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"Random musings"

Cuba cabana.... Monday, June 26, 2006 |

The picture to the right(in my profile you dodo) has not been shot by me, although I wish it was. I mean it is exactly the kind of picture I'd shoot if I had one of those super cool SLR thingies(digital or otherwise). SLR, by the way, stands for 'Single Light Reflex' as a friend painstakingly explained to me during an equally painful dermatology clinic many moons ago. Till then all that the acronym meant to me was 'Self Loading Rifle'. Yes me be little gun obsessed, and if you throw any Freudian explanations starting with the letter 'P' at me then I'll curse you to slipping and falling on an SLR(not the camera) setting off the damn thing, with resulting fireworks in the Netherlands giving you a deeper understanding of what Freud meant by his stage of anal fixation.

Voice in head: You stupid stupid oaf... two people read your blog. In the last paragraph you call one a dodo and go on to threaten the other with 'Carnal intercourse with a gun (against the order of nature Section 377z Sub clause MCMXV, IPC)'. Great going Einstein, I see the popularity ratings soaring already!

Tsck, tsck.... we digress too much(digressing some more... I wonder who first spelt 'Tsck tsck' as 'tsck tsck'). So yes....multiple personality Freud Guns SLR Cameras the picture!

It is also the kind of picture I'd have shot if I knew the first thing about photography, or the last or even any of the things in between. It is also the kind of picture I'd have shot if I could get to the seafront early in the morning or in the evening. I'm never up that early and all I picked up at Spanish classes was the concept of a long rejuvenating 'siesta'. And after exactly 294 words of rambling disconnected prose(?), 'what is the point?' you may ask.

Well me dearies, the problem is this:
This picture reminds me of the time I woke up one morning after having slept the night away in my jalopy parked on Marine Drive, the warm rays of the sun caressing my face etc. etc. But then my intensely complicated Freudian mind also tells me that the picture is not quite Mumbai. Something about the angle of the sun over the buildings. If its Mumbai, then its post the great earthquake that will rip Mumbai away from Maharashtra and turn it around (literally and metaphorically) leading to the formation of a nation state second to none. Sigh… but since substance induced hallucinations are only substance induced hallucinations, where is this place?

Random little voice (yes, again in my head) whispers 'Cuba! Havana!'. I have no clue why, considering the fact that the quasi American culture that we feed on supplies us with very few images of papa Fidel's capital. And the only thing I know for sure about Cuba is that those cigars are made in factories full of rows and rows of hot women rolling them between their thighs. (sigh again… deeper this time)

Someone please tell me where o where this is?

In case anyone is sure that its amchi Mumbai... dont tell me, I like the sound of Havana.

Listening to: Yellow Submarine - The Beatles

Gyan for today –
SLR can also stand for
Satellite Laser Ranging
Scalable Linear Recording
Sinfully Lovely Rump
Tsck also stands for – The Scientific Centre Kuwait

There are stories that McCartney actually spoke of hallucinogenic yellow pills (dolls) when he wrote that song and it is not just a children's song.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, reads: "Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine".
This is also reproduced verbatim in the Singapore Penal Code. It is said to have been originally written in by Lord Thomas Maculay. There is a delightful little note on the Wikipedia page about section 377 that reads ' It may be of interest to note that Lord Macaulay remained single throughout his lifetime, an unusual situation for a man of his status in the Victorian era'

New words and phrases... Thursday, June 22, 2006 |

weltschmerz : (VELT-shmerts) noun

World weariness; pessimism, apathy, or sadness felt at the difference
between physical reality and the ideal state.

The Elegant Variation:
"Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."

When I was much younger, I used to work hard on my writing. I realise now that what I strove towards then was "The Elegant Variation", but as fate would have it I gave up writing and took up Medicine(only to make a hash of med school).
Going on, The Elegant Variation(where I stumbled upon the term in the first place) is also author Mark Sarvas' weblog. If you have time on your hands and are generally curious here is a link to an excerpt from his novel. Strictly ok stuff.

Everyday NEWS Wednesday, June 14, 2006 |

Its important to stay informed. Which is why a gazillion trees are hacked every single day to produce a gallion squared number of newspapers and magazines and tabloids and what not. But since this is the post modern knowledge age(or are we at post-knowledge now?), bytes of information are being hurled at you faster than Mount Vesuvius ever spewed fire and ash.
Most of this information is of such exemplary quality that one can only sit back and thank the heavens above that no trees are being cut to get this information to you.
I remember a comic who used have a really good 'NEWS' act, a take on news anchors and news stories. The anchors would be exaggeratedly stupid and the stories would be really silly. But it takes only a visit to a news site(CNN IBN in my case, could have been any site) to realise that he probably didn't need to exaggerate or make things seem funnier than they are.

