Assessing yourself feels weird. You always felt you were bound to do something impactful and were meant for a greater purpose. But yes, reality is a female of the canine type(Me is a feminist and me avoids using such derogatory words directly).
Like I wanted to be an astronaut as a kid. Space had always fascinated me as a kid. I mean,stars were shiny and all. And the thought of jumping around on the moon excited me. I used to practise it on the sofa imagining I was on the moon’s gravity field. So my answer to Subramanian uncle’s “What do you want to do in life?” was to walk in space. Subramanian uncle smirked. I did not know why. (Unimportant information: Subramanian uncle secretly smoked and I caught him once)
But how hard could it be to walk on space? As an 8 year old, here is how I imagined my typical day as an astronaut would be like. The mother would probably wake me up screaming “Dei endhiri da(get up), it is 7.30 already”. My subconscious mind would know that the mother was actually lying and it actually was only 6.50 A.M. I would request for 5 more minutes and I would be off to sleep again. The mother would repeat the process 3 more times and after a request for a “last and final one minute”, I would wake up successfully at 7.30 A.M (this time the real 7.30 A.M).
After the mundane morning tasks, I would probably be searching for my astronaut suit. “Amma, astronaut suit enga? (Astronaut suit where?)”, I would probably be screaming. “Dei, wait da. I am still ironing it”, would be the mother’s reply. “Ma, you need not iron the suit. It is wrinkle free only”. Still, I get my suit ironed and I negate the effects of the ironing process while I wear it. I probably would be spending some 10 minutes searching for the glass helmet thing and my oxygen mask. Finally after finding it in my pile of clothes in the bedroom, I set off to catch my auto where my ISRO colleagues would be waiting.
But yes, the mother has to embarass me by chasing me down to the auto screaming “Dei, you forgot your lunch. I made some puliodharai(Tamarind rice) with vadams(Crunchy side dish), which you very well deserve for safeguarding them in the terrace from perilous crows”. “Ayyo, I don’t want lunch and all. I will eat at the canteen”, I say in despair and embarrassment while my colleagues sitting in the auto clad in astronaut suits smile at me. However, I am burdened with the lunch case and off I go to the auto and the driver Alagappan pulls the handle from below and takes off.
But this was not meant to be. Being an astronaut was not just about wearing ironed astronaut suits or taking Tamarind rice for lunch. It was a naive imagination that I had conjured up in my mind.There was a lot of physics and Maths involved. (a+b) ^2, S= UT + 1/2 at ^2 , F=MA , WTF = Amma *Ayyo and everything else. This was all too much man. So I gave up on the astronaut dreams. I decided to become Basha. I wanted to be a feared underworld don(with a really good heart and all), who had a wolf like Alsatian on his right, Janagaraj for comic relief standing behind me and some Singh who I picked from a random crowd, standing to my left, just as a symbol of unity in diversity. In a sad twist of fate, the poor Singh gets killed by my arch rival Mark Anthony.
But then as I grew up, I realized that this was not possible in real life. There was no way you could become a Basha. And even films slowly lost their charm. There was nothing new in films. Nothing worth seeing in movies. The same old poor boy loving a rich girl and the same evil village minor raping an innocent girl(depicted by a 3 second shot of a pumpset. Pumpsets have been more useful in depicting rapes by village minors than minor irrigation) .
When in doubt, go with the flow. And the only thing that was flowing here was Engineering. So yes, I went back to Maths and Physics. And I realized that in our world, every engineer has a place for herself/himself(feminist). There are great engineers who have a job, there are average engineers who have a job and there are useless engineers who have a job. And these useless folks are the ones who are absolutely useless. Even a condom can be used once, but not these folks. But yes, life goes on and here we are doing something or the other, filling up timesheets and making up graphs on MS Excel.
*Few decades later. At the place we go after death.
Attendant: Please hold on here sir. That queue is for the premium dead, the IITs, Stanfordians and the like. You have to wait 50 minutes before we open the gate for you.
Me: Ok. I will wait.
Attendant: Before you stand here waiting, please say “MurungakkaSambar Kosambari”. This is like a captcha text we use, to make sure you are not a bot.
