Of signatures and times

Dei, useless fellow, stop thinking about Signature whiskey, loser.

I have lately spent many a sleepless night, thanks to power cuts in Chennai. These power cuts are well organised as well as random, come well announced or as a surprise, last a few minutes or a few hours, yes, they are driving me crazy. The law of consumption of power by the early scientist, Duke of Nousemberg, states that “With great power (consumption), comes greater power cuts”.

Signatures, in pre-email days, referred to a person’s name scribbled with artistic audacity in places that required authentication. If a rock star were to scribble his name on a woman’s bosom, it meant that the woman had indeed been scribbled on by that particular rock-star, in person. You get the drift. Anyway, most of the signatures were so horrendous that if you were to compare the resemblance of a signature to the actual name, typed out in clear Arial font with font size 14 on a plain piece of white paper with black ink, then the closest will have to be the difference between the real you and the person smiling at us in your Facebook profile picture.

Email signatures are a different ball game all together. It varies from simple ones like “Best Regards” or “Thanks & Regards” followed by the person’s name to something as complex as people who eat dosas with spoon and fork.Quite a messed up lot, aren’t they?

I have seen signatures that talk about a person’s pedigree, educational qualifications, current designation,company name, phone number, fax number, email id (if i am getting the email from you, why in gods crazy name will you want to include it in your signature??) and of course the inevitable 12th standard board exam marks.

Then came the mobile phones from which you could send mails and voila!! We were hit in the face by many mails that ended with “Sent from my iPhone”, “Sent from my BlackBerry Curve 8900”, “Sent from my smartphone that’s way smarter than i could ever hope to be” et al. I agree with all you people, you are cool, really. I am really happy for the fact that you discovered how to send emails from your smart phones. But please change your signatures, it just sounds pompous. Oh and it irritates the actual cool people, rest of us.

Worst Regards

Yours Truly

——– Sent from my dysfunctional refrigerator——

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Why so fast?

Warning: Slightly serious post

Among many things I don’t understand, the way we handle our daily lives tops the list. I am not questioning the ethical angle or the religious angle, enough has been said, is being said, and will be said about it. Maybe I will also say something about it someday, not today. Today I am going to pour my heart out on what I feel is terribly wrong with our society.

From the moment we get up till we go to sleep, I find that we are in a tearing hurry to get somewhere.

  • You rush through traffic in the morning because you might be late for office
  • You get impatient with the office lift because you are late for a meeting
  • You hate the queues at the coffee machine because you feel the others are just wasting their time while you, the lonely savior of the planet, are working your a** off to meet some impossible deadline
  • You honk your way back home to spend quality time with your wife/kids/dog/ps2 etc.

You do all this without realizing that you are doing the same thing over and over and over again. Life is like a giant ferris wheel – you can’t wait to get to the top but once you are up there, you feel like crapping/puking on all those below you. But we digress. You should realize at some point that you are actually not getting anywhere.

What has me completely stumped, is the total apathy we show to everyone around us. Is this because life has become so competitive/difficult that you don’t have time for pleasant behavior or is it because that exhibiting pleasant behavior is so difficult that you do not have time for it?

I still feel that a ‘Thank You’ from a stranger, for a favor that did not involve any gargantuan effort from our side, is special. It kind of warms your heart and puts a smile on your face. E.g. Holding the door open to some old lady who until then had held the same door open to 5 dick heads who did not have the courtesy to at least thank her. Yes, courtesy is a lost art.

How difficult is it to park your car in a non-obstructive way?How difficult is it to wait your turn at a buffet? How difficult is it to wait for 90 seconds for the signal to turn green? Its just 90 seconds, not your f******g lifetime. How difficult is it to slow down and let a fellow motorist pass? Though all this seems easy when you are reading it from the comfort of your home or office, once we get on the road we forget the lessons that our teachers and parents have so painstakingly taught us.

And then we have some corporate ass****s who seem to rely on netting a customer by connecting the dots. I am sorry folks, but i don’t mind waiting in line to get out of a plane, because I paid the airlines to reach me and my baggage safely not to push me out of the plane as soon as it lands. But I pay you (or your competitors) for fast and continuous internet connection, which you don’t seem to deliver anyway. So instead of trying to take examples from life to sell your product, create a product that works consistently, treat your customers with respect and for gods sake educate the guys at customer service, my dead cat will give me better answers.

In short, stop once in a while to observe the life around you.Its still amazing.

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Alarming stuff!!

….and no I am not talking about India’s loss to South Africa or MSD’s recent decisions. Neither am I going to talk about the Tsunami, rapes in India, CWG, 2G, Gaptun or any such weighty issues. Those, I leave for the intellectuals. Here I shall rant about the miserable state of affairs in the phone alarm industry….wait…. they are not an industry you say?? No wonder.

