Thursday, July 9, 2009

That's all, folks!

I guess its been on the boil for quite a while now. The job was getting on my nerves. It was mostly a joke. The best conversations I've had in years were with myself, on a single cylinder British motorcycle. But I knew I had hit rock bottom when people started mistaking the mask for the clown, so to speak.

So yesterday I did the most natural thing any level-headed person would have done in the same situation. I quit my job, and decided to take my motorcycle and leave on what will hopefully be a wild goose chase across the sub-continent in search of The Me. I don't know if I will come back to Madras, or to Blogger. I have no idea.

To the 4 regular readers of this blog, and to the dozens who arrive here from looking for pornography, thanks for putting up with the nonsense. Be good and keep the faith.  

Live gracefully. Die well.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A few life saving tips from a guy who knows nothing about life.

I don't take life too seriously, and life doesn't take me too seriously. It's an arrangement that works reasonably well for both of us. But here's something you will do well to remember for as long as you live:

Remember to never trust banks. Or hedge funds. Big corporations will ALWAYS want your money. The only thing that changes is how badly they want it and how much they are willing to pay for it. So you see fluctuating interest rates.

Follow business news. It is very amusing. You will very likely be reminded of a dog running in circles, chasing its own tail. But the difference is that a dog chasing tail is a zero sum game. Economics is not. There are always losers in an economy. That's the way of the world.

Never trust the media. They manipulate. They lie. They dwell on inconsequential controversies, like Shiney Ahuja's libido, to divert your attention from the really important issues, like global warming. They contrive the most unlikely conspiracy theories, yet they don't say the most obvious thing if it hurts the majority sentiment. They make such popular but ridiculously false proclamations as "Prevent global warming. Save the Arctic Penguin.", when the exact opposite is true. It is actually the penguins who are causing global warming. By breathing. One whiff of carbon-dioxide at the poles has the same effect on the atmosphere as burning down a forest or a coal mine at the equator, because the air is thinner. You are moving from the double ring to the bull's eye. It can be scientifically proven. Infact, I just did. If there were no animals or birds at the poles, it would be much cooler there and hence the ice wouldn't melt. So, in a way the surest way to save the Arctic Penguin is to shoot them all. Why then does the media urge us to save them? Because penguins are cute.

Penguins are not cute. That can also be scientifically proven.

Play Xonix. It is the only thing in the world worth pursuing. It is a seemingly trivial 2D computer game in which you have to trap evil little dots in progressively smaller areas in the face of irrational and at times absurd resistance by ever shrinking and expanding sticks. But you should be careful with the little dots. Mere contact with them can seriously undermine your mobility. Repeated contact is rumoured to have a detrimental effect on your very survival in the game, but I wouldn't know about that. The simplicity of the concept is astounding. Yet, its minimalism is matched only by its staggering range of probabilistic permutations. It's like walking into a mirror room. It will show you a million reflections of yourself. And reflections of reflections. You have quite literally infinite options at any given instant. It is a never ending fugue that will either elevate you to an orgasmic state of Karmic awareness, or depress you into a deep psychosomatic existential crisis. It will teach you, if you are inclined to learn, the absurdity of a purposeless existence and demonstrate the futility of endeavour in a way nothing else can. It is a fountainhead of profound philosophical thought.

Education is an industry and it is run by morons.

Let me rule the world, just for a day! I'll show you! I swear to God, you'd have never seen anything quite like it! Bearded university intellectuals and aviator shades will make a comeback. There wouldn't be any hiking gear or laptop bags. I swear to God i'll crash us sideways through the pearly gates in a trail of fire, leaving behind a wake of destruction and shattered window glass. 

I have a vision of a madhouse, a seething charge of explosive creativity, where not a word is uttered that is commonplace, trite or uninspiring. The dull and the unimaginative would have no place in the madhouse. I have a vision of a world where thousands of young men and women break the shackles of slavery and wander off to the mountains, in search of the source of the great Amazon. A whole generation fuelled by Cannabis and a burning desire to set fire to the record. I really, genuinely, truly, earnestly believe that this is the only sensible way to live. Anything else is a compromise. If you fail to see what is to gained by such an existence, the ordinariness to which you doom yourself is entirely your problem to deal with.

The grass IS greener here. It is a dark shade of olive. 

If only I ruled the world....

If what I said offended you, I just want you to know that I am not sorry. I'm not looking for anyone's forgiveness. Keep the change.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A knotty problem...

For most part I don't understand iPod earphones. If you leave them unattended on a table for a couple of minutes, they somehow seem get entangled in a knot of such bewildering complexity that you need hyperbolic invariants and supercomputer algorithms to figure out how to untie them. 

Mathematically, a tangled iPod earphone is the closest thing we have to multi-dimensional hyperspace and parallel Universes. Ancient Hindu saints and Buddhist monks knew about this. This is evident from the fact that the iPod earphone knot is one of the eight auspicious symbols in Tibetan philosophy. 

What a tangled web we weave! Have you ever wondered what to really make of all the other regular nonsense we get up to? I do. So my mind is a very crowded place.

If aliens ever landed on earth, they would naturally think that iPods are the batteries that power human beings....and that people would go into a state of suspended animation, like energiser bunnies, if the power cable that is plugged into the ears is yanked off.

I wonder how Americans can make reconnaissance satellites that can spot a cockroach flapping its wings in a North Korean nuclear power plant from 300 miles above sea level, but fail to see a huge 2000 kg Russian satellite draped in bright reflective silver foil coming its way from 12 metres away, and collide with it?

I am at a loss to understand what we mean by the word "War Crime". I wonder what could be more criminal than war.

I have a pet theory - Man invented things in the order of how badly he needed them. The things which were really needed for survival were invented first and then Man turned his attention to the less important things. It is a sound theory, and it can be easily verified too. Beer was invented before writing. Spears, bows and axes were invented before bread and clothing. Plastic surgery, chewing gum and breast enhancement were invented before a cure for Ebola.

Do you know why they never mention the ingredients on aerated soft drink cans? The conceited bastards. Let me show you a sample. 330 ml Coca Cola - Caffeine, Phosphoric acid, Glycerin, Cocaine alkaloids, Chlorine, Ethanol, Toluene, Potassium Benzoate, Aspartame, sugar and water. It reads like the contents of a nuclear waste disposal canister. They know they will never be able to move a can off the shelf. Coca-Cola's ad punchline as early as in 1910 was "Quenches the thirst as nothing else can". Really? Whatever happened to plain water? Why should there be a toxic alternative to everything?

Why do sugar-free / low-calorie food items cost more than their regular alternatives? Shouldn't it be cheaper because it has one ingredient less? By the same token, sugar-free tablets should cost nothing.

Computers are the future of the world. Cockroaches can survive a nuclear attack. Some very serious nuclear firepower is wielded by North Korea and Iran, countries where top scientists are confounded by bicycle repair kits. When you put all these seemingly unconnected facts together, you will come to the same inescapable conclusion that I have - We must teach the cockroaches how to use computers. That would save a lot of cockroaches a lot of time.

If it goes down too, why is it called a Lift?

I have a doctor-friend who has killer looks. I wonder if it’s a good thing in her line of work.

In the days of black and white TV, did they broadcast snooker games?

If there are aliens observing us, I guess they'd think we're quite peculiar. We cut down forests and then pay a lot of money to buy clothes that would make us inconspicuous in a jungle. We have jobs we don’t like doing, so that we can buy things that we don't need. We have desk jobs and lead a protected life. We've never seen a river or a stream, yet we wear 50m waterproof watches, even though we know that if we ever get that deep in water, reading the time would be the least of our worries.


Told you, my mind is a very crowded place.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Things you wish you had said

A good friend of mine recently analysed my feeding philosophy in his characteristic witty manner... It was so brilliant that it just HAD to be mentioned here!

"You believe in abortion, but not murder. That is why you eat eggs but not meat."

Sheesh! I wish I had thought of that!

And now for something funny...

I met God.

He seemed to be a pretty cool chap. A bit aloof, I’d say, but cool undoubtedly.


It happened when I was in the heart of gult-land, Hyderabad, where I had to go on an official trip. As I entered the office complex, I asked the security person where I could find a certain building. He said, and keep in mind that he was gult, “Go straight down this road-u, you will find a grey building-u. When you yenter that building-u, a God will be sitting there. Ask that God, he will tell you where the building-u is.

Stunned, I hurried to meet God, who was allegedly sitting in Bldg-5. As a matter of fact, I even spoke with him. He was really chilled out. He wasnt even wearing the weird clothes and accessories I had imagined he'd be wearing. He was awfully nice. He gave me directions to get to Bldg-5, too.

I just wanted to let you know that if you are in Mecca or Hrishikesh or the Vatican or wherever, looking for God, you are looking in the wrong places. God is actually chilling out at Bldg-5 in an software office in Hyderabad, sitting cross-legged and reading a newspaper, apparently unaware that so many people are looking for him all over the place. 

