August 27, 2012

A Dummy's guide to Indian Hobbies

This was published in The NRI this week. Posting here just for the record. Click on the image to read the article.

August 26, 2012

So I was wishing @flawsophy for his birthday...

Flawsophy: By the way, I have 100 published posts in flawsophy. Of course, Evil Twin has crossed 100 a long time back.

Gtoosphere: Cool. Even my blog crossed 100 sometime back. I think it should count as sort of an achievement… for holding on to a hobby that long.

Flawsophy: yeah it is.

Gtoosphere: It's a bigger achievement than birthdays :)

Flawsophy: Anything other than dying is a bigger achievement than birthdays...

Gtoosphere: That is a good standard to have. So what is the rule to wish NRIs for their birthdays? It is midnight here but it is still yesterday for you and hence not your birthday yet.

Flawsophy: :)

Gtoosphere: No... I am asking because some people are very particular about being the first to wish or wishing someone exactly at midnight. I am just wondering, what their policy for NRI birthdays would be. Do they wish them at midnight IST or midnight for the other person, whatever the time zone is?

Flawsophy: A girl would make sure there are at least three occasions... one India, one US... and one formal dinner in the evening. I was once about to wish someone dot on midnight (India time) but a Korean friend of mine came and asked for something. So I was like, six minutes late and in the meantime, another friend called and she was so mad at me for not being the first!

Gtoosphere: hehe :p

Flawsophy: ok, there may be a difference between 00:00 hours and 00:06 but for me it is 14:30 and 14:36!

Gtoosphere: yeah. What is six minutes after a heavy lunch? Pf…  

Flawsophy: adhe gaa… even different hours have different meanings… don’t they?

Gtoosphere: If you insist on being specific to the hour, then you should be wished in IST because you were born in IST.

Flawsophy: Exactly... this takes us back to reviving a dying horoscope system. That’s the only time horoscopes make sense to me

Gtoosphere: You mean a dying horoscope system adjusted for daylight saving? ;)

Flawsophy: chee chee

Gtoosphere: I am not kidding… these horoscope apps account for daylight saving as well!

Flawsophy: Horoscope has the assumption of a consistent time-zone which implies "travel across time-zone at your own risk"

Gtoosphere: ISRO launched the moon mission only after making sure it is launched at the right “muhurtham”. I mean, seriously? We're sending a vessel to the effing moon and you’re consulting a horoscope that considers the moon to be a planet?

Flawsophy: hehe... sometimes, we forget birthdays altogether. The anger over missing a birthday is something people take very seriously.
Watch this space for more adventures of Awkward Man
and his forever alone side kick, Captain Friend-zone.

Gtoosphere: I probably hold the record for forgetting the maximum number of birthdays in a year. If you forget someone’s birthday, you can’t call them anytime soon. You have to give some cool off time, maybe 3 or 4 weeks, so that the forgotten birthday doesn’t come into the next conversation.

Flawsophy: Yes, the Birthday Cool Off time.

Gtoosphere: I think an appropriate Birthday Cool Off time is 2 to 3 weeks.

Flawsophy: Two to three weeks is too much. Who remembers their birthday after a week? One week is enough.

Gtoosphere: I don’t know, I wouldn’t risk only one week of Birthday Cool Off time. I once forgot to wish someone for her birthday and she got very angry

Flawsophy: The anger over missing a birthday is something people take very personally

Gtoosphere: yeah, and when I called her a week later to apologize.. I ended up giving a very Seinfeld-esque speech on "What is the big deal with birthdays? All you did was “not die” and you want to celebrate that? Doesn't all the medical science and technological progress mean anything anymore? That we human beings as a species are collectively celebrating the miracle of ‘not dying’?" Of course, I had to apologize for the apology (which was also quite Seinfeld-esque). 

Flawsophy: hehe...

Gtoosphere: Another time, a friend invited me for lunch, so I went to her place. Her mom made awesome lunch, fried rice, payasam, etc. I had a pleasant with her chat for a couple of hours after lunch left in the evening. Two days later, I realized that it was her birthday that day, I went to her house, ate a lot of food and didn't wish her

Flawsophy: chee chee.. that is horrible! 

Gtoosphere: I know, but in my defense, I didn't know it was her birthday. It was the proto-Facebook era.

Flawsophy: No, there are times you can get away with that excuse. But not this time. 

Gtoosphere: So you think it is a non-bailable Birthday Offence. 

Flawsophy: yes, that is what it is -- a non-bailable Birthday Offence! You are sentenced to an invitation ban for 6 months and a fine of an expensive gift plus an apology. 

