Categories
Fun Viewpoint

Random thoughts on a Harthal

Jobless or ‘jobbed’, I love Harthals! <3

The Harthal, as you know, is a mass-impasse imposed upon the populace by a group/political-party (or even a random Kanjirappalli Kariyachan) to protest/support/enjoy/rejoice/burst-crackers-for/dance-away-to-celebrate/booze-up-to-commemorate [citation needed]  an issue. The issue could be something as puny as the new government rule that would pull the plug on crores of ‘extra-earnings’ accrued by ‘important people’, or even something drop-dead serious, like the death of a friendly-neighbourhood-mongrel, for instance. The size and proportion of a harthal is as variable as the harthal itself – it could cover a rather huge geographical area like the Oolampaara Metro, renowned for the global H.Q. of Intellectual Stimulation Center™ (ISC), or even a comparatively-tiny place like the sleepy-town of Kochi.

I simply can’t comprehend why people strongly protest Harthals – aren’t you people too happy about a free holiday? Years back, when I was at school, Harthal meant celebration – sitting idyllically at home was fun; especially so if the harthal did postpone an exam or two. The Harthal was, is, and shall always be a God-given boon: an ill-prepared exam postponed was joy forever! As I moved to college, things weren’t much different. But I’d have to say that my batch wasn’t very lucky, most of our exams happened on the dot; but we did have our share of ‘Harthal joys’ during our first and second year. Along with internal-strikes, Harthals stood for fun and frolic!

Alright, that’s me. I know most of you are still pissed about having lost precious working hours to this ‘monstrosity’ – and I know for a fact that you ARE NOT jobless, for a fact. So let’s get into your shoes and analyze how Harthals are actually advantageous:

  • Reluctant Breaks: Indians have a reputation of being a hard-working-populace. Half of all successful janitors, sweepers, construction workers and beggars overseas owe their roots to the our nation (again, citation needed). These hardworking men and women toil their asses off (in some cases, quite literally), to earn their daily bread (or Vodka, for that matter). Such committed workers who work ‘hardly’ for the uplift of their Motherland should be provided a sabbatical, for myriad health reasons. Researchers have proved that constant physical exertion is on the rise. Modern adage seems to comply with the golden words: “Thou shalt die with a belly well fed.”, quote modern philosophers. In such extremes of physical torture, an occasional one-day break does only good.
  • Banking A peep into the arbitrary government office and you would stand awed at the dedication and commitment depicted by our ‘babus’. Apart from their daily duties of duly ‘glancing through’ files (whose super-fast ‘transfer-rates’ put Teracopy to shame), our Babus seem to have taken the banking system under their folds. A very secure parallel banking system has been established thanks to concerted efforts over the years. The system has reached such levels of popularity that it’s quite an open secret these days. However, this system of banking involves one-way transfer. The customer can debit money through secure cash-processing machines under office-tables. (S)he gets decent rates of interest (which are at par with Islamic Banking, if not more) and that too in the form of myriad benefits. This parallel banking system has reached such massive levels of popularity and success that Private sector banks have started grumbling about deficits. Harthals are a boon for private sector banks, crumbling under the yoke of the parallel banking system (whose deposits go a long way to sunny Switzerland). Since more Harthals would mean more shut-down for these ‘parallel banks’, Private sector banks can heave a rightful sigh-of-relief.
  • Too much work doesn’t just work ! The mentality of overseas Indians have crossed the seas and spread wings among their counterparts in good-old-motherland. India Inc is working ‘hardly’ these days! So ‘hardly’ that the word ‘hard’ has lost its very meaning! As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, and too much ‘work’ (including parallel banking) ends up spoiling the broth. So much for more holidays.
  • Booze ’em up! A recent trend in the country is the widespread adoption of teetotalism. India is the country of the Mahatma, who stated that Alcohol is the biggest evil our nation has faced (Gandhiji has had his share of booze in his childhood, nevertheless). Thanks to widespread negative publicity by numerous A.A.s, alcohol sales have hit rock-bottom, today. Liquor baron Vijay Mallya is in the brink of bankruptcy and is rumored to have auctioned stashes of his old Playboy magazines for a paltry $5 billion, for want of liquid cash! Insider sources point out that Harthals are prompted by secret agencies (which have a nexus with Liquor companies like the United Breweries Group); the sudden holiday comes as a huge-blow for the hard-working-average-Indian, who, depressed by his inability to satiate his workaholic self – goes to the nearby state-owned-beverages outlet and boozes to heart’s content. Inventive idea, huh? But then why would the government declare dry days during Harthals? The forbidden-fruit demand-supply principle. To sell something quick, kill the supply and increase demand! Our leaders aren’t as dumb as they seem.
  • Television Viewership Let’s face it – television viewership is dwindling! Reality shows are seen as the last straw for TV channels in a bid to survive the blitzkrieg of new media. Once they go out of fashion, many television studios shall go bust. The Harthal is a boon to both the viewer and the Studio-Manager in this case. Studios dangle the carrot of newly-released flicks (bootlegged, in the case of local, operator-run channels), and the bored-out-of-his-mind  viewer jumps high to gobble it up. The studio gets its TRPs and the viewer smiles at his Rs 200/- of Multiplex Money savings.
  • Bonding initiative Let’s face it: Assbook, Farkut and Shwitter have killed real socializing. We don’t get to meet real people – let alone our family members. Harthal spreads out a wave of universal joblessness that we’re left with our dear and near ones to have some kickass face-to-face conversations. Harthals also mean empty roads, streets and avenues, leaving open some very interesting possibilities for PDA (and more).
  • Harthals heal the world! The Harthal is our very own innovation to get right back at Global warming. No automobiles, no factory fumes and no pollution for twenty four hours straight (not considering extra trillions of tonnes of human excreta that clog the sewerage system). Means of transportation are restricted to walks or even cycling – the best way to kill some calories and lose some flab.