And you know what’s the most unkindest cut of them all? I have a suspicion He is gult.

(For the uninitiated, God is gultspeak for Guard – something I discovered later. Imagine my disappointment!)


Thursday, May 21, 2009

When the music is over...

Here is a word of advice to straight-haired girls who spend 2 hours a day in front of a mirror, trying out a dozen shades of lipstick, and splurging money on cosmetics and hair products, spending precious time worrying about how they look - you will never, not in a million years be as beautiful as the woman I love.


In her time, she was the queen of Egypt. She was the most powerful woman in the most advanced civilisation on earth. She was also the most beautiful woman ever. And do you want to know how she ended up?

This is how we will all end up one day. Filthy rotting corpses right fit only to be eaten by worms. Yet look at her decaying body and her legacy. She lived a beautiful life. She died old and wrinkled and frail. She died a beautiful human being. You will be lucky if you look so graceful in death. You will be lucky if some young man whom you will never know, in a far, faraway country thousands of years later looks at your picture and wonders who you were, how you smiled, how much you were loved. You’d be lucky if he looked up at the stars thousands of years after you’re gone and wondered if you once saw the same stars.

Here is a word of advice for denim clad young girls in strip malls. What will be left of your good looks after a few years? Just some wrinkles and a few old bones. Ask yourself – what will be left of you after 3500 years?

This was Nefertiti - the most beautiful woman in the world.

A word of advice: Age gracefully. Die well.


(PS: Thanks to Meg for the bronze make up, the inspiration and the constant reminders)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Quiz - Part I of many

Guess who eats who



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Warning: weather report ahead!

Dear blog reader,

If you are in the business of weather forecasting, pay special attention to the following sentence: You are a blithering idiot. If you earnestly believe in the veracity of your forecasts, that is. Otherwise you are plainly a pig-headed moron. Weather forecasters in Madras deserve a special mention here. Why should ignorant people be hired to tell other ignorant people what they don't want to know? And have you seen these jokers?

Why do they wear those stuffy, ill-fitting woolen suits, that make them seem like obese rhinoceri in tight-fitting dinner jackets? Have they ever seen themselves in a mirror? Who clears these harebrained morons as suitable for television audiences? This is broadcast to millions of homes every night for half an hour. What is the health ministry doing about it? How can any civilised culture view radioactive plutonium as a health hazard and yet let this morbid nonsense loose on the unsuspecting public? So the weather-people on TV have so much going against them already, and I havent even started on the meaty bit yet - the actual business of weather prediction; Which is essentially whimsical unscientific speculation by a badly dressed man wearing a wig, grinning like an idiot and vaguely waving his arms about over a map, usually accompanied by retarded 2-D graphics and loud cheerful music. Just what is the bloody point?!

Would you notice it if you heard the exact same weather report on two consecutive days? How many days in a row do you have to see the weather report before you realise that you have been shown the exact same black boring X-ray of the India map since 1957?

The only thing that changes from day to day throughout the year in Madras is the thermometer reading. So inevitably, the only thing that the weather forecasters talk about is how hot it is going to be. What can the weather forecaster on Sun News POSSIBLY say that you didn't know before? Weather news is actually a contradiction in terms, because there is nothing new about it. Pause for a moment here and ask yourselves - how would your daily routine be different if it was 34 degrees C as opposed to, say 33? Scientists who work on drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases in hermetically sealed NMR laboratories have personally told me that they don't much care for 1C differences. So what difference does it make to Mr.Kettle-face (see the pic below) who sells tea and rice cakes in a roadside stall near Aminjikarai post office?

My forgiveness is a raving lunatic. Right now.

Get out of my face.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More things about the universe that don't make sense - Part XXIV

Here are some more questions you are not going to understand.

1) Why do some people say life is hard? Life is hard compared to what? Being dead? How would they know?

2) Why is the alphabet in that order? Why should the alphabet be in ANY order? The only place where it is used is to spot a word in the dictionary. But with computers and what not these days, even that is not necessary any more. So why?

3) THIS report says that America recently broadened the scope of its unmanned air strikes in Pakistan from the semi-autonomous tribal areas to include the province of Baluchistan, in order to "smoke out" the Taliban (whose presence in Baluchistan, incidentally, was merely alleged). This followed speculation by senior members in the Obama administration that Pakistan was heading towards a total collapse of democracy and ultimately State failure....So they are saying all this because Taliban infiltrated certain regions in the North West Frontier Province? That raises an important question which I am sure millions of readers of this blog want to know the answer to - If the US Air Force does not hesitate to bomb the streets of Karachi and Quetta at the slightest suspicion of Taliban infiltration, how would they react if the said terrorists were standing on the roof of a 200000 b.p.d oil refinery in Saudi Arabia? Would they bomb it? What if the terrorists were dancing naked on an offshore oil rig in Alaska? Would they blow up costly Exxon Mobil infrastructure? More importantly, if the same terrorists were holed up somewhere in the Grand Canyon, would it merit a surgically precise SWAT retaliation from the American government... or would it call for carpet-bombing of Colorado? What if they were hiding in a Wal-Mart store in a marginal southern electorate somewhere in Alabama? Where would they drop their bombs?

4) If my previous question left you groping in the dark for answers, this should help you make up your mind - The Americans won't think twice before calling in an airstrike by F-16 fighter jets to blow up Madison Square Garden because there were a few garden lizards in it. See this.

5) What's all the fuss about sedentary jobs? NASCAR drivers and fighter pilots have sedentary jobs. The orthopaedic doctors people visit when they have problems resulting from a sedentary lifestyle have a sedentary lifestyle.

OK get back to your pathetic lives now.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Rental lease payment. Electricity. Unsolicited household chores. Packaged homogenised milk. Children. School fees. Castor oil. Kerosene. Purified semolina. Grocery rations. Palm oil. Raw rice. Wheat. Not enough. Not enough. Money is not enough at all. Hey! Rs 0.0625. Rs 0.125. We broke the coin accumulation container. Rs 0.25. Rs 0.50. We borrowed money. We mortgaged the container, the vessel...yet even after begging for Rs. 0.05 and Rs 0.10, not enough, not enough, not enough, not enough.

Knowledge fruit.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Hey! Alcohol. Anchovies. A used piece of tobacco wrapped in temburini leaf. Bat. Hut. Garbage bin and a tea shop nearby. A 4-seater tricycle. Kite. Manja with a bottle. Bail. Marble. Cotton wrap-around. Pot. Shall we sing gaana rap songs? Ms.Anjali. Marketplace. Knee-length trousers. Mr.Kanniappan. Ms.Muniamma. Messers Giri, Gaja and Mani. MGR. Sivaji Ganesan. Rajnikant. Kamal Hassan. Armpit whistle. A slap reducing cheeks to powder. All shows running house-full. Pettai rap.

I love Madras.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


OK. Would some nerdy university type reader point out to me the exact difference between a hydrocarbon and a carbohydrate?

If you are an annoying, nerdy reader and you don’t know the answer to that, die in shame. You don’t deserve to live. If you do, please go to the comments section and post the answer. After you do that, quickly run along and get a life. Or better still, die. I will reject your comment in either case.

Alright, I need a favour from you. I should not have insulted you. Sorry.

Die in shame anyway.

In school, they tried to sell fructose as a carbohydrate and paraffin as a hydrocarbon. I called their bluff. Without going into boring details, let me tell you that essentially they are both the same. So I asked them why paraffin cannot be a carbohydrate, as it also releases energy upon combustion. Then we could all have candle wax for dinner. They looked shocked.

It is not the wrongness of their world that annoys the marrow out of my bones. It is their stubbornness to not change their outlook and their pig-headed reluctance to believe that other, more elegant worlds might possibly exist.

Education is an industry and it is run by incompetent morons.

What lies have I been fed! What a vortex of deception my life has come to be! I think it is sad that the truest thing in my life right now is a song. It is sad that no one understands the anguish. Because all I've got are words, and sometimes words are not sufficient. Sometimes I don't even have words. But the honesty of its music is unbelievable. It just cuts straight through the curtains of life's nonsense. It is fresh and white and pure and the filth of the world cannot touch it, no matter how hard it tries. I feel like I am gazing at the northern star from a wildly spinning carousel of lies. I don’t mind the discomfort, the hypnotism, the deception and the nausea as long as I have my sight on the distant, constant star, which looks at me and smiles, as my father used to when I sat on uncomfortable carousels when I was a little boy. I couldn't wait to get off the carousel and run back to him. If I had to give up everything else in the world and have one thing, it would be my childhood. I detest the pretence of being a man, of knowing what I'd be doing 5 years hence. I want to die a boy. Yes, that is what I would ask for. I have fallen in love with a star.

I am scratching and clawing at the frayed ends of sanity, struggling to hold on to impossibly thin strands of normalcy. Somebody throw me a frickin’ bone!

