Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Why I Want Dowry

August 27, 2012

Dear Girl,

I am writing this letter to you with a deep sense of anguish.

Today you have declined to marry me because my family and me wanted the dowry to facilitate our happily ever after.

To my utter dismay, you rejected me!

This is unbelievable!

How could you?

How the f*** you had the audacity to decline my proposal?

Let me impress upon you the gravity of your loss that emanates from you rejecting me as your future husband on the flimsy ground of “not willing to pay dowry”.

You see I am an extremely well settled professional.

I work for a stupid blue-collar Indian software body shop where I, along with my one hundred thousand colleagues, work 24 X 7 to collectively promote mediocrity by performing electronic scavenging tasks for businesses based out of the “white world”.

My future is bright as I aspire to go to the “white-world” soon and I plan to settle in those parts of the world in the distant future.

I swear I don’t aspire to learn any of the cosmopolitan inclusive cultural lifestyle of the west but I aspire to immigrate just to dig more gold.

As I calculate, if I spend X years in the “white-world”, I shall amass enough wealth to buy a Farm House in Gurgaon and a Mercedes and thereby fulfill my life’s ultimate goal.

So, by declining my offer your future stands bleak, as you will be relegated to the job of a housewife in some dingy B grade town of North India- married to some desi oaf.

Now you also stand to miss out on being a part of my great family.

Our family is a very close-knit unit and you always have the pleasure of the company of my parents 24 X 7.

Privacy is a western concept and we don’t care about stupid western views.

But hey, we have an exceptionally well-decorated completely western style home in Gurgaon!

There are air-conditioners and 40” televisions in each of the 4 bedrooms and we even have a bar- though I must admit I have no clue what is the difference between whiskey and single malt or Martini and Margarita, beer and lager and so on….

We are very modern but we always consult vaastu to ensure each thing is kept at a place where the grand celestial design is not annulled.

We are very scientific and forward-looking but we completely believe in astrology and we have to find auspicious dates for doing all the important works.

We have all the latest “must-have” appliances but I challenge you to find a single book anywhere at home!

The closest things to a book that we have at home are cheque-books!

Books are boring and none of our family has the habit of reading books- they are only useful for passing examinations.

But we are very well educated (from D grade mushrooming colleges of course) and we speak excellent English- though we pronounce October as Uk-too-Bur, station as Us-te-ssan and so on…

I am proud that no one in our family has any hobbies.

Our only collective interest, obsession, passion is Money.

We are a bunch of living-breathing-f***ing price tags and we love to boast of that at all times- like the house we live in costs 1.25 crores rupees ($0.25 million)- the bar costs 200,000 rupees, the rug costs 40,000, the sofa set costs 80,000- the milk jar costs…..

Money is our real god- the reason why we are all alive and why we are here in this world…

My elder brother (henceforth called Bhaiya) is a great money machine.

Bhaiya works for a same type of company I work for and also has a surreptitious side business- though the side business has a conflict of interest with his current job- but who cares- he mints money!

Bhaiya  has an offshore bogus bank account and he has 40 lac rupees ($ 100,000) as black money in that (who cares about color in post apartheid era, it is money after all…)

He makes money in his sleep and dreams, eats, talks, breaths money at all times.

Bhaiya married his girlfriend but still managed to arm twist 800,000 rupees in the process- such the money making genius!

So, by not accepting my match you are sure to be cast to eternal despair of destitution of being married to some honest wager.

Finally, why did we demand dowry?

You see we married off my younger sister last year and we paid a hefty dowry there.

We also bought this great 1.25 crore home.

With so much outflow, I am sure you would agree, we need some inflows and what better than getting some dowry?

After all, this would have been your home post the marriage and should you not be looking out for the collective well-being of your would-be-in-laws?

Consider this, your father would be our relative post the marriage, so is his money not a part of ours in the larger context?

You must be weak in logic Girl!

And then again, I welcome you to look at the demands we forwarded.

As my marriageable resume in the matchmaking portal says- “No Dowry Demand”, we only wanted you to bear the full cost of the engagement ceremony, marriage function and the wedding reception- that is surely a legitimate demand after all I come from the groom’s side, don’t I?

And all we asked for you to pay for the small insignificant expenses like all the food and drinks, 3 day lodging arrangements, air travel for our 150 strong marriage party, entertainment options along with the usual ubiquitous deliverables like jewelry, clothing, gifts etc.

This is surely not a demand of dowry and there is no reason to over-react, right?

Wasn’t this a small price to pay for the awesomeness my family and me could have brought in your sorry miserable life?

But still you rejected me!

This is completely unjust and uncalled for.

Let me tell you, this is ultimately your loss as you are being deprived of the connubial bliss that you would have encountered with my cultured-modern-educated-wealthy family and me.

You lose girl, you lose big- now deal with it!

Yours Greedy and Needy,

The Awesome Boy

BSA-TFN 2010: Pehchan Kaun? (Identify Yourself)

December 12, 2010

Few more days and the BSA-TFN 2010 starts from Bangalore on Dec 16th 2010.

There are 100 bikers and 40 odd volunteers making it a colorful group.

Blame me, butcher me, blast me but I am gonna try broad brushstroke-ing the 150 odd people in some categories.

Which one is you?

Speed Junkies

——————-

I fly past you kicking dust on your face

For every darned ride is surely a race

Who has the time to look at the trees?