It all started with a tweet. I made a proud announcement on twitter that revealed the good news to the world. “T200.1459265 Yayy. I’m going to get new chappals” . This was enough for the media to go overboard and sensationalise it. “B is getting new chappals soon” was the headline on a newspaper, which is generally eaten by ignoramus goats and donkeys. One news channel accused my soon to be chappal to be a reincarnation of Gadaffi. However the knowledgable newspaper, which only intelligent goats and donkeys consume, did not print any news on this. It is worth noting that knowledgable donkeys and goats look at the ignoramus newspaper eaters with sheer contempt.
As the day of purchase was around the corner, the media was gracious enough to grant me privacy when I walk into the chappal showroom. I thanked the media with the tweet “T256432π/27 thank you media for the sweet gesture”. The D-day finally arrived. I went into the showroom and got my chappal. It was a beautiful white Hawai angel. The chappal tweeted “T1 stepping into the world. Pun intended”. I finally took the chappal to my home “Jilpa”
The chappal had no name yet. We were just calling it Bata B. And so was the media. A few days later the Internet was flooded with pictures of Bata B. All of them fake. Bata B had no heels and was not pink. I clarified it with my tweet “T4/3πr^3 please don’t fall for the fake pictures on the Internet . Bata B ain’t got no heels”. Meanwhile my house was flooded with visitors of Bata B. Notably a famous cricketer came by Jilpa. I told him that I got Bata B for 99.99 bucks and winked at him. He was visibly embarrassed for some reason. I have no idea why.
The Internet was not content with this. There was a dailymotion video of Bata B, again fake. My nephew watched the video and some other video of Sonali Bendre forgetting to wear clothing essentials at a party. He, however later clarified that his account was hacked, apparently by a sparrow which flew into his home through the window, attacked him and chained him to the almirah, logged into his Facebook account by clicking on “Forgot password” and later hacking his gmail account. The sparrow then comfortably sat on the recliner and watched the Sonali Bendre video. The nephew also clarified that the only form of dailymotion he is involved in happens in the morning. Sigh, things sparrows do to watch porn.
The subsequent week, there was another rumour regarding Bata B’s name . A famous novelist lauded me for naming it “Baken” , short and combined form of “bathroom and kitchen chappal”. I later clarified that it was a rumour . Another newspaper said that I named it cgFbds8. I clarified tweeting that it was insensitive to name a chappal with captcha text. This was offensive to chappals and Bata b was offended.
“Te^iπ=-1 So there we go, Bata B is still Bata B and we still have no name”
-With additional ideas from @Saffrontrail and @Madraslover
When I saw inception, the first thing that came to my mind was “Poda. This and all one movie eh”. I mean, a dream within a dream within a dream. Stupidly frivolous stuff. This was when I decided to write my own script for DiCaprio. So here we go.
The first thing that the audience gets to see on screen is Dacaprio’s name coming out of the water, in all watery font and stuff alright. His name shakes off a few fish that gets stuck to the edges of the font and comes out in 3D, from back to front, you know what I mean, with the whoosh music. The screen reads All India Engineering Entrance Exam Superstar DiCaprio. This shrinks to AIEEE star DiCaprio.
The movie opens at the market outside some temple in LA. Few rowdys walk around the market demanding commission from the poor people working in shops and restaurants there. As luck would have it, one of the Subway counter men is terribly poor(unshaven beard, torn clothes) and is unable to pay the monthly due. One of the goons lifts his hands and goes to slap the old man when DiCaprio’s dupe jumps from somewhere. Our camera slyly shows a back shot of DiCaprio’s dupe jumping in the air. The dupe lands on one of the goon’s shoulders. 5 goons fall scattered due to the impact. DiCaprio(not the dupe) goes to meet each goon individually and imparts deadly blows on each goon so that each of them lands up on a vegetable cart filled with tomatoes. We shoot this all grandly, even making one goon fall on an onion cart(big budget film ours)
Now we have a crackling song. The market item girl, who has been waiting all the while for such an opportunity shows up. DiCaprio wears a head-band and dances to a peppy folk song with the item girl. The poor people who owned Vegetable carts, despite the loss of their livelihood, dance in the second row to the song. The injured goons dance in the third row(Resource optimization).
