Archive for the ‘Quirky’ Category

Welcome to Haystack Apts!

She was dialing the number for the nth time – and for the nth time, she received the same response. ‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa

Wait! Where are you taking me? Leave me alone. I want to be left alone – No, I don’t want to go anywhere; I am fine here; Leave me alone…leave me…

She: Why the hell doesn’t he purchase a cellphone? It would be easier to reach him. I am sick and tired of this music and this standard message. Let me try once again!
‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa

Why have you put me in this dark room? I cannot see a thing here. Why am I here? This place looks so eerie and scary. Take me out of here! Somebody out there??? Savee meee!!

She: Let me get hold of this guy this time, am going to tear his brains out – I am tired of listening to this music all the time – are the operators in their bloody evening siesta? Why the hell doesn’t someone pick up the phone?
Let me try one last time –
‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa
She: Aaarrgghhh!!

No food, no water – how am I supposed to live! Oh God! What kind of predicament is this? Why have I ended up in this situation? This is close to hell – no, someone, someone please get me out of this situation…someone out there?!!

She: I am getting more frustrated. What is wrong with the apartment folks and…and…why is he put up in this apartment?? Couldn’t he find a better apartment or even better, why doesn’t he buy a cellphone for himself? Beats me.
It’s been quite some time since I spoke to him. Let me try one last last time!
‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa

Wait! Where are you taking me again? Why am I made to sit in front of a tank of water? Nooo…blurp blurp blurp…I can’t breathe!! blurp blurp blurp…what are you guys doing to me? blurp blurp blurp…what do you want? Why are your torturing me like this? Noo….blurp blurp blurp…I am going to die this time…ahh…blurp blurp blurp…

She: This one last time – and I am gonna commit a murder – Operator or him – First come, first serve basis!

‘Welcome to Haystack Apts. We appreciate your patience, please hold on till the operator comes online’ and the irritating music…ta daa tadaaa taddaadaaaa
Operator: Thanks for holding. Your request ma’am?
She: Room No. 404, K please!

Phone rings! K jumps out of his bed and sleep!!

K: Uh darling! I just went through a nightmare without hearing you all these days! Thank god you called.
She: But K! it’s been only a week since we spoke!
K: Well, a week is long time – a very long time for me sweetheart!
She: You know what K, you are such a damn fool!
K: :-*
She: :-*

The Depravity of Orkut

I was shocked the other day when my 14 year old cousin scrapped me – ‘Wassup?’ on Orkut. Firstly, I didn’t have a clue that he was on Orkut. Secondly, what was this ‘wassup?’ language? Have school kids forgotten the good old English language? An age where we lamented the death of letter–writing with the advent of email seems to have passed us by long ago. We probably have to start lamenting about the death of email and advent of scraps in our life! When did I last receive a personal email from one of my friends or relatives? (Oh no! I am not talking about mass mailing). It was quite a while, actually. What I receive in plenty nowadays are scraps. I reply to their scrap by email and they scrap me back with a reply – what do I call such people – pea-brained cretins??

Orkut, I am told, is only a tiny fraction of the social networking market (MySpace and Facebook being the leading monsters in this space). With every passing day, I get numerous requests to join hundred other social networking websites. LinkedIn, Jaxtr etc etc. Mass marketing + Social networking seems to be a great idea, oh yes! Brilliant idea – but stop SPAMMING me with your wretched and pitiable mass mailing ideas.

My intentions might be mistaken here. I am all for social networking sites – the logical output of what Internet was meant to be. All that ‘old friends’ meet’, ‘accidentally met long-lost teachers’, ‘met my soulmate’, ‘made great friends of friends’ friends’ – I completely agree with all that. There are some times when such good talk has to be said and there are others when all this crap has to be shunted out into a black hole! Being politically correct might demand saying ‘Orkut has its own advantages and disadvantages – sifting out the good from bad is what is required’, ‘There are so many communities on Orkut that would help improve the quality of life’ – but being politically correct is not correct at all, it is just a farce. And community improving quality of life? – are we talking of ‘I love Himesh Reshammiya’ community here?

We live in times where opening a browser entails two simultaneous things – opening up a social networking site in one tab and email in another. ‘Addiction’ is a strong word to use – but I would go a step further – being active on Orkut seems more like a religion nowadays – I guess actual religion gets lesser amount of attention and time than Orkut. Status on the Internet is not about money nowadays – it is more to do with the most number of scraps, most number of communities, videos, number of friends and testimonials. Gathering these have become close-to-maniac activity (and with these testimonials – even more funny – I scratch your back, you scratch mine) – A sense of pure play exhibitionism constipating delusional grandeur!!! As Orkut progresses further, we have hacks (which let anyone with a certain script scrap everyone in their friend list – and yes, customized with the friends’ name too) – script in itself being very simple (simple because a non-computer buff like me could understand it – and could have customized it if I wanted to) – I wonder what advanced hacks would do in a few months!!

