Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Art of Self Defense – Bruce Flee

Every living thing on the planet has some kind of defense to protect itself from danger. Why, to be plain, even nonliving things tend to have its defense, like Kaspersky Internet Security has a built-in option to protect itself from viruses and malware. Well, the point is that, self-defense, in any possible method is important.

This incident once happened in college during break time. My fellow nomads and I were having a pointless conversation. It was just like that, when I suddenly told about my newly learnt Karate moves from a Bruce Lee movie last night.

“Guys, check out the new moves that I learnt yesterday! Heeeyahh! Hoi! Hooo!” I said, though I looked like a worthless baboon while doing it.
“So?” the guys asked, trying to control their laughter, although two girls passing by did laugh.
“Self defense is one of the most important skill in the world. In fact, I’d say its mandatory”

Nodding their head and then ignoring the point, the topic shifted to something else though I can’t remember what.
Suddenly, a deep rumble was heard right next to me, like the whole earth was shaking. I spotted a huge boulder slowly making its way towards the group. It was as our good old Vijay. A nice guy, but the fattest of the group. We all love him and, make fun of him every moment we could salvage.

I couldn’t help saying, ”Hey Vijay, guess what, satellite imagery has improved. Better picture quality with finer detail. Now Google Earth has got a better picture of you! They can see even your beard and mush, I guess!”

I knew I had it! But some guy in the group HAD to remember about the self-defense part I was rambling about.

“Dey, Vibu, Show us some of your moves against Vijay da. Show us your skills in ‘the art of self-defense’!”
“Yeah yeah! I will. In fact, I’m about to demonstrate the most ancient form of Self-defense. And that is called…”, I replied.

The guys watched eagerly what I was going to do as I took up position.

“…..Indian Kung Fu!…”, and I fled… As fast as I could and as far as my legs could carry me to.

Chaat House: From Corner to Conglomerate

Food is something a normal human being cannot resist when offered. Unless he/she just ate their tummy-full and just can’t stand the sight of food, or, is a 10th century ascetic. Otherwise, the very sight of food can make anyone’s mouth water.

Different kinds of food are famous during different times. For example, sweets, though an all time favorite, would flood markets and would have the highest buyers during festival times. Another example would be fast food- The world is progressing fast and so has food. It’s become fast. But these kinds of food have their peak time. It is sometimes age based, preference based, frequency based etc. Not many people enjoy fast food once they cross a certain age limit and the same case is with sweets, but that might be sometimes due to precautions.
One kind that has stood the test of time and is still growing is the food that is authentic to India, alone. Chaat. It has got nothing, yet it has got everything. The ingredients are simple, they are easy to make and obviously, they taste great! I have witnessed that chaat shop’s sales haven’t dropped, but is constantly increasing. As for their peak time, I haven’t found one yet. People of all ages (well, after a certain age limit) tend to enjoy it, no matter how often they have it.
I visit a chat corner near my house quite regularly. I have seen the store grow from serving a single or a couple of customers to mass producing bhel puris and masal puris. Now, recently, I had gone there and I didn’t have a place to sit! Soon, the chaat annas, as you call them to be, are setting up franchises all over the city! Yet, I have seen a lot of other restaurants opening up in quite a style and then ending up closed a few weeks or months later, either due to lack of chefs resulting in bad food or due to improper management. In contrast, chaat shops don’t have any formal training in cooking. All they do is add, mix, shake and then serve. The magic formula! Simple but effective. No classy decorations or waiters. The best ambience you can get (if you’re looking for one) is by staying in your car and enjoying a plate of your favorite chaat item (people do that, believe me).

One can assess the decline in a restaurant by observing the ambiance, if the restaurant did open with style. The passage of time leaves a stain on the walls. The edges of the furniture are chipped, the cushion covers are torn etc. You can predict the place to shut down soon, however cheap the food rates come down to. But these chat corners, well, don’t have an ambiance, to be frank! You can see a gutter that sometimes is full, sometimes dry (depends on the season) running nearby, not enough chairs to sit, the already provided chairs are half worn down and you can, at anytime, expect a bird spit to fall on your plate(which did happen to me once)! Still, I don’t see these people suffering any serious hit in business! Now Chaat stalls have become one of kind of places where money just flows in. It has become like a well established business.

