary tools while I sit quivering in my slippers.
After hours of painful waiting, it finally comes like a spring in the desert! – the moment she pulls herself up the couch and inches doorwards! It is an infinitely relieving feeling – a balm to the tortured spirit.
“Frightful!”, exclaimed my friend as I related the experience to her.
“Dreadful!”, I assented.
“Terrible!’, she suggested.
“Most!”, I agreed as I left. It wasn’t a very good exit speech but I’m a girl of too impatient spirit to find solace in an unending war of synonyms.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nursery Rhymes-NOT FOR KIDS!!

There are times when I suddenly get monumentally fed up!I've had enough of the mind-numbing effects of information overload.Somewhere in the middle of the lecture,I allow my attention to wander.When the lecturer's eyes roll in my direction, itseems safe to nod intelligently.
At times, I take secret pleasure in penning down mangled versions of nursery rhymes just to keep myself entertained during the long,boring,never-ending lectures.And so I scribbled in my notebook trying hard to make it look like I'm taking down stuff written on the board.

"Trickle Trickle little scar
How I blunder made - you are
Up above my forehead so high
Like a slime-mound in the sty"

Different moods demand a different rhyme

"Randy's braces falling down,falling down,falling down
Randy's braces falling down
I'm scared already!"

Sometimes I find solace in writing mean things about the biggest jerk in college

"Bala black sheep
Have you any shame?
'No sir,No sir
I'm desperate for a dame
One for my right hand, one for my left
One for the little heart that lives down my vest' "

Or about the endless chatter that always gets on my nerves

"I hear slander,I hear slander
Oh don't you?Oh don't you?
Chitter chatter hush-hush,
Chitter chatter hush-hush
I hate you,I hate you"

One more year of boring lectures to go!Frankly,I'm running out of Nursery rhymes!!But if I do manage to come up with something new,don't worry..I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Mental Manjas

I have a history of bumping into people named 'Manja' .In India,in the state called Karnataka,in a city called Bangalore, 99.99% of all the people named Manjunath are nicknamed as Manja..All the 'Manjas' that I have met have three things in common:

1)They were all called Manja

2)All of them assisted the driver in my school bus

3)All of them had a strange liking for me

The whole universe was conspiring against me..Each one of the 'Mental Manjas' had access to new and interesting ways of getting on my nerves.Lets discuss Manja No.1 first...

1)When I was in eighth grade,I learned about the existence of Manja No.1.His job was to make sure that all the little ones had a seat.He had a strange and rare lisp which caught my fancy.Anything thats strange and interesting catches my fancy and I was fascinated by the lisp instantly."SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSweety, ssssssssit here!Ssssssssssssssssssweety!!"I had never seen anything like it before.It was a wonderful combination of gross and interesting.Little did I know that my exceeding interest in the lisp would be missssssssssstaken for my exceeding interest in Manja No.1..For the rest of the year,Ssssssweety had a special seat reserved for her right next to me so that every time she fell asleep and drooled all over my uniform,Manja No.1 would come to rescue the damsssssssel-in-dissssstressss(me) and he would fix his eyeballs on me the rest of the time and not look away even if I caught him staring, giving him a look of utter disgust!
LessonNo.1:Stop being fascinated by lisps in all their wondrous glory.
2)The next academic year : Enter Manja No.2...It was a new school bus and a brand new Manja..This time he was a couple of years older than the previous one and a little taller than I was(Manja No.1 was half my height)There was something exceptional about Manja No.2's reminded me of an alligator for some reason...This time I resisted all temptations to observe the unusual.Yet I failed miserably in escaping Manja No.2..Right opposite my seat,and a couple of seats ahead of me was the door where ManjaNo.2 would stand.The glass door unfortunately bore my reflection and ManjaNo.2 would gape at it all the time.All other seats were taken and i was trapped!!!I wriggled uncomfortably in my seat..being watched all the time isn't a very nice thing...One fine afternoon,a boy in third grade who had grown quite close to ManjaNo.2 asked him if he had a girlfriend."That's my lavvvvvvvarr(lover)", he said and I almost fainted when I realised that he was pointing at me!
Lesson No.2:Never take the seat right opposite the glass door
3)Manja No.3 would follow me around in school and threaten boys that if he'd catch them speaking to me again,his 'gang' would take care of them..Life was hell - people were too scared to talk to me.Mental ManjaNo.3 was definitely the most mental of them all...
After completing high school, I was ever unfortunate enough to meet another Manja again and I thank God for it!!!So all you Manjas out there - GO EAT DUST!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Neeli Aasmaani Chatri

A black polythene cover executed a perfect pirouette mid-air as I proceeded towards the theatre with my family.I was surprised to find a child-like enthusiasm brewing within me as I fondly remembered the movies similar to the one I was about to watch.The innocence and the simplicity in these films were the two things that appealed to me the most.'Halo','Makdee' and now 'The Blue Umbrella' have left a sweet aftertaste in my senses...

