Attempt @ Humour

Washroom Snaps !

Well, that title could sound like a porn peddling paparazzi beating his chest in pride ! If it did sound like that to you, well, there is disappointment in store !

Don’t get stressed. This post is about relief. Well, its actually about stress !

Where is the relief ? The men’s room often gets depicted in various ways. The various depictions by themselves constitute a separate topic ! Perhaps for a PhD (let alone a blog post)!

Signaling, perhaps of the only place a man can think of himself to be a king. Stoking the mind to imagine a band of retinues and such luxuries while he ‘relieves’ himself in the public toilet, is perhaps equivalent to anesthesia for surgery !

Seen at the Mumbai International Airport. A grand sum of Rs.2/- (to be paid specifically before he can bring some ‘relief’ to himself ) !

‘Entry Charges’ ! You don’t have to relieve yourself. We charge you for entry ! And pay before entry !

Perhaps the only things left to be said is ‘punishment for non payment. 15 days jail or setting a Special Investigation unit after you’ ! Sounds plausible !

On the other end of the spectrum, is this collection box with a lock at a restaurant on the Mumbai – Ahmedabad highway.

Donation ! The lock perhaps is to signify the crores that can get collected ! With an appropriate assurance that all
such collected amount would be used for cleaning the toilet ! It can load guilt in the heart if he went without dropping a coin or two.

Especially considering the ‘relief’ thats been brought about !

On another note, there are these queer messages. Like this one that dominated the walls when the movie ‘3 idiots’ was launched !

Whatever was that ?!? Meditate ! Meditate !

Or think of this message seen in a office loo. “Winners are too busy to be sad…and too determined to be defeated” it says ! For Gods sake, the man has come there to take a leak !

‘Too determined to be defeated… ‘ !! What did those folks want him to do. Rush through his business and bolt through the desk to take on his boss ?

5 star hotels raise the bar ! Television sets ! Ok,
that sounds ok.

But a live telecast of the budget presentation by Pranab Mukherjee is not a sensible man’s notion of relief ! Pranab Mukherjee and his English, four inches from the face when taking a leak is not a normal man’s notion of relief !

Relief. Bah !

Dear Ms.DeMonte

Dear Ms.DeMonte,

It seems you taught English in school. Its also said that you have yelled. And felled those boys and girls, sometimes with nothing else but stern looks that were as ominous as a Swine Flu warning.

Of course, at times their notebooks have been airborne in a flash, at speeds that would have delighted the Indian Air Force. Crashing into corridors and corners. Enraged. For reasons ranging from faulty punctuation to fumbling pronunciation. Incorrect past tense to imperfect future tense !

Over time your students are said to have (usually) learnt that missing an apostrophe was catastrophe ! Atleast, In your class ! Many years after they moved on into adult life, atleast in one of them, its stuck right through.

This chap that i am talking to today, has a penchant for poorly executed semantic gymnastics. And that too on, as public a forum as a blog ! “The gall”. Wont you say. Like a local weight lifter trying a Olympic ballerina act ! In your name..

But there sure are things that you must be happy about. Like for instance, if you come to know that upon spotting this store

this chap thought of you.

Thinking of the lady who taught him English in class two while his missus is besides him, can well have chaps who read Freud arching their eyebrows in interest. Much like a biology student eyeing a lab specimen.

But before your anger is airborne its important to specify that the thoughts were about English language ! And so he says. Like giving ‘different meanings’ to this notice, just like you would do.

He gave it four. Without changing anything of what was already written there. Just adding those full-stops !

1. Mans. Gift Store Woman Welcome
2. Mans Gift. Store Woman Welcome
3. Mans Gift Store. Woman Welcome
4. Mans Gift Store Woman. Welcome

And was all excited! Like an urban two year old spotting a bullock cart. Additionally he confessed that you visited him in his dream and gave him a pat on his back.

[ Of course, much to the annoyance of his missus. Any missus would be. If the husband, wakes her up in the middle of the night and asks her if she patted his back. ( He also murmurs that ‘what for’ from the missus kept his restive for the rest of the night ) ]

So you see Ms.DeMonte, to say that you have been an ‘influence’ would be a gross understatement. Perhaps a little short of the likes of an Indian film director, ripping off a Hollywood blockbuster. Frame-by-frame. In the name of ‘inspiration’ !

Teachers like you are a rarity these days. Some of them don’t subscribe to your line of thought. Many others don’t understand it. Like that apostrophe-catastrophe bit !

Missing the apostrophe is one thing. Looking up the dictionary for ‘catastrophe’ is quite another. Those stern looks and airborne notebooks indeed seem to have left a lasting impression.