Terrible day + Coffee = Bad idea.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Saturday night revolution remix

Did you hear about the coup in Madagascar, in which the president was ousted by a DJ who thought it would be cool to rule the country for a couple of years? The DJ just gave a press interview and declared that the president had been relieved of his duties. In an embarrassing turn of events, people ran amuck and there was general confusion everywhere and the President, not knowing what to do, and eager to avoid any confusion quickly resigned and handed over power to the DJ who obviously seemed to know what he was talking about.

I swear I am not making this up.

Click here to read the article.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More things about the universe that dont make sense

If you feel, after having read the posts in this blog that I have already exposed most of the major flaws in the design of the Universe, what follows will take you entirely by surprise. Indeed, I have been giving the matter some serious thought, and have come to the conclusion that the world is upto no good. And our only chance of survival is letting me rule the Universe. Here are some more reasons why the Universe needs to be scratched off and a better replacement installed.

* What does it mean when someone says they will "definitely give more than 100%"? If 100% means total and absolute - that’s all they can possibly do. If they say they will do 110%, then 110 automatically becomes the new 100%, because they just showed that they could do not 100, but 110. So effectively, they end up doing a mere 100% after all.

* The Scandinavians invented the ice skates in the 5th Millennium BC. They also invented the ski in the 3rd millennium BC. Would you say it was impressive progress? A prematurely born gorilla which had been dropped on its head when it was born would have figured that out in less than 10 minutes. What took them 2000 years to get to the ski from the skate?

* If everyone in a group is unique, can one say that he is unique, just like everyone else?

* What is so "secret" about the secret service agent who tags along with the President of USA wherever he goes? I mean this guy has a two-way radio transmitter with earplugs and a 9mm Heckler & Koch submachine gun and a kevlar bodysuit and he looks around menacingly while a dozen cameras are trained on him. And he is being shown on every news channel from Easter Islands to Alaska. Everyone can see him and what he is upto, but in the glare of all those flashlights, he definitely cannot see anyone. And come on, no one is being fooled here. This guy can't be the president's interior decorator! He has to be a secret service bodyguard. Which brings me back to the question - what is so secret about him?

* Why do women love men who can play the guitar? I read somewhere that it’s got something to do with skillful use of fingers. I mean, what else can it be? Their conceptual understanding of Quantum Electrodynamics? It HAS to be skillful use of fingers. Then why won't women drool over typists and tailors?

* So Australia's contribution to the Book of Inventions is the Non Returning Boomerang. (Pause for effect) ....What is a Non Returning Boomerang? Is that a euphemism for something? Are you serious?! So the most significant Australian invention in the last 50,000 years is a stick?

* If my understanding from this news article is correct, General Motors is in a very bad financial state - demand is falling and there is excess capacity in the factory. So, the company needs to spend less and save more. In order to become a lean and efficient production machine and tide over the economic downturn, it has to cut down on costs and reduce the corporate excesses. So why they need a 23 billion dollar loan to do that? Economist-readers, explain.

* A word of advice to engineers who design puny 125 cc mopeds and garnish them with huge fairings and trapezoidal headlamps - and this is a subject I feel strongly on - If you drape a Chelsea shirt on a cow, it does not become Frank Lampard. And Roberto Carlos dressed in a tutu can kick the living daylights out of Mohun Bagan. Remember that. That's all I have to say on the subject of contemporary automobile design.

* "Movie sequels are sometimes better than the original. Because they usually have a bigger cast, more violence and bigger explosions. They are just more cajunga." Remind me, are we talking about the two world wars here? If this trend were to be allowed to continue, Max Payne 7 would start and end with uninterrupted handycam coverage of the Piper Alpha fire.

* So, what exactly is the deal with this "New Organic food" anyway? The other day, I saw " New Organic apples from Australia" on sale in the supermarket. I told the clerk i didn't fancy those and that I'd prefer the old fashioned inorganic ones instead... Oh didn't he remember the good old inorganic apples? The Iridium, Molybdenum and Polonium ones? No? They didn't stock those in the store anymore? What about apples made of weapons-grade titanium? Why was he grinning like an idiot? What did he seem so embarrassed about?

* What would you do if you had to melt down the plastic of a microwave bowl if you only had a microwave oven to melt it in?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

(i am the princess of Hawaiki and i have a pet koala bear named lemon soda.)

Just when I was convinced there was nothing that could disgust me more than the sight of a software engineer, I got an email from the HR department, which showed me how utterly ludicrous my assumptions were.

I think you'd better take a look at this.

Dear All,

We have continuously brought to your attention that your safety is of paramount importance to us and we have taken several measures to ensure your safety.

Recently, we have observed that few employees are not using the company night transport facility provided for them to reach home after their work. The reason being offered is because they stay in nearby locations, they prefer walking to their residences. We have also observed that some employees get down half way through and take detours during the night, possibly someone picks them up midway to drop them home.

Please note that the company views this as unsafe for an employee to be taking such risks and warns against such shortcuts to safety regulations. With immediate effect, we request you to please use the night transport facility, that has been provided by the company, for it is meant for your safety. Avoid walking alone in the night to evade any possible threat to you. Please go home early and avoid staying back late on campus if you are not on duty.

Incase we find employees violating the safety instructions, disciplinary action will be initiated against them.


Human Resources Team

And this - 

If I were to believe this HR propaganda, I'd think my biggest worries in life were how to pacify an angry computer and how to walk back home safely at 10 in the night without getting raped.

Yeah, right.

I admit I have...umm..."modified" many facts in this blog. I sometimes do that to enhance the aesthetic clout, if you know what I mean. But I swear by the souls of my dead ancestors that I am not making any of this up -

* I once had a super-cool motorcycle accident at 60kmph when going back to college from the Nandankanan forest. It was in the middle of nowhere at 11 PM on a dark night. (Don't ask me what I was doing alone in a forest at 11 PM on a motorcycle. I do that sort of thing from time to time.) Head on collision with another motorist. I was not wearing a helmet. Not a soul was around. I was unharmed except for a few minor bruises, but my old motorcycle was reduced to a knot of twisted metal. It broke my heart.

* I've slept alone in a cave. In the wild. Panther territory. (ok, the nearest panther sighting was 7 km away, but it still counts.)

* I've driven a Tata 407 truck from Chungathara to Manjeri in a sloshed state, to put it mildly. To not put it mildly, I was schnockered like there was no tomorrow. 20 km of treacherous ghat roads and steep cliffs. And I was absolutely plastered. I was the one who had to drive because in our group of 4, I was the most sober. I made it downhill alive and at an average speed of 20 km/hr. There wasn't a scratch on the brand new truck.

* I once travelled 90 km on the Mangalore-Kannur highway in a 9-Tonne truck with the driver hopped up on Hashish. It was the most thrilling 75 minutes ever. It was like a time-warp - blaring horns and green aliens and flashing headlight beams-carnival of mallu music and exploding colours. I came out of it with a sense of mild nausea and a new-found respect for life.

* I have been involved in a man-hunt for a criminal accused under IPC 420 and IPC 307 (the latter being attempt to murder).

* I have received 2 death threats and several kidnapping threats. I have also been involved as a mediator in a kidnapping drama that involved car chases, police brutality, rioting workers, trade union negotiations, and a furious rally of bureaucratic emails. The latter being the most traumatic.

So I told Nimisha-from-HR where she could stick her new directive. Nimisha or Anita or whatever her name was. (all those 3 syllable names ending with -A ...I really cannot tell one from another.) We live in different worlds, Nim...and my idea of occupational hazard is slightly different from yours. I don't expect you to understand the chasm, but merely to acknowledge that it exists and to respect it. That's all I ask. But that is obviously beyond you.

How I wish I could show you, Monisha. I wish I could introduce you to the many delights of diving head-first into the 30ft deep Chaliyar at the Tamarassery ghat. I wish I could get you to read my 800-page treatise on the art of living, entitled "1001 ways to sing short-haul shanties with friends on empty city roads at 2 AM with half a gallon of Smirnoff and THC in your bloodstream, lie down on the grass, stare at the sky and try to connect the dots, finally stumble back home and try to argue with the door and convince it that you were actually in the library and were dropped home by an anorexic Unicorn named Zzed who happened to be passing by."

How I wish I could tell you that in life, there is always the risk of death, but that's neither unusual nor unreasonable. ( And in my case - irresistible). Everyone dies. You can't say I haven't tried, Nimisha. I have tried to show you. But it has always been an exercise in futility. I have always been dogged by failure. Like I was teaching Algebra to a cow. I am tired of having to put up with you, Priyanka. You, with your handbag and your coloured straightened hair, disgust me. I don't even know your name!

I've decided I'm not even going to protest. I swear to God, next time I will just put a .357 Magnum to your head and spray your brain on the wall. Never mind that it would be the biggest Health & Safety disaster since the Amoco Cadiz spilled 230000 tonnes of crude oil into the English Channel. Only this time I would spill some lard on the wall.