Not so long ago an alarm(clock), meant a big round metal clock with keys behind it. These keys required some physical prowess from the end user to operate them, but the results were excellent. It woke up the entire household including the neighbor’s dog. Then came those plastic ones which replaced the cumbersome keys with an easy-to-turn knob. These were quite loud, though not loud enough as their predecessors. It could not wake up the neighbor’s dog. Then came the digital clocks. We never had one at home though, we were a digitally challenged family back then, i guess.

But kids these days might not even know what I am talking about (that partially holds good for me as well).  People have moved on from clocks and use  their mobile phones for alarms!! Though this might come as quite a shocker to you, dear reader (yes, singular), this is in fact the state of affairs today. People use their mobile phones for alarms just as they use it for, chatting, browsing, texting, brushing etc.

Please, before you brand me as an analog fundamentalist, let me explain the reasons behind my consternation. These phone alarms just don’t do it for me. I tried changing the alarm tune, actually tried almost every option available. Not only do the tunes take me deeper into the realm of dreams (yeah inception and all that), they also have weird ass names.  I would like to know which verbally challenged idiot was in charge of naming the tunes. Even my three-year old nephew will come up with better names. Sample this – sunrise, reed, translucent, butterfly are some of the gems  that are available at your disposal.

The audio capabilities of the mobile phone used by me are not much to write home about either. At maximum volume, it sounds more like instrumental lounge music played at star hotels. Forget the neighbor’s dog, forget the household, it does not even wake up the most active cells in my body!!

So, there is my problem. I request you kind noble souls to  please get me an alarm (clock) that will wake the s**t out of that neighbor’s dog!!

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My return to driving in Chennai

I recently moved back to Chennai and I noticed that the traffic had gone from bad to worse in the last 5 years and that I had to unlearn whatever I had learnt in Dubai, all the rules and driving etiquettes i.e. I also noticed that my previous experience of driving in Chennai was useless and I needed a completely new skill set to successfully meet the requirements. The population has just exploded like an unattended Prestige pressure cooker on full heat (hehe)

*NOTE – I notice a lot

I share some of my learnings here (modified for Chennai)

1) Always keep the side mirrors open closed.

2) There is no good bad time to use the horn.

3) Give Take way

4) Use horn brake sparingly

5) Wait for the signal to turn green Just go

6) Signal before you change lanes Point 5

7) Follow lane discipline Hahaha

High-Pot- Hetical Situation (or is it?)

You have just turned into a narrow street  (obviously two-way) after avoiding the mountain of a manhole in the beginning and immediately swerved heavily to the right to avoid a stationary car and found yourself face to face with another car coming towards you which forces you to again swerve heavily to the left where a guy in a two-wheeler has parked his bike just a little away from the center of the street to use his mobile. All your senses are on full  throttle and your heart is about to leap out of  your pocket when you notice the ubiquitous Chennai auto parked as innocuously as possible  and an almost black almost round object protruding out of the auto which your discerning eye and analytical mind correctly recognizes to be a helmet but on closer look turns out to be the head of the auto driver.  After you try your best to avoid a head on collision (his head on your car) you pounce on the brakes to avoid hitting the dog that decided to go for a walk across the street. This is exactly when the car driver/ bike rider behind you loses his eye-hand-leg coordination and rams into your car and sets off another beautiful traffic jam. He gets down, you exchange pleasantries, enquire kindly about each others lineage etc. Of course all this starts with the time-tested conversation starter of “Did you inform people at home?”

P.S – 3  is sometimes better than 4

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Pees be with you

A very suggestive title you say? Cheap marketing gimmick? The author is a demented fool with sloppy thoughts and nothing better to do but bore the world with his non-sense?

Yes to all the above please.

Everyone, at some point in time, has given their bit to research. Am not talking about the questionable donation of Rs.10 made towards some random NGO. No sir. I talk about giving up something that is all yours. Something that you are forced to give and yet something that you cannot force out of yourself (I speak for the majority here).

A visit to the hospital does not always warrant a ‘sample’ but on occasions when the doctor feels that you are in fact the most boring noob, you will be forced to donate a wee (hehe.its a pun) bit of yourself . Its not the thing that they can prick (sorry for the adult content folks) out of you, nor is it the kind where you are in a ravana like situation with the role of rama being played to perfection by the lab attendant when they say “Indru poi naalai thaa  vaa (Go today and give come tomorrow)”

Encounter of the third kind it is. You are given a small plastic bottle, named after you, clandestinely wrapped in a tissue paper by the lab attendant who tries to hold a straight face while directing you to the restroom (an oscar winning performance.wah! wah!). Your cheeks flush and all of a sudden you feel extremely conscious. You quickly hide the bottle from public view and walk about nonchalantly. Thats when the attendant readily offers to maanathavaangify (take your respect and treat it like a piece of used tissue) by raising their voice and saying “Sir.Bathroom this way”

However quickly you try to regain your composure and glare at the attendant, its of no use. Your secret identity and more damagingly(word alert-code red) the purpose of your visit is now public knowledge. You hurry to the restroom, find an empty slot, lock yourself in, aim and fire. Then you quickly close the lid shut, wash and wipe your hands (not optional gentlemen) and get out. This is when you bring out the James Bond in you. Neither can you rush to the attendant nor can you hold on to the sample for too long. You have to hand over the container to the attendant a) without looking too eager , and b) without being watched. When you hand over the can to the attendant don’t miss an encore of the award winning performance (without your notice the attendant has suddenly put on a pair of latex gloves, they also keep a large supply of sanitizer on stand by, for emergencies).

