Sunday, December 16, 2007

Help!!! I have been hit on...

The weirdest incident happened to me recently and though it grossed me out completely at the moment - on further reflection it actually felt cool. Ok, to start from the beginning- I was at the British Council Library in Chennai recently on an afternoon- which I often do when I dont particularly have any place to go to, although I'm in the mood to hang out somewhere... Anyway I was sitting there minding my own business when this Sarong-clad (can't describe it any better) person looking like a South-east Asian walks upto the sofa and sits down beside me. He opens up his lap-top and gets busy while I am looking at Mens Health Magazine and going crazy at all those sculputed hot-bod bodybuilders (God, how long is it going to take poor ol' me to get a body like that?). Suddenly I felt a light brush on my thigh - and I thought it was accidental and let it go. A couple of minutes later I had definite confirmation that it wasn't an accident -the guy beside me ran a finger on my thigh - caressed it actually. By God, I freaked out- wanted to punch him in the face. Then decided that discretion is the better part of valor and escaped from there- literally ran out of the reading area to the lounge where lotsa people were milling about- I suppose I felt safe in a crowd. I took a moment to reflect on what happened - No, It wasn't my imagination - I'd definitely been Hit on. Girls have this happenening to them fairly frequently I suppose - they have defense mechanisms and escape codes already prepared - but for a guy it is a novel experience. Now what made that guy try his move on me? do i look like...? God Forbid. On the other hand, on further reflection, I think its kinda cool, isn't it? I have now become a Gay Icon- I have joined the ranks of David Beckham, Ranbir Kapoor, George Clooney..all the quintessential metrosexuals. In other words - I Have Arrived....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Exotic Dating Places in Chennai

I was just talking to a young friend and he was polambifying (worrying) about the lack of interesting dating places in dear old Chennai. I mean just how many times can you take your date to Inox or not to Satyam Theatre? he was asking me. Kids these days are not creative at all. I mean in my day; back when I was actively Dating -long, long ago and so long ago - I used to be pretty creative in planning my dates. A few of the best and most exotic places I have been to on a date include

My Top 3 Dating Venues:

  1. Domestic Terminal (Kamaraj Terminal) - Chennai Airport

One of the best dating venues in Chennai - Safe, Secure, Fully Air-conditioned, with comfortable seating, good privacy and very Cheap. Except for the distance you have to travel to reach there. The first time, I discovered the opportunity to date in the airport was accidentally, when I had gone there to recieve my former girlfriend Li.. from Calcutta with a bouquetwhen she was coming back from holidays. I had planned it to be a nice surprise for her and we spent a pleasant one hour in the terminal sitting down in the well-upholstered lounge chairs they have there - telling her how much I missed her. We sort of made this a regular practise whenever she went back to calcutta or came back - till I got that job in bangalore and moved away from chennai. I have only pleasant memories of the hours I spent in the airport and of her and yes some of my later girlfriends must have been right when they complained that I was always comparing them unfairly to the standards of L.

2. Vandalur Zoo

Another cheap and secure location with lotsa privacy -good enough for a full day date - I discovered this place due to the animal (loving) instincts of my dear departed (to Hyderabad to get married) friend N. We spent two or three consecutive saturdays there having fun (in the late 90's) I havent been there recently - so I dont know the current situation.

3. Chepauk Stadium

The mega-date I planned for D. with whom I was absolutely besotted for a few weeks before I learnt her treacherous and perfidious nature included hosting her birthday party at the centre of the pitch in Chepauk stadium. Strange to say that it didn't cost as much as I was thinking - just the regular baksheesh to be shared among the watchmen there. It was an event to remember - those big empty stands and the hot blazing atmosphere as I had parked my car in the center of the pitch and the unexpectedly strong breeze which kept blowing out the candles of the cake perched on the bonnet...

Well that is a collection of all the unexpected and alternate sites I have explore. And as they say - You are only limited by your imagination.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What can go wrong - In a Ponnu-Parkum episode - will go wrong.- Murphy's Law

There's a basic dictum -which goes something like this - Given enough time, things are not as bad as they first looked. Time puts a positive spin on events. Unfortunately for me, that doesn't apply. For two days after my "First Official Sight-Seeing Episode" - circa last Saturday, I still reel with "Omigosh" every time I remember it and go red in the face with accumulated embarassment. Like I said before, the only thing which works with unfailing regularity for me is Murphy's Law -"What can go wrong will go wrong". I still remember being nicknamed Die Hard in my UG days - because I was always the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time - always catching my friends off-guard in their moments of intimacy with their girlfriends. This was purely accidental - but my friends wouldn't believe it as I was also the editor of "the Buzz" the college magazine and the next month's rumour column would often include unsubtle hints about certain eye-witness scenes. That's me in a nutshell - an unconventional personality who just loves to push the limits of what society's comfortable with and likely to do something barely predictable.

The point I'm trying to make is - of all the things to go wrong - this was one I wasn't expecting to. I mean I was on my first official sight-seeing trip to check out a girl -under the proper supervision of both sets of parents - if you know what I mean. And then events took on a life of their own -so that in the end it was a complete Comedy Time. The first thing which happened was a fight with my mum just when we were about to start -regarding my unshaven face- She screamed at me to shave- when I had intentionally not shaved to grow a stubble - for I feel I look good with a 7'0 clock stubble. In order not to complicate things we did the needfull and proceeded straight to Madipakkam to the girls place.

Unfortunately, the girls people had decided to welcome the new prospective son-in law with a brightly painted house and they had just that morning painted the front doors which had stilll not dried (due to the rains). As is my luck I put a hand to the door which came away with half of that door's paint. So the first thing I had to do when I was welcomed inside was to ask to use the bathroom - even before seeing the girl (getting me strange looks from the assembled relatives).
This screw-up on my part made me so tensed up I even forgot to nibble the sweets provided specially for me which the girls side must have taken as a negative omen or something..

Then they brought in the girl and seated her diagonally to me - so that eye contact between us was kept to the minimum. My Dad promptly started answering calls on his mobile which he kept up throughout the episode. My mom started a little filler conversation with the other concerned parties but couldn't keep it going indefinitely. And then they started on me. "Arent you going to ask her anything? Come on, feel free, ask her whatever you want? well what about the girl, does she want to ask him something/anything?". Thus went my mothers prompting for me....What could I ask this unknown, strange girl? "Your favorite movie? Your favorite film star?" Give me a break. How could I ask her the important doubts plaguing me like "If we have a fight after the wedding -will you be content to just scream at me or will you try to break something on my head?" This sort of all-important marital questions cannot be asked in a crowd, right?