One more email, I'm warning you… just ONE more, and the camel will go home with a herniated disc.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

(you don't really notice what i type here, do you?)

Look at this picture. 

This is the evening rush at the bus bay in the “development centre” of a famous software company, or, as the Asmat cannibal-tribals of Papua New Guinea would call it, Buffet.

And you can stop scanning the picture now. You will not find me there. Unless I am swishing a diesel-powered chainsaw, wearing a maniacal grin on my face or standing in a corner with an Ebola syringe contemplating the importance of life, I will NOT walk with that crowd. If I see one software engineer, I have seen one too many for the decade. The salivating, nose-picking sleazebags. Look at them! Herded like livestock into cattle-class buses and food courts. 

So, I am sure you are beginning to get an idea of how much I hate being even in the same postal code as one of these software engineers. But ……there is one thing that makes this sea of fat, sweaty farm animals more inviting than an empty 5-star swimming pool on a hot summer day. 

Yes. There is something which, if it was my only other option, would send me running gleefully towards the nearest crowd of software engineers like a little boy on summer vacation, taking my shirt off and diving right in.

I have just suffered exposure to it. So at the moment I am a bit busy reeling. I will tell you about it later.

What part of "Sod Off" don't you understand?

Let me make a few things very clear.

I don’t like cuddly puppies. I don’t break into song when I see the sun set. I don’t sing songs in the rain. I don't like receiving email forwards with macro-angle, soft-focus photographs of smiling babies, telling me how wonderful friendship is. I don't like babies. I don't think just sitting around and burbling incoherently is a worthy pursuit. Nor is it attractive in the least bit. I don't think babies know much about friendship, either. I can't stand the sight of starry-eyed lovers who gift each other soft toys and key chains with initials. I believe they should be bound and thrown head-first off a tall building, the lot of them. I don't keep soft cushions on my dressing table. I don't have a dressing table. I don't dress. Nor am I especially fond of tables. I am not gay. I don't ever say good morning. But I always humour people who say good morning to me, although I privately sneer at the absurdity of passing a personal value judgement on what is a customary diurnal astronomical occurrence.

I don't become speechless and misty-eyed with gratitude when I see a picture of the Grand Canyon with a message assuring me that there is hope in the world and that tomorrow will be a better day. I don't like lovesick puppies. But what I dislike even more than "cute" email-forwarding morons is people who can’t mind their own effing business. The self-appointed moral police, who make it their business to go around springing nasty surprises on couples in beaches and parks. My political views range from extreme right to extreme left depending on the issue in question. I am not a pig-headed moron who takes one principle or opinion and stretches it to fit all known situations. Take off your silly scarves. What cuddly toys and predominantly pink-greeting cards brain-dead morons give other brain-dead morons is entirely the problem of the brain-dead morons in question. Not yours. So, get the eff off it and stop bothering the lovesick dung-beetles. If you want to keep yourself busy, go and figure out how we ended up with 2 billion mouths to feed in our country. (Let me give you a hint - It is because of people giving each other something. And it is not greeting cards.)

I know some of the things I said may have offended you. I am not sorry at all. I couldn't be less bothered. If you have a problem with me, it's entirely your problem.

Normal service is resumed. Happy Valentine's Day, suckers.

Monday, March 16, 2009

For whatever it is worth, I offer my soul…

You are going to think I am crazy. What follows may not make any sense to you at all. Or it may make such beautiful sense that it will break your heart. In either case I can't say I have much of a reputation to keep up, and if you don't already think I am crazy, by the time you finish reading this, you might have made up your mind one way or the other. Since I have nothing to lose, here goes...

What do you see when you hear a song? 

Do you have to hear to understand? Speak to tell? Do you have to understand a song to love it?

Do me a favour and download this song and listen to it before you read any further.

I absolutely love this song. I don't even know what it means. And you know what? I don't even want to know! I don't want to go to the bother of getting it translated only to find out that it is about a goat eating a cabbage. Even so, it is such a beautiful song that it wouldn't make a grain of difference. Language is inadequate. Words are not at all important.

Rani maak il youm
Ghir il maktoub heelaqeena

Such passion and earnestness in the voice as can only be shown by someone who has discovered some great secret and wants to share it with you in all earnest; show you the reason and the purpose, but you are blind and you don't see. Hence there is a vain desperation in the voice.

You realize, without anyone ever having to tell you that this is a song of the desert. The cymbals, the strings and the drums. The Oud and the tambourines. Beads and trinkets. Sheepskin water bags. Little ornamental thimbles. Alabaster. Riches and treasures of the desert. Winters in Cairo. Faya-Largeau. The bazaars of Alexandria. Yet…

1:25 to 1:46 - This could not have come from people who had never seen water. This came from people who knew water, had held it and cherished it. I know what it is. This is the music of waves crashing against rocks. This is a country where people soak up the early morning dew from desert grass in a piece of linen and then carefully wring out the water droplets into a vessel. This came from people who worshipped water.

1:46 Wihiyah
A solitary shining pebble on the beach. Just like the way you can spot a shiny red ball in a sea of beige, you can catch that one word - Wihiyah! And when you throw that pebble into the ocean, no matter where it lands, the ripples spread out from there and it becomes the geometric centre of the ocean and the Universe! Go back to that one second when he says it. 1:46 -that is the pivotal moment. The "anyway..." of the song, the see-saw on which it rocks back and forth...

2:42-2:44 Ghir il maktoub heelaqeena
The voice quavering as it trails off, like the thrashing tail of a fish. The rear end of the car twitching nervously under heavy braking. Springs contracting, red hot valves opening and closing many hundred times a second.

How the voice randomly slithers like an electric eel under a layer of divinity! Mere words cannot capture it. It flits in and out between sheets of music.

Oo rani nebki winnoh
Magotli il sheqb il maatrooh

1:25Ma…trooh. Throttle over-run. That most beautiful of all motor racing sounds! That blip on down-shift, the engine howling as the cogs rev furiously for a brief moment. The slurping manifold intake noise. Backfire, tongues of flame leaping from the tailpipes.

2:10 to 2:21
Lonely desert nights. Inky black sky. Caravans. Camels resting beside palm trees under a scintillating ocean of stars. Canvas tents. People dancing and singing around bonfires to the hypnotic sounds of the oud and the flutes. Nights of merry dancing and celebration. Swirling skirts of the Bedouin girls. Camelskin tambourines. Flashes of skin in the light of the camp fire.

The vibrations transmitted back through the tyres and suspension arms and steering column back to the wheel, which frantically vibrates, and the helmet thrashes around in the cockpit. The chassis flexing by an almost imperceptible margin as the car slips out of the tug-stream, leaning on tyre grip, cornering as if it were on rails.
2:21 to 2:44
What impeccable modulation and control! The voice blends in inconspicuously with the surrounding, as a backdrop to the night's bonfire and revelries. An accompaniment to the cold desert night and the glittering crescent of the Mediterranean moon. Shadows and silhouettes dancing on the tent walls. The smells and the sounds of the desert. Dry river beds. Sand dunes. Acacia. Sand storms. Oases; fertile islands in arid limestone plateaux. Phantoms of water. Bedouins and their sheep. 

Weight shifting to the front right tyre, as the highly sprung rear suspension is rapidly unloaded, approaching the far limits of mechanical grip as it just about begins to lock up, then ease off the brake and bring the rear end back in line, riding the kerbs as the left and then the right dampers are stressed, and finally emerging sideways in a tidal wave of savage power with the rear wheels spinning away, frantically grappling for traction, soft compound slick tyres scrubbing on the road. Hint of opposite lock to catch the rear stepping out of line for a heart-stopping moment. A calculated slide. Controlled rage though every corner, 26 times a lap, lap after unforgiving lap, 78 times. The deep blue of the Mediterranean crashing on the cliffs of Algiers and Annaba. Peace. Quiet. Solitude.

1:02 – 
Shtaydeer il galb il khaali
Shtaydeer ha dellali

Wonderfully dynamic patterns, repeating endlessly, as if you are looking down at the tarmac from a plane while it is taking off, except that it never takes off, but runs along the tarmac endlessly as if in a dream. Patterns repeating themselves endlessly. Non-deterministic, recursive Mandelbrot fractals. You can never escape them. You cannot flee from order. Mathematics always catches up. The faster you go, the more fragile you become.

3:06 to 3:50
Waala dirtiha biya
Megwani nebki megwani
Ana illi dirt inniya
Widnoubi aleek intiya

Falling rain. Mist hanging around huge trees. Sweeping corners. Spirals and great arcs. Rainbows. Slick tires scrubbing on the tarmac making screeching noises, leaving great black arcs of rubber. Cars vanishing as quickly as they appear.

3:36 - 3:47
Maqbool - the rasping, metallic shriek of the 3 litre V12 as the taps are opened for just a fraction of a second and the twelve featherlight pistons flare and the crank revs up to 19500 rpm and then back to an idle 5000 in the blink of an eye, as if nothing ever happened. And revved back up and down again and again thrice in a fraction of a second.

