December 14, 2011

Inventions S1E04: The Spelling Bee Trick

You’re walking on the road minding your own business when someone stops and says, “Hey, how are you? Remember me?” 

The person looks mildly familiar but you can’t really assign a name to that face. You don’t want to sound rude in the middle of the road, so you reply enthusiastically, “Of course! How are you? It has been so long!” and go ahead with the conversation hoping to pick up enough hints on the way to identify the friendly stranger. 

This heuristic strategy works well in the average case. You can narrow your options down depending on what kind of questions he asks. If the conversation is circled around your high school, hometown and other things, you can safely assume that he was a childhood friend. Then you throw in a strategic question related to siblings or his parents for more hints until you can make an intelligent guess. 

That is the average case. Sometimes it may happen that even at the end of your small talk, you still have no idea who the other person is. And it is time to exchange phone numbers! That guy enthusiastically tells his mobile number and asks you to give a missed call to his number. You typed down his number in your phone and now you have to type a name. But you don't know the name!

You can’t just type “that dude with long hair” (I have names like that in my phone book) for later reference because he is looking right into your phone, waiting for you to enter his name and then give him a missed call. 

*Awkwardness begins* You started with the good intention of not being rude but now you’re on the verge of looking like an asshole! This is when The Spelling Bee Trick can come to your rescue. 

The Spelling Bee Trick involves two simple steps:

  1. Keep your best “sincerely confused” face 
  2. Ask him, “So how do you spell your name?
It's a good move to make generally. But heuristic techniques always come with caveats. If he turns out to be a Naimish or a Twishmay, you’re safe because he would be used to people asking him how he spells his name and wouldn’t suspect anything foul. 

But such names are sadly rare, there is a good chance that the conversation may end up like this:

I suggest readers to stick to “What is your full name?” instead of “How do you spell your name?” That way you can get away saying “There are a couple of other Rajas in my contact list and I don’t want to be confused.

You're Welcome! 

P.S: Additional Reading -- My First Invention: Leadership by Ineptitude

December 10, 2011

Inventions S1E03: The Great Nation of Gultisthan!

Friends, Gultis and Countrymen,

I have had enough of these demands for a separate Telangana, a separate Rayalaseema, a separate Sreekakulam etc. I cannot stand to see my gult brothers fighting amongst themselves dividing our motherland using anything other than caste.

It is time to think big. Great leaders sometimes have to take harsh decisions. Here is mine. Pro-Telangana people, I have decided to expel you from our state. You can have your Telangana. Just take it and go. You can even go ahead, take Northern Karnataka and Vidharbha too and form a “Brotherhood of fucked up provinces under the erstwhile Nizam” for all I care but let me be very clear about this. You did not fight and “win” your separate state. You got it because we gave it!

Fellow gults, do not worry about the loss of Telangana. Consider them as the prodigal brother who will come back to us once he realizes how difficult life is. In the meantime, let us continue thinking big. 

Remember Madras Presidency? Boy those were the days when there were no autos in Chennai, Chennai was Madras and everyone in Madras spoke Telugu! We should aim for that kind of domination instead of wasting time fighting these petty bifurcating and trifurcating battles. Yes gults, it is time we fight for The Great Nation of Gultisthan! Spelt with an ‘h’! (Dear every country from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, I’m sorry to tell you but you don’t know how to spell your countries. Love, Gultisthan.)


With the expulsion of Telangana, we have to let go of Hyderabad. We’ll need a new capital. Let’s take Chennai back!

