AR speaketh...

The questions, the answers, the thoughts, the ideas and the other crap that make me, well, me.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Time, the Great Stealer

This piece is my tribute to life's sense of irony and humour, described quite succinctly by a certain Mr. Shakespeare, William:
"I wasted time, and now doth time waste me".

There comes a time in the life of a performer, when he realizes that despite being on stage, he is really an observer, and it is actually in the rings that the circus is going on. This realization does not come easily; it comes after great periods of intense reflection, when the Buddha manifests himself in his simple trick. A trick that he had conjured innumerable times, yet which now appears entirely novel to him. He begins to see the sleaziness of life as opposed to its perceived portentousness. And amongst all this, he realizes that the true villain is time. It is time that gives life its initial flightiness and quickly conceals it in a veil of all encompassing darkness. Not that either impression is correct: both, really, are projections from the observer's mind, on the screen of time.

How do I know this? Did the Buddha appear before me? Did he give me The Knowledge? To answer, I will have to tell you a story...
(To those who are wondering if I'm schizophrenic, let me put your fears to rest: most people who know me are of the opinion that I don’t even have enough of one personality, let alone multiple personalities.)

The story begins when I was involved in an unusually weighty intellectual exercise, viz., watching television. I was engrossed in watching the haphazard fractals of advertisements, which, quite irritatingly, were interrupted by regular features. Suddenly, the room turned fragrant, the lights grew soft and a gentle breeze started blowing in my 5th storey apartment with common walls on 3 sides. For Aishwarya Rai had appeared on screen, for a French cosmetic company, detailing the benefits of a particular hair colour. She ended her eulogy to the dye by saying, "And not a single gray". Snap! The air wasn't fragrant anymore, the midday sun was harsh and the gentle breeze just died. "Gray???" Aishwarya Rai, the epitome of beauty, timeless, ageless is now campaigning for hair dyes! It was then that I realized that time had struck. Ash was now 32, which is a perfectly ignoble age for any woman to be, more so if she looks like Aishwarya Rai and is single.

I thought I heard the villain laugh his hollow laugh and realization set in. The present would wilt, curl up and die, giving way to the future, which would really be the present of some arrogant young people. These, in turn, would be completely drunk on the power of their youth or illusions of it, before they lost hair and gained weight. It is a vicious circle! I could almost see the day when, as a pensioner on a park bench I hear the youngsters call to each other, "Watched a really crappy movie last night, some "Mohabbatein" or something, and guess what, my grandma says that Shahrukh Khan was a heartthrob!" and watch them roll on the ground, convulsed with laughter. I recall doing the same when my mom told me that Rajesh Khanna had been a superstar. This is the lone silver lining: the kids in the future (at least in my reverie) have excellent taste, for Shahrukh's popularity is certainly the only thing in the present I would like to conceal from the snobbish Martian lady, when she comes. Think about the irony of life, having ridiculed mom's generation for making Rajesh Khanna a superstar, I have to bear the cross of Shahrukh Khan's being a heartthrob.

All that would have been fine, had it been in the domain of SEP (Someone Else's Problem, originally defined by Douglas Adams in 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'). In that case, like all self-respecting Indians who do not interfere in others' affairs, unless it involves a cheap story about their daughters, I would have stayed away from it. It was only when time started making my life miserable that I started perceiving its tortures. I had once been an innocent, good looking and intelligent young guy with a blossoming love life and a full head of hair. (Ok, stop the sniggering, I may not have been the other things, but I definitely had a full head of hair.) And today, time has tricked me into being, lets say, a person with not so full a head of hair and a paunch. I expect the entire intelligent fraction of the human race (which according to a recent estimate by Standard and Poor is .013%) to comprehend the magnitude of the blow dealt to me by time.

I have stoically borne a host of time's brutalities: some painful and some very painful. Most of you are already aware of the affair (or the lack of it) with Katrina and, on a separate occasion, Aishwarya; those being among the more painful ones. Despite all this, I do not have any hard feelings for time. I reckon you cannot afford to be belligerent, especially when time is not on your side.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Gifting (in) the Present

Foreword: The huge populace that is a regular audience of my discourses has often accused me of escapism. I have been chastised, and quite rightly at that, for being frivolous in my writings. My formidable abilities which could have served the higher purposes of spreading consciousness in the youth of the nation and solve some really complicated problems like unemployment, female infanticide and baldness, are being frittered away in vulgar hedonism. Suitably admonished, I shall now endeavour to produce a piece of work to fulfill my social responsibilities.

