Friday, 12 September 2008
Indian Weddings are made memorable due to unintended incidents. What about a marriage which is full of incidents? I attended one such marriage of my friend’s (Venkatesh) brother Vasu in 1997. There was not a single moment of dullness in the entire marriage. The marriage was in Salem and a private bus was arranged. The bus had to leave at 6am but left at 8am. Venkatesh father who is notorious for his punctuality was chiding all for the delay but all his missiles were replied with giggles. A couple of hours in to our journey we stopped for breakfast. The menu was supposed to be idli, kesari bath and vada. The problem was one of the containers containing idli was left behind in Bangalore and there was a rationing of Idlis. Added to this we had to compulsorily gulp a lot of sambar. This was the sign of things to come.
We resumed our journey and as things would have it, the driver lost his way and strayed on the route towards Vellore instead of Salem. Thankfully, 20 kms down the route somebody realized the folly and we turned back. Venkatesh’s father who had vouched for a KSRTC bus smiled at Vasu and told “You won’t listen to me this is the problem with these private buses”. All of us were busy with our revelry and his words were lost in the din. Finally we reached Salem with a delay of four hours. Locating the choultry was not a problem because somebody from the bride’s side had come to the highway to guide us from there.
We settled down and had our lunch. The rituals had begun and Venkatesh got busy with his duties. I and my friend Anil decided to check out Salem roads and babes. The roads were bumpy and babes most of them were chubby. We decided to have a Coke. As most of them know, there is a penchant in Tamil Nadu for translating every English word into Tamil. So was the shop where we went to have a Coke, except that “Milk Shake” was written in English. Anil asked me “Is there no word in Tamil for milk shake?” I tried to whisper into his ears “aatna pal (shaken milk)” but as bad luck would have it came out in a very audible tone. The shopkeeper gave us a stern look but could not control his laughter and burst out laughing with us.
It was late in the evening when we decided to go for a second show. We went for the historic hysteric film “Kadal Kotai (Fort of Love)”. This film is so because two people fall madly in love with each other just over the phone and they continue to be lovers without seeing each others face. We came out of the theatre praising Indian Railways Coffee and the guy who spilled it on the Hero’s shirt because otherwise the film would never have ended. We reached the choultry only to find the gates securely locked. No amount of banging, shouting could wake up any one and we had to spend the night in the bus itself. Next morning we got our dose of advice from his father for being playful and childish.
The entire marriage ceremony was a typical South Indian Brahmin wedding. It has its own flair and joy. The driver of the bus told us that there was some minor maintenance work and he would get it done in an hour and be ready with the bus. After lunch, we packed up and came out only to find that the bus was nowhere to be seen. Immediately somebody from the bride’s side took a vehicle and went to the major garages of Salem. Three hours later the bus turned up. It seemed the driver had lost his way and was stuck a couple of streets behind. Not being well versed in the local language, he was not able to find his way out. Unfortunately, nobody cared to search for him a couple of backstreets. Having got delayed, it was decided that we would have our dinner and proceed. An urgent preparation was made and we proceeded towards Bangalore. The return journey had its own skirmishes with some family scores being settled through a lashing match. We were scheduled to return to Bangalore by 11pm but reached at 5 am the next day.
This was not the end of events of Vasu’s Wedding. A reception was scheduled in Bangalore for the next day. 400 guests were anticipated but a minor surplus of 100 turned up. Consequently, the entire food got exhausted and not a morsel of rice was left behind for us. The entire reception party had to go to a nearby hotel and have dinner. With that the curtains came on Vasu’s eventffffffffffful wedding. Vasu is now having two kids and well settled in life. Vasu’s wedding was the most eventful one I have attended in my life and going by the looks of it will remain so.
Viewers of Sun Music (Tamil), Gemini Music (Telugu), Kiran (Malayalam) and U2 (Kannada) will know the sweet SMS that are transmitted on the screen. Hardly each message gets a look in of a couple of seconds but some people enjoy their message being displayed on the screen. I really appreciate the spirit and enthusiasm about life. Whenever I am bored, I do switch on to SUN Music or the ilk just to see the messages and have a laugh. I always think how nice it would be if I could instantly reply to these messages. Here is a sample of few of the delirious messages and much more scandalous replies I want to send
I love you_________________
My reply: Do you know who does she love? Or sorry, she is dating me
I love my wife/husband
Thank god, it is not your friends
I love my parents
Are they in an old age home that you are sending an SMS
I miss you____________
She is busy with me
Dear__________, Please accept me
You beg very well or you the top most SMS beggar
This song is dedicated to_____________ fans/only for______ fans
Why other actor’s fans should not see this song? Or what will you do if Jackie Chan fans see this song?