The story revolves around a girl called Biniya who trades her lucky charm for a beautiful blue Japanese umbrella-a piece of the blue sky on a stalk as she describes it!Biniya centers her whole world around the umbrella and wherever she goes,she takes the umbrella she plays by the river,frolicks along the hillsides,and dances about the streets.Biniya and the umbrella complete each other.

Her world falls apart when her umbrella suddenly disappears.Was the umbrella stolen?Was it Khatri, the owner of the tea shop who had tried to lure Biniya into giving him the umbrella before?These questions plagued my mind while my heart was heavy with the feeling I usually get when I lose something dear..Based on a novella by Ruskin Bond,this one's yet another simple yet unforgettable story.

Interval time..right when all of us were preparing to leave, a couple of guys sitting right in front of us opened a blue funny-looking umbrella.All of us laughed and clapped in unison!I'm not giving away the rest of the story!Go watch the movie,dahlings!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Verrrry verrry chocolaty!!

That’s exactly how I‘d describe this day. I woke up to find a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate (Family pack) waiting for me in the freezer. My cousin had kept it there after getting back home from work. It was my prize for completing the crossword in MidDay!
“There’s no way you can complete it”, he said
“And what if I do? What do I get?”,I ventured.
“You name it, you got it!”
“How about a bar of chocolate ?”
“Fine! Family pack!!”
For the next half hour, I found myself squinting at the crossword, reading the clues and filling in the words I knew. It was half complete by now. I managed to guess a few words correctly. I finally found myself wrestling with the clues to the last three words. Just three words away from my chocolate…I could imagine sinking my teeth into it, the chocolaty crust melting in my mouth. Pop!! went the picture when I realized that there was no way I could know the answer to these clues.
My chocolate cravings grew stronger by the minute and so did the feeling that I’d never be able to complete the crossword. There was just one missing blank in all three words and all three words were three-letter words and the three clues to the three three-letter words were keeping me away from three bars of chocolate which would be waiting to be devoured by me in the freezer the next day (I didn’t know that then, did I?) AND all the three missing letters in the three words were vowels!
The three clues were:
1) Colourful form of common carp K_I
2) A marine mammal, shark, whale et al _RL
3)”The” in German D_R
It’s obvious that the missing letter is a vowel in the second and third word. “How do you know that the missing letter in the first word is a vowel?”, you may want to know.. That’s because the words appeared in the crossword like this

There was only one intelligent way left to complete this crossword. The very next moment I found myself making these noises aloud
“KAI!” “ARL!” No.. Can’t be
“KEI!” “ERL!” Ummm…no!
“KII!” “IRL!” No way!
“KOI!” “ORL!” Maybe!
“KUI!” “URL!” Maybe!

It’s either ‘O’ or ‘U’.. after a lot of thinking, I resorted to
I was left with ‘O’. Wow! O, the symbol denoting eternity! “May I be blessed with the joy of experiencing the wonderful taste of chocolates melting in my mouth for the rest of my eternal life”, I thought as I drew a big circle between K and I.
Now everything depended on the last word D_R ->”The” in German.. Let’s try using the word with different vowels in a sentence, I thought..
“Dur Mein Kampf!” No…can’t be
“Dor Mein Kampf!” Nnnnah!
“Dir Mein Kampf!” Nnnnno!
“Der Mein Kampf!” Maybe..
“Dar Mein Kampf!” Maybe..Maybe not!
It had to be either E or A. Let’s see.. what would Hitler say??
“Have you read dar book ‘Mein Kampf’?”
“Have you read der book ‘Mein Kampf’?”

“Eeeeeeeeesequallto (is equal to) my chocolate!”, I said as I wrote a big ‘E’ between D and R. I proudly thrust the newspaper into my cousin’s hands.

“You do seem to know a lot of words!”
“What did you think?!”
“Wow! I didn’t know a couple of them myself!”
“You may leave the chocolates in the freezer…”

Friday, August 10, 2007


There are chemical neurotransmissions and electrical connections going on in a mass of pinkish grey matter of both men and women. Women are blazing a trail in both politics and business. The unvarnished truth is that- so are men. Men aren’t being given as much credit for what they do, as women, which may impair all their further usefulness to the society. It’s high time we break through the old limits to new, more supple frontiers. Women and men are equal by all means. What next? ...Or is that a stupid question?
I summon my courage to touch upon a delicate subject. It is now a known and accepted fact that a woman is capable of doing a lot more than pinning fragrant blooms in a man’s buttonhole. So, instead of battling each other for supremacy, we must now head towards a mutually beneficial synergy. This is a dominant necessity. Just imagine the discouragement of pouring yourself out to an audience and not receiving a single ripple of appreciative comment. This is the exact feeling a man experiences when a woman puts in an equal amount of effort (or less) and shares space with pictures of sports figures and politicians. Why? Simple! Being a woman, it is admirable that she had achieved this.
Frankly, I don’t see the fuss. After all, men and women are equal, aren’t they? Then don’t they deserve equal credit? There’s magic, positive magic in the result of joint efforts of men and women. I am more firmly convinced than ever. It’s a two-way street and if this is achieved, we’ll be raising a spirit of co-operation rather than that of antagonism. Now that we’re beginning to understand the dynamics of change, we could allow the idea of mutual synergy further gather momentum or keep the idea locked up inside a three pound organ within our skull.