In view of the festive season, with Diwali just having passed and my birthday and the new year coming up, here is a guide to help you buy gifts for me, er, your loved ones. (A couple of words about guides here- Any general guide that claims to help you deal with a problem and does not begin with a foreword ought to be avoided like a Leonardo Di Caprio movie. Also, a guide that attempts to provide a generic solution without severely qualifying its applicability is, unless authored by yours truly, pure and unadulterated bilge.)

Let me begin by first identifying the different kinds of people buying gifts for (Aha!!). Writers of insufficient intellect have often qualified gift recipients into two classes: those that gave you gifts and those that didn’t. Obviously, only one kind should make it to your recipient list! The correct classification, and this has been arrived at after reading millions of intellect building magazines like "The Penthouse: Annual Collectors' Edition" and "Hustler", is: Men and Women. Yes, the word is out and it has been established, to the degree of certainty allowed by quantum mechanics, that the sexes are in fact different and have different preferences.

Let us begin (as is customary if you intend to be politically correct and avoid being branded an MCP, a misogynist, an uncivilized brute and other terms that correctly describe the modern male, metrosexual men: you are not counted) with the women. What is it that the true woman of substance likes to receive as a gift? This is a question that has puzzled mankind for centuries, ever since Eve chose a flower over Adam’s Smooth Round Stone Attached to a Piece of String. What practical purpose does a flower serve as opposed to the said device of unprecedented genius? Nothing. And that is the answer! A gift to a woman must necessarily be useless: completely devoid of any intrinsic value, never lending itself to any chore that you might need help to perform. This is why a new microwave, while perfectly sensible, scores far below the Queer Shaped Fragile Glass Tumbler Containing Vaguely Coloured Liquids as an anniversary gift.

Now, if you are a male who has tried to gift a woman a scale model of a monster truck, or a battery powered double chain chainsaw, or a flamethrower, you are probably shaking your head so hard, you’ll get spondilitis. I once read an article somewhere that had found out after a global survey that the most loved gifts one festive season had been: a) Scented handmade bees wax candles with visible portions of bee poop still in them and b) Godzilla sized shears with serrated blades and bakelite handles. If you can correctly identify which set of people from the classification above loved which gift, you are beginning to get the hang of the thing.

If you thought figuring out what to gift women is simple, hang on. Its even simpler gifting things to men. Step one would be to choose anything that has the words, "Assembly Required" in the name. Other hot phrases include "Magnum", "Outdoor use only", "Personal Injury Hazard", "Telescopic Rifle" and "Playboy". Once you have these items lying in front of you (and are receiving appreciative glances from the men in the store, who, in turn, are wondering how lucky your boyfriend/husband is and if murdering him will make you theirs) you need to think like a man, which involves salivating at the sight of anything with blades, triggers, wheels and breasts, and pick ALL of the items in front of you.

If you are skeptical about it, let me allay your fears. I once got invited to a colleague's one year old son's birthday party. Since there was a woman in the group invited, we decided to get a gift for him. We drove to a toy store and while the lady in question looked for stuff that either threatened to be intellectually stimulating (alphabet pianos, lettered blocks and the like) or were plain dumb (suitable for nine months or older), I picked up the best gift possible. A radio controlled Red Ferrari with a cannon on top(5 years or older) and a toy rifle(9 years or older, Personal Injury Hazard). Of course, she was horrified but the kid loved it and I am the only one from office he still remembers. His mother (and my colleague) has often seen me and a couple of like minded friends gushing about the Harley Davidson S1600 and fails to understand the powerful emotions it inspires in us. But, like I said, the kid got the point.

If you are thinking the gift I chose for the kid was suitable for one year olds, you got it wrong lady! Those are things any male outside the womb and the grave will absolutely LOVE. And while we are at it, adding a Lara Croft figurine (carrying an Uzi submachine gun, a Kalashnikov and a missile launcher) to the sports car and rifle will make it even better received. Of course, if all of those, Lara Croft included, could be for real...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Physiology of a Love Affair

In keeping with the tradition started with my last post, I will now have forewords to all my posts. Since I didn't have anything more concrete to say, I'll end the foreword with that. And yes, while I am at it, I'll be trying out a new style of writing, quite like ventriloquism, where a sock puppet "talks" to the performer, comments, criticizes etc. Here, the sock-puppet-speak is mentioned as asides (in parentheses).