I will be updating this list as and when I come across new gems. It is really funny and you must have a special heart to enjoy this phun. This message bar goes blank to my eye when songs of Simran, Rambha, and Shriya are played.
It was the summer of 1988, a big consumer fair was put in up Bangalore. Annual fairs came in a big way to Bangalore during the Mid 80s and everybody was bitten by its bug. I and my friend Venkatesh were no exceptions. Both of us went on a single cycle (talk about cycle pooling). We enjoyed a lot in the fair, made good eye contact with sweet lasses, had sweet lassi, popcorn, etc. Our ride on the giant wheel would have been heaven if only we had got two of our college girls to sit together. As cruel fate would have it, they sat in the box below us. We could see the mischievousness in their eyes which seemed to relish our disappointment.
After a little more roaming, we came out and went to the parking slot to take out our cycle. Venkatesh had misplaced the parking token and the stall owner won’t give us the cycle without the token. He gave us an option to wait till 10pm, if nobody came to collect the token, he will give us the cycle. This option was not acceptable, hence, Venky decided to go in searching for the coupon because he remembered to have thrown something from his pocket near a panipuri stall.
Nearly half an hour elapsed and he did not come out, so I went in and came back disappointed only to find neither the cycle nor Venky. The stall owner informed me that he had gone with the cycle. Sensing something strange, I decided to wait for him. After an hour, Venky came screaming at me. He related to me that he had found the token and came out to take the vehicle. He did not find me and thought I must be walking back home. He had gone upto my house only to find I had not reached home. Having realized what would have happened; he came back cycling the entire distance only to find me standing with popcorn. It seems that approximately, the same time, I went in, he had come out and the resultant comedy of error. We had a great laugh and went home. Till date, the receipt of a “parking token” rings an alarm in our minds. We value the “parking token” for our dear lives.
Thursday, 11 September 2008
It was around 1993, I had enrolled for a computer course in one of the reputed institutions at that time viz., Brilliant Computer Centre. PCs with hardisk had not yet become popular and PCs with two large diskettes had to be used. One was the boot/program disk and other was the one in which we had to save our work. The first couple of classes were theory and there was an interesting specimen in the class. I will not name only not to offend regional sentiments. In 2 days of theory he came up with very funny questions about computer like “can we get shock through the keyboard?” etc, etc. Ours was the first batch which used to start around 6am. Hence, his presence in the class was cherished.
The day of the labs had come and I was expecting him to come up with some genuine doubt. So the instructor told us how to power on the PC, insert the boot disk and later the program disk, working disk, etc. We were all eager to work on the PC and started right away but our friend was stuck blinking at the monitor. The instructor walked upto him and asked “What is the problem, why are you stuck?” He in his typical English and mannerisms explained all the bla, bla and told when he inserted the program disk, the monitor is giving him a message “Press any key to continue” and our man wanted to know where on the keyboard is “any key”. The entire class went into peals of laughter. The instructor had the presence of mind, she took out her marker pen and wrote “Any Key” on the space bar and asked him to press it. Problem solved and he continued with his work to land up with some other “intelligent” queries later.
From that day till date, the phrase “Press any key to continue” brings a smile on my face and I have never stopped relating it to countless number of friends.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Do we need to irritate others to celebrate? This is the thought that strikes me every year festive season breaks loose in India. India is the land of festivals. Other countries may have a festival or two but we have a season of festivals or rather should I say a festival for every reason and season. I am ok with public celebration of festivals but this right to celebrate does not mean a licence to decimate others peace of mind for days. Raising decibel and pollution levels does not mean celebration. Most people are vexed with this celebration but don’t come out in open due to fear of social ridicule and isolation. God can be appeased in a subtle and less torturous manner.
Our festival season kicked off with Ganesh Puja. This Saturday I was walking down the road when four consecutive road crossings blocked with Ganesh Pandals came to my notice. I am not against each cross having its own puja but the following questions impaled my mind; Is it justified to block for days entrance to a road by a Pandal? What about a student or a BPO employee who cannot sleep for days? How will an ambulance reach a patient given that the rear entry route is atleast a kilometer of narrowest roads? Are the raunchy film songs played in the Pandals not an insult and intimidation to the bachelor God Ganesha? Is it necessary to contaminate the ground water with lead paint when clay Ganesha would do (after all Ganesha never insisted to be painted in multi-color)? These questions are equally applicable to any religious/regional function which is more of irritation than a celebration.