Well, the question is, what really makes these stalls flourish? Is it their quality of food? The speed at which it’s served? The “unique” kind of ambiance? What!?

Would the answer be as plain as “to just keep it simple”? I don’t think so.
As for a proper answer, I’m still on the lookout for one. In the meantime, chaat? Anyone?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Phantom of the Soap Opera

We are familiar with how our parents feel about soaps and serials.

Soaps. The name in every household. The very meaning of entertainment for womenfolk (not generalizing, but, a lot of them actually). Soaps have become a routine for homemakers giving them “something” to watch from dawn to dusk. A lot of women, (il)literally, speak of nothing else but the happenings in these shows. I haven’t witnessed even stock markets being this speculated upon! What has really puzzled me is the audience’s ability to recall stories (if they are), though incomplete, that are stacked up in their memory. At least it might help to keep Alzheimer’s at bay [;)].Anyway I guess I’ll have the question answered soon.

One evening, a conversation that happened between my mum and me. I was just back from being a nomad because of the indefinite holidays, cursed.

Me: Hi ma, whats up?
Ma: sshhh…
Me: Alright!

I turn around to see what the idiot box was yapping. I’m not surprised to see a soap star on screen.

Me: Ma!! I think I’ve see that guy somewhere. I guess some other TV channel. Happened to catch a glimpse of him while switching channels.
Ma: illa da. That was the guy appearing in (*&^*&%) as a (&^$&*) (censored due to safety reasons)
Me: hmpf.. I’m lost. Save it. Why don’t you go outside? Get some fresh air!?
Ma: HEY!! I’m NOT like the majority of ‘em. A lot of people watch soaps starting from morning till evening not moving from their couch, not cooking, not socializing, not..
Me: …??

She stopped. It was a godsend. But why an abrupt stop? Then I realized that the conversation had happened during the break. Now the soap had started again. I hit the sack. That night, I had a dream. Some guy being ill for a myriad amount of time recovers from cancer, “miraculously”. The doctors called it a “Medical Marvel”. The next morning I got up thinking about the unusual dream finding it vaguely familiar yet difficult to fathom. That evening, I was back home after my routine role as a nomad and while parking my vehicle, I couldn’t help but over hear my neighbors, 2 ladies, discussing something about some guy recovering from cancer.

Lady 1: Hey, I was outside last evening. Had to go to some important meeting at my son’s school. They call it some “Parents and Teachers Association meeting”. (Indistinct chatter). What happened yesterday?
Lady 2: Well, Manoj recovered from cancer! The doctors called it a “miracle”!!

I was shocked yet elated. Have I just had a premonition the previous night?!? It was hard to believe. Yet it had happened .Ignoring the rest of the conversation I went upstairs.

Me: Hi ma! I’m home… after doin… nothin!
Ma: Hi. (and that’s it. She didn’t ask much about what I was doing the whole day. Not that I did something important like saving the world or anything of value. Still, I consider it an obligation to ask)

Intrigued, I speak out loud.

Me: What’s that!? What’s so important that it’s not to miss??

Break time.

Ma: Don’t mock me! Anyway, Manoj just recovered from cancer. That was what they have been showing since yesterday!

I was shocked. I had just guessed what was going to happen in a soap opera in my dream! Then it dawned on me. Soap operas don’t need any premonitions or divine interventions to guess what was going to happen. All you need is the brains of Homer Simpson. I had the dream because I was trying to figure out the meaning of these soaps last night that my brain had to perform an emergency de-fragmentation of my memory while I was asleep. As usual, I hit the sack.

Soap operas are MUNDANE, ordinary, dull, routine, boring, unexciting, dreary and monotonous.

The above sentence was written with the help of a thesaurus. Soap Operas DON’T keep Alzheimer’s at bay but probably provoke it. They promote obesity and brain degeneration transforming lively homemakers to friendly neighborhood zombies.

This post is quite long for a blog post… like a soap opera is for a human life cycle