A sober chap talking to another who is four drinks down. About his 2nd standard teacher called Ms. DeMonte for three full hours, says a lot. Wont you think.

Your Truly,
Four drinks down. Three hours now.

PS : I have noticed, despite a general haze in the air, that the apostrophe isn’t there in any of his four options. Am i to expect catastrophe?

Missed calls and milk !

a temple with a telecom tower as its backdrop
and a statue with the legendary conch at the front end. Kodai
There was a far away time when conches were blown to announce battle. Of course, pigeons flew with messages. The temple bell rang to announce day, and night.

Those were different times though. It must have been wonderful, to live in those times. In the midst of simple joys and comforts of nature.

Well, the conches, don’t exist anymore. At least not as a communication tool. And definitely not to announce battle ! Pop corn fed pigeons don’t carry messages. And living life by the bell happens largely in prisons !

But think of the modern day mobile phone. Isn’t that a conch of some kind ? That which announces love, battle, news, net..what not ! A little stretched perhaps. But somewhere there !

There was a time, not very long ago, that a call on the mobile phone, used to cost Rs. 16/- a minute. These days, you can get by for months at that cost. Especially if you know of the “Great Indian Missed Call trick” !

The other day, the missus’s mobile rang. One ring, two rings. And stopped. The missus looked at who is calling, and didn’t pick up the call. But went about attending various chores.

Looking particularly puzzled, (which is a slightly different from the ‘perpetually puzzled’ look that the missus thinks is part of me), some sniffing around was done.

Only to find out, that two rings, at 9.00 AM, from the maid who comes to clean, translates to : “I would be late for work today”.

Not a rupee spent. Message conveyed. To simplistic minds like mine, this sounds like the Chinese Army exchanging war messages !

And when friends tell me ‘Give me a missed call. we’d come down to get you’, the mind leaps in amusement. For, my elementary mind works this way : “a call can be made. To miss it or not, is the receiver to decide. How can a missed call be given?”

But with a ‘missed call’ pact like that, what they mean is ‘when you call, i will be missing it…but i’ll get the message that you are here’ !

Zero cost ! Not that they are in abject penury. Or doing this blaming the economy. This has how it has been when Lehman brothers and the others were still standing.

So,if you are in India, and are wondering why call rates are going south, you know why. Don’t you! There sure must be many reasons. But, my elementary mind thinks only of the great Indian missed call trick!

With the vegetable vendor to the CEO carrying phone, of course, we have one of the cheapest call rates in the world. Take a look.

A glass of tea is Rs. 5
A glass of milk is Rs. 10/-
A glass of badam milk is Rs.15/-

But down there…intercity dialing. All 1 Rupee !

Here is a Choice. Between a glass of milk and ten minutes of talk on the phone ! My elementary mind stays with the mobile phone.

For with calls, you can miss them, and still convey the point. There is no point with spilt milk. Not even crying. Hmm.

I rest my case.

Of Swiping !

I found this at the office cafeteria. A modern day affair. Where you ‘swipe’ a ‘card’ over a machine, which automatically debits your account. Voila. Your hips richer with fat. And your money in the bank, stands lower. Than where it already was.

And as the lunch was settling into the comfortable recesses of the alimentary canal, that message rankled my mind. That message that called me to check my account before swiping. I chuckled. And thought of how life and times have evolved.

Think about it.

A few years back ‘a mouse’ was something that scurried around carrying plague. Not something that you would cradle in your hand helping you navigate a screen. A ‘screen’ was something that you adorned a window with.

And a window was something that had to be opened to let in some fresh air, and something that would never ‘hang’. And lets not talk of Gates.

‘Monitors’ were people in school, who looked over you. Not something that came in 14 or 17 inches ( or more. Or less ) that you peered into ! Back then, none of my class monitors were ever ‘flat’! Of course, ‘Printers’ were people who ran a business and a laptop was something to with your leg.

A ‘virus’ was something that infected people. Not machines. And when you meant ‘anti-virus’, you thought of a doctor! Not downloadable software! Those were the times when you could ‘enter’ without hitting any ‘key’. And keys themselves were made of metal.

Of course, ‘backspace’ was about space in the rear of the bus. Geeks were a spelling error, when you wanted to write ‘Greeks’ ! And ‘spellchecker’ at best brought back memories of the dictation test that you flopped in Ms.De Monte’s class.

Do you remember Yahoo? It was a jungle cry. And the closest people came to uttering ‘google’ was when they were either saying ‘gooey’ or ‘ogle’ !