Deepavali means chaos at its best. The race to be the first “cracker breaker” spoils the sleep of most on an otherwise colorful day. Nowadays, every festival and any festival, bursting of crackers are obligatory. The cracker that the Government bans as being unsafe becomes the most popular. Timings specified for bursting crackers are meant to be broken or else there is no point in celebrating a festival. Rockets which can such have a damming effect on the electric wires are such a darling. The most dangerous cracker is the 1000wallahs and the increased variations. Nobody has a right to make the roads a potential minefield for a few minutes of cheap thrill. What happens if an ambulance has to pass through and one of the 1000wallah variations has been set off? Why does not the Government ban this type of crackers and strictly implement the same? The Honorable Health Minister would do well to take care of citizen health during this Diwali rather than crazily going ahead to implement a no smoking ban. We have to worry about stopping terrorists from smoking bombs, not stop ordinary citizens from smoking in public places? I would like to clarify that I am a non-smoker
I stay in Indiranagar 2nd stage portion of Bangalore. Every year Shivarathri is celebrated in a nearby Eshwara festival. Despite being an atheist, I love the way it is organized and anticipate every year for Shivaratri to come. Music is played at acceptable volumes; the programmes and songs played are appropriate of a religious function and most importantly the organizers pull the curtains sharp at 10pm and the entire pandal is cleared within 15 to 20 minutes. When a festival is celebrated in public, there will be certain inconvenience. As stated earlier, we are a country of festivals and such inconvenience is a part of enjoyment but the vulgar way in which such public celebrations are organized makes it a source of irritation. I only hope the same sanity that is part of the Shivarathri celebrations in my locality prevails across the country.
Mind Control can be defined as a situation wherein the words and action of one individual control the thought process of a group of individuals. Mind control per se is desirable because the society can be guided on a unified path. Religion the best known mind controller has made and marred the way we live. Our ancestors are famous for masking scientific facts as religious belief just to ensure compliance by everyone. For example, many of the components of Vastu are based on scientific facts. We all accept the fact that there is one God but fight over the fact that one God is our God. I have no clue how the caste system evolved but our society would do well without it. This is one mind controller which has caused a lot of damage to our society.
Terrorism is another form of regressive mind control and an end to it does not seem possible in the near future. Luckily, dictators like Hitler, Musloni, etc could not succeed in their forms of mind control. The biggest threat to our country after terrorism is the growing language fascism. Language is a tool of communication but a few opportunists have converted into a tool of divisiveness. If we don’t shrug of this mind control at the earliest, a few years down the line, we will have a full fledged civil war across the country. Mind control is unfailingly used by conmen and their ilk to deceive people of their honor and earnings. Some godmen get caught but most of them use and get away for a lifetime.
It is not as if Mind control has had only negative usage. The biggest positive use of mind control has been our Freedom Struggle led by Gandhiji. Gandhiji is the best exponent of mind control. How else could you convince an entire population to follow the path of non-violence to get freedom from a bunch of cunning and capricious invaders? History was against us because all independence struggles were achieved after a bloody struggle. Many contemporaries of Gandhiji ridiculed his method to attain freedom, yet India obtained freedom due to his non-violent methods. Chipko Movement, Green Revolution, the Amul Movement are some of the positive mind control concepts which worked. Thanks to Rajiv Gandhi’s “21st Century India” dream, we have so much of jobs and prosperity in the country.
Most people have gullible minds and find it easy to accept when somebody unleashes a negative mind controller like easy money, parochial struggles, terrorism, etc. The very same people always see a pitfall in a positive mind control because it involves a lot of sacrifice and commitment. Thus, a leader who wants to use a positive mind controller should be ready to undergo a lot of strife, ridicule, rejection, questioning before gaining acceptance. First he should be convinced of its success. Usually such leaders are breaking new grounds and have very few facts to support their arguments. They can be called as the change leaders. The best they can do to gain acceptance is to be identified with the masses like Gandhiji’s body language and attire. The next thing to do would be to find the medium most suited to spread their message. Rajiv Gandhi used Doordarshan to the hilt both to spread his vision and message because television at that time was just capturing the imagination of the middle class and anything said on TV was accepted without much reasoning. Parents trusted his vision and coerced their kids to join computer engineering when nobody was sure where the jobs would come from. The next requirement is the powerful use of words a la Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda has died long back but his words and quotes are liberally used by students, politicians, parents and corporates.
Today the biggest danger haunting our civilization is terrorism. It would require an enormous leader to awaken the misguided masses to give up this path of self-destruction. First he has to free them from the existing mind control and bring him to his way of thinking. This path can never be achieved by violence and once again, the world has to lean towards India and her ideology if they want to survive as a civil society.
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