If you’re still cribbing about something that the high court of Kerala has banned, you might want to sign this petition.

Bottom Line

Style of writing and ‘content’ inspired by FakingNews. *Respects* to Pagal Patrakar a.k.a. Rahul Roushan. You rock, dude!

Disclaimer

Purely a work of satire. Please take it in that sense. Why so serious, son?

Categories
Fun Life

Culture Shock

My uncle made a sudden announcement that he’s migrating to the U.S. of A, to the family’s surprise. His company posted him overseas with a pay that’s equivalent to ten times as much it’s worth in motherland. Despite the odds, especially the countless diplomatic hassles, he decided to pack his bags and live the american dream with his wife and daughter (my cousin), who was a five-year old back-then.

Three months of red-tape-dodging later, the three of them took a  flight from ‘namma ooru Bengaluru’ to ‘The Valley’, in pursuit of the much-cliched ‘American Dream’.

The flight was bumpy and it took  little Karthika (my cousin) six visits to the loo just to get ‘settled down’. Aunty and Uncle were excited about the trip, but Karthika wasn’t. She bawled all over the place when she heard the news of departure. She couldn’t stand the thought of leaving  her buddies at Sacred Heart’s School. And besides, she’d come to love Bangalore. She just couldn’t let go, yet her parents didn’t take no for an answer.

Twenty Three harrowing hours later, the trio landed at SFO (San Francisco Airport) – they were supposed to land at the San Jose Airport, which was closer to their destination – Palo Alto. Sadly, a storm turned things around, literally, that is. Now, that was a huge blow for uncle, cause he had his company car waiting at San Jose. SFO was over twenty one miles from their destination. The driver had been informed of the change, but it would take at least three hours to reach SFO (which was over 35 miles  from SFO, and the storm made driving hard). Uncle, Aunty and Karthika had to wait in the passenger lounge for hours. The jet-lag was killing them, and they hadn’t taken enough woolen clothes. To make things worse, temperatures neared sub-zero and it was snowing heavily outside. Karthika was seriously pissed – but even she was too tired for tantrums; she struggled to cope up with the cold, under four layers of woolen clothing.

CC Credits: artofthestate

The USA was new to Karthika. A whole new world of people who were either too fair or too dark. It was so clean, swank and modern. Every square-metre had some beeping/gleaming electronic gadget attached. She stared open-mouthed, with an emotion that was part-awe and part-fear. She observed every nook and corner of the airport, trying to read signs in English – she was already familiar with the language; her teacher at school was American, and she’d already learned ‘the drawl’ from her. She could read and write well-enough for a five year old. As she was observing the red neon signs on the wall opposite to her, something caught her eye.

