30 September, 2009

Always Shoes

I’ve never had enough experience shopping with women to generalize buying tendencies, but after this weekend, I believe that all the rumours are true.

“ Women always like to buy shoes, even if it is not for them”

Allow me to explain. I had to pick up a tiny stuffed toy for my friend’s new-born baby as this was the first time I would be seeing the kid. Now, I wanted to buy the boy a Manchester United Jersey and put him on the right path, just in case he grows up to like some team like….I don’t know …. those Arsenal chaps, but my folks thought otherwise. So I guess a baby Metallica T shirt was out of the question. Anyway, I had met some friends for lunch the same day. Since we all finished pretty early, there was not much to do. I thought it was best that we utilize the time and head to a nearby store and pick up the stuffed toy. Mistake one…needless to say, I am a greenhorn in such matters, I happen to take 3 ladies to shop for one stuffed toy. I have learnt my lesson.

We entered the baby store, me in proper gung-ho style ‘go for the kill’, straight to the stuff toy section. My eyes fall upon this absolutely cute Simba cub toy. Now I must admit, I’m a major fan of the Lion King cartoon…..second favourite Disney toon after Beauty and the Beast. I want to take that toy, but then I forget, I’m outnumbered on the opinion poll 3-1 to a bunch of girls who like the Pluto Dog toy instead. I’m there arguing as to which was better, one of the girls glances over at the baby boots section and goes ‘ Ooooooh, why don’t you buy him shoes?’. My mind is going ‘Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?’ The kid can hardly walk, he’s going to be carried everywhere, why shoes? Apparently, it would look cute. Well so would I in a tutu doing ballet….but you don’t see me gift wrapped for a one month old baby. To make matters worse, they fall in love with these tiny boots in the shape of Donald Duck’s feet and keep pestering me to buy them as the baby would look cute.

Alright, it’s bad enough that primary shoe-buying instinct kicked in, you honestly want me to scar that kid for life by buying him Donald Duck shoes. Puh-lease. He’s one of the dudes now. He has his mother to do embarrassing things to him. I don’t want to encourage her by buying those shoes, no matter how cute you think they are. I just cannot do that to one of the dudes, even if the dude is a one month old baby boy. Despite the trying on their part to get me to buy the tiny shoes, I refused to cave in. Why is it that women always end up choosing shoes? There are so many other things in the world…why shoes? Shoes get dirty, old, worn out…some even smell….then why so much love of shoes? To all those hardcore vegetarian girls, shoes are made from the skin of cows….you would be directly responsible for killing an animal…think of that the next time you buy shoes.

Anyway, being the nice guy that I am (cough….cough) I at least gave the girls some leeway and bought the Pluto dog and not the Simba Cub, which still remains my first choice. But why shoes? Honestly?

27 September, 2009

Demon barber of My Street

This is where I sound completely vain…unlike the other times where I am not! I am back home for a long vacation of 2 weeks. Time to re-charge the batteries for the onslaught expected in the months to come. If I had thought the last 5 weeks showed me everything, I ain’t seen nothing yet. Anyway, my vacation got off to a terrible start thanks to that barber, and I have no apprehension in calling him the next Sweeney Todd in the making.

Over the last few weeks, I had cultivated (interesting term) a beard which was very reminiscent of Tony Stark. For those of you who don’t know…he’s Iron Man. Second coolest hero after the Dark Knight. I woke up one morning and decided that the do was needed as it would help me with the attempted image make-over I desperately require. Who better to model it after than the man himself? Suave, rich, good cars, rich, can get any lady, rich, fancy fighting suit….did I mention rich? Anyway, I have carefully been trimming the beard so as to have something that fell sort of in between Tony Stark and one of the 3 musketeers. Despite the initial pointing and laughing from my “very supportive” classmates, I still kept the goatee. I know deep down in their hearts, the guys feared me…what if I came after them with my super suit? And the girls….none wanted to say it out loud…but they all sighed in awe when I walked past…they thought I was dashing! Don’t lie…you know it!

Anyway, now that the morphine has worn off an the delusions have stopped, back to business. I come into town and go to my regular barber with the hope of getting a haircut, a decent barber is a luxury where I study. I somehow don’t trust a man who keeps a huge shop and all he has are two scissors, a comb and a water sprayer thingy…the aerosol bottle! Anyway, my regular barber was not there. In his place was the grump fellow who posses as a barber. Left with no other choice ( I am not paying 200 bucks to chop a few locks off the side), I reluctantly sat in his chair. Haircut goes well. Hmmm! I am not so frightened any more. Maybe the barber isn’t as bad as I thought he was. So, I let him give me a shave. Mistake! Big mistake! Quoting Britney Spears – Ooops! I did it again!

