Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The idiocy of our ways - Afterthought

I mean, take this Charon chap for example. His job is to ferry dead people across a river in return for one coin...One coin! And then cross the stream back again and ferry some more people (because people always keep checking out, you see), and so on and on till the end of time! I mean, with a job like that, what are this guy's career options? If you ask me, I'd say he is already scraping the bottom. He can't even make conversation with the people on the ferry for the rather dull reason that they are not really people, just dead bodies.

(But you never know...maybe one coin is still worth a lot in the underworld. Maybe the dough makes up for the dreariness. Maybe you can, a lot of stuff with a coin. At any rate, if I had one coin for every bloke who popped off... )

But all said and done, he has pretty good job security, and thats more than you can say about most people in these times of recession... and it is not because he is a thorough professional, or because the market will never be dull. No. It's just because no one else wants that job! Maybe the chap who is in charge of the filing cabinets in my office might be interested if he hears about this...But I can't really think of anyone else who would want that job. Really.

And oh...they have a god for wine, whose job it is to make sure we never run out of booze at parties. Somebody please tell me what I should do to get that job? I won't pilfer, I swear!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The idiocy of our ways - Undisguised Ignorance

When women say a man looks like a Greek God, which of the following Greek Gods do they mean?

1. Pan, a short God with the horns, legs and tail of a goat, and with a thick beard, snub nose and pointed ears.

2. Marsyas, who you will notice if you observe this picture, was old, fat, bald and looked, if truth be told, quite homosexual.

3. Aegipan, who had the head of a man and the body of a goat. Experts still argue over whether he was a goat with a man's head or a man with a goat's body.

4. Hephaestus, who was lame and disfigured and so repulsive that his mother, after taking one look at him promptly threw him off a mountain.

What is it with women, I don't understand! Most of these Greek Gods had serious anger management issues and very limited career options. I mean, look at it this way - if women are indeed attracted to men who are stuck with bad jobs and a bad attitude, then you'd have to scrape young girls off me like you'd scrape barnacles off a rusty sea anchor. Whereas I am actually like one of those shiny tungsten-coated ceramic naval anchors which no self-respecting barnacle would ever like to be found in a twelve-mile radius of, unless stunned by an electric shock first, beaten up, tied, gagged and then threatened to be killed for good measure by a large, unpleasant man called Carlos, whose 9-letter long second name wouldn't contain any vowels. No, really. I tell you, try being witty and sarcastic and see just how popular you get with the ladies. Not very, I assure you.

Other things to avoid when the ladies are around - showing off your short temper, if you have one, and hoping you'd pass off for Zeus or Thor. Because believe me, you won't. It is not amusing and you're not impressing anybody. If you don't believe me, try smashing stuff or storming off to Mt Olympus in a fit of rage, or even leaving the door open for that matter, and you will be presented with a stare so cold that you'll think Sarajevo 1992 was a rather humorous affair.

But, this greek-god-guy streaked around the desert naked, drove his father's car when he was 10, lost control of the wheel, ploughed the car into a barn and ended up setting the earth on fire .... and guess what the ladies of his time (and ours) did? They smiled and said "Awwww, dear little PH?! He does that at times...isn't he just adorable?"

Dinosaurs will come back to life before I understand women!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bite my Bytes ;-)

I really don't understand why people find it offending, insulting even to be on the bench. I work in an IT company and I was on the bench for a really long time. It was a lovely time, because besides offering the uninterrupted comfort of idling, it was also very flattering really, to know that a bunch of sharp, efficient executives running a reputed multi-billion dollar corporation deemed it necessary to pay me a large sum of money every month just so that they can retain me and have the option of using my services sometime later. What can be more flattering than that? Besides, if you are on the bench, you are always potential. And potential can't be criticised. You are never given a chance to work so there is never a risk of failure. Office is 50 km from home, and since I wasn't doing much in office, I was actually being paid merely to travel back and forth every day. I know people who pay money to travel back and forth. So I was already better off than a majority of the working population.