‘Someone’, actually. Not some-‘thing’.

The plural of ‘someone’ to be precise.

Two people stood close to each other, beneath the neon sign. The man was clad in a tee shirt and shorts while the female wore a sleeveless blue tank top. Strangely, they didn’t seem to feel the cold at all. And they were doing something to each other. Karthika squinted. She moved forward, braving the cold, and eyed closely. The man seemed to be biting the woman’s lips. No, he was eating something from her mouth – she couldn’t be sure. It was gross! For all she could see – the man’s mouth was inside the woman’s. Perhaps the woman was hungry, and the man was trying to feed her? Aw, no – that shouldn’t be the thing.

Now, were they kissing each other?

No, Karthika reassured herself. People kiss each other in the cheek. Her dad kisses her on the cheeks before they go to work. Her mom does that too, when she’s playing with her. And she’d seen Mohanlal kissing his heroines in Malayalam Movies they show on Asianet. They must be doing something else, she decided. Two minutes later, they didn’t seem to stop and Karthika felt sick staring at them. She turned around only to see another couple in the act. And another. And another. She even saw a man, biting/stucking another man’s lips/tongue (ewww). Karthika’s tummy did a back-flip. She ran to her mom who was trying to find some sleep on her dad’s shoulder and rested herself on her mom’s lap.

Aunty woke up, and caressed her arms lovingly on Karthika’s head. Karthika’s query caught aunty unawares.

“Amme (Mom), What are these people doing?” (Pointing to a kissing couple).”

Clean bowled.

“Molu (Daughter), er, that’s the american way of greeting people! In America, you kiss a new person when you meet him/her. Much like we shake hands in India.”

“Oh, so they are kissing right? I thought so. But why are they kissing on their mouths? Why don’t they kiss on the cheeks like us?”

“Er… Er… I guess, that’s the American way of kissing, molu.”

“Oh, athu shari.” (Hmmm, I see).

Karthika failed to notice the beads of sweat that had accumulated on Raji aunty’s forehead, as she nodded in understanding.

Later on that day, they reached Palo Alto and they were ushered into their cozy apartment. The jet lag took a toll on the three of them, and they spent the entire day sleeping. Workaholic that he is, uncle left for work at 6 AM next morning. Aunty woke up soon after, and set about exploring their new fully-furnished home, awed by the profusion of gadgets, (especially the kitchen). Karthika took her time, and walked about their new apartment. She enjoyed the ambiance – and loved it even more, noticing the projection TV with countless cartoon channels. Meanwhile, somebody knocked the door, and  Aunty opened it. Next-door neighbours had come visiting  – A lovely black lady Michelle, and her son Tyler. Aunty ushered them in with all charm she could muster, silently-glaring at Karthika who was too busy with Spongebob Squarepants to notice. Reluctantly, Karthika had to switch off TV and attend to the guests; she knew the what the outcome would be if she didn’t comply! Perfunctory conversations later, Aunty eyed Karthika to talk to the guests. She hadn’t uttered a word, and she was dreading that moment; partly the reason why she glued herself to TV, not acknowledging the guests. She simply couldn’t get herself to do it. But now her mom had commanded her, and there was no escaping from it.

Taking a deep breath, Karthika got up from her sofa, gingerly stepped forward, and walked to Michelle and Tyler. She paused before for an awkward second, as Michelle held her arms out to her. Tyler, a six year old, beamed copiously at Karthika, who returned the smile.

Before Tyler knew it, Karthika went over and kissed Tyler, straight in the mouth for ten full seconds! 😐 😐 😐

Michelle’s eyes nearly popped out. Aunty had her arm on her head, silently calling all the Gods she knew, red with embarrasment. Tyler was in a daze, he kept staring blankly at Karthika whose smile now morphed into a puzzled expression. She stared at her mom and asked innocently:

“Amma, I was just welcoming Tyler, ‘the american way’, as you’d told me at the airport!”