For the love of Odd!

Laugh at the desperate comedy of the world! A world full of people intoxicated with their own egos, drunk with a sense of their own importance. They go off gadding about in their automobiles and frequent expensive malls and restaurants. They blow all their money on works of ‘art’ of singular hideousness, which probably won’t serve any worthwhile purpose other than lurking in some sinister corner of their oddly decorated mansion. In all their ‘oddliness’, they find things that would best adorn the dustbin, of pure aesthetic value.
It’s the age of the Odd, Absurd and the Useless. Fashion changes with teeth-grinding regularity. Who decides what’s in and what’s out, anyway? Bizarre designs of highly overrated designers are exorbitantly expensive. Yet, for the love of the Odd, the excessively rich, go ahead and purchase the potentially unwearables. They will only settle for the best. Maybe filling your house with things you don’t really need is the new trend. As usual, people will unthinkingly and without question, follow the trend. The thought of it chills me to the marrow.
This is the life that the people on the extreme end of financial stability lead. They love the unconventional, the unusual – the words they use to describe things that are utterly odd and absurd. This has often given me cause for wonderment – if this trend continues, will we end up being called the 'odd men out'?

Why do clocks run clockwise?

Our life is operating on quicksand with almost unbelievable rapidity. My excellent general awareness skills inform me that almost all grown-ups wish they could turn back time. Growing a year older gets only sullen acceptance because we all realize that time is but a swollen, impassable river.
When we were children, we were always told what to do. As children, we were incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs. We believed that being grown-up is fun and with as much sense as a half-witted hummingbird, we dived into adulthood headfirst. We watched childhood roll by like the news-reel of an event taking place somewhere else. Since showing anger and frustration will not serve any worthwhile purpose, we might as well bask in the sunny, fantasy isles of insanity and wonder what would happen if clocks would run anticlockwise and if we’d turn into kids again.
For starters, the world would suddenly seem bigger. You think its grand. God has done a mighty fine job! You could be unrestrained in your phraseology, violating all canons of courtesy! With pillow fights, blowing bubbles, making sand castles, flying kites, muddy shoes and grubby knees, everything else pales into insignificance. Everything is unfamiliar, everything is new… there’s a whole world out there to explore! Every little thing comes as a fresh shock of understanding. You torment your teachers with questions like “ If we could fly to the sun, how long would it take? Why is school called school? Can birds fly backwards?” In exams, we’d write answers that would turn the paper brown! When we are kids, we are ferociously individualistic!
A terrible, sickening fear has come over me. I have listed out all the things that have been denied us in the harsh world of reality. Dream and reality – one is universally admired, the other universally condemned. The thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that individual. So why think like a blundering youth? Why not think like an inquistive child? The very thought has sent joy bells ringing through the echoing corridors of my soul..

Monday to Thursday blues

It drives the husband to pacing the floor in despair, children are distressed immeasurably because of it and all men find it truly nauseating!It’s the Monday to Thursday blues- a product of the monotonously repetitive saas-bahu sagas. If I say its driving us nuts, I’m probably understating the truth. It would be unreasonable to expect that you will be allowed to watch anything else between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. The Indian woman fiercely guards her television set from the prying eyes of anyone who wishes to invade her ‘moments’ of utter bliss. The usual methods for fighting the Goliath of Hindi soaps have all ended in futility. Here are few of the tried and tested ones..
1)Come home early, tune in to your favourite channel and put on an ex-pression that radiates interest and enthusiasm hoping that she would not have the heart to change the channel at 8.But the gnawing and unfaltering hunger lying dormant in her awakens and she simply reaches for the remote at 8 and changes the channel giving you just about as much attention you pay to one fleck of sand on a sandy beach.
2)Watch the serial with her and make appropriate noises suggesting how utterly nonsensical its contents are. You have struck a direct blow at her intelligence, judgement and pride. One could anticipate the amount of tongue-lashing she would unleash for that carelessness. You had clearly underestimated her reaction.
3)Most of the dialogues can be spotted almost before they are out of the mouth. Make her realize how repetitive the dialogues are by completing them before the tv actresses do. Sometimes this can weirdly backfire. She’ll glare at you, impatient at the interruption. In all probability, you’ll be having yesterday’s leftovers for dinner. The Indian woman exercises her powers and she exercises them well.
4)A commercial break is a golden, heaven-sent opportunity when you can feel free to voice your opinions. It is the only time when the Indian woman is not thinking about the magnitude of misfortune involved in Tulsi’s life, her face dripping with sympathy. Tell her that you would like to watch the channel of your choice sometimes. She refuses point-blank or comes up with a sob-story so piquant that your imagined grievances vanish into thin air. The Hindi soaps have made her better equipped to meet life’s situations.
As for the rest of us,deep dejection is the feeling which is our constant companion nowadays. Kids- I feel sorry for the poor devils! So here’s a handclasp over the miles until the next idea brewing and stewing within, bears fruitition.