Tuesday, May 31, 2005

flight 12B landing

it started with air deccan, soon spice jet and kingfisher followed. all with the noble endeavour of making air travel more accessible to the junta. now, allow you imagination to soar to the skies, and think of the possibilities, the pros and the cons of such radical measures. things could turn out to be very interesting up there in the sky. and down on terra firma.

should the whole low-cost-carrier thingy work out, very soon air deccan and company might start operating flights within the city limits. for starters, the prices of plane tickets will undercut those of terra firma transport services such as buses, autos and the metro rail. after all, you really can't compete against an airline that charges a buck for an air ticket. suddenly, even the most loyal bus commuters will look up to the skies for release from their transportation woes. college students, housewives, labourers, all of them will finally experience the same pleasure that oliver and wilbur wright once did.

now, if only one could leave behind the problems of terra firma transport services on the ground. but that's asking for too much. the captain and crew will frequently warn passengers about pickpockets on board. this is when they aren't showering curses on the footboard travellers, who seem to miss the great pleasure of spitting from a moving bus. then, of course, there's the problem specific to chennai, where chimpanzees from local colleges, dance on top of buses. kingfisher airlines, in particular, deals with the problem in a rather drastic manner. vijay mallya will personally cut off the legs of all scoundrels caught wriggling on top of his planes. with his newly acquired 'sword of tipu sultan'. as a sign of how commuters have kept pace with transport service providers, those who jump off moving buses will now use parachutes to get off before a scheduled stop. nevertheless, there will be a few incidents where one will find adventurous folks splashed on the ground from a passing plane. unfortunate, but hey, that's the way it is.

the only drawback with this rosy scenario is that private jets will soon cease to be rich boys' favourite toys. if the junta goes to the jet, it's time the ambanis and their ilk eject from their planes and hit the bus. big state transport buses will soon find their way into hallowed driveways. with mukesh ambani, parmeshwar godrej and kumaramangalam birla posing in front of their newest toys, with their very own customised bus tickets. even as their conductor blows his whistle, and yells: right, right! arre ambani, aaja. tera stop next hain!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

burpy battles

ever waited outside a popular restaurant on a weekend? it's quite an interesting experience actually. especially, if the place has glass walls and you can peek in. ever so often, a cold war brews between people on either side of the glass.

the ones on the outside arrive with glorious expectations of a fabulous saturday night dinner with the gang. even before the car has been parked, the gang takes a hard gulp... and a few smiles and hopes are swallowed. there's a crowd waiting outside that is quick to welcome our gang with a nice, juicy smirk.

other families waiting outside are assessed. our gang leader springs into action and registers himself on the waiting list. the gang puts on a brave front. appetising gossip is passed around. stale jokes are shared, and politely laughed at. all the while keeping an eye on the state of affairs inside the restaurant.

5, 10, 15 minutes pass.... not one bugger on the inside has stepped out. the gluttons seem determined to go on all night. a few piercing glares are tossed at the gluttons at the table nearest to the glass wall. the insiders are quick to digest the meat of the message: "shove it down your throat, and @#$% off!" such taunts should clearly not go unanswered, decide the folks on the inside. the gang leader inside has just burped his satisfaction with the meal. but calls for the menu card, anyway. spite the little imp, who's stuck his nose to the glass on the outside.

meanwhile, dissent is brewing among the comrades on the outside. alternatives are suggested, the growing population is cursed for screwing up a weekend, and the way to the nearest restaurant is worked out. our gang leader, oblivious to the mood among his troops, is still engaged in mortal combat with his counterpart on the inside. and then voila! the man on the inside waves his white napkin at the waiter. the family seems to have lost the hunger to fight on.

there are wild celebrations on the other side of the glass. the victors step in, they are on cloud nine, swaying to the tunes of 'we are the champions'. and take their hard-won places at the table. famished, ready to polish off anything that comes their way. and then they throw a casual glance outside. the war cry has been sounded, yet again!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

boom-boom in bihar

it's election time in bihar, after paswan refused to go to bed with both laloo and the nda. this makes him the undisputed no.1 on the hit list of all the political parties in bihar. but i am equally certain that all across bihar, thugs and goondas will set up fan clubs in his honour. for yet another glorious opportunity to make a killing.

clearly, these are great times for all ambitious scoundrels across the state. they had a blast during the first round. now, with the dissolution of the assembly, sunny days are back again. it is one of those rare moments when demand for goondas is greater than supply. the most qualified, the cream of the talent pool, have already been hired by the top guns. but bihar needs more. a campus recruitment drive at colleges by leading thugs cannot be ruled out. young men and women will be introduced to the wonderful opportunities available in the industry. students involved in stone throwing during local riots, man-handling lecturers, leaking exam papers and excelling in nuisance will be given preference over others.

however, it is the experienced lot who are greatly valued in the present situation. poaching of thugs and rascals from one gang by another cannot be ruled out. leading head hunters have been inundated by calls for talent from the various gangs. a hefty hike in pay packages with generous perks have been dangled in front of impressionable young rascals. apart from poaching, many gangs have also reached out to freelance thugs, like never before.