Its filled with awesome lyrics and stuff. Leo sings “I am the power. I can write AIEEE and get into IIT”. He also imparts social message for no reason at all i.e “File your IT returns on time. Tax Tax Tax, Kadri plays the sax.” . He even takes a potshot at Matt Daemon with a cleverly insinuating line “I ll slay the demons”. He finishes off the song with the deadly line, “If I kick you, you ll land up on the moon. There will be no conspiracy theory on that”.
So a bunch of goons(a different bunch) eve-tease the heroine(Megam fox) at a bus stop. One of the goons,sitting on the pillion of a bike, pull off the duppata she was using to cover her neck. The hero sees this from behind and runs as fast as the bike, in fact overtaking it and jumps(dupe) and kicks everybody. He kicks other goons present in the area and immediately runs to the VISA office for a romantic duet, coz he just saved the heroine’s honor.
The homely Megam fox, is now transformed into a hot girl, coz its a song and you can do anything in it. DiCaprio and Megam dance in Italy, with the lyrics highlighting their future family life, their kids and life in general. This time, we don’t take the goons for dancing along. Now, we show the couple doing ‘kasamusa’ on the leaning tower of Pisa. Well, the script demands it and it will be shot aesthetically and stuff(Heh. That’s how you convince heroines. *Wink). So effectively, the hero saved the heroine’s honor before the song and stole the honor during the song.
Other trivial plot points
By the way, I forgot to tell you that the DiCaprio is a mechanic. But he wears Emporio Armani. Their house in LA has no cooking gas. His widowed mother(Julia Roberts) blows wind through a pipe to ignite the wood for the cooking fire. Their 1BHK home has a wall with a framed picture of their father (Murugan Freeman). During sentimental scenes, we pan the camera to this picture of Murugan Freeman smiling and Julia amma crying.
The villain Jack Torrance is Megam’s father. I mean, the guy is a hardcore, kick-ass villian. You know that, coz the guy has a dead bull’s head hung on the walls and we hear hyenas howling in the background when we show his face. And you know what, don’t get shocked and all ok, he turns out to be the guy who killed DiCaprio’s dad, for property or something. Freaking awesome right. Yeah. It all comes out from amma Julia’s mouth when she reveals the truth about the dad(camera pans to Murugan Freeman’s smiling photo).
Now it all boils to the climax. Wait, I sense that you are questioning the details of the plot. Here is where I slyly divert your attention with another item song set in a bar. With all people drinking alcohol and smoking. Ok, the climax is now set at the traditional godown.
Julia is tied with her hands in the namaste shape on top of her head. She is clad in white saree with holy ash on her forehead and violet lipstick on her lips. The villian has abducted her to this place. The hero reaches the godown wearing shoes that have a welding rod attached to them. I mean, he walks with sparks coming all around from his shoes. He kicks people with it, thrases goons one by one, dodges some 2000 bullets and finally shows a mirror to one of the bullets shot by Jack Torrance. The bullet reflects off the mirror’s surface and hits Jack back on his chest. Irrespective of the fact that her father was killed, the heroine goes and hugs DiCaprio. Julia is released. All ends well. The police come arrive after the audience walks out of the cinema hall.
P.S: After the shoot, I make DiCaprio walk on my broken almirah and weld it back with his welding shoes.
Ram - Calm, composed guy. Teetotaler(Except when he tasted Vodka once out of peer pressure). One woman man.
Laxman - Hyper enthu guy. Too much respect for his brother. Wannabe hip-hop guy. His Facebook account reads his first name as “Laky” and last name as “Back with a bang”. However “Back with a bang” is definitely not his father’s name.
—————Forest cottage in Ayodhya , evening time
A livid Ram walks about the corridor of his forest cottage.
Ram: Man, How did this even happen? You said you had installed a firewall. What happened, did some windows update screw up something?
Laky : I’m not sure. Let me check the log. Well, she seems to have clicked some kind of malicious link.
Ram: What kind of link?
Laky : 3D deer screensavers. The firewall got broken and the door got opened. Somebody must have abducted her then.