Finally, the ordeal came to an end and we left before we used up all the goodwill- my dad still on his mobile - oblivious to everything which had just gone by. There was all the usual bonhomie of we'll get in touch and we'll let you know. And once in the car - my mom started blasting me -"Why did you freeze? Why are you so shy? Why cant you talk normally? what will they think of you? They'll think you are useless". All this in a soliloquy (and in front of the driver...). Finally my mother asked "Well, what about the girl? did you like her?". I didnt answer her straight - because I didn't know how to phrase it. The girl was; shall we say- petite (actually very short) and well toned (very thin) . I'm 178 cms/5'10" and well- built and being extra-large is not something you can accuse me of without reason.

I remembered an old Kanndasan song about Manaivi Amaivadalam - Where he says Porutam udalilum vendum or something like a good pair should match physically too - but tactfully conveyed to my mother that this was early days yet to make a decision based on one option. Let me sample the field -check out two or three other girls and maybe then I'd be able to make up my mind...Meanwhile my mother as advised me to act more confident next time - to sit up straight (not on the edge) look the girl straight in the eye and talk boldly. Maybe next time....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Or"Kutting" Fantasia......Virtue in the virtual world Vs Vice in the real world

Not being much of a social type - I have never felt the need to be a member of any social network grouping or to "network" desperately - until I reached a phase of my life recently where I found I had more time on my hands than good for me - when in a moment of weakness I accepted an invitation to join that paragon of networking "Orkut" - interesting name - especially when you consider the fact that with a name like mine you can be sure of meeting half-a-dozen namesakes -whenever/wherever. Over the past 6 months not only have I enjoyed using it to connect with like-minded people - I have also run into a few people I'd rather not have remembered.

Which brings me back to the title of this current blog. I mean - people lie in real life - that's true and accepted - but the way that people lie online is astonishing..especially considering the anoymity of the web as a medium means you just dont have to do it- you can be yourself- safely. But not many people get it. The kind of fun I have when I read through all the high sounding, presumptous drivel written by people on their Orkut Profiles makes me roll about in mirth...I mean do people honestly believe that other people who glance through their profiles will be impressed with their persona's? or is to get a sort of vicarious pleasure - this is who I want to/can be - but am not in real life? And they keep changing every other week - evolving in their virtual life so to say - faster than they can in the real world.

For example one of these virtual deja-vu meetings of my life took place recently when on logging into orkut - I was notified that my "Recent Visitors" included a denizen of hell - my former girlfriend - the one and only V-(for Vixen not vendetta)- my first ever from so long ago who taught me all I know about the bees and birds (just the theory-no demo) someone who I thought I had succesfully escaped and who I would never see again until I looked down from heaven to watch the group activities being conducted downstairs in hell. But its true - The devil looks after its own - she has not only survived cheating on all her boyfriends (serially and parallely) but has actually thrived - marrying a nincompoop and emigrating to the modern-day whore of Babylon -New York city. On her profile on Orkut - she describes herself as married with kids and as a "Paragon of virtue". I literally fell out of the chair with bellyache - I mean - I may be biased but on the other hand I could name half a dozen other guys who would agree wth me that the only mistake they made in their lives was mistaking that Long Legs = Good for Dating - before they realized their mistake and ran for cover from the "Bitch from Hell" which was her universal nickname in college - the only decent one I can use here - this Blog being meant for family audiences and PG-13 rated.....Is she the only one who Parades as a Paragon of Virtue in the Virtual world while leading a life of Vice in the real world? Somehow I don't think so....

Let me illustrate with another example.. There is this guy I met on one of the communities and made friends online - real cool guy name of C- who describes in his profile his various accomplishments as reported on newspaper headlines. I mean if you just read the profile - you'd think here is someone who's idea of success - is to see his name in print? (how pathetic!) but once you actually start scrapping him you realize its just a stunt he's trying to pull (shock and awe tactics? - courtesy George Dubya Bush) . Well, to be fair - the guy's pretty young - still in his teens I believe - he'd probably outgrow his obsession with public popularity ( I mean he must be really popular/notorius in college if he keeps pulling stunts like this in real life) and he will probably know that the tall trees are the first ones to be cut down in real life...

And there is this other guy- again an Orkut friend - lets call him S- who is obsessed with double meaning, sexually related Slogans for his second name. If the guy keeps doing that - it makes you wonder if at all he is getting any action? - must be pretty desperate to advertise like this - again another young guy -who'd probably outgrow the teen sex movie phase....

If I continue this way, I'd probably have to change the title of this Blog to "Weird people I met on Orkut" Anyhow I am going to conclude with the wierdest of them all - ME. I don't want to throw the first stone -but remember that thing about people who live in glass houses?..I mean anyone who reads my profile will think I'm some kind of up-standing, hard-working, go-getting individual - an upright pillar of the society so to say. Which is patently untrue. All I am is a hypocritical lazy layabout with more time than ideas to fill them spouting all sorts of psycho-babble crap in the name of analysing others..Fair?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Am I a Risk - Addict?

I know, I know - what you people are thinking..... Just who the heck is this guy to talk aout risk. I'm not a soldier or a fire-fighter or a member of one of the elite crime fighting organisations... Being an oridnary, everyday citizen my oppurtunities for taking significant enough (life threatening risks) are limited enough. But ever since I graduated from being a gawky teenager to a normal adult the thing that every teenager fears so - social ostracism has still stayed with me - so much so that wherever i go, I still strive to be the heart and soul of the party or turn into an invisible speck on the wall - either/or. Which makes me wonder why I take such risks in public places....Is it the Adrenalin Rush? the incredibly heady feeling of plunging into the unknown with the possibility of public humiliation looming large? I just cant explain the Kick I get....