inspired by the global IT industry, some of bihar's top gangs have even outsourced work in the hope of maximising quarterly returns. while cfos of these gangs refused to quote numbers, it has been noted that a substantial number of train tickets from mumbai to laloo-land have been booked by supari start-ups.

while all the glorious opportunities made available to young scoundrels is truly commendable, it has also taken a toll on their personal lives. most thugs are at work even on weekends, leading to great strain in familial ties. doctors are kidnapped round the hour to treat gang members for blood pressure and other stress-related ailments. the hr chief of a leading gang is even considering tying up with sri sri ravi shankar's the art of living foundation. but, as industry sources point out, these are minor irritants in an industry that's going boom-boom in bihar.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

watt in peace

reputed wattage caterer, mr.extension chord breathed his last watt of electricity yesterday. it was a peaceful end. unlike some, he chose not to go down in a blaze of sparks. while the demise was unexpected, there was no shock or trauma inflicted on dependents like degreecopy and score-board. as a mark of respect, a prayer meeting was held, after which, gadget inc. was closed for a day.

shri chord lived a long and eventful life. much like mumbai's dabbawallas, he unfailingly delivered nutrious wattage to hungry gadgets daily. no matter what the time of day, rain or shine, chord was on the job 24/7. talking to degreecopy about chord's passing, longtime neighbour and colleague, ms.pc said, "chord was a quiet, but efficient fellow. he had all the qualities of an ideal neighbour. he will be missed," chord's dear friend, plugpoint was inconsolable: "he was my only friend. i live in the dark alley behind an almirah. no one visits, except for that godly soul. now he's gone. i feel orphaned." amidst the mourning, there are allegations that chord was overworked, and it could possibly have led to the unexpected end.

while concerned authorities didn't comment on that, they were quick to appoint a new man, mr.anchor, to chord's post. a freshman (hopefully), mr. anchor got down to business straightaway by paying a visit to shri plugpoint, assuring him of a warm, spark-free relationship at all times. later in the day, he was introduced to colleagues ms.pc and the speaker sisters. degreecopy wishes shri anchor a great future, and prays for the soul of shri chord.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

hung by an asterix

open a newspaper or stare at the idiot box for more than ten minutes, and you'll come across at least one ad with some promo. buy-my-soap-get-bubbles-free kind of stuff. depending on whether you are into detergents, cell phones, mutual funds or whatever that's being sold, one time or another, you've fallen for their unbelievable offers. 'why don't you just check it out, darling', your heart cooes into your ear. but then you are an old hand at this. decades of digesting the crap dished out by these ads has taught you to watch out for that cunning old fox. better known in these parts of town as the asterix.

it's the point where dream merchants end their fable, and the accountants and lawyers muscle their way in. it's amazing how much power and ammo has been pumped into this infuriating character. comparisons with mushy bhai next door won't be out of place! but that's another issue. paradise/shining clothes/ lower phone bills/ glitzy cars and what not, all of them hang by that little 6-pointsize asterix.

but what exactly does the damn thing mean? mostly, it means terms and conditions apply. but the asterix has a diversified range of irritants in its arsenal. all of which have one primary objective: to stop you from running away from a bunch of freebies. anyone who can get past the gravitational pull of the black hole called asterix truly deserves his freebie. the lucky man not to be hung by the asterix.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

zzzz+ security

the next time india today or outlook puts out their list of happening careers, my personal recommendation would be that of a security guard at any of the flats in chennai.


first things first, the young turks in this business are in their late fifties, so go figure.

no paunch, no job, saar

walk the dog and return home with the neighbour's veshti in its mouth

direct sweaty pizza delivery boys to the wrong apartment.

flirt/gossip with the maids.

demand toll money from vegetable vendors, before allowing them into the premises

and last, but definitely the clincher, sleep on the job.

interested candidates can get in touch with any of the security agencies here in chennai. and look forward to a glorious career.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

ctrl+alt+del pen

here's something i've thought about often, but never got down to blogging about. until horror of horrors, i saw ravi had beaten me to it!

when was the last time you actually wrote something? as in, put pen to paper. not banging away at a keyboard like maniacs overtaking a deadline from the wrong side. turns out there are quite a few who haven't done it in sometime. and massage their hands like kids from class-2 asked to write 5-times tables 10 times. this after plodding through five lines on a piece of paper.

come to think of it, it's so bloody ironical. a good deal of blood, sweat, tears and the occasional whack from a disgusted parent is invested in teaching little ones to hold the treacherous pencil, and doodle in a book. sometimes it takes hapless teachers years before they decipher what has gone into those notebooks. and then, suddenly, without warning, the poor kid is introduced to the personal computer.

