Mumbai Meri Jaan

It took close to 60 hours to wrest Bombay back from terror. But it took barely 5 hours after that to circulate this SMS …

“The tragic events in Mumbai remind us how precious life is. We r with u always. SMS FG to 567678 for Total Insurance Solutions or claims if any. Future Generali”

Is it me or is it actually perverted that people take advantage of a tragedy of this scale to market themselves? In the first place, I find a total lack of professionalism to use SMS lingo in such corporate marketing, ala “We r with u always.”

I’m sure many of you have been bombarded with similar pitches for a virtual garage sale. For all I know, bullet proof vests, guns (machine or otherwise), grenades, will be hawked side-by-side with all sorts of insurances – life, property, hospital, general etc.

Somebody will make a video game; while someone will sell debris from the site online as mementos. Toy companies will make commando figurines and cellphone operators will make a killing from disgusting forwarded messages.

Facebook and Orkut will create patriotic/sympathy groups and bloggers will add their two-pence worth views. Some photographer will peddle his photos, while the media will do just about anything to get their TRPs.

Speaking of the media, it is amazing how they gain access to places where seemingly even the NSG and the marines can’t go. To get their ‘breaking news,’ they will broadcast any rumor that is doing the rounds. For a soundbite, they will shove their mikes into the faces of anyone who looks remotely, pardon the expression, terrorized.

And how can I forget … I am waiting for the beloved leaders of our country to shamelessly bellow their take on the horror. One party will fall all over itself blaming the other, while one will cry itself hoarse that this is a time for national unity.

National unity my a**. Those goddamn terrorists are more united than us, more fearless than us, more devoted to a cause than us. I give them that much.

Let’s take a leaf out of their book and learn from them the values of honesty, loyalty and sacrifice and use it for a better reason.

Saar Credit Card Saar

Some of the smartest answers I have seen people dealing with unsolicited calls for ‘sir free credit card sir,’ ‘sir, personal loan sir,’ ‘exclusive offer for only you sir,’ and other such calls:

Phone rings. Sir, xxx bank is offering personal loan upto xxx on unbelievable terms. Ok I am interested. Can you give me the details. Yada yada yada yada. Fine I also want to know about payments. Blah blah blah blah. Ok, ill take it. Smart choice sir, if you will help me with a few details, what is your name and where do you work? Oh, I thought you knew. I am unemployed and that is why I needed the loan. That person to date has not got a call from the bank again.

Phone rings. Female voice offers life-time free credit card with lowest interest rate in market, friendliest repayment options, exclusive discounts/offers on using the card. Great, that is exactly what I need. Thank you sir, if you can give me some personal details. Actually this is my office phone and I cant use it long, so can you come over to my place tonight at about 9 pm to complete the affair? No further calls.

Phone rings. Sir, I have a exclusive offer for limited period on a car/house/personal loan and if you take it now you will benefit by yada yada blah blah . Really, what luck I needed a loan desperately and which bank are you calling from? Sir, from xxx bank. You should have told me earlier, the state general manager is a chaddi buddy of mine yaar and how come he never told me about this, I’ll call and ask … hello? Hello?

Phone rings. Sir, we have an offer for a lifetime free…. Excuse me, but which bank are you calling from? Oh sorry sir, I am calling from xxx bank. Oh ok, and what did you say your name was? Sir, this is xxx. Ok, xxx thanks for the details and you and your bank can expect a call from TRAI authorities soon for an explanation on why you called me when my number is on the do-not-disturb list.

Till date, no further calls...

Oh My Gawd!!

I am not very religiously inclined but even if I was I would be hard pressed to choose one which allowed me to practice my faith without fear of some sort of harm to my personal self. Let’s do a run down of some of the major ones …

Let’s start with my ‘birth religion’ as it were – Christianity. I go to a church and keep a nervous eye on the door for a bunch of ‘pro-my, anti-your religion’ hoodlums to come in and trash the place.

As for Hinduism – the very basic fear is that I go a place of worship and immediately have a claustrophobia attack and if not that, then someone with a claustrophobia attack will trigger a stampede that will bury instead of cremate me.

