Monday, December 26, 2005

Speechless in Singleville

Jane Austen once wrote (and I have recycled this number of times) that It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife (or something to this effect). I don't know if any of her descendents married into desi families, but one of them just might have, because most middle aged women with sons of marriageable age seem to share this sentiment to the last "T". Particularly those Random Conservative Desi Moms (henceforth referred to, as RCDMs) who seem to inhabit the by lanes of Tam land down in the south of India.

The moment their offspring come in possession of a paycheck or two (the aforementioned fortune), their maternal instincts kick in and they plug their antennae into the neighborhood grapevine to look for a Ms. Right for the poor guy. Of course this being the digital age, the Sanskrit phrase Vasudaiva Kutumbakam seems particularly relevant and so this so-called neighborhood extends over the whole of the known world and beyond. By the time the poor guy gets first hand knowledge about the whole thing, there have already been a couple of enquiries in his name in his firm's HR department. [1]

All this while, the guy who is in the dark regarding concerted efforts to get his "legs tied" (Tam translation being Kaal-kattu which is the colloquial Tam term for marriage), finds it strange that the whole of his city has been in involved in activities that involve the term "holy matrimony" in one way or the other. And he finds it strange that his mom seems to have met every friend of his who he hasn't seen or talked to in a long time. What's more, each of these friends seem to be on personal endeavors to rid themselves of their single status, or which is what they seem to talk to the mom about.

It is a well known fact that most RCDMs would be automatic shoo-ins for Republican party membership, with a large percentage of them being "anti pro-choice" advocates. Before you get me wrong, I mean they'd like their sons leave the choice of life partners to them, the moms and the dads. So it is not un-common to see them give their sons the standard talk on the virtues of arranged marriage. I got one myself the other day too and I was totally amused. It's also funny that none of them would participate in any discussion about the "birds and bees" with their sons. The daughters seem to be well educated in these aspects, which is natural, I guess, but the boys get their education from the darkened movie halls in the bylanes where the movies played don't match the posters pasted on the gates of the halls. Personally, an amusing incident was when, on the brink of my departure to the US, a grand-uncle of mine sent me off with the words - Thaniya pora. Thaniya thirumbi va (You are leaving alone. So you come back alone). Sadly, it looks like his words might be prophetic. Anyways I am digressing.

Then there are the soothsayers. To any Random Son of a Random Conservative Desi Mom (henceforth referred as RSRCDM), the talk of the stars and the signs coming from the mouth of his mom are as unclear as the Linda Goodman's words that he had once memorized to impress (rather unsuccessfully, I should add) a few gals. And the really close amatuer star gazers (they do this for fun, it seems, which totally leaves them devoid of any accountability and so you can't catch their collars for predicting that the future wife of the RSRCDM in question would be the heiress of the Hilton fortune), pitch in with a few bits of free advice and a few warnings too, resulting in awkward conversations like the one that I'll detail now.

*RSRCDM is in the middle of a game of 8 ball with a few buddies. Sean Paul and Beyonce are crooning in the background as a few glasses of chilled coke (your mental image is brought you by Pixar and has been touched up by Industrial Light and Magic to remove the ubiquitous smoke and the 500ml bottle of Kingfisher from the frame) sit on a side table. As RSRCDM mentally exclaims "Quarter Ball, matter solved" and contemplates rolling the cue ball off the side wall to angle the 3 ball into the side pocket, his cell phone rings. RSRCDM abandons the shot and picks up the cell phone to find that it is RCDM.

RSRCDM: hello ma.
RCDM: Hey da. What are you doing?
RSRCDM: Playing pool with my friends, ma.
RCDM: Pool? What is that?
RSRCDM: oh, it is like billiards.
RCDM: Oh, so. Why are you playing, this late at night?

*RSRCDM decides that he has a long night ahead of him and hurriedly changes the conversation as he finds 3 other pairs of eyes boring into his face while his friends wait for him to play his shot.

RSRCDM: What are you doing ma?
RCDM: Nothing da. I just thought I will call you.
RSRCDM: Oh, ok.
RCDM: How are you? How was work this week?
RSRCDM: Work was fine ma. I am thankful that it is the long weekend.
RCDM: Oh ok. So what are you doing this weekend?
RSRCDM: I am going to look around for a car ma. I am spending a lot on rental cars. I am buying a used car.
RCDM: Good. What are you going to buy?