But these days, I am involved in a software implementation project for a huge insurance company, who have engaged the company I work for because they don't much understand software themselves. And the computer engineers working in my company do not understand the insurance business much. So the project manager looked at the situation objectively and threw me into the mix, to act as a sort of middle-man between the client and the software engineers. Now, my job is simple - to explain to each what the other says. That's a very convenient arrangement for everybody involved... except me, because...well, because I know absolutely nothing about either insurance or software. In fact my only experience with the insurance industry is that I paid some money to an LIC agent about 6 months ago and got a receipt for it. That was all. So, I know as much about the insurance industry as the average chicken knows about the balance sheet of McDonald Corp. All I know about insurance is that a lot of people regularly pay a corporation a large amount of money, because apparently it is not a good idea to not do so; and that insurance companies make really lousy TV ads. But that is 12 volumes of Encyclopaedia Galactica compared to what I know about software engineering.

But I type my documents in large, friendly letters in a cheerful-looking font and as a result, I am coping well. I also highlight random words in bold and italics and underline whole random paragraphs for no particular reason and send the document back to whoever sent it to me in the first place. Apparently they take it seriously. It also adds to the overall visual clout, as you can see for yourself in the previous paragraph. I also use words like enhance and review quite excessively. It implies that you have gone through the entire passage and know a great deal about a lot of stuff - enough to decide which terms are important enough to be highlighted and which words should be left alone. Moreover, I always end my emails with "Have a good day" or "Good job, keep it up", so as not to seem overly critical and to add a touch of gentle consideration. I think they like me. 

If it weren't for the confidentiality clause, I'd have already warned you against buying an insurance policy from the company whose computer system I have been personally involved in designing. I am not allowed to name the company, but there is nothing against sharing an opinion, is there? So why don't you tell me where you plan to put your money, and I'll tell you if it’s a good idea ;-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008 on...

Why is making out called petting? I am really worried for our species here. I mean, how did the word "petting" even come about? Is it mere coincidence that the word used to describe activities of a sexual nature is the same general term used to describe domestic animals? I sincerely hope our forefathers didn't use their cattle for purposes. No, I am serious! Discovering such a word in the language is always a worrying thing for me. It is carefully hidden proof of mischief that by accident got discovered. It is one of those moments, like when you discover a stack of porn magazines under your grandfather's bed. Not that I ever did, but I can imagine what it would have been like.

We as a race have collectively been upto a lot of mischief, most of which I'm quite proud of. Like melting all that antarctic ice and drowning the penguins? That was pretty cool. Moreover, deviance is a most lovable trait, especially in one's ancestors. I for one prefer ancestors who set fire to buildings and climbed mountains and ran away to forests, chasing rainbows to ancestors who sat around reading newspaper and sipping tea. I like that sense of adventure. Like in a grandfather of mine who fought in the second world war, got bored of it, quit the Air Force and ran away to Burma to grow cotton. I really do like that in a man.

But "petting"! You've got to draw a line there! That's just kinkiness. You know how old people always keep reminiscing how much better things were when they were young? I swear to god, if one of these days I catch an old man watching a young couple making out, and wondering out loud " Girls, for godssake! How thing have changed... What do they teach young boys in schools these days?! I remember when I was young, it used to be goats...", I'm really going to give him a piece of my mind.

And that is why I am ever so wary of learning about the origin and evolution of words. You never know what shameful secrets you might accidentally uncover.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The idiocy of our ways - Blindness

Which of the following is a dentist?

A -

B -

Wrong. The man in picture A is Hugo Sanchez, a qualified dentist who also played football for the Mexican national team. Since he has a degree in dentistry, he can evaluate, diagnose, operate on and treat conditions of the oral cavity and the maxillofacial area.

In picture B is some random-ass fat guy in an oversized white labcoat. He doesn't have a degree in dentistry and he doesn't know anything about cavities and surgery. Infact, the only thing he has in common with a real dentist is that he has a poster of a tooth in his rented room.