Congratulations, you are done with yet another humiliating phase of life. But wait a minute, that was not the intention of this post. I actually wanted to share a trivia with you. Did you know that the deposit has an expiry period of 30 minutes. YES!!!  30 minutes, just about enough time to startup  Windows Vista.

Alas, my selfless nature forbids me from taking credit for your increase in intelligence. Happy valentines day.

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The need to destress while driving

Man has generally accepted a lot of things without questioning, like the effect of axe (the deo.duh!!) in his amorous pursuits. But there have been instances when questions have been raised, though not all of them have been answered. For example, why the hell does the media numb our senses by creating a show focussed on Rakhi Sawant? or why in the world did Oprah refer to Abhi-Ash(yuckk!!) as the most famous couple or whatever? why?why?why? 

A reader of this blog (yeah i know, the other one is me) wanted to know why they needed to do this. Hmmm….a very good question. By saying this I do not intend to circumvent this question. What do you think the author is? some sort of professor? sheeshh!!

The reason is actually quite simple. We live in tough times (my watch stops working…at regular intervals), too much pressure. Pressure builds up everyday and to handle all the (new) pressure we need to purge our system at regular intervals (not that!!).

While driving you not only have to deal with back seat driving (no, they don’t have a steering wheel there,yet. Thank god for that.), but you also have to deal with drivers like these:

  • They are from the bomb squad and are rushing to diffuse one at the moment and hence cannot use their brakes.
  • They are automobile freaks who will test the breaking power of your car and secretly report their findings to auto magazines. Sometimes,call of duty demands them to check the accident response systems in your car.
  • They are practicing ophthalmologists, who have decided to take the road to study the resistance of your retina to bright light.
  • They are marketing an anu malik/deva album by honking to their latest number.
  • They are fans of NFS and are trying to gain style points.
  • They choose the fastest lane for altruistic purposes (i.e. they reduce the accident rates on roads by slowing down.)
  • They are taxi drivers.

These poor souls are striving day and night to make our lives better and its only fair that we reward them. So the next time you come across one of these specimens do not shy away from rewarding them. They lead miserable lives and you reward will mean so much to them. But obviously you cannot get out , give them a hug, and a pat on the back and say “good job joe”.

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The art of swearing while driving

The author does not promote road rage though it might seem otherwise. But as they say, a person stops growing when he refuses to drink complan.

How many of you out there have wished for a rocket-launcher or at least a water pistol to aim at fellow road users? Well this post does not point you to a shop selling WMD (Weapons of Minor Destruction). Neither does this post contain simple do-it-yourself tips to make any of them. By now even I am not sure what this post is for, but since I never leave anything midway….

Everyone swears while driving. Those who claim otherwise are hypocrites (Shame on you!!). Some people do it openly and some in their mind (The author congratulates himself for coming up with a sentence that can be interpreted in so many ways). For those who are just about enter the big bad world of driving on roads or for those who have found it difficult to mouth the words, here are a few guidelines that can help you master the art.

The swearing while driving rule book

  • Get in touch with your inner self – Dont sham yourself into believing that you are good at heart and get rid of that holier-than-thou attitude. Deep down we are all a****** s. Unleash the demon and let the good times flow.
  • Choose a language you are proficient in – research has established that all of us swear best in our native tongue. If you have been acting posh for too long and are not in touch with your native language, heres what you have to do:- step out, take an auto or taxi and note down (using pen and paper) the expletives that are used by the driver.  Research shows that these guys swear the best. A foreign language can be adopted to add the zing factor (After all the first words we learn in any language are you know what).
  • Enunciate – How many times have you been pulled up by that annoying English teacher for mis-pronouncing a word? Just as it is important to let loose a string of expletives that question the parentage of the other driver it is also important to bring it out in style. So for the love of god, ENUNCIATE.
  • Sreesanthify your facial expressions (this doesn’t require further explanation, or so I hope)
  • Alternate shaking of fist and i-will-pound-your-head-to-your-steering-wheel stares are also welcome.
  • For those weaklings who don’t muster up the courage to swear, just think of Anubumani Ramadoss (yes the same gentleman who instead of ensuring proper medical care for the poor chose to appear on the frontpage of every national newspaper on a weekly basis by targeting celebrities)

Now my friends, you are fully qualified to drive just about anywhere in the world. This guide hopes to add value to people who drive in countries where usage of horn is considered rude. Please keep your car windows up while following the guidelines or the author is not responsible for what happens next. Oh, I almost forgot, please, please do not swear while your parents  or other aunts and uncles are in the car with you (They will judge you).

May peace be with you.

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