Getting back home – The Auto Driver

We stayed over an extra day in Bangalore and walked about around where we were staying, checked out some chicks from Stella Maris, ate some cheap and good chicken biryani, had a couple of espressos and generally lazed around. Here’s a little fact for you: Bangalore has lots of traffic signs. Really. Lots.

Anyway, in the evening when we decided to leave for the station we caught an auto. Now this auto fellow wasn’t normal, and he was driving without a headlight. Naturally, we chose to travel by his auto. R’s mom had already told us that one particular road was blocked and so the autorickshaw-wallah was told, so he claimed the other route would be longer and he would have to charge us more, so we said fine. Then, he decides to take the shorter route after all, and has to turn right back when it turns out that the road was blocked after all. Meanwhile, Pipe strikes up a conversation in Hindi with the fellow, and since I can’t speak Hindi, I listen. The conversation goes something like this: (I’ve made lots of changes because otherwise you have to brink the rest of the conversation in and I don’t remember it all)

Pipe: Bhai, how come you don’t have headlight?
Driver: Forgot to pay the electricity bill.

Driver: I want to meet Goundamani, Vadivel, Senthil, they’re really funny. Them and… Jayalalitha.
Pipe: Ah, Jayalalitha, they say she has 400 pairs of shoes.
Driver: She uses them instead of clothes or what?
Pipe: They say she has lots of saris too.
Driver: She’s so big, I bet they weld more than one together for her.

Driver: Before you, I had to transport a couple and then suddenly halfway through she started crying really hard. I wanted to ask her why she was crying but then she’d probably cry even more.

Pipe: Why do all the buses here have only Kannada names on the boards?
Driver: In TN, all the buses are in Tamil, it’s just the same. […something about English…]
Pipe: […something else about English…]
Driver: There was this Nepali, when I took him to this place to which it would cost Rs. 49 my meter showed Rs. 53. He started complaining, he said, “You see, I see…”. What is this UCIC? Some new bank or something?
Driver: He said he was going to file FIR with the police, I told him, “What FIR? Here, police? Go back to Nepal and file it.”. He’s probably a cook or a servant or something anyway. Finally he gave me Rs. 50, so I said, “The five rupees is a tip.” Ha ha, I gave him a tip. Ha ha.

Crazy fellow, all that talk and he finally charged us Rs. 120 for the journey. Not too bad, I suppose. Ah well.

Inferiority Complexes

The way it seems today, everybody has an inferiority complex, and for reasons that are very often all their own. I’ve encountered enough of these people often enough to believe that India is a country full of belief in its own inferiority. There are those who believe in their own inherent superiority but they can safely be ignored because they’re just deluded. The other people are weirder though, they think they’re inferior. I never understand this.

Language inferiors:

I dislike this bit very much. My Tamil is abysmal, really. It’s funnily accented, I frequently put the wrong word in the wrong place and often instead of a word coming out there just comes out a garbled mess of noises, but fortunately I can read, write and communicate just barely enough that I wouldn’t be completely lost in a purely Tamil-speaking neighbourhood. Now here’s the bit, a lot of native Tamil speakers find the way I speak hilarious (I do too) and make no attempt to hide it. The problem comes when it goes the other way. I can’t laugh at a person’s bad English (however bad it is, even if it is super hilarious) without that person being offended, and feeling bad about it. What goes around doesn’t seem to come around. Strange. It sucks to have people going all sad because they can’t speak English properly though, so you better not laugh.

Complexion inferiors:

Of all the people I have met who have trouble with dark skinned people, not one person has been fair skinned. You can see the whole affair in bright colours in a newspaper, in gimped orkut photos and in the way people talk about how this girl they know is very fair. To quote Aerosmith, “If you can tell a wise man by the colour of his skin, then mister, you’re a better man than I”. Seriously though, it’s not just the girls, I remember an ad for a ‘Fair and Handsome’ cream. I swear they invent these products just so we can laugh at them. It’s okay if they’d just keep their idiot self-hating to themselves but they won’t.