Here are some of the top stories for today....

Dinbudhi in Jharkhand is getting roads, electricity and drinking water. Nothing funny about that. The government, after 58 years of slumber, appears to have suddenly woken up to the idea that this village exists. Nothing funny about that either since miracles do happen from time to time. Now here's the funny bit...

One of the most eligible bachelors of Jharkhand, the state home minister, Sudesh Mahto is all set to tie the knot and his hometown Silli is getting ready for the mega event on June 18.

Dinbudhi, the village from where his wife-to-be comes is undergoing a complete makeover - roads, electricity, and drinking water all are in place now, for the first time in 58 years.


However, the opposition parties in the state are watching closely. While some want the Income Tax department to keep an eye on the lavish function, others want the minister to adopt more villages like Dinbudih, so that they get better facilities.

Says state Congress president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, "We request the minister to get married in more places. Then there will be development in more villages."

People from surrounding villages are cursing their luck for not being home to the bride-to-be as they have lost out on the development.

The minister insists that he wont comment on the infrastructure development as it is his private affair and he doesn't need to explain anything to people. Read more here
More gems from today's news

  1. Gangster claims he sent hitmen to kill Mahesh Bhatt as he believes killing Bhatt would be a great service rendered to the nation. I mean, service rendered to the TV viewing audience that is tired of MB's righteous indignation and opinions on everything from amoebae to Andhra Pradesh? yes! But service to the Nation?
  2. Madhya Pradesh bans Nursery rhymes, they are not Hindu enough it seems.
  3. Ajmer dargha wants to ban women as men get distracted from prayers. Why just prayers? Lets ban women everywhere, they shouldn't step out of the harems, *sigh* if wishes were horses...

This banning bit is something that I so don't get. I don't see why our 'mature', 'secular democracy' has to ban so many things....

Update: Found a gem of a post from last years rains about my favoritest newspaper in the whole wide world. Read this and you'll know why they are the beshtesht source of entertainment in my otherwise sad and deary life...

More... Friday, June 09, 2006 |

In case I haven’t already bored everyone (everyone being my lone loyal reader) to death with my Delhi chronicles, here are some more notes from Delhi.

The Red Fort has an eerie feel to it….
Or maybe it’s just knowing that so many have died within these very walls, I believe I’ll feel the same if I ever happened to peek into THAT well at Jalianwallah Bagh. No patriotic jingoism (or jingoistic patriotism?) here.
Am quite sure that my spider senses will buzz at way past the fail-safe point if I ever visit Auschwitz.
Its just death…

Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk have more class than apun ka Minara Masjid and Mohammed Ali Street, sad but true. Our claim to fame still sadly is Dawood Bhai…

Watched a movie at PVR Rivoli, CP. Neat job of reviving a single screen theatre(wish someone had done that to Metro instead of creating another tasteless multiplex). One peeve: they have a stupid no bags policy (only for men of course). You can’t carry anything in with you! What utter crap! And to add to it the dodos don’t even have a cloakroom. Now what was me innocent tourist to do in anjaan city?
Pimply kid(usher?) : “Sorry sir, its official policy”
Me : “Bullshit!”
Kid : “Sorry sir!”
Me : “I want to speak to the manager!”
Kid : “I AM the Manager”
(Ok he got me there)
I was told I should try nearby paan wallahs, they may hold my bag for me. But me street smart Mumbai kid can’t trust anyone. Finally ended up leaving bags with cop at nearby chowky(had to sit with a constable and discuss treatment options for piles before picking up my bag after the movie… but that’s another story)

Where are the public dustbins in Delhi??????

Walking along Rajpath you realise that you can never ever hope to see so much (well maintained and public) open space within Greater Mumbai city limits.

Dally and Railway musings… Thursday, June 08, 2006 |

Dally metro is good… but I still like the wind in my hair when I hang out of the Virar local clutching on for dear life;) The metro is just too aseptic and characterless for my Mumbai sensibilities… the alternate explanation of course is a mighty case of sour grapes.

The Delhi Gwalior train ride has to be the best experience I have had with the Indian railways so far.
317kms - three hours flat, comfiest chair car ever…. Breakfast, coffee, and newspapers (too bad we stuffed ourselves silly on ‘aloo ke parathe’ outside New Delhi station, but food on the table was dealt with in a just manner;) )

The German built coaches of the Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi(fastest train in the country if you go by some accounts) had just pulled out of New Delhi railway station. Me and a friend were lounging back into the most lounge-able seats that Lalooji’s ministry can provide. Semi synthetic female voice droned on about the sights to see in Agra (our next stop) taking care to omit little details like the dirty stained marble of the Taj and the ambient temperature outside the train. Loudishpikar suddenly crackled, soothing voice modulated female was replaced by a harsh “Yatri kripaya dhyan de, coach kramank C4 mein ek yatri ki tabiyat achanak bigad gayi hai. Agar train par sawar koi daactar sahab ho to we jald hi coach C4 mein aane ki kripa karen”

My post-prandial nap thus rudely disturbed, I nudge friend. Friend raises eyebrows “what to do?” I was like “We go!” friend shrugs and both rise. After a bit of fumbling with precision made German doors we finally reach C4.