Ram: 3d deer…I mean, how old is she, 8? Who clicks on spam these days?
Laky: Hey, thats the bhabhi you are talking about. Keep it chill bro.
Ram: Any leads on who could have done this?
Laky : I’m not sure bro.
Ram keeps thinking and walking about. He sits back and looks at his MAC running AyodhyaOS. He browses through Sita’s Facebook profile. Somebody had recently tagged her on their Friendship calendar. She had also liked a page “I hate those who don’t hate the I hate Ram” page.
No significant progress seemed to happen as hours seemed to progress. Laky was reinstalling windows on his other laptop as there was an issue with the boot sector. Suddenly the beep of an SMS emanated from Ram’s blackberry. It was from ICICAyodhya bank. It read “A credit card purchase of 24,276 has been made from your card. Offer, now housing loan limit increased for salary account holders”.
Ram: Hey, Looks like my credit card is with Sita and there has been a transaction made.
Laky : Let me check the statement. Hold on. It says the debit was made from Lanka jewelers.
Ram: where is that? Must be at Ranganathan street.
Laky : No. Its in Sri Lanka actually.
Ram: Oh. Must be the notorious Raavan who abducted her. Google Raavan right-away.
*Lakshman googles Raavan
Laky: This is his twitter profile.
Sri LankaRuler|Veena player|Veda reader|Blogger|DSLR Photographer|Private jet owner|I steal hearts and other people’s wives
Load more tweets…
Ram: Hmmm. This must be the guy. The unscrupulous rat. Let’s kick-off some action from our end. Where is the monkey? Why don’t we send the monkey across to Lanka for negotation?
Laky: hey bro. That’s racist.
Ram: What’s racist?
Laky: Calling anybody a monkey is racist. I have seen it bro. They might ban you for like 4 test matches bro. (makes weird hand gesture showing the number 4)
Ram: That is racist?
Laky: Totally bro. Yeah. You can’t call anybody a donkey too. Thats racist too.
Ram: Can I call a donkey a donkey?
Laky: No no. That’s racist too.
Ram: Anyway, let us head-off to Lanka. Quick. Get the travel arrangements done.
Laky: How about we go down the road to the southern tip and construct a bridge from there? Huh, wont that be cool? Like an awesome roadtrip.
Ram(in a growling tone) : What is wrong with you? Just go to makemytrip.
Laky: Yeah. sure sure. Calm down(mumbles “Nobody wants to do the cool stuff”)
Ram: By the way, have you seen my adidas sneakers?
Laky: Yeah. forgot to tell you about that. Bharath wanted it as a souvenir in remembrance of you. But I just guess he was just stingy to buy his own gym shoes.
****At the International terminal
Laky: I wonder what his full name is. Must be something like UDRS.Raavan or DPDMP.Raavan.
Ram(gestures Laky to stop talking): I see something.
At a distance Ram sees a ten headed man wearing ten caps of the cricket teams walking down the terminal. Ram goes delirious with excitement. Laky stands up frantically. Both Ram and Laxman run towards the ten headed man.
Raavan: Before you hit me or something, I am really sorry. You don’t want to trouble a bankrupt man further.
Ram(in a threatening Hollywood hero tone, fists clenched) : What do you mean? Where is my wife?
Raavan: I mean your wife just drove me crazy man. I gave her my credit card and she just blew it up. She purchased so much jewellery that the card statement is the size of a 9 yards silk saree. Now I am so screwed and bankrupt.
Ram does not respond. He just stands calm, fists clenched.
Raavan: I mean my palace is still on EMI man. And I’m just a king. No onsite and stuff for me. I have already gone through so much in life. People have been making fun of my ten heads for long. Kids used to call me base 10 in college. Do you know how much I spend on shampoo and hair-dye? Insane man. And I get ripped off with flight tickets with their ‘per head cost’ rule. Abducting your wife was a mistake. Please forget and forgive this as if it were a bad windows bug where you click ‘dont send error report’. Your wife is waiting in the visitors room. Now if you will excuse me, I will depart.
Ram pats Raavan on his shoulder. Raavan shakes hand with Ram. Laky does a rap star like hi-five with Ram and Raavan walks off from the place.
