Karrupiah and Elangovan were two illiterate farmers in a small Tamil Nadu village. One day, after a long day of work Karrupiah was bicycling to the local saraya kadai (Village bar). Elangovan was returning on his bicycle from the shop. They crashed into each other. A scuffle broke out and the local constable intervened. The constable, who bore a grudge against the two for not lowering their lungis when he rode his moped in the village, booked cases against the two. Lack of street lights, amavasya and the absence of a cycle bell on Elangovans bicycle were noted as factors in the FIR. The case went to court.
The judge after hearing the case ruled in Karrupiah’s favor and ordered that the government make it mandatory for all bicycles to have a cycle bell. This judicial order was reported widely in the media. A group of lawyers under the CCACB (Concerned Citizens Against Cycle Bells) filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the ruling. After years of affidavits, counter affidavits, black gowned lawyers shouting “Objection your Honor” and emotionless dawaalis loosing their voices, the judge ordered the government to resolve the issue.
The government immediately constituted an advisory panel under the chairmanship of a retired IAS officer of the Transportation Ministry and a large posse of public servants. Apart from sumptuous lunches and pakoda-samosa high teas, the panel went on a fact finding mission to Europe and America to study their Bicycle bells and bicycle accident data. The committee managed to keep extending dead-lines until the IAS officer ran out of desk calendars to look for future dates. So he hastily googled the information and sent his report endorsing the stand that cycle bells be made compulsory.
The government drafted a bill to be tabled in the parliament. The bill languished for a few years since every time it came up for discussion the parliament would be adjourned sine die for members to attend khaini chewing contests in their constituencies or that members would stage a walkout protesting the amount of noise in the house when they tried to get some sleep.
The bill was finally brought for discussions in the midst of flying microphones and office furniture. The left wingers opposed it saying that in encroached on personal freedom and the right wingers protested that the sound “ding-dong” were foreign swear words disguised as auditory notes. The communists said that the proletariat must not be unduly subjugated and hence all vehicles, including cars and buses must also be fitted with cycle bells.
Widespread protests hit the nation. People rioted on streets burning Bell bottom pants and effigies of Graham Bell. The Bell Curve and dumbbells were boycotted. The opposition parties brought in a no-confidence motion against the government. After major horse trading, public vote auction and the party whips flogging their members mercilessly to ensure that party lines were not breached, the members voted and the government fell.
The opposition now laid claim to the throne government. The president, who was lulled out of his gardening activities, called on the opposition to form the government and to prove their majority on the floor. A new session of trading began anew. Bookmakers released odds on the results and the parliament members made a small fortune. The vote failed. The president who was once again trudged out of his favorite armchair was forced to dissolve the parliament and call for fresh elections.
The election commission has issued dates for general elections. The cycle bell bill is still in the pile. Since it is to come after the discussion on the eligibility of criminally convicted MP’s to stand for election, it sure never to see the light of day.
Two governments have fallen; a general election in scheduled and the public is restless; but Elangovan and Karuppiah have patched things up. Elangovan had to borrow money from the village lender to buy a cycle bell as ordered by the judge. He then had to sell the cycle because he couldn’t afford the interest on the bell. Karuppiah lost all his money on successive failed harvests. Now they both walk to the saraaya kadai together and share the drinks over a single plate of oorkaai.
Most often than not, the first comprehensible words an Indian going school kid learns is “As I was suffering from…..”. He or she knows that this is the key to the door beyond which lies freedom. I am sure some of you dour-pusses might be offended by the use of the word freedom to describe a “rascally” act of bunking school to dabble in “unnecessary activities”. But let me remind you that the catch word of the modern age is “Freedom”.
When wars have been fought and lives have been lost defending the concept of a freedom, I think there is no harm is killing off a distant relative, on paper that is, to taste the same brand of freedom. And more often than not, the particular relative is already is a different place; a better place or not is totally subjective.
One of the many advantages of a socially caring society is that familial bonds provides an ample list of candidates for a young school kid to pronounce dead for the next planned escapade. From grandfathers, grandmothers, cousins, uncles and aunts, the list is pretty exhaustive. An alert teacher who might keep track of a particular students list of dead relatives might be pleasantly surprised to find that the kid might have had 8 or more grandfathers that have passes away.
Let us for a second evesdrop on a conversation between PK and his close friend Cheenu.
Cheenu: Dei…Enge da…..Why did u not come to school today.
PK: I did not study for the science test da, and also there was the new james bond movie. So I thought I’ll hit two maanga with one stone.
Cheenu: Nice da, Science exam was major rod. Bastard kumar did not show any answers also da. Totalla oothikichu.
PK: Sorry to hear that ra. Anyways I need to write a leave letter da, help me no. I am thinking of saying I had stomach ache.
Cheenu: Not good ra. That is only like half day excuse man….
PK: What about fever?
Cheenu: That is a two day excuse da, if you come back in one day it might be suspicious. Can’t you take another day off?
PK: No da…Lab tomorrow. Laksmi will be there na…..(both laugh……)
Cheenu: lucky bastradra you are
PK: Ok…what about whooping cough or measles or something big
Cheenu: They will ask of medical certificate and then you will have aapu. Forget diseases, think about relatives. What if you say your grandfather died?
