Kutcheri

I have never quite understood the ‘kutcheri’ metaphor for alcohol consumption amongst our brethren. I assume a conversation between two ‘kutcheri’ rasikaas will go something like this

R1: yenn na nethu night kutcheri epdi?
R2: Athellam irukkatum, umma ellarum thedinaale, yen voi varala?
R1: atha vidungo. Yenna nadathathunu sollungo
R2: enna perusa, as usual whiskey thaan opening. startingliye nalla strongaa arambichaar. Apparam eyesum sodavum serave nalla sruthi era arambichathu. Thidirnu paatha beeruku oru jump adichaar paarungo, ellarum oru maathiri ayita
R1: ayiyo apparam?
R2: apparam enna thirupiyum whiskey ku vanthaar. Nadula cranberry raagathula oru breezera eduthu vitaar.
R1: perusa onnum miss panla pola irukke?
R2: enna ipdi sollitel? Aduthathu enna nadanthathunu kekaave illiye
R1: enna perusa nadanthirukkum? Mudinjathum ellarum ezhunthu poiruppa
R2: illana, ellathukkum nadula oru tequila thaniavarthanam vanthathu paarungo…
R1: ohh apdiya, besh besh. Cha miss pannitene…
R2: paravala voi. Adutha tharava vaarum, jammaichupudalaam
R1: athukku enna vanthutaa pochu

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Technology simplified

Rapid innovations in technology is changing our world faster than many of us can cope with. Every new technical term we come across launches us into a never ending voyage of Google search and Wikipedia articles, till we get dehydrated of course. We took it upon ourselves to clear the air about latest technology trends by talking to some experts from Indian Institute of Inspiration, Information, Invitation, Innovation…..Technology (InT)

Interviewer (I): Sir, good morning.

Expert (E): yes, yes. Very good morning.

I: We want to provide clarity on some of the latest technology trends affecting the common man.

E: yes, clarity is a good thing

I: We would like to start by asking your opinion on Set top boxes. Why all the fuss?

E: Well, of course. It’s a highly misunderstood concept. I visited so many homes and noticed to my horror that people had placed it on the side or sometimes even below the televisions. I would like to re-iterate that it is a Set Top Box and is a BOX that has to be on TOP of a television SET.

I: Though the number of people transacting online has gone up there is still a large percentage of the population that feels online payments are unsafe. How safe is it really?

E: Forget all this online offline nonsense.I accept all payments only below the line <winks inappropriately at the interviewer>

I: Errr…What is a payment gateway?

E: You make payment means you get way, otherwise you don’t.

I: But sir….

E: No man. No payment means no way.

I: Then how would you explain SMS gateway

E: Well you see, most of these security guards are lonely people. They stand there all day letting people in and out and most of these people do not even acknowledge them. So, to make their lives more fun, we introduced this concept where your mobile sends them an SMS when you are making your way through the gate. Like for example “Hi” or “Whaddap” etc.

I: There is a lot of buzz around cloud storage. Please tell us how that works.

E: It is a flawed concept to begin with. Today you store something in some cloud. Then suddenly strong wind blows and cloud moves somewhere, what will you do? People should not be taking such risks, IMHO. They should stick with bank lockers.

I: When will mobile payments happen in a big way in India?

E: What do you mean when? That mobile you have, you stole it or what? You paid no?? Then what are you talking about??

I: No sir. What I meant to ask was about effecting payments through mobile.

E: <stares long at interviewer>…..I haven’t heard of any shops where they accept mobile phones instead of money. You really should do your research before asking me such things.

<To be continued>….

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The line must go on

Have you traveled by train recently?

Did you book your tickets?

If it was self-booked, did you use http://www.irctc.co.in to book the ticket?

If you answered yes to all the above questions, then congratulations!! You are among the lucky few to have successfully completed a task that has stumped many a user over the last few months.  You, my dear reader, are worthy of being honored with the Successful Irctc Ticket Booker Award or SITBA for short though the acronym makes no sense whatsoever.

The rest of us not-so-fortunate mortals have been religiously trying and failing at various stages –  from login till payment authentication. As a person not satisfied with HTML error messages, I endeavored to get to the bottom of this. As you might have guessed, it was not an easy job. But get to the bottom I did and the results were quite surprising, to say the least.