*RSRCDM gives RCDM a quick low down on the used car buying methodology. Seeing daggers in eyes of his buddies, he keeps the descriptions really short and tells her that he will be online in half hour once he gets back home. As soon as the game ends, RSRCDM heads back home and as expected his phone rings almost immediately after he walks in. And it is RCDM.

RCDM: Hello. Are you coming online?
RSRCDM: I don't know ma. ItÂ?s already too late. I think I want to go and sleep.
RCDM: oh ok. I wonÂ?t keep you long. I just spoke to this astrologer last month and he had some advice for you.

*Instantly RSRCDM's senses are all heightened and a light goes on inside his head.

RSRCDM: What did he say?
RCDM: Nothing da. I went to him because things seemed to be difficult for you career wise.
RSRCDM: Ohhhhh kkkk?
RCDM: He told me some things that have come true in the past two weeks or so. Now your career prospects are better right?
RCDM: So then, he told me to pass on some advice to you.
RCDM: You are a hardworking boy. And you are earning well.
RCDM: No. That means you are an eligible bachelor.

*RSRCDM now knows where this is going

RSRCDM: Ma, itÂ?s barely weeks since I started working, so stop!
RCDM: No. No. Just listen. He told me that boys like you are an attractive choice for Indian families in the US looking for a match for a daughter or two.

*RSRCDM decides that this is a conversation that is moving into unknown territory.

RCDM: No, No.. The man told me that these families might want you to be their son-in-law and try to TRAP you into marrying their daughters.

*When RSRCDM's friends wake up the next morning, they find him on the couch, sitting still, open jawed in shock. Last known, RSRCDM is still trying to recover from the shock of this new angle that seems to have stumped him, mute and defenseless.

So, it turns out that these days, every single desi guy needs to be wary about Entrapment. While the mention of the word conjures up images of Catherine Zeta Jones, a single look in the mirror reminds every RSRCDM that he is no Sean Connery and hence he resigns himself to the inevitable with a sigh and gets back to his life.


All characters and incidents featured in/on this post are the product of this blogger's imagination, well almost. Any resemblence to actual persons (living or dead) or events, is purely coincidental (well almost, again).

1. In fact there have been so many similar enquiries in IT firms that a few firms seem to have norms in place, governing responses to such enquiries.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stop Press: Breaking new ground

Well, it is what it is. Stephen Rodger Waugh and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, move over. The final frontier has been conquered. With one small step for himself, the Gawker has finally gone where no man has ever gone before. And in doing so, he has taken a great leap for all us men-folk.

Wait a minute, he did not actually *GO* in there. You see, we men seem to have our own, non-special place to *GO* that's devoid on any mystery (thanks to the historically accurate descriptions/representations in every form of media). But in the truest fashion of a born explorer, he did go there to find answers to a question which must be on the minds of every man since long long ago (nobody knows how long ago) - What exactly is behind that door?. And from his description, it seems to be a well equipped joint.

So when the history of the human race is written eons from now, will this event shall be given equal footage with Marco Polo's voyage to the Far East, Mahatma Gandhi's walk to Dandi, Livingstone's first sight of the mighty Victoria falls or would it be just a footnote like Saurav Ganguly's childish tantrums in Zimbabwe, Bennifer, Ron Jeremy's hirsute torso and Angelina Jolie's "alleged" bisexuality? Time only shall tell.

But one thing is certain. I should update my blog-roll and find a place in history myself by acknowledging the tenacity of the individual who dared to question what everybody else accepted without reason and enlightened us all with a description that will not be out of place in a wiki. Oh Gawker, I bow to thee....

(brought to you via Saket's edition of the BBM)

(P.S: It dawns on me that I know one other person who is rumored to have been on one such expedition. But sadly he is not a blogger and so the world will probably never know what his eyes saw.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Thalaivar, the Boss...

Ek hi chaand hai, raat ke liye...

Ore oru chandiran dhaan, iravukku ellam..

Ek hi suraj hai, din ke liye...