PK: Ille da. Already said that 3 times.
Cheenu: What about grandmother then?
PK: I used her when went to play criket at the beach no. And that was only last week. Ms Madhavi will remember.
PK: Ok da….Tell an athay no?
Cheenu: Good idea da, I don’t have any athay at all!
PK: Not a problem da, remember to sign your dads name in the leave letter.
Cheenu: Not a problem at all ra. I am getting enough practice signing my test papers.
PK: You have to sign my scince paper too when it comes. Ille na my dad will give me kottus
Cheenu: Sure ra.
As you can see that there are two broad categories of leave letters. One is infectious diseases to self, and the other one is the family death tree.
Every MBA finance graduate who has cursorily glanced through his Finance 101 text book knows that the payout of any investment is propotional to the risk involved. The same applies to writing a leave letter. The fall out, if caught, is ugly. You have the public reprimand received at the school with the blessings of a wooden ruler and the dreaded punishments at home to boot. This is warning enough for the fake leave letter to used under extreme caution.
Inpite of the perils and the danger of getting caught, young minds still walk the thin line because what lies on the other side is priceless….. Its FREEDOM.
The tongue has two primary functions. One of taste and the other of speech. I am fine with my tongue’s handling in the taste department but when it comes to speech, it has failed me miserably. Time and Time again I must add. Though it makes no mistakes in pronunciation or in its grammar, it always says something wrong at the wrong time.
Like for instance yesterday at work. I went to see my manager. The office are located at a separate end of the shop floor. It has a central walkway/corridor and the managers have their office on either side. A small kitchen with a refrigerator, a microwave and other kitchen appliances is located at the end of the passage way. The managers use the kitchen to heat their food.
So yesterday, as I walked down the passageway I smelt an unbearable stench that permeated the air. It smelt like karavadu that had been sprayed over with hobo perfume. As my stomach buckled under the olfactory overload, I passed my boss’s office. So at his door I proclaimed my exasperation aloud. “God. It stinks here”. He looked up and said “Must be my lunch”. My face went red as a beetroot and hastily tried to appologize for my loose toungue.
Aah as vivek says…”indha Vaay irukke”…..
I am looking to change my status. No, not my H1B status but my marital status. It’s turned out to be as hard as getting a leopard to wear a party hat. The procedure seems simple enough; At least for arranged marriages. Profiles are exchanged, guy meets girls, laddus, plantains and paan leaves are exchanged, pot bellied relatives and betel nut chewing aunties figure out how the family trees/creepers are interlinked and then the reception menu is finalised before the marriage date is fixed. Simple as an idli, I’d say. But after dipping my legs into this murky waters I have changed my view of such matters.
After a few such prospective meetings, some free bajjis and snacks, and miles of travelling I am beginning to see a correlation between finding a bride and finding a job. Here is the step by step analysis and parallels between the two.
Job Hunt 1:You see an ad for a job opening. The requirements and skill set needed don’t match with yours. But like a true blooded tamilian you do not worry about trivialities and send in an application.
Bride Hunt 1: You are told (by parents/relative) about a prospective bride. You are told about her qualifications, work, location etc and are asked to send a bio-data.
Job Hunt 2:You fill out the online form pasting your resume and a cover letter stating that you are willing to relocate to any territorial part of the US including North Dakota and that this job was the one that you were born for. You “lighta modify” your resume to ensure that you are the perfect match for it.
Bride Hunt 2:You send your CV and two photographs (avoiding the bald patch on the top) with the cheesiest smile that says, I-am-cool-yet-traditional…(and a please marry me look). One photograph in the traditional attire that shouts “I-am-a-desi culture-hugging-pazham”and another with GAP garb that subtitles to “american peteradifying quasipartying hip guy”
Job Hunt 3:Once the resume is scanned and picked up for the key words that you have put in, thanks to google, the HR gives you a call.
Bride Hunt 3: After the girl approves you, for whatever reason (hey..is there any rational to a girls mind ?), the parents call you to talk to you.
Job Hunt 4: The HR then sends your resume to the supervisor who decides to call you for a phone interview.
Bride Hunt 4: The parents then set up a phone call with the next pain in the family (son in law, bride’s brother/uncle etc).
Job Hunt 5:Once the supervisor OK’s you , an on site interview is fixed.
Bride Hunt 5: On approval from the Number 2 in the family, the parents call you back and ask for a probable date that you can come down.
Job Hunt 6:You go power dressed in a formal suit accessorised with a “please-hire-me” tie.
Bride Hunt 6:You go dressed up semi-causal to indicate ” I am family oriented, career focused, caring, loving, kind, …..and all the long laundry list of good virtues”
Job Hunt 7: You have a panel interview with the managers and and a one-on-one interview with your department manager. The other supervisors also get a chance to prod you to see if you are the right candidate.
Bride Hunt 7:After you pass the interview with the grandparents, the aunts, uncles and the domestic cat that is sprawled on the floor, you meet with the girl who politely asks you about your extra curricular activities. She then proceeds to tell you that watching TV and eating food are not activities in her dictionary.
