Monday, February 28, 2005

booked for life

my wife and i went on a book buying spree yesterday. by spree, i mean three books: the selfish gene by richard dawkins, the motorcycle diaries by che guevara and conversations at the cathedral by margos vargas llosa. i always wanted to read the first two. the third was my wife's choice. anyway, that was the easy bit. now the guilt begins.

everytime i see the books in the cupboard, i'll feel the pressure. for some vague and absolutely idiotic reason, the more i delay reading a book, i feel i'm ducking an obligation towards the book! it's like being confronted by someone i promised a job. not that i've ever made such promises, but you get the idea. the fact is, nowadays, i think reading is a luxury, considering the time it takes. no, wait a moment. i love reading. so, i think the luxury bit is just an excuse for not making the time. yeah, that's more like it.

buying books is a new habit. i'd usually borrow them from the library. but off late, i've developed a fascination to build a collection of good books. the best part about books is that they give you pleasure for a long, long time. everytime i re-read a book, i get a different perspective. and that, i think, is the hallmark of a truly great book. the ability to present different perspectives.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

i love sangeetha

these are the confessions of a married man. when i'm down and depressed. sleepy and lethargic. or just a little out of sorts, sangeetha cheers me up in a jiffy.

with a stainless-steel tumbler of hot kaapi!

this afternoon, i was at sangeetha, ra puram, downing a degree coffee, when it suddenly struck me: i've never quite explained why degreecopy is inspired by sangeetha's degree coffee.

i love my stainless-steel tumbler (cups are sooo, i mean, sooooooo boring!) of hot-hot filter coffee. i don't think anything can match up to a filter coffee, when it comes to rejuvenating a ravaged soul. and three cheers to the coffee guys at sangeetha. the magic works every single time. i rarely have anything else at sangeetha. i usually go there on a weekday afternoon. plonk myself on one of their revolving stools and say the magic words to the nearest waiter: oru(one) strong degree coffee!

the decoction and the milk are never properly mixed. and that's the best part of filter coffee! when you actually pour the coffee from tumbler to the dabara (what the @#%& is it called in english?), and back again. and, ah, one more thing: always leave half the coffee in the dabara. while you leisurely savour the rest from the tumbler. that's the proper way of drinking coffee, take it from me. by the time i finish the coffee, invariably, my outlook about the world becomes a lot more pleasant. which, is truly wow, man!

and the waiter hovering nearby invariably brings the bill even before i finish my coffee. now, that is something i never understood. and even pisses me off, sometimes. what the fuck makes these guys think that a coffee signals the end of a meal or a snack. you know, one of these days, i'll return the bill and tell the bugger to walk right back in, and get me a masala dosa. aw, but, what the hell. i still love their coffee!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

living to tell the tale

the title is more than just about a book i just read.

i really hate it when i don't finish books that i start reading. i don't know why. i can't just throw the book and get on with life. that probably explains why i took so long to finish gabriel garcia marquez's autobiography, living to tell the tale. it's the first part of his autobiography. took me almost 45 days to finish the 533 pages, i think!

i felt like rahul dravid on a landmine of a pitch. determined to pitch a tent and plod my way to take india to a decent score. i haven't read many books in the recent past, and to determination was added a dash of guilt!

the book is all about south america, and how gabriel grew up. i just couldn't connect with what he said. i felt there were too many things to keep track of, in order to appreciate what the guy is saying. the people, the south american culture, the political upheavals- too much happening. especially, for someone who knows zilch about the continent. at one point, i just wanted to finish the book. just to prove to myself that i'll get through this ;-)!

i was finally rewarded for my perseverance, after almost 350 pages. the last bit where he describes his stinct at a newspaper was interesting. that's about it. i am just happy to have finished it!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

ten to a ting tong

as if to prove that i can keep my word (about being the world's best catcher of a cold), i'm down with a cold. so i took a second day off from work. but, here's the thing: you take a day off to relax. to switch off. to shut the door on the world, as you blow your nose to your heart's content. but the fucking door bell keeps going off every ten minutes. and the really irritating bit is the sheer variety of people who come in the way of a man who'd like to blow his nose in peace. the istriwalla, the maid, the courier guy, the gas cylinder guy, the grocery guy, an awful number of people, really. makes me wonder why i even bothered to take the day off.