We rush to obese man looking uneasy but bravely smiling. I was about to ask man what was wrong, when people next to me go “Lagta hai train pe koi Doctor nahin”. They just seemed to look right through us. The guard and the ticket examiner also didn’t seem to have the foggiest…

Realization strikes…!(us not themL ) See, Delhi was supposed to be a fun trip. Hence by the time we got on to the train we had hungover eyes and three day old stubbles. Besides we had also slept the previous night in the same faded dirty jeans and T-shirts.
All in all, we looked nothing like what the ‘lay’ junta expect a pair of well-qualified respectable physicians (this is MY blog so I’ll say what I want) to look like.
Well, to cut to the chase, while we were thus immersed in pondering over how our appearance had failed us and how they would probably ask to see credentials, a suitably middle aged man wearing a tie and with a leather case came tumbling along and told the ‘patient’ to relax sip some water and wait for the motion sickness to tide over. We of course, slunk back to our seats, soberer.

It was decided then and there that something shall be done about our appearance. We were going to visit a friends place for the first time and we didn’t want her extended family to think that they had a couple of junkies staying over. After some thought it was decided that a shave each is what we need.

Now me dearies, those of you who have experienced the extremely comfortable suspension on Indian trains know that this idea could only be the product of sick minds ‘dying’ to slit their own throats. We were desperate here and besides, this was a new super cool coach, so we expected the suspension to be better. After a brief reconnaissance mission it was gathered that the loos were okay and even had sockets for electric shavers.(but the Railway babus in all their wisdom had provided 110volt sockets, are only tourists allowed to use electric shavers?)
The plan was to get up quietly, gather shaving kits from respective rucksacks and commandeer a bathroom each. But as we both got up and walked to the bathrooms I could feel eyes boring into us. Why?

Realization strikes ...(part two… us again)! Two suspicious looking characters carrying something in small bags to the bathrooms in a co-ordinated move… first guess? “Bomb threat?” “Can they highjack the train?”

Almost burst out laughing this time, thankfully no one pulled the chain or jumped us. It would suffice to say that we emerged valiantly (without a single nick, the suspension WAS good) clean-shaven and went back to our seats with only a stare from the railway police guard on the train.

Nandu... Monday, June 05, 2006 |

1.00am Apollo Bunder

Beautiful breeze… such blissful relief after hot dusty north India. The sea(well the bay actually…), the lights, the pavement, the massage wallahs, the urchins, the junkies, and of course the cops…

Mumbai meri jaan, I'm in love with you all over again…

Was walking down the promenade when I saw an impromptu performance. A man who looked like a vagrant was sucking on his joint and expounding his views on life the universe and everything to a bunch of kids who had parked their bikes and were resting near the sea wall listening to him. Nandu(his name which we later learnt) is an extremely interesting fellow(if you as bored in life as I am). He exerts a masterly command over his brand of Pidgin English. He writes, or well at least recites, poetry. The kids are quite enthralled by him. They supply him with chai, charas, and sutta to keep him going and boy does he go!

In the few minutes that I sat around listening he went from Vinod Khanna-osho-dayavan (the movie)-cabinet minister in ABV govt TO Bush and Saddam. He also talks about history, philosophy and love. He has a regal air about him, threw away two cups of tea that were offered to him as they weren’t offered with enough respect.

Most of the kids see super entertainment value in him while some frankly think he is a genius… They use him to settle scores where he verbally abuses someone they don’t particularly like. They also pay for him to get into clubs at times….

After a brief moment of wondering whether Nandu is like the wise monk who sat in the city square spouting gibberish, I came to the conclusion that its mostly a case of diffuse cortical damage from long standing drug abuse;)

He is part of the cityscape in Colaba. Part of the bunch of random characters spawned by touristy Colaba, the kind that conned Shantaram(a.k.a Gregory Roberts who wrote a book that can at best be described as naïve)

In case anyone wants to confirm or disprove my conclusions on Nandu…. He can be found near the Gateway of India after 12 at night…. A scrawny fellow with his trouser legs rolled up a la Raj Kapoor in Awara…