Hasnou awni dima maghboul
Hadi hiya halet l'amour

It is a place in your mind which is isolated from hurt or passion. You are lonely there, living with your memory, consciousness, anger and fear. Nothing from the past can hurt you. Not the ecstasy of reunion, nor the trauma of betrayal.

Pushing to the extreme limit of adhesion and grip. Delicately balancing the chassis with the throttle and the steering wheel. Balancing extremely high-sprung machinery on a knife edge at 180mph. Feeling the dampers push the wheels on to the tarmac just so, making minute modulations of the throttle so as not to upset the natural harmony of the springs unloading, leaning into the corner. "The faster you go, the more fragile you become." In that one orgasmic moment, you realise the absurdity of all art. There IS order in the Universe. Total discipline and method. When there is no chaos, how can there be any art? It is absurd, because you cannot subject a deterministic entity like the Universe to value judgement. There is no pleasantness or unpleasantness. There are only consequences. How can you criticise a consequence? And since everything we know is a consequence of something else, how can you criticise anything at all? How can you judge something that is deterministic and inevitable? Beauty only arises out of comparison; There is no beauty without criticism. In a slotted world, how then can something ever be called beautiful? The mysterious desert, with its untold myths and rumours. Pigeons and doves flying with the limestone-white minarets of Ghardaïa in the background, deafening whispers echoing across the centuries in its courtyards . It cannot be real! It is just too…beautiful! Are these mere shadows dancing in the mind? These are expressions of irrationality! But how can something so beautiful be so irrational?!

Each little thing pushing the next little thing. Every little ratchet, valve, pushrod and pinion all working in an absolute harmony of engineering precision. It is clockwork. How can it possibly be so beautiful?! The quintessential dichotomy of our lives!

Shtaydeer il galb il khali
Oo rani zayt fi hleli

The sustained assault on the senses. The heat and the exhaustion. Dehydration and the G-forces straining the muscles. Focus and concentration. 900 bhp. And in the midst of all the noise and vibration, in the survival cell, in that sacred place in your memory and consciousness, inside the helmet there is calmness. Way beyond the threshold of pain and agony, you are floating in stillness. In solitude and peace. You are untouchable. You have Control. Power.

Music, Mathematics, poetry and metaphysics are not fundamentally different things. They are just different frameworks for seeing and understanding the same essential thing. This view and understanding finds expression in different forms - in an otherworldly song or in evocative words or in expressive engineering. 

Whatever you can imagine is real. 

I imagine perfect harmony. I wish I could show you, but words are a poor excuse. Words are not enough. My most sincere apologies.

What do you see when you hear a song?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Serendipity! Part 2

Since the last post, I've had nightmares of a power-crazed, attention deprived psychomaniac of a software engineer tying me up in a chair and giving me an Ebola culture injection, while telecasting it live on as a warning to people who make fun of software engineers. And I always wake up and realise that in such a situation, the Ebola is actually a deal-sweetener. Ebola is fatal 99.998% of the time. So, obviously when I am bound and gagged and have no choice but to listen to a software engineer talk, an Ebola injection can only improve my chances of survival.

On the way back to Adyar Bakery last weekend after the evening's mental exertions, wondering whether any more brainwaves were to be had that day, I saw an old man on the road. He had a bald head and a great white beard.

The contradiction occurred to me right then. Imagine my surprise! It was Charles Darwin this time. He was wrong. He had to be! I quickly drove back home to write about it. I've had neither the time, nor the patience nor the inclination to write about it, but since I promised that I would tell you about it, here it is...

This God person they keep talking about... he cant be very smart, can he? He makes living beings in his own image and then they go and evolve on their own and become something else. Have you ever wondered whether God looked at evolution with a growing sense of unease that all was not going according to plan? If He had wanted us to be the way we are now, he would have made us this way 100000 years ago, wouldn't he? I mean, if he really is omnipotent and all that.

I am already losing my patience. Don't ask me to explain. My theory has got something to do with why the prettiest woman in every population set chooses to date/marry the man who looks most like an orangutan. (Coleen McLoughlin & Wayne Rooney, Elisabetta Gregoraci & Flavio Briatore...I could go on. I will, later.) This primordial attraction to men teetering on lower rungs of the evolutionary ladder indicates that maybe women are genetically resisting evolution. Maybe reverse-evolution is the most natural course.


Keep the change. Really. Can't be bothered to explain any further. Figure it out for yourselves, for once. Go away.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Serendipity! Part 1 of 2

The following account is loosely based on a true incident. 

I was standing by the side of the bar at Adyar bakery last evening eating éclairs, quietly minding my own business. Three pretty girls walked in through the door from where they could see me across the crowded sitting area. From a distance, they just stared at me for what seemed like a whole minute.

I am not the prettiest of sights when I am eating éclairs at Adyar bakery. (I am not the prettiest of sights even otherwise.) But still, they seemed to look at me unflinchingly. Suddenly I stopped eating. The cogs in my brain started whirring, churning out ideas at an alarming rate. The possibilities were overwhelming!

And then it happened.  

The prettiest of the three stepped forward and smiled at me. Time stood still. A slow heartbeat later, the penny dropped. I could feel the excitement building up. She floated past me in what seemed like slow motion as I ran out screaming “It all makes sense now! Murphy was wrong! Murphy was wrong!”

Murphy’s 117th law states “We always have the least of what we need the most.” A direct contradiction to this remarkable law occurred to me when I was sitting in AB yesterday. See, if scientists are to be believed, there are 500 million Ebola viruses on the head of a pin. And since we have only about 3.5 lakh software professionals in the whole of India, it means only one thing. Murphy was way off the mark. Edward Murphy was actually, really, really wrong! The theory I am going to propound might scream sacrilege at hordes of bumming aficionados and intellectuals alike. But every great theory worth its salt is greeted with denunciation when it is born. So, here it is -

“We sometimes have the least of what we need least.” 

(Yes, this means that the list of things I would do to avoid seeing/talking to /meeting a software professional includes, among more horrifying things, getting an intravenous injection of the deadly Ebola strain.)

I cannot replace one of Murphy’s laws. My intellect is too small and insignificant for a feat of that magnitude. I can at best put forward a corollary. It could be my contribution to science! Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Vimal-Murphy exposition
We always have the most of what we need the least. We may also have the least of what we need the least. Except when we have the least of what we need the most, or most of what we need most.”

Except that it wouldn’t be an exposition so much as a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive set of effectually arbitrary pronouncements, and is a contribution to Science no more than Alice in Wonderland was to the Russian revolution. But at the end of the day, who can honestly say most other scientific theories aren’t?

PS: If you didn’t understand my other claim to fame, watch “The Beautiful Mind”. You will realise how great I am. If I tell you what revolutionary theory I stumbled upon when I returned to AB a couple of hours later, which I will - in another post, you will genuflect.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Beauty or Brains?

I think Fiat Linea has the best looking grill I have ever seen on a car. I say that because I have never seen the Aston Martin DB9. The Linea is unquestionably the best looking automobile in India today. And that is why I will never buy it. Let me explain.

Look at this. This is the Yamaha YZF R15. A thoroughbred racetrack motorbike.

It looks staggering from every angle.

Except this.

If you look at it carefully, you will notice that under those huge fairings is a really skinny rear tyre. And it is such a bloody eyesore. You will also notice, if you have even the most rudimentary sense of aesthetics, that it looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger sitting atop a telegraph post.

That's what you would think. But therein lies the rub. That is no ordinary tyre. It is a bespoke MRF medium-soft compound tyre which is finely tuned along with the chassis and the rear suspension package to provide optimum grip and traction under all riding conditions. But more importantly - and here is where it gets interesting - it is evidence that somewhere, in the boardroom of a huge bureaucratic multinational organisation, the engineering department managed to convince the marketing and advertising departments. Which means there is a very good reason why the bike looks like a famished Somalian goat from behind. Something about that tyre was so phenomenally good that a bunch of overpaid corporate fat-cats sat quietly and listened to an engineer.

It is a fact that functional things seldom look good. Have you ever seen a beautiful turret drill? Or an exquisite parachute harness? See, that's the point. You wouldn't marry a woman because she has a purse that has 28 secret compartments? Fair enough. But if you suffer a puncture in the middle of the night on a deserted highway and you desperately need a puncture kit and possibly even two sets of spare tyres, wheel rims, the tools to change the tyres and maybe even a can of petrol... remember it is not her nice legs that will come to your rescue. Then you'll wish you hadn't made fun of the purse.

So guys, the choice is yours - Not having to wait for 6 hours for the highway tow truck to show up? Or nice legs?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Try this

Try this -

Seach for "famous mexican porn star with fat ass" on and click on images on the search results screen. See what website comes up first.

Honestly, this wasn't my idea! That sitemeter thingy showed me that someone from new york had arrived at my website from looking for just that.

If you don't believe me, here is a screenshot.