Like today for instance...As i have informed my dedicated readers before I'm wary of public speaking - (being incredibly Shy) - my knees still knock together whenever I get up to make a speech or discuss a point which I have been made to do frequently during my PG days - during all those seminars and symposiums. So today I was in this big Symposium- a big Hall - filled with Gynecologists - all ladies except for a single gent -yours truly - discussing a topic as vague as Gestational Diabetes - and I Heedlessly- either incredibly bravely/incredibly stupidly - got up to discuss a complicated point with the key note speaker - a legend in her field. There was an incredible hush over the audience as everyone craned around to observe the interloper with the temerity to question "The great one". My well grounded knowledge of basics enabled me to carry my point and to show them that outsiders can sometimes have an unique perspective and collective head nodding is for sheep - not intelligent people- science requires questioning regardless of reputation. I think I have branded myself as an Iconoclast in their minds.

Anyway to come back to me. Why do I do It? Why do I take the incredible risk of being laughed at? Of being Humiliated and chased out in front of all those girls? Was I just showing off? Am I a showman at heart or was it the thrill of catching someone wrong and proving my point? Am I a Risk -Junkie? An accident waiting to happen? I don't have the answers... I just felt the endorphin I'd been on a roller coaster - or the best girl in class comes up to me to ask for my notes... Go Figure...

Friday, September 28, 2007

My new OCSD and My Miracle Cure from my TFE

Life on the wrong side of  26 can look daunting at first but having reached that milestone 15 days back I am happy to report that its not all that bad. Firstly, my recent scars from my TFE-"Trauma from Education" have all but disappeared due to a variety of naturopathy treatments like waking up late and goofing off all day... I think I'm cured enough to risk going back to my old college now without being tempted to do a Texas Chainsaw Massacre.. Forgive and Forget... But I make a solemn promise here - if I ever get to be on the faculty - I'll treat my students like friends and not practise petty sadism on them...

The other thing that's happened recently is having made concerted efforts to lose the 10 kgs or so had I put on during my final few months of my course - sleeping in the library, I am considerably lighter and tighter, (thanks to Mr.Prasanna of Swingers Dance school and the folks at Fitness One Gym, Kilpauk) and this has given me a peculiar habit of OCSD - Obsessive Compulsive Shopping Disorder - I keep shopping for clothes and more clothes - tight fitting, body showing stuff, and pile them at home- even though there is nowhere I can wear them to go to. At the end of the month my credit card bill shows me the extent of my madness...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Spirit Vs. The Flesh - an unequal fight?

Last night was a far too hectic night and I'm feeling my age today considerably. Now before you get any wicked ideas let me give you the brief round-up on last evenings activities. I’m approaching thirty in a few weeks (on September 9th)- quite a big landmark in everyone's life. And, yeah, I have a lot of friends who are in their thirties. Some are single. Some are married. Some are still trying to figure out their jobs and what they want to do with their lives. That’s very relatable to me as I am sort of in the same boat. I really believe in the expression, “the thirties really are the new twenties.” Everybody’s supposed to have everything together in their thirties, but most of us don’t. We’re still trying to figure it out. The question asked of me most frequently by assorted friends and relatives is - "What’s wrong with you? Why are you still single?" Especially, when you go to weddings you have to see all these people whom you haven’t seen in years who are asking why you aren’t married and if you have, why you didn't inform them. They can't appreciate that being single and a working professional (without college and exams and all that tension) really allows you to blossom in the creative arts. Especially , the art of dancing.

And now, that I have been attending a few dancing classes a group of my old, old, school friends suggested it was time to try out my skills in the real world. So, a few of the guys got together and made me go along with them to a place called (I think) Platinum at Hotel Aruna in Nungambakkam. My date for the evening (who was briefly and suddenly introduced to me and definitely not my type) had a reputation for being one of the best dancers in our friends group ( a joke played on me by one my wicked wise guy friends). I mean, that should have rung alarm bells for me. But fogged as I am by my recent renaisssance at the fount of youth - namely all play and no work, I stupidly went along with the crowd and allowed myself to be dragged to the Pub/Discotheque. Once there I realized my folly. My date was atleast ten years younger than me- in her late teens I believe ; a very energetic and enthusiastic dancer and despite my best intentions I started to tire out soon. The spirit my dear readers was more than willing but the poor flesh was weak. I was forced to retire from the field (the dance floor) halfway through with cramps in my leg- my left knee buckled actually and I sat down at a corner to watch my date dance with the other guys, probably muttering good riddance at my direction... And did that help... By God , I was soon back on my feet - all pain forgotten (relegated to a corner of the mind to be dealt with later) and I returned to the fray fully charged up. I wont lie to you dear reader and say I outlasted everyone - but I kept pace with the gang and earned their respect (bewildernment, astonishment, appreciation -stage by stage). Late in the evening when we came out of there - I walked away with my head held high - genuinely proud of my bloody-mindedness and my willpower to last the distance and not to give up till I die (whichever is earlier)

So, does age still matter? What if I turn thirty, its still not the end of the world... I can date girls in their twenties and keep dancing away all night (with a little more practice) can't I?

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Ex-Guys Club - of She Who Must Not Be Named

Now let me make it clear - the title is merely a re-working of the "First Wives Club" movie and doesn't mean anything sinister- so don't let your imaginations run riot. Anyway, I was in the BCL- British Council Library today around mid-noon, to check out the books (and babes). And I ran into an old acquaintance of mine after a long time. After the usual High-fives and "Hi! Machi, howya Doin's" we got down to some serious talk. Seems the guy was loooking for a shoulder to cry on and I got caught.

His problem was pretty serious too - his current girlfriend was two-timing him. And as his current girlfriend was my Ex-girlfriend he was looking for some meaningfull advice and uniques insights from me on the situation. My first reaction was to giggle in glee - after all the reason I Broke up with "SHE WHO MUST NOT BE NAMED" was because I had a more than sneaking suspicion that she was two-timing me with this guy sitting sobbing beside me. When I first confirmed the truth about it(due to my extensive network of friends everywhere) - I confronted her head-on and gently told her I appreciated her nimble footwork - but No; I wouldn't be the fall guy. Besides, as usual, I hadn't done much emotional investing in the relationship- it was more a partnership of convenience - being thrown together in the same place and same time. Besides - I always had a doubt (my pricking conscience?) that she was favoring me with her attentions because I was a popular senior in college and she'd have much to gain from me. Commonsense is always correct - so I escaped with minimal fuss - unlike the moron sitting beside me, who thought he was achieving something great by filching his batch-mate from me - a hated senior. Now he was sobbing beside me and accusing her of going out(secretly) with the choice pick-up from the current crop of juniors (the new first years). Attagirl, I wanted to say- she's got spirit - to pick up young kids and show them the wild side of life - a complete college education, indeed.