Job Hunt 8:You paint a glorious self-aggrandising image of your exemplay project management skills and highlight the fact that your weakness is your hard work and dedication.
Bride Hunt 8:You try and impress the girl with your weaker-than-water jokes to which the girl just rolls her eyes. You tell her about how cool you are with your blogging and twittering etc, and she curtly tells you that writing about food and dissing people behind a virtual burqa is not cool.
Job Hunt 9: At the conclusion of the interview the manager tells you, “we will let you know ”
Bride Hunt 9:Once you have polished off the paniharams, the bride’s dad like a game show host who prolongs the suspense tells you “We will let you know soon”
Job Hunt 10: You come home and the wait begins
Bride Hunt 10: You come home and the wait begins
Job Hunt 11: A few days later the email comes home. “Thank you for your interest in the position. But we regret to inform you that we have found a suitable candidate to fill the position.”
Bride Hunt 11: The dad calls saying “Sorry, but we don’t think that this match will work out. (a.k.a you are a loser and we can do better than you)
I might be all twitter but I am no quitter. So with renewed energy I am looking for that change of status. Till then I am trying to pick up some extra curricular activites and some taste in music!. Suggestions???
The new bond movie is exactly like a big starred Tamil movie that did not live up to the hero worshipping standards of the receiving public. Even though QoS has a superstar spy as its primary character, it like a Rajni movie without the punch dialogues or the tamil-makkallaku-talai song or the over dramatic scenes that are the essence of his movies. The new bond movie is like eating brunch. Yes, it’s filling and tasty but it qualifies neither to be lunch nor breakfast. The movie with explosive action and fast paced narration fails to bring itself out as a bond movie. Here are my reasons why
1. Lack of gadgets: James bond is synonomous with hi-tech gadgets and mind-boggling innovations. The pen that shoots, the watch with a laser cutter etc. The only mildly “wow” innovation was the touch control desk at the head-quarters. That too was too hi-tech to be believable. Show me one OS that is that responsive!. The other innovation, though commonplace now, was the cell phone camera which Bond uses to takes pictures and sends via MMS to HQ. The camera sucks soo bad that the images are all grainy and out of focus!.
2. No punch dialogues: Never does Bond ever relate the eponymous “Yen peru Bond, James Bond”, albeit in the english language.
3. Recovering Alcoholic Bond: Some bondomaniac, who painstakingly tallied every single drink that Bond has had in all his books computed the average drinks per page to be at 1 drink for every 15 pages. So it is safe to say that Bond is an alcoholic. It is seems that in Q o S Bond is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is particularly evident with his weak response to the martini recipe.
4. Fashion: Although my fashion vision is not exactly 20/20, I could without doubt say that Bond was the worst dressed ever in his career. From the movie, I remember him only once in his traditional Tux.
5. Lack of Skin: Ah, here is the clincher. Apart from ample doses of suspense, car chases and an elaborate yet vain scheme of the villain, the bond movies have always had an eye for the “sizzle”. The movie had one actress who looked like she was a shriveled up raisin. It seemed that her part of a revenge-thirsty-soul out to avenge the wrongful death of her family could have been lifted off “Khoon Bhari Maang” or other such movies. With the amount of drama written into her part, she might gave been a character in the veerani pariwaar than in a bond movie!. The actress was well tanned and browned enough to pass for a Colombian or a desi, but the shame is that the director totally avoided showing how she had got the tan.!! This is sure to disappoint many an avid desi “scholars” who have always tried to glean more information on such topics.
All in all the movie is not exactly a typical bond movie but it is a typical action movie. The horror of it is that they could have replaced Daniel Craig with Vin Diesel or Van-Damm and there wouldn’t be any difference!.
The extant that mathematics plays in the life of an Indian is best expressed by looking at the simplest of examples…yes….the vadaa: or deep fried lentil doughnuts as they are called. The inventor of the vadaa, which I am sure was a tamilian of the early ages, who being a culinary artist was also a mathematician exemplar. The question I am sure you are asking is, why so?. Let me explain. Lets have a look at the vadaa geometry.
In creating the doughnut shape the vadaa maker created the topographic shape of a torus. The torus, in the mathematical world is now been called a compact 2D manifold which has no boundary and is not simply connected. The brilliance of the chef is best seen by what he did next. He punched a hole in the center. It was not a simple punch, it was one that was packed with mathematical insight and acumen. The dough from the hole would form a 3D sphere. Its is the same sphere that was listed as one of the 7 millennium problems and was offered a 1 million dollar prize to solve the Poincare conjecture. The mathematical wonders of the vadaa don’t end there. The proof of the Poincare conjecture is based on a theory called the Ricci’s flow. This theory mathematically describes the flow of heat over a given geometry. This undoubtedly was due to the fact that the vadaa is to be deep fried. The geometry would help homogenize the heat flow over the vadaa thereby achieving the perfect crispiness and taste!
So in essence the creator of the vadaa was using high level differential geometry to create an edible mathematical masterpiece. So next time you bite into a vadaa or dunk it in sambhar, it doesn’t matter if you don’t remember how many you have had, but remember that what you are eating is a mathematical marvel!