Ha ha ha!

Guess who is the latest celebrity in town!

Read the newspaper, you morons. See today's edition of The Hindu - Education Plus. Check out Education Industry's newest pin-up boy.

Maybe I should wear sunglasses and a false beard, to avoid getting mobbed. OK, queue up for autographs...

Maybe when all this nonsense is over, I will quietly retire to the countryside, far away from the intruding public eye.

Maybe I should drink less coffee.

OK now don't show up with a pin at a hot-air balloon festival. Keep your comments to yourselves.

(OK I was kidding. I love fan mail.)

If you lived in Orissa between 2004 and 2006, don't ever go there again.

You will be disappointed.

Oriya girls are very pretty, of course. But I wouldn't go out with one for the same reason that you wouldn't eat dinner off a hospital floor. Of course the floor is sterlised and germ-free, but as a choice of cutlery it somehow seems inappropriate.

I was in Bhubaneswar last weekend. I was expecting it to be a pleasant trip down memory lane, but it turned out to be the most depressing time I've had in the recent past. (If you can't type the word "depressed" on your mobile phone in less than 2 seconds without looking at the screen, call me. I would love to see a relic the giant wheel of evolution left in its wake. Really, turn the dictionary mode on and try it - it’s like punching in a Morse code! "going" too, for that matter)

I never thought I'd say this, but for the first time since I set foot in Bhubaneswar in mid '04, I didn't feel at home there. But then, I never thought I would say Wyk! Mag die duiwel jou haal!, but I just did.

The roads are now mirror smooth and a mile wide. Not at all as I remember having left it 3 years ago. The airport lobby looks more like an airport lobby than a medieval poultry farm. New malls have sprung up where there was once barren land. When the landscape of the city changes, something happens to it. It loses its personality. Bhubaneswar isn't the quaint little town I once knew. Instead it had become a bustling city astir with activity.

As I was being driven around in this suddenly-unfamiliar city, I could see disconnected fragments from the past. An old restaurant here, a familiar banyan tree there. It was a ghost town. Maybe change isn’t always a good thing. The medieval poultry farm was cramped and dirty, but it had a charm that a thousand mass-produced Coffee Day outlets cannot match. Bhubaneswar didn't have malls or multi-storied car parks, but then it wasn't run-of-the-mill. I sort of liked the narrow streets, come to think of it. Orissa isn't a place you go to armed with a briefcase and a Wi-fi phone. No. You go to Orissa when you have a couple of months to spare and spend the time in a hazy mix of motorcycling and drugs.

But it was heartening to see that some things have not changed yet. Locals are still astounded by the sheer complexity of an escalator. You still get Ghuguni at 5 AM for 5 bucks a plate. You can still get a tolah for 5 bucks. (Yes, I checked. Although it used to be Rs.3 in '06, I remember. That's a CAGR of 29.1%, which is still higher than the inflation of most other essential commodities.)

My reluctance to make fun of all things Oriya is matched only by the ease with which I know I can. I don't want to talk about it. It was really sad to see that Bhubaneswar had all the symptoms of a city which had succumbed to ambition. I decided that I will never go there again. I love Bhubaneswar too much to see it decay into prosperity.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Genesis of a Revolution

A most worrying thing happened  last week. I told a colleague at work that my motorcycle wouldn't start because the decompressor was jammed open and there was no compression in the cylinder. He advised me to "shut down" the ignition and reboot the motorcycle. And laughed out loud. I don't know what I found more distressing - his absolute lack of knowledge of mechanical components or his shockingly tasteless sense of humour. Now, I can tolerate most things, but I am really impatient with imbeciles. I could sense a Ctrl+Alt+Delete joke coming on, so I promptly pretended to get a telephone call and sneaked away.

I believe that the quality of humour prevalent in a given population is one of the important indicators of its average intelligence. I firmly believe that we as a race are falling in a downward spiral of diminishing creativity and unless something drastic is done to improve the situation, we would all soon be flopping about, guffawing uncontrollably at Youtube videos of dogs running in circles.

Intelligence levels are falling at an alarming rate. Let me remind you here that IQ is not a measure of absolute intelligence. It is only a measure of how intelligent you are compared to the rest of the population. If you plot the intelligence of an amoeba population on a normal graph, half of them would have an IQ of more than 100.

Deteriorating standards of humour is not the only alarming trend, though. What is more worrying is the dwindling number of scientific innovations. With over 2 million engineers graduating every year, you would think at least a few hundred would display some ingenuity and create something useful; but No. The level of common sense is appalling. I mean we are a country of 2 billion people, and yet look at the engineering progress we have made since the medieval times.

I am not a nerd, but I am proud of what engineers have done for mankind. And it pains me to see that the brightest young engineering students end up in software companies with their heads shoved up a computer's backside. The problem is super-specialisation. I mean, it is comforting to know that if my mobile phone has a defect in its 137th microchip circuit, there are 10 million engineers who are willing to kill each other to repair it for 50p. But the same engineers would be clueless if circuit #140 failed. Why? I know insects that are more skilled than that. The problem is that we have too many engineering colleges and not much engineering being taught. The best engineers and innovators never had any formal education. Look at Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison and Colin Chapman. They had nothing more than an old shed, a few worn out tools and the glistening Spirit of Innovation, against which all the deemed Universities with all their shiny yellow buses seem shallow and hypocritical.

The problem is that that mirror of our society - that Facekut thing, shows a bleak and gloomy image filled with catatonic cows grazing on a toxic wasteland. The problem is dozens of incompetent morons on 97.3 FM radio with a collective IQ of 48, who talk non-stop for hours on end and yet say nothing. Those blithering idiots. And they seem to have the whole world wrapped around their fingers. They are seen by impressionable little children as cool and admirable. Those RJs are what is wrong with the world. The problem is, which screams "Create a blog - its Free!" - Yes. That is what we need. More and more idiots creating blogs because its free. "Go and throw up over the Mona Lisa - It's Free!!" Reality shows are the problem. How ordinary does your life have to be before you start watching glimpses from others lives for your own entertainment, and discuss it with neighbours for the next 12 hours? The problem is that "single, available male from Delhi" on Facekut called "loverboy4u" whose only brush with literature is a pathetic excuse for a sentence, which is just a few concrete nouns shabbily strung together with words like “dude” and “cool”

If that Facekut thing holds so much sway over such a huge majority of the youth, it also has a moral responsibility to stop being a mirror and start acting like a beacon. It owes that to the society. And I don't see that happening, ever.

So, what is the solution? Is it more rigorous education, better colleges and infrastructure? No. It is far too expensive and not much fun. Besides, it will be eagerly taken up and managed by the same imbeciles who caused the problem in the first place.

But don't worry. I have been giving the matter some thought and as always, I have a solution. Indeed, the conclusion is inescapable if you look past the symptoms and focus on what the problem really is. The problem isn't a scarcity of technological innovation or a lack of greens in the diet. Those are merely the symptoms. The problem fundamentally is a lack of imagination.

And how do you cure a lack of imagination?

Slow down. Read what follows syllable by syllable.

Listen to me very carefully. Shoot the grumpy old Thermodynamics professor in the face. Legalise marijuana. And take the insane more seriously. Remember that insanity is only a statistical parameter, and all real progress depends on the minority opinion. Listen to the minority opinion. It is probably the smartest thing you will ever do.

A little imagination and a thimbleful of Cannabis can change the world.

Think about it. Imagination is the only thing you truly possess. It is your only hope, only salvation. If you don't have imagination you are no different from cattle. If you don't have imagination, you don't have anything. The first man who was willing to undertake a voyage "around" the world, relied on nothing more than mere suspicion that the world may not be flat as everyone else believed, and his own undying belief that the earth was round... I mean, what evidence did he have in the 15th century that corroborated that the earth was round? None. So his adventure was based on a wild, risky plan. He had the nerve to do something wild and achieve something extraordinary. He knew he might fall off the edge of the earth if he was wrong and the rest of the world was right. But if there was a risk, he was willing to take it. If he had to be laughed at, or die for attempting something that stupid, then so be it. That was the price he was prepared to pay for his conviction. What we need today is that scientific curiosity. What we need are people who would be willing to trade all they have for one moment of revelation. We need people who would rather be laughed at for defending their "fantastic" ideas than spend their lives wondering about what might have been. The educational system should reward inquisitiveness as opposed to mere rote. The education system we have now rewards the ones who can imitate best. But what good is imitation if we aspire to move forward? Curiosity should be incentivised. Knowledge should not be a means to a better or richer life. It should be a reward in itself.

History textbooks should carry historians' opinions, not politicians'. Science textbooks should come with a very visible disclaimer that all of science is merely based on our interpretation of observable facts, and it may or may not give the complete picture. And that there lies an implicit assumption that the scientific process can explain the world. And that need not be true. The Universe might work just as well based on the rules of Peruvian Voodoo. Scientific rules exist only until proven otherwise. Give in the reins. It's time to be bold and declare our ignorance. There is nothing shameful in a search to find the truth, inspite of our very human limitations. And nothing is more dignified.