The news that she was Three- timing everyone has greatly increased my fascination for her (psychologically) and I feel indulgently nostalgic- girls like that are very rare, aren't they? To match the guys in lusting after every new hunk in college - she's a true American soul in a Indian body... Male chauvinists may say she's wrong - but to hell with it - that girl's got spunk to go against public opinion with a devil may care attitude. Its just what every guy does but is it wrong when a girl does it? I'd like to send her an SMS saying "Girl, Go for it" but I don't want to stir up an already muddled situation. I'm pretty proud to be in her Ex-Guys Club. What say you?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

And the Cat got the Cream.......Based on a True Story.

I'm sure a lot of us remember the childhood stories we heard - especially the one's which emphasize a moral point. But more on that after the story. Yesterday I was at Dance class a bit early and as the elder statesman there , I was called onto adjudicate between two warring parties. The trouble started with a newcomer to the class last week - a Russian girl - typical- tall, blonde, blue-eyed. And two guys in the class- lets call them B and M - both of them school mates upto +2 and have recently joined different engineering colleges started to take a closer notice of her. We are doing the Cha-Cha recently and we are supposed to dance with partners (preferably the opposite sex) and we have to, at the start of every class, ask out a girl to dance the rest of the class with us.. Good training for the real world (and for those with starting problems in dating). If 2 or 3 consecutive girls refuse you - no matter, you can dance alone - the instructor wouldn't shout at you - but you have to be seen making the effort first (get rejected in front of everyone of course) Any way the instructor was watching hawk-eyed as to who would approach Catherine first (as everyone looked intimidated at her presence) and our two friends came to a gentleman's aggreement - each would ask her out on alternate classes and that way they could share and keep her to themselves. I was as usual waiting for the crowd to thin out and to ask the girls who were usually ignored by the rest of the guys to dance with me. (not because I pitied them or something - just that they would probably dance as bad as me and together things would even out..)

So the thing goes according to plan and B got the chance to dance with the Ruski on Wednesday. On friday M couldn't come to the class and the Russian girl not knowing the rule that you have to be asked out every single time afresh, as a matter of routine - went to B and continued to dance with him. On monday M turned up and was all enthusiastic for asking out the Russian until B reminded him that as per the agrreement it was B's chance today. M went ballistic - but B persisted in saying that it was M's own fault that he hadn't been there to claim his due on the appointed day. And all the while the girl, Catherine was standing there right beside them smiling inanely and not understanding a word of the conversation going on in hot tamil - not knowing that it was she they were fighting for. As things started hotting up a few of us suggested going out to cool it a bit and once outside - I proposed a compromise - let the girl go into the general pool- no monopolizing her at least for today and restart the agreement again from next class. So as we went in, I went straight up to the girl and said "Lets Cha,cha" and took her to my usual spot while B and M fell in on either side of me - watching and gloating that the other hadn't got his hands on the girl..As for me she soon made me regret why I had asked her with the speed at which she was stamping on my poor feet. Now that I am all grown up and mature I find I prefer personal comforts more than "neighbours envy and owners pride"

I remeber reading a story a long time ago about two monkeys fighting over some cream and a cat came by....... Never really believed that people could behave so - but you live and learn something new everyday....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Terminator- The Gene Not Arnie....

Continuing from where I left off last blog, I'll try to give my take on why Genetically-modified foods have such a bad name. The reason can be given in one word -MONSANTO. An incredibly rich MNC in the USA - it is also a paradox- a great scientific/engineering department with morons in the management side.

Chronologically the Monsanto story starts with the first controversy - The Roundup ready corn- their hybrid corn with the promise of high yield. This plant had one extra feature - it was genetically engineered to withstand a strong weed-killer , also manufactured by monsanto incidentally. This allowed you to plant the seeds, watch it grow, and then spray the whole field with the weed-killer indiscriminately- resulting in death of the weeds while the corn plants survive easily. A very easy and time - saving alternative to current weed-killing alternatives where multiple chemicals are used for different weeds. The catch was that you buy both the seeds and the weed-killer only from Monsanto. This monpoly idea put off many farmers and got the company in trouble with the US Govt. resulting in withdrawal of the product. This idea was later made use of by Matthew Reilly in one of his novels where the Chinese release a deadly biological warfare virus worldwide which kills people of every ethnicity like Whites, Blacks, South Asians while the Chinese alone have a genetic mutation which protects them from the virus.

The next stupid product from Monsanto was the BT-Cotton (BT- bacillus thuriensis - a bacteria) which was engineered to cause the death of the Boll Worm which eats up the cotton plants causing heavy loss to the farmers. The genetically enginnered plant leaves when eaten by an insect or a caerpillar is activated in the alkaline conditions of an insect's stomach (animals have acid in their stomach) forms a toxin and kills the insects- resulting in high yields. Again a good idea -but the way it was marketed suggesting death to all insects (including cute butterflies -which of course come from ugly leaf eating larvea) got the naturalist group into a great indignation and protests. They expressed doubts that the insects will not be affected by the Bt-Gene and what if they develop resistance to it? The answer is - of course they'll develop resistance - its just a matter of time. We are talking biological warfare here- our brains Vs. organisms adaptive capacities remember? Again a good product and unbelievable marketing disaster.

Fianlly we come to the most notorious - The Terminator Gene. Farmers usually use the seed from this year's crop to cultivate next year. But most hybrid seed varieties are naturally sterile and don't germinate that easily. Monsanto went a step further and created a hybrid seed variety - intentionally and completely sterile and non-germinating. Of course the seeds were producing yields 4 to 5 times more than normal seeds - but the farmer had to buy them every year from Monsanto again and again. No one could compel the farmers to go back to the company for the same seed except if they liked it and got good returns for the money- and of course the company has to pay huge amounts as salaries to its scientists right? The problem was the huge furor caused by the Idea, the Very Idea of genetically creating something sterile (as opposed to our ideas of fertile life-giving plants)- an incredible marketing disaster - one which destroyed the company. There was the point raised by our environmentalists that the gentic mutation may spread to adjacent crops (cross-pollination) which don't have the Terminator gene resulting in widespread sterility of all plants. This is an inane argument - biology shows us that it is always the other way around - given a chance the terminator plants would have somehow got cross-pollinated and regained the capacity to undergo germination again - Life goes on - that's the very basic principle of biology. Anyhow the resulting controversy destroyed the company which never recovered from this disaster and was sold off.