i've half a mind to put up a sign on the door that says: achchooo, do not disturb! the next time i fall sick, i might try this out. going by my track record, that day is not too far!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

i'm the world's best catcher

of a cold, that is!

i can give jonty rhodes a complex. no cold ever gets past me. i dive, throw myself at it, do whatever it takes and catch a cold, come what may. colas, refrigerated food, air-conditioners, name the stuff, and i'll extract a cold out of it. and when you do it for 26 years, you eventually master the art of managing everything about a cold, except avoiding it. presenting for the first time ever, the inside story of a cold catcher.

i drink lots of water. during occasional bouts of good health, i take roughly 6 litres of water. with a cold, i can drink up an entire can!

handkerchiefs. observe a person with a nasty cold, and without a hanky. it's agonising for that poor soul! it's hell on earth! the bloody nose will run like ben johnson on steriods, and he'll have run out of wiping space on his shirt!!! never, i repeat, never hide a man's hanky when he's got a cold. he'll kill you before he goes achchoooo.

amrutanjan. this is god in a bottle, man. i have never failed to look at that bottle of amrutanjan in the bedroom with the respect that's due to the big guy up there. some of chennai's traffic cops could learn a lesson or two in the art of clearing a congestion. in how many ways do i thank thee, o mighty bottle of miracles!

pillows and posture. it takes a little experience to figure out how many pillows and the exact angle of reclination it takes to sneak in a few precious gasps of air to the lungs. feels as good as zooming past a yellow traffic signal about to turn red!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

barefoot in the park by evam

i saw my first play yesterday.

barefoot in the park was presented by evam, one of chennai's better know theatre groups, at the Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium in Alwarpet, Chennai. it was a nice romantic comedy. and lasted 2hrs and 45 minutes! i don't know if all plays run for that duration. but, anyway, it doesn't matter. there wasn't a single dull moment for the entire duration, and i had a great time.

i think the evam team has great potential. all the actors put up a great performance, and i must admit, i was surprised by the abilities of some of these guys. karthik of 'alaipayuthey' and 'ayuthu ezhuthu' fame was one of the actors in the play, and he came across as very charming and to quote my wife, 'very cute'.

what also worked in their favour was a very good script, that brought out the best in these guys. comedy is believed to be the toughest of all the genres of acting. the evam team made it seem effortless, and had the audience in splits all through the play. the only sore point, as far the production is concerned, was the lighting. there were a few glitches, which led to power cuts, albeit only for a few seconds.

now, if only i had a few good words for the audience. some of these guys had scant regard for punctuality. i guess most of them were employees of the sponsor royal sundaram. with their free passes, they must've thought that it entitles them to stroll in 15 minutes late. and disturb those who paid good money to watch the play. assholes!

but, anyway, that didn't stop us from having a good time yesterday. and i enjoyed my first experience at a play. good show, evam!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

you could be racist!

seriously, this is one incident i never thought i would be involved in.

a friend was passing through chennai, and we decided to meet up at Bike N Barrel. i thought i might as well ask for his opinion on some of my work. so i showed him my portfolio at the browsing center on the floor above BNB. work done and desperate for alcohol [blown by my ads, obviously! :-)) ] , we proceeded towards the reception, paid the clerk and left.

and then came the gunfire in american accent:

'how could you serve that customer before me?'

'i came here before them.'

'you are discriminating against me because of my white skin... '

' it isn't just racial discrimination, but sexual discrimination, as well!!'

it was a firang woman firing the clerk at the reception desk. for collecting the internet charges from me, as my friend and i walked past them. it all happened in such a smooth manner. all in a matter of five seconds. and then boom, boom, boom!

handing over money to the guy at the counter, as we walk out of a store is no big deal. all us do it. everyday. and don't give it a second thought. well, neither did the hapless clerk at the reception desk. problem is the place hosts its fair share of international guests. guess, both of us, the clerk and i, must have appreciated the fact that it's not mylapore ka murugan stores. and that pissed off that firangi missile. causing it to go boom!

aey dil, mushkil, jeena yahaan
zara hatke, zara bachke, bahut danger hain meri jaan!

the copy drinkers