The Indian Railways, it seems, has added junk lines to server side code to slow down, or in some cases completely stop responses from their end. They had to take this extreme step after many threats from supporters of the old ‘line system’. The railways department had initially mocked such threats.They then tried explaining, that people wanting to go to the counter and physically book could still do so. But frustrated old system supporters were in no mood to listen, apparently.

The supporters of the old system largely consist of  ambi mamas from West Mambalam, Mylapore and Tambaram, whose  hobby was to rush to the railway counter  to book tickets for any traveler even remotely connected to them. They are the ones who always have a stack of forms in their hand and look at you suspiciously when you ask them to loan you their pen. They are strict upholders of the ‘Line Rule’ and waste no time in pouncing on unsuspecting people who are just about to break the line.  “All these young IT people I tell you, just sit at home and book tickets. They do everything online these days. Intha generationla (in this generation), who has time to stand in line and all. Ippo pathelna (If you see now), my son, sitting in San Francisco, is able to book tickets for his mother to visit him without having to move so much as an inch. “, lamented an ambi mama thereby using yet another opportunity to talk about his USA settled son and foreign traveled wife. “1998la vaangina reynolds pen saar ithu. Paarungo innum inke theerala. Pena paperla ezhutharthe maranthu pochu polairukku (I bought this reynolds pen in 98 and the ink hasn’t dried up yet. People have forgotten the art of putting pen to paper)“. “I am forced to watch Illavarasi and Kasturi on Sun TV everyday to kill time”, he further added.

The second largest category of counter users are the sexually charged young (sometimes old) men who come to the booking counter with a fond hope of standing in the line behind some sappa figure(very ordinary looking girl) and trying every chance to orasufy(brush against) them. “I strongly protest the use of internet for ticket booking. It is against Indian culture. There is absolutely no line anywhere these days, not even in Sathyam. I still remember those days when everyone had to stand in one long line for any sort of booking” complained a road side romeo before singing “Those were the best days of my life” , the much abused line from Bryan Adam’s Summer of 69, completely out of tune. “I am planning to write to Anna Hazare regarding this. The youth supported his cause and now its just decency for him to support ours” added another RSR who did not want to be named.

The day is not far off when users will return to the counter to book their tickets. When questioned, a recent MBA grad working as a Business Analyst at an IT MNC had this to say “Though this is outrageous we must do what we should to get our tickets. I have already outraged enough on fb and twitter but I guess the government is going to fail us on this one as well”. Another ‘Functional Consultant’ said “I have seen my dad fill up those forms. they look like miniature versions of excel sheets anyway.That is kinda comforting you know”.

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The Unknown Rule

Rules, as they say, are meant to be broken. They do say the same thing about promises, sachin’s 200 record,  bank balance, diet plans etc, but that’s besides the point. Those who have had the privilege of my acquaintance would know that I take them rules very seriously.  I strongly believe that if not for rules, humans would have killed each other and we wouldn’t have lived to see Veena Malik’s nude picture Viru’s 219.

As always there are some rules that are cardinal in nature and some that stink of cynicism and double standards. People often argue about the efficacy or rationale of a rule. If not convinced, they take extreme measures to voice their disapproval of such rules. These range from minor digressions of a rule like wanting to do shots in the middle of a scotch session to major ones, like actually eating a dosai (yes it has an i at the end) with cutlery. Imagine trying to cut through paper masala dosai at T.Nagar saravana bhavan with a knife and a fork, Oh the humanity!!

Every rule, mind you EVERY RULE ever written has been broken at least once. Be it pet dogs peeing in elevators or men rummaging their wife’s handbag, the world has seen everything. Some people break rules with the whole “I am a free f***ing spirit, no rule can hold me down , yaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyeeee. Go bieber!!” attitude whereas others, a small percentage mind you, break rules simply because they were not aware of them. Of course there is the middle path where people break rules due to oversight or break them for the ”thrill of it” while simultaneously peeing in their pants, but I have never understood the latter.