Just when I was thinking of hanging up my gloves and taking a long break from blogging, DP went and did this. Then Adamsballs decided to step back into the ring. All the ingredients necessary to spark off yet another bout of creative diarrhoea are now present. Except Time. That bitch. It's a bit like assembling dynamite on a rainy day. You know you can blow up the Parliament if only it stopped raining. If only someone held the umbrella while we rigged the explosive. What we need are matches that are not soggy. What we a plan.

What worries me is that I sound like such a regular guy at times.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On Piercings

A friend of mine announced yesterday that she wanted to get her eyebrow pierced. Now let me tell you at the outset that I have body piercings. I'm not going to tell you where, but its quite easy to guess if I told you that when I was born my parents took a long look at me and decided that almost everything was quite alright anatomically, but what I really needed was to have my ears stapled.  

Honestly, I don't really understand the concept of body piercings. In my opinion, the whole idea is quite Neanderthal. I mean, piercings were quite necessary if your name was "Ug" and your idea of state-of-the-art technology was a wooden disc. Because then you would be sufficiently indistinguishable from your evolutionary predecessors, which would justifiably necessitate a marking of some kind on your body that would help identify you as a different species so that you don't accidently mate with an orangutan. Piercings were therefore microevolutionary catalysts that ensured progressive advancement in the gene pool.

But this is the 21st century, we now have that Facekut thing for gene pool refinement, and I don't see why we should not discontinue the ghastly practice of punching holes in one's body and dangling bits of metal from them.

I was 15 before I realised that the whole piercing thing had a sexual undercurrent to it. But it took me even longer to figure out what the deal with tongue piercings is. You can imagine my shock when I finally connected the dots!

Of all the things that make me think Evolution was one big practical joke....

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Look what I found!

Another diamond!

"The sun also ariseth and the sun goeth down and hasteth to his place where he arose." - Ecclesiastes 1:5

What does it take to convince a child riding a carousel that it is not the entire world which is magically spinning around him, but the carousel itself which is rotating rather pointlessly around an ordinary, rusty pole? A lot. Nothing less than a portkey.

How detached does one have to be from contemporary science and technology, how clueless does one have to be about how things work before one comes to the conclusion after seeing the stars and planets streak majestically across the night sky drawing great arcs, before one comes to the conclusion that it’s not the planets which stream across "our" sky, but our humble planet which goes round a beggarly star situated at some arbitrary nook?

In a medieval world, the astonishment at the novelty of the suggestion would have been matched only by the embarrassment it would have caused a lot of people. Imagine the awkwardness establishments would have felt when people found out that the things they have been told for the past two thousand years were absolute baloney.

I believe that was the defining moment in History, when we as a race stopped all the nonsense we were upto and started talking some sense. Everything cool that was ever invented since then, including Atari's Space Invaders (1977) and Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity (1905), is just blown out of the park.

An idea's genius is in direct proportion to the number of people it embarrasses. On that basis alone, I rate Nicolaus Copernicus' Heliocentric theory as the most staggeringly revolutionary idea EVER.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

(Just in - Petrol prices to dip by Rs.5. Yay!!!) Anyway...

Imagine intelligent beings like ourselves living on a TV screen, like in Pac-Man. They would be 2 dimensional creatures living in a 2D world. People would be little dots or circles on the screen. Nothing in that world would have a height. If a "ghost" got trapped inside a circle, there'd be no way it could escape, because there is no height, and he can't "jump" over the wall. Prisons in this world would just be closed circles or rectangles.

Imagine a strip of 2D land, like a flat cricket pitch. The only way to get from one end of the pitch to the other would be to walk the entire length of the pitch which would be, say, 22 yards long.

Now a 3-Dimensional being like you is watching these 2-D beings walk along the length of the pitch. You just "pick up the pitch, roll it once and stick one end of it to the other and put the Pac-Man ghost back on it. This is a very simple cylindrical strip, which would have to be described by a system of radial algebraic equations so complex that the Pac-Man ghosts would never be able to figure it out. They would still continue to walk the 22 yard length from one end of the strip to the other, unaware that on their regular journey they are actually twisting and turning in a dimension completely unknown to them! But since they don't understand the concepts of thickness or rotation, they would only see a flat, unimaginative stretch of cricket pitch as they walk.

But a really smart 2D being standing at one end would realise that the other end of the cricket pitch is not 22 yards away, but right below where he is standing! In fact, he is standing right where he wants to go, 22 yards away! He is "superimposed" upon his destination in a strange dimension! If he had the ability to move in the "strange" third dimension, he could just dig a hole in the pitch right where he is standing, and cross over. The other 2D beings would just see him mysteriously apparate, 22 yards away. He could cross thousands of miles in the blink of an eye! People would be amazed at what he did, but wouldn't be able to figure out what exactly it is or how he is doing it! He would open their minds to endless possibilities! Some would dismiss him as a dangerous anomaly and would warn the others against him.

Every once in a while something comes along which is so bewilderingly different from whatever we are used to that it challenges our very idea about the limits of possibility and stretches our minds in dimensions that we never knew existed. These need not be great, revolutionary ideas or actions. Sometimes, simple, ridiculously insignificant things like discovering a hole in the floor can turn your world upside down. This for me is the ultimate evidence of higher intelligence and the inadequacy of our own imagination.

Innocuous incidents strewn across the pages of history, like little sparkling diamonds in a brickyard.

24th November, 1859 - Charles Darwin publishes "On the origin of species". The world-changing Theory of Natural Selection was not an idea honed, polished and developed over time. It was probably a stroke of genius, a lightning bolt of inspiration that illuminated all of creation for a brief instant before it vanished, leaving the world in darkness again; and Darwin spent the rest of his life painting for the world a picture that the lightning bolt of inspiration revealed to him in that moment of clarity. The most significant achievement of Darwin's theory was that it exposed the limitations of being human by revealing that human supremacy on the planet was either a matter of opinion or a mere evolutionary accident. Imagine the surprise and shock such a "preposterous" idea would have caused in the mid 19th century!

1st June, 1967 - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. Though composed predominantly of nursery level rhymes and wild noises, it impacted culture and music like no other album before or after it. Everything before that was inconsequential. Everything since has been the aftermath. I mean, in our collective recorded existence of about 10000 years, never before had such a tremendous explosion of colour and sounds been seen on such a large scale, causing such mass hysteria. Never before had rowdy been seen as cool. And it all seemed so effortless!

3rd June, 1984 - Monte Carlo. A young Brazilian called Ayrton Senna, in his first ever Formula 1 street race, in an uncompetitive Toleman car, cuts through the pack overtaking 4 world champions. In torrential rain, he waltzed around the cramped streets of Monaco, running circles around vastly superior cars as if they were going backwards. As an exercise in stripping a task down to its barest minimum essentials, those 31 laps around a soaking wet Monaco racetrack fall in the far outer reaches of what the human intellect can achieve.

These incidents were so benign that they are so easy to miss. Yet they are portkeys to a parallel Universe. Can you recognise a higher dimension if you are sitting right on it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Presidential Manifesto

This climatologist predicts that the average temperature of the earth will be up by 1.8 degrees C in 2050. Absolute rubbish. Can you believe it? 1.8 degrees Centigrade over 40 years! How did he calculate that?! Really, I am sure he can't even tell you what the weather is going to be like tomorrow morning. I mean, who is this joker and what does he know about chaotic non-linear deterministic models that qualifies him to make judgements on current and future climactic states? And how exactly did he arrive at 1.8 degrees Centigrade, I'd like to know. Even if he lists all the factors he accounted for while making the calculation, I am sure I can list 10 more that can throw off his estimation by several digits over a 40 year period.

Sodium bicarbonate is a useful chemical. It can be used as a fire retardant, baking additive, deodorant, desiccant, stain remover, odour repellant, pest repellant, toothpowder, cleaning agent, degreaser, antiseptic and mouthwash, among other things. On the other hand, the only contribution Klaus Toepfer's overpaid team of climatologists have made to mankind so far is some arbitrarily chosen number resulting from a calculation based on some ridiculously flawed logic. So, in terms of overall marginal utility to the well being of our species, polar climate, economy of the free world and the Universe in general, the average weather forecaster is clearly less useful than a pinch of baking soda. So if you see Klaus Toepfer's climatologists dangling from a cliff alongside a spoonful of baking soda and you were allowed to save any one, you'd do more good to the world if you chose the baking soda. It would be the logical choice too, as you cannot use Toepfer's weathermen to clean your teeth or bake a cake nor is the great scientific machinery going to come to a grinding halt if they fall down the cliff. It would merely make a microscopic dent in the enormous population of the world and leave its intellectual capital untouched.