If I were a Muslim, I would be in constant fear of life and limb for reasons that need not be enunciated here. For all I know, one day I will be in a mosque imploring the blessings of Allah and the next thing I know is that a bomb has sent me to him.

The worst fate of all reserved for the religion I practise now. When I proclaim my religious inclination to member of a different faith, I get a ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ quizzical stare or a ‘poor chap will go to hell’ pitiful stare or a ‘better change your view or else’ dirty stare.

My religion is popularly called Atheism but one that I like to call Humanity – something that nobody practices. Well so far, so good …

If I could Wish Upon A Star

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for letter, four for toy. Every one of us has recited this rhyme at some time or the other in our life when we have happened to spy a mynah in one of these combinations. That, for me, is innocence at its peak. Much has been said about “innocence lost.” And much of that much is true.

A comic I was reading today reminded me of one of my absolute favouritest instance in my life – no surprise it was when I was a tiny-tot. I was with my aunt on her terrace at dusk. And the first star had just started winking at the earth. My aunt turned to me and asked, “do you know the star rhyme wish?” “No,” I said. She replied, “repeat after me...” So I closed my eyes tight and wished loudly with all my heart, “Start bright star light, first start I see tonight, I wish I get ...” And to my immense surprise, I got my ‘wish’ a few days later on my birthday.

Till today I make a wish if I happen to see the first star – though with no hope of it coming true. That is where the catch is. My aunt told me that evening that whatever I should want whatever I asked for with all my heart or else it won’t come true. No wonder then I still see terror attacks, poverty and a bank account that is sans a billion million rupees.

What would it take so that the next time we wish on that last sip of cold drink or a fallen eyelash or the first star, there is some hope of it coming true?

By the way, that night years ago, I had wished for a Street Hawk.

Tring Tring

The buzzword or buzz phrase for some time now has been the rising price of oil, which one of my friends eloquently put in context saying, “Sala, Pamela ko dekh kar itna nahi utha hoga.” But has the price risen so high that it has hit even the price of your innocence?

I am not that old to forget that once upon a time when I was six my folks decided I should graduate from ‘garah number bus’ and I came to possess my first set of wheels – a spanking new hand-me-down Avon cycle.

That was what I rode around town on, had my first accident on, what I rode to the market to buy my first set of trump cards. That was what acted as one of the goalposts in our para football matches. That was my escape route whenever my mom found some reason to flex her vocal or arm muscles.

The best part was the maintenance. Even with pocket money of about “when you need money, ask and if the reason is satisfactory, ill give you,” I could maintain the bike. At the most, it required getting a spoke on the wheel when an over-exuberant ‘Pele-ka auald’ slammed the ball into the bike. Even then, if your mom was a good negotiator, the ‘Pele’ of afore-mentioned ‘Pele-ka auald’ would pay for it.

I could just ride around town for hours aimlessly and when I felt like it, race everything from a cat to an auto. Heck, it even could double up as Street Hawk if I so wished.

And now … Anti-cycling complaints range from “It’s too hot” to “It’s too far” with my personal favorite being, “I’ve forgotten!!”

As far as I know, there is no more environment-friendly mode of travel than a cycle. They’re cheap, don’t pollute the air, and provide more miles per calorie of energy than any other mode of getting around known to mankind.

Everybody’s wondering what they’re gonna do
Everything’s a mess and folks are feeling blue
If your troubles get you down so much you can’t abide
Get on that bicycle and ride
Yeah, get on that bicycle and ride
‘Neath the sunny skies or along the oceanside
Just ride, ride, ride, ride, ride

You've Got Spam

I find it simply amazing how much my spam account knows about me – and I’m not talking trivia here. It’s personal stuff – bed room stuff even. It almost seems like I’m the most well-known, or rather most well-known-about person in cyberspace judging from the mails I get.

It started with a suggestively named female blondebitchsuck telling me that I owe her lunch “for this one.” I confess it piqued my curiosity and I wanted to know what I owe her lunch for then realized it was pretty obvious.

Then I got a mail from Rodriquez. I was tempted to open this one since my family on my mother’s side is named Rodrigues. I thought perhaps someone misspelled their name. And it seemed innocuous enough since it said “All w.e. can do is report_t he_findings.” I thought it must be some old forgotten relative who was talking about some ancestral property with me standing to gain a fortune.