Our Indian 2-wheeler driving test is pretty much ridiculous. A simplistic 8 offers you no harbinger of the things you get to face on an Indian road, or rather the lack of it. Let me brief you on what you get to see generally on Indian roads.
While most people talk of the emerging upper middle class and their tremendous progress, most of us forget to talk about the Thuppar class. The Thuppar class are the folks who as mandated by tradition occupy window seats in buses and lubricate us when we wait at signals. Thuppars have no qualms and spit it out with one giant inexorable force, with a ‘Khaaa thooo’ noise brimming out from their lungs and saliva spouting out, following an impeccable trajectory of a surface to surface missile.
Traditional Indian spit consists of the following
1. Alchohol (C2H5OH) + Fermented pickle
2. Hans Pan masala - the unifying factor between North India and South India (P.S :Apparently this is not the same as Hans Raj Hans)
3. Masala Vada/Vada Pav remains (depending on the Thuppar’s geography)
4. Other biological weapons of Moist destruction (BWMD)
He is no ordinary man who spits out saliva. He is Thupparman, the Indian super hero, who with his spitting super powers litters the earth and dirties clothes of innocent people waiting on their bikes at traffic signals and does nothing to save the earth.
Escaping from their generous shower of ‘khaaa thoos’ while waiting at the signal should be task number one in your driving test. I generally fear cab drivers who open the door suddenly on the road to spit out.
As you drive through India, you realize the necessity to hone your observational skill to lookout for anything on the road. Broken pumpkins on the road are revered stuff which cannot be driven on. Learn to anticipate them. If you can pick up the one rupee buried in them while driving, its a plus. Driving over them or religious rangolis is a strict no.
Reverence to God is also paramount, even when you are driving. In case you spot a Ganesha temple whilst driving, make sure you can deftly remove your boots and pray with both hands. People capable of this generally perform in the parade in other countries.
Peer pressure and other obstacles
Learn to handle road rage. Free your mind of guilt. For instance, you can crash into a car, point your hand at him in a scornful manner and transfer guilt across to him thereby absolving your guilt. As per our tradition, you are just transferring Karma or Kurma or something like that.
Learn to understand auto drivers. Anticipate bus stops where auto drivers may apply the brake suddenly. Other challenges you need to undergo are leaking Garbage trucks where you are required to hold your breath for a prolonged duration . This form of breathing technique is called “Pranam Pogudu Yama”. Also, Remember to ignore romantic stray dogs.
Last but not the least, learn to escape from the malicious folks in uniform popularly known in Chennai as Mamas(not to be confused with Chinese appetizer Momos).
P.S: If you are a celebrity, you can ignore traffic laws and run over people. And also shoot blackbucks.
As I dumped my FIITJEE books to scrap, I noticed a few termites walking out of them. They seemed to appear knowledgeable and pedantic having consumed papers from IIT math, physics and chemistry books and were strutting out of the books with aplomb. As I saw this, it brought memories of my own IIT preparation.
*Tortoise coil rotation
Parents in India are liberal about their career choices. For instance, every child in south India can “BE what they want to BE. As long as they are BEing”. Every kid has the right to become whatever software engineer he/she wants to be. IIT coaching starts generally from the 9th standard in India. Nowadays it starts earlier, during the child’s conception in some cases. “Are IITians pistas?”, you might ask. Ask a parent this and they would tell you that they are in fact pistas, badams, cashews and other dry fruits that exist(Though they are bad when it comes to dates).
IIT coaching centers are an organized crime in our country where gross violation of human rights take place. And yes, there are coaching centers to provide coaching for the entrance exams conducted by the popular coaching centers. IIT materials are ubiquitous in our country. An average IIT book’s weight equals that of a baby chimp. If education is not your primary concern, they could be used as effective assault weapons inflicting mass destruction, stool height adjusters, pillows or house construction material.
It takes atleast two years of rigorous labor to become an IITian. Shut your kid up in a room with no external disturbances whatsoever. Water can be provided through a pump that pushes steam through a tube that reaches out to your child’s room. Provide liquefied food via another tube so that your child can open the nozzle and consume it whenever he wants to. If possible chain your kid though it is not mandatory.