All I asked for was a trim, and go knows what the moron thought in his head, before I could react, he’s chopped off a significant centimeter off one side of the goatee. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! There goes my Tony Stark look. I storm out with the oddly shaped goatee, paying only for my haircut! Screw the shave! Oh wait! He already did it! I go home, all fuming! Profanities galore in the house! Dad wants to tell me to shut up….but mum the wisest tells him it is better the anger flows out! Especially if he’s armed with a razor blade! Alas, my beard is Afghanistan…..meaning…it’s been messed up by a foreign power so badly, nothing can be done to improve it!

I shave the goatee off, leaving the moustache! This makes me look like the quintessential tamil film hero. Moustache and a ponch. Yikes! Off goes the moustache! There I am! Plain old powerless, boring, clean shaven momma’s boy! I almost felt like Samson when they chopped his hair off. All his super powers gone! Like that! SNAP! Now, I look ordinary!

God Damn that barber! He’s the devil’s left hand man I tell you! Sheer evil in that man! To take a hot, great looking extremely smart Tony Stark like Tam Bram and make him an accountant tam bram, OMG…he did it…one swift flick of the wrist, and my world goes crumbling down! Now, from Iron Man….I have become Bruce Banner with a temper and no Hulk powers! Woe is me! Great start to the holidays! Will be blogging a lot!

See the pics...who's who? See..... you can't make out the difference!

21 September, 2009

The rumour of the clean room

I’m not completely sure if I want to feel happy about this rumour or not. It is completely weird and has no basis to it whatsoever. You’ve all read about how I ended up with the ‘prettiest room’ in the boy’s hostel. I heard a rumour over the grapevine that apparently the fact that I keep my room fairly spick and span for a guy, is apparently to honour the previous occupant or something of that order. You’ve got to be joking right? Do I look like the sentimental type?

Someone even said that the girl’s spirit still lingers in my room. First and foremost, the girl is not dead, so where is this spirit lingering business? Second of all, if she were dead, why would she choose to hang about my room? Poor choice of location. Last of all, thank you all for the stupid ‘spirit lingering’ joke…now, I am petrified and refuse to turn off my lights when I sleep!

I still don’t get what is the big deal with a guy having a clean room. It does not smell funny, I can almost always find my keys, and there are no bags of potatoe chips underneath the pillow, which I pull out and go, “Hey, when did I eat this? Ooooh…there’s one left!”. I hear that house-keeping have labeled some of the guy’s rooms as a ‘toxic waste and radiation’ hazard zone. Again these are rumours! So for heaven’s sake, if it is true, kindly give me time to jump into a radiation hazard suit before you come over.

My room is clean. In the words of James Hetfield, “ So f***ing what????”. You know you like my clean room, you know you are jealous of my clean room, you know you like to hang out in my clean room.

That's the cure....

Thanks to the ‘extremely delicious food here at the canteen, I’ve been on a total mood swing. Generally somewhere between, ‘I’m going to kill you’ and ‘I’m going to kill myself’. I was sitting outside the canteen and having a meal owing to the absolutely great weather (not being sarcastic this time) and having dinner with some friends. Mood for the moment is absolute depression owing to the fact that exams are beginning in 3 days and I am as always ‘yet to begin’.

One of the guys in our class, who is one of the ‘Riddlers’ , meaning he asks a lot of questions, people think it’s odd, but I think he’s making good on his investment unlike me…anyway, the riddler comes out of the gym panting and his face a nice shade of red…tomatoes begin to blush. And despite the fact that I have been hitting the gym for the last one week or so, I felt like a complete loser. This dude was not only doing fairly well at studies, he was even hitting the gym now….he’s married too!

My depression gets worse with me screaming ‘I am ordinary’…. And then began the general dragging of feet, sulking like a child, short whines between my breath, and placing the adjective ‘ordinary’ in front of everything. Look at my ordinary room…meant for an ordinary human being like me….look at my ordinary blog….ordinary life… I will even die an ordinary death….. Ramblings go on! Friend obviously thinks I’m just ‘acting the goat’. (This is a new term I learnt from reading Tintin comics….The ‘Destination Moon’ book where Calculus goes berserk when Haddock tells him the same). The group are sitting and are trying to ponder as to how to get me out of the mood I am in and the solution they come up with is, ‘Let’s get him married!

Someone care to explain how this is supposed to help me???????