Historically, we built the city together and then they (the Tamils) took over and named everything after Anna! It is time for us to reclaim Madras. Let us revive the “Madras Manade” movement. (Remember the M&M Revolution™©®?) Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Madras Manade 
In 1953, Telugu speakers of Madras Presidency wanted Madras as the capital of Andhra state including the famous slogan Madras Manade (Madras is ours) before Tirupati was included in AP. Madras, at that time was an indivisible mixture of Tamil and Telugu cultures. It was difficult to determine who should possess it. 
Panagal Raja, Chief Minister of the Madras Presidency in the early 1920s said that the Cooum River should be kept as a boundary, giving the northern portion to the Andhras and the southern portion to the Tamils. In 1928, Sir C. Sankaran Nair sent a report to the Central Council discussing why Madras does not belong to the Tamils. Historically and geographically it was a part of the Andhra region. It was Damerla Venkatadri Nayakudu of Recherla Velama caste was provincial governor in 1639 from whom the English sought to take permission to set up a factory. 
The increasing political dominance of the Tamils from early 1920s at both Central and State level politics caused Madras to remain in the Tamil region. According to the JPC report (Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bhogaraju Pattabhi Sitaramayya, C. Rajagopalachari) Telugu people should leave Madras for Tamils if they want a new state.
And that is how they took our Madras away. It is time to win Madras back and change the name to Medrasu because how is that we roll.

We will also lose considerable amount of land after expelling Telangana. My plan is to take a part of Karnataka to make up for it. Besides we can use some Iron Ore and Bangalore!

The Great Nation of Gultisthan
Oriya people may want to join us. They have a lot of cultural relations and natural resources but with the poverty and Maoist problems, they come with a lot of extra baggage. We’ll take a decision about the fate of Oriya people at a later date.


With the annexure of Medrasu (formerly: Chennai, formerly-formerly: Madras) and Bengaluru, we’ll have a naval base, a strategic port, the whole IT sector, two IPL teams, R. Ashwin and Deepika Padukone. So our economy is in safe hands.

The Revolution

The process of annexing these territories has already started. Bellary, Tumkur and Raichur are already ruled by gults for all practical purposes. Our soft power tactics are working wonderfully in and around Bangalore where the cultural domination is quite mature too. Gultis are being arrested almost everyday for scams in Karnataka. If that is not domination, I ask you, what is?

More than 25% of Bangalore speaks Telugu. There are an estimated 1.35 crore Telugu speakers in Karnataka, so it is only fair we have some of their land too! People of Karnataka might get a little upset about this but they are nice people. I am sure they will understand and look at this as an opportunity to bring Mysore back to its past glory.

While the Tams are busy making fun of their brahms, trying to answer age old philosophical questions like “Why this kolaveri di?”, and giving war hero like welcomes to their politicians returning from the conquest of Tihar, our people are infiltrating their territory by the thousands to take Madras from the inside.

Tamil People, do you guys seriously believe that all those gult engineering students on Mahabalipuram Road are there to study engineering? Do you have any idea how many engineering colleges we have? They are the future #OccupyMadras protesters.

Mark my words people, mark them well. The process has already started. The clock is ticking. Fates are changing. The wheels are in motion. History is being rewritten. Things are happening as we speak. The revolution is just a matter of time. Gult Greatness shall soon be realized. 

Gultisthan Zindabad!

December 9, 2011

Inventions S1E02: Facebook Tourists

Like I said, I am going to invent new words and phrases all week!

Facebook Tourist: Definition

You’re on the beach on a beautiful sunny day. The air is cool and the sun is warm. Gentle waves are crashing against the cliffs on the horizon while the seagulls are playfully flying around in circles. Walking along the beach, the bright sun is just hot enough to cover you in an invisible blanket of warmth. The big beautiful ocean invites you to take a swim in the crystal waters with each wave. 

As you walk barefooted through the warm golden sand, the gentle waves kiss your feet harmonically while tiny shiny sea shells tickle you randomly. You instinctively spread your arms and take a deep breath and for the first time in years, feel one with nature. And then your friend says, “Mama, tu idhar ek photu nikaal re. Facebook pe ye chadayetho… likes pe likes udaayenge bolroon mein!

We are all Facebook Tourists at some level or the other. Nothing inherently wrong with that! But a real Facebook Tourist takes it up to an entirely different level. For a true Facebook Tourist, beauty, history or significance of the place are irrelevant for most part. Whether they are on a Himalayan peak staring into the curvature of the Earth’s horizon or on top of the Eiffel Tower sipping champagne at sunset, at a serene temple in South India or in the gas chamber at the holocaust museum, the only thought that goes in their head is “If I give Titanic pose here, will it look cool aa?” 