After two years of rigorous imprisonment, the change is evident. Don’t bother about the occasional grumpy dial-up modem like noises.
*Forgive the bad imagery. Lazy to download pirated photoshop.
I pretty much went through the same routine. I enrolled in FIITJEE, though I was UNFITJEE. I enrolled in Brilliant tutorials and the only thing I liked there were the podi dosas you get outside the center. For somebody like me who used to read ethyl alchol as “chatri chattu oh(CH3 CH2 OH)”, IIT preparation was hell. And when the D-day arrived I was as prepared as Debashish Monanty ready to take on Sanath Jayasuriya in prime form. I marked the OMR sheet in such a way that connecting them gave a nicely formed Rangoli shape. However, I did not come out in flying colors and was screened out. The kids good in pulley problems made it to IITs, kids proficient in pulling plaits of girls made it to arts courses while useless folks like me chose engineering in relatively lowbrow colleges.
However I performed reasonably well in 57 other entrance tests and was ready to pick an engineering course based on a poll among my relatives. Most relatives wanted me to take up Electronics and Communications as it offered a choice of working in Electronics, Communications, the IT field or pole dancing. I was not keen on pole dancing and hence took up computer science.
My advice to young kids is to work very hard on their studies. Education is the key, to get a good bride and a nice dowry. As per the latest survey conducted by an obscure American company, the following are ranked as the most vied upon people in the marriage market.
1. IIT + IIM (book authoring a bonus)
3. Civil services
4. MS grad/Onsite engineer(US,UK, Singapore mainly)
6. Local software engineers, electrician, plumber, lineman
So study hard. Hulkeshwar hungry. Hulkeshwar go now.
*Tortoise coil rotates.
P.S : My termites are writing IIT next year. Sure shot they are getting into IIT Kharagpur. I am telling you.
The moment your paunch is in the nascent stage, people starting reacting differently to you. The ‘end of conversation hi-fives’ are replaced with punches to your stomach(Some people punch with a “Dish Dish Bush Bush” bgm). This is when you realize your inchoate paunch is in a precarious position, enclosed in a dangerous world, filled with Mike Tysons who have a desire to punch your stomach(without the ear biting propensity). Anyway, the formation of the paunch(thoppai in Tamil and probably Hoppai in Kannada) is cue to begin your exercise regime.
Enrolling in a gym is the next thing most of us do. I naively paid for a 1 year scheme like an guileless non-techie uncle getting himself an “unlimited broadband upto 2GB” connection. I was given a trainer who would oversee my progress(the lack of it rather) over the next year. The last thing that a malingerer like me wanted was a strict trainer inflicting physical strain on me.
The gym was a weird sight at first. There was so much steel lying around, worth blocking a giant road and citing “Metro rail construction. Please copulate” in Indian signboard language. Apparently every workout at the gym starts with a stretching machine that has a handle in the shape of an 8. You need to insert your hands and legs into the ‘8’ in different combinations and get yourself stretched. I unswervingly forgot the sequence every-time I tried that. And yes, “Find the number of ways you could entangle yourself in that stretching machine” could be a worthy AIEEE problem. In case you are stuck and entangled in the machine, there is a way to lift the manual with your leg that guides you to disentangle yourself.
The next thing that I had to do was cycling. Except that the cycle was a stationary object, defeating the entire purpose of the wheel. Probably they did not want to re-invent the wheel, so they purged it. You keep cycling, nothing happens, only a digital meter responds with a beep. As you keep repeating that for the next half hour or so, you start questioning the entire purpose of it. Probably they could attach some sort of purpose to it, like the cycle could lead down a path to Koyembedu market where we could get some vegetables for the day and return back with a packet of milk.Gives you a sense of gratification atleast.
And then the trainer asked me to run on a treadmill. He asked me to run on a steep plane which kept pushing me off it. I felt like being stuck on badly written recursive code and I was about to throw up as a result of overflow. The trainer stopped the machine and gave me two minutes to breathe.
Your exercise in a gym is kept count of in sets. The trainer mentioned that a set was 20 repetitions and was variable too. This was probably the gym’s own version of set language, the only thing slightly involving a slight use of the brain at the place. However there are no Venn diagrams(that the trainer is a Vennai is a different thing).