Back then, plastic was looked down upon. Used only in the making of mugs, toys and such peripherals. And by no stretch of imagination, was it a stand-in for money. Money in itself was standing in. For gold that that governments kept! Gold Standard !

And we live in the best of times and in the worst of times. A time when money has moved from the gold standard to plastic. And ‘swiping’ is very much an acceptable mode of payment. ( or should I be saying ‘way of life’) !!

Life indeed has evolved. Don’t you think ?


From afar we see many couples taking a boat ride in the middle of the Kodai lake. And it seems so romantic. So to speak. We follow the crowd. And engage a boat too. For half an hour. A ‘pedal boat’ from TTDC (Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation). And we set off.

As we reach close to the middle of the lake, we realise that all the pedaling is energy draining. And that it isnt quite the ‘romantic experience’ that it seemed from the banks. We huff and puff. And pedal. To get to somewhere quiet. In the lake that is.

We are quick to realise that

a. Pedaling this contraption is not a walk in the woods.
b. ‘Quiet’ spaces are non existent in the lake. (Not that we have any dramatic things ‘to do’ in mind..Just saying. )

And whenever a boat passes by, we see similar drained out faces. And they peer into our boat. And we peer into theirs. Drawing energy from the fact that folks in the other boat are ‘suffering’ as well.

To keep the mind occupied, we strike conversation. Between us. For starters, we wonder why in Gods name, does this boat have to be in the ‘shape of a swan’ ! And that too in pink.

And look around to find ones in deep green, bright orange. et al. Yellow swans with blue beaks. Blue swans with black beaks.

And i quietly slip a prayer of thanks.

One such boat comes close. Another couple. The man is sweating. Huffing. Puffing. All at the same time.‘Tommy’ his shirt says. The lady is no different. She is on the ‘huff-puff ‘ mode too. Her T-shirt says ‘GAS’ or ‘GAP’. ( i am not sure )

They look at us. We look at them’. And the woman says, ‘look their boat has broken wings’. And i look around. To find that there are ‘wings’ to all boats. Wings of a swan. Ofcourse. Plastic. Coloured. Attachments with ‘artistic’ value.

And also find that in our boat, one wing is absent. Puffing and huffing, i wonder, how i missed seeing that we were one wing less. And seem to think that there is a distinct glee in the other couple now.

There we are. In the middle of the lake. The lovely weather above. Pedals beneath. Momentarily thinking of the wing that isnt there. On a boat that doesnt need it. The other couple pass us. They smile. And they keep staring at where the wing should have been.

And it seems to give them some topic for conversation. And some energy too. For their winged boat gathers new found speed. At least, i think so.

We are one wing less. We arent getting anywhere’ i say. And we stop.

We have a good laugh. We stop pedaling. We give our thigh muscles some rest. And soak in the lake and the weather. Boats with and without wings pass by. And we seem to think they are all giving us a ‘what a pity’ look.

While we just sit there with giggle and glee !

We decide to look for them. That couple. Who somehow lead us to a good time. We want to thank them.

I cant find them. They must have flown. They had wings, you see.

Sticking the neck out..

A wedding invitation bearing my name ‘& family’ came my way. And ofcourse, i went.

And brought to mind typical weddings and their decorations back in Madurai. The Mumbai wedding is slightly different. It retains all the glitz and is a little more racy. The eye is on the watch and the thought is with the 9.07 PM local that needs to be ‘caught’.

But the point is this. That across India, for every marriage, many converge. And each wedding is a very typical, Indian moment. For every marriage, many converge. ( usually in multiples of many hundreds). All eat. Most see. A few wish. Some other wedding ‘proposals’ exchanged.

Everybody gets photographed and videographed. And form a queue that will walk upto the bride and groom to gift or thust a cover (ofcourse with cash inside ) into a sweaty palm of a tense bride. Or groom, for that matter.

When feisty youth used to course my veins i used to abhor attending weddings. For it was the time when the other ‘uncles and aunties’ would be concerned about what i was doing.

Which was exhibited with a casual question on ‘how much do you make ‘ as though it was the number of dosas that had gone in since morning. (And in any case, the question rather had been about the dosas).

And ofcourse, that was followed by a by-the-way comment about how their son was was basking in the Mediterranean and the daughter was waxing eloquence in London or someplace else, you only saw on National Geographic.

But the point is this. That the great Indian wedding is an inescapable part of us. There is music. There is dance. There are pretty women. And handsome men. And ofcourse, some great food.

And in the midst of all the din & decoration, often less talked about is the good that it does to economy. For the wedding season spurs many businesses on. From the decorator to the dance party, everybody makes some dough. And by the way, the jeweller is not someone that i am going to talk about.