The mist on mountain, the flying bees?

Heart rate, lactic acid threshold and the vo2 max

Wattage of pedaling is paramount, no time to lax

I am out to kill all racers- with some luck

Move all you slow movers, you guys suck

Anthem: Deep Purple-Highway Star

Geek on Bike

————————–

I ride hard and I ride long

On the tech front I sail strong

ipad, gps, ipod, camera- yeah gadgets galore

I am hungry for accessories, give me more

Paranoid about the UV ratings of my fab sunglasses

You should take lessons from me – you lads and lasses

Wanna know all the data? bike by my side

Drooling for TFN- see you all at the ride!

Anthem: Pitchshifter- Genius

Leisure Pleasure

————————

Speed or numbers don’t appeal as the feel on bike

I ride nice and easy guys – its the vistas that I like

See the places, meet the people, bask in the sun

Taste the local food and drinks – thats the real fun

I stop every now and then and take a lot of pics

Watch the villagers, see the locals, check out the chicks 😉

I see all the birds, the mountains, the trees and the bees

Racers and number freaks- with due respect- rest in peace!

Anthem: Eagles-Take it Easy

The Last Minute One

—————————-

Mirror Mirror on the wall….

Am I fit to ride after all?

1000 km with 10km climbs- that sounds tough

Procrastination hurts- I haven’t trained enough

I will be slow while everyone zooms past me

But I will be at the finish line- how slow it be

There is no record to set- so it should not pinch

My attitude will earn me the every f*****g inch!

Anthem: Lakshya- Main Aisa Kyon Hoon?

Support Staff

——————

We are all the jokers in the pack

But we keep the tour on its track

Planning, executing, doing all- come what may

Its more work than the office- that too on holiday!

We carry all the food and drinks and also the toilet rolls

Pause a minute to appreciate the goodness of our souls

All the “getting done things”- we keep a grip

Once you finish the tour- don’t forget to tip!

Anthem: Kraftwerk: We Are The Robots

-Manasij Ganguli

manasij.ganguli@gmail.com

The Musings of a Delhi Driver: Caution I Drive Like You

October 9, 2010

Hey all you losers and idiots and stupids out there……

Feel privileged that I am sharing a bit of my life story with you. You know I am a very important person and therefore it is your amazing luck that I am allowing you the opportunity to take a peek at my life.

I am a proud car owner of Delhi, the capital of India, one of the world’s greatest countries with one of the ancient civilizations, biggest democracy…….blah-blah….. Like I said I am a very important person.

What??? Did you ask me why I am an important person? Let me politely tell you again that I am a very proud owner of a car in Delhi. Isn’t that a reason important enough to be an important person? After all it is the first car in my entire family! Got it now you dimwit?

Still not convinced? Have a look at my car and you will be assured of my VIP status. See, it has got a VIP registration number, see that? It is DL 9C 0857……. I knew you would not know my VIP status looking at my registration plate. Let me tell you the the first war of Independence against the British happened in the year 1857. My car’s registration number is 1000 short of 1857. Isn’t it a special number only for VIPs? To make up for the lost 1000, I wage a thousand wars on the Delhi roads everyday against the other imbecile drivers of Delhi.

 

Delhi's Traffic Mess: Look at all those mad drivers. They should learn from me

 

I tell you Delhi is filled with insensitive and uneducated drivers who have no traffic sense. I am a very good driver and an important person. My car might be a small one, but to make up for my lack of horse power I have music power with my loud in-car stereo which pumps out as much as my engine of the car punches out. So if you see a small car zipping and you hear “Billon challa manggdi….” from your 10th floor apartment, be rest assured that it is me driving. And though my car is small, I never drive under the speed limit. Speed limits are for idiots.

You know, I do not use the word “idiot”. I use a Hindi word for it, “Ch***a”. Thats what these other imbeciles on the road are. I wish like telling it to them. But then my lung power won’t carry it in noisy Delhi. So I use the air horn in my car.

One honk is the abuse to your sister….

Two is an abuse to your mother…..

More the honks, the more I am going up the value chain. After all Delhi is the city with maximum number of abuses rained per number of sentences spoken. But, I tell you the other Ch***a Delhites abuse un-necessarily. I am, on the other hand, a very sparing abuser.

Delhi is full of these out of their mind drivers. And there is population. I have devised some ingenious ways to beat all these drivers. I am always racing. I will never give you free passage. Why should I? You are not my brother/uncle/friend….. Fend for yourself!

Like I said I am a very important person. Therefore I can not wait anywhere. I hate queues. If I could, I would keep the number of english alphabets down to 25, take out that stupid questionable alphabet and quash it forever as a fitting way to protest against queues!

If you are driving to a toll plaza in a queue, I will come from one side and blast my way through. You have to consider VIPs rights for me don’t you?

Then I never drive in a straight line. It would take me ages to reach my destination driving like that. So I weave my way through the traffic. I pride that no one can predict what am I going to do next. I always have the right of the way. And it is defined as “if I can squeeze my way through you by hook or by crook, I have the right of the way”. If I am coming behind your car and you are not giving me a passage you surely do not love your sisters/mother etc.

 

Blasting my way through while talking loudly on my cell phone- I pay road tax and mobile bill- I have all the right to do it this way!