I have to admit, though, it works in my favour. All the dark skinned people who can’t speak English properly give me more respect than I deserve. I’m not complaining, it’s your call.

Disclaimer: Yeah, I know about caste oppression and stuff like that. I’m particularly talking about reasonably well off people.

A funny little photo – Bhagavad Ajjukam

Some time ago we did a play at the Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Chetpet, for the Dean Foundation. It was for World Hospice and Palliative Care. There were a bunch of other colleges who did some other stuff too, though we managed to watch only one of them go at it, the WCC girls with their A cappella band which was pretty good. It was fun, though a little confusing. I don’t think the play was meant to be done under lights, with mics and all. Not too bad, though it could have been nicer with more than the 9 days we had. The funniest part was Pipe’s ramblings in Sanskrit whenever he forgot his lines, plain hilarious. Aadi and Varma were hilarious too, the little kids loved Aadi’s Yama’s Messenger act! Anyway, yeah, I could go on about everyone but what made me think of this was that today Sundar (our mridangam dude, totally expert, him and Arundhathi, go see their shows sometime), yeah so Sundar, he tells me that we showed on some local Tamil channel. Yay! If I’d known we were on TV, I would have had “HI MOM!” painted on my chest. Nah, I wouldn’t have, but I would’ve liked to. Here’s a little photo of the show which I managed to get out of the Indian Express (October 10, City Express):

BA - Play - Chinmaya

So anyway, after our show, this dude Cary was picking out the winners for the raffle with us MCC crowd making a ruckus in the corner over every win. I nearly managed to fool everyone into thinking I was a girl named Amrita and after accepting my prize and giving my acceptance speech I was ready to go back to my seat but the real Amrita’s friends landed up and pinched my rightful prize. Ah well, next time, next time…

Oh and they gave us surplus women’s talcum powder, those nice folks. I liked the abundance of ‘refreshments’ better though. Very hospitable folks. Real hospitable folks.

The Day The Music Died

Sometimes I get in that mood. You know, where you go dig up the old tape cassettes of Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, and just for the heck of it, Don McLean. There’s so much brilliance in those years, the riffs tug at you and the wailing solos scream at your soul. Ah, did the Golden Age of Rock pass without anyone noticing?

Palse Report!

Today, when we were at the Connemara Public Library, Pipe encountered a family from Jharkhand. They’d come to see the Museum, which is closed on Fridays. The following conversation ensued: (in Hindi, unless otherwise specified)

Dad: Why is the Museum closed?
Pipe: *shrugs, shows hands with palms out*
Dad: What is this? (pointing to pumpkin broken on the road inside the Museum campus for festival)
Pipe: That’s a pumpkin. In Tamil Nadu, they sometimes break pumpkins to celebrate festivals.
Dad: (obviously, very puzzled) [en anglais] Why are they wasting begetables? *shakes head*
Pipe: *shrugs*
*conversation in Hindi*
The family now wants a photograph in front of the Museum Theatre. Pipe is going to take the photograph.

Following conversation in English unless otherwise specified.
Kid: [in Hindi] Film over! Camera full!
Dad: How many photos?
Kid: Thutty-six!
Dad: (to Pipe, obviously trying hard to speak English) How many?
Pipe: Sometimes you can get 37.
Dad: (whacks kid on head) Palse Report! How many photo?
Pipe: There’s 35. (shows monitor showing 35)
Dad: (whacks kid on head) He alway give Palse Report!

Dad: Where are places to see in Madras?
Pipe: Uhh, beach?
Dad: Already seen. Next?
Pipe: Umm, Valluvar Kottam?
Dad: Flower pot, eh?

Palse is pronounced between Palse and Balse. Photo is pronounced nearly Bhoto. Nice bunch, that pumpkin question is good. Also, I hope they managed to get to see something in Madras. And no offence, but they’re crazy funny, you know?

Two to Ubuntu 7.10

Two days to Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon’s release. They say that dual-monitor support has increased lots. That makes me so happy!