(KO - you do NOT have an opinion on this one)

17 September, 2009

Lucid... laconic …lamebrain!

It’s amazing how some people can be a real donkey (i'm trying to find a suitable replacement for the word a**...so please use the word donkey) in their life. People whose little ego’s are molly-coddled by unleashing their apparent expertise of the English language on unsuspecting souls. I remember blogging when I was preparing for my CAT paper about all these really weird words which I had to learn; words that no normal present day human would use, unless they wished to be labeled an absolute moron by their peers….oh wait…with that kind of language, I don’t think you would have any peers! But, I have discovered why they included all those out-of-place words for us to learn…..it is so that I can understand this odd teaching assistant who probably derives some really odd pleasure by sending us e-mails with really big words. No doubt, those words make complete sense, but then why does one have to be a complete smarty pants (was going for the word smart-a**) while sending e-mails?

Here are some examples:

1) The Objective of the Feedbacks , as elucidated to you earlier is to get an intelligent comments and wise suggestions – for ameliorating our Academic Processes and classroom sessions of the concerned Faculty and … also help in attenuating any lacunae wrt your Course Instructors - the next time onwards.

2) It is however not to be misconstrued as a space for showering ‘personal eulogiums’ , ‘encomiums’ - or for expressing ‘personal vendetta’ on your professors / Course Instructor.

After reading this, I felt the only lacunae was the void between this persons ears!

And this is merely the tip of the ice-berg, I do believe these messages could be conveyed in normal English. No doubt, this is English, and at some twisted level I appreciate the use of such language, but then, there is something called ‘being a moron’ which is quite unacceptable. Somehow, whenever I read such e-mails, I picture the person sitting in a French Castle, dressed up in lace and one of those frilly dresses, oodles of make-up and saying ‘Let them eat cake’….even if it is a guy! (Not a pretty picutre)

I’m quite sure, through some channel, the person concerned might be reading this blog, and oh well! Put me on his hit list… but then, a message to all the other lexicon champions! A certain loquacious rambling upon the medium of electronic mail would find you not appreciated for your knowledge of the lexicon, but would deem you a wanton aberration in the cycle of evolution and a large deviation from the accepted standards of mailing etiquette. Hence rendering you a mere human being, who lives with a certain hedonistic approach to belittling others believing they appreciate your lucid yet laconic approach for verbal diarrhea.

See….even I can be an absolute moron. It’s simple…right-click on the word and go to synonyms. Oh wait…you might have the ‘Joey’ effect and end up saying “They're humid, pre-possessing homosapiens with full-sized aortic pumps.”; when what you really wanted to say was “They're warm, nice people with big hearts.” Wait! Maybe that is what it is, the person concerned found this option on MS-Word and tweaked the software to select words from the ‘I must sound like a high society stuck-up moron’ list rather than the ‘I must sound erudite’ list.

14 September, 2009

Goodbye Grandpa

Today, my Grandpa passed away. But he lived a grand and full life, and I thought it would be nice to share how good a person he was and how good a life he had. My Grandpa was touching 87 when he passed away this morning. But, even at that age, his health could beat most of the peers my age. He used to walk a lot every day and was as fit as a fiddle. It was only over the last few years that he sort of stopped doing yoga and stuff, that too on recommendation from his doctor. Most people my age, go paranoid on the slightest sign of a headache, but my grandpa was the opposite. And I believe that it was this frame of mind that kept him healthy for this long. He never let old age get the better of him and remained active.

To all of us in the family, he was the reason why many of us are what we are. As a young boy, during British India, he fended for the family that is his mother and 2 brothers by himself. He put both brothers through school and college while still raising a family. A lot of great values he passed on to my mother have come down to me. I believe my love of music, all forms of music comes from him. He was always there for all the grandchildren. We were all treated equally with no biases. Everything bought, right from a tiny sweet to a shirt, was bought for all my brothers and a dress for my sister. Well, my sister was favored a little higher than all of us, but then she needed someone to back her up when she went against three brothers who were united in mischief. But that was all cool.

With regard to music, about 7 years ago, my Grandpa heard me listening to Pink Floyd on my speakers and he really enjoyed it. That evening, I remember we sat and saw the entire PULSE concert from start to finish. And I don’t think Grandparents can get cooler than that. We would spend long afternoons whenever he was home talking about music. He would give the carnatic perspective and I would have my western perspective, and we would find commonalities in music. The best part is that my Grandpa learnt formal carnatic singing after he retired. Just as music became my favourite pastime, it soon became his too. And he actively taught music to many people in the colony where he stayed. This is probably one connection I am going to deeply miss.