Allow me shatter your little dream thoroughly. In real life, this "dentist" is probably an unemployed moron who normally plays uncredited two-bit roles in cheap TV serials. He got the break of his life when CP's ad agency rang him up and asked him to don the labcoat for what would be his Magnum-Opus. He cannot perform a dental implant nor does he have a clue about Gingivitis. However, he can tap two sea-shells together and show us that the one labelled Colgate doesn't break whereas the one with a blanked out name shatters to pieces. He has perfect 20/20 vision, but wears glasses just so that he can look mature, caring and wise. He tells impressionable little children that a bacterium is a little green animated gremlin which wears a maniacal grin on its face and carries a sharp trident. But you can't blame him for that, because probably he himself truly believes that bacteria are actually spooky little animated creatures with bulging eyes and sharp spikes on their backs, who wear a look of ghastly shock on their faces while their arms flail about helplessly as they drown in a white wave of flouride foam.

Look at him. I am sure in real life he is a drunkard who gets into arguments with his neighbours and beats up his kids. In fact, I am sure he drinks so much that his trembling hands can never steadily hold a tooth-drill, because he'd be shaking like a duck on a rainy day. He can't hold on to a steady job either, and is upto his neck in debt. And whatever little money he made from this ad film was spent buying more bottles of black rum. He is probably lying in a dazed stupor on his filthy sofa in his 1-bhk Borivili studio apartment right now, with a 6 day old stubble, sprawled amidst empty bottles and cigarette ash, cradling a bottle of cheap rum, with empty cigarette packets strewn all over the floor.

And you take dental advice from this monkey.

Go away. Feel good about it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

More randomness

Has it ever occured to you that all the billboards and posters that you see along the road are designed to be read at a certain pace? And that that depends on the speed of the vehicle you are in, which in turn depends on the traffic density? Which depends in turn, on the time of the day. So, if you are breezing down Mount Road at 4 in the morning as I was today, none of the road signs and posters will make any sense to you. For instance a bald man in a three-piece suit seemed to be asking me if I wanted to speak better English and before I could find out what scheme he had in mind for me, the view was replaced by a poster inviting me to attend a play called The World Is..something or the other, someday sometime...I couldn't really finish reading. Barrelling down the road, I also saw the LED display on the traffic light advising me that "...shifting saves upto 20%...", and the number 22 was blinking atop the red light, which as I sped past it suddenly became 21 for no apparent reason.

Madras doesn't make sense at 80 kmph.

I saw a dead dog on the road. From a distance, it seemed like someone had dropped a doormat in the middle of the road but when I went closer, it was obvious that it was a dog. At least, it once had been. Now it was a doormat in the middle of the road. A stinking doormat in the middle of the road. Then I realised the stench might carry deadly viruses that could give me some lethal disease. Then I thought about it, and I realised since it was 4 AM and I was standing in the exact same spot on the road where just a few hours ago an agile four-legged wild carnivore had been run over by a speeding truck, maybe catching a cold was not my biggest problem.


You are so easily entertained, aren't you?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Strike One

When I was in the first standard, I had a huge crush on a girl called Shilpa. She was in the 12th standard, so that made her 17 years old. She had beautiful green eyes and was the star athlete of the school and the class topper. Her father was a doctor and he had a Premier Padmini, I remember. I wanted to marry Shilpa. I was 5 years old and I was in hopelessly in love! There was nothing like it, please believe me! In all my five years of life I had never known such poignant suffering. It was amazing. It was heartbreaking!

She had a boyfriend, I vividly remember. And I also remember wanting to inspect the colour of his small intestine. I dont think she even noticed me ever. Or how much I cried when she had to leave school. She was truly my first love... But that was so long ago. That was in another lifetime...

Twenty years seem to have passed in a heartbeat. If she even remembers me to this day, I'm sure her memories of me would be only that of a tiny boy with broken teeth and ruffled hair staring at her from a distance, hiding behind his math notebook, pretending to read, hoping she wouldn't notice. And in my memories, she is always ravishingly beautiful and always green eyed and always walking away from me. And there is a mocking laughter even in her wake.