Going back to para 1 sentence 3,”I take them rules very seriously”. So imagine my surprise when I was pulled up by traffic cops yesterday. I really had to know which never-followed-by-cops-themselves rule I had broken. Turns out I took a turn out of turn. What in the name of Dhanush (Kolaveri guy) was this?? I clearly remember taking the left turn after ensuring that there was no “No free left turn” sign. I even told the cop as much. He said “No sign and all boss. Signal left light will start blinking, only then you can go”. Being the reasonable guy that I am I tried telling him that the lack of a signboard was misleading and had one been present, I would have stopped the car, switched off the engine and drank water from a bottle that’s been lying around for god knows how long before he could say ‘Signal’. Alas, this was not to be.

He looked at me nonchalantly as he typed out my name (from my driver’s license) and said “How can we catch people if we put up sign boards?”. The sheer logic of that argument caught me unawares and I parted with a fifty faster than I would say yes to free food. I came, I paid and I left with a challan.

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The lonely street

As she swerved her car into Trilok Nagar 1st street, she hit the brakes hard and the car came to a screeching halt. “Stupid f***ing dog”. She continued to mutter angrily under her breath while she parked the car to the side and got out to check on the dog. Just as she was about to reach the dog, she heard a distant sound of bikes approaching. She was suddenly aware of her surroundings.

It was well after midnight and she had left Ashok’s party in a huff after seeing his ex there. She always took the main road from his place on Shanti Vihar to her place on MG Road. Albeit a little long, it was extremely safe and had a steady flow of traffic at all times of day. She had heard horror stories of  girls, travelling alone, being murdered on the lonely by-lanes of  Trilok Nagar. The bodies except for pieces of the nose and ears were never found. Sometime last week two women in a car had managed to escape. They were being treated for shock and the police had not been able to get their statement. There was however some rumor about the ”sound of bikes approaching” doing the rounds. She hadn’t paid much attention to it then.

All this came screaming back to her  and she froze on her footsteps for a brief period. The sound of bikes approaching grew louder and she snapped out of her momentary daze and ran back to her car. She quickly dived inside, turned off the ignition and locked herself  in. She took out her mobile and after turning on silent mode, realized that there was no connectivity. As she sat on the floor of her car between the front and the rear seats she heard the bikes slow down. She sensed they were near but she was too afraid to look up.

The street was deserted apart from a few cars parked along the sides. She started tapping the keyboard of her mobile fervently and prayed for signal. After a few minutes she was surprised to see two signal bars. Just as she was about to start calling her dad there was a loud knock on her car door. She was sweating profusely and her heart beat grew louder. Had they seen her? That couldn’t have happened, there was no light in the street and her car windows were tinted extra dark. She decided to try her luck waiting. After a brief period of silence there was another knock, this time on her front door. A bright light, from what seemed to be a torch, was directed at the car for a few seconds. She pulled herself closer as tears rolled down her cheeks.

And she waited there without making a move, for what seemed like hours, before the bikes left the area. Quite relieved, she sat up in her car and reached for a bottle of water kept near the driver’s seat. That’s when she realized that she had missed something. She checked her mobile “S**t, No signal again!! Damn these carriers”. She opened the cap and took a sip of water. Just as she was putting the bottle down, she noticed a pair of gleaming eyes looking straight at her from outside the windshield….

Next day’s paper –

 Another woman gone missing from Trilok Nagar.

The Trilok Nagar police have registered another case of a missing person. This is the 15th such case in the last month alone. A car with broken windshield and torn seats has been recovered from the crime scene. As with all other instances, the missing person this time around is also a  young woman. Though the police are still awaiting results from forensic analysis, they believe that the crime must have happened between 1 and 2 am. The red brigade, a group of bike laden cops, had passed by that area at 1 am and did not notice anything amiss. However, when they went for another round at 2…..

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Obsessive net users die early

As always, this blog prides itself in bringing the latest news to its readers. Straight from the Lab Of Senseless and Expendable Research (LOSER).

According to the latest report published by the acclaimed research house L.O.S.E.R, obsessive net users are found to have a shorter lifespan than occasional users. This study comes as a surprise to the millions of people who spend much of their salaried time online looking at Youtube videos and clicking on dubious links on facebook. The experts however beg to differ. Dr.Sushil Kumar, on condition of anonymity, said “The medical community has already published various reports corroborating the fact that the internet is just another vermin of  society, much like mega serials and reality shows.” He quickly turned his attention to the last leg of ‘So you think you can dance’ and declined to comment further on the issue.