I remember mom telling me stories of how Grandpa would never encourage eating junk food. In a town like Calcutta, where my folks where brought up, resisting junk food is quite the challenge. But when it came to the grandkids, when all of us were together for durga pooja in Cal, he would take us out for junk food from dawn to dusk. Later on, while living with my Sister, he got accustomed to burgers, ice creams and pizzas. And enjoyed them well. I remember once, we walked into a food court, grandpa, mom and I. Gramps goes saying, ‘ I’m getting some pizza for myself…you guys take what you want.’ Needless to say, my jaw dropped and mum was being….well…all mum and was not too happy about the choice of food!

There are so many great memories of Grandpa, right now I’m a little too incoherent. But I can learn a lot from him. You’d never hear him complain. He always kept himself busy right until the last day. Active in singing, active in exercise and never for once let old age get to him. Not only me, but I guess all of us can take an example from this person who has done so much and meant so much not only to us, but to many families. Goodbye Grandpa! Thank you for being there! Thank you for Mom! Thank you for everything you taught us all!

09 September, 2009

Investment analysis…..girls….hee hee…poda!!!

I might sound terribly shallow in this one, but excuse the fact that this comes after my first nervous breakdown during the course. I always believed that there was one thing in this world I had no knowledge of, and that no matter what I did, it would remain a total mystery to me. The mystery that is ‘women’. I don’t get them. Or more like, I don’t understand how to get them. Some guys just have it so easy. They understand the signs when a girl is interested, they know the right ‘moves’….i’m still hunting for that textbook, btw. I still recollect a phase where in I had to take advice from friends to try and achieve the impossible….well, besides looking like a total idiot at the end of it….it left me with a certainty that this is one science I am not going to understand.

Until today, I was very content that this was the only Achilles foot in my arsenal of tricks, and was quite happy being blissfully unaware of the various ‘rules’ and ‘terms’. Something I learnt really late, a little too late for my own good. But after today’s lectures, one nervous breakdown later, I have discovered the other thing I am absolutely clueless about! Investment analysis!

I come from a fairly poor yet rich background where stock markets and investments were not exactly popular things around the household. Also, I have not been fortunate enough to draw a heavy salary, or have a rich relative die, so that I have money to squander on the stock market. Yours truly remains absolutely clueless about investments. And it seems that I am the only one in my class. 5 classes in and all I do is come out at the end of three hours feeling less and less like a human being. People seem to understand all this jazz, stock return, duration, common equity, portfolio, midcap, hedgeing, arbitration. All I do is sit there with my hand held to my forehead staring in absolute confusion as to what is going on. Similar feeling when….you know! At least I can say that when it comes to girls, there is no prescribed textbook and everything is out of syllabus. Good excuse I have! What do I say about investments? I read and go to class believing that - today I shall answer at least one question in class, but no. Seems they are speaking some other language. Could someone please speak English in this class?I am reduced to running monologues in my head, some really sad one too. Eg:

What do we do with the bond when it completes maturity?

Retire it and get Daniel Craig to play bond….

So why do we want to hedge this ?

Because we’re trying to go green….

What are the T-bills?

(too easy this one is)

I have finally reached the end of my tether. I have lost my mind. I spent the last half an hour writing WTF in my notebook. Resembled the starting of ‘The Simpsons’ where Bart is going through his impositions of writing a 100 times. Great, now what else is left? Maybe I ought to run into a wall and knock the letters of the alphabet out of my head.

07 September, 2009

Good Grief …these rumours!

I’ve got all the problems of a celebrity being chased by the presses without having become a celebrity yet. I try my best to stay away from it all, yet these rumours…good grief! You might have read in some of the previous posts, that my dad was associated with the institute I study at , over 2 years ago. Now, I can’t help escape the fact that he knows people, and I can’t help that a keen eye is being kept on me. Recently, a certain faculty member resigned from our college. It so happened that my folks had been at college on the same day. Dad was busy talking to old friends and catching up. His primary reason for coming down to college was to see me perform on stage.

Coincidences, conincidences….my fellow students saw this and then began the turning of the rumour wheel.

Nikhilesh’s dad is coming to the institute…let’s be overly nice to him. Please tolerate all the bad jokes and tell him he looks good…no matter what he’s wearing. He could put in a good word.