This picture landed in my in-box from a friend, who wanted to establish that the recession was far away from ‘happening’ in Kerela’s weddings. Now, this surely had my eyes perk, and the ears twitch.

What the world wears for its wedding is a matter of personal choice and consequently – none of my business.

But you know…i am just concerned. Of the neck.

Breaking News.

A dramatic event occurred in Santa Cruz, Mumbai today.  
This is an exclusive coverage on 

LMNOP Digital HIgh Speed blah blah TV 365 X 365 !

( For most accurate experiencing of this, please read with dramatisation, ‘correct’ pronounciation and gestures bordering on hysteria. OK ? Or just flick that TV remote on and settle for a news channel )

At around 1.00 PM, when the temperature was reported to be hovering around 40 degree, sirens pierced the afternoon air. Heads turned. People stopped doing whatever they were doing. The others peeped through the windows. Those that had a window for the door and the sky for the roof, squinted to see what the fuss was about. 

A fire engine appeared.  True to form, stopped some distance away. There has been intense debate about ‘fire in the belly’ for politicians.  And perhaps some one called for a fire tender !

And then, in some time our crew found a crow whose wing had gotten entangled to string,  struggling to free itself. This perhaps was a string that was used to fly a kite some time back. For all its flaps, the bird  got further entangled. 

The firemen demurred. And got to work.  A crowd gathered. Everybody looked up into the sky. And some genuinely surprised that all this ado is about a crow.  Others very happy that someone took the step of calling the firemen at the plight of the crow. 

An old lady who lived in the house next door steps out spoke to us. ( Camera Pans ) 

‘Oh, I thought, someone in our building committed suicide’.  She continued, ‘last week, a tree fell in my backyard. I called the firemen. Nobody turned up. Now they have come for the crow’ ! She said. 

And then, looked into the sky at the crow and its struggle to break free, and said, ‘poor thing’ while walking away.  

There are three hundred and twenty two people  in the crowd. And suddenly, a parcel of crows arrived on the scene. All crowing madly.  

Its the peak afternoon heat. And it was getting to everybody. The firemen. The onlookers. The neighbours. And the crow that was hanging in the balance. 

To cut a long story short, the crow was rescued. And the firemen walked away with the crow ! And someone in the crowd shouted, ‘go send it to Maneka Gandhi‘. Someone else said, ‘this is what the firemen are trained to do. Catch crows’.  

In the meanwhile the parcel of crows that were there, have flown in the direction of the first minister that they can sight for a ‘fly-in crowing dharna’. Unconfirmed sources also state that they are reported to be on the look out for slippers. The public are requested to watch out for them. 

The crows were unavailable for comment. We will be staying on course to update you on the latest on this epic crow saga. 

If you liked this story send an SMS to 39492384234 typing ‘YES’. If otherwise type ‘NO’. In anycase, 77.8 % have already voted that they liked this story. This is exclusive breaking news that you are First seeing here. Stay tuned to get updated.

Such news of national existential importance can be tracked on our website as well. 24 hours a day 365 days a year. We will be the first to deliver… ! 

This story will continue to be breaking news until the next crow gets entangled, the cow drinks Coke, the giraffe trips over an electric pole, the local politician speaks his natural game or if nothing else materialises, perhaps until some wisecrack stays off rice. 

Of fossils and armies !

Here are two images. Spotted on the roads of big city Mumbai !

The first one : a spraymint ad. Exhorting women to use this spraymint and be ‘kiss ready’ ! And going on to conduct a contest for the most ‘kiss ready’ woman on the website (advertised therein)!

At 7.45 AM. In the hustle bustle of Mumbai morning traffic, i cant help but wonder how much of a fossil i am becoming. For i read and wince. The world is at peace. The bus for one, moves at a steady pace.

I notice that the wince on my face, stays.

Would a woman get excited by this ad and walk up to a store and ask for this spray with ease? Not that it would affect me, if she did. But hey, the question remains, would it create a surge in demand a spike in sale !?!

Not to my mind.

But the people that made this spray (and this ad) must have some cogent reason, market research and many creative hours of billing. And so, perhaps. Women do walk up and buy. I dont know. But….

I scratch my chin, and wonder, how much of me is a fossil ! Already !

The second image is that of a taxi.

A taxi that sports Ram’s name and the Nike logo on the windshield. Togther! Now, Lord Ram didnt wear Nike. As far as i know. And to the best of my knowledge, Nike didnt sponsor Ram’s trip to Lanka. Or anywhere else for that matter.

But this taxi driver must be an ardent Ram devotee and Nike loyal ! So there, Ram and Nike co-exist !