The next mail cleared all doubts about the findings.

“what a stupid face you have here sa5ioh,” Des ganpath announced. That was one finding that was not needed to be made known – true or not.

Then along came a mail from Melany that cheered me up. “These girlies are waiting for you,” she declared. I had no clue which girlies but since my ‘stupid face’ was pretty well publicized by now, any girlie who was waiting for me was fine by me. I was not going to be picky. On top of that “Are you an Alpha Male?” Trimmel challenged.

Hell Yeah! Bring it on I said.

Then came the caveat – I found out that a stupid face was the least of my problems. There existed a serious chance that my lineage would end with me; that I would be the last of my kin; that my family tree was going to be uprooted because of my stump.

Luckily I was not the only one concerned. A lot of concern was floating around in cyberspace also. I got a lot of mails sympathizing with me and advising me what to do.

sm wrote, “I hope this will help you solve all problems with health!”
Levitar Vaigra helpfully said, “sa5ioh’s – we can ship your medication overnight FREE.”
“3 month supply of better intimate life is waiting for you” said Benedettasei sounding more hopeful than I felt. But that cheered me up.

The best mail was from holzmeister who solemnly promised, “You wont disappoint ehr this night.”

No further questions – that was the mail I was searching for.

Short & Sweet?

Six degrees of separation. Or was it seven? Anyway a smaller world … with a shorter temper … and a whole new short form lingo. This blog was prompted by a friend who had a funny experience. He works for HP and was talking to a prospective landlord:

Landlord: Where do you work?
My friend: HP
Landlord: Oh nice, my son works there.
My friend: (In the hope of a discount on the deposit) Really? I just joined.
Landlord: Good good. Hope you people can do something about petrol prices.
My friend: Umm … Hmm … (Trying very hard to make the link)
Landlord: Where did you get your degree?
My friend: Blah Blah Institute of Technolgy.
Landlord: What do they teach you about oil there?
My friend: (thinking the house might not be worth it) Nothing.
Landlord: Then how did you get into HP.
My friend: (Blink Blink) I work for Hewlett Packard, not Hindustan Petroleum.

The point is that acronyms have become part of standard conversation and their usage has been boosted by SMS lingo – BRB, TTYL, BFN and other such short-forms that are harder to crack than hieroglyphics.

Names of companies: Understandably, Johnson & Johnson is JNJ and Bharat Heavy Electricals is BHEL, but Infosys to Infy?

Names of people: Leaves me wondering why parents bother with names at all when I hear the likes of SRK, JLo, Bebo, Chi Chi and K-Fed to name a few.

But when I hear objects being abbreviated, I lose all hope for the language - CalC, Ciggy, Undie, Mobike.

Do people not have time to finish a word, leave alone a sentence?
Maybe you don’t have time to finish reading this post.
Maybe it is all a bunch of BS anyway.


He slotted just one
Thought of his starving family
Thought of the money lost in gambling
Thought of the loans he had taken and could no longer repay
Thought of the stinging barbs he had to endure from people of all religions
Though of the financial freedom guaranteed for his family if he accepted a suicide mission
Wept at his choice to desert his religion and his own family rather than destroy others families

Into The Wild - Conversation

Excerpts from a SMS conversation. The topic came about while I was talking about a book, also made into a movie, called Into The Wild based on the life of this one guy who went off into the Alaska heeding the call of the wild believing that was where he would find true peace and connect with the primitive and wild side of life.