he isn't slow in catching on to the benefits, however. fingers don't need to be sharpened, or leak ink. you don't have to ever refill a finger. and the best part is you can write with both hands, where previously only one was gainfully employed. in addition, there's ctrl c+ctrl v, delete and other goodies that bill gates and his good men have given us. and slowly but surely, the pen retreats into the blinding darkness of the pocket. to be retrieved only when announcing one's arrival at work, or the infuriating departure of a check. unlike rk narayan's writerly life, today it's ctrl+alt+del for the pen.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

bhelpuri's narayana murthy

the sunday edition(May8) of the economic times claims that after IT and BT, it's the turn of AT... aloo tikki, i mean! food and beverages is apparently the next sunrise industry. think about that, eh.

as of this very moment, maybe a young fellow has probably just opened his bhelpuri stall, after dipping generously into his wife's dowry. it's your typical story of hardwork, endless sacrifice and great talent to churn out one bhelpuri after another. at street corners, outside college gates, near chai-paani joints and countless other places. before our hero musters enough cash and courage (stupidity, if you are his mother-in-law) to open his very own hole-in-the-wall: bhelfosys, india's first incorporated bhelpuri joint.

the first few years are tough, but satisfying. by now, bhelfosys has diversified into masalapuris, paani pooris and a variety of other chats for clients. while operations are still primarily on-site, bhelfosys is on a recruitment overdrive. where else will they poach talent but from the darshinis of bangalore (read previous post)! suddenly, salaries are shooting through the roof, and special training centres are opening up all across the country, with (surprise, surprise) NIIT leading the way, yet again!

india today, outlook and various other mags put our hero on their covers! bhelfosys has now moved into its own campus outside bangalore. and the best part is bhelfosys will soon hit NASDAQ! the first indian bhelpuri joint to leave wall street slurping for more. but amidst all this, our hero hasn't forgotten his humble roots. he is quick to share stock options with his employees. stocks of free bhelpuris for hot shot performers. everyone, from his cfo to his chauffeur, is now a bhel-lionaire. and our man is a legend.

yes, people, you have been warned. the future is here, and it's called bhelfosys!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

miss you, darshini

it was my one true love affair before i met my wife. frankly, i have hopes of reviving it some time in the near future. unfortunately the first fling had to end when i moved to chennai in 2001. but it was delicious while it lasted. a never-ending love for the darshinis of bangalore.

for the uninitiated (you poor blighters!), darshinis are bangalore's fastfood joints devoted exclusively to south-indian food. crunchy dosas, butter dosas that melt in the mouth, piping hot and soft idlis, the straight-off-the-fire sambar, the delightful kharabath, the unforgettable strong coffee and lots of other typically south indian eats.

there are lots of darshinis peppered across bangalore. each with a different first name; like it matters! because almost all of them have a few things in common: mouth-watering food served lightning fast, very hygenic and prices that make me curse chennai. should any of the darshinis ever move to chennai, half the nincompoops in the restaurant business will be left to starve.

the best part about the darshini is that it's perfect when you want to grab a quick bite, and want to go easy on your wallet. most folks in bangalore happily stand and wolf down their grub at these hole-in-the-wall joints, rather than go to places where you can park your butt. should you ever drop by at a darshini early in the morning, don't be surprised to overhear paunchy middle-aged folks brag about how many calories have been burnt on their morning walks, even as they tuck-in a crunchy butter dosa, and get some packed for the wife!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

control for five seconds, please

most of us here in chennai can't control ourselves. we just have to go, you know. the urge to shoot past the traffic signal at the last five seconds, is irresistible. if you live in chennai, just look out for this phenomenon on a road near you. very rarely will you come across anyone who'll hold on until the timer above the traffic signal shows 0, followed by the green light.

it's probably one of the remnants of our school days. when the school bell would ring, and most of the kids just start jumping up and down, without even waiting for the unfortunate teacher to leave the class. that's what i'm reminded of when i see such behaviour at the traffic signal.

any unfortunate soul who decides to wait it out for the five seconds is honked out of the way by the gorillas behind him. all the while the poor fellow waits out of a highly impractical urge to follow the rules. but such people are few and far between. most of us just can't wait to zip!

Monday, May 02, 2005

palm raiders on the beach

every time my wife and i go to the beasant nagar beach, there are two women who insist on reading our palm lines for us. as eager( may be even anxious!) as i am to know what tomorrow holds, i've not bitten the bait. not yet. but the two ladies in question seem to be doing a fabulous job of selling the future to the beachgoers of beasant nagar. snag one person, and a decent crowd of relatives, friends and the simply-bored will crowd around and hang onto every word uttered by the lady. the analysis will go on for about 10 minutes. with occasional giggles and loud guesses(about the mr/ms right) by friends.

unfortunately, it's not a very comfortable situation for the person whose future is being analysed at that very moment. not when perfect strangers are listening into your prospects of marriage or career advancement. but many don't seem to mind the attention. we are a very open country in these matters, afterall.

personally, what impressed me the most was the little dandiya-type of stick that the woman carries. pretty low-key as far as tools-of-the-trade go, but for some reason it seems to lend a touch of seriousness, i-mean-business kind of image to the woman. going by the response, should bejan daruwalla ever take his business into the beasant nagar beach, his future's gonna be in trouble!

the copy drinkers