A special mention here goes to people who upload pictures of them while they are eating. Enough has been said about them all over the internet. I am just mentioning them here to tell them that they belong in this category! 

How to Spot a Facebook Tourist?

It is not really difficult to spot a Facebook Tourist. I am sure many of your friends are Facebook Tourists themselves. So I’ll leave you with a partial list.

  • They typically have 242 profile pictures with the same expression but different backgrounds 
  • They feel that their trip is wasted if the photos don’t come out well 
  • They prefer recording Diwali celebrations with a handycam instead of actually celebrating Diwali
  • The only reason they visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa is to pose on the grass nearby trying to make the monument look like an erection! 
Home Work: Look through your Facebook News Feed to identify more characteristics of Facebook Tourists. Share them with the world (preferably in the comments or on the Facebook page)

P.S: SMBC pretty much nailed this thing long long back!

P.P.S: You may want to check out Episode 1 of this series here Inventions S1E01

December 7, 2011

Inventions S1E01: 2bit Toss and The Great Indian Note Trick

I have a feeling that there are not enough phrases in English to deal with the complexity of the world we live in. Especially when you're forced to be concise (on Twitter especially). I have decided to invent a few new phrases for the benefit of humanity and this part of my "making the world a better place in your own way" thing. I think this is the good time to remind you that I have not started my GRE preparation yet ;)

2bit Toss

Pingalaka, Sanjivaka, Karataka and Damanaka want to buy a tub of ice cream and eat. All of them had a different flavor in mind and were not able to arrive at a consensus. Now if there were only two, then they could have just tossed a coin to decide in a fair and simple way.

With four people, they have to do two rounds of tossing – two semi-finals and a final which means the coin should be tossed thrice. But life is too short for tossing a coin three times. To solve this problem they need to 2bit toss!

Let me introduce you to the 2bit toss. You toss the coin twice. (Yes, life is just long enough to toss the coin twice!) Heads is 1, Tails is 0. So the outcome of the two tosses is a 2 bit binary number i.e. one of 00, 01, 10 or 11. The four parties in question choose one of 00, 01, 10 and 11 before the toss and whoever wins gets to pick the ice cream flavor.

Problem Solved. 

P.S: It is generally advisable to refrain from 2bit tossing (or any n-bit toss for that matter) if your romantic interest is in the vicinity.

P.P.S: Now if the four Panchatantra characters in question cannot agree on how to assign the four binary digits among themselves, we'll give them a small lecture on elementary probability.

The Great Indian Note Trick

You’re going out with friends and the only money you have on you is a 500 rupee note. (Wonderful feeling isn't it?) You get into an auto to go to the local station. The meter reads 28 bucks. You are the first to get down, pull out your wallet and give your crisp new note. The auto driver naturally replies, “No change”

The fun part begins now. Immediately (almost instinctively) you start searching. You search everywhere. You search your shirt pockets. You search your back pockets. You search your side pockets. You even search that small pocket just above the side pocket of your jeans! And then you move on to your wallet. And you go on until you sweep all the small insignificant corners looking for some loose change. And you do all this searching while being perfectly aware of the fact that you don’t have even one rupee on you (other than the 500 rupee note). You are pretty sure you wont find anything from the moment you got into the auto. Not even some loose change! And yet you do it.

It shows in the way you search too. You don't search search. You know what I mean? All you do is feel your hands over your pockets from the outside! When was the last time you found something you were looking for just by feeling the outside of the pocket? And while you're searching, you look at your friends waiting for one of them to pay the auto guy. By this time, your friends are also sort of doing the same thing (but only more subtly). And this goes on until one of the friends gives up and pays the cash. And then you move on to the pani puri guy for a repeat performance! 

That little show we all put on from time to time is called The Great Indian Note Trick. A normal GINT lasts for about two days but professional GINT practitioners can drag it up to a month!

P.S: The GINT bit can work as a nice stand up routine don't you think?