And then came the pushups. The trainer, in a gross violation of human rights, wanted me to do 2 sets of it. So far, the only two sets that I could easily complete were 2 sets of Puris. The pushup experience was the closest I came to being coerced for information. As I subjected myself to the harrowing experience of lifting myself from the ground, the trainer kept himself busy adjusting the angle of my spine, my legs and my hands, in what seemed like an attempt to disprove Pythagoras theorem.
After this, I spent the last few minutes lifting unnecessary weights for sometime and keeping them back in the tray. Again, I do not understand why. Finally, I signed the timesheet, the sign of bloody corporate invasion into every stream of life, and ran off . From then on, very cleverly I have been escaping gym sessions and deceiving them. Now all they have is my money.
I decided to try out Yoga next. However I am not quite sure if I could stand upside down and touch my forehead with my own toes.
P.S: I presume this post is offensive to gym equipment. Sorry ok.
“Is it a bird? Is it a plane?” is what your mind questions as the Chennai auto whizzes past you transgressing any form of existing traffic norms in the world. “Kaide (chennai tamil for donkey), its my auto da” would be his response had he heard your question from the renowned Superman franchise. Adorned with a khakhi shirt that goes over a purple t-shirt with the image of a playboy bunny, he smiles around displaying teeth gleaming with tobacco. When you land up at Chennai, you can’t help but ignore the ubiquitous autos here.
Enterprising, dynamic and audacious, the auto driver is the first thing you see when you set foot outside the Central station in Chennai. The Railway station is a good hunting ground for him, especially early in the day. A bunch of passengers desperate to attend nature’s call, thanks to Indian train toilet hygiene standards, form easy prey for him. The more desperate a passenger, lesser the time for him to bargain. He advances towards you saying “Nee vaa sir, namma polam”. Use of “Nee” and “Sir” in the same sentence makes it sound oxymoronic if you are not used to Chennai talk. He grabs your suitcase and paces to his auto while you chase him internally fretting about the safety of your iPod touch in the suitcase.
Until you reach the auto, you are completely ignorant of the charges and stipulation of the transaction. The driver is unaware of the destination too. When you reach his territory amidst other auto drivers is where the negotiation begins. You are now a gazelle isolated from the herd. “Enga sir”, he starts off in a tone of authority. When you tell him the destination, he nods his head and parks himself on the driver’s seat. You are bemused at his response, or rather the lack of it. You need to put forth one more question on the cost. “300 sir”, he replies in a casual tone. In all likelihood, he quotes an amount that nearly equals 100% of your train fare. Here is where the haggling begins(*subject to nature’s call for morning passengers. PleaseReadTheOfferDocumentCarefullyBeforeInvesting).
As you discuss the rate, other auto drivers gather along to witness the deal. As any helpless customer would do, you would quote an amount that is half of what he quoted. They all smirk at the supposedly irrational amount that you have quoted. Their ganging up makes you feel like a lone creationist stuck with a thin chance of winning an argument amidst evolutionists. But yes, don’t lose hope and get deterred by all the contempt you have to resist.
Every auto driver uses the “One way factor” to justify the amount. The Chennai auto driver theorem states that any two points in the city have at-least one “one way” en route. If he were in control of a space vehicle, his trip to Mars from Earth would encompass a long U-turn along Saturn’s rings. The driver then avers several obscure economic facts on inflation, GDP and oil price to substantiate his quoted price’s validity. Finally the transaction ends at a price that is 80% of the driver’s initial quote.
You are happy to arrive at a discounted price. He is happy to have taken you for a ride without even starting the 3 wheeled miracle. As you enter the auto, you notice his windshield covered by the photo of an actor on the left, the name of a movie on the right, a deity’s name at the top and his children’s names in marquee, effectively giving him a viewing area of a keyhole. He pulls off a lever from nowhere and the auto coughs in response. Most of the autos make a noise akin to a hysterical Amrish Puri.