Well, once I screamed my head off saying that he was not coming to the institute, people were back to being their normal selves. It also so happens that some professor by the name of ‘Murthy’ is taking a course. I have received at least 3 calls from people asking if it were my dad. Why? Just because of the surname? Then, by that logic, even Narayana Murthy is my dad….but here I am languishing in the throes of bankruptcy and poverty.

Good grief these damn rumours!

06 September, 2009

There I go….on the stage again!

Well, the new band is up and running at college. We got spiffy new equipment, shiny guitars, drums, amps and the full jazz band. Believe me; some things in the world are just so awesome that one needs to be there to feel it. The Fret board and crispness of new strings on a brand new Ibanez guitar is something I can compare only with the smell of the first rain on the parched earth. It’s amazing.

We finished our exams at 4 PM. We have a little over 24 hours for the show and we’re barley even managing a few hours of sleep. My mind says ‘Hell Yeah’ to jamming but my body is a positive ‘Hell no!’. Yet, we get together to jam. Songs are chosen carefully. I need to state that we find a western rock band in fairly hostile territory with regard to appreciation of Rock and Roll. A place where a majority prefer more ‘homely forms’ of music, the task of this band was to win the hearts of the masses, to give them a show like no other, and to do this, what songs we chose was going to be important. Jam sessions begin at 4:30 PM on the 2nd and go right up to 3:30 AM on the 3rd of September. Classes next morning. I returned to my room and sincerely got down on my knees and prayed that all goes well that evening. I don’t believe I’ve prayed harder…oh wait…I have!

Dance-vance over, show-time! Yours truly is on rhythm guitar. Thanks to a brief shower, the equipment was dismantled and time was being wasted in putting stuff back together. The crowd grows impatient. Many had heard that there was this so called rock band and came with a certain ‘let’s see what the f they can do?’ There also came the faithful supporters who were more than happy that we were going to be playing some actual rock and not Bryan Adams(All respect to the man….was the first show I went to and do like his music….but it ain’t rock! It’s Ballads!) Usual chants of ‘Start the fucking show’ run through. I stand there slowly watching. I don’t feel tense, but I do feel anxious. ‘What if they don’t like our music?’ runs through my head. I shake it off and concentrate on remembering my chords right. Technician stops running around….we’re all set to go!

As my drummer begins hitting the high-hat, my pulse slowly races as I pull the first chord. This was it. This was make or break. Acceptance into the college or mockery of everything I hold dear. First song up is ‘Born to be wild’ by Steppenwolf….tune runs on the rhythm guitar, bass and lead join in. Still a general amount of screaming and excitement of anticipation runs through the crowd. But then my vocalist loses it and goes nuts…..crowd goes wild…vocalist singing his diaphragm out screaming ‘born to be wild’. And then it hit me, holy cow! It’s exactly a year since I was last on stage…I had forgotten how good it felt. Like a breeze, it swept up on me and that was it. I was HOME! Home sweet home! The comfort and the person I was on stage! It was me again!

The crowd was going nuts, vocalist wielding his power, bass and lead fitting in perfectly with the newly-promoted drummer. I’m loving this. This was what rock and roll was all about. It was never about the chicks….not for me at least. It was the music. It was the stage. It was the lights. It was the people screaming along with you on every note. It was LIFE!

The songs that followed that evening were ‘Socha Hain’ (Rock ON!!), ‘Rocking in the free world’ (Neil Young) and ‘Smoke on the Water’ (Deep Purple). As I took charge of the lat song with the famous riff of Glover, the crowd goes wild. Nearly insane. Many of my peers who never listen to western rock, thanks to the jam session were singing along with the tune. I knew then, we were loved. We were part of them and we were their Rock band. You know you’ve had a good show when someone who was uninitiated top your music is screaming his/her lungs out. No matter what my friend says, I do not love music because I have nothing better to love. I tell her - I love music because there is never enough of it to love. And as a person up on stage with a hundred odd of your peers, 80% of which who hardly listen to English music, to have them jump up and down to your beat, there is no better sign that the show was good.

I had one of the students come up to me after the show and tell me that he has never attended a rock show in his life and felt we were mind blowing and did not imagine that this was what a rock show was about. And this was a mere 25 minutes of performance. I even managed to disperse the myth that one needs to get high to rock on stage. This guitarist was as sober as a priest. 1 year later, I still have it in me. Music is not dead and MBA did not manage to kill it. Rock will never die. And the day, I have no more music to play; I’m taking the stairway to heaven or the highway to hell….. Until then, this boy is back and is rocking in the free world! Quoting Metallica –

but here I am, on the road again

here I am, up on the stage

here I go, playing the star again

there I go, turn the page