Most people who know me are already on the floor, laughing and rolling, possibly in vomit. They laugh at my arrogance, of trying to write a piece titled "P. of a L.A." They feel that I am perhaps ill-equipped to discuss the topic. They feel I do not have the required experience. But the trained mind laughs at such obvious logical fallacies. The t. m. discerns the fault in the very foundation that this reasoning is based on. For the lesser mortals, let me vault into an unnecessarily verbose and excruciatingly boring explanation. To be a heart surgeon, one need not necessarily have undergone a cardiac-bypass, or a valve replacement, or an angioplasty, or something equally horrendous sounding. To be a veterinary doctor, one need not be a dog: whether neutered or otherwise, a cat, a canary, or any other animal it is now fashionable to domesticate. Likewise, one need not ever have had a love affair to write about one with absolute certainty. It is here that individuals with extremely high intellectual capacities(similar to those of retarded dodos), such as yours truly, utilize their brilliance to serve mankind. They "think out" the actual mechanics involved, assuming that there are, infact, mechanics involved. Even if there are no mechanics involved, we still think of something. You don't expect the crème de la crème of human intelligence to falter because of such laughable problems, do you?
(Of course there are no asides yet. The sock puppet(SP) speaks only in the real stuff, moron)

The Real Stuff
Let me start off by specifying the immediate need for this article. Following my immensely popular (SP: yeah, right!) "The Complete Idiot's...." I was inundated (SP: blasphemy!) with calls from damsels in distress. They wanted something similar for womankind. Also, there were the usual feminist associations who, having never been picked up(SP: Lesbians!), completely hated the idea of someone else having fun(SP: Typical feminine jealousy.) and therefore asked me to take the stuff off my blog and issue heartfelt apologies for having insulted:
1. Womankind
2. Morons
3. Metrosexual men
4. The Red-Assed Baboon
5. The Republic of Dyspepsia
Of course this is only a representative list, the real thing contained some really obnoxious entries, like "Intelligent Men". Finally, after some careful persuasion (SP: And an impromptu pamphlet on "The Extremely Intelligent Woman's Guide to Hooking Obscenely Wealthy and Equally Dim-witted Men"), they relented and let the modern classic reside on my blog. But not before they made me promise to write a piece on honourable love affairs(SP: He got Community Service, actually). Ergo, I am writing perhaps the first treatise on the physiology of love affairs.

Most affairs of the heart begin with a rather funny kind of feeling in the solar plexus, quite like heartburn, actually. Particularly, the kind of heartburn that you get after consuming rather large portions of dairy products. The trick lies in identifying this feeling. Most learned men go, "This is not acidity. This is not gastroenteritis. This is not dysentery. It must be love!" (SP: Bring on the Nobel!) Following the ingenious diagnosis, it is time to take steps to further the cause of the epidemic. The first step would be to determine the causative: a cure for Tuberculosis could never have been found had it not been known that the disease is caused by Streptococcus. Likewise, in matters of the heart, one must take the pains of ascertaining the accurate cause of the ailment. Having established the real reason, the next step is to communicate to it the effect that it has been producing. Usually this is done through a mutual friend. Fate has a way of dropping mutual friends by the dozen on unsuspecting people. They would best be advised to keep the number of said mutual f's to a minimum. Selecting the least moronic m. f., one then endeavours to convey to the object of interest the state of one's internals and the effect it has been having on them. Or, in some cases, one waits for the pathogen to initiate the contact. This is particularly true of all the love affairs of yore which have not succeeded. Once a communication channel has been established, it is generally seen that one of the parties quickly expresses inability of continued interaction owing to censorship by progenitors. At this stage, the other party, equally quickly, makes vague threats of self-mutilation in response to which one or both parties exercise their vocal chords and/or tear ducts. By now the affair has probably matured enough to withstand each others dietary habits and therefore progresses from fungus lined nooks to deserted food plazas in terms of location. It remains in this stage for quite some time, gestating till one or both parties get accustomed to the stimulus provided by the other and a state of ennui sets in. If the boredom is enough, the love affair ends immediately, in marriage. Otherwise, if the parties are not barbaric enough, they simply part ways and agree never to see each other again. They then move on till they experience the next case of heartburn. Statistics reveal that the people in the second group are avid followers of “The Complete Idiot’s….
(SP: Bravo!)

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