I read in one of the scholarly articles that driving is a social skill and the guys with good social values are good drivers. I completely believe it. My social skills are legendary. I ignore all my flat dwellers. I never wish them or greet them. In fact, I remember them not with their names but with incidents. Like the Vermas are the ones with whom I fought over whose turn was it at the milk booth, Sharmas are the one with whom I fought for…….etc etc.

I always talk to the laborers, electricians, plumbers with abuses. What to do? They do not listen to you otherwise.

So, with these great social skills I am bound to be a good driver, isn’t it?

But do not think I will be always as cordial as I have mentioned.

You mess with me and you will be sorry. A few days back, I was taking a turn while a rickshaw puller hit my car scratching my car body. I gave him quite a mouthful and made him pay 200 bucks for his bad driving. On top of it I slapped him for accusing me of turning without giving an indication. “Why mother***** you have indicators in your rickshaw????”

So do not equate my general nicety with docility.

Sometimes driving can be boring, like when I am stuck at a traffic light. By the way, I call the traffic lights as “Red Lights”. So in these red-light zones I get bored of waiting for action. So I stare at people and specially at women. These days there are a lot of women drivers. If they ignore my stares at the red-lights, I let them go ahead and then overtake them to cut into their lanes scaring them. Its is so funny ha-ha-ha-ha! Scaring women drivers- I love it.

 

I love women drivers- I sacre them, I gesture at them, I pass comments at them - I am loving it!

 

So, in a nutshell I am a very affable person with great driving skills and good core values of Indian middle class. But I am an important person as I am a car owner cum driver in Delhi. Ok, I have reached my apartment complex. My reserved parking is far from the lift, so what do I do? Well I park my car in someone else’s parking space. Let that Ch***a break his head.

Before I sign off, next time you see my car just let me pass first otherwise you are just inviting trouble for not being courteous to an important person like me. Caution, I drive like you!

-Manasij Ganguli

manasij.ganguli@gmail.com

+91 7838237844

Ayodhya Verdict: An Atheist’s View

October 1, 2010

So, yesterday was some sort of a watershed day in Indian history. Yes, we finally solved the cosmic riddle of what came first, the egg or the chicken? And not only we solved a question of great importance, we also created a great compromise formula that in one stroke made a great broth of archaeology, mythology, philosophy, law and religion. This “juggad” genius is only possible in India, a great country with the mother of all contradictions.

The honorable High Court has found out conclusive evidence that Lord Rama was born in Ayodhya, precisely under the dome of the now razed Babri Masjid. The court has also decreed that since neither the defendants and the plaintiffs could produce enough evidence that ascertains the property rights; it is best to split up the land.

Logically, you may think that it would be a two way split, right? Wrong!

There is Lord Rama embodied by Nirmohi Akhada that makes a magical entry to make it a three way split of the pot. Unfortunately poor Allah has no idols, shape, size etc, so there you go- you pay for your own handicap, no extra shares!

Those who think that the court has been unfair by making it a three way split; let me point out that the court has been extremely considerate. Lord Rama has had more than a thousand incarnations or avatars and it was extremely intelligent of the court not to consider the thousand other claimants. To me it sounds a little unfair on those hapless Avatars who will have to wait for other controversy riddled structures to get a real estate on their own names.

From now on mythology is admissible in the Indian courts as conclusive evidence to otherwise hard to find solutions. After all we regularly use one court case to strengthen the argument for another and now we can argue based on mythology too. And now mythological characters have gotten a historical cast. The day is not far when someone can claim to be a descendant of Lord Rama and puts a claim forward. The defendant would not be able to disprove the family lineage, and the plaintiff would not be able to prove it either. So, more divisions are in the offing?

Another question is how far back should we look to put the wrongs to right? Now we have looked 500 years. If we consider that Indian courts can now admit 5-century throwbacks, we are in serious jeopardy. Now if tomorrow I purchase a piece of land anywhere in India, should I be looking at a 500-year’s timeline to get NOCs from all parties? Clearly having property tax receipts and documentation of modern India has not been a conclusive evidence of property ownership in this case.

And one lesson learned is do not allow anyone to keep their belongings at your home, lest their children and grandchildren sue your progeny that the property belongs to them. On a December night of 1949, some people put in Ram’s idol in the Masjid and see that got them the land in 60 years time. Now here is the proof that wait bears sweet fruits. I am throwing the umbrella a fitter had forgotten a few weeks back at my home. Why take risks?

All this brings me to the final question. Why is everybody so happy? Why is that everyone so glad that a great compromise formula has been found and now the much famed reconciliation process may begin? Has India really a changed from 1992? Has the young generation got over this mandir-masjid issue?

Everyone who wanted a grand Ram mandir is happy. So, the right wing of India is extremely happy. It’s a windfall. Now the resplendent temple is a reality! Everyone who has had any mistrust, preconceived alienation for the minority community is happy, for the judgment is a reflection of their own beliefs. Compromise in justice is a great excuse for not accepting the truth. We live in a state of denial about our constant suppression of the minorities- citing we are a democracy. The young generation may not have anything to do with mandir-masjid but the denial and the alienation is still present. This judgment appeals to that splendidly.

Yes India has become a matured democracy. See, there were no rioting, no feverish saber rattling, chest thumping and inflammatory comments. Lets congratulate each other and pat our own backs. I do not kid myself with this thought for I know if the verdict were against the right wing majority, the country would have been torn apart again. Peace will prevail as long as the majority is satisfied and that is exactly what has happened today.