Bottom Line:

Real story, altered names. 😉

Categories
Poem

Torment to Triumph

Those magic eyes in perennial sparkling-glory,
And the vivacious smile that kills each worry,
Have abruptly muted their radiating presence;
Your face now betrays painful silence.

Perhaps fate played its game unfair,
Or you were overwhelmed with scare,
A blitzkrieg of failure broke apart,
All your hopes and crushed your heart!

Before you resign to tormenting depression,
Open your mind to the vehement realization,
That you’re now at the stepping stone of success!
So, learn from your losses and smash all duress!

Pluder that monster of pessimism,
Let hope fill your mind’s wide chism!
For, ghosts of defeat will forever haunt,
But your discerning grin will render them gaunt.

Find inspiration in every facet of life,
Bolster positivity to scrape all strife,
Your mind’s stronger than you imagine,
Equip it like a turbojet engine.

It’s high time you woke up to joy,
From life’s nightmares that made you a toy,
I’m sure you’d have the skies in thrall,
Simply ’cause you’re the best of ’em all!

P.S.

Written for an enormously-talented close friend who’s going through depression, thanks to life’s myriad games. 😐

Buddy, if you’re reading this – CHEER UP! 🙂 I’m SO SURE about your success. These temporary setbacks happen for a reason. Just realize why, and come back in action! We miss you! 🙁

Categories
Viewpoint

You are what you eat!

Food – arguably, the most essential requirement for existence of life on the face of Planet Earth. Food is the most ubiquitous and integral part of our lives. Each day, we gobble up countless quantities of food items, savoring the taste, barely remembering to have a neat look at the stuff we ingest. For most of us, the experience of ‘food’ goes solely by the taste it gives. 😛

How wrong!

Taste is just one facet of food – it’s all about the health and calories you get from each morsel of what you eat. Many of us fail to realize that when we eat tonnes of junk food by the day – a habit that will actually pronounce death for a major chunk of humanity in the foreseeable future. No, I’m not exaggerating. The fact is: You are what you eat, period.

CC credits: Cayusa

Surprised? Skeptical? Incensed? I’m not done yet, buddy. 🙂

First – the origins of the phrase. What began as a random mention in the essay: “Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante” by French Author Brillat-Savarin in 1826 acquired great fame by the release of the book: You Are What You Eat: how to win and keep health with diet
by  nutritionist Victor Lindlahr in 1942. The hippie era of the ’60s saw a craze for healthy food sweep in, giving the phrase a cult aura of its own! 😀

Needless to say, the food you eat goes a long way in modifying and altering yourself. It’s proved that Junk Food is a silent killer – the more crap you eat, the more are chances that you’ll die an early death! There are clear links between junk food and cancer too!! So the next time you savor on that packet of ‘Lays’, beware – you’re shortening your lifespan! 🙂

And it’s not just junk food – many studies and analyses have proved that the phrase has staggeringly literal implications. 🙂 To cut a long story short – you are often what you eat, literally. A case in my point would be people living in the seashore. Their staple food is, no points for guessing, fish. Go live among the fisherfolk and you’ll know better – seashores have the biggest incidents of violence! Check out any seashore in any part of the world – life would be turbulent there for reasons more than one. Wanna know why? What happens to a fish when you pull it out of water? It dies a violent death. And these people eat so much fish! 🙂 Those of you from India might know a lot of Brahmins – the caste known for their strict vegetarianism. They’re among the calmest people. Rarely do you see them in a fight. There’s this brahmin friend of mine who actually breaks down in tears if someone’s mock-fighting with him! A lack-of-aggression and calmness caused by stringent intake of vegetarian food. 😀

Some of you might think this is pure blasphemy or even downright crap. You have all right to freedom of expression and interpretation. 🙂 But I just have one thing to say – the next time you eat something, make sure that you eat it for the nutrients – not just for taste! 😛

P.S.

I recommend Vegetarian food. 🙂 Yes, I’ve turned veggie, thanks to Art Of Living and Prasanth. More on the ‘transformation’ later. 😀

P.P.S.

Of course, you wouldn’t be nuts once you start eating ’em! Eating nuts is good! : P 😛