A close observer of the internet phenomenon, Mr.Fino Menon, added that by the year 2015, this would be the biggest reason for deaths in all developed and developing countries. “You see, people had very little to worry about back then. Apart from the well being of near and dear ones, education and marriage of kids,retirement planning and programs on  Doordarshan, they had nothing much on their worry list”. On being questioned about the subtle Doordarshan reference he quickly changed the topic and continued “The youngsters these days worry about so much more, like, how many friends do i have on fb, are people liking my status messages, how many people liked that photo in which i thought i looked my best, do i have enough snaps with cute chicks?”. According to Mr.Menon, this has created an artificial demand on people and they end up spending way too much time on the internet.

The Internet Over Users Anonymous Establishment,which apart from dealing with such issues also holds the distinction of having an association name whose initials are all the vowels, has also provided it’s input on this report. Its spokesperson, Ms.Sykil Veel, said “We are working on setting up de-addiction centers all over the world. We believe with proper care and attention, this can be overcome. All that the addicts need is a good kick in the butt, er, i mean, a lot of love and care”.

Psychiatrists worldwide are keen on doing OT to ensure that this problem is attacked on a war footing. They have released a list of symptoms that people should watch out for in their near and dear ones.

1) liking their own status messages

2) typng lyk ths

3) changing profile pictures more often than they change their underwear.

4) not recognizing their ‘facebook friends’ when they come across each other in real life

5) expressing outrage about things they have no clue about

Not wanting to let go of this opportunity to market a product, a renowned ad-agency is rumored to be working on an ad for the state run BSNL with the tagline “So you think you can connect to the internet.”

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The wet towel

….She held him tight and said “It’s ok baby”.She cradled him in her arms and planted a gentle kiss on his forehead.

She really loved him more than she had loved anybody else in this world. And this was still true after they had been married for 50 long years. They had met at their first job and what followed was a beautiful romance. Things moved quickly and they found themselves living under the same roof, as husband and wife, within a year of courtship. She thought he was god’s gift to her and worshiped him in her heart every living day. He too was fond of her and ensured that she never had to shed a tear.

As the days became months and the months years, they discovered more and more about each other. Things they liked about each other, things they hated about each other, things they never thought were important but that was important to the other. They set their lives in a slow rhythm, taking turns being the stronger one, laughing together at lives cruelties and shedding a tear of joy at moments of happiness. They agreed to disagree on a lot of things and decided never to fight for more than 15 minutes a day.

They raised their children in an environment that they thought was perfect, gave them great education and graciously accepted their choices of life partners. Now, the children were gone, settled abroad. They did visit twice a year, but between those prolonged periods they had only each other for company. They went for long walks, visited the temple 3 days a week, helped their neighbors with their work, and took care of the children in their block. Every once in a while friends visited and they had a good time playing poker and singing and dancing.

It had rained that day. The weatherman had predicted thunderstorms for the entire week. He had gone out to meet some friends and had forgotten to take his umbrella. She smiled thinking about the umpteen times he had forgotten his umbrella. He always got wet in the rain and fell sick the next day. He loved all the attention he got and was quite fond of the special soup she made. She realized he would be home any minute and went about making preparations for the soup.

He came home and immediately demanded a towel. She had kept one ready and started wiping his hair dry and gently scolded him for forgetting the umbrella. He winked at her and gave her a naughty grin before going in for a shower. He went directly to the kitchen after getting dressed and found his favorite soup waiting on the table. It was piping hot and he helped himself to a generous serving and sat down on his chair to enjoy the soup.

He had almost finished the first round and was gearing up for the second, when he felt a sharp pain on the left of his lower back. He looked down to find a 4 inch blade sticking out of his torso. As blood trickled down his pajamas, she pulled the knife out and took him in her arms. “Darling, I have  told you so many times.” He was slowly losing out to the pain and his vision was blurred. “Why did you leave the wet towel on the bed again? Oh why sweety, why?”. He knew he was going to pass out soon and gathered the remaining ounces of energy to mumble a feeble apology that almost went unheard. She held him tight and said “It’s ok baby”….

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