Now the matter would go to the Supreme Court. What do I expect? Another judgment that fails to distinguish between mythology and history, archaeology and scenario fulfillment, evidence and majority belief? Don’t worry no mater what, we will remain a mature democracy, like we are today.

I Hate Landlords #$%^%^&*(*(&@#

June 28, 2010

Yeah, in a face-off b/w the tenats and the landlords, the outcome is rigged

Delhi.

Rich and suave, chaotic and bellicose, frenzied and abusive,fast and short-fused – that is the city; the city of opportunities and the real kaleidoscope of India’s new found “affluence in selective pockets” identity over its millennia old recognition of the capital of the “country which does the great rope trick” or the “land of myths and miracles”……

The city is hosting an International sporting event – the Commonwealth Games 2010– in 3 months’ time. The last minute “lets do this somehow” construction boom and the much needed arterial adrenaline shot of Metro Rail connectivity is turning the city into a veritable hotspot of new found opportunities.

And here am I, attempting to wet my beaks in this socio-cultural melting-pot in one of its meteorically rising satellite city of NOIDA. What was nothing more than a sleepy suburb designed to probably offer a peaceful retirement life for the Army, Navy and Air-force of India has now metamorphosed itself into a bustling metropolis with all modern facilities, sometimes a notch better than the average Delhi neighborhoods.

Alright, so now you know the protagonist (of course that is me) and the stage settings (the NOIDA city), now let us draw the plot around it and introduce the characters/villains etc.

So, the plot essentially contours around the protagonist’s quest of finding a good rented accommodation in NOIDA in the summer of 2010. Being a member of the “newly achieved affluence” group of software professionals, I set a generous budget of 20 grands for the monthly rent- absolutely certain of getting a decent abode.

“You know what, I am going to find a house in just a weekend’s time- you see that” I tell my wife, Mausmi, over the phone. She is still in Kolkata and is due to join me in NOIDA in August.

“All the best” she said and then added, “be sure to ask for the terms and conditions of the owners”.

Prophet speaks in many tongues. Sometime that form can be your wife too!

So very soon in an extremely warm summer afternoon of June, I am in a big drawing room in one of NOIDA’s plush sectors meeting the landlord whose house seemed a fit for my requirements (not discussing them as they are out of scope for this blog).

At first Mr. Potbellied Meatball (name and identity with-held, a nearest visual impression has been used for christening) does a full round of visual inspection, measuring me from tip to toe with his penetrative eyes. I could hear him as he did that-

“Ahh the chap has long hairs….”

“and look a goatee too….

“and wearing dark shades…..”

“and is flipping his car keys…..must be a rich SOB doing some stupid MBA spilling his dad’s black money”

I was getting a bit uncomfortable with this visual examination (I am not a woman so not accustomed to it really).

Then he spoke.

“But this premises is only for married couples, not for you.”

I: “I am married”

Mr. Meatball: (full of surprise): “You are?”

I: “Yes. My wife is in Kolkata and she would join me in a few weeks’ time”

Mr. Meatball: (now looking at my sporty shorts) “You don’t look married. You look like a student”

I: (no idea what to say) “?????”

Mr. Meatball: “How long have you been married?”

I: “5.5 years”

Mr. Meatball: “?????”

Needless to say, I did not get the house. I looked like a fibbing student who wanted to use his premises for all sorts of illegal activities.

Yeah ass***e, I forgot to invite you in my marriage so now I know you are getting back at me.

Not married? You will not get the house. But then I am.....then??????

Round 2!

This time the villain comes in a lady form with two daughters, one of which was a pretty stunning damsel.

This was a nice 1700 sqft 2 bed room, 2 bathroom, 3 balcony, 1 huge hall and a fabulous modular kitchen unit. I fell in love with the house at the first glimpse, who said there is no love at first site!

This time I was dressed in a jeans and a tee with sneakers and did not wear my shades- an attempt to look more mature probably.

Mrs. World is a bad place: (again identity withheld, this time naming convention is based on what she would repeat after every sentence): “Ok so you are a married couple with no children and two cars and jobs for both and friends visit you often and family visits you seldom, is that right?”

I: “Yes”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “Ok, so what is your caste?”

I: (a bit puzzled) : “I am a bharmin and my wife is a kayastha”

Mrs. World is a bad place: (probably pleased) : “Ok. So what is your name son?”

I: (with my usual James Bond gusto): “Manasij, Manasij Ganguli”

Mrs. World is a bad place: (jumping up almost): “Are you a Bengali?”

I: (not sure how to respond to the excitement generated) :”Yes”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “Oh no no….we don’t rent out to Bengalis”

I: “??????”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “They always cook fish and smelly stuff and we are allergic to fish, you see….”

I: “But we don’t always cook fish. Besides my wife is a Bihari.”

Mrs. World is a bad place: “Oh no no, Biharis make the place very dirty. We have let out to so many people that we have all of these experiences…..”

And then she said the killer words: “You know son, THIS WORLD IS A BAD PLACE. I have two daughters in my house…….”

Yeah lady, sure it is – in a place where all Bengalis force feed fish to their landlords and Biharis poop in their drawing rooms and have dreams of landing in a threesome with your daughters.

that what the landlady was safeguearding herself and her two daughters from....point is, we don't cook fish at home at all!

My last interview session was by far the best of the lot.

This was again a great house and the landlord was an ex-military man.

The house was great and I was very keen to get it on lease. So, this time I dressed up in formals and went to meet the landlord.

I was received well by the landlord whom I would call Mr. Butterfly because he had butterfly mustache.

However, the start was not auspicious. It was 10 am and the time for the power cut.

I pretty much walked into a furnace of a drawing room.

I sat in one side of a huge table and over me was a fan that was not moving.

However, seated on the other side of the table, the ex Colonel was under a fan that looked to be running on some serious steroids.

Colonel Butterfly: (pointing to my fan) There is no power and I am saving my inverter battery. You are a young fellow, I am sure you are fine, for at your age I could hike 50 miles a day….blah blah”

Then the conversation followed a general pattern.

First was “tell me about yourself”, followed by “tell me about your family”, followed by “who all will visit you and when and for how long” and then Colonel Butterfly took over the talking reign.

I was taken through “my harrowing experiences with my previous tenants”, followed by “Army is the best” and then I intervened.

I: “So, do you have any general do’s and don’ts?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Young man we fought so that you have all the best things in your life. We want you to live as you want to.”

I: “Thank you sir.”

Then we happened to reach the last leg.

Just as you reach a point in a job interview where you would be given a price for your head, pretty much the same way is the case where the landlord puts a price on the property.

Here it was fixed at 17 grands per months.

I was fine with that. Looked like I was getting the house!

Colonel Butterfly: “Ok, there are a few rules that you must know.”

I: “Yeah, please tell me”

Colonel Butterfly: “First, I charge Rs. 250 per month for maintenance.”

I: “Maintenance? What for?”

Colonel Butterfly: “For cleaning your apartment.”

I: “But I will hire a domestic help and would get the house cleaned anyway.”

Colonel Butterfly: “No, I have seen tenants don’t clean the lamp shades, fans, window panes. My chap will do it.”

I: (biting by lips) “Ok, I think we can manage this. Anything else?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Yeah, periodically my electrician/plumber/carpenter would check all fixtures and report any breakage/abuses. If that happens, you will be responsible for fixing them.”

I: (biting my lips harder): “Ok. Anything else?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Ok yeah, when you leave finally- you will get the house painted.”

I: “I don’t understand. Why will I paint a house I am leaving?”

Colonel Butterfly: “Thats the rule here. And yes, if you leave before 11 months your 3 months’ security deposit will not be refunded.”

I: (speechless): “????”

Colonel Butterfly: “And I only take cash for rents, no cheques.”

I: (amused by now) : “Don’t you think your terms are too steep?”

Colonel Butterfly: “No son, I am asking for fair things only. After all I am not money minded.”

Right Colonel, you are surely not money minded. Never-mind you charge for every breath taken inside your palace and want it all in hard cash. You are surely not money minded, for you did not ask me to paint a flower pot even though I came to your house to see you and left far before 11 months which obligates me to paint the house.

It has been 3 weeks and the house still eludes me.

Sometimes because I don’t look old enough (too bad in a world that wants to look young), sometimes because I am a fish fighting Bengali and my wife is an all dirt-loaded Bihari (not sure if I can help it, afterall I could not choose my parents right?) and sometimes because I don’t let my landlord do a broad day light robbery on me, even though the robber is an ex army man!

I am sitting in the cafe and I see the NOIDA telephone directory.

I think I am gonna try calling Santa…..

Oh no Manasij, there are no homes available for you

Manasij Ganguli

manasij.ganguli@gmail.com

+917838237844

Shop….Shop….Shop….SHOCK!

March 11, 2010
So, my cousin arrives from a different town to attend a marriage.
She is a vivacious young lady, well read, well dressed, well pedicured-manicured, well mannered and well to do……
So, when she said if I would like to accompany her to the shopping mall for picking a few lipsticks for the marriage function, I said “Ummmmm….AAhhhh…Eeeehhhh….”

Soon I found myself in the parking lot of this uptown mall with my cousin beaming in the co-driver’s seat. I park my car, take the lift and come to this mega shop floor of Spencers.

Before I proceed any further let me make a very honest confession that I am not the kind who enjoys shopping at all. In fact I often fantasize about a great world where you could buy everything online and get them delivered at home. I defer my visit to market places and malls till the time a small trivial need has just started to metamorphose into a full blown panic situation, like if you don’t buy the toothpaste-tomorrow you won’t get to brush your teeth!

Then again, I always find that inside a mall your life seems to go into an algorithm.

Step1: Park your car
Step2: Get frisked and discover hidden wonders in your pockets/jacket linings
Step 3: Take the lift
Step 4: Reach the top floor
Step 5: Loiter around aimlessly at each floor
Step 6: Stop at PlanetM / Musicworld / Book Café etc (probability of a buy is 50%)
Step 7: Force your wife to try a few outfits knowing she won’t buy them
Step 8: Use the escalators for going to lower floors for maximum laze
Step 9: Finally arrive at McDonalds / Subway / Cookie Man / Juice Bar.
Step 10: Eat hastily as if a gun was pointed at your head
Step 11: Take the lift
Step 12: Take you car and go back home with happy memories

Therefore I am a real anti-mall person and my visits to the malls are strictly for three reasons.

Reason 1: Buying ration for the fortnight
Reason 2: Getting a hair cut (blame it on my long hairs which can not be cut in local barber shops)
Reason 3: Watching a movie

In fact none of my last 10 mall visits have been for more than 1 hour. Generally, Mausmi, my wife, and I always fan out at the shopping floor each one with our own agenda of procuring groceries independently. Years’ of experience has taught us about who has an eye for what and therefore we divide the labor and do it in parallel to save time. Thankfully Mausmi is not a mall person herself and we just rush through the ritual in an impressive timeline. So, when I entered the Spencers store with my cousin, I was gearing up for a short brisk stint.

Right at the entrance was this counter of some anti-ageing cream. She stops.

I: “Why stop here. Surely you don’t need these. You are just 26”.
She: “It is for mom.”
I: But we came here for lipstick.”
She: “So, if we buy anything else, will that be a sacrilege?”
I: “But then you can come with your mom. May be she will have a better idea.”
She: “I want to surprise her.”
I: “mmmmm…….”

The lady on the counter was quite attractive, so the 10 minute discussion did not seem too dull! Did we buy it? No.

So, we left that anti-ageing counter and were sucked into appliance section. There was everything on display. Refrigerators, televisions, mp3 players, microwave ovens, dvd players…. She stopped.

I: “Why stop here?”
She: “Are baba, we are in no hurry are we?”
I: “No. not really”
She: “Then let me look na.”

At this moment, a handsome bloke approaches us. He completely ignores me and says: “Good evening ma’am, are you looking for something…..”
She: “Ummmm actually we are looking for….ummmm….”
I: “We are looking for lipsticks”
My cousin turned to me with a look which said “#%$&%*%&*^*(“
The salesman was puzzled. “Ma’am lipsticks are that side.”
I: “Oh thanks a lot.”
Then I tucked at her arm and we left the appliance section.

They say a scorned woman is worth a thousand foes. And I was to learn that.
We stopped at the luggage section.
Soon there were three salesmen enthusiastically demonstrating the various sized trolley cases to her.

“No no no no…. this is not the right size.”
“That will never fit my jackets without folding them.”
“Who carries a black suitcase?”
“This handle will surely break in no time.”
“This will never get inside the trunk of my car…..”

Soon the three salesmen are panting as if they have been fielding the whole day without any success of catching a cricket ball.

Next victim was the grocery help.
She picked up a chocolate doughnut and demanded:” How many calories are in this?”
The saleswoman looked as if you had asked her the capital of Djbouti.

After repeatedly making mince meat of the utensils’ section, food section and clothes section, we finally arrived at the make up desk.


I: (trying to extend an olive branch) “I think this dark brown shade will look good on you; after all you are a fair lady.”
She: (curtly) “I am wearing a pink saree in the function. Brown with pink, how juvenile.”
I: ?????

She turned to the ladies in the counter (who were Northeastern girls) and said “Show me the pink shades please”.
In moments the counter was filled with all kinds of pink.
“Too light”
“Too dark”
“Not glowing”
“It is not water proof”

Then she turned to me and asked; “Dada, what do you say about this one? Isn’t it better than that one?”
To me, this one and that one and the one previous and the one next, all looked just pink and with every passing minute I could sense that I was not in the pink of my health despite being mobbed by chinks showing pinks (no racial abuse intended). I was about to sink.

I: “Ummmm yes it is nice, you know this pink.” I said with a wink.
She: “No, I don’t think so.”
She went back again to the ladies.

I excused myself and went to the men’s room and splashed my face with some water. The mirror reflection looked like a pale replica of my usual upbeat self.
So, finally I started my journey back to the lipstick counter hoping she has picked “her kind of pink”.

50 feet from the counter, my cousin saw me and started waving and king of jumping up and down.
I was relieved. “Looks like we got the stuff.”
I reached with a genuine broad smile.

She: “You know dada, I picked an amazing shade. This is just going to be fabulous. No one in the marriage function is ever going to come close to me…..”
I: “Wonderful.”
She: “Yes, this one has glitters on it, is water resistant, topped with moisturizing elements and the best part is that it offers sunscreen too.” She showed me the lipstick encased in a black sleek looking case.
I: “Wow that’s great. So what shade of pink is that?”
She: “Oh no, this is not pink. This is magenta. See…” She showed me the color.

By now I had started to get scared. A nagging doubt, a chilling suspicion was creeping up my spine.
I: “But your saree is pink right? Will this match?”
She: “Of course not. Are you crazy?”
I: “Then?”
She: “Now we need to pick a magenta saree.”
I: “*##^%*%&^(&^*&&()***&%%&^$”

Racially Fair and Lovely

February 26, 2010

My sister in law was supposed to be married and we were beginning the process of considering prospective grooms.
I was in charge of creating the “marriageable resume”; in English of course.
I thought I did a good job till the time my father in law (henceforth denoted as FIL) happened to review it.
My FIL went ballistic for the resume had a fatal flaw.
Following is the snapshot of the exchanges we had:

FIL (with a loud chuckle): What have you done? This is pathetic.

I (puzzled): What is wrong with it?

FIL: See you have put all statistics correct, except the complexion one.

I: Why? I have put “fair” as her complexion. (FYI, Rashmi, my sister in law, is quite fair for Indian standards)

FIL: You do not understand. Fair means, she is dusky and make up will make her fair.

I: Then do you want me to change it to “very fair”?

FIL (frustrated) : This is not an English grammar class, very fair and fair means the same. You write “gori” in the complexion.