I am not suggesting that the earth is getting any cooler. I don't even deny that the world needs to be saved. I'm the first to admit that the world has a rather peculiar habit of often burrowing itself into situations from where it has to be rescued. All I am saying is that there is no way on earth Toepfer's weathermen can calculate the temperature of the earth 40 years from now. I am sure they are a bunch of losers who wanted to be big-shot UN scientists when they started out, but didn't pay enough attention in school and ended up being dopey half-assed weathermen on Fox TV whom you can't even rely on to accurately tell you whether it rained yesterday. The first practical step towards reducing global warming would be to stop listening to these idiots.

Here are some more practical things we could do to prevent global warming:-

*Kill the whales and dump the carcasses on islands. Less buoyant, blubbery fat floating about pointlessly in the seas would mean lower sea levels.

*Excavate mud and rocks from the bottom of the oceans and dump them on islands. The oceans would become deeper (lower sea levels) and Tokyo would have lower real estate prices. Because no one would want to live there, what with the piles of slushy muck and dead whales on the roads.

*Load SPF-120 sunscreen lotion in a fleet of a dozen 300,000 MT oil-tankers and blow them up in the arctic sea. The resulting sunscreen spill will be enough to protect the sea life and the polar ice caps from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

*All said and done, the chief culprit is sunshine. Let's be practical about it. Trying to cool down the earth by using CFL lamps and eco friendly cars is like trying to stop a speeding train by wheezing at it through a straw. A more practical approach should involve blocking the sun's rays. The idea is to place a huge sheet of heat resistant, light-absorbing amorphous sodium crystal that will block the sun's rays from hitting the north pole.

Click on the following image.

I did some black-magic and came up with this - The polar ice caps have an area of 50000 sq. km, and the sun is 150000000 km from the Earth. To shield this area from direct sunlight, we would only have to take a crystal the size of the Onyx dump yard in T-Nagar and put it in Geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 148800000 Km. That would be enough to cast a shadow on the north pole and thus keep it cool. We have sent satellites much further than 148800000 Km. Voyager I is now 100 times farther than the sun. So, the altitude should not be a problem. If we can somehow accomplish this, we would have not only solved the global warming crisis, but also made the solar system's biggest sunglass.

Now, that's something we can all look back at and be proud of.

That and the sunscreen spill.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Things I'd like to see invented

1. Wireless electricity - Like Bluetooth. You'd be able to connect a wireless electricity transmitter to the plug socket in the wall, and run electric appliances in the vicinity without connecting them to the mains. It is really quite simple, once we have mastered the principle of Spatial Force Transmission, which is:-

2. Spatial Force Transmission - You'd be able to move objects at a distance by applying force elsewhere. It is different from telekinesis in that the absurd concept of "mind power" is not used. You would have to physically push a joystick (while sitting on the sofa), which would in turn transmit the force through the fabric of space-time to close the door of the fridge in the next room. The idea doesn't use the fictional concepts mind-power or cosmic energy, but rather relies on the solid practical foundation of Energy Credit; which... would have to be invented first.

3. Energy credit. In layman's terms- On-demand Force: There would be a universal energy ledger, which you would be able to access through an energy card, which is similar to the present day credit card. If you need more force than you can physically muster, you'd be able to borrow some, which you would then have to repay later. For example, if you needed to uproot a teak tree in a hurry, or kick a penguin into orbit, you'd be able to borrow some extra force from the Energy Syndicate, which you would later have to return to the Syndicate in many small installments by doing say, 1300 push-ups. Or by pedalling the flywheel of a generator for 3 hours. You might have to pay an interest on energy borrowed, i.e. doing more push-ups than the energy-equivalent of which you borrowed. There would be an energy stock market, and you would be able to trade in energy futures and options. People would speculate on volcanoes and Supernova explosions. Obesity and winters would trigger a recession. But then, you can figure out such trivial matters for yourselves.

You would also be able to lend/borrow time this way. If, say, you want to save time on your commute to office, you can borrow time from yourself. Your hour long commute would be over in a second, but to compensate, you would have to sit idle at home for an equivalent amount of time. There would be time-hedge funds and futures markets, where people who anticipate hectic activity would be trading in time-shares with idle people. Market sentiment and hence the price of the shares would be affected by the forces of demand and supply. Idle people would be in much demand, and hence be paid hefty sums of money to sit around doing nothing. Increasing economic activity would mean more work, and hence more demand for idlers and bums. This would go on until the world reaches a state of frantic industrial activity, where production and business undertakings would reach a state of frenzy, and the person who can do the least amount of work would be paid the highest salary. There is nothing in contemporary economic models that prevents elements of unintended consequence to apply to non-stochastic mathematical frameworks. Besides making me and an old comrade of mine the wealthiest people in the world, it would also serve to establish the exact money value of time. Just how much will a busy man pay an idle man for time before he runs out of marginal utility. In this case, that would be the market value of time as determined by the classical economic forces of supply and demand.

5. An interesting application of Force credit would be paid-weight losers. People whose job it would be to work out and lose weight on behalf of obese people who would pay for such weight-loss services. Relevant pricing models would apply. Blah. Go, figure.

6. Invisible trains. Now who wouldn't want those? As a population control solution, it is far more effective than contraceptives. Less clumsy than contraceptives. And going by the general public's awareness of train accidents at unmanned intersections, more discreet too. What's more, for it to be effective on a large scale, it doesn't need expensive and unnecessary media and press publicity. Au contraire, the less publicity it gets, the better it works.

7. Teleportation. But you had already thought of that, hadn't you? If you've never, ever wished to be teleported, I would like to meet you. And get your autograph. Because on a percent basis, you belong to a group more exclusive than the Apostles.

Some of these developments may seem out-of-the-ordinary. Some may even go against the grain of common sense. But if you think about it, the idea of attaching an ox to a peculiar model of furniture went against all common sense in mass-transportation. If you ask me, on a fundamental level, the question of What is more important than the question of How. What is the question we have to ask ourselves. How will inevitably follow. It is a lesser task that can be figured out by technicians and engineers.  

And once the How is achieved (of course by lesser tactical minds who merely follow our broadly outlined "what" strategy), the next question for us to ask is "How much for a dozen"?

In my opinion, if you figure out whether to manufacture it in China or Taiwan, the rest neatly falls into place.

I should be made the President of the world.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On why childhood was a particularly tough time

Reasons why childhood was a relatively troubled time...

* There was the burden of options. I could be a bull-fighter or a professor of medieval Peruvian architecture, or an Olympic javelin thrower. Now it's a relief because I don't have to anxiously wait for things to unfold.

* Whenever I was in doubt as to what to do when faced with a tricky situation, the answer always was the same as what Barney the Dinosaur would do in the same situation. That usually involved a lot of reverse psychology. These days it's much simpler - I choose the option that takes lesser effort.

* In late 2006, I made the grave judgemental error of falling victim to chicken-pox. It was a reminder never to leave your early chores unfinished. Especially the childhood ones - you never know when they will come back and bite u in the backside. In my case - when I had to negotiate with a granite quarry-owners Union in North Kerala for the sale of 28 heavy duty trucks. That smoke-filled room with 15 whisky-drinking bearded men sitting stone-faced around an empty chair with a placard that said "Vimal - Gone home to Mommy" is the most embarrassing thing never to have happened to me.

* I thought Paris Hilton was a notorious hotel in France.

* I would wait all week long for a series of electronic images to appear on the TV. 10:30 AM on Sundays, when Ducktales would get over, was the most depressing time of my life. At 10:30 in the morning, Sunday was already over and the rest of the day would inexorably slide downwards and merge with Monday, when I had to go to school again...for 4 days in a row! Would I ever make it to the end of the week? It seemed like it was going to be the last Sunday ever! Was it going to be the last Sunday ever?! Was it?? Was there any justice at all in the world? Oh, why did Ducktales have to end?!

That half-hour every Sunday morning was the highlight of my life!

Years have passed. Many Sundays have come and gone. I lived. I now have all the 100 episodes of Ducktales on DVD. I can see these iconic images whenever I want. But it doesn't fill me with the same excitement and anticipation anymore. I don't wake up at 7 AM anymore to brush my teeth, bathe, eat breakfast and act nice so as not to upset the parents before switching on the TV at 10, nor rub my hands together in hysterical excitement when I see the marvellous and wonderful adventures of Uncle Scrooge, Launchpad and Gyro. There was Webby, Doofus McDuck, Fintheart Glomgold, Magica, Uncle Donald and Duckworth... There were the Beagle boys and Scrooge McDuck's great-nephews, Huey, Louie and Dewey! Duckburg was a magical world! I somehow felt that I was a part of that world! They were all so awesome, and there was nothing I could do!

The trouble with awesomeness is so much trouble.

So, as an adult I have fewer problems than I did when I was a child. In much the same way as an astronaut whose spacesuit is on fire in outer space while he is trying to fasten a loose screw on his spacecraft has fewer problem than the geeky-looking guy back in Space Command in Houston who just remembered having packed in the wrong size screwdriver.