Gtoosphere: Abbo... "non-bailable birthday offence"... People these days are celebrating half-birthdays… like birthdays aren't bad enough!
Flawsophy: the whole concept sounds voodoo

Gtoosphere: Oh… you're turning 24 and a half today! Who gives a shit???
Flawsophy: hehe… I once wrote a post on birthdays and some girl commented saying that her boyfriend declared the month as a birthday month which implies a C in the high school English I exam for coming up with a ridiculous self-contradictory term.

Gtoosphere: Even worse are the couples who celebrate month-anniversaries

Flawsophy: What the hell is a month-anniversary? These people have no respect for time!

Gtoosphere: The word anniversary itself is closely related to “annual” which means once a year! The word exists because ancient Greek have arrived at a consensus that a relationship should last at least for a year before the couple can start annoying other people and here we are in the 21st century celebrating month-anniversaries. People have no standards anymore.

Flawsophy: Yeah, people are inventing new holidays whenever they feel like smooching!

Gtoosphere: If you want an excuse to celebrate, look to traditional lifestyle. Our ancestors have invented enough reasons.

Flawsophy: yeah celebrate Maasa Siva Raatri. It is always around the corner :p

Boorelu and Pulihyaara
Gtoosphere: Bamma celebrates ‘Maargasira Lakshmivaram’ or something. How cool is that? Just like that, for four days a month, she makes Boorelu and Pulihyaara and no one complains. They didn’t even bother to give it a legitimate name. They just call it “The Thursday of so-and-so month”… Holidays can’t get more arbitrary than that!

Flawsophy: We have a whole system of made-up excuses and arbitrary holiday system thanks to India’s beautiful appetite and a fundamental hatred for work. And they don’t have oxymoronic names like half-birthdays and month-anniversaries.

Gtoosphere: hehe… that is the advantage of belonging to a 5000 year old civilization. The holidays tend to accumulate ;)

Flawsophy: Yeah, we are losing a lot of good things in a way because they are slightly inconvenient.

Gtoosphere: The beauty about our festivals is that they have more to do with our love for food and almost nothing to do with our beliefs. Did you ever pray on Sankranti? No, we just wear clothes and eat. Did you ever go to a temple on Diwali? No, we were busy drying our crackers on the terrace and test firing them. The kitchens are busier than the temples. Our festivals are broad enough to allow even atheists to enjoy them :)

Flawsophy: Yeah, shallow urban people have started wearing branded clothes for short term gains and are completely ruining a beautiful, devious, evil, and well-oiled system for excuse making and binge eating.

Gtoosphere: hehe… also, gone are the days when “Neighbours are doing Satyanarayana Vratam” is a legitimate excuse.

Flawsophy: Was that ever a legitimate excuse.

Gtoosphere: I bet someone would have used it at some time in history. It is 12:40 AM now, should I wish you now or later in the afternoon.

Flawsophy: Just wish and be done with it. Indaakati ninchi dobbuthunnav nee yankamma :p

August 19, 2012

Two Waggin' Tongues: On Movies, Women, Media and Supermarkets

This post was published in Flawsophy earlier this week. We're experimenting on a new format. Posting here just for the record. Click on the image to read the post.

August 15, 2012

The Popcorn Protocol

I never understood the logic behind movie theaters playing the National Anthem just before the movie starts. Apparently, that's the law in Maharashtra. While I don't expect anything better from Maharashtra's political class, this is particularly amusing.

Doesn't it feel a little weird? One moment you're watching a Vicco Turmeric ad, the next moment Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle are singing "Jana gana mana..." and it is followed by a three minute promo of an Akshay Kumar movie. It doesn't make any sense, especially if the movie you're trying to watch has out of work porn stars in it!

And it gets funnier because it always starts when you least expect it. You think that the anthem is at least a couple of ads away. You're still settling down with your popcorn, your glass of Pepsi, your girlfriend's handbag, maybe a three year old kid hanging from your shoulder and suddenly the "Please Stand up for National Anthem" sign is on the screen and everyone starts looking at you like you work for the ISI!

Now you have to stand in attention but you don't know where the popcorn goes. Does it go across the chest like a soldier holds his gun? What if you have popcorn in one hand and Pepsi in the other? Then you have to put in some extra effort to not get carried away by the patriotism of the moment because saluting the national flag is not a good idea if you have soda in your right hand!

These things bother me. Our PT teacher back in high school told us nothing about popcorn during our preparations for the Independence Day parade. I have asked a few people if there is a Popcorn Protocol for situations like this but everyone only says, "Whatever works man!" I wonder how they do it in the Army.

My only exposure to the National Anthem after high school has been at movie theaters in Mumbai and on almost all occasions, it was followed by munching unhealthy amounts of popcorn. So now, I am sort of conditioned to it. Like Pavlov’s dog, I now associate the National Anthem to the taste of popcorn and my mouth starts watering by the time I finish, “Jaya jaya jaya jaya hai!

Now where is my popcorn?

Image credits: