Tuesday, May 24, 2011


1.) My name is Kahn, and I am not a sex-offender.

2.) Obama, to Pakistan's sovereignty: Frankly, m'dear, I don't give a damn.

3.) Indian intelligence, or lack thereof: Terrorists se darr nahin lagta saab, RTI se lagta hai.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ode to Awesome

I was reading a blog post today and I was awed by it. Now what would I comment? "Awesome," right? Wrong. Awesome sounds entirely wrong...and it makes me sound like a bimbo. Or like a ten year old boy from Delhi who's just discovered that talking in English is "cool." No wait, "cool" is outdated. He disovered that talking in English is awesome.

My predicament about commenting reminded me of this Reader's Digest joke (you know, the ones they put below depressingly sensational or sensationally depressing stories to cheer you up?): How did "awesome" end up among such stalwarts of the English language such as and and the? (They named two more stalwarts but I can't remember them. Sorry.) And they were right. Everywhere you go: "Awesome!"

A new dress is awesome, a new house is awesome, a cotton candy is awesome, Katrina Kaif is awesome. What would Shakespeare think? Dan Brown got it right: Someone should ban that word.

Please let's stop using this word in every other sentence and reserve it for when we're really awed. (Most people who use "awesome" don't know what being awed means. For them: Say "Awe." That's what you look like when you're awed.) And please let's not confuse it with "Awful." (Some people do. Honestly.)

Image source: http://catcubed.com/

Oh, and no posts till the 27th of May; or possibly the 24th. One must attend weddings.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taslima Nasreen and Poribartan

Taslima Nasreen seems to be cashing in on West Bengal's good publicity, and she doesn't care how. When the election results were declared, she tweeted quite ecstatically: Three cheers for Mamata! Three cheers for women of strength! (No, how can you say she's referring to herself as well?)

And also: Hope is walking hand-in-hand with a dream.

And for Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee: How come Buddhadeb is losing! He threw me out of West Bengal for Muslim votes! And of course she adds the dramatic: Ah! Nightmare!

I grant all this is nothing. I sympathise with her and grieve that she was punished for exercising her right to freedom of expression. However, must we be subjected to her mood swings, IN PRINT? Today she writes for the Times of India:

"We know that if there was not killing or rape in Singur and Nandigram and if the media were not publicizing these atrocities, it would not have been so easy to defeat CPM in the polls."--Why, shouldn't the media have reported killing and rape?

And she's apparently thinking she was too hard on the communists on Twitter, because she writes: "34 years in power is long enough to make sane people insane." That is the most absurd justification I have ever heard for killing and rape, unless she meant that power had softened their brains.

And about hope walking hand-in-hand with a dream? She says that the people of West Bengal are only hoping for superficial change. Sure, whatever Taslima hopes for is the only right thing for which to hope. The hopes of the masses don't matter.

Yes, she is a writer. A well-acclaimed writer at that. That would have entitled her to let the whole nation know her opinion IN PRINT, had she sounded even a little writer-y. But any person who obliges a newspaper to use (sic) after quoting them loses that entitlement. Also any person who wastes paper, thus:

I am an optimist.
And after a few lines,
I am not a pessimist.

Thank you, we figured that out.

Image soure: http://www.piceye.com/

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wodehouse in Bengal

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fleming as Bertie and Jeeves

After one of Jeeves's sensational pick-me-ups, I could begin to think clearly.

"Where was I last night, Jeeves?"

"At Mr. Pirbright's residence, sir. Mr. Pirbright had announced a celebration to acknowledge the termination of the Marxist stronghold in the Indian state of West Bengal, sir."

I confess I was at sea.

"West Bengal, Jeeves?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, what about it?"

"Mr. Pirbright, sir, I understand, is significantly anti-communist. He was ecstatic at receiving news of Lady Banerjee's victory."

"A woman, Jeeves?" The set-up seemed rummy. "Does she believe that the stars are God's daisy chain?"

"I would assume not, sir. Lady Banerjee does not express herself in rhyme. She shows a marked disposition towards the reflection of life on canvas."

"A painter, you mean?"

"Precisely, sir."

I right-hoed, and after a few minutes of forking a thoughtful plate of eggs and bacon, I put my gentleman's gentleman another question.

"Surely she is someone's aunt?"

"I beg your pardon, sir?"

"Lady Banerjee,"

"The possibility cannot be ruled out, sir."

"Aunts," I told the fellow solemny, "aren't gentlemen."

"I fear not, sir. Lady Banerjee has been heard referring to herself as a common man."

"You mean like a cartoon?"

"Not quite, sir. She--"

"I get the drift, Jeeves. So there is change brewing in West Bengal?"

"It seems so, sir. The Marxist rule has been reported to have stalled development."

I mused a bit. "What was it the poet said about hope, Jeeves? Something about silver."

"Sweet hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head."

"That's the one, Jeeves. I see your memory is as tickety-boo as ever. Still eating fish, what?"

"Yes, sir."

"From the Bay of Bengal, eh?"

"The finest, sir."