So as I said in my first Blog - all this controversy has created a fear psychosis in people regarding the safety of genetically- modified foods - which indeed are the future if our species continue to develop at the present rate - given the limited resources available on this planet. We either have to increase the yield of every single crop many times over or try some method of population control or go for extra-planetary food farms on the moon or elsewhere if we have to survive as a species..

For those readers who have survived up to this point, I hope I have not bored you - I next intend to write about some truths in the IT field... So keep coming back, Ok?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Throwing the Baby out with the Bathwater.....

I was in a Reliance Fresh outlet yesterday, shopping with a friend and we came to a rack of Luscious Red Apples which my friend took a look at and rejected immediately- "Not Natural" he said and added "Genetic engineering" with a look of distaste. And this from an engineer. Well, we spent the rest of the afternoon arguing the merits/demerits of "Genetically Modified Foods". And I think its time I spelled out a few truths here for the benefit (torture) of YOU , my faithful readers.

Leaving aside all that you read and hear on Television from the likes of Vandana Shiva, just stop a minute and ask yourself- Do you really believe that whatever food you eat is completely organic? without any contaminants/chemicals? and naturally available? Sorry folks, sorry to disabuse you of wrongful ideas (or not sorry) but the wheat/rice/any cereal you eat today wouldn't survive a single day out in the wild. Thats right - try planting it in your garden and see - it will disappear almost immediately and it just cannot survive without assorted weedkillers/insectides every step of the way. In fact you have to take better care of it than you did for your baby. And it doesn't strike many people that what we are eating is a highly evolved, genetically modified descendant prdoduct of a once naturally existing (a million years ago) wild plant type - every self respecting farmer/gardener from the time of the Babylonian Civilzation in Ur to the modern day organic producers have modifed (the species) genetically using Natural Selection (remember good ol' Darwin?) for high yield/pest resistance and various other factors. Thats right folks- what we have been eating for a long time now is Genetically Engineered food.

The difference is in the depth of technology - previous versions of the technology used trial and error empirically while now we have the technology to go right down to the genome level and do our stuff - using enzymes like DNA Poymerase and Reverse Transcriptase. We can remove all the bad aspects of the DNA like - causing allergies to humans, vulnerability to climatic changes and variations in taste/colour as easy as whistling. We can add Vitamins and essential nutrients and make fruits and vegetables even more nutritious than nature intended and thats not such a bad thing is that? We can improve the yields enormously and prevent loss due to weeds/pests and transportation and that does no harm too, right? And provided that certain basic issues are clarified right at the outset with good Governmental oversight (the vector of tranmission- should be bacterial rather than viral) which are all purely technical details - there willbe 0% chance of any untoward happenings in human ingestion. And just remember that the use of Gentically modifed food will reduce/eliminate the need for chemicals like pesticides (urea/ddt) and ethylene - used for ripening mangoes?

Then why the bad press?- the answer's simple - it's primarily due to an incredibly stupid company called Monsanto and its greed to control/dominate the food market- which I will continue to tell in a separate blog tomorrow...... (I hope I have not scared you off from my blogs with weighty issues....?)

Friday, July 27, 2007

What a Cliche!!!!!

Is necessity really the mother of invention? Does circumstances really make the man? Are these just cliches or is there something more to them? Lets take the second question first - today morning I was all beat waking up - a result of a bit of an overzealous workout yesterday. All I wanted to do was roll over and sleep again. Unfortunately I am no longer able to shirk my responsibilities with an easy conscience- I had appointments to keep and patients waiting (hopefully). So I dragged myself out of bed and went and got dressed; swearing to earn enough money soon for an early retirement....and maybe a villa in the Caribbean. But has my circumstances really brought a change in me? Am I now (god forbid) a real "Responsible" person- all grown up and mature? Does that prove I am now a Man? And then my first question- About necessity. Recent circumstances - the sudden transfer of my mother to Madurai High Court - have rendered me the sole occupant of the family homestead and has stirred my latent ambitions in the culinary skills. My knowledge of cooking goes so far as to say authoritatively that Knorr Soups tastes better than Maggi Soups - especially in the Sweet Corn Category. And I'd Recommend Ashirwads Palak Panner and MTR's Pongal in the ready to eat category(heat it= eat it). Saves time cooking for one single person, although they all are labelled to serve four. So is necessity playing the role of my Mother?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Harry Potter - the review

I have a little confession to make first - I was one of the first to queue up on Saturday Morning at Landmark in Nungambakkam (elbowing aside little twerps who dared to come in front) to get "THE BOOK" . And you know what - half way through - sometime in the early hours of Sunday morning - maybe 2AM or thereabouts - I kept the book aside and didn't go back to it for 3 days - till I finally finished it today. This has never happened before with Mr.Potter - especially with all the anticipation for the climax. Just that the book is not upto Rowlings usual standards- for one thing there is no Hogwarts. I especially loved Part 5- The Order of the Phoenix- because it so damned reminded me of my own college with Dolores Umbridge as my Chief and Fudge as the Princy. I could connect with the rebellion of the students against authority- if you know what I mean. But this one is just a mish mash of the Da Vinci Code and Lord of the Rings- Return of the King. There is faithful Hermione playng Sam's part to perfection and Harry Potter walking out to his own death....Boooo. I want more... I want a bettter book or my money back. It finally picks up in the climax fight - again at Hogwarts with everyone joining in - to support Harry in a cinematic finish. But you just can't beat the ennui which sets in halfway through with a rough and tumble ending can you? Frankly I expected more from Rowling than a family get-together in time for the end. If I wanted to read such a book - There is always that "immortal classic" from the master of the westerns - Louis L'amour's the 'Sackett Brand' - the story which goes like - "If you Hunt one Sackett You Hunt us all" Bet Rowling has a copy on top of her shelf at home. BUT, and yes it is a big But - one small lapse near the end - one bad book in the series should'nt make us forget the immense pleasure of reading the Harry Potter series over the last 10 years - literally growing up with it. So thanks Mrs. Rowling - we loved your books very much. Hip, Hip Hooray.......