I (flipping out) : “Gori”?

FIL (as if explaining elementary geometry to middle school kids) : Yes write “gori”. Fair, very fair, milky white these things do not convey the fact that she is fair. It is “gori” that would appeal to the imagination of people better.

I (speechless) : ???????

So, Rashmi’s marriage resume said her complexion was “gori”!
“Gori” when translated to English roughly means “Fair Caucasian female”.
Which means, without the façade of make up and beauty products’ induced effects, Rashmi is as fair as a Caucasian female.
Calling her fairness “fair” would be fairly unfair and would not fare well for the welfare of her marriageable prospects.

Alright, so why everyone seeking marriage alliances is looking for gori-s? Why it is a natural logic that “gora-pan” (fairness) is the panacea of all beauty? Isn’t it ironic that the country with one of the richest reserves of circulating black money, black market, black magic still holds everyone sway with its maniac quest of fairness in complexion? This deep, insightful, intelligent blog would uncover why. So sit back and enjoy the ride and for better understanding keep a tube of “Fair and Lovely” handy.

My thesis is very simple. We, the Indians are definitely a racist community as a whole. Therefore, we react to fairness of the skin in a nakedly racist manner. Whether the fascination of the fair skin is something we imbibed in a century of colonial rule or not is immaterial, what is for sure true that we have this fascination deeply etched into our culture. We are indeed racist.

I know we like to believe that Indians are not racist and we have always fought apartheid with passion, stood behind the nations suffering from racial discrimination, voiced our concern with fervor over ill treatments meted out to native settlers in the hands of imperialistic/colonialist iron fisted rules and blah blah…. I agree, when it comes to taking international stands, we have a reasonably respectable track record. But, when it comes to putting matters straight at home, we look the other way.

For generations, we have treated racism as a celebrated exponent of our culture. “Oh no, we just practice casteism, untouchability, communalism, marginalization, alienation….but when did we become racist?” This is what we say in our defense of not being racist. The truth is we are worse, as a society, than the ones adhering to apartheid. After all the color of the skin is on your face and you can distinguish between a fair skinned and a dark skinned. But the mass scale discrimination we show to each other as part our cultural excess baggage makes us the most racial community in the world. And, we have been quick to learn the apartheid as well.

I was married in Patna. The marriage venue was on a road which was called Gardener Road during the British Raj. It was an Indian free zone with markers erected that warned “Dogs and Indians” not allowed. The years of oppressive British rule left India its scars. Most important was the psychological scarring.

India was ruled by foreign forces in the past as well, but no community left an impact as lasting as the British. The Moghuls and Turks conquered by force and ruled by force. It never made the people have this awed image of Moghuls and Turks because they had nothing much to dazzle the natives except for their superior military might. British on the other hand, not only had that military might but captured the imagination because of their superlative administration, economics, advances in science and technology, education, governance and vision. Result was simple. The colonial India did believe that British were a better race. And then, as a by product of this inferior psyche germinated the fascination for the white skin.

So, today how big is this fascination?
According to latest reports the brand “Fair and Lovely” grossed some 500 crores (100 million USD) last year and the total Indian market for fairness products is nearly three times this value, which is a whopping 1500 crores (300 million USD). So, it is fair to assume that fairness is big buck business. So it is indeed a million dollar question!

The corporate India, which sells these “whitening” products have cashed in to this psychosis. In fact it has at times deliberately flamed it to sell more units and made more money.

So, as long as we are ready to accept “gori” brides only and dream of someday landing in the land of the “goras”, poor SRK will appear for Fair and Handsome and we continue to have this unreasonable fascination. If you ask me, it is not going to end soon as I believe that we are truly a racial community.

Let me end this blog with another real life experience.

One day, I got a call from an ex schoolmate of mine. I am not naming him so let’s call him A. Following is the excerpt of our call:

A: Hey Manasij. I am getting married.

I: Congrats A. That’s great news. So, what does the lucky one do?

A: She works in my office. So it is a love marriage.

I: Great. So where is she from?

A: She is a South Indian.

I: Great. I think you ………

A (cuts me in the middle hastily) : lekin wo kali nahi hai. (She is not dark).

I (speechless) : ??????

I Won’t Go Onsite…………..

February 25, 2010

I am a frequenter on the various social networks.
Yesterday, I happened to open my friend list which displays the friend’s name and their location.

Pages after pages were people with locations like Richmond, Akron, London, San Jose, NY, Irving, Sydney, Bonn, Cambridgeshire…….
In fact my resident Indian friends are right now a numeric minority.
There are more friends in Texas than in Tamilnadu!

When I joined TCS after my stint at engineering, the first reaction I got from my mates was “You lucky guy, you will be abroad in no time”.
Yet after almost 8 years of work in the sunshine software sector, my passport has no stamps. I have worked in Trivandrum, Kolkata, Delhi NCR and Indore but never out of India.