Ore oru kadhiravan dhaan, pagalukku ellam..

Ek hi thalaivar hai, is jugh ke liye...

Ore oru thalaivar dhaan.... oorukku ellam....

Ore oru thalaivar dhaan.... oorukku ellam....

I must be the only thalaivar fan who did not post anything yesterday. But then, I am humble enough to admit that I cannot be as big a fan as someone who created this and this and this and this and this.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Update to five and six too!

In response to a threatening email (lol...) from a fellow quizzer, the Three Hi-Fives to quiz that I posted on October 18, has been updated with answers. I have no excuse for being late.

Oh well, that takes care of the "update to five" part in the title. Now for the six.

In Thamizh, Aaru refers to the number 6. Saw it last night and found several interesting references in the movie. For one, I found that whenever the camera panned over sections of the slum with the rail tracks in the background of the frame, a train seemed to be going past the slum. This seemed to be in every single scene. I don't know if that was intentional, but if it was, I can give them a 9/10 for effort. Before you ask me, how did I notice such details and whether I do this for all movies, I have to add that, overall Aaru = Bore-u!

Which means that about 15 to 20 minutes into the movie, I was watching for such things such as the badges on the Ford SUVs used in the movie. And for trains in the frame.

But I noticed one reference, which deserves a post by itself, however unintentional it might have been. Probably tonight.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Blurred boundaries

When does a blog become a part of MSM? Or how do you differentiate between a blog and news portal? My definition of a blog is this - A blog is a webpage maintained by a individual or a group solely to disperse information related to the interests of the blogger(s) without any supervision of any sort. The blogger is both the financier, contributor and the editor of the information propagated through the blog.

But today, I read of a "blog portal that will be funded by investor's money"(via Kaps), my thoughts raced to this same definition from above. The entrepreneur has been throwing around terms like "revenue model" and sources close to the venture say that companies like Pepsi and Motorola are going to be sponsors. So what makes this "blog portal" different from, say, a portal like the online edition of TOI? TOI has a revenue model as well and a number of different companies advertise on there as well. If charging anywhere between 50 paise and a rupee for every click on their ads would make this new venture a "blog portal", then what is the USP over any other blog that subscribes to Google's Adsense?

But what is even more glaring is the byline for the blog: .... is the foremost blog representing the thoughts, aspirations, feeling and experiences of Indian youth. Most of the content is written by those in the 16-25 age group, with professional editors mentoring them to ensure professional quality material.

While the emphasis in the above text is mine, I am starting to wonder where the concept of blogs ends and MSM begins? When a similar case (i.e., blurring of boundaries) happens with any other subject, that would be taken as a positive, i.e. an attempt to bridge a gap, but when blogs seem to be the perfect antithesis to MSM, this seems to be a "I too" (grammatical error totally intentional) attempt by whoever is behind this attempt. And this thought comes to mind solely because of the presence of "professional editors" in this exercise. If the focus is to mentor future journos, then a un-monitored blog would be a perfect way to set them on that path! But this attempt seems to be something else. Is this the attempt of a tech-illiterate businessman to earn some money without ever knowing what he is dealing with?

Friday, December 02, 2005

All-rounder – adept cricketer or anachronism?

Time and again, history shows that man has embarked on futile searches for elusive mythical riches. The search for an Indian all-rounder seems have fared no better. And I don’t think that this search is ever going to end, well, not until certain issues are resolved. But far easier would be a simple scope change.

If you ask me, the definition of an all-rounder is all skewed. Ask one the selectors who were in the panel last year to name his favorite all-rounder and I bet I can guess what his answer would be. Oh wait, I was not supposed to write that. But to my defense, I think this mindset is typical of any average Indian, who would define an all-rounder as a batsman who can bowl at least 5 overs a day and keep the batsmen quiet and take wickets from time to time. So, the focus in the sub-continent seems on finding players who would contribute both with the ball and the bat. And there lies the flaw.

Read more here...

This was originally cross posted on the Cricinfo Blog - Different Strokes. I took the original post off here to drive traffic to the Cricinfo Blog which is not majorly promoted at the moment. There are more posters there who are coming out with awesome posts and who deserve your comments much more than just me. So go there and read all of our posts...