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Do I Look like Archiekins? - Or a Red Headed Rockstar?

An Unusual Affliction has affected me and it was caused by my own inability to stand firm on issues of prime importance. To summarize - I made the cardinal error of dropping into the Salon or as it is termed nowadays - the Parlor in a half-awake state. The regular hairdresser, who calls himself my personal stylist and who had been waiting a long time for such an opportunity to catch me off my guard - pounced. He made elaborate suggestions on styling my scanty hairs and I let him go on foolishly without cutting him off right at the outset, as I always do. He continued his gripe on my reluctance to grow a moushtache and felt it decreased my manliness- and I slowly drifted off into a semi stupor as he continued in this vein and he mistaking my nodding head to mean aggrement with his views (Retro is in) - proceeded to style my head in the 1960's rock band - The Beatles fashion. When I finally woke up and looked in the mirror I screamed - and he hurriedly suggested coloring up my hair to disguise the cut. I reluctantly agreed and chose a Deep Burgundy and somehow again there was mix-up and I was shocked to notice on washing off that my hair is now a bright cheerful red. I look like a Red-headed John Lennon and all that is left to do is join the Red-Headed league. I have been hiding out at home since then and venturing out only in the dark- like a vampire, I suppose - avoiding places of bright lights and crowds - hoping the color will wear off and my hair will grow back to its unruly mop. My underground sojourn still continues.....

Friday, July 20, 2007

If Two's A Crowd - What about the Whole Gang?


Lightning is never supposed to strike at the same place again is common myth. Right, it is a myth - for it keeps striking me again and again against all rules in Unexpected places and Unwanted times. There's a cool tingle as the current passes through the body, the heart starts galloping and I break out into a sweat. Yes, Gentleman and Ladies, you guessed it right- I got a new crush- on an unknown girl- just a single glimpse and I'm down.. And as my crushes have a very short shelf-life I should probably get a move-on to ascertain the availabiltiy status and check for any advance reservation. I'll try to get a word today...

Another day and another episode in my never ending romantic life.... The objective this time was to do a Die-Hard. Yes, for those of you who remember the Bruce Willis starrer as Detective John Mclane - the plot goes something like this - Hero's alone in a building with a host of dimwit terrorists who just wont let him get a few moments alone with this wife....comprende? Now shift the scenario Chennai-wards- Hero , (ok,Ok, I can hear the sniggers) Scratch that out- Now lets start Again.. Good Dude sees someone who gives him high BP (watta girl*********)and the bad dudes - the rest of her batchmates won't give him the privacy to say a few meaningful words (uh! uh! whats the time?) to her.... Come on, everyone has to make a start somewhere and if the object of your attraction is so very popular and is always with a crowd (the wolf-pack?) what's a guy supposed to do? - Pick them off one by one with an axe/chainsaw? Sometimes these girls have got no sense - they notice me hanging around the fringes all the time and still act as if they are least bothered- which is probably the truth... Now I would appreciate some intelligent suggestions to break through the gang and do the talking-up - and please leave out the 'Drop-it' advice thing- As James Bond says- "You only live once" and like Abimanyu I'm gonna gate-crash the Gynecology Department to talk to her even if I dont' think up an emergency exit route- I can always blame a short-term memory loss, can't I?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dance Baby Dance

In a spell of momentary madness (everyone has those, right?) I went and did the unthinkable- joined a dance class at Swingers academy of dance... And right now there are a lot of disgruntled would-be dancers at Singers with bruised bodies who were dancing within 5 metres in my proximity. Can't help it can I, if in a burst of misplaced enthusiasm and excessive energy I go around stamping on people's feet and poking them in the wrong places? And the look on the instructor's face (sorry, Shiva) is priceless - when I'm doing my exercise routine - he keeps reminding me it's a Dance Class and I have to dance - not just make some moves and try not to hurt other people and would I for gods sake not keep forgetting todays routine and end up improvising by adding and mixing last week's Salsa steps into this weeks Hip-Hop moves... The way that guy goes - he's sure to either end up with hypertension/stroke (he's already foaming at the mouth at the end of each class) or else Swinger's is gonna have to look for a "New Instructor" soon. If this was regular school I would be writing imposition all day long....Well, in my defence I'd have to confess that the rest of the students there, my fellow dancers are on an average ten years younger than me--- School Kids most of them in their teens. But what I lack in style, speed etc - I more than make up in my enthusiasm- so they can't kick me out yet... well my adventures on the road to self discovery goes on.. and for all those who doubted me- that I wouldn't survive the first class- it's almost a month and I'm still going strong... not gonna stop till they refund my money and throw me out. And its who blinks first..Swingers or me? And the adventure continues.....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

An Impossible Situation

How do you add insult to injury? Well I was at the recieving end of one of those recently when I was handed over an invite to a very posh, very exclusive pool-side party and advised to turn up with a date. For one thing, I don't (not for anytime in the recent past) have a girl-friend and I wouldn't recognize a date if I tripped over one and fell on it. And for another, the offending party who thought he was doing me a good turn (he was after all a close childhood buddy turned fashion designer turned entrepeneur) - politely mentioned that I fit their average profile for the party guests - meaning he assumed I was a High Flying, High living debonair bon vivant (what a pity) and hoped that I and my date for the evening whoever she might be will be well pleased with his hospitality (anymore of this sugary speech- and I'd have diabetes) and that kick-started my Mission Impossible - to hook up with someone before Saturday night - in 3 days time. So, like Tom Cruise, I kicked off in high tempo - I made a list of the girls who would fit in a posh set-up and more importantly who'd be willing to do a one-off with me. By the time I'd eliminated all the impossible and the mad hatter types (the ones who would go anywhere if offered free food), I was left with one possibility only but I didn't dare call her up and remind her again of my existence which for the sake of peace all around it was best that status-quo remain between us. So in desperation , I hung around the RMO's office in the morning during attendance time to Suspect-Profile like the FBI does - to identify potential victims who could be tempted to fall for me. Having failed miserably even in that, by now I was getting so desperate (only 48 hrs left, only 24 hours left), I even, Oh My God, started a conversation with the girl working out at the treadmill beside me on the gym - a nice north-east type. Halfway through it hit me - that I really was sinking in to the pits - and then and there I decided to go out there like a man (without a date) and take it on the chin.