The interesting part is, when I say this to any of my colleagues that “I have never been onsite”, I get comments that range from hilarious to outrageous, crazy to disgusting, hurtful to astonished. Here is a small assortment:

“Oh you poor thing, try harder the next time and your manager will surely send you abroad”.
“It is not easy, there are many with no capabilities languishing in India and dreaming about it. You need to put your act together.”
“This is unbelievable….are you telling the truth?”
“Threaten your manager with resignation and ask him/her that only way you stay back is if they send you out.”
Blah…blah….blah…………

Then of course there is the “uncle” kinds; you know the landlords, your fathers’ friends etc – I mean the kind with grey hairs and therefore the bearers of profound wisdom who feel the moral obligation to enthusiastically hard sell their advice to you irrespective of the fact the you have no need for them. They give you even better reactions:
“You know my son ABC, the moment he joined the company XYZ, they realized his potential and he was beseeched to join the workforce at US. I tell you, these multinationals have an eye for talent.” (Which means, you are a complete idiot and such a loser that no one thinks you have any potential).

Yes, I guess I am definitely a loser. Otherwise how do you explain that being in the software business for as long as 8 years, I could never go onsite? Everyone is sure that I regularly have wet dreams of landing at the Heathrow or at JFK with a bag full of rice, dal, papad, pickle, Indian spices, chavanprash etc and a eye full of dreams of getting myself clicked at the Times Square, Niagara Falls, Vegas, Big Ben and put them for public consumption on the social networks.

Social networks are great places for advertising your “oh you know what, I have been there” image with aplomb.
In fact a friend of mine had put a traffic ticket’s scanned image that he had “earned” while driving in Nevada! Beat this for creativity.

At workplace I see so many colleagues squabbling regularly for the coveted onsite posting. Political plottings, cajoling managers, dire threatening, massaging client’s egos, citing amazing and sometimes jaw dropping excuses to earn the prized ticket seems a way of life. Some of the really amazing but true excuses are:

The beseeching the manager kind: “I have a huge loan owing to my sister’s marriage; I need to make some bucks.”
The threatening kind: “I have worked in this project for 2 years; I think it should be me this time or release me.”
The jaw dropping kind: “I am finding marriage proposals turned down for my lack of onsite experience, so……”

So, what is this collective mania of going onsite/abroad which grips almost everyone at our workplaces? Why is it so that going abroad is an “objective” that has to be achieved, rather than it being a natural by product of working in the globalized environs?

I believe, we have this incredible racial notion of considering the fair skinned world a better place which may have been implanted generations before as a result of the indelible hangover of colonial slavery and later on passed on to us. That’s why I see people eager to travel to US, Europe and Australia (all fair skinned worlds) whereas very little interest is available in travelling to say Brazil (which is far ahead of India but of course not as much as say Belgium). Trips to Africa are certainly humiliating, akin to a proud bellicose Delhite’s transfer to Chennai.

This inferiority is so deeply ingrained that when I see the pics posted by many of my friends, I always find them with the known circle of Indian friends. Despite being in a macrocosm of cosmopolitan plurality very few of us seem to inculcate the same in their lifestyle. After all, the must achieve “objective” was to land in the white skinned land, not to mix with them or the least adopt the cosmopolitan outlook.

Yes, I have been a loser; been not clever enough that any management would think that without me functioning from the West the company would just fall apart; been a non-cosmopolitan desi who is too scared to go off limits; and now a sure candidate to be labeled a racist after having written such a blog, but whatever may I seem, I simply don’t want to go onsite.

Let’s end this blog with another real life case. I was getting a transfer from TCS Kolkata to TCS Delhi (which is a big deal mind you, because of the geopolitics). A colleague of mine from TCS Kolkata was onsite. His father met me and gave me an authentic Bengali K C Paul umbrella (FYI, generations in Bengal have shielded themselves from rain using K C Paul’s legendary umbrella) and a sealed tiffin box.
I was supposed to give it to a guy in Delhi who was also supposed to fly to the same location where my friend was. I could never understand the rationale of shipping an umbrella to London (a city where rains are everyday phenomenon) but then I thought may be it was his favorite brand that was not available there. But, guess what was shipped in the sealed tiffin box? His favorite brand of underwear!

How To Get A Good Appraisal

August 16, 2006

How To Get A Good Appraisal
———————————-

So you think that you are smart
And you have the fire
You want to scale great heights
Thats your sole desire

But what impedes your rise to greatness
Is your own attitude
How to improve your damned appraisal
I will tell you dude

So you thought we liked your denim?
and your party shirt?
Dont expect any raise from us
ifwith dress code you flirt

Always wear boring formal clothing
and all the drab hues
clean shaven, black polished boots
will get you all your dues

No chains, no flashy hair style
is the professional mantra
bald head is prohibitted here
its a banned tantra

No smoking, no drinking
no talk of sports
no music, no movies
these spell bad reports

Work or no work doesnt matter
stay for nine hours
be there and be visible
and accolade showers

Always keep a pile of books
and printouts near your comp
It gives you the serious ‘image’
with ratings will you romp

Do carry pen and pad in meets
never mind what you write
remember,pretention is sublime
work has no might

Always talk to your managers
with tech gibberish-full plate
open your mouth and words should flow
jsp,xml, servlet…..

Make a din at wokplace
if your ‘for loop’ has run
keep yourself in high esteem
propoganda is fun

Always look exhausted…
look haggard, beaten and tired
if you are beaming
implies with work you are not wired

Give out loud sighs when we are close
shows the stress on you
it means you are working hard
that how we view

Lap up our droppings
and please us all the way
then you are appraised well
and you make hay

Do whatever you wish all day
beg borrow steal or kill
but at the end of everyday
its timesheet you should fill

Follow these points above by heart
stick to the gun
We are here, your divine savoirs
The S.A.D. in SUN


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