Having said this, there is a funny side to Orkut too – funny because the very people who were the lifeline of Orkut have made this possible and the variations in this category border on infinity. The testosterone pumping males – absolute strangers – scrapping females (irrespective of whether the female’s profile pic is visible or not – when guys pump something, all they need – is a name) of the strangest scraps possible with the worst spellings even the illiterate would be ashamed of. Some samples –

Hi…I am lukin for good fraanship with you. Will you be frands with me?

(What did they expect? A wholehearted yes of being frands…err..friends?)

Hello! I am Amit Sharma.

(What response does this guy expect from the girl? Oh..you had me at Hello!??? (a.k.a Jerry Maguire??)

u r so butiful. I wanna make freindship with you.

(You have already made your intentions clear, you fool! And what’s with that subtle misspelling of friendship? Orkut provides you with a online spell-checker nowadays, you know!)

Hi!

(I like this guy. Very succinct and to the point. Intentions very clear – simplicity is the best policy. The girl is most likely to ask ‘Who in the world taught you communication skills?’ rather than doubting his intentions)

One interesting answer I heard from one of my friends (very logical indeed on hindsight!) with regards to communities he had signed up for on Orkut (he had signed up for I love Linkin Park, Bertrand Russell’s fans, Online Chess forums, Business Quiz forum, Hindi Melodies from the ‘70s, etc., etc., counting to around 20). On questioning him with respect to a newfound interest in absolutely alien topics like these, he replied ‘Dude, nowadays, girls search on Orkut first before they talk to you. So better get the profile straight – scraps, videos, rigged testimonials and fake communities. That way, you have made a perfect first impression – needless to say, first impression is always the best impression’!! I couldn’t agree more and I sadly gape at the power Orkut wields over the population aged 6-60!!

P.S –

1) Thankfully, Orkut has brought in certain security features very recently where you can lock scrapbooks, photographs and videos to be visible only to a few select friends. Previously, your online life was out in the open to the entire world (barring a few, who religiously deleted all their scraps regularly)

2) And people –  I believe scrapping gives you different varieties of vicarious pleasure, but please – for Internet’s sake – Email me!!!

Update: This article was published in Desicritics.org. Link here

Anti-thesis!

Note: Couple of short stories with no relation between them!

They were sitting facing each other.

It was a month before this moment that they spoke to each other for the first time. He in Mumbai, and She in Chennai. He was an industrialist, a multi-millionaire and single. He was on Yahoo chat that day, a rather unusual one so to say and he met this girl. They started talking on the first day, flirting from the second and third day they decided that they were perfectly suited for each other. From that moment onwards, they were on phone almost all day and night, and longing to meet each other. They decided to get married but before that found it suitable that their parents’ should meet each other.

Their parents decided to meet each other along with their respective kids. The boy and girl were sitting facing each other. They exchanged furtive glances, smiles and winks. They looked so much in love; both eager to embrace the other in their arms. The entire atmosphere, it seemed to them was filled with happiness and only both of them existed in the world. The parents had talked all day and then decided that the boy and the girl should be left alone to talk on a personal basis.

Boy: I was waiting for this moment all month long. Finally it happened. How are you feeling sweetheart?

Girl (drawing out a gun): Agent Malini Ramani, Mr. Ratan Shukhla you are under arrest in connection with the 2006 Mumbai blasts case!!

It was a romantic day.

I was alone at home, parents off to some relative’s daughter’s marriage. It was cloudy, about to rain any moment. Slightly windy and chilly. Romance was in the air. Ah! I thought…I wish someone was with me at that very moment…but then I let it pass. I had some household chores to do – finished the same and proceeded to have my bath. Just then, there was a knock on the door. I wondered who? Parents’ would not be back home so soon and noone was expected today. Who could it be? With all my curiosity, I slowly opened the door.

There she was. Wind blowing across her long, smooth hair. She adjusts the hair all over her face onto a plait at the back. It would seem to anyone who looked at her, that she looked as fresh as jasmine – freshly bathed with little makeup that you would hardly notice but would not go unnoticed. Her beautiful blue saree fit wonderfully on her slim frame. She smiled – and how else would you describe a perfect smile? She stared at me. I stared at her. She smiled. I smiled.

She asked “Ammmmaaaa hai ghar pe????”.