He whizzes past Mount road, Spencers and LIC building committing all possible transgressions along the way. He takes on everybody. Overtaking buses from the left, driving zig zag in tandem with bikes, driving in parallel with other autos talking to his friends, taking a moment to spin Paan, dodging signals(all of them) and what not. No one but the Chennai auto driver can reproach others in spite of the mistake being his. In short, he is corporate material. You also notice the meter which exists for display purposes. I somehow feel that a meter visually completes the auto. Probably auto meters would make good decorative wedding gifts replacing cutlery and wall clocks. (History states that meters were occasionally used in certain autos, some of them thermodynamically charged to run faster than the auto itself)
The auto driver has no qualms on anything . He just zooms past you with his vehicle in his typical obstinate self. His rates may be exorbitant. But we all like to be paid more, dont we? He may be impolite and rude. But that is him. Talk to him, and he speaks of how Chennai has changed around in the years, his opinion of how IT has ruined the city, Rajnikanth and politics.His opinions on things around him are artless, unlike many of us who don’t have one.
All said and done, nothing beats a window seat ride in an auto. And as for the auto driver, he is by far the super king on Chennai roads.
One family. One child. <Insert inverted red triangle>
When Manmohan Singh opened up the economy, little did he know the ramifications of it. Yes, we have great plasma TVs, IT jobs and foreign cheerleaders in our tournaments and calendars. But it has brought in some side effects as well. As I browse through my Facebook feed through various tinted photographs of poor people and crows making out on a high tension power line, it only compounds my irritation.
Apparently anyone can now own a DSLR without knowing what it expands to. The moment you get one, you update your Facebook status with technical specifications of your camera that serves as a harbinger to us. Then you have two passive Facebook users(Their role in online social life ends with the like button) to like it. I think they are like assassins. You can hire them and get them to like stuff on a temporary basis. An innocent girl falls for the bait and comments “Wow”. A hound of wolves go and like her comment, which tallies to a higher rational number than the likes for your original post, thereby embarrassing you. I mean, why this hoopla? Aren’t bloggers like me shamelessly publicizing blogposts on Facebook enough for humanity?
When you get your DSLR, do you start looking at everything as a prospective photograph. Poor people are now the target of your black and white pics. Suddenly old senile men clad in loin cloth are of value to you. A wrecked car becomes an object of art. I mean, how suddenly?
You categorize stuff into different senseless albums. Stray dogs come under the category of wildlife. Why man, why?Do they live in the forest? Are they endangered? I really don’t think so. They chase me all around the housing colony, as I ride my bike with my legs near the handle bar out of fear, when I return home after 11 pm. Your cycle bell is shot in high resolution and uploaded into “random pics”.”Random pics”, the worst ever name, not just for an album. If you hate your child, you should name him “random pics”.
Doors, windows, bullet enfields and light switches go under the category of classic pictures. Who certified it as classic dear? The Academy awards jury?Sigh, self-proclamation. And yes, find new names. “What I see”, “Brilliant shots from my eye” and “Shots through my lens” are trite names for an album. Just like fatuous names like “Virtualjunk” for a blog.
You know what I dread the most? When you walk alone and call it a photowalk. Apparently it is exactly like your normal walk, except for the fact that you annoy other people with your camera during your walk, thereby intruding their privacy. You shoot pictures of mango sellers, beach, shops, and everything you find. Then you post process it and make it look pretentious. And then you put your logo along with a copyright image. Yeah, because P.C.Sreeram is looking to sneak away your photos and plagiarize it in his next movie. Some of the folks even put “Rights reserved” at the footer of the image. I wonder what rights you have reserved for yourself. I will plagiarize it and see how you effectively sue me in Mumbai high court. It is tiring to see “Ram photography” , “Shyam photography” or “Soorpanaka photography” as image footers.
You don’t stop with that, do you? You have to bestow your photography tips on us. When we common men click photos with our “point and shoot” cameras, you go all over our pictures and say “This should have been shot in Macro mode” , “That should have been shot at this exposure”. Ok, I know you understand the nuances of photography. However all I want is just to click a button and get a picture. From now on, your shooting tips will be met with shooting, from a gun.
End of rant.
P.S: Not intended to be derisive.Just an ironical perspective on photographer idiosyncrasies. No need to outrage.