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Help a Child to Study

If you're reading (and understanding) this, you've received the benefit of education. Everyone else isn't so lucky, even if they are smarter than most of us. Unable to pay for higher eduation, they miss out on career opportunities, not to mention that all their brilliance and talent goes to waste. Help a Child to Study is an NGO based in Mumbai that makes it possile for underprivileged children to get educated. They are looking for your support.

Help A Child to Study sponsors the higher education of meritorious underprivileged students, supporting them to achieve dreams of a better future. We sponsor all formal courses above 10th, including 11th and 12th, diploma courses, degree courses, B.E., M.B.B.S. and Postgrad. Through education our students are able to escape the cycle of poverty through their own talents.

Details: We are very proud of our students - who are the children of labourers, small scale farmers, weavers and other families with low incomes. These students have enormous potential to succeed and only need financial support to do so. We are thrilled that today some of our graduates are placed with large companies such as Mahindra Tech, L&T, and TATA Consultancy Services.

Support: Education, higher education, sponsorship of students.

Note: We are looking for financial donations to support the higher education of our students, most of whom live in rural areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

This post is a part of BlogAdda's Bloggers Social Responsibility (BSR) initiative. I am exercising my BSR. You can too with three simple steps. Visit http://adda.at/BSRRBS and support the NGO's.

It will be a far, far better thing that you will do than you have ever done (at least in your summer vacations :P ).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just not Tinkle

Tinkle--The Defective Detectives

"Summer vacation are on!" --I affirm, tearfully, that this sentence appeared in Tinkle, that children's magazine I believed was the apostle of correct grammar. Tinkle, a symbol that could denote my childhood!

Uncle Pai (Anant Pai)

We miss you, Uncle Pai. Your magazine is simply not the erudite and fun companion it once was. I resent the presence of millions of advertisements (McDonald's in my Tinkle!) and I will not condone it saying you're hard up, new Tinkle editors/money-makers. If so many brands are sponsoring you and if you can afford to arrange Samsung Corby giveaways (to kids), why did you have to increase the price of the magazine? That's such a far cry from Uncle Pai's attempts at printing a black-and-white Tinkle that poorer children could afford.

I echo Salman Rushdie: "Is nothing sacred anymore?" Why is the Readers Write column now called the Tinkle Mail Box with the @ symbol on top? Why do I see speech balloons filled with:


Tinkle was never a Marvel comic; why all the italics? 

Most of the stories are still good, though; the old writers and illustrators are still present and features like "It Happened To Me" and "Tinkle Tells You Why" are mercifully still thriving.

You may say I'm creating unnecessary ruckus over one mistake that could have been a typo, after all. But it can also become a trendsetter, and that keeps me awake at night. You may also ask why I still read Tinkle, but my sister subscribes to it and it's right there in front of me and Janoo and Wooly Woo are on the cover and it takes only ten minutes and it's Tinkle...almost. I just hope it doesn't turn into another Champak, depriving my sister and thousands of other kids of a magazine that can shape lives.

Friday, May 06, 2011

My tryst with fiction

Here it is: I actually completed a piece of fiction that I’d started. It was supposed to be a story, but it turned out to be more of an experiment in very subtle magical realism than anything else. I posted the thing on Facebook, ready to brave all sorts of comments. This is what I got:

·        Better than Stephenie Meyer. Barely.
·        “Not so gud :/”
·        This isn’t fiction at all.
·        Hmm. Now check out this video.

Such lovely people. So why was my story/rambling/collection of words so strongly rejected? I have a clue. "But nothing much happens," a friend of mine intoned on the phone. This made me mad. "What does she mean nothing much happens, italicised no less?" I thought. I agree nothing much happens externally--the whole thing consists of a train ride and later, some tears; but aren't thoughts, memories, confusions and yearnings concrete incidents? Don't they usually affect the course of our lives more than "real" happenings? 

Or do people always expect extraordinary happenings and twists and morals in a story? Or am I unbelievably unimaginative?

Anyway, this episode taught me some things:

·        A little of what we hate is always present in ourselves.
·        I should have used fewer semicolons (like some writer said on his deathbed).
·        The people who encourage you are the people you are grateful to the most, because you are only human.
·        It is easy to criticise the writings of other people, and the ones who take the criticism seriously are the best of all. 
·        Never call your story Sunshine.
·        It doesn’t hurt much to dabble in things that are not your forte. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Major Irritations

I had this post about spelling and grammar mistakes on signboards and posters, and I'd mentioned it was fun collecting them. This wasn't. The majority of the pictures here are from newspapers, and cost-cutting methods seem to have resulted in absolutely useless people called proofreaders being sacked. It's a sad, sad world.

It makes sense, although probably not in the way they intended.

I think proper grammar ought to be introduced.

Investigations have revealed that this person sucks at grammar.


Behold, the Chennai Kings of Supper!

What a yucky world.

This one was fun. I wonder what they teach.
Disclaimer: The images are shaky because my phone camera refuses to ever cooperate with me. I am trying to figure out what I did to provoke that sort of revenge.

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