Person: I never like the way the book or the movie felt… makes me think, and not very positively either.
Me: To live and exist w/o thinking and question is boring. You have to experience it-how you do it of course is up to you.
Person: I guess… ironic we question the conventions we made. Sometimes I feel it’s about control.
Me: Rules, conventions are for the greater good of mankind not individuals. I think it’s more about breaking out of being controlled, rather than controlling oneself.
Person: And I don’t know if there can be anything such as living primitive anymore. The advancing generations have lost tolerance both physically and mentally and have lost wisdom.
Me: I agree. We strove and sought comfort too much to be able to give it up now. That won’t stop some radicals from trying though. Man is inherently pig-headed :)
Person: I think the meaning of purity of life has changed and that all is was can now only be studied by literature.
Me: What do you mean purity of life?
Person: Life in its natural form. No or minimal manipulations.
Me: Hmmm. Won’t ever know what that will be like. What it means, what it feels. Just the ideal will stick around in thoughts.
Person: I know a lot has been explored in prose and verse. But then again I could credit it to creativity…
Me: Last two big occasions of creativity were different positions to have sex in and different types of weapons…extremes…create, and then destroy.
Person: :) Vital to the world now!! But there is also Byron, Dickenson, Tolstoy.
Me: No more different than any one of us. Just that they could articulate their thoughts clearly.
Person: Not the point of contention really. It’s just that there has been expression towards a natural form of life…and so forth.
Me: That’s true. They tried their best to show us alternatives.
Person: And also think. But you can award that to creativity which draws from the natural…sometimes it’s a clear case of mistaken identity…the truth is as plain as now we try to add some colour.

Don't ... Just Don't

When was the last time that you were admonished for misbehavior? If you rack your brain hard enough (or not, depending on your Calvin proficiency), chances are that most likely you were told “DO NOT …” It is always “DONT DO THIS” or “DONT DO THAT.” The point being that good and positive behavior is taught in a negative vein or what not to do instead of what to do.

From the days that you were a kid, you mom, or a similar representative authority, would scold and in some cases bash the living daylights out of you for your mischief. Chances are the verbal thrashings would likely include a list of what you should have not done.
Over the years most teachings about leading a good moral life has been imparted by telling you what is taboo rather than what isn’t. Take one of the most famous set of religious code of ethics – The 10 Commandments. 8 of then begin with the dire warning - “Thou Shalt Not ...”

Take the basic Gandhian principle – ahimsa. What is ahimsa? NON-Violence! It is never described as peace or passive resistance or anything of that sort. It tells you what it is not.

Go out on the road and a million signs will stare you in the face - Do Not Blow Horn, Do Not Spit, Do Not Pass Urine, Do Not Stick Bills, No Parking, No U-Turn, Do Not Throw Garbage, ... ... ... do not breath till your very life depends on it …

In the end, all these negative instructions begs the question – are all human beings born with vices which need to be cured in the one lifetime that they have?

ThankYou Going Forwrad ..

At the start of the year, i want to take the time to thank all my friends and other people who have forwarded numerous chain letters to me this year. i appreciate all your kindness and concern and will now take a moment to ponder on the profound effect it has had on my life ...

i stopped going to the movies for fear of sitting on a needle infected with AIDS.

i have a very low self-esteem after taking all those psychology, intelligence and love tests only to know that i am a raving lunatic with an IQ no better than a baboon with no chance in hell of any romance.

i smell like a wet dog since I stopped using deodorants because they cause cancer.

Speaking of cancer, i have stopped using medication altogether since it was brought to my attention that that dangerous drugs like D cold, Action 500 and other unpronounceable drugs that have been banned globally yet are freely available in India.

i also stopped answering the phone for fear that they may ask me to dial a stupid number and then i get a phone bill from hell with calls to Uganda , Singapore and Tokyo.

i also stopped drinking water outside for fear that i will get sick from the rat shit and urine.

When i go to parties, i don't look at any girl, no matter how hot she is, for fear that she will take me to a hotel, drug me, then take my kidneys and leave me taking a nap in a bathtub full of ice.

i also donated all my savings to the Amy Bruce account. A sick girl who was about to die in the hospital about 7,000 times. The poor girl has been 7 years old since 1993 and apparently has had enough money to undergo many plastic surgeries to change her appearance.

My free Nokia phone never arrived and neither did the free passes for a paid vacation to Disneyland inspite of following all instruction to the letter.

Unfortunately, Orkut is not in the least bothered to delete my account inspite of me ignoring the millions of warnings saying "Orkut is deleting accounts: Due to sudden rush..."

i made some hundred wishes before forwarding those Dalai Lama, GaneshVandana, Tirupathi Balaji pics etc..Now most of those "Wishes" are already married (to someone else)!

NOTE: If you do not comment on this post and get at least 13 people also to do so in the next 10 seconds, a bird will shit on your head today at 10:30 p .m.!!