My kaamwaali bai had come.

Marriage and its Audience!

One of my acquaintances recently commented ‘When people are happy in life, they have a tendency to ruin it. They do things like getting married.’ I have nothing against marriage though (I am still waiting for a man married for a long time to comment thus :)). It is a wonderful institution of two people promising themselves to live to-gether and blah and blah. Anyways, I do not have a problem with people getting married as long as people don’t expect me to show up with precious gifts and lots of blessings. Blessings, I guess I can, but gifts….hmmm!! During my time in Mumbai, I had friends inviting me for weddings – the wedding card explicitly mentioned ‘Gifts are not entertained. The only gift you give in my marriage is your blessing’. We all know what that means (For the uninitiated, the guards at the Security gate would ensure that you would not enter the marriage hall unless you have a gift in your hand).

That is only the first step. The second is the most dangerous one – Relatives!! Again, these are not close relative, they are far-off relatives and their probing questions. At one point of time, I was made to meet my grandfather’s brother’s second cousin’s son..whoaa!! More so, they interview me as if I am there not to attend a marriage but an UPS interview. I positively think that the latter interview is much more easier to clear than the former. Why, What, When, How of everything and anything. An example conversation I had with one of my far-off relatives at a marriage a year ago –

R – So, what do you do?
Me – I work in the **** **** in Mumbai
R – what is your educational qualification?
Me – I quote mine.
R – For that, you work at **** ****. My son with similar qualifications is working for Deloitte Consulting.
R – Anyways, how much do you earn (the dreaded question?)
Me – I avert the question – ‘Quality of work is more important than how much you earn’ and other management gyaan..people typically quote when they are earning below poverty line salaries.
R – (By now, she has decided that I was good for nothing) So, any girlfriends? I am sure you have one. When you are in a place like Mumbai, you are bound to have one. That is the reason, my son works only in Hyderabad.
Me – Whoaaa!!! I have many aunty. The list would take ages to complete (all this, with a clear wink of course). Anyways, I admire your son working in Hyderabad just not to have girlfriends.
R – (feeling proud) Yes, yes. Do you drink and smoke, I am sure you do…but then, don’t overdo it, ok na?
Me – Aunty, you forgot drugs…and I walk away because I heard a faint call from another far-off relative sitting a mile away.

Another snippet – this time on my dress. I didn’t even know who this far-off relative/friend’s mother was, I met her for the first time in my life.

R – Hey, what is this you are wearing – a black t-shirt and a blue jeans. Black should not be worn during marriages. Go, change and come.
Me – But…this is fine with me, I am really comfortable.
R – No, I am not. Go, go change and come.
Me – My house is quite far from this marriage hall.
R – The marriage is not going to stop if you are not here. Go, go change and come. I will wait for you. We’ll have lunch to-gether.
Me – Whooaaa..aunty, one request.
R – What?
Me – I will change and come. But you continue with your lunch. I have some friends (imaginary!) waiting for me.
R – Ok. Change and come, I want to see the dress you come up with.
Me – Uh!!

Then, you have friends. Long lost friends, friend’s friends turning up, giving a hi-fi for no reason, laughing for the most nonsensical jokes and all of a sudden, there is silence. An uncomfortable silence – at which point you do not know whether to continue with the hi-fis and laughing like you just had puffs of Nitrous oxide up your lungs.

Anyways, lets come to the main event. Food…aah..the wedding, we’ll come to it later. Food, I guess is the most important for most of the guests who have arrived at the wedding. I for one, first look at the menu and the caterers and then come into the hall for the wedding. Lest the bride and bridegroom think otherwise, I ensure that I have breakfast, lunch and dinner during the day of the marriage. I am lucky in the sense that I have a set of friends from diverse backgrounds – Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Kannadigas etc. I get to have a wide variety of food – from alu and paneer mutter to idli-sambar. The success of marriage is decided on food – if food is great, then it was a perfect match. Else, aahh…the couple are good-looking, BUT the food was not that tasty…see what I mean when I say the main event of any marriage is food. No wonder there is so much focus on food.

The actual wedding – more of garnishes and decorations. Bride and bridegroom – I guess the only members in the entire event thinking about the main ceremony. Others are generally busy with showing off jewellery, sarees, sons who returned from US recently, daughters who recently cleared CAT. If not for the above, they can generally be found in the dining hall.

I cannot come to a conclusion about this marriage and its audience topic nor can I stop writing about this. All I can say (a.ka. Bush) is that Marriage is a wonderful institution where two people promise themselves to live to-gether and…………………..and the audience come in to bless the couple profusely in their own inimitable way!!!!

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