Saturday seemed to hurry up and I was still unable to take a final decision. But I steeled myself and went over anyway. Crossing that threshold, the official red carpet laid out in all pomp-  expecting to be laughed at (for being alone and with no one hanging off the arm like the others) and possibly  to be-shamed off the premises was one of the bravest things I'd done in recent times. And you know what - when I really got over my embarrassment and that humiliated feeling one gets in attending a party without a date - I really enjoyed myself looking around. The party Sucked, Majorly, as the DJ was just playing some soft romantic tracks. All the couples were drifting into the corners for a little tete-a-tete, some smooching, peting, hugging and as the night developed some major body-on-body action. No one hit the dance floor for they had plenty of dark corners around for everyone and no one, even fell into the pool. For a poolside party - thats a "Major catastrophe" - especially when there was no wet T-shirt games. Someone introduced me to a short dumpy woman standing off in a corner (munching something all alone) and said she was a tamil film actress called Sneha and I politely (with as indifferent a look as i can manage- for she really looked plain in real life) said hi!! to her and asked her if she recognized me and wanted my autograph - I mean we are from different worlds and i was enjoying playing up to the gallery and making a fool of that person, because of the way she looked at me, as if i was the local version of bill gates or atleast anil ambani (round one for me). All in all, I wasn't regretting this chance to act out my fantasies and see life on the other side as one of the inside group and the lesson I learnt from this is to have a social life you need to be prepared to take the minor embarassment's in your stride and nothing is as bad as it seems at first. And oh yeah, it helps to have a steady girlfriend if you wanna do this regularly....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Danny Ocean's Gang of 13 and the Pirates of Disneyland

Well, I happened to do a double whammy movie watching recently when I visited Satyam Theatre for consecutive shows at 12:30 and 3:30 to see what all the build-up was about - The movie Oceans 13 & Pirates of the C - at Worlds end -Part 3 which are both vaguely interconnected movies - The Ocean comes in both right?

I have long been a great fan of the Ocean's 11 series - I mean Gentleman Thieves do have a certain attraction to lazy bums don't they? In adddition, these cons don't hit the average guy, they just take out richer and more despicable crooks. The latest addition to the series has all the razzledazzle of the series - great one-liners, suave Clooney, ingenious plans, good time-pass for the money - BUT, and this is a big but, I don't know whether I'd watch it again and again, like I did the first one. I think not - for this one lacks a certain something there was in the first edition, it lacks emotional connect - heart (is it the absence of an heroine?) I mean, remember Rambo? Those tag lines which went "First time was personal, second for the country, third for a friend"? Now Oceans 11 is based on the same - First time it was Personal, and how personal, it was literally a fight for Julia Roberts stolen from George Clooney and it made us root for the little guy with his brains and his buddies up against the rich bully. The second was so, so - not quite believable, but not this slick. The third for all its fast moving screenplay simply fails to build up that pressure and anticipation in the audience - heck, these Guy's are Ocean's Men - they can sure pull it off, can't they? And Al Pacino does a great job -as the oh so real, fall guy, who literally forces the audience to sympathize with his bewildered life. All in all, a good way to pass an empty afternoon - but I wont be joining the fan club based on this.

My next movie - was about the other Ocean - the big blue one. Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End has one astonishing scene where Captain Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp, forces the crew of the Black Pearl to try and rock their ship enough to capsize it - without alerting them to what he is aiming for. Other than that, the rest of the movie wasn't up to the hype - even when compared to a far better 2nd part - where every appearance of the Kraken on-screen led to a palpable tension in the audience watching the movie. This part doen't have that grip on the pulse of the audience - a weak villain compared to the Kraken (come on who's afraid of the Big Bad East India Company compared to an indesctructible monster?) - except maybe at the very end when Will Turner is stabbed by that despicable fish-face. Orlando Bloom in a fine understated performance - pulls the rug right out under Keira Knightley and Johnny Depp - both having heavy author backed roles. Johnny Depp did a far better role as the quavering Constable Ichabod Crane battling the Headless Horseman in Sleepy Hollow - a more believable persona than in this half crazy/ half gay role. Wonder why they don't revive that franchise?

Well, that was me, film fan and fanatic - trying to watch two movies on the same day without a break . And on the whole - a day not wasted i think...........

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Spammer in the Works

I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of mail I recieve in my various e-mail ID's. Previously , when we just had snail mail - my correspondence used to be pretty erratic and infrequent. But now I get to meet a lot of new friends and well-wishers who mail me so often- almost daily, that, I fear I am on their mind most of the day (and night).

There is this nice lady, from Holland (whose I.P. address I traced back) , who is a very frequent correspondent of mine and who is very particularly worried about my sex life. Almost everyday, she reminds me to "Enlarge my Reproductive Organ" and she is constantly worried about the length, or rather the lack of it. I am quite astounded at her solicitude and her anxiety to improve my till now non-existing sexual life and her ingenious ideas to better myself to offer "Full Satisfaction" (her words). Her constant worry about the size of my organ, even when I'm not myself worried about its current state, made me write a nice mail back to her, where, I enquired about her health and well-being, and then I expressed astonishment that "my size" was such a hot topic of interest in Holland and then , I enquired of her, (quite gently) the source of that false and malicious rumour suggesting that I was "ill-equipped" ( I included exact measurements in both metric and imperial measurements - cm's and inches) and I vouchsafed statistics to prove that far from being lacking I was right in the middle of the average Indian measurement curve, in other words, it wasn't time to start worrying yet....... She didn't reply to me for a couple of weeks after that mail. then one day she resumed the old correspondence with new offers of Viagra-Substitutes to help "ease my mind" . I absolutely fail to see the connection between peace of mind and intake of Sildenafil Citrate and I have written back to her asking for further details and more information on my peace of mind thing....