Scale in Feisty - Thumbnail

By the way, I’m not a great fan of the default wallpaper for the Gutsy Release, looks like something someone pulled from Fyre (which, as I’ve mentioned before, is a decent tool to make ‘abstract’ wallpaper with), so here’s what I think should have been default. They’re all derived from animals, I particularly love the Lion desktop background.

It’s a kitty!

Little Kitty


Gitanjali and Isha let me take this adorable little kitten because they couldn’t keep her in the hostel in college. She’s the friskiest cat we’ve ever had and spends all of the time either running around attacking a stuffed hedgehog tied up with string or biting and clawing our hands and arms. I think she’s a bit of a nutcase, because she doesn’t eat fish unless it’s been fried, she’ll eat any cooked chicken but no uncooked, and she’ll eat all kinds of mutton. The funny thing is, she loves human company and sleeps only when there’s someone around. This means that in the middle of the night she’ll crawl onto my pillow and curl up to sleep, sometimes with one paw on my head.

The crazy bit is my dad isn’t really fond of cats. He can tolerate them, but he’s not actively crazy about them like the rest of the family. Unfortunately, Cleo insists on sitting on his lap whenever possible and is always running around his legs. It’s patently hilarious, I tell you. Oh, and xkcd was right.

Looking for an EN-EL1 Charger:

All these photos were with the remaining charge on my digital camera. Unfortunately, the charger is broken (I think). I’ve tried to charge both the original EN-EL1 and a replacement Camelion battery but neither seem to have charged properly. Does anyone know where I can get a cheap charger? I’ve looked around and I managed to find a CTA Digital MR EN-EL1 Charger but Amazon doesn’t accept Paypal so I’m stuck now. I’ll just have to go to Ritchie Street now. That sucks. Those buggers are all frauds and their prices are inflated, not in little part due to the idiot import duties we have on electronics. What good do they do anyway, stupid duties. So high.

“I’m a citizen!”

There was once a boy named Jee, who studied in Madras. While in this college, he met another boy, slightly older, called Diwali. The two got along rather well, and spent a lot of time with potted plants. Indeed, it seemed quite a passion. One day, in anticipation of some very creative work for a Saturday that was to come, the two decided to attend to their plants with a couple of Jee’s friends, Dren and the Breeze. After enjoying themselves that night, Jee and Diwali decided to return home. It was two in the morning.

In Madras, no one walks around at two in the morning except incredibly pot-bellied policemen on bicycles, a hilarious sight for a normal man and patently side-splitting for our heroes. With great restraint, they passed the policeman and walked on, carrying Jee’s laptop on which they had watched some anime. Diwali liked anime, very much, and so did Jee. The policeman, however, exercised no such restraint, possibly because he liked anime but had none. Mumbling like a cow, he summoned the duo and asked them for all sorts of things. At this point, outraged by this assault upon his person, Jee, endowed by the power of botany, counter-attacked, “I am a citizen!”, he said, “I have the right to go where I want in public in this country!”. The policeman was fat, and he had a funny hat, so he responded with some accusations that Jee was drunk. Jee was not, in fact, drunk. He was in a state that the Taliban puts women in when the women are accused of adultery. Diwali, however, understands policemen at two o’ clock and the things they like to do, so with a deferential tone in his voice and a polite bow he asked forgiveness and removed both of them from the scene. The policeman stood in silence and contemplated the purpose of his life.

And they said vodka is bad for you

Liars! All of them. It saves lives. Suren will agree with me. Many a time, his sorry ass has been saved by a bottle of vodka. Why, this one time he nearly died of ethylene glycol poisoning and he had to self-administer shots of vodka every half an hour. Poor chap. Fortunately, it is a very good antidote and saved his life. How many people in his position have died because they have too strong a moral stance? How many religious nutcases have destroyed a suicidal man’s life by proscribing vodka? When will we learn the beauty of this lovely liquid, something that one in three Russian men can already see?