I wonder how do i greet the taxi driver ?!? ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Or ‘Just Do It’ ? Maybe both ! Hmm.

Now, these two pictures being placed in one post is sheer coincidence. Of the bus and the taxi being spotted in quick succession ! Ram am sure, understands the ways of the world.

I am not sure of his armies though.

Stomach Vision !

Metaphors occupy my thoughts these days. Its almost becoming an obsession. Looking at any object and thinking up a connection is having a soothing impact. (Well, in the silence of my own self, affording a laugh at best and a smirk at worst ! )

Strange things are happening to the world you see and there are first steps to everything. My approaching delirium included. ( Read more about delirium here. Incase any of you wants to check…No. Not a self check. Of course not..! Someone you know…!)

Anyway, in this current state of mind, I looked at this picture and recall a Bangalore evening. And methinks of sharing my thought & checking out my delirium quotient !!

Just outside the Cosmopolitan Mall in Bangalore, they had this giant ‘puppet’ that walked the entrances when we were there, a couple of years back. I am told that they did this to sustain interest from shoppers and increase foot falls !

Entertaining children and therefore relieving parents! The young impressionable minds saw this ‘larger than life’ colorful & powerful object that moved around and resembled a human form, with, to put it mildly, a certain degree of large awe and some joy.

So, they clapped aloud. Smiled. Laughed aloud. And kept standing wide eyed at the sight of this large wooden lady that went from one end to another.

Some children ventured near ‘her’ and ‘she’ would come close or go farther away, and children obviously would go ga-ga, that this huge figure was after all responding to them and their moves !

It was an interesting exchange of sorts! Between children of all hue and the puppet.

Parents stood by the side. Fully aware that the puppet was moved around by a small man with stilt legs standing inside ! Moved around, powered by the eyes in the tummy

Yes..those peep holes in the tummy of the puppet which were the see-holes through which the small man inside was using to move around with.

Seeing the world & those children. Their laughter and their moves et al. And making his moves, while we stood there and let the children have all the fun !!

So there was a

a. Wooden but very colourful structure
b. Seemed larger than life
c. Was actually a small, ordinary person inside
d. Attracted and plays with / to impressionable minds
e. Had stomach vision..( saw all activities through an eye in the stomach…)

Without a tilt of a head or a shake of a finger i shout : politicians of the world !!

But as i said, i concede, mine is a mind that is beginning to indicate onset of progressive delirium. At least that’s what i make of the look people give me these days. So, do let me know, how close or how far away i am.

From delirium that is !

Straight from the floor

So there is this gent who hurled a slipper at you know who. At first i thought of this to be one whole publicity stunt.

The cynical skeptic in me thought so. It could have been the Iraqis angling for some publicity, i thought. Or perhaps Al Jazeera. Or perhaps GWB himself to showcase how deft he was in ducking at anything and everything thrown at him.

I wasnt aware of other implications of this until i read that the demand for such shoes had shot up ! And that Col. Gaddafi’s daughter awarded this bloke with a medal of courage. And there was another dude who gave this shoe hurler a Merc. And there was another who gave, yes you heard it right, his daughter in marriage !

I cant believe this. People all around me spend a lifetime, studying, earning and trying to be someone. And here comes a chap, who gets a medal, a Merc and a lady…and all has to do is get his shoes off. Come on, there has to be justice in the world.

This act has created new jobs in the country i am told. I don’t know what it has done to GWB. But it sure has done one thing to me.

I look more keenly at shoes ! You know…generally at the floor. So, now, i know who polishes footwear. Who doesn’t. How shoes are worn. And those holes in the socks. And those slippers that were worn by the dinosaurs’ first cousin…all of which meet my eye.

And when i see a size 10 shoe, i give the wearer a second look. And usually stay a good 5 feet away, and practice imaginary ducking. At other times i think that for a 10 door Merc, 10 million dollars in hard cash, a beautiful girl in marriage, and a medal of courage….i wonder if i should start practicing shoe hurling.

Perhaps just practice it…You know..practice..!

But…(Sigh)! Something stops me. I wonder where this inertia hails from. I am just not able to do this. And i have repeatedly given up. And each time i give up, i know that my best chance of strutting around in a Merc is gone !!

Never mind. Now that i cannot drive that 10 door Merc, here are other images from the floor. That i present to you, my esteemed reader.

One, a mop, that i presume was used to mop the reception bay at office. I would vote it as one of the most functional spellings of English language.

And the other, that i spotted at a temple. SMS language seeps all through. Right up to the foot too.

2 much ! eh !

And for other readers who still have a certain tentativeness about my intentions, have no fear. I wear size 9.