Then there is a nice gentleman from America who offers to get me loans from banks in the United States without any collateral. I was simply touched at his generosity - I mean our local Corporation bank branch where I have a small savings account (transferred from my Piggy-bank) refused to grant me a vehicle loan after much procrastination- they delayed the sanction so much and made me keep going back for umpteen visits, that I entirely dropped the idea of buying a vehicle and am quite satisfied with the public transport buses (PTC, hats off) and here was this gentleman offering to stand surety for me from America!!!! I wrote him back a nice letter with my appreciation of his offer and then I politely refused , by informing him that my conscience wouldn't stand it, if he were to sacrifice himself to help me enjoy luxuries which I don't miss at the moment and if I were ever to change my mind, he would be the first person , I would let know. He hasn't acknowledged my letter yet, busy man he must be, such a philanthropist...

This is the power of the Internet - when they say that it empowers people all-over this is what they must mean.. You not only get to meet a lot of new friends sitting at home - you also gain so much new knowlegde of things happening all around you. It just requires you to be courteous enough to reply immediately..... Welcome to Web 2.0 - where the world worries about you and offers you unsolicited help..

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Hot- Noon Walk-about in Chennai

Madras is a nice place to walk the streets - especially, during the daytime. I am not joking - there are several pleasant walks available if you, like me, are not fazed by the hot Chennai sun. And its quite cool (I mean figuratively) to take a Hot Chennai Noon walk - even a moon walk can't beat it, with apologies to Michael Jackson ( he of the Baby-lover fame). Firstly, Healthwise - ther's nothing to beat a walk to exercise all your muscles - top to bottom, even a slow ramble would do enough to burn up all those resistant calories. Add to which you get a free Sauna - by the time you finish your walk - you'd be literally steaming sweat. And the picturescue routes - what can I say, especially, if you take the time to just ramble along and take in the sights. the crowds are sweet, (unlike, anywhere else in India).. they just know that passing within two feet of you is harmful to their olfactory senses and tend to give you a widw berth. the only drawback - I should say is that all the pretty girls you meet along the way are swathed up in bits and pieces of clothing to resemble the latest Egyptian Mummy styles.

I took a recent East- West walk about from the coast - the Bay of Bengal- to Anna Nagar - which to me is the Far West, the areas beyoond I consider the Wild West. It was, to say the least, a very pleasant experience, especially, if you are like me and like to take long lonely walks, where you can mentally thresh out all the stuff's which have been bothering you; as you walk along, taking in the sights and sounds. I flagged off around 12:10 Pm from the All India Radio Bus stop - right oppposite the Lighthouse - the only recognizable landmark of our city from the sea (if you don't count the stench from the Cooum) and in a easy loping style made my way along the Beach Road Pavement , in the hot fesh breeze, blowing off the sea. I ambled past the Commissioners office, past Vivekananda House, past various heritage buildings and railway stations of the elevated train and finally, near Presidency College, I took a left turn , into the interior , to plunge in to the chaos of Triplicane. I walked along past Kasturba Gandhi hospital, and right onto Triplicane Market- which seems to have a lot of native medicine shops (I really didn't know there was so much craze for this stuff), then right past Amir Mahal, past the Foam Bed selling shops on both sides of the road to arrive at Royappetah Junction- with the time clock. I took the straight way again, past TVS and by now, feeling a bit worn out- I decided to relax in Satyam Theatre. After joining the line in front of the counter, I had to decide what I was going to watch - and quickly the decision was made- what better choice for a warrior like me than the Movie 300. Two hours inside the air-conditioned theatre with a Litre of water inside me ( to combat dehydration) and those Masochistic Spartans revived me so much I was ready for the next leg of my walk-about.
From Satyam it was right down to Mount-Road the No.1 arterial road of Chennai which I crossed over in the last few gasping seconds of the redlight at TVS signal and then I was faced with a dilemna. Should I take the Greams Road/College road route to cross Egmore/Nungambakkam into Poonamalee High road or should I opt for the walk along Ethiraj Salai - Past Spencers Mall and Ethiraj college and at the Musuem fly-over cross into Chetput to take the Harington road? I decided on the second option as it provided a more picturescue route with better diversions. All along EgmoreI walked admiring the sights and into the signal near the Museum flyover where I crossed over into Harrington road and walked along- until I was sorely tempted at one point to hop into Shree Mithai for some hot Samosas followed by some delicious Pani Puri. Naah, this walk was for health - not for junk food. so I forced my legs to keep walking past until i reached the Harrington road flyover, past the Chetput Railway station and finally into Poonamalle High road. I crossed over at Ega Theater junction, paused for a few minutes to check out the latest releases and then past New Avadi Road into Cemetry Road and then past Chintamani which finally lead me to my Destination - Roundtana Junction (yipeee, ooh) - a little over 3 hours after I had kicked off from the beach - not counting the time spent watching movies or having refreshments at roadside stalls. And of course, from there, I took an auto home.
There you have it - a ready made route to explore Chennai if you are in the mood - By the way, I am thinking about doing a North-South trip from Tiruvotriyur to Tiruvanmiyur next time. Anyone care to join me?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why Audi Altem Partem?

  Why Audi Altem Partem? What The Hell Is It?

This is a question bound to arise in you my dear reader, again and again; as you go through my blog over the next few times. So let me clear this right at the outset. The Above Title is a Famous Legal Quotation with the meaning of "Hear The Other Side". Quite simply stated there are two sides to everything, but more often we tend to hear only the side favoring us. This blog is a reflection (I Hope) of my thinking process where I think out loud both sides of the equation about some key events of my young life. 

This unfortunate and rare habit (as rare as Parseltongue - the ability to converse with snakes, you muggles) was inculcated into me from quite an young age due to the circumstance of my being the sole heir (and the future prince) of two outstanding legal luminaries who trained me to see the opposite in everything - as a prelude to making me good enough to take up either the prosecution or the defense of a case- whichever pays more. I was also submitted to thorough and frequent cross-examinations and tough one's at that, almost daily as a routine to toughen me up to legally deny any knowledge of various small stuff I pulled off at school - complaints of which reached home. 

Having such a background has helped me in my later days to dispassionately analyze any shocking incident, like for example, getting dumped, and then thinking, "My God ; I deserved that, if I had been going out with myself - I would have done the same". But more about that episode in my next blog. Anyway this is a small curtain raiser, for the tumultuous events I am going to confess about soon and hope this explanation helps you, Dear Reader, in following the